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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ainur part 2

Tolkien Discussion Group
September 23, 2009

Topic:  Ainur (continued)

topaz Seriman
BelenosStormchaser Magic
Lihan Taifun
Khyathtu Fell
Fifi Wickentower
Veovis Nightfire
Bryster Shan
AelKennyr Rhiano

Lihan Taifun: perhaps someone can review what we know about Ainur, while I go afk for a bit?  please? someone who was paying attention last week?
now that is a big assumption.. grins.. we were supposed to be paying attention?
the Ainur are the holy Ones, created by Eru, the One
Were they not the first to be created?
created before this universe
and therefore imortal.
it was the song of the Ainur who brought Arda into being
The singers of the great song.....if that is the correct phrse.
each had their own part, and when Illuvatar called them together to sing together for the first time . . Arda was the result
You know, the concept of "singing" creation into being is not new...not something Tolkien invented.
he had a strong Catholic background
I'm not surprised. he derived a lot of his ideas from elsewhere.
as most writers do
in the beginning was the word ie: sound
eastern is Om or Aum
But wasn't that a chord rather than a sound?
And people do forgetis not a chord a sound?
a tone - and when a group chants the tone - each has their own timbre
No. A sound is a single thing.
A Chord is a group of sounds harmonoius and such is sound, though
a note then
It is volcalized.
is a single sound
erm... are we getting a little.... off track here?
and thus Tolkien added his own vision
Tolkien often added his own adaptation to the ideas he borrowed, as good writers do

.... so, the Ainur sang the Song.  Anything else we know about them?
They were spirit beings, but could take on fleshly forms if they choose to
but the bodies they may take on are not
They have special powers
They are more observers, aides, teachers to the mortal races.
What I know is this... Its no secret the idealism conveyed in Tolkein Mythology is Biblical inspired. whcih gives the RP alot of its foundation. almost

making it somewhat controversal .
I detect another night's whole topic of discussion there :-)
sometime when Khy can make it again
Actually...I could submit that is a very narrow view of Tolkien.
but we enjoy the fiction, I know I do and the play...and all we can contribute to it. Ainu are the highly ones with all this angelic like presence. but

actually the fun is in the other character portrayals
Which is why the Silmarillion reads somewhat like a bible.
And very ethnocentric.
thus as i said controversal :)
I would submit it is a weaving of several mythologies.
yes i agree

a question that came up last week: how much are the Ainur like, say, the Roman gods and godesses?
interesting question.
Depends on the Ainu?
thats thought provoking
first, how much are the Ainur, as a race, like them?
The Romans were more aware of their 'Gods'. Lived their lives to please the gods.
well, they didn't go around making babies with a lot of random mortals like zeus did, did they?.. *grins*
well, only melian did. ;)
and not at radnom.
Melian *did*.  Proving it is physically possible
yes, with one she married... but like zeus who seemed to like any pretty maiden.. :)
but remember the culture of the writer...The place and time in which Tolkien wrote his work.
for Tolkien, the Ainur had very idealized love lives.  And the Elvish standards of marriage were very idealized, also.  His concept of "idealized", of

which would reflect his culture and the times in which he lived.
Nor did they seem on a whole to be easily corrupted as the roman gods did. The roman gods seemed much more 'human' in their weaknesses
But the Roman and Greek Gods tormented the humans
There is a true similarity because like romans they didnt belive in monootheism, and ainur are in essese several gods, or godlike/angel like. Roman Gods are

tied into Badda mythology and Greek when speaking of Roman gods, alot is covered
tormented on purpose?
I think so.
Indeed Bryster.. they seemed to take arbitrary deligt in it
sometimes, yes. but mostly because the humans did something or other to offend them.
or make them jealous
many similarities and differences.
They challenge each other to task the humans.
Yes Roman gods seeme to befall the imperfections of men.. jealousy, envy
the roman gods were like immortal children.  and we were like their playthings.
good anology
which is different than in norse mythologies.
the Ainur have Eru as a reference point
That is true.. the roman gods did not have someone higher to refer to or to answer to
Quite so.
well they had jupiter, but he was bad if not worse.
As was Zeus
so funny that i just watched The Robe the other day...grins
whereas the the Norse ....? you were saying
If you think of the Norse...they lived harsh lives in a harsh environment. Their gods were hard, too, but often much more fair than the Romans.
The Norse were a warrior race.
Remember...they had a hall for their heroes.
as were the romans.
yes...but they also honored certain traits...not just prowess in battle.
Bravery, courage.
Honour itself.
but also writing. songs art as well as Loyalty, bravery, honor.
Rome adorned itself within its own greatness , and those without royal blood were deemed unworthy. I can see a slight similarity with that in tolkein Myth.

