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Friday, April 8, 2011

Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron (Reading Material)

Tolkien's notes, published in History of Middle Earth, volume 10, Morgoth's Ring
from a note titled Melkor/Morgoth, later than 1959 

“Melkor must be made far more powerful in original nature ... the greatest power under Eru....

“Later, he must not be able to be controlled or 'chained' by all the Valar combined. Note that in the early age of Arda he was alone able to drive the Valar out of Middle-earth into retreat.

“The war against Utumno was only undertaken by the Valar with reluctance, and without hope of real victory, but rather as a covering action or diversion, to enable them to get the Quendi out of his sphere of influence. But Melkor had already progressed some way toward becoming 'the Morgoth, a tyrant (or central tyranny and will), + his agents'. Only the total contained the old power of the complete Melkor; so that if 'the Morgoth' could be ... temporarily separated from his agents he was much more nearly controllable and on a power-level with the Valar. The Valar find that they can deal with his agents (sc. armies, Balrogs, etc.) piecemeal. So they come at last to Utumno itself and find that 'the Morgoth' has no longer for the moment sufficient 'force' (in any sense) to shield himself from direct personal contact. Manwë at last faces Melkor again, as he has not done since he entered Arda. Both are amazed: Manwë to perceive the decrease in Melkor as a person; Melkor to perceive this also from his own point of view: he has now less personal force than Manwë, and can no longer daunt him with his gaze.

“... But the lust to have creatures under him, dominated, has become habitual and necessary to Melkor, so that even if the process was reversible (possibly was by absolute and unfeigned self-abasement and repentance only) he cannot bring himself to do it. As with all other characters there must be a trembling moment when it is in the balance: he nearly repents – and does not, and becomes much wickeder, and more foolish.
“Manwë must be shown to have his own inherent fault (though not sin [footnote mark]): he has become engrossed ... in amendment, healing, reordering – even 'keeping the status quo' – to the loss of all creative power and even to weakness in dealing with difficult and perilous situations.”

[Footnote: Every finite creature must have some weakness: that is some inadequacy to deal with some situations. It is not sinful when not willed, and when the creature does his best (even if it is not what should be done) as he sees it – with the conscious intent of serving Eru.]


“Sauron was 'greater', effectively, in the Second Age than Morgoth at the end of the First. Why? because, though he was far smaller by natural stature, he had not yet fallen so low. Eventually he also squandered his power (of being) in the endeavour to gain control of others.. But he was not obliged to expend so much of himself. To gain domination over Arda, Morgoth had let most of his being pass into the _physical_ constituents of the Earth – hence all things that were born on Earth and lived on it and by it, beasts or plants or incarnate spirits, were liable to be 'stained'. Morgoth at the time of the War of the Jewels had become permanently 'incarnate': for this reason he was afraid, and waged the war almost entirely by means of devices, or of subordinates and dominated creatures.

“Sauron, however, inherited the 'corruption' of Arda, and only spent his (much more limited) power on the Rings; for it was the creatures of earth, in their minds and wills, that he desired to dominate. In this way Sauron was also wiser than Melkor-Morgoth. ... [Sauron] probably knew more of the 'Music' than did Melkor, whose mind had always been filled with his own plans and devices, and gave little attention to other things. The time of Melkor's greatest power, therefore, was in the physical beginnings of the World; a vast demiurgic lust for power and the achievement of his own will and designs, on a great scale....

“Thus, as 'Morgoth', when Melkor was confronted by the existence of other inhabitants of Arda, with other wills and intelligences, he was enraged by the mere fact of their existence, and his only notion of dealing with them was by physical force, or the fear of it. His sole ultimate object was their destruction.... Hence his endeavour always to break their wills and being, before destroying their bodies. This was sheer nihilism.... Morgoth would no doubt, if he had been victorious, have ultimately destroyed even his own 'creatures', such as the Orcs, when they had served his sole purpose in using them: the destruction of Elves and Men. ... Even left alone he could only have gone raging on until all was levelled again into a formless chaos.

“Sauron had never reached this stage of nihilistic madness. He did not object to the existence of the world, so long as he could do what he liked with it. He still had the relics of positive purposes, that descended for the good of the nature in which he began: it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall, and of his relapse) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction. (It was the apparent will and power of Melkor to effect his designs quickly and masterfully that had first attracted Sauron to him.) Sauron had, in fact, been very like Saruman, and so still understood him quickly and could guess what he would be likely to think and do, even without the aid of palantiri or of spies; whereas Gandalf eluded and puzzled him....

