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courtmusic
Default Jul 19th, 2009, 12:48 AM Old   #15

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Ungoliant. Glad someone brought her up because like Tom B she is an enigma. Could she have been a polar opposite of Tom? (Whoever he was maybe not so much a singer...).
As far as her strength/power when challenging Melkor doesn't Tolkien indicate Ungoliant was extremely strong at that point in time have recently ingested some strong objects (Extract of the trees and the water both creations which contained strong power/magic)?
It is also strange that the Balrogs could drive her back because I would assume Melkor would be stronger than his Balrogs. Perhaps a combination of Melkor and his Balrogs?

Sorry my post is akin to Superman Vs the incredible Hulk or a Lion fighting a grizzle bear
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Arvedui
Default Jul 19th, 2009, 10:12 AM Old   #16
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Ok... I have the explanation.

Melkor, as we all know, was the most powerful Ainu, thus the most powerful Valar. Valar are powerful than maiar, and always more powerful than men, elves, and dwarves, but how could the elf Fingolfin inflict so many wounds on Morgoth? By the time of the War of the Jewels in the First age, I think Morgoth is significantly weakened. With each monster or minion he creates, he puts part of himself in it. Sauron too, got weaker when he created and bred trolls, he gave part of himself away each time.

At the time of the destruction of the Trees, Melkor is still weakened somewhat, but he is still a vala. Because he is not as strong as his former self, he enlists the help of Ungoliant, and together they kill the trees. When Ungoliant does not receive the Silmarils from Morgoth she attacks him, and as courtmusic and I said, she is more powerful than usual at this point, because of what she had just ate. Also, Morgoth is significantly weakened from his years of spending his will and creating orcs and other beasts.
Morgoth requires the help of his Balrogs (several maiar,) to break free of Ungoliant.

"Balrogs" means two no doubt, but it could go anywhere from 10 more to 100 more.

Theoretically, by the time the Balrogs come to help Morgoth, its several maiar and one vala against a single super maia.

The circumstances add up, they write themselves down. They are screaming "UNGOLIANT
IS A MAIA!"


Last edited by Arvedui: Jul 19th, 2009 at 10:33 AM.
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courtmusic
Default Jul 19th, 2009, 09:42 PM Old   #17

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Quote:
The circumstances add up, they write themselves down. They are screaming "UNGOLIANT
IS A MAIA!"
If so as a Maia she must have been corrupted by Melkor. I gather that she might have existed before the Valor.

Last edited by courtmusic: Jul 22nd, 2009 at 12:06 AM.
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The Balrog of Morgoth
Default Jul 20th, 2009, 05:28 PM Old   #18

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Quote: Originally Posted by Arvedui View Post

"Balrogs" means two no doubt, but it could go anywhere from 10 more to 100 more.
I think that all of the balrogs of Morgoth came to assist him. This was about 1000. That's a lot of Balrogs. It tells us nothing of the strength of Ungoliant. Even in the height of his power, I doubt Morgoth could have stood a chance against an army that powerful.

As for the "Morgoth was weakened" theory, do you really think he could have lost so much strength that he went from most powerful Ainu all the way down to where you say he was?
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Arvedui
Default Jul 21st, 2009, 05:03 PM Old   #19
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He really didn't fall that far down... At this point in time he is probably (as a minimum,) a little more powerful than Sauron.

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guilemaster
Default Jul 27th, 2009, 11:58 AM Old   #20

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I think it is reasonable to say that Melkor was weakened. Of course, its also possible that Ungoliant was simply more powerful than Morgoth after consuming the trees. Thats not very likely, as he was a vala, so i think that Arvedui's theory on Melkor being weakened is reasonably well-grounded. That would also explain why Fingolfin is able to inflict wounds on him. The one thing i don't agree with is that he was similar in power to Sauron. I doubt that his first lieutenant was as strong as he is. Sauron is far weaker than Melkor, we can see this in the fact that he was defeated by a man, and the fact that he wasn't able to wipe the alliance army off the face of Middle Earth in one fell swoop. So i think that Melkor was still extremely powerful, if we are talking about the standards of men, but only very powerful if we compare him to the vala and the maia.

