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Topic: So why wasn't Ulmo the first of the Valar to discover the Elves?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: May 19, 2011
So why wasn't Ulmo the first of the Valar to discover the Elves?

Hi guys.  I hope this is the correct forum for this question, and I hope you don't mind me butting in here without so much as a by-your-leave (I'll post an intro thread soon!)

I also posted this question in a non-Tolkien forum of my acquaintance.  My apologies if this is an unacceptable cross-post.  While there are some lore-masters of high worth over there, it's always questionable whether a thread concerning LotR will gain footing or sink like a stone.  At the moment, it seems to be doing the latter.

With that, here is the meat of my question.  It may be essentially unanswerable, in which case I look forward to rampant speculation!  smile

 

So when the Elder Children of Ilśvatar awoke in Cuiviénen, we are told that Oromė, on one of his hunts, was the first of the Valar to discover them. We are then told, of course, that Melkor was really the first to discover them, and set forth immediately to corrupt, frighten, and enslave them, leading to some being captured and tortured, and eventually turned into Orcs.

So, given that Cuiviénen was located on the shores of the Sea of Helcar, and that "many waters flowed thither from heights in the east", and even that the first sound that the Elves heard when they awoke was the sound of water flowing over stone, why wasn't Ulmo the first of the Valar to be aware of them?

After all, it was said that wherever water flowed, Ulmo had awareness - from the oceans to the rivers, to small springs, and even in the deep waters flowing under the realm of Melkor.

So what gives? Did Eru hide their existence from him (and for that matter, the delving of Utumno, of which the Valar were not aware), so that Oromė could be the first to find them? Why? Or did he drop the ball? OR, was he, in fact, the first to find the Elves after all, and simply said nothing, because he always was in favor of the Elves being free, never coming to Valinor?

PS: While we're on the subject of Arda's theology, I wonder if the Elves who were corrupted and became Orcs are still essentially immortal, being reborn into their children...



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Tom Bombadil
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Date: May 20, 2011
Well, one question at a time.

Actually Samnite, Uinen and Ossė were in charge of the "Inner Seas" , not Ulmo, he delighted in the Deep seas, so he could not have been aware of that phenomenon with Cuiviénen

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: May 20, 2011

I appreciate the reply, but I must respectfully disagree. So sayeth the Master ( Valaquenta, Quenta Silmarillion):

"For all seas, lakes, rivers, fountains, and springs are in his government; so that the Elves say that spirit of Ulmo runs in all the veins of the world.  Thus news comes to Ulmo, even in the deeps, of all the needs and griefs of Arda, which otherwise would be hidden from Manwė."

I would say that upon their waking, the Elves were in deep need of guidance from the Valar, and were under considerable grief because of Melkor's shenanigans.



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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Date: May 20, 2011
This is a matter for Galin (our scholar around here) to take on.

I had never thought of making the connections that you point out - that Ulmo should have discovered the Elves first, although I was aware of the passage you quoted from the Silmarillion.

Now that you mention it, I don't recall reading anything by Tolkien to explain this problem. Therefore it may be what you said, that Ulmo wanted the Elves to remain ignorant of the Valar (and viceversa), although it is highly improbable that he would have thought this possible, seeing how the Elves would multiply and migrate in any case, and sooner or later they would be discovered. Put Mekor and his constant threat in, and it would be weird that Ulmo would not want the other Valar to know of the Elves at all (and this is not conflicting with his reluctance to have Elves removed to Valinor).

May it be that Tolkien did not notice the issue himself? After all, Orome is a likely candidate to find them because he was said to travel often in Middle-earth, while Ulmo was said to stay in the Outer Seas (and so Tolkien might have considered - just for once in the stories - these characters not as mighty gods, but as persons seeing with their own eyes and hearing with their own ears, in which case Ulmo could not have hoped to discover the Elves.) Just a thought...

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Date: May 20, 2011
This is indeed something to look into. However I don't think the text means it in the way we are interpreting it. I don't think it is meant to imply that Ulmo knew of all the goings on in the world simply because he had a presence in the water. Certainly if Ulmo had willfully gone to the eastern shores of Cuivienen he would have found the elves but as he prefered the deeps then he simply may not have gone there.

Another possibility is that it was fate that had ordained how the elves would be found. In the same way that Beren was able to pass the Girdle of Melian - fate guided him - perhaps something similar can answer this.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Date: Aug 14, 2011
To answer the originating pose...

I think that Ulmo was present but it was the will of Illuvatar that Ulmo obeyed. Meaning, Ulmo was respectful of Illuvatar and merely watched and provided for the First Born in the infancy of their 'coming to be' i.e: Water. Water has always played throughout mythologies as either; calm, soothing, healing, or destructive, powerful and merciless (with good reason). Maybe Tolkein wanted to lay down an earth-real carpet (so to speak) for His first born. As the man upstairs laid down the Garden of Eden for Adam & Eve. Someplace they can sustain their selves.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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If Ulmo was truly able to know the goings on simply by the presence of water than surely he would be nigh all-knowing of the events of Arda? This would surely be a source of annoyance for Mandos as an intrusion upon his area of expertise?

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Tom Bombadil
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Date: Aug 15, 2011
Also, it says that Melkor was the first one to be aware of the awakening of the Quendi, not Oromė. and sends shadows and evil spirits to spy. So basically it was not Oromė, but Melkor.

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Hobbits of The Shire - Rank 1
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Date: Aug 15, 2011
"Ossė is a vassal of Ulmo and he is a master of the seas that wash the shores of Middle-Earth. He does not go in the deeps, but loves the coasts and the isles..." (Valaquenta)

So if Ulmo hangs out in the depths of the Ocean, he may have messengers send word to him of things going on around the world. These messengers could be any kind of sea creatures sent to him by Ossė or Uinen.

Doesn't Manwė have heralds and messengers in the form of Eagles to relay information for him? If so, then Ulmo could go about things in a similar way. Rather than simply hearing all things directly from the water, he has word sent to him through water, like Manwė has word sent to him through the air.

He would still be able to find things out, just not instantaneously. This would give both Melkor and Oromė the time to find the Quendi before Ulmo.

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Date: Aug 24, 2011
Maybe we're looking at this at the wrong angle. How many of us have made mistakes? At work or home or wherever? Everyone right? Is it inconcievible to think that JRR Tolkien may have simply not thought to have Ulmo first discover them? Not to say that the great Tolkien made a mistake, just that he went with Orome. Even if it doesn't make sense to us.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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It could have been a minor oversight. The question is whether there is something in the lore that accounts for it, either intentionally by Tolkien or by chance.

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Date: Aug 26, 2011
I believe that a minor oversight is a valid answer to that question.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Tom Bombadil
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Date: Aug 31, 2011
After all, nobody is perfect.

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Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Posts: 377
Date: Aug 31, 2011
Even superman was alergic to a rock :)

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Tom Bombadil
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Posts: 1886
Date: Aug 31, 2011
LOL, yes he had a Cryptonite Allergy

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Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Date: Aug 31, 2011
:) I thought you might like that one

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Mar 2, 2012
This will be an invasion of trouble, his areas of expertise Mandos source?

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Mar 4, 2012
Do you mean why didn't Mandos know of the awakening of the elves first, nat?

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Utślie'n  aurė!  Aiya  Eldaliė  ar  Atanatįri,  utślie'n  aurė! 
Auta  i  lómė! 
Aurė entuluva!

 
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