Aulë (Quenya; IPA: [ˈaʊle] - "Invention") was an Ainu, one of the Aratar and a Vala, who was responsible for fashioning and crafting the substances of which Arda, the world, was composed. He was also called Mahal (Khuzdul; IPA: "Maker"), Oli (Sindarin; IPA: "Dream") or Návatar and delights in the nature of substances and in works of skill, but not concerned with possession or mastery. Besides the shaping of Arda, Aulë's greatest works were the Two Lamps of the Valar, the vessels of the Sun and Moon, and the Dwarves, whom he created out of impatience for the Children of Ilúvatar. He also created Angainor (the chain of Melkor).
As Aulë was a smith, he was the Valar 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 Ainurs, 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 Ñoldor 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. Despite his lordly skill, Aulë was humble and compassionate, and indeed the Dwarves survived only because Aulë submitted them to the will of Ilúvatar. His spouse was Yavanna, with whom he dwelt in central Valinor.
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.
When Aulë completed his work he began to instruct the Dwarves in a language he had made for them, Khuzdul. Then Ilúvatar spoke to Aulë, asking why he would seek to exceed his power and authority by attempting to make new life. Aulë repented, answering that the drive to create was kindled in him by Ilúvatar, and that he only wished for other beings to love and teach, with whom to share in the beauty of the world. He admitted that his impatience had driven him to folly and submitted his creations to Ilúvatar. Assuming that they should be destroyed, he made to smite the seven Fathers of the Dwarves with a great hammer. As he raised the hammer the Dwarves shrank from the coming blow, but Ilúvatar stayed Aulë's hand and showed that he had accepted Aulë's offer by gifting the Dwarves with spirits of their own, else they could not have been afraid.
Ilúvatar accepted the Dwarves as his adopted children however, as it was ordained that the elves were to be the first-born race, Ilúvatar set the Dwarves to sleep until after the Awakening of the Elves. He told Aulë that while both were his children, their creation was outside the scope of the Music of the Ainur, and strife would arise between the Dwarven race and the Elven race as the events of the world unfolded. The Dwarves believe that after they die their spirits move to halls that Aulë has set aside for them alone, and that their role will be to rebuild Arda after the Final Battle.
Maiar of Aulë
- Mairon (Sauron), the mightiest of the Maiar of Aulë who used his knowledge of the metaphysical structure of Arda to great effect as a servant of Melkor in the First Age of Middle-earth and then was his own master in the Second and Third Ages. When Sauron sought to corrupt the elves in the Second Age one of the names he assumed was Aulendil, meaning devotee of Aulë.
- Curumo (Saruman), the leader of the wizards sent to lead the people of Middle-earth against Sauron, only to betray his fellow wizards and ally with Sauron himself (who he also betrayed in the end).
It is interesting to note that two of the greatest Maiar sent to Middle-earth, that fell, were in the beginning both aligned with Aulë. The reason for this is probably that this is the order most associated with craft, skill, and by these means, power. Weaker-willed spirits often fall prey to craving for power in Tolkien's works, and these prove no exception. Also, Tolkien generally sees industry as corruption. It seems Maiar of Aulë are the most powerful Maia because they are the closest to Ilúvatar's creation skills.
Aulë seems to have a power most akin to Ilúvatar's - he can create an innumerable amount of things. He made the Two Lamps, and made Angainor, Morgoth's chain. Although he does not have access to the Flame Imperishable, he was able to create life (although it does not have free will). As a Valar, he possesses incredible strength, and has been noted to have rebuilt Arda during and after Morgoth's period of destruction before the coming of the Elves. He likely forged the Valar's weaponry and armor for the War of Wrath. His strength is in the construction of new things, and he is as near to the antithesis of the destructive Morgoth as one can be.
Aulë means invention in Quenya.
- Aulë shares similarities with Hephaistos, the god of volcanoes and divine blacksmith in Greek mythology.
Translations around the world
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Kazakh||Аұле (Cyrillic) Aule (Latin)|
|Serbian||Ауле (Cyrillic) Aule (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Ауле (Cyrillic) Aule (Latin)|