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Old 08-05-2002, 06:22 PM   #1
Legolas
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Sting uh.. wots a maiar ???/

Through my own observations and the comments of others, it has come to my attention that "Maiar" is not a term many members of the forum understand totally (some not even partially). Because of this lack of understanding, the word is tossed around and assigned to anything that seems to be less than a Valar, but more than a physically incarnate being as a cop out.

From The Silmarillion,

Quote:
With the Valar came other spirits whose being also began before the World, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree. These are the Maiar, the people of the Valar, and their servants and helpers. Their number is not known to the Elves, and few have names in any of the tongues of the Children of Ilúvatar; for though it is otherwise in Aman, in Middle-earth the Maiar have seldom appeared in form visible to Elves and Men.
The beings known as the Ainur existed before Ea (Ea = creation, the universe, etc.). When he spoke it into existence, he allowed those that were more interested to enter. There ARE other Ainur that exist outside of Ea though. The greatest of these that entered Arda were the Valar, and their servants were the Maiar. The Ainur that exist outside of Ea are not classified as Valar or Maiar...they just simply members of the Ainur race. In HoME 10 (Morgoth's Ring), it is noted that "the Maiar" was originally written as "the beautiful." Put simply, they are the servants of the Valar. Each Maia is associated with a specific Vala(r).

There are numerous problems with considering beings (like Tom Bombadil, Ungoliant, dragons...) of the Maiar order (or any other 'race' Tolkien described so thoroughly) when it is not explicitly stated so. Why would Tolkien spend so much time in The Silmarillion listing Maiar and then fail to mention that a couple were? If he intended them to be included in that classification, it seems certain that he would say so.

For example, Ungoliant served no Valar and came in the world after it was finished. The following from Letter No. 20 that is speaking of the Ainur that Eru placed in this realm (the Valar and Maiar) proves these points. It is also suspicious because she seemingly produced her own children (was there a huge male spider around too?) and she died when she ate herself, meaning she was dependent upon her physical being.

Quote:
Those who became most involved in this work of An, as it was in the first instance, became so engrossed with it, that when the Creator made it real (that is, gave it the secondary reality, subordinate to his own, which we call primary reality, and so in that hierarchy on the same plane with themselves) they desired to enter into it, from the beginning of its 'realization'.
They were allowed to do so, and the great among them became the equivalent of the 'gods' of traditional mythologies; but a condition was that they would remain 'in it' until the Story was finished. They were thus in the world, but not of a kind whose essential nature is to be physically incarnate. They were self-incarnated, if they wished; but their incarnate forms were more analogous to our clothes than to our bodies, except that they were more than are clothes the expression of their desires, moods, wills and functions.
A major part of the misunderstanding seems to be that people don't realize what the words 'Valar' and 'Maiar' are. They aren't races such as elves and dwarves, but designated titles that, in meaning, describe the role of the beings they include. As stated earlier, the Maiar are 'the servants of the Valar' and the Valar are 'the powers (of Arda)'...that is what makes them different from the other Ainur (those that exist outside of Ea). So. subsequently (and obviously, for those of you who have read what I've said so far), if any being you encounter is not a ruling power of Arda, the being is not a Vala (which is pretty easy to determine since there are only 14); if the being is not a servant of a Valar, then the being is not a Maia.

Maiar that Tolkien told us about:

Ilmare, Eonwe, Osse, Uinen, Melian, Olorin (Gandalf/Mithrandir), Sauron (Gorthaur the Cruel), Salmar, Arien, Tilion, Curunir (Curumo/Saruman), Radagast, Alatar, Pallando, and "the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror."

This was, in part, prompted by another thread on 'Maiar' in which Stephanos asked if there were other Ainur that exist outside of Ea. This has been answered...yes, there are Ainur that exist outside of Ea, although they are not designated as Valar and Maiar (those classifications are strictly used for identifying their purpose/role in Ea). He also used another word in that thread -"ëalar" - that identifies those beings that exist outside of Ea. Ealar is a more general term, and since Ainur already covers the race we know about, then it is possible that there are other races that exist outside of Ea that we do not know about.
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Last edited by Legolas; 05-19-2004 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 08-05-2002, 09:19 PM   #2
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Sting

So, is my friend Tulkas a former ëalar, that became a Valar when he came fight against Melkor.
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Old 08-05-2002, 09:55 PM   #3
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Sting

Quote:
So, is my friend Tulkas a former ëalar, that became a Valar when he came fight against Melkor.
No. Tulkas is a current member of the ëalar. The Ainur are a subgroup of the ëalar, and perhaps the only subgroup.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLE: I am a member of the group called Homo. I am also a member of a subgroup of homo called sapiens. Right now sapiens is the only subgroup of Homo.

