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  1. #1
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    Facing a Valar in deadly combat

    Just want to know how in the lore mortals faced Valar or Maia in deadly combat

    Are the weapons enchanted?
    Do they posses incredibly agility?

    How can a Mortal or Immortal elf face a Valar with odd of winning?


    Can valar be more than crippled? can they be killed if Eru is on the side of the mortal?

  2. #2
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    If you think of a Valar or Maia as a spirit rather then a physical being they cannot be killed. You can however kill that physical body (Gandalf for instance). In the case of Sauron he was weakened over time to the extent he could not shift shapes (after the fall of Numenor). He then eventually lost the ring after Isilidur cut his finger off and it is debatable whether he was visible or not (I personally believe he was a physical being when the white council had attacked Dol Guldor. When the ring was destroyed he was still a spirit but he was so weak (put a lot of power into the ring) that he could no longer have any influence on the world (no physical being or presence).

    In the case of a Balrog (maia) many were slain but it was never said that they were coming back or still alive.

    A Maia possesses a physical body and their strength is limited to that of a physical being. Obviously being one as powerful as a Maia has its perks (for instance gandalf was able to fight off Nazguls for an extended period of time where a normal man would have tired).

    Morgoth was also injured multiple times I believe and weakened. I don't believe Tolkien explored the idea of mortal vs Valar/Maia much so any idea of who can kill who is all speculation.

    My personal belief is that they wouldn't be able to kill a Valar's physical being although they may cripple it. I believe they can kill a Maia but not in a permanent way.

    I guess if Eru was against them anyone can be killed.
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  3. #3

    To build upon what was said:

    First off: ALL the Ainur (Valar, Maiar, & Istari (who are actually Maiar)) are angelic beings. Think of it in a more traditional Catholic theology:
    The Divine:
    Eru/Illuvater = God the Eternal Father,
    the Valar = archangels (with Manwe as the chief, similar to Michael the Archangel)
    the Maiar = lesser angels.

    The Enemies:
    Melkor/Morgoth (a fallen Vala) = Lucifer (formerly an angel of God near to the highest authority) / Satan (Sr.)
    Sauron (a fallen Maia) = Satan Jr. (for lack of a better term - no close scriptural parallel, but you get the idea).
    Balrogs (fallen Maiar) = various powerful Satanic demons
    Ungoliant (apparently a fallen Maia)
    Various unnamed Maiar who Melkor seduced to his service before coming into Arda to form the world.

    Together these would be the equivalent of the 1/3 of the angels/hosts of Heaven cast out from the presence of God when Lucifer rebelled.

    The Istari were Maiar, sent as messenger angels, but forbidden to show their angelic powers, whether for the convincing of the free peoples to fight evil, or to fight evil directly (fight power with power). They always came in the form of old men (but still vibrant). They felt all the infirmities of the flesh (hunger, fear, weariness, etc) in order to help them to relate better with those they were sent to aid (Elves, Men, Dwarves - even Hobbits and Ents). The only real advantage was that they didn't age, and they were gifted at languages of sentient beings, as well as birds and beasts. And they had divine wisdom to assist in their calling.

    The Ainur did not need their physical bodies - really only used them when interacting with the Children of Illuvatar - as such they used bodies as we would wear clothes, wearing a form as what suited their purpose (though even as spirits, they ALWAYS remained either male of female - no cross-dressing in any way).


    Both Melkor and Sauron often appeared as glorified spirits when dealing with other Ainur, Elves, and Men (Lucifer appearing as an angel of light). HOWEVER, at some point, their evil crossed the point of no return, and they lost the power to appear fair, and were forever trapped in bodies that reflected their hideous black evil - blunting their ability to seduce people to their cause.

    As divine angelic beings, the Ainur really could not be injured or slain - nor could they be defeated. Such was the warnings given in regards to the Oath of Feanor and his seven sons in their quest to defeat Morgoth after he stole the Silmarils.



    Now some examples:

    Melian the Maia (mother of Luthien Tinuviel): when her husband Thingol the Elf-King was killed by dwarves, she left Middle-earth and went back to Aman, mourning besides the waters in Lorien. Tolkien wrote that when she married Thingol, she took upon herself the form of an elven-maid, and "she became bound by the chain and trammels of the flesh of Arda." (Read above what I said about the Istari).

    Gandalf the Grey died of his wounds and weariness after fighting for three days and killing the Balrog. His spirit left his body, and was later sent back to finish his divine mission. In reward for his faithfulness (the only one of the five Istari who was completely faithful to his mission), the Valar gave him a new body (still in the form of an old man, to fulfill his mission) - yet now he was allowed to show forth more of his divine power (but still not allowed to confront Sauron directly). Thus he became known as Gandalf the White.


    Morgoth: challenged to single combat by Fingolfin the High King of the Elves. Fingolfin stabbed Morgoth's foot several times, and Thorondor the Eagle-king scratched and marred Morgoth's face with his talons while rescuing Fingolfin's body from Morgoth and his orcs. Morgoth went with a limp and bore those scars ever after. He wasn't killed - only captured by the Valar, and cast out into the Void (Outer Darkness) - though Sauron told the Numenoreans that Morgoth will come back before the end of the world (truth or lie I cannot tell, but this does parallel the Battle of Armageddon, or better yet, Gog and Magog (end of the Millennium)).


    The Balrogs were killed, and presumably their spirits went to Mandos and were imprisoned there until the end of the world.

