Tolkien Encyclopedia > Powers > Eru

Article: "Eru" by Varda-(Valar)


by Varda-(Valar)
September 1998
Updated October 16, 2010

    Eru Ilúvatar, the One Alone, created the Ainurspirits from his thought, kindling them to life with the Flame Imperishable that is found within his being. Eru taught the Ainur with musical themes of which they would sing alone or in small groups while the rest listened, and thus they slowly learned a little of Eru and of each other.
    Then Eru proposed a great theme of music in which all participated. After a time, the Ainu named Melkor interwove matters that he thought would increase his own part with power and glory; this caused a disturbance in the music nearby as some faltered while others tried to attune to his thought rather than their own. The discord of Melkor's warred with the music of the others.
    Eru smiled and added a new theme not quite the same as before, that gathered amidst the already occurring sounds and had new beauty. But the discord fought with this too, causing even more violence, so that many voices went silent in dismay.
    But then Eru looked stern and added a third theme unlike the others: soft, sweet, and unquenchable that took on power and profundity. Two varieties of music developed strongly, seeming to be independent, yet not, even as the two spirits leading the two varieties were brothers in the mind of Eru: Manwë and Melkor.  One rolled deep and wide in a slow blend filled with beauty coming chiefly from sorrow, while the other was brassy and vain repeating itself on a few notes without a harmony. The second tried to drown out the other with volume, but it's greatest notes all wove into the other's solemn pattern.
    Then Eru was terrible to behold and he ended the Music with one piercing chord reaching from the lowest to the highest.
    Only then did Eru show them what was truly happening in a great vision of the Music into which he placed Flame Imperishable to make it live: it was called the World. This huge place included the creation and history of vast halls and spaces, of wheeling fires and innumerable stars. Within it was the intended birthplace for the next Children of Ilúvatar born in Eru's third theme coming solely from him, brothers to the Ainur, on Arda which is also called the Earth.
    Many of the Ainur, including a large number of the greatest, chose to enter Arda and remain with it to its completion, deeply loving the new brothers. To their dismay they discovered that they had been shown  Eru's vision only; it was not yet physical. They labored to create that vision as best they knew it from their own songs and what they had seen, yet they did not know it all for the Music had stopped too soon for their complete knowledge, and they did not know where or when Eru had arranged for the Children to be born and to awake.
    Within Arda, the new Children of Ilúvatar came into existence: Elves, Men, and the adopted children called Dwarves. Not only the Children but the Ainur learned much in this interaction. Eru only stepped in drastically once at the request of the Ainur, for they did not wish to cause harm to the few misled Children that attempted to attack them; that step separated the Children from the home of the Ainur while sinking the island of Númenor from which the Men had come and forcing them to mix with the other Children.
    In the future after the Last Battle, Eru's themes will be played by the Ainur and the other Children of Ilúvatar together, with true understanding, and the Music shall at last be sung aright to take perfect physical form in a new Arda.

Reference: "Ainulindalë", Silmarillion