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RunFree
Default Jul 28th, 2009, 06:15 PM Old   #21

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I always thot that ungoliant was a maia. She is not a valor as all of those that fell are accounted for (on other words melkor). Also, she was only strong enough to eat the light of the trees and leave. Even with her size and power increased by eating all that power, she could not take on the valor and had to run with melkor. Melkor losing to her is no big deal as he was relativly weak (in valor standards) since he corrupted so much.
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Vamos
Default Jan 1st, 2012, 10:41 PM Old   #22

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Ungoliant is not a Maia, Tolkien quite specifically states she was from "before the world". So I'd put her with Tom Bombadil in the 'Other' category. When she’s mentioned it always seems that she’s a partner to Melkor, rather than one of his servants. Never does it say that she was enslaved by Melkor, only lied to.

As for her power she was able to shield him from the entire army of the Valar, and also extinguished all the light from the world – defeating Varda (one of the most powerful Valar. Don't forget Varda was able to read Melkor’s mind and was thus feared the most by him). Ungoliant is clearly a very powerful being, far more powerful than a standard Maia.

She also ensnared Morgoth (which the collective might of all the Valar, pre-Tulkas couldn’t do) before the Balrogs all intervened. There were many Balrogs, as Tolkien talks of them in masses during Melkor's defeat.
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turin son of hurin
Default Jan 11th, 2012, 06:03 PM Old   #23

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I think based on Ungoliath name as Gloom-weaver she was the creator of the "Timeless Void" that the Arda was created within...It is always said that Arda is surrounded by a darkness, "The timeless void" where Morgoth was banished until the Final Battle and thus this is more than likely where she originated.

As to how she could have had children, there were other evil spirits in the world which she could have mated with (or creation of Utumno) and brought about her lineage. Also, since she was on the scale of a Ainu she could possibly self-create after her destruction of the Trees and the Vats of Arda.

Just some thoughts and thanks for the brain food OP
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Fracc
Default Feb 16th, 2012, 04:47 PM Old   #24

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Ungoliath as well as the Maiar and Vala were made before the world. The Ainur were the spirits who choose to enter at Iluvatars invitation after partaking in the music.
Vala and Maia are just names on the spirits that entered at this time. I belive Ungoliath is a spirit of equal power as the Vala but entered through the "back door" by going not directly, but via the darkness. Because Iluvatar made it all. Also every spirit including Ungoliath. And Iluvatar decided that Arda should have great evil and goodness both and let the Ainur enter to be a part of how his music played itself out as a physical manifestation.
Tolkiens number of Total Balrogs changes from 3 to over 1000, but as they were all fire maiar (Vardas) and the number of maiar werent that great, find a realistic number that fits your own theory. But they all came to his aid and I dont belive he would have attacked the trees without being at full power. She probably was on some kind of boost from the trees though or I dont belive she could have bullied and trapped Morgoth so easily. But power in Tolkiens reality does not equal strength. Tulkas is one of the six "weaker" vala, but still the strongest. And personally I think Gothmog was stronger than Sauron, but Sauron (like Morgoth) is a master in using power. To intimidate, get allies and so on. He also is a great strategist and as one of Aules maiar he has great skills in creating.
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JP Marmaro
Default Nov 22nd, 2015, 08:07 PM Old   #25

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It is 100% certain that Ungoliant is an Ainu (a Maia, specifically)... she is described as having come from outside Arda, and having assumed spider form. This is just one of several Maiar we meet who are not identified as such: it is equally clear that Tom Bombadil and Goldberry are Maiar. Also, it is just possible that the Ents too are, or began as, Maiar (a vexed and unsettled question, the nature of the Ents). Balrogs also are Maiar. Some Maiar are great (like Gandalf and Sauron) while others are less powerful, and they range from good to evil. (The name "Balrog" (Quenya: Valaraukar) means "horrible Vala".) Balrogs were seduced to the service of Melkor before Arda began... the five Istari (Wizards) were all Valinorean Maiar.
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JP Marmaro
Default Dec 31st, 2015, 09:55 PM Old   #26

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Ungoliant's having descended into Arda from the darkness surrounding it is to me a definitive statement that she WAS an Ainu of the rank of the Maiar. She was a being who had no physical body until assuming the spider form once in Arda. The only independent beings Eru created before Ea was established were Ainur.

