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Topic: Ungoliant

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Men of Numenor - Rank 1
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Date: Jan 2, 2007
RE: Ungoliant

he would be Darkness in a spider form, especially due to the way she fed herself, by eating light

True. You are right there The Might. But then, even Balrogs emmit a shroud of darkness around them (apart from flames) and Balrogs are Maiar; which might shed light to the fact that Ungoliant might not have been necessarily Darkness itself (but maybe a Maia).

-- Edited by Finrod Felagund at 18:23, 2007-01-02

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Finrod Felagund
Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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there is a big difference
of Balrogs we are clearly told they are spirits of Fire, of Ungoliant we are told nothing, and nobody seems to know whence she came, not even the Valar
this suggest that such a possibility is indeed plausable - in Ungoliant we see Darkness much stronger then in Balrogs, she is herself a creature of Darkness that feeds on light
but whether she came from the Void or not or how this migh have been possible in the first place is never made clear

A strong point that she is indeed a Maia is the fact that we are told she had joined Melkor in the beginning, just as many other Maiar (including Sauron) did.
Still, if she did come from the void I guess the darkness theory is better

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Men of Numenor - Rank 1
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if she did come from the void I guess the darkness theory is better
Indeed. That's true. Although I would like to find other references to this creature that may shed light on its true nature.

Thanks.

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Finrod Felagund
Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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In early writings Ungoliant was an evil being from "Before the World" that took on the form of a spider. She was further corrupted by Melkor. Múru is an elvish word for Primeval Night (see "The Lost Road"). Múru is the representation of night, or darkness, that came before the creation of the universe (the dark night before "The Big Bang", so to speak) whereas Ilúvatar (the Supreme God) is the source of light. (Neither light nor dark can exist without the other: if you do not have light, you cannot see the dark and vice versa. The point here is that to see a ray of light, you need a dark area for the ray of light to pierce. Otherwise, a ray of light within other light is undiscernable.)

So as we see Tolkien's first idea about her was the darkness incarnation theory. Bit in later versions of the Silmarillion he decided not to use this, and to leave her origins a mystery. The lore of the old days tells that none of the Eldar knew when Ungoliant came into the world. Perhaps she came to the South out of the darkness of Eä during the time when Melkor destroyed the Lamps of the Valar, known as Illuin and Ormal. By that time, the South of Arda was long forgotten. And, because Melkor dwelt in the North, the interest of the Valar turned elsewhere.

Now it makes sense in my opinion that both these things are true. The Silmarillion is written by Elves and contains Elvish lore, informations the Elves learned either themselves, from other races or from the Valar and Maiar. If they knew nothing of how she appeared, it means that the Valar probably didn't know this either. If this is true it makes sense she is not an Ainu.
We see that for example, in Sauron's case, information does exist, we knew he was a Maia of Aule and joined Sauron, infromation that clearly also came to the Elves from the Valar. But if nothing is said about Ungoliant it is safe to believe that Tolkien's original theory is valid.

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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My impression has been maybe Tolkien took a page from HP Lovecraft there, and she is some "demon of the elder night" not taking part in the song of Ainur (because if she had, her song would have been independent from both Manwe and Melkor the two themes). The major themes happening are part of the song. Although Elves consider Elbereth to have created the stars, in the beginning of the Silmarillion there is a suggestion Earth/the Song/Arda refers to a place created after stars already exist "..and all things were in hue and shape other than the Valar had at first intended, slowly nonetheless the Earth was fashioned and made firm. And thus was the habitation of the Children of Iluvatar established at the last in the Deeps of Time and amidst the innumerable stars". Also earlier "And amid all the splendors of the World, its vast halls and spaces, and its wheeling fires, Iluvatar chose a place for their habitation in the Deeps of Time and in the midst of the innumerable stars." So there could be places in Eä/space/the World among the stars (between Arda and the Void) that Ungoliant could have emerged from.
The Ainur also labored apparently in space before the Earth was formed "So began their great labors in wastes unmeasured and unexplored, and in ages uncounted and forgotten, until in the Deeps of Time and in the midst of the vast halls of Eä there came to be that hour and that place where was made the habitation of the Children of Iluvatar".
Melkor's corruption could be referring to that he managed to enlist her for a time rather than change her nature. He took the form of the "Lord of Utumno" when he tried again in Aman to impose authority.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Indeed I remember that passage about Ea being created amoungst the Stars and it confused me mightily. Some clarrification wouldn't go amiss.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Well, my opinion is like TM said the Silmarillion is Elven Lore. Elves are told what happened before their awakening by the Valar. Possibly the Valar use some allegories or terms that the Elves can better understand to describe their actions. So when Varda creates stars later maybe it actually means establishing some energy gateway to that constellation (also she could and probably would also have created stars while Arda was not yet in existence and they "labored for untold ages"). The Valar did not lose contact with outside-Arda after entering it, since Morgoth summoned spirits to attack the Moon. 
Tolkien maintained his works describe our world's past, so that it actually has a vast universe like in the beginning of the Silmarillion ("wheels of fire" being probably galaxies) then also makes sense to me at least.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Possibly indeed. I prefer the thought however that like the creation of the Sun and Moon he thought of them coming into being at the creation of Ea rather than being created by the Ainur later on in its development, thus being his later idears.