    Ungoliant was rumored to have died by eating her limbs. Her spirit likely suffered the same fate as the Balrogs.

    Sauron lost his fair form in consequence of the destruction of Numenor (as a punishment for his great evil there). He was able to appear in hideous evil form, and wield weapons and armor at Mount Doom when his fingers were cut off by Isildur. Sauron lost his physical body from that point on, due in part to presumably 2/3 of his power being transferred to the Ring (my guess). It has been said that Sauron was later taking shape -at least by the time when Frodo got the ring, if not when Gollum stole it from Smeagol (the flaming Eye-ball from the movies seems to be simply a visualization of concept).

    When the Ring was destroyed and the Baradur and it's foundations along with it, LOTR states that Sauron rose up like a great tall stormy shape of shadow (and clouds?), but the wind blew it it all away - and there was peace and rejoicing. My assumption is once again, Sauron gets to hang out in Mandos until the end of the world - to be judged by Illuvatar.

    Saruman was killed by Wormtounge at Bag End. His body withered away (think of the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark after they touched the Ark of the Covenant). As with Sauron, the spirit of Saruman rose up like a smoky cloud, yet this time, it looked to West (as if in some sort of pleading or anger?), and again a wind from the West blew his spirit away. And there was much rejoicing. And again, my assumption is that Saurman also gets to be a prisoner in Mandos, until the End of the World when Illuvatar judges all the enemies and punished them for eternally.

  4. #4
    To summarize:

    Neither Men nor Elves can kill one of the Spirits (be them Valar or Maiar), for them any body is not native to their essence and is temporary.

    Technically in this embodied state their bodies can be overpowered by any physical means. Even with normal weapons and your own fists, Tulkas was renowned for his martial prowess after all. That is IF you are mighty enough to even try competing with one of the Spirits. I can think of no one capable to take on one of the Valar or even dare to do so. Normally such a defeat for the Spirit would mean shedding that body immediately without any damage to their true self. They do not need a body at all, it's literally like clothing to them in Tolkien's own words.

    Only in *very special cases* when embodiments are somewhat more permanent the destruction or damage to the body lessens the power available to the Spirit thus weakening it somewhat. Degree varies and depends on how much innate power went into the body so to speak.
    These are isolated cases like Istari who were specifically incarnated very thoroughly, bound to their physical shells for the duration of their mission, and their innate powers were limited severely for the same duration. Or beings like Sauron and (to a lesser degree) Morgoth who severely diluted their innate powers investing them into their works (strongholds, monsters, talismans like the Ring) thus becoming ever more bound to the physical plane. Damage to their bodies thus weakens them considerably (at least for long periods).
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 31 2013 at 10:36 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses, yep I was thinking on fallen-Valar or Maia (Lesser demons)

    I wanted to know this because in LOTR this spirits can't be vanished except (Balrogs) but the big bad guys like Sauron or Morgoth can take a physical body that takes a toll to both physical and spiritual part of the mortal facing them.
    Last edited by Al.; May 31 2013 at 06:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post

    How can a Mortal or Immortal elf face a Valar with odd of winning?
    They can't, basically, if your definition of winning includes "making it out alive." Pretty much anyone who defeated a Balrog ( = Maia) did so at the price of his own life (Examples: Ecthelion and Glorfindel of Gondolin, Gandalf the Grey). As for Valar, Fingolfin ultimately lost his duel with Morgoth, though he did manage to wound him. (see above)

    However, the prophecy about the Final Battle (see above) has it that it will be Turin who will give Morgoth his final beating for the sake of poetic justice. Take that as you will.

  7. #7
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    When Valar or Maiar assume bodies, they take on some of the limitations of that form in order to have the benefit of its advantages. So, Melian had to take on the limitations of flesh in order to bear her daughter, Luthien. Likewise, Sauron could be fought and physically vanquished by Elendil and Gil-galad, although they died as well. The only being of Valar class we hear of facing a mortal foe is Morgoth, who fought Fingolfin in single combat and killed him, although not without being wounded.

    Maiar and Valar could re-embody after their physical form was destroyed, however. Gandalf was housed in a new body after his battle with the Balrog (another being of Maia stature), and Sauron eventually recovered from his defeat by Elendil, although he could never thereafter assume a fair appearance. Morgoth was only vanquished by the Valar by being forced outside Creation and barred from returning until Dagor Dagorath, the Last Battle. Not even other Valar could unmake him.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aestivan View Post
    When Valar or Maiar assume bodies, they take on some of the limitations of that form in order to have the benefit of its advantages. So, Melian had to take on the limitations of flesh in order to bear her daughter, Luthien. Likewise, Sauron could be fought and physically vanquished by Elendil and Gil-galad, although they died as well. The only being of Valar class we hear of facing a mortal foe is Morgoth, who fought Fingolfin in single combat and killed him, although not without being wounded.

    Maiar and Valar could re-embody after their physical form was destroyed, however. Gandalf was housed in a new body after his battle with the Balrog (another being of Maia stature), and Sauron eventually recovered from his defeat by Elendil, although he could never thereafter assume a fair appearance. Morgoth was only vanquished by the Valar by being forced outside Creation and barred from returning until Dagor Dagorath, the Last Battle. Not even other Valar could unmake him.
    But Ill go with previous post, Melkor alias Morgoth will be unmade in the last battle by a Mortal man.

 

 

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