On reading some of Tolkien's earlier (and indeed, later) musings on the Valar and Maiar, the number of the former did not remain constant. Este and Nessa were at times said to be Maiar. Osse and Uinen were at one time accounted Valar. (There were other interesting elements: Nienna was originally the sister of Manwe and Melkor, rather than of Namo Mandos and Irmo Lorien; Varda and Yavanna were sisters.)

Melkor knew fear -- which differentiated him from the other Valar, who were fearless, however prudent or reticent they might be at times. As Melkor dissipated his native strength, first into the very substance of Middle-earth, then in domination over and instilling hate in his minions, he retained less and less of his original power on a personal level. After destroying the Trees with Ungoliant, killing Finwe and sacking Formenos, he never again was able to walk "unclad" or even change his form. That he was afraid of Melian, and other Maiar like Arien, shows how he had descended into being a craven. But also he was protective of the bodily form in which he was now permanently incarnated. (Arien, and Melian presumably, were still perfectly able to change, or do without, their physical forms, like all the other unfallen Ainur -- that is, those faithful to Eru).

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Marwhini
Default Jan 4th, 2016, 04:52 AM Old   #27

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I would like to see some sources quoted for the claim that Ungoliantë is a Maia.

The Maia all came into Ëa as a group, descending directly from the Timeless Halls.

This is recorded on p. of The Silmarillion:




But, if we return to the chapter Ainulindalë, on p.15 (¶2):

Quote:
And it came to pass that Ilúvatar called together all of the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed.
(emphasis mine)

Note: He called together ALL of the Ainur. While we do not have an explicit statement that Ungoliantë was not a member of the Choir of Ilúvatar, we do have a statement that she was a corrupted spirit. p. 73:

Quote:
The Eldar knew not whence she came ; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked won in envy upon the Kingdom of Manwë, and that in the beginning she was one of those that he had corrupted to his service.
Do not be distracted that Morgoth "corrupted her to his service" to think that this means she is a fallen Ainu/Maia.

Tolkien did not accidentally leave words laying about by chance.

The fact that he explicitly states she "descended from the darkness that lies about Arda" indicates that she was a part of Ëa at its creation (as some have alluded to, as is Tom Bombadil). The "Darkness that lies about Arda" is itself Within Ëa. The Ainur descended INTO Ëa from the Timeless Halls, which were beyond Ëa

As Tom Shippey says in The Road to Middle-earth sometimes you have to leave Middle-earth in order to discover its secrets. In that same volume, he reveals the secrets of Tom Bombadil (The giver of names, as was Enlil/Adam in the Epic of Gilgamesh/The Bible - to name but two of that archetype).

Tolkien did not know about archetypes explicitly when he wrote about and created Middle-earth. But not knowing about something does not make one any less bound by it if it is a facet of human existence and ontology. Just like one does not need to know about gravity to be bound by it.

Ungoliantë is a manifestation of gluttony and greed, and is The Devourer in the same way that Tom Bombadil was The Giver of names (See The Road to Middle-earth - I will need to get a page number reference for the specifics of Tom's identity).

And it is discussed in The History of Middle-earth as well. In The History of Middle-earth, vol X: Morgoth's Ring we have the same chapter of The Silmarillion in its original form, and Christopher and JRR Tolkiens' commentary on Ungoliantë; p. 98:

Quote:
And there secretly UngoliantUe made her abode. Whence she came none of the Eldar know, but maybe she came from the South out of the darkness of Ëa, in that time when Melkor destroyed the lights of Illuin and Ormal
(again, emphasis mine)

Again, Tolkien did not accidentally use any word. Still Ungoliantë is a creature OF Ëa and not one who descended into Ëa from without.

