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Friday, April 8, 2011

Music of the Ainur - Round Earth Version (Reading Material)

various fragments, published in History of Middle Earth, volume 10, Morgoth's Ring, showing how Tolkien became uncomfortable with his "flat earth" mythology of the creation of Arda

from a slip of paper pinned to a typescript of Annals of Aman, making it 1958 or later
“It is now clear to me that in any case the Mythology must actually be a 'Mannish' affair. ... The High Eldar living and being tutored by the demiurgic beings {the Ainur} must have known ... the 'truth' (according to their measure of understanding) What we have in the Silmarillion etc. are traditions ... handed on by Men in Númenor and later in Middle-earth ... but already far back ... blended with their own Mannish myths and cosmic ideas.

“... At that point {ie. while writing the Music of the Ainur and early chapters of Silmarillion} ... I was inclined to adhere to the Flat Earth and the astronomically absurd business of the making of the Sun and Moon. But you can make up stories of that kind when you live among people who have the same general background or imagination, when the Sun 'really' rises in the East and goes down in the West, etc. When however ... it is the general belief that we live upon a 'spherical' island in 'Space' you cannot do this any more.

“One loses, of course, the dramatic impact of such things as the first 'incarnates' waking in a starlit world – or the coming of the High Elves to Middle-earth and unfurling their banners at the first rising of the Moon.”
As early as 1946, Tolkien was working on a “Round World” revision of the Music of the Ainur.
excerpt (creation of the Moon):
“Melkor was shaken by the laughter of Tulkas and fled from the Earth. Then he gathered himself together and summoned all his might and his hatred, and he said: 'I will rend the Earth asunder, and break it, an none shall possess it.'

"But this Melkor could not do, for the Earth may not be wholly destroyed against its fate; nevertheless Melkor took a portion of it, and seized it for his own, and reft it away; and he made it a little earth of his own, and it wheeled round about in the sky, following the greater earth wheresoever it went, so that Melkor could observe thence all that happened below, and could send forth his malice and trouble the seas and shake the lands. And still there is rumour among the Eldar of the war in which the Valar assaulted the stronghold of Melkor, and cast him out, and removed it further from the Earth, and it remains in the sky, Ithil whom Men call the Moon. There is both blinding heat and cold intolerable, as might be looked for in any work of Melkor, but now at least it is clean, and yet utterly barren; and nought liveth there, nor ever hath, nor ever shall. And herein is revealed again the words of Ilúvatar; for Ithil has become a mirror to the greater Earth, catching the light of the Sun, when she is invisible; and because of malice silver has been made of gold, and moonlight of sunlight, and Earth in its anguish and loss has been greatly enriched.”
from an undated note:
“The Making of the Sun and Moon must occur long before the coming of the Elves; and cannot be made to be after the death of the Two Trees – if that occurred in any connexion with the sojourn of the Noldor in Valinor. The time allowed is too short. Neither could there be woods and flowers &c. on earth, if there had been no light since the overthrow of the Lamps!

“But how can, nonetheless, the Eldar be called the 'Star-folk'?
“Since the Eldar are supposed to be wiser and have truer knowledge of the history and nature of the Earth than Men (or than Wild Elves), their legends should have a closer relation to the knowledge now possessed of at least the form of the Solar System (= Kingdom of Arda); though it need not, of course, follow any 'scientific' theory of its making or development.”

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