If we were to ask Rosie Cotton: "What do you think, how was Eä created?", what would she answer? To my knowledge every culture has a story on how the world began. Most of them are probably wrong, but if Rosie Cotton believes it was the music of the Ainur she would actually be right. So to me it seems more likely that she'd be wrong about it, because people are usually wrong about stuff like that (at least in the real world). So maybe she believes in the Big Bang (that naive nit!) or she thinks (like Einstein did) that the world has always been there.

I suppose Gandalf, Elrond and other highly educated people know the truth. But what do ordinary people believe? What are Balins or Grimas opinions on that topic?

I am aware, that there was no religion in middle earth. But still they must have a theory on how the world began. Even if they believe the right theory, and know about its divine origin, it wouldn't necessarily be an religious explanation. It could just be a well known fact, every child learns in 3rd grade in physics lesson.

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    Rosie would probably have said "That's not for the likes of me to worry about, I've got Mr Baggins' dinner to get ready." Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 8:42
  • Actually, when you read the books, it's as though there are barely any regular people in Middle Earth. I mean, you know they exist in some abstract sense, but there's no description of how you pass town after village after city after village etc.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Gandalf as one of the Maiar was more than merely well-educated, he was one of the Ainur and therefore actually took part in the creation. So yes, we can assume that he at least knows about it.

Tolkien's view on the origin and nature of the myths shifted back and forth, but the final viewpoint seems to be that given in a note in the Myths Transformed material in History of Middle-earth 10:

The cosmogonic myths are Numenorean, blending Elven-lore with human myth and imagination.

Despite that, all notes attached to the texts of the Ainulindale explicitly specify that it itself was an Elvish work; I give here that from the "D version", likewise sourced from HoME 10:

This was made by Rumil of Tuna in the Elder Days. It is here written as it was spoken in Eressea to AElfwine by Pengolod the Sage. To it are added the further words that Pengolod spoke at that time concerning the Valar, the Eldar and the Atani; of which more is said hereafter.

As to what Balin, Grima or even Barliman Butterbur would know or not know of the creation, I can find no evidence in Tolkien's writings to indicate either way.

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    Gandalf, of course, might not actually remember, at least in his Grey incarnation: as he says after his resurrection, "[I have] learned again much that I had forgotten". But Galadriel is an example of someone who lived in Aman and certainly encountered the Valar, so she would probably know; Elrond would probably have learned it from her. Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 8:47
  • Thanks, great answer! @DanielRoseman I can't put my finger on it, but I was under the impression, that Gandalf forgot about it. Don't know if I actually read about it or if it's just my imagination.
    – Einer
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 9:11

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