Back to Tolkien. Valar and Ainur are two of the groups of Ainur that entered Ëa. Valar and Maiar, are more like job descriptions than anything else. Valar and Maiar are still members of the Ainur (and the ëalar), just as CEOs and secretaries are both still members of Homo sapiens.
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Old 08-05-2002, 11:17 PM   #4
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Sting

The Valar and Maiar are included in the term ëalar... ëalar = natural discarnates. The Valar and Maiar are still of the Ainur race, and thus have potency outside of Ea.
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Old 08-06-2002, 10:37 AM   #5
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Sting

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For example, Ungoliant served no Valar and came in the world after it was finished.
but it is beleived that ungoliant was one of the beings that served morgoth when he first came into Ea, and then she disowned him and moved below valinor. so just because she doesnt serve anyone shes not a maiar?
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Old 08-06-2002, 11:16 AM   #6
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Sting

Yes. At best she is an Umaia, but I doubt even that. "Maia" is a job description. Can I be a Bank Teller if I work at a construction site?

[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: burrahobbit ]
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Old 08-06-2002, 02:29 PM   #7
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Sting

I never thought as it like this. So when we say things along the lines of "Is Tom a Maia" the answer is most definatly No. The question we should be asking is "Is Tom a Ainur?"

Is Tom an Ainur?

Oh that also explains why Morgoth was a Valar, then he wasn't. Its almost as though when he stopped being good master and became less of a Guardian he was not accounted amugst the Valar, and he lost his powers (i know he lost his powers from spreading himself too thin with his evil but i was just saying the non-valar thing may be the finishing toutch).
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Old 08-06-2002, 03:02 PM   #8
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Sting

Quote:
Its almost as though when he stopped being good master and became less of a Guardian he was not accounted amugst the Valar, and he lost his powers
That's exactly what happened.

Quote:
Among them Nine were of chief power and reverence; but one is removed from their number, and Eight remain, the Aratar, the High Ones of Arda
[ August 06, 2002: Message edited by: burrahobbit ]
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Old 08-06-2002, 03:54 PM   #9
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whats an Umaia?

and thanks burrahobbit and galarome for helping me understand it better.
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Old 08-06-2002, 04:09 PM   #10
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Sting

The Úmaiar are the balrogs and such. Sort of like anti-maiar. If you start out in service to the Valar, you're a Maia. When you quit, you're an Úmaiar. You might be able to call Melian an Úmaiar.

[ August 06, 2002: Message edited by: burrahobbit ]
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Old 08-08-2004, 01:59 PM   #11
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Threads like that should be stuck on top, should not they?

up
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Old 08-09-2004, 02:40 PM   #12
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additional reading recommendations

Ëalar and Incarnation by obloquy
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Old 08-09-2004, 06:16 PM   #13
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Hmm... that's interesting about Melian possibly being an Umaia. Generally the "subcategories" seem to be defined in terms of good and evil, but in this case it isn't. To put Melian and Ungoliant in the same category would otherwise seem totally impossible.
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:13 AM   #14
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Personally I don't think that Melian was an Umaia. She went back to Lorien in Valinor after Thingol died after all. Also, I always thought that the term Umaia referred to only those Maiar who turned evil (Sauron, Balrogs), but that may just be because it reminds me of the Quenya word Umea "evil", so that might not have any truth to it.
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:55 PM   #15
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just being persnickety...

I'd also like to point out (though on this thread most are using the correct terms) that "maiar" is plural. I have noticed in other threads (and the tongue-in-cheek title of this one) people using it as singular. And being an easily peeved person, it's really beginning to make my hair stand on end. One Maia, two Maiar. One Vala, two Valar. One Ainu, two Ainur. One Umaia, two Umaiar. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There--I feel much better now.

(I sheepishly recognize that my inability to place the appropriate accent marks over many of these names, including my own bloody screen name, is probably raising others' hackles as much as this raises mine. )
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:33 AM   #16
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The special charachers codes are available as part of FAQ answers (not the 'official' one above, but posted by Mr. Underhill, sticky one immediately up there on the Novices and Newcomers subforum

Feel free to use those. If such an option does not suit you well, 'copy-paste' option from Word processor is also applicable. In Word itself, use Insert-->Symbol menu on the main taskbar above.

Yöŭ cán gêt wóndérfûl rësűlts

cheers
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:30 AM   #17
Legolas
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The misuse of the plural form of the word is just another part of the satire.

thom is definately a maiar!
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:00 PM   #18
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great link HerenIstarion now I can finally spell those words correctly

as for the Maia, Maiar thing it is easy for someone who knows the difference to still get it wrong because of a typo and I always take that into account before correcting people.
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Old 12-24-2004, 12:48 AM   #19
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I have one thing to say. And maybe Estelyn will remember this and maybe she won't.

This was my favourite thread title on the Downs, by far. It said so much, all in one semi-sentence. Of course it was quickly and cruelly deleted, but I shall attempt to immortalize it here for future generations:

Quote:
wot an eru??????????
A no less important question. Something we can all move on to once everybody understands wots a maiar.
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Old 12-24-2004, 09:31 AM   #20
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Ẃhỷ, ţħąňk yŏũ!

And please understand, I meant no offense--I was just venting a little spleen.
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