I do not have time to go over the more esoteric sources (such as the Theological aspects of Middle-earth, which would have ruled out Ungallantë as a Maia - fallen angels have a specific type of evil, which was not present in Ungoliantë. She was an unredeemable evil, while in theory all of the Fallen Ainur were redeemable. This is an aspect of the Manichean Dualism and Augustinian Theology which is true within Middle-earth), but they too tend to support the assertion that Ungoliantë wasn't a Maia or Ainu.

She was a product of the Ainulindalë, arising from the discord produced by Melkor during the angelic choir. Like all sin within Middle-earth, and the Manichean Manifestations (their physical embodiment) of those sins, they are not Ainur, but rather creations of the Ainur, given form by the word "Ëa" (It is) uttered by Ilúvatar.

MB
----- Automerged post -----
Quote: Originally Posted by JP Marmaro View Post
Ungoliant's having descended into Arda from the darkness surrounding it is to me a definitive statement that she WAS an Ainu of the rank of the Maiar. She was a being who had no physical body until assuming the spider form once in Arda. The only independent beings Eru created before Ea was established were Ainur.

On reading some of Tolkien's earlier (and indeed, later) musings on the Valar and Maiar, the number of the former did not remain constant. Este and Nessa were at times said to be Maiar. Osse and Uinen were at one time accounted Valar. (There were other interesting elements: Nienna was originally the sister of Manwe and Melkor, rather than of Namo Mandos and Irmo Lorien; Varda and Yavanna were sisters.)

Melkor knew fear -- which differentiated him from the other Valar, who were fearless, however prudent or reticent they might be at times. As Melkor dissipated his native strength, first into the very substance of Middle-earth, then in domination over and instilling hate in his minions, he retained less and less of his original power on a personal level. After destroying the Trees with Ungoliant, killing Finwe and sacking Formenos, he never again was able to walk "unclad" or even change his form. That he was afraid of Melian, and other Maiar like Arien, shows how he had descended into being a craven. But also he was protective of the bodily form in which he was now permanently incarnated. (Arien, and Melian presumably, were still perfectly able to change, or do without, their physical forms, like all the other unfallen Ainur -- that is, those faithful to Eru).
The Darkness about Arda is still within Ëa. The Ainur came from Outside of Ëa; from a realm separate from Ëa.

Tolkien did not accidentally use words, or confuse prepositions.

If she was a creation that came from outside of Ëa, as did the Ainur, he would have said so.

But in multiple locations he consistently places her origin Within Ëa, making her a product of the Ainulindalë, and of the Ainur, and not one of them.

Edit: Also... Other valor knew fear. Even Manwë himself expresses fear at a few points. It was the nature of their reaction to fear that separated them. Melkor's reaction to fear was selfish, whereas the other Ainur/Valar's reaction to fear was Selfless.


MB

Last edited by Marwhini: Jan 4th, 2016 at 04:57 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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JP Marmaro
Default Jan 13th, 2016, 01:02 PM Old   #28

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Hi

Morgoth can be "killed" in the sense that his assumed body can be destroyed. Indeed, somewhere or other Tolkien writes that this is what was done when he was thrust from Arda after his defeat at the end of the First Age... Tolkien actually uses the word "killed" (and later also "executed")... Equally, at the end of the Second Age Sauron is "killed" by Elendil, Gil-galad and Isildur (who claims to have administered the "death blow")-- he "reclothed" himself later (though it appears to have been a very long process). (He had done so also after the Downfall of Numenor, in which the body he had inhabited for very many years was destroyed.)... Equally, Gandalf actually died after his battle with the Balrog, and reentered his body later. The Ainur, so long as they retain enough personal power, can clothe (and re-clothe) themselves in flesh, on their own, which power the Children of Iluvatar lack. Morgoth, from the time he conspired with Ungoliant to attack Valinor, could no longer change his form: he was trapped in his body just like one of the incarnates, which is why he was so anxious to protect himself. He could then feel pain (as he did in his battle with Fingolfin) and be wounded.
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