Of Sauron and Fire-Maiar

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Falvlun 26/Nov/2006 at 07:52 PM
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"Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel. In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aule, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people." (Valaquenta, Of the Enemies, Sil)

My memory is all muddled. So I have a couple of questions regarding Maiar generally and Sauron specifically.

1) Were there Maiar specific to the elements? Like Fire, Earth, Air, Water Maiar? Or do the maiar simply congregrate towards the element they are most interested in?

2) Did the Ainur, like Aule, have specific Maiar of certain elements/ elemental tendencies?

3) Did Aule have predominantly fire-Maiar?

4) Did predominantly Aule’s maiar / fire-maiar join Morgoth?

5) Was Sauron a fire-Maiar?

I would like to know the whole works, the ins and outs. For example, if the question to (4) is Yes, then why is that so? I swear I heard all of these things before, but I can’t remember where, or even if it’s true, or whether I just made it up out of my head.

Thanks!

KingODuckingham 26/Nov/2006 at 08:02 PM
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I am not competent to answer most of these questions, but I will throw out this thought as regards number 4. Melkor/Morgoth’s speciality was temperature, and he "bethought himself both heat and cold immoderate" or some such paraphrase of the Silmarillion. So the fire-maiar (assuming they do split into elements like that) would be more attuned to temperature than say, earth maiar and thus more likely to fall under Morgoth’s jurisdiction, so to speak. Just a thought on that one point.

And oh, it never says anywhere that Sauron was a fire-maiar. There is no evidence for that.
Alcarináro 26/Nov/2006 at 08:22 PM
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1) No. Maiar are linked to Valar. They would thus be separated into domains pertaining to those matters that the Valar had a hand in. To demonstrate this I have before referred to Aule’s Maiar as ’of Craft’.

2) This question does not make sense to me. Aule does not have Maiar of specific elemental tendencies, unless, being the creator of the stuff of the Earth, has some Maiar who are more concerned with that than with the other aspects of Aule’s dominion.

3) Aule did not have Fire Maiar. At all. Despite what this Plaza’s Isengard’s Istaquenta would seek to tell you. Aule is never, ever, associated with fire. Fire belongs to Melkor, pertaining to the heats and colds immoderate.

4) Aule’s Maiar, being Maiar of Craft, like Aule himself creating things, have a tendency to, as Aule did with the Dwarves, try to make things new, which can lead to evil. This is why Aule’s Maiar (two examples would be Sauron and Saruman) are more likely to turn to Melkor than, say, Manwe’s Maiar. However, Fire Maiar have no relation with Aule. Those spirits of fire who were to be later referred to as Balrogs were the servants of Melkor as he entered the World that Is. They were, from the beginning, aligned with Melkor.

5) No.
Qtpie 26/Nov/2006 at 08:30 PM
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I’m no loremaster either, but I’ll attempt to answer your questions .

1) I don’t think that the Maia spirits were specific to the elements. For example Osse loved the sea like Ulmo and so became a Maia of Ulmo. It seems more likely to me that the Maia just simply find something they like and associate themselves with it. Another example would be Sauron who like to forge and make things so he associated himself with Aule, the Smith of the Valar.

2) I’m not too sure I get this question, but do you mean the "Did the Valar, like Aule, have specific Maiar of certain elements/elemental tendencies?"

3) I don’t really know, but my say in this would be that any Maia spirit interested in smithying would just align themselves with Aule. It doesn’t have to be fire spirits.

And the rest of the questions I think KingOduckingham has answered pretty well.
Falvlun 26/Nov/2006 at 08:38 PM
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"Arien the maiden was mightier than he, and she was chosen because she had not feared the heats of Laurelin, and was unhurt by them, being from the beginning a spirit of fire, whom Melkor had not deceived nor drawn to his service." (Of the Sun and Moon, Sil)

Instance of a spirit of fire, which was not a Balrog. And if there are spirits of fire, then why not spirits of the other elements?

Thanks for the bit about Maiar of Craft. That was certainly helpful.

But why are you so vehement that Aule had no spirits of fire? It does not seem that there is any proof either way. Yet we know that fire would be helpful in craft-- the smelting of iron, etc. And we know that fire spirits existed. So why is it not reasonable to assume that Sauron had fire-maiar?

