8

I'm reading the Silmarillion, and there is something which isn't clear to me: who created the beasts?

Is is not said that Eru created them, but it is also said that only he can create living things that move on their own; when Aulë tried to create the Dwarves, Eru told him that they'd only move when the thinks about them and makes them move:

"The creatures of thy hand and mind can live only by that being, moving when thou thinkest to move them, and if thy thought be elsewhere, standing idle."

Then again, it is implied in Chapter 2, when Yavanna speaks about her kelvar and olvar, that she created them.

If nothing else is written on the subject, then the safest bet is that Eru created them, since only seems capable of such a feat, and that Yavanna was simply in charge of them. But perhaps there is more written on the subject elsewhere, and the answer is different? Perhaps Yavanna had managed it all the same?

4
  • You are misremembering. The Dwarves move on their own just fine without Eru. It's free will - an actual soul - that only Eru can create.
    – OrangeDog
    Aug 7, 2021 at 13:46
  • @OrangeDog "The creatures of thy hand and mind can live only by that being, moving when thou thinkest to move them, and if thy thought be elsewhere, standing idle."
    – Wade
    Aug 7, 2021 at 13:50
  • You are both right - Eru said that just before he gave the dwarves free will. Aug 7, 2021 at 15:09
  • @SethMMorton Yes, but the point is, one can infer from this quote that Aulë could not have even created beasts. So who did?
    – Wade
    Aug 7, 2021 at 16:05

2 Answers 2

12

The Dwarves were not part of the Music, so Eru did not give them life until after his discussion with Aulë.

But Ilúvatar spoke again and said: ‘Even as I gave being to the thoughts of the Ainur at the beginning of the World, so now I have taken up thy desire and given to it a place therein; but in no other way will I amend thy handiwork, and as thou hast made it, so shall it be. But I will not suffer this: that these should come before the Firstborn of my design, nor that thy impatience should be rewarded. (The Silmarillion)

On the contrary, animals and plants were present in the music, so they were given life by Eru:

Then Manwë awoke, and he went down to Yavanna upon Ezellohar, and he sat beside her beneath the Two Trees. And Manwë said: 'O Kementári, Eru hath spoken, saying: “Do then any of the Valar suppose that I did not hear all the Song, even the least sound of the least voice? Behold! When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared. For a time: while the Firstborn are in their power, and while the Secondborn are young.” But dost thou not now remember, Kementári, that thy thought sang not always alone? Did not thy thought and mine meet also, so that we took wing together like great birds that soar above the clouds? That also shall come to be by the heed of Ilúvatar, and before the Children awake there shall go forth with wings like the wind the Eagles of the Lords of the West.’ (The Silmarillion)

The clear implication is that Yavanna's work was made to Be by Eru at the time of the Music, including the kelvar and the olvar (animals and plants), and that Eru is here reminding her that also included in her Song was habitation by spirits in animals and trees that would be able to defend them from the depredations of the Children. So as the Dwarves were made by Aulë, the form of the animals and plants were made by Yavanna, but they were given life by Eru - it was just ordained during the Music rather than well afterwards, as with the Dwarves.

7
  • Hmm, I am not sure, since at the time of the quote you gave, the beasts already walked the Earth... Perhaps I misunderstood you?
    – Wade
    Aug 7, 2021 at 18:31
  • 2
    @Wade Yes, I’m saying that it’s an example of how Eru gave life to Yavanna’s thought - he had already done so with the plants and animals and was now doing it with their protectors. All were in the Music and given Being by Eru. Yavanna might have made the plants and animals, but they were foreordained in the Music and given life by Eru just like the Ents and Eagles.
    – Shamshiel
    Aug 7, 2021 at 18:35
  • Oh okay I get it. Yes, it seems like a plausible guess, if there is nothing else written on the subject (certainly better than my guess).
    – Wade
    Aug 7, 2021 at 18:40
  • 1
    I suppose I feel like the passage makes it clear, rather than being a guess - Yavanna carried out her part in the Music as Eru willed, whereas Aule tried to do something new that wasn’t part of Eru’s plan. Plants and animals received life and Being because that was always part of the Plan; Yavanna simply carried it out. Aule failed because without Eru he could only create extensions of himself, basically, puppets , and Eru had to come and give life and change the plan for them.
    – Shamshiel
    Aug 7, 2021 at 19:12
  • 1
    Yavanna definitely created trees after the Music, though, and it seems that birds were made by her (and thus probably most life, though sea life might be Ulmo?) Aule was trying to create rational souls which is impossible to the Valar (or anyone except Eru) so his failure/the "puppet" nature of the Dwarves (moving only when he was paying attention) does not necessarily imply anything about creation of non-rational life forms. Aug 11, 2021 at 5:26
4

It is never overtly stated (in the published Silmarillion*), but at least one passage suggests that Yavanna created them (or at least birds):

As yet no flower had bloomed or any bird had sung, for these things awaited still their time in the bosom of Yavanna

  • Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 1

Yavanna also calls plants and animals in general "the things of my labour" and "my works" in chapter 2.

Limitations of the Valar

The case of the Dwarves was Aule's attempt to create people - rational or spiritual beings. His failure at that may not imply anything about "irrational" life.

The Valar quite clearly could create at least plant life - the Two Trees of Valinor arose under the song of Yavanna after "Nienna thought in silence, and watered the mould with tears"; and

Yavanna made for them a tree like to a lesser image of Telperion, save that it did not give light of its own being; Galathilion it was named in the Sindarin tongue. This tree was planted in the courts beneath the Mindon and there flourished, and its seedlings were many in Eldamar.

  • Chapter 5

Also,

naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindale before the Beginning: so say the Wise. -Chapter 3

This seems to imply that Melkor lost this ability by rebelling - and thus that other Valar (who did not rebel) potentially could do so.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.