Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oromë and the Great March

Oromë and the Great March Timeline

1085 : Oromë discovers the Elves. Melkor breeds Orcs.

1092 - 1099 : The Valar [Powers] protect the Elves and battle Melko.

1100: The Valar raize Utumno and chain Melkor, now doomed to spend 300 Valinorean years confined in the Halls of Mandos.

1101 The Valar summon the elves to Valinor.

1102 the Vala Oromë escorts Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë to Valinor.

1104 The Three return to convince many elves to follow them to Valinor.

1105 The Great March begins. The Avari [the Unwilling] stay behind.

c. 1110 Awakening of the Dwarves.

1115 The Eldar [marchers]reach Anduin the Great and the Hithaeglir (Misty Mountains)


Silmarillion quotes:

Oromë tamer of beasts would ride too at whiles in the darkness of the unlit forests; as a mighty hunter he came with spear and bow, pursuing to the death the monsters and fell creatures of the kingdom of Melkor, and his white horse Nahar shone like silver in the shadows. Then the sleeping earth trembled at the beat of his golden hooves, and in the twilight of the world Oromë would sound the Valaróma his great horn upon the plains of Arda; whereat the mountains echoed, and the shadows of evil fled away, and Melkor himself quailed...

And on a time it chanced that Oromë rode eastward in his hunting, and he turned north by the shores of Helcar and passed under the shadows of the Orocarni, the Mountains of the East. Then on a sudden Nahar set up a great neighing, and stood still. And Oromë wondered and sat silent, and it seemed to him that in the quiet of the land under the stars he heard afar off many voices singing.

Thus it was that the Valar found at last, as it were by chance, those whom they had so long awaited. And Oromë looking upon the Elves was filled with wonder, as though they were beings sudden and marvellous and unforeseen; for so it shall ever be with the Valar. From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into EÄ each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold.

In the beginning the Elder Children of Illúvatar were stronger and greater than they have since become; but not more fair, for though the beauty of the Quendi in the days of their youth was beyond all other beauty that Illúvatar has caused to be, it has not perished, but lives in the West, and sorrow and wisdom have enriched it. And Oromë loved the Quendi, and named them in their own tongue Eldar, the people of the stars; but that name was after borne only by those who followed him upon the westward road.

Yet many of the Quendi were filled with dread at his coming; and this was the doing of Melkor. For by after-knowledge the wise declare that Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy upon them and waylay them. So it came to pass, some years ere the coming of Oromë, that if any of the Elves strayed far abroad, alone or few together, they would often vanish, and never return; and the Quendi said that the Hunter had caught them, and they were afraid. And indeed the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered still in the West, tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in the hills above Cuiviénen, or would pass suddenly over the stars; and of the dark Rider upon his wild horse that pursued those that wandered to take them and devour them. Now Melkor greatly hated and feared the riding of Oromë, and either he sent indeed his dark servants as riders, or he set lying whispers abroad, for the purpose that the Quendi should shun Oromë, if ever they should meet.

Thus it was that when Nahar neighed and Oromë indeed came among them, some of the Quendi hid themselves, and some fled and were lost. But those that had courage, and stayed, perceived swiftly that the Great Rider was no shape out of darkness; for the light of Aman was in his face, and all the noblest of the Elves were drawn towards it....

Oromë tarried a while among the Quendi, and then swiftly he rode back over land and sea to Valinor and brought the tidings to Valmar; and he spoke of the shadows that troubled Cuiviénen. Then the Valar rejoiced, and yet they were in doubt amid their joy; and they debated long what counsel it were best to take for the guarding of the Quendi from the shadow of Melkor. But Oromë returned at once to Middle-earth and abode with the Elves...

Elves were at first unwilling to hearken to the summons [to Aman], for they had as yet seen the Valar only in their wrath as they went to war, save Oromë alone; and they were filled with dread. Therefore Oromë was sent again to them, and he chose from among them ambassadors who should go to Valinor and speak for their people; and these were Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë, who afterwards were kings. And coming they were filled with awe by the glory and majesty of the Valar, and desired greatly the light and splendour of the Trees. Then Oromë brought them back to Cuiviénen, and they spoke before their people, and counselled them to heed the summons of the Valar and remove into the West...

Long and slow was the march of the Eldar into the west, for the leagues of Middle-earth were uncounted, and weary and pathless. Nor did the Eldar desire to hasten, for they were filled with wonder at all that they saw, and by many lands and rivers they wished to abide; and though all were yet willing to wander, many feared rather their journey's end than hoped for it Therefore whenever Oromë departed, having at times other matters to heed, they halted and went forward no more, until he returned to guide them. And it came to pass after many years of journeying in this manner that the Eldar took their course through a forest, and they came to a great river, wider than any they had yet seen; and beyond it were mountains whose sharp horns seemed to pierce the realm of the stars. This river, it is said, was even the river which was after called Anduin the Great, and was ever the frontier of the west-lands of Middle-earth. But the mountains were the Hithaeglir, the Towers of Mist upon the borders of Eriador; yet they were taller and more terrible in those days, and were reared by Melkor to hinder the riding of Oromë. Now the Teleri abode long on the east bank of that river and wished to remain there, but the Vanyar and the Noldor passed over it, and Oromë led them into the passes of the mountains. And when Oromë was gone forward the Teleri looked upon the shadowy heights and were afraid....


As I recount in the Lay of the Last, the Teleri sunder themselves several times in the journey across Middle-Earth. Oromë yet guides the three tribes beyond those mountains from land to land toward the sea. Once at the shores though, Oromë passes leadership of the Elves to the Sea-ruler, Ulmo, and his vassal, Ossë, while he still protects them, as he will through all time:

In Beleriand still at times rode Oromë the great, passing like a wind over the mountains, and the sound of his horn came down the leagues of the starlight, and the Elves feared him for the splendour of his countenance and the great noise of the onrush of Nahar; but when the Valaróma echoed in the hills, they knew well that all evil things were fled far away.

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