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Here is a quote that seems to support a previously mentioned theory:

"Out of the discords of the Music - sc. not directly out of either of the themes, Eru's or Melkor's, but of their dissonance with regard one to another - evil things appeared in Arda, which did not descend from any direct plan or vision of Melkor: they were not 'his children'; and therefore, since all evil hates, hated him too." Morgoth's Ring)

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Ao
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Ungoliant IMHO is not an Ainur but possibly the embodiment of darkness itself, in the Quenta Silmarillion we read that the darkness was not always evil but Melkor twisted and corrupted it into being evil and something that should be feared, so it means that darkness was just darkness in the beginning of Ea but Melkor turned it into evil which supports the statement that Ungoliant (embodiment of darkness) was "corrupted into his service"

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Ao wrote:
Ungoliant IMHO is not an Ainur but possibly the embodiment of darkness itself, in the Quenta Silmarillion we read that the darkness was not always evil but Melkor twisted and corrupted it into being evil and something that should be feared, so it means that darkness was just darkness in the beginning of Ea but Melkor turned it into evil which supports the statement that Ungoliant (embodiment of darkness) was "corrupted into his service"

Thats quite a good theory Ao. The Darkness at the beginning wasn't evil, Melkor adopted it when he could not have the dominion of Light. He took Darkness "And filled it with fear with all living things." Perhaps Ungoliant was a being of Darkness in the beginning that was took by Melkor and made into a hideous evil. Who knows?



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Very good theory Ao, explains a lot of what is mentioned in the thread. It was after all Melkor's usual use to corrupt things in order for Men to fear them and flee to him for help, just like his stories about death he told the Numenorreans.

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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It is my belief that Ungoliant was a Maiar of Vaire, The Weaver of the Valar. She wove webs of Darkness, or also called "Unlight".

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King Azaghal was I, Lord of Belegost.

Fought the father of dragons at great cost,

During the Battle of Unnumbered Tears,

Nearly killed the Great Worm of our fears,

I Stabbed my knife into Dread Glaurung,

Could be worse, I could be dragon dung.

 

Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Interesting idea, though a rather loose connection.

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Tom Bombadil
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Date: Sep 23, 2012
Just forget her bodily form for a moment Glor, she could have one of the Maiar first and then corrupted by Melkor and chosen a shape that was within her aptitude. Just like the orcs who were the fair Elves first.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Solid reference; 'orcs who were fair Elves first.'

      Indeed they were corrupted. Getting a good read at the Silmarillion for the first time in a long while, I realized how ridiculously close to Utumno was Lake Cuivienen! Seeing a map of Arda in the First Age put it all in perspective for me.

       But with things coming out of The Void, such as Ungoliant and seemingly Tom Bombadil they would seem like an unintended bi-product of the Valars' creation.

      In retrospect; Ungoliant does have the power to match a Maia and her power seems to go with her, while Mr. Bombadil's is more area specific. I deem Ungoliant the more powerful due to her lack of heeding jurisdiction, but Tom had a power unrivaled in the area given to..or claimed by him.



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Tom Bombadil
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So Ungoliant was certainly somebody/something to be reckoned with

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Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Date: Sep 25, 2012
Indeed.

But I think it was her malice more than her power that made her a nightmare. Remember also that she ensnared Melkor at one point. That's power...

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Melkor wasn't much cop when it came to physical prowess though. It doesn't seem to be an area he excels at.

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