it certainly seems like the only characters of note are royalty in tolkien, that's for sure. until you get to hobbits.
but i think Tolkein took out the slave factor. unless I am incorrect...
No he didn't take out the slave factor.  In The Children of Hurin there were those who were almost slaves to local 'Barons'.
oh ok
I forgetthe word he uses.
you are talking about a feudal type system.
Ones who were permanently endebted to the local 'headman'.
which is not the same thing, quite.
so, some humans have slaves, or peons
The factor remains though.
serious economic oppression
As a child, Tolkien was deeply affected by war.
Damned if I can remeber the word.
i should imagine so, living through WWI.
I am not sure if he used the word "thrall" but that is what he is describing.
yes . . . LOTR came out of his war torn childhood
i think that is the word he used. sounds familiar.
Thrall!!!!! Yes.  Thankyou 
A "thrall" is not a slave.
Not in the literal sense I agree, but you see the resemblance.
Althought we would think of him as such.  He owed his lord lifelong service. yes.
an indentured servant, then.  He was, really, bound to the land.
Huron's wife was enthrall to the Headman of a village....forced to be as his wife.
the impression conveyed is that Tolkien words mirrors reality, and mirrors aspects of christanity and Various mythologies. its a well designed mythology in

my opinion :)
umm.. can I be rude here and interject? While it IS fascinating talking about his sources of inspriation etc.. we could spend months doing that alone.. I

believe tonight we were to be discussing the Ainur?
eep. she is right.
Good point Belenos
yes, ok, back to Ainur

Sorry to be so abrupt.. but i came all keyed up to learn about Ainur.. grins.. and my brain was hurting in anticipation..
we have branched off into origin discussion and roman connections. But I think the Ainu are all connected to the themes
anything in particular about Ainur, Belanos?
yes.. their abilities.. their status in the stories in general and how they interacted with the mortal races.. for instance if an ainu were to have their

mortal body killed, how long before they could assume another?
or how they don't interact, in many cases
If I recall, they rarely interacted.
certainly never with humans.
some didn't, some did.
i'll have to go back and read again.
a few gave advice to a human, in special cases
and we learned last time, that was not so, Veovis.
BelenosStormchaser Magic nods.. so if one were role playing an ainu, there would be limited scope?
Eonwe did.
in Lord of the Rings .... thousands of years later, the Elves are always talking about Elbereth. And there is no evidence Elbereth ever does ANYTHING

i guess that depends on the rp circumstances, bel.
el mentioned once that one had to 'read between the lines' to see the interaction of the Ainur with Elves or other
as great as the ainur are, they seem to be aloof as to the happening of the scope of things. they are powerful, but they dont seem omnipotent or at least

paying attention. butI think its cleveryly written to enhance the mythology..sorry to interject :)
good point, khy.
as is the case with the fall of the trees.
Bryster Shan gasps

I was looking at the notecard... down at the bottom it says that ents, troll and canonical dragons were not ainur.. what were they then?
some Ainur are winds, some other areas
Ents - Elvish stories tell how when Varda rekinled the stars and the elves awoke, the Ents also awoke.
well, if you have powerful beings who keep meddling in the story, it messes up the storytelling
very true
but only if they overpower the story, yes?
you can't have a dramatic story about the tragedies of the elves, or the humans, if the Ainur keep stepping in and fixing everything when half an hour is up
perhaps one could think of them the way Hawaiians have demi'gods
In a way the Ainur are similar also to the Native Indian Gods. governing in thier realm
and if they kept stepping in they woudl be taking away the free will of the mortals
a wind might work with another type of ainu
But if I can go back to the Greek gods for a moment....?
rewinds tape
Have any of you read the Odyssey?
years ago
im familar with it
erm.. vaguely.. I seemed to have focussed more on the sirens.. *grins*
Do you remember when ...if is Artemis who takes human form and walks with Odysseus?  Do I have that right?
Athena, yes
well, sometimes, the greek gods were advisors, councillors, teachers...secret agents.  I see the Ainu sometimes acting that role
artemis and diana are both the same - godess of the hunt

