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Author Topic: Melian the only child-bearing Maia or Valar?
Hamfast Gamgee
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Was Melian the only member of the Maia or Valar to have any children? I can't think of any others ofhand for all of their power. I wonder why? I suppose that when you are an immortal God or Spirit you don't feel the urge to pass on your seed, and would they even be capable? In which case, how did Melian manage this? And I wonder if when the Valar made their sudden departure from the world, if any regretted not having children.
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Snöwdog
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Melian enjoyed having sex with one of the children of Ilúvatar ... Thingol, to be exact.
Apparently everything worked since Lúthien was born. This could lead to speculation that the male Vala were sterile ... Hmmmm..

[ 04-11-2014, 02:32 AM: Message edited by: Snöwdog ]

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Gollum Gollum
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In the early versions of Tolkien's works, the Valar do have children. For instance, Oromë is Aulë's son, and Kosomot (Gothmog Lord of Balrogs) is Melko's son.
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Snöwdog
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... but it wasn't the published version....
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Galin
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Well most of it [collectively the legends of the Elder Days] wasn't published by the author, but I take your point, as the reason the Valar do not have children in the 1977 constructed Silmarillion is arguably due to Tolkien ultimately rejecting the idea [not that Gollum Gollum said otherwise in any case, as Gollum Gollum referred to early works]. In author's note 5 to Osanwe-centa (Vinyar Tengwar 39) it's noted (by Pengolodh):

quote:
'The great Valar do not do these things: they beget not, neither do they eat and drink, save at the high asari, in token of their lordship and indwelling of Arda, and for the blessing of the sustenance of the Children. Melkor alone of the Great became at last bound to a bodily form: but that was because of the use that he made of this in his purpose to become Lord of the Incarnate, and of the great evils that he did in the visible body. Also...'
From this at least (including other parts of this note) it seems that the Valar could have had children, but doing so would have meant that they were to commit themselves to a 'self-arraying' approaching incarnation, which they appear not to desire. The note also states that a self-arraying tended to approach a state of incarnation especially with respect to the Maiar. It is also noted that: 'Most binding is begetting or conceiving.'


In Morgoth's Ring Tolkien noted: 'Evil is fissiparous. But itself barren. Melkor could not 'beget' or have any spouse (though he attempted to ravish Arien, this was to destroy and 'distain' her, not to beget fiery offspring)'.


But here's where Tolkien confuses me a bit, when it comes to the Maiar. Melian obviously could array herself in a physical form and have a child, but in an Orc essay Tolkien first notes of the Eagles: 'Huan and Sorontar could be Maiar -- emissaries of Manwe. But unfortunately in The Lord of the Rings Gwaehir and Landroval are said to be descendants of Sorontar.' Myths Transformed text VIII

Why unfortunately? Does this mean Thorondor can't be a Maia because there are descendants involved? If so why not? In the same essay Tolkien asks himself if Maiar can become Ors, answers yes, and then notes: '... but by practising when embodied procreation they would (cf. Melian) [become] more and more earthbound, unable to return to spirit-state (even demon-form), until released by death (killing), and they would dwindle in force.'

But does this not imply that Maiar could have descendants?

[ 04-12-2014, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Belthronding
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There is much that can be noted on this topic. A few quick thoughts - I believe Tolkien mentions (I am not sure) the relative difficulty of conceiving for all but Men in M-E a few times in the Legendarium and also in Letters. I think in the Silmarillion it is a footnote of sorts to the story of Feanor that his birth brought about his mother's death. Letters, as well as maybe one of the HOME volumes, discusses Elven sexual practices and philosophies around childbirth. Perhaps there is info here on the Maiar as well.

Also, we know from the Sil. that the Maiar did marry, for Osse and Uinen are spouses. Though a spouse among the Maiar may not mean what it does among the Children ... ??

Lastly, there is Aule and Yavanna and the story of the creation of the dwarves. No sex is told of, but the dwarves ARE the children of Aule, for "he made first the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in a hall under the mountains ..."

The case of the dwarves, and the cost to Aule (not really ever discussed) is very interesting.

I'll have to check out the books some more ...

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Well, I suppose that the Maia could have had children, but as far as we know, only one did. The Istrai, for example, never seemed to have any thoughts of family. Maybe the Valar did something to their manhoods before they departed to ME!
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Galin
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quote:
There is much that can be noted on this topic. A few quick thoughts - I believe Tolkien mentions (I am not sure) the relative difficulty of conceiving for all but Men in M-E a few times in the Legendarium and also in Letters.
Maybe what you are thinking of is not so much difficulty with respect to conception, but reasons why Elves had few children [given in Laws And Customs Among The Eldar, Morgoth's Ring, and briefly below], and concerning Dwarves, the lack of female Dwarves and so on [Appendix A on Dwarves].


quote:
I think in the Silmarillion it is a footnote of sorts to the story of Feanor that his birth brought about his mother's death.
I would say Miriel was a special case however, due to Feanor being a special case; although more generally speaking, note A) below among the reasons Tolkien noted to explain Elves having few children:

A) in the begetting, and still more in the bearing of children, greater share and strength of being in mind and body goes forth than in the making of mortal children.