“... But this is, of course, a simplification of the situation. Sauron had not served Morgoth ... without becoming infected by his lust for destruction, and his hatred of God (which must end in nihilism). ... He probably deluded himself with the notion that the Valar (including Melkor) having failed, Eru had simply abandoned Eä, or at any rate Arda, and would not concern himself with it any more. It would appear that he interpreted the 'change of the world' at the downfall of Númenor, when Aman was removed from the physical world, in this sense: Valar (and Elves) were removed from effective control, and Men under God's curse and wrath. If he thought about the Istari, especially Saruman and Gandalf, he imagined them as emissaries from the Valar, seeking to establish their lost power again and 'colonize' Middle-earth, as a mere effort of defeated imperialists (without knowledge or sanction of Eru). His cynicism, which (sincerely) regarded the motives of Manwë as precisely the same as his own, seemed fully justified in Saruman. Gandalf he did not understand. But certainly he had already become evil, and therefore stupid, enough to imagine that his different behaviour was due simply to weaker intelligence and lack of firm masterful purpose.”


{About Sauron setting up Melkor, rather than himself, as a god in Númenor:} “His cunning motive is probably best expressed thus: To wean one of the God-fearing from their allegiance it is best to propound another unseen object of allegiance and another hope of benefits; propound to him a Lord who will sanction what he desires and not forbid it. Sauron, apparently a defeated rival for world-power, now a mere hostage, can hardly propound himself; but as the former servant and disciple of Melkor, the worship of Melkor will raise him from hostage to high priest.”


“Melkor incarnated' himself (as Morgoth) permanently. He did this so as to control the hroa, the 'flesh' or physical matter, of Arda. He attempted to identify himself with it. A vaster, and more perilous, procedure, though of similar sort to the operation of Sauron with the Rings. Thus, outside the Blessed Realm, all 'matter; was likely to have a 'Melkor ingredient', and those who had bodies, nourished by the hroa of Arda, had as it were a tendency, small or great, toward Melkor: they were none of them wholly free of him in their incarnate form and their bodies had an effect upon their spirits.

“But in this way Morgoth lost (or exchanged or transmuted) the greater part of his original 'angelic' powers, of mind and spirit, while gaining a terrible grip upon the physical world. For this reason he had to be fought, mainly by physical force, and enormous material ruin was a probable consequence of any direct combat with him, victorious or otherwise. This is the chief explanation of the constant reluctance of the Valar to come into open battle against Morgoth. Manwë's taks and problem was much more difficult than Gandalf's. Sauron's relatively smaller, power was concentrated; Morgoth's vast power was disseminated. The whole of 'Middle-earth' was Morgoth's Ring....The dilemma of the Valar was this: Arda could only be liberated by a physical battle; but the probable result of such a battle was the irretrievable ruin of Arda. Moreover, the final eradication of Sauron (as a power directing evil) was achievable by the destruction of the Ring. No such eradication of Morgoth was possible, since this required the complete disintegration of the 'matter' of Arda.”


{At the end of the First Age: } “Morgoth was thus actually made captive in physical form, and in that form taken as a mere criminal to Aman ... and eventually taken out of the Blessed Realm and executed: that is killed like one of the Incarnates. ... When that body was destroyed he was weak and utterly 'houseless”. We read that he was then thrust out into the Void. {Whether this means out of Eä -- created Time and Space -- or only outside Arda – our Earth/Solar System}

“In any case ... what was then left of him was no longer powerful enough to reclothe itself.... At least it could not yet reclothe itself. We need not suppose that Manwë was deluded into supposing that this had been a war to end war, or even to end Melkor.... The dark spirit of Melkor's 'remainder' might be expected, therefore, eventually and after long ages to increase again, even ... to draw back into itself some of its formerly dissipated power. It would do this (even if Sauron could not) because of its relative greatness. It did not repent, or turn finally away from its obsession, but retained stillrelics of wisdom, so that it could still seek its object indirectly, and not merely blindly. It would rest, seek to heal itself .. but all simply to recover enough strength to return to attack on the Valar, and to its old obsession. As it grew again it would become, as it were, a dark shadow, brooding on the confines of Arda, and yearning toward it.

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