Bryster Shan: If I may interrput..?
Khyathtu Fell: I must exit. Such a great discussion, please continue it fruitfully. Real life becons.
Bryster Shan: I must away also ,but before I go I should like to recommend a book. 'Character from Tolkien - A Bestiary by David Day.
I have that book.I love it
oooo, i have that. good stuff.
It explains in great detail all the characters.
sounds good
Thank you for the information, Bryster
I was given it as a gift. It is a treasured posection.
library por moi
*digs out my refernce books*.. no, I don't have that one.. although I do have the Complete Guide to Middle Earth by Robert Foster

so, roleplaying the Ainur, we can be advisors ....
certainly.....aulë taught us everything we know.
do we have the world's most boring parts?
I don't think so.
Romantic partners?
Lihan Taifun giggles
are there a limited number of Ainu? Are there others who are not named in the books?
plenty who aren't named in the books
there's probably many not named.
in fact, it says there are many more than the ones mentioned
an entire creation of the ainur race
just as all humans are not named in history
or elves
The Ainur are shapeshifters
Because you are closer to Eru...and you sang the song of creation, you see more of the great to elves and other races, you are also "prophets?"

of a sort
so Do I gather they work with nature more than anything? Sometimes overseeing mortals and guiding them
most work with nature.  Then there is Este, the healer, Irmo the master of Visions, Vaire, the weaver who records history
mandos, tha vala of death
but that is not, strictly, nature based.
so they could suggest the wisdom of goign into battle, perhaps, but not participate.. and commisserate at the loss or celebrate the win if they had an

interest in a particular race ?
I wonder if they would even get involved with "the wisdom of going into battle"
so other than meilan marrying a mortal, just how did they interact with mortals?
they taught, they gave advice in certain dire situations
Osse, Ulmo, and Unien became very fond of the Teleri.
in the early days, they evacuated the elves to the Blessed Lands
So they really are rather limited if one is role playing them?
yavanna and aulë were most closely associated with the noldor, and manwë with the vanyar.
as the Ocean Wind, Ael said that Ainu would perhaps interact by blowing favorably (or not) on the need of the Teleri, as an example
would they? or is that just Teleri superstition? :-)
lol  those elves :))
you know the ainur love th elves
Of course it would be the Ocean Wind.
most of them did, yes.
so that is one way they interact, through the elements of nature.  The land was barren until yavanna walked through
and of course ainur battle the evil ainur/demons
I don't think rp for an Ainu is necessarily restrictive. But I do think to do it well, it has to be played with forethought. I think it is not as easy as

rping an elf, honestly.
can you give us an example?
an elf can do lots of things.. marry.. rule...fight in battle.. sit around a campfire.. get sick.. get well.  become dragon dinner.. grins
But an elf cannot know the song that called the world into creation.
Think a moment of the Trojan war...would it have been as dramatic, as tense, as riveting without Cassandra?  Would it have started without the contest for

the apple between two "goddesses?
but that's just it.. in the era we are playing, the world is already created... the races already exist
not all.
we Ainur have heard the song, more of it than has happened in the world, so we know at least the outlines of future history but we don't know details.  And

of course human and elvish free will is a wild card.  The story is changing as it goes along
the ainu know nothing of Arda - so they come to explore and learn
also they can better know the Creator
An Ainu can be a "cassandra" far more creditably than a Teleri.
Does not the Ainu have free will, too?
and what of dragons?
dragons are ainu
and dragon free will, of course :-)
they are?
or descended from Ainu.
and yes - ainu have free will - tha's how morgoth came to be
erm... and the remark on the bottom of the notecard about the canon dragons?
i never saw that anywhere....i'll have to pay closer attention when lost tales starts mentining them.
Belanos's dragons have decided they are descended from Ainur in dragon form
actually it was arth karas who told me that we were maiar.. as morgoth cannot create a new creature as such, but only twist an existing one to be something

he wanted
true. that's where the balrogs caem from.  twisted maiar.
and dragons became er 'dragonny
Sounds like a rock group: Twisted Maiar.
is that related to Twisted Tea?
Belanos's ancestors are reformed dragons
Yes.. ones who rebelled against the evil of morgoth..