Falvlun 26/Nov/2006 at 08:46 PM
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Taragolloion, Your interpretation of my second question is exactly what I meant.

How do you know it isn’t cause and effect? Osse loves the seas because he is a water maiar.  

Elenhir, when you say Maiar are linked to Valar, do you mean they are bound together? Or do the Maiar choose their Valar they wish to be associated with?

KingODuckingham, That makes perfect sense! Perhaps that’s what I was thinking of, when this whole jumbled mess came out

To everyone: This is what I meant by 2) Did the Valar, like Aule, have specific Maiar of certain elements/elemental tendencies?"

Alcarináro 26/Nov/2006 at 09:21 PM
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Did I say that all Fire Maiar were Balrogs? No. Just the strong and evil ones. You’ll also note that nowhere did I say that there would not be spirits of other elements, just that they were not, as your post implied, only linked to elements. Of course there are Maiar of the airs and of the waters, but there are also Maiar in the host of Orome; they are hunters. And for the rest of the Valar I could make a like point: the nature of a Maia is not bound to an element; it is bound to the domain of a Vala, which in some cases happens to be an ’element’.

I am so vehement about that issue because of the misconceptions. There is proof. Matters don’t need to be stated outright. After all, would you think that Maiar associated with water would be in the service of Manwe? No, they would be in the service of Ulmo, because Ulmo is the Vala with the domain of water. Sure, Manwe utilizes clouds, and clouds rain, and rain is water, but that doesn’t mean that Manwe has the domain of water.
Aule is the Crafter. Not the Forger. He is not a clone of Hephaustus. He is the Vala with the domain of making things. So sometimes he would use a forge, and with that forge he would use heat. But Melkor, on the other hand, is specifically stated to have, as his two original domains (though he picked up another tool, darkness, later on) as heat and cold, the direct consequences of which are fire and ice. And he used those direct consequences to furnish his physical form, as described in the text.
Qtpie 26/Nov/2006 at 09:46 PM
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Falvlun: So are you trying to say that Osse was created a water Maia by Eru and he only loves the sea because he was created a water Maia? This sounds a bit restrictive of Eru to me. It seems more likely to me that Eru created all the Maia and then the Maia spirit can take up an interest in something and associate itself with the Vala that was related. This is just my speculation of course.
Túrin 26/Nov/2006 at 10:20 PM
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If we go to The Silmarillion:

"And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music.....each comprehended only that part of the mind of Iluvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren grew but slowly."
     - The Silmarillion, Ainulindale

In this quote, it would seem that Eru did indeed determine which ’domain’ each Ainu is interested in.  Though it was more of Iluvatar putting it in their mind, and then they take a deep interest in that.

>*Styxane*< 30/Nov/2006 at 08:25 PM
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1) Were there Maiar specific to the elements? Like Fire, Earth, Air, Water Maiar? Or do the maiar simply congregrate towards the element they are most interested in?

Maiar have many elements in my thought. They each have different one. Balrog is fire maiar.

2) Did the Ainur, like Aule, have specific Maiar of certain elements/ elemental tendencies?

3) Did Aule have predominantly fire-Maiar?

4) Did predominantly Aule’s maiar / fire-maiar join Morgoth?

About this i did not know anything about it.

5) Was Sauron a fire-Maiar?

No. I also do not know about him. But im sure he is not.

Falvlun 01/Dec/2006 at 11:01 AM
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Elenhir, My original question was whether there were Maiar of specific elements (question 1). In your first post you answered No. In your second post you said "You’ll also note that nowhere did I say that there would not be spirits of other elements, [Untrue-- you answered No before] just that they were not, as your post implied, only linked to elements. Of course there are Maiar of the airs and of the waters, but there are also Maiar in the host of Orome; they are hunters." I never claimed that they were ONLY linked to elements-- afterall, my question was whether they were linked to elements at all-- however, in your first post you claimed that they were ONLY linked to Valar.

From your second post I gather this:

 Yes, there are elemental Maiars besides Fire. Thus, there are Air, Earth, Fire, and Water Maiar, which answers my Question 1.

Maiar can be described in two ways: According to their nature (which could be elemental, but does not have to be) or according to the Valar they are attached to (which is linked to their specific interests). I, however, do not see why this would have to be an either/ or sort of thing. If I were a water Maiar interested in making things, would I not be a Water Maiar, AND a Maiar of Craft?

