As I was writing my previous post, I came up with two questions that I’d like to discuss with any Tolkien buffs who might be reading this. I’m what you might call a reasonably well-informed layman, but I don’t have the obsessive depth of knowledge of a true fan.
First of all, Tolkien emphasizes over and over again that nothing is evil in its beginning, not even Sauron or Morgoth. So how does he explain Ungoliant?
You run into the same problem in every cosmology that includes God and Outer Gods. Usually the explanation is that God isn’t as omnipotent as He’s reputed to be, but you know Tolkien wouldn’t go that route.
Second, I wondered if this guy:
…was somebody Gandalf knew. At first I thought I was just being funny, but now I wonder. They’re both maiar. What are the chances that Gandalf is faced with killing an old friend here? Imagine the conversation at the top of Zirak Zigil:
“SURRENDER, OLORIN! COME WITH ME, JOIN ANNATAR AND WE CAN RULE THIS MIDDLE EARTH!”
“Curunir already tried that, Nayel, and it didn’t work. Besides, you never could make a sales pitch, even before it became clear just how much of a prick Melkor was. Now shut up and fight.”