Forum:Valaquenta and "servants and helpers"
I made edits to the pages for sprites, sylphs, and mermaids and while I left comments for those edits I wanted to explain my reasoning at a bit more length since I changed several different pages. In all these pages I replaced a version of the followings
As the sprites and fays are not mentioned in later versions of the legendarium, it might be that Tolkien envisioned these creatures as the "servants and helpers" of the Maiar (mentioned in later versions of Elven chronicles) — lesser spirits that would have remained in Middle-earth (and would thus perhaps be equivalent to the Faeries). As Tolkien never cared to elaborate much on these "lesser Maiar" in the texts used by his son Christopher when preparing the published The Silmarillion, one could speculate on how much Tolkien would have retained or rejected of this earlier conception.
The chapter and section cited for this on all three pages was The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Maiar". The However, the Valaquenta does not establish a class of "lesesr Maiar" (which is the reason Tolkien didn't discuss them elsewhere either). The text reads:
With the Valar came other spirits whose being also began before the World, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree. These are the Maiar, the people of the Valar, and their servants and helpers. Their number is not known to the Elves, and few have names in any of the tongues of the Children of Ilúvatar; for though it is otherwise in Aman, in Middle-earth the Maiar have seldom appeared in form visible to Elves and Men.
The second sentence here is not establishing three different classes of spirits, but it describing the Maiar as both "the people of the Valar" and "their servants and helpers". I replaced the above-quoted paragraph with a new version on each page mentioning the replacement of various early spirits (as well as the Children of the Valar with the Maiar (referred to in Morgoth's Ring, Annals of Aman, notes to Section 1):
Sprites and fays are not mentioned in the later versions of the legendarium. Many of the classes of beings references in The Book of Lost Tales were superseded by the concept of the Maiar, which were not introduced until the reworking of the Annals of Valinor into the Annals of Aman.
- Thanks for fixing this, Eldorion! I added it to those articles (when I created them) a long time ago. I have since felt that the concept of "lesser" maiar was based, as you say, on a misreading but haven't had the opportunity to clear it up.--Morgan 21:58, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
- Glad to help! --Eldorion