Heroes of Lore and Legend: Melian the Maia (LOTR)


Long before the awakening of Elves and Men,
the Maia Melian served the Valar Vana and Este but was most similar to Yavanna and so
she spent her days tending to the gardens of Lorien, delighting in the deep shadows
of tall trees. With a voice so lovely, she taught nightingales
to sing, the Valar sometimes left their labors to hear her music. Considered to be one of the wisest of the
Maia, as well as the most beautiful and skilled in songs of enchantment, she left the paradise
of Valinor and travelled to explore the great forests of Middle Earth, filling the silence
with the voices of her birds. Around this same time, the Elves awoke in
the lands of Cuivienen and came under threat from the Dark Lord Morgoth, so the Valar invited
them to journey west to the safety of the Undying Lands. Those who agreed to make the journey, called
Eldar, were divided into the Vanyar following their leader Ingwe, the Noldor with Finwe,
and the Teleri led by Elwe. Yet as they journeyed through Middle-earth,
the Teleri clan started to break apart when a group who became the Nandor refused to cross
the Misty Mountains. The rest of the clan intended to complete
the journey, but another great crisis emerged when their leader Elwe heard the song of nightingales
and followed it to find the beautiful Melian singing with a voice so lovely he was entranced,
and when they touched hands a spell was cast, freezing them in place for many years. The Teleri, alarmed by his disappearance,
searched for their leader but when he was not found only his closest followers refused
to give up and remained behind, while Elwe’s brother Olwe led the rest to continue the
great journey. When at last Melian and Elwe awoke from the
incantation, they were deeply in love and found the city of Eglador established by the
Eglath or Forsaken Ones, those Teleri who wanted to leave for paradise of Valinor, but
stayed behind to search for their lost leader. Establishing a wondrous realm for their people
Elwe became king, and Melian Queen, and the Eglath became the Sindar, or grey Elves. To ensure their safety, the Queen used her
powers to create the Girdle of Melian, an invisible fence that made them impossible
to find. The Kingdom of Doriath thrived as a rich and
prosperous realm for many years, but that eventually came under threat from the Dark
Lord Morgoth and the war being waged upon him by the Noldor Elves. Having left Valinor to establish kingdoms
in Middle Earth, the Noldor Galadriel, granddaughter of Finwe, came to live in Doriath for a time,
and befriended Melian, learning from her the secret of making Lembas or waybread, said
to be more strengthening than any food of man. It was from Galadriel that Melian learned
of why the Noldor left Valinor, yet she did not reveal the whole truth and when the Queen
learned about the ill deeds committed by the Sons of Feanor in their war to recover the
simarils, she warned her husband about having dealings with them. When the King and Queen of Doriath had a child
they named her Luthien, and she grew to become the fairest maiden who ever lived, marrying
the human Beren, who underwent a harrowing quest to recover a silmaril jewel from Morgoth’s
crown, in order to win her hand. However Melian warned Elwe, now known as Elu
Thingol, that involving themselves with the silmarils would bring ruin upon their people,
as the sons of feanor would stop at nothing to have them returned. At first, Thingol was hesitant to accept a
human into their family, but Melian was far more accepting and proved a friend to humanity,
also showed kindness to Turin, son of Hurin, when he fled his homeland to seek refuge in
Doriath. Later when he fled and led a gang of outlaws,
she gave his friend Beleg Lembas, to help sustain him on his journey to find and help
Turin in the wilderness. After suffering years of torture from Morgoth
and watching the death of his children from afar, the great warrior Hurin was released
and travelled to see the King and Queen, blaming them for the death of Turin. However Melian saw the darkness corrupting
his thoughts and used her powers to clear his mind. Although she loved her husband and time in
Doriath, in the end it was just as Melian warned, with the stolen Silmaril bringing
about their downfall. Hiring the Dwarves of Nogrod to place the
jewel within the precious necklace nauglamir, the workers tried to keep it for themselves,
resulting in the Battle of the Thousand Caves and the death of the King. Heartbroken by the loss of her husband, Melian
retreated from Doriath to visit her daughter Luthien, warning her of the treacherous dwarves,
before returning to Valinor with great sorrow, to once again walk through the Gardens of
Lorien. With Melian gone, her enchantment no longer
protected Doriath and while it thrived for a time under Luthien’s son Dior, it was
eventually destroyed. Yet the legacy of Melian the Maia survived
and played an enormous role in the development of the world and its people as her grandson
Dior became the father of Elwing, who married the hero Earendil and had 2 children of her
own, Elros who chose to live a mortal life as the first King of Numenor and Elrond who
chose to live as an Elf, eventually founding the city of Imladris. This lineage became the foundation for the
long lives and special gifts of the Dunedain Kings, leading to generations of leaders that
both brought doom upon the world and saved it from destruction.




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  2. This why I love the characters from Tolkien's world, everyone. Either human, elf, Maia or any creauture have a role within the story.

    Also, Happy New Years, CiviEX!

  3. The fact that hobbits can snarf down more than one piece of waybread in one day makes me question how close in relation to men they truly are

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