The Silmarillion: Ainulindalë Part 3

I shall do my very best to restrain myself. I promise. I was having some difficulty choosing what not to underline while reading the book, and now I shall narrow my comments even further. I'm actually getting fairly decent at that.
I particularly liked the way that Arda was created through music, which of course makes one think of Narnia.
I also found it interesting that Eru enlisted the Ainur. He is omnipotent and obviously doesn't need help to do anything, and yet he sets the Ainur to making his great 'themes'. He chooses to work through his servants, and they have the freedom to do what they will with his instructions, hence Melkor being able to 'put forth his own theme' creating a dissonance born of greed and pride.

"Then Ilúvatar said to them: '...And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will."

Eru works through the Ainur, in my opinion, so that they may gain a better understanding of his purpose. If he had merely snapped his fingers and created Arda, I imagine that the Ainur would have oohed and aahed as one does when one sees fireworks, but would not have had any understanding, or appreciation for what Eru was doing. 
"Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony."

Nor would they have particularly cared about Arda, though they would have found it beautiful. Seeing something beautiful is a lovely thing. Clouds, sunsets and sunrises, works of art, music, books, etc. etc. But they become so much more interesting if you understand how they are made and why. Beautiful things become more valuable if you have seen the work, and time, and skill, and patience put into them. And if you have had a part in their creation, they are things that you treasure and love and protect, no matter how ratty they may become. OK, you get the point. Way better than fireworks. And speaking of fireworks...
And back to the Silmarillion. It seems to me that the most condensed version of my love of this story, is to pick a few quotes that I have underlined. Keep in mind I may have shown some of these earlier. But I have yet to discover any reason why one should not read a single Tolkien quote over and over again. It gets better each time. I will try not to get distracted by reading the whole thing. I make no promises.

"Then the voices of the Ainur, like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets, and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, began to fashion the theme of Ilúvatar to a great music; and a sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the heights, and the places of the dwelling of Ilúvtar were filled to overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void."

"Some of these thoughts [Melkor] now wove into his music, and straight-way discord arose about him, and many that sang nigh him grew despondent, and their thought was disturbed and their music faltered;"

"Then again Ilúvatar arose, and the Ainur perceived that his countenance was stern; and he lifted up his right hand, and behold! a third theme grew amid the confusion, and it was unlike the others. For it seemed at first soft and sweet, a mere rippling of gentle sounds in delicate melodies; but it could not be quenched, and it took to itself power and profundity."

"Then [Ilúvatar] raised up both his hands, and in one chord, deeper than the Abyss, higher than the Firmament, piercing as the light of the eye of Ilúvatar, the Music ceased."

"And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."

"...listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou are drawn nearer to Manwë, thy friend, whom thou lovest."

"But when they desire to clothe themselves the Valar take upon them forms some as of male and some as of female; for that difference of temper they had even from their beginning, and it is but bodied forth in the choice of each, not made by the choice, even as with us male and female may be shown by the raiment but is not made thereby."

"And [Melkor] descended upon Arda in power and majesty greater than any other of the Valar, as a mountain that wades in the sea and has its head above the clouds and is clad in ice and crowned with smoke and fire; and the light of the eyes of Melkor was like a flame that withers with heat and pierces with a deadly cold."

(click HERE for more information on pronunciation)
Ainur: eye-noor
Aulë: ow-leh
Manwë: man-weh

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(All quotes are from the Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien unless otherwise mentioned. Post header image property of The Red Book.)

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