where were we? the ainur have some prophetic vision
is it safe to say that, in RP, we don't get involved in battles among the created races? maybe the lesser ainur -- like fae -- might. not the major ainur
To answer that, I'd have to ask how did the ainur usually communicate with the mortals?
often not directly
Ulmo speaks in the music of water
in the Blessed Lands, the elves can talk directly to the Ainur. I can just put on a body and walk into Alqualonde, for example.  But it would be incredibly

rare for me to go to Middle Earth
So the elves can talk to the Ainur? Ahhh, if you put on a mortal body.
and they ainur sometimes walk cloaked as the ppl of the land
you are thinking of the wizards? or, it is likely Tom Bombadil was an Ainu

did we all fall asleep?
No, I am musing over all this.
I was just looking up that book I mentioned earlier... it poses that tom was a maia
I think if an ainu became involved in the conflicts, of mortal, it would be circumspective.
he was pretty oblivious to "history" going on around him
Well, that would be another way of playing Ainu...
hehe.. being oblivious to what was going on around you?
as being more focused on the "cosmic" picture, so somwhat unaware of mortal current events.  yes
works for me
probably some ainur are like that :-)
pretty much like my rl, lol
maybe it was fan-fiction I was reading ... but the premise was that the Valar were so upset by the way the Noldor episode turned out that they were afraid

to take to strong a hand in mortal affairs for fear of making things even worse
the kin-slayng?
that and the rebellion.
But....It may be that ainu descended beings, like the dragons... especially good dragons...looking at Belenos....they may decide to become involved in the

world again.  return to the shining lands and befriend elves
dragons came before the firast age
BelenosStormchaser Magic polishes halo
Having escaped the bad influence of Morgoth, I would imagine that is what we would do. No point rebelling against bad if one then does nothing to oppose it
many dragons are still healing from that
retaining from that long ago Ainu ancestor...a deeper vision of the Song of Eru...and perhaps a feeling of affection for mortal races like the elves.
a thought .
you only want us to like you so we don't eat you.. :P ((joking))
ummm...yes. actually
but seriously, if the dragons are maiar who were twisted and corrupted by morgoth, there would be the chance that their original nature could surface and

overcome the 'training' from morgoth, yes?
yes - that is redemption

My friends, do we wish to discuss Ainu again next week? or a different topic?
have we discussed ainur to death?
no, they are immortal
i never tire of Ainur talk lol
we still have "immortality of the elves" on the list, too
AelKennyr Rhiano perks up
that's almost as important
and yes.. the immortality of the elves, does that mean he lives through it if I eat him ?
Can I ask about the difference between ainur and maiar? I gather there is quite some difference in them and what they did.. can we talk about that?
maiar, as i understand it, are simply lesser ainur.but were more involved with the mortals if I understand correctly?
as an angel is a 'lesser' angel to, say archangel?

what is your specialty, fifi?  as a Maia?
my name is Linfea Nensule.  it means the Spirit of the Song of Water and Air, and I am of the House of Manwe
lol, so you are the expert on sailors and winds ;) IS it a superstition?
breezes, winds and air and water
or might by be induced to help out sailors?
that is not for me to say :)  perhaps induced . . or perhaps of a curious turn of mind, capricious and steady at the same time, full of contractions
I hear Osse, of the Ocean, has quite a temper
yes, quite......he is often at odds with ulmo.
well . . it might seem so, there is, one might say, a dynamic tension :)
but it blows over....
and those of the World would experience on a diferent level
his wife, Uinen, likes to take credit for calming him down
yes - the nature of air
as she should . . . but calm to an Ainur might be tempest to an elf
good point

did we decide what to discuss next week?
not yet - immortality of elves?
seems like we went off on another tangent..
we often do
but not really, as these are all Ainu.
immortality of elves works for me
that should be interesting.
i may come in elven form so as to better understand
and I am always happy to test elven immortality.. grins
can elves reicarnate? and if so, why don't we see it?  and will Ael survive being eaten?
i've seen it written in lost tales, at the very least, that they were believed to live on in their children.

Sére ar alasse  (Peace and joy) ar saila, mâlon!  (and wisdom, friend!)
thank you all, bye for now
"Lótesse i cala of ngolwe,ngóle,saila" hirta,tulya" le"  (May the light of wisdom guide you)
Goodnight all..
Fair winds and safe journeys to all
Good night, all
namaarie, il'er.