The Silmarillion Model

Master J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings series and putative father of modern fantasy, created and populated his world with a rich tapestry that, aside from striking the reader with its majesty, also felt alive. The Lord of the Rings, as a series and as a world, is the result of a lifetime’s work. The Silmarillion, as we know it today, is a reflection of Tolkien’s work, outside of the trilogy and The Hobbit, to create a world that had its own myths and legends. These myths included the Ainulindalë, the tale of how all things came to being. In that particular tale, we are privy to the moment of divine creation, where Eru, the One, convenes the Ainur, his divine servants, to sing the world into being. By doing so, Tolkien established what I’ll call the Silmarillion model, which is a schema for the creation of worlds in the fantasy genre.

When Eru created the world with the help of the Ainur, his divine choir, Melkor, who was the strongest amongst them tried to influence the act of creation itself. Melkor’s influence brought chaos to the world in his attempt to influence the shaping of things, and he did so out of pride. This story might be familiar to biblical scholars and mythologists of any caliber, given that this is the pattern of Lucifer’s fall. The scholastic debate regarding the details aside, this biblical story’s pattern is mirrored in the Ainulindalë. The greatest of the Creator’s servants believes himself His equal, and so rises to oppose him with his own creation. The Creator, meanwhile, either allows or wills this to happen, and makes his servant an outcast. Then, the Creator declares to the rest of his servants that this will lead to a greater beauty than they themselves could understand. And so, creation carries on, with the divine host dividing itself between those who follow the Creator and those who are cast out for following the rebel. The world, then, comes into being, shaped by the warring influences of the two sides.

The Silmarillion model goes beyond creating the geography of the world. The creatures, the history, the legends are all influenced, if not dictated outright by the conflict that it, the model, places at the core of the universe it creates. This pattern is founded on three things: conflict amongst the divine host that is tasked with shaping his creation, the unknowable mind of a Creator, and a prophecy that alludes to how this conflict will determine the fate of the world. That instability is the driving force behind the universe, even when (such as is the case in The Lord of the Rings) the story does not address that overarching conflict directly. It is the axis, so to speak, around which the world turns, even if the story being told happens at the periphery. The other two elements, the impenetrable will of the creator and the prophecy are there to provide uncertainty as to how the conflict will be resolved, and to distance the omnipotent Creator from the events that unfold.

I will continue to explore this concept as time goes on.

How monsters are made.

This is a document I’ll be continuously updating as I put down my own theories on the matter. Every time I do so, it’ll keep on popping up here to the top of the pile. Things I still have to cover:

The medieval creation of symbolic creatures and the implications therein regarding reality.

The shift in perspective with the dawning of the age of reason and insanity.

Modern monsters in some further fashion.

Continue reading → How monsters are made.

The Letter

There is no easy way out of this. You of all people should know that this is going to haunt you until you obey its call. Yes, you are scared, no you’re not the first, and there’s plenty of others wedged in the dragon’s smile. But if you manage to break through, if you manage to ignite and shine, for just a second, for just a flare… But yes, it might not even be real; that moment of glory might not even be perceptible once you reach it. Though, if it is, if that sensation actually exists, how could you not try to feel it?

There are so many paths to truth, there are so many roads to follow, and everyone does have to find their own. You were never a follower, even if you’ve felt the temptation of that solace. You cannot succumb to it; you can’t let yourself be drawn by the comfort of not being to blame for your own mistakes, for your own failures. When you’re not a follower, part of the herd, you can choose the rock that will be your stepping stone, or the one that breaks your back.

Yes, it is a selfish desire, private and dark. It’s craving recognition, absolutely, but you have to understand that it’s still born from your own strength. You can’t speak to an empty room and expect to get a reaction. Language needs someone to receive it for it to be alive, and like it, you need someone to notice that you’re speaking. Though, be clear; do you want to smash their apathy, or do you want to slash the veil to some universal truth? Do you write for vanity, or for revelation? Don’t bother with the semantics, with the weight of those words. They are your own, and that should be good enough. That question needs an answer; you need to know exactly what you’re craving. That will determine the trail ahead, the obstacles you’ll face, and what you’ll disdain.

Regardless, the visions are there. What comes of them is entirely up to you. Don’t despair, they’ll always keep you company.