Saturday, February 2, 2013

Aule/Sauron, Melkor/Saruman

In class on Tuesday, we didn't get around to "Of the Enemies" in the Valaquenta.  This was my section so I'm going to post my questions here.

1)  It says that Sauron began as a Maiar of Aule before he gave his allegiance to Melkor.  Aule is characterized earlier in the chapter as "a smith and a master of all crafts, and he delights in works of skill, however small, as much as in the mighty building of old" (p. 20).  In what ways do you see these skills of Aule mirrored in Sauron?  I think an obvious example would be the forging of the rings.  Sauron had to have been incredibly skilled to make the Ring as powerful as it was. What other example can you all think of?

It's also interesting because Tolkien also writes that Melkor was jealous of Aule because they had similar abilities and interests.  Could this have driven Melkor's desire to "steal" on of Aule's Maiar?  Do you think Melkor could have been jealous of Sauron's skills?  Just hypothesizing - I have no idea as to the answers of these questions!

2)   My other topic is about the parallels between Saruman and Melkor. This idea comes from this passage about Melkor at the end of the Valaquenta: "Understanding [Melkor] turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame.  He began with the desire of Light, but when he could not possess it for himself alone, he descended through fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness.  And darkness he used most in his evil works upon Arda, and filled it with fear for all living things" (p.25).

This entire description kept reminding me of Saruman's corruption especially the part of being "a liar without shame" and "when he could not possess it [the Light] for himself alone." What do you guys think?  Can Saruman be seen as a lesser reflection of Melkor due to his selfishness and perversion of creatures (I'm thinking the Uruks here...)?


S. M. said...

It seems possible that Melkor swayed Sauron out of jealousy because many of Melkor’s goals were centered around ruining the works of others. By “stealing” Sauron’s allegiance, he not only lessened the ranks of Aule’s supporters, but also gained an ally for causing more destruction in Arda.

Austin M. said...

On the topic of the Maiar, I found it incredibly interesting that the Balrogs had originally been Maiar but were swayed to the purposes of Melkor/Sauron. This adds even more depth and background to one of my favorite moments in The Lord of the Rings: the confrontation between Gandalf and the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dum in Moria. While I was aware of Gandalf's status as a Maiar, I did not know that he shared an origin with the demon he battles through time and space. It is also worth noting that after emerging from this epic struggle, Gandalf is forever changed, empowered beyond any of the Maiar and equipped to fulfill his role in the fate of Middle-earth.

Megan said...

I am all over discussions comparing Aule to Melkor or Sauron. Aule is really neat because he challenges the binary of good and evil in the Valar. He is so closely aligned with the clearly evil characters do (wishing to make things unthought of, like Melkor; training Sauron) but he is himself aligned on the side of good. It makes him so edgy and very cool.

I think related to the good and evil problem, Tolkien in fact reflects negatively on the idea of "pure good" because as we mentioned in class, Manwe is SO good he cannot even comprehend evil, and that this is problematic. The edgier characters, those who understand evil, such as Tulkas and Aule, never trust Melkor.

Michael Lott said...

To me a the key difference between Aule and Melkor with regards to their ability to create things in the idea of control. The first thing that Melkor did when he saw Arda is he desired to posses it and bend it to his will. This is mirrored again with the orcs and the evil men in that they are under the influence of Melkor and not quite following him for any other reason.
This differs from Aule in that he only desires to create and that his creations should have their own purpose aside from his own. The best example would be with the creation of the dwarves where Aule was glad that they were granted their own will and not bound to his.