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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 177 - Arachnophobia

15th December 2014 (12:15)

Warning for giant cartoon spiders! Today's comic is behind a cut, for the benefit of any arachnophobes on my flist. It's more than a year since I did an LJ-cut, wonder if I can still remember how to do it?

One thing I missed earlier is that in canon, Melkor and Ungoliant actually know each other - she was one of the Ainur who originally followed Melkor in his initial revolt, but then left him to go her own way. With hindsight I might have shown her in Melkor's army back in the early cartoons - but on the other hand, that would spoil the surprise now.

Part 177: Arachnophobia

Next time: Part 178: Making plans with Melkor

Chibis by tektek.org
Original story by and copyright to J R R Tolkien, ed. C Tolkien: Primarily based on the Silmarillion, but incorporating ideas from the 12-volume History of Middle Earth series.
Questions and comments welcome!


Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 15th December 2014 20:33 (UTC)

So she was an Ainu? It seems to me I always had the idea she was, but many people seem to lump her in with the various monsters of indeterminate origin.

I seem to remember you making a humanoid chibi for her way back in the early days, which could have been used without spoiling the surprise. I imagine she probably didn't look like a monstrous spider back then... but the Ainur may not have looked humanoid then either.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th December 2014 21:14 (UTC)

"In the beginning she was one of those that he corrupted to his service" seems to me to put her in the same category as Sauron and the Balrogs.

The way I envisage the cosmos of Eä, there really aren't any categories other than Ainur, plus the things created by various Ainur (which have no souls and are not self-aware unless Eru intervenes - as in the case of the Dwarves), and the Children of Eru. So Ungoliant has to be an Ainu.

On the other hand, the Silmarillion is written from an Elvish point of view, and it's doubtful the Valar would have told the Elves much about Ungoliant other than "We hate her, we hate her forever" and "She's an evil thing that came from Outside with Melkor".

The Valar and Maiar were those Ainur who chose to enter the world and shape it, out of love for the Children of Eru - and they took forms similar to what they'd seen of the Children in the Vision, to honour them. It seems quite possible that there'd be other Ainur who had no interest in Elves and humans, and whose thought-patterns were entirely alien to our perspective.

Posted by: Garth St.Claire (Garth St.Claire)
Posted at: 16th December 2014 05:28 (UTC)

I also always assumed she was an Ainu who sided with him during the music and then sort of went off into the cosmos to do her own thing.
However she is also Middle Earth's original Eldritch Abomination who lurks in the outer darkness and vomits "unlight"

As to alien Ainur, in "Morgoth's Ring" (HoME 10) we get a glimpse into a very late phase of Tolkien's work in which he planned to make his world more natural (Arda was always a round, there has always been a sun etc) and that version does mention some Ainur going to other places in the universe rather than Arda. Maybe Ungoliant was one of them.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th December 2014 17:18 (UTC)

I have wondered if Tolkien ever read any of Lovecraft's books. I'm not sure he'd approve of them, mind you...

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