The Lord of the Rings Mythology Explained (Part 1)


The Lord of the Rings has lots of
different kinds of people: Elven people, dwarvin people, tree people,
half-sized people, even people people. There’s, like, a million pages of
background explaining this world that goes much deeper than the books
or the movies but if you don’t want to read
it all, here’s a four-minute summary. Starting with wizards. It’s easy to mistake the wizards
as humans trained in magic, like elsewhere. But, in The Lord of the Rings, wizards
are low-ish level angels. They’re called The Istari
(get ready for lots of names in this video) and there are five of them:
Sauroman the white, Gandalf the gray, Radgast the brown, and the two
Blue Wizards. Their power comes mostly from being
supernatural and not so much from book learning. Their sent(by who? We’ll get to that in a
second) to help the people of world stand against evil. Not wildly successfully, either. Sauroman, the leader of the five,
with a mind of metal and wheels gets corrupted, Radgast gets distracted
by all the pretty nature, the Blue Wizards just kind of fade into the east,
possibly starting cults of magic, and it’s only Gandalf that stays
true to the quest. Now, where there’s angels, there’s a
god, and in this universe, that’s Eru Ilúvatar. In the beginning, there was not but Eru,
and the infinite timeless nothing, which is rather boring, so he created
lots of angels to keep him company. Ilúvatar’s angels are called The Ainur
and are divided into two groups: The Valar, guardians of the world,
of which there are fourteen. (or fifteen, depending on who you
want to count) And their servants, The Mayar. So, the wizards are the Istari, a
subset of the Mayar, which serve the Valar, all created by Ilúvatar. Ilúvatar, and all his angels sang
together to make the world. The harmony started out great, but
there was one Valar, named Melkor, and just from the name, Melkor,
you know what’s going to happen even before learning he’s also the
smartest, and the most powerful of the angels. And also a bit of a loner. Melkor didn’t want just to be part of
the chorus, like his dimmer Valar co-workers, he wanted his own song in creations. And so, his voice became discordant
from the others… and created all the suffering and evil
in the world. But, Melkor’s song also attracted some
Maylar to his side, including the balrogs, which means the
balrog is a low-level angel, making him on the same level
of the power org chart as Gandalf. Which explains why an old man can
hold his ground against a giant lava monster. Through his discordant singing,
Melkor also created some of the evil creatures in the world, such as the
dragons and trolls, which finally gets us to things that aren’t
angels. Other valar also made their own
non-angelic creations, though in a more cooperative spirit with Ilúvatar. Manwë makes the Great Eagles,
Aulë made the dwarves, and his wife, Yavanna made all of the
animals and the plants in the world, before capping off that minor task with
The Ents, her own race of sentient creatures. While Ilúvatar seemed happy
to leave it to his Vala to make *most* of the stuff,
he did personally create men and elves, which makes them special,
and kind of above all the other living creatures. Sorry, Dwarves. And, of these two, the men
are Ilúvatar’s favorite children. And, he shows this by giving men
shorter lives than everybody else, and also the gift of death? Thanks a lot, Dad. But, their short live set them apart
from the other creatures, and they aren’t tied to the music of creation
and the world, like everyone else. And so, are able to forge their own
futures. These qualities make them the
“Get Stuff Done” species of Middle Earth. Elves, on the other hand, are so
connected to the world that practically made of nature. Same with the dwarves
in their own way and the Ents, of course. These species all but follow the flow
of nature, and it’s partly why the humans have such a hard time getting
them to do anything. Even when faced with armies of Orcs,
which brings us to Orcs. Melkor was powerful, but couldn’t make
his creatures as great as the elves and men, and so cheated by corrupting some
of them in the beginning and selectively breading them over the
generations into these creatures. This business Melkor was up to of
torturing elves, making monsters, recuiting angels from the other side
eventually, but unsurprisingly, led to a war that Melkor looses and got him
banished into the void. All of the conflict in
The Lord of The Rings comes long after the epic Good vs. Evil fight of
that universe. Sauron, the Big Bad, who caused all of
the trouble in these books, was just one of the Mayar, though
an unusually powerful one who started his career as Melkor’s
lieutenant. After the war, he did make a ring to
focus his strength, but that’s a story for another time. Last, but not least, we have the Hobbits. Even though they seem related to Dwarves,
what with the living underground and the vertical challenge, Hobbits are a
subspecies of men. For such an important and pivotal race,
there is little written of their origin, other than the phrase “related to men”. Turns out, with a million pages,
you still can’t talk about everything, just like in a four-minute video. ♪ ♪ ♪ *Hello Internet #13 in background* ♪

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