Your ’proof’ that Aule absolutely does NOT have fire maiar really doesn’t hold water. You admit that in making things Aule could use a forge. We know this from text, as well: "...and Yavanna returned to Aule; and he was in his smilthy, pouring molten metal into a mould." (Of Aule and Yavanna, Sil, my emphasis) Melting metal requires fire-- heat. So, why couldn’t fire maiar interested in making things be Maiar of Aule? This is a rational deduction taken from your own reasoning. I also disagree with your assessment of the Maiar of Manwe, and how they couldn’t be water maiar, by the same argument.

Taragolloion, If Eru made elemental Maiar, then it wouldn’t be restrictive any more than being created a human or an elf or a fox would be. That is the form-- body, being, existence-- you are given. Elves naturally are inclined towards creation and nuture. Thus, much of what they do is sub-creational and having to do with nature. Is this restrictive? Just as elves have instincts and tendencies, so would an elemental maiar have instincts and tendencies. These would naturally gravitate that maiar towards the element it is a part of.

Turin, Great quote! Thanks!

Alcarináro 01/Dec/2006 at 01:45 PM
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I appear to have misread the first question, Falvlun. I read quickly, and sometimes miss the occassional word. I did not register the ’there’ until just now, so was answering something critically different than what is written. Yes, there are Maiar associated with the elements, but one of the elements is not what any given Maia is associated with.

Orome went through forests in his hunts. He even has a name that means ’Lord of Forests’. Would you consider that evidence that it was he, and not Yavanna, that created trees and has in his domain of power things that grow? Lorien has pools that are associated with his domain of ’visions’. Pools would, of course, have water in them. Does this mean that Lorien, and not Ulmo, has power over and the domain of water?
Varda goes to make the Stars, and to do this she must ascend through the airs to the heavens. Being able to hold herself aloft in the airs, does that mean she has power over it?
The answer to all these questions is, of course, ’no’. Yet we could construct something exactly parallel to it to describe your argument that Aule has the domain of fire. Circumstantial indirect relation does not the domain give.
Melkor is specifically, time and time again, made clear to be the originator of heats and colds. Fire directly follows from the former.
Falvlun 01/Dec/2006 at 02:00 PM
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Elenhir, Ah, Thanks! I am beginning to understand a bit better now.

You are saying that Valar which used certain elements did not necessarily have domain over them. Likewise, Maiar that use certain elements do not necessarily have to be Maiar of that of element.

Yes, there are Maiar associated with the elements, but one of the elements is not what any given Maia is associated with.

This really is a good definition too. There are Fire Maia (well, fire spirits), but the Maia is not associated with Fire, but with some Valar.

The only hang-up I have is this: If Aule can not have fire maia because he does not have the domain of fire, then what valar can the fire maia associate with? Melkor is the one with the domain of fire. Since Maia must associate with some Valar, then do fire Maiar have to associate with Melkor?

Of course not.

But then, who do they associate with, if not Aule and not Melkor?

Alcarináro 01/Dec/2006 at 03:14 PM
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No, that is not what I am saying.
’There are’, logically, means ’there are cases such that’. Yes, there are Maiar of fire. Fire is one of the ’elements’. The point I was making is that not all Maiar are associated with one of the four elements. They are associated with the domains of the Valar, and four domains of four specific Valar are the four elements, and therefore some of the Maiar in the ’households’ of those specific Valar are associated with those four elemental concepts, but there exist many more Maiar that would be associated with some domain not ’elemental’ in nature.

Sauron was a Maia subservient to Aule, originally. He was of the household of Aule. But does he associate with Aule in the times that the tales deal with? No, for he has defected. Likewise, Maiar of Fire could defect from association with Melkor.
Falvlun 01/Dec/2006 at 07:20 PM
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The point I was making is that not all Maiar are associated with one of the four elements. They are associated with the domains of the Valar, and four domains of four specific Valar are the four elements...

You have been so patient with me-- my thanks! This is about as clear a position as I can expect to get. Yet, particularly in regards to Elk’s post, I can’t get past the idea that Maia have an inherent nature, irregardless of their association with a Valar.