B) the Eldar would beget children only in days of happiness and peace if they could.

C) with the exercise of the power of generation the desire soon ceases and the mind turns to other things.

quote:
Also, we know from the Sil. that the Maiar did marry, for Osse and Uinen are spouses. Though a spouse among the Maiar may not mean what it does among the Children ... ??
Generally speaking now, Tolkien later defined 'spouse' in a note on the margins of a copy of The Annals of Aman, and although the next sentence speaks of the Valar, the Maiar too did not normally have bodies as created: 'Note that 'spouse' meant only an 'association'. The Valar had no bodies, but could assume shapes. After the coming of the Eldar they most often used shapes of 'human' form, though taller (not gigantic) and more magnificent.'


Although in the following 'spouse' is used to refer to Melian and Thingol. Also in the following [edited for brevity], the Elvish word hroa plural hroar can be roughly translated to 'body'.

quote:
Note 5: Here Pengolodh adds a long note on the use of hroar by the Valar. In brief he says that though in origin a 'self arraying', it may tend to approach the state of incarnation, especially with the lesser members of that order (the Maiar). It is said the longer and the more the same hroa is used, the greater is the bond of 'habit' and the less do the 'self-arrayed' desire to leave it. As rainment may soon cease to be adornment, and becomes (...) a habit, a customary garb.

[...]

Pengolodh also cites the opinion that if a 'sppirit' (that is, one of those not embodied by creation) uses a hroa for the furtherance of its personal purposes, or (still more) for the enjoyment of bodily faculties, it finds it increasingly difficult to operate without the hroa. The things that are most binding are those that in the Incarnate have to do with the life of the hroa itself, its sustenance and its propagation. Thus eating and drinking are binding, but not the delight in beauty of sound and form. Most binding is begetting or conceiving.'

[...]

'Nonetheless it appears to be an axan [law, rule, as primarly proceeding from Eru], or maybe necessary consequence, that if they are done, then the spirit must dwell in the body that it used, and be under the same necessities as the Incarnate. The only case that is known in the histories of the Eldar is that of Melian who became the spouse of King Elu-thingol. This certainly was not evil or against the will of Eru, and though it led to sorrow, both Elves and Men were enriched.'

Note 5, to Osanwe-centa, Vinyar Tengwar number 39

Still, as I think I said earlier, if Melian can do this, why can't other Maiar? In potential anyway.

[ 06-12-2014, 08:05 AM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Thinking about it, even Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, despite been partners didn't have any offspring. And they had millenia to do this as well!
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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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I suspect the answer to "why not have kids?" is that there is likely no going back afterwards (or at least you're taking the chance of not going back). Giving up your natural form, as opposed to simply playing dress-up, is a huge commitment that few would willingly make.

Had I the ability to shape-shift it might be fun and interesting to commune with the birds and animals for a time but if there was a strong chance I wouldn't be able to return to my human form based on certain behaviors while in bird/animal form, I would tend to avoid those behaviors quite literally like the plague.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Not totally convinced, couldn't Melian still shape-shift after having Luthien?
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The Flammifer
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Hamfast: Not totally convinced, couldn't Melian still shape-shift after having Luthien?

Melian gave up her Elvish body after the death of Thingol, returned to Lorien in Aman, and presumably took back her Maia form. I reckon this might be a form of shape-shifting?

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Reckon' so indeed!
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Mithrennaith
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It may be significant that she gave up her body only after both her husband and child had died.
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faithfull
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Hamfast said,
quote:
Thinking about it, even Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, despite been partners didn't have any offspring. And they had millenia to do this as well!

I wonder, does the lack of a mention of offspring preclude their existence? There's so much we don't know about these characters, and I had to laugh, a little, when I noted that both Bombadil and Treebeard made "eldest" claims. []
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Hamfast Gamgee
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It would be nice to think that Bombadil and Goldberry had offspring. Maybe a line of spouses in the Shire! After all some Hobbits where called Goldilocks so that could be a connection. And it might very well have helped with the general attitude of Hobbits. And explain the myth of a fairy interaction with the Baggins bloodline. Which the Narrator did dismiss as ridiculous, but maybe the Narrator was wrong on this little point. Again, nice to think about. Also, that Frodo did meet an ancestor of his in seeing Goldberry! I don't know if they could have had offspring in other lines in ME. The Isildur to Aragorn line perhaps or even some vague link to the Girion bloodline. I do have the Hobbit on my mind at the moment for some strange reason.
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