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Aulë is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, who is primarily discussed in The Silmarillion, but appears also in Tolkien's other works. In Tolkien's pantheon of Middle-Earth, Aulë is an archangel, sometimes worshipped as a god by men, representing skill and craftsmanship, who is also thematically associated with Earth, stone, metal and the dwarves. Because of his associations with smithing and skill, Aulë is similar in thematic role to the Greek god Hephaestus, the Roman god Vulcan and the Norse god Thor.

Fictional details

Aulë the Smith is a Vala and one of the Ainur. Aulë is given lordship over the matter that composes Arda and is a master of all the crafts that shape it. He created the Dwarves, who call him Mahal, the Maker. During the Music of the Ainur, Aulë's themes concerned the physical things of which Arda is made; when Ilúvatar gave being to the themes of the Ainur, his music became the lands of Middle-earth. Other of his works include Angainor (the chain of Melkor), the Two Lamps and the vessels of the Sun and Moon. He is husband to Yavanna. His name translates from Quenya as invention.

As Aulë is a smith, he is the Vala most similar in thought and powers to Melkor, in that they each gloried in the fashioning of artful and original things. Both also came to create beings of their own. But while Aulë strove to be true to the original intent of the Music of the Ainur, and submitted all that he did to the will of Ilúvatar, Melkor wished to control and subvert all things, and was jealous of the creations of others so that he would try to twist or destroy all that they made. There was long strife between Aulë and Melkor both before and after the creation of Arda. Aulë, however, traditionally opposed attempts to fight Melkor, for fear of the damage that would be wrought to Arda.

When the Elves came to Valinor, the Noldor became the students of Aulë. Fëanor was his greatest pupil, and from him learned to make gems through craftsmanship that is now forgotten. This would eventually lead to the Silmarils, the greatest creation of handiwork within Arda. On the Flight of the Noldor, the Noldor who returned to Valinor under Finarfin named themselves the Aulendur, Followers of Aulë.

Aulë and the Creation of the Dwarves

Desperate for pupils onto whom he could pass his knowledge and unwilling to wait for the emergence of the Children of Ilúvatar, Aulë created his own race of beings, the Dwarves. However, he did not have a clear idea of what the Children of Ilúvatar would be like, and because of the presence of the chaos caused by Melkor, Aulë made the Dwarves strong and unyielding, and not willing to endure the domination of others, as well as embodying some of his values and desires for Middle-earth. However Aulë did not have the power to give independent life to his creations. They could act only when his thought was on them.

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