If Osse is only a water maia because of his association with Ulmo, then how did he become a maia of Ulmo in the first place? This also means that only maia associated with Melkor could be fire maia. But Arien was "from the beginning a spirit of fire, whom Melkor had not deceived nor drawn to his service." (Of the Sun and Moon, Sil) Arien never was associated with Melkor, yet she is still a fire maia. This presents a clear contradiction to your statement that maiar are only defined by the domain of their Valar.

Alcarináro 01/Dec/2006 at 08:29 PM
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Destiny.

The Arien quotes leaves me with two interpretations

1. Beginning is the beginning of Time. This is with the entering of the Ainur into the World. Fire, having been created, was with what the spirits who were of the same part of the mind of Eru became affiliated, that part of the mind of Eru being that which dealt with heats (and which, out of all of the Ainur, Melkor would have had the most part). Therefore, Arien would have been of that household, but upon entering the World, would have not been one of what Tolkien states are ’few’ that served Melkor.
2. Beginning refers to the beginning before time, and ’spirit of fire’ is referencing what Arien is, by the process mentioned above, is destined to be, although since fire is not yet a concept is not actually the case yet. And the rest follows the above.

From my thought, I have concluded that there cannot be some other truth. If this is not the case, then why there are households, why some Maiar are associated with domains or Valar, everything becomes arbitrary. And illogical.
Túrin 02/Dec/2006 at 08:28 AM
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Falvlun,

My thought on that quote I mentioned is that the association (elemental or not) of a Maia should not be seen as so seperate from the Vala’s household in which that Maia is to be found.  It would be natural that Osse and Uinen are among Ulmo’s people and are associated with water; they imply each other.  Yes, they had an inherrent nature, but they also had an inherrent Vala-’lord’, which corresponded to their nature.

ElendilTheShort 03/Dec/2006 at 08:34 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Elenhir on Sunday, November 26, 2006
But Melkor, on the other hand, is specifically stated to have, as his two original domains (though he picked up another tool, darkness, later on) as heat and cold, the direct consequences of which are fire and ice. And he used those direct consequences to furnish his physical form, as described in the text.
Elenhir, where can I find this, in HOME I imagine but can you direct to where exactly please. Does this mean that Melkor early on may have had an incarnate form made of flame and ice somehow? This is an interesting concept.
aesner of banba 03/Dec/2006 at 09:58 AM
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ah i got here to late to answer most of the questions, but there is still the question about sauron and if he is a fire based maia. that is hard to tell for originally (as we know) he was drawn to Aule who is the maker, so he obviously was interested in making or some sort of crafting, but then afterwards seeing Aule in a forge he could have taken a liking to the element fire and could have built up some sort of resistance to heat this could have been a predominent reason why he chose to follow melkor. Then while following melkor who is obviously attached to fire, sauron could have somehow switched to be a fire based maia later on we see that he is still in to making (the rings) but he made it in a volcano and his land of mordor was very hot and after the ring was taken from him he took form of a lidless eye of fire. Is this not a form that a predominatly fire based maia would take?
Vugar 03/Dec/2006 at 10:29 AM
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aesner, Sauron never literally took the form of a great eye rimmed with fire.  The Eye, as it is percieved by Frodo in the Mirror of Galadriel, is rather a reflection of Sauron’s piercing mind or will.  At one point in the story, Frodo describes it as such.

"But far more he was troubled by the Eye: so he called it to himself...The Eye: that horrible growing sense of a hostile will that strove with great power to pierce all shadows of cloud, and earth, and flesh, and to see you: to pin you under its deadly gaze, naked, immovable." (The Passage of the Marshes, TTT)

aesner of banba 03/Dec/2006 at 12:47 PM
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ah yes i remember now its been a while since i’’ve read the books but it hasn’t been a while since i saw the movies they kinda make the eye seem more like a fisical form than a mental elusiun as i always used to think of it as...ah those movies are so good arent they but they do leave alot and change alot don’t they.
Alcarináro 03/Dec/2006 at 01:17 PM
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He has bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of they clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Behold the towers and mansions of ice! Melkor hath devised heats and fires without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire, not utterly quelled the music of the sea.
   -HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring, Ainulindalë, §17

And Melkor wrought great ruin with fire and deadly cold and marred all that the other Valar made.
   -HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman, §12

In ice and fire was his delight.
   -HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion (I), §10

Only a sample of the quotes that show Melkor to be the Vala associated with heats and colds, Elendil the Short. And as to the physical form:
And he descended upon Earth 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 fire and smoke; and the light of his eyes was like a flame that withers with heat and pierces with a deadly cold.
   -HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring, Ainulindale, Version C, §26

aesner, ’It was the apparent will and power of Melkor to effect his designs quickly and masterfully that had first attracted Sauron to him.’ (HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed, Text VII)
I see no reason to believe why ’switching’ the nature of a Maia would be possible, let alone that Sauron had cause to do so.
aesner of banba 03/Dec/2006 at 03:42 PM
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i was merely saying it was a posibility and i had no real argument behind it i was just opening up the posibility that sauron might have switched his preferences in the service of morgoth the great and i see no quote that closes that subject, but nice quotes strait to the point i like it.
Alcarináro 03/Dec/2006 at 07:09 PM
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And I’m saying that without any shred of evidence that such a happening is possible (what you suggest goes directly against the quote that Turin gave before) it is in fact not a possibility.
Just because Tolkien didn’t write out every question that could possibly be asked then answer each one with a ’yes’ or a ’no’ does not mean that whatever you want is a possibility.
ElendilTheShort 03/Dec/2006 at 09:27 PM
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Thanks for directing me to those quotes Elenhir. Do you see the descriptive text as being literal. I think that it could be literal (apart from the word mountain which is preceded with "as a" ) because  this was meant to represent Melkor in his most primeval and elemental incarnate form.

aesner of banba 04/Dec/2006 at 06:59 AM
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This is the quote you speak of right?:

"And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music.....each comprehended only that part of the mind of Iluvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren grew but slowly."
     - The Silmarillion, Ainulindale

Why could sauron not comprehend something in one way from the begining and then draw towards it years later and if thier understanding grew why could it not continue to grow when they went to Arda, give me a quote that really says its not a possibility and i will shut my mouth (or stop typing), im not saying such a quote does not exist i am just saying this is not the one.

Lord of the Rings 04/Dec/2006 at 09:31 AM
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aesner, rather than looking for a single quote or somesuch to prove or disprove something, it might be more productive to look at things as a whole. The point is that there isn’t a really strong association of Sauron and fire. There is some (the heat of his hand, Mt. Doom, etc.)- and this is, I would think, attributable to his relationship with Melkor; but not to the extent to call him a ’fire Maia’, in my opinion.

In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people.
-The Silmarillion, Valaquenta


As has been mentioned, Sauron joined with Melkor in the first place not because of a fascination with heat or fire somehow developed under Aule, but rather because of Melkor’s efficiency and skillfulness in achieving his goals. He retained his affinity for crafts for a long time- in addition to the above quote, think about the Rings.
aesner of banba 04/Dec/2006 at 10:03 AM
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Yes that is true, he definatly remained skilled in crafting I 100% agree but as you have just said there is some relation between Sauron and fire and you said that it is possibly because of his relationship with morgoth is that not exactly what I was saying here is a quote from me:  

"i was just opening up the posibility that sauron might have switched his preferences in the service of morgoth"

I never claimed that he is a fire-maia but i have said that he might have grown towards fire while with Melkor, but then again that meens that i am not really answering the question so my posts are meaningless.

Lord of the Rings 04/Dec/2006 at 12:50 PM
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aesner, what it comes down to is that your use of the phrase ’might have switched his preferences’ is not appropriate. We see, both from specific quotes and general events, that Sauron kept his connection to craft. Meanwhile, he has only developed a relatively tangental connection with fire and heat. So he has not changed his affinities at all, merely dabbled a bit and branched out. Indeed, what would be just as correct as saying that Sauron was a Maia of deceit as of fire- that is, he uses both tools, but has no fundamental affinity with either.

The original question in the first post is ’Was Sauron a fire-Maiar?’, to which you answered that he was not originally, but may have become so. You have been maintaining pretty much this position throughout. This is not so. Sauron was not and never became a ’fire-Maia’.
Lord of the Rings 04/Dec/2006 at 12:52 PM
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Oh, and your posts are not meaningless. Discussing these things will broaden the knowledge of us all