|Book||The Published Silmarillion|
|Author||J. R. R. Tolkien|
Ainulindalë (eye-nu-lin-da-leh) is The Music of the Ainur. This chapter tells of how the Ainur, the Holy Ones, were created and how all found its beginning. Ainulindalë is not considered part of the true Silmarillion, known as Quenta Silmarillion. Its purpose is to explain how the first things came to be and accounts for the history that was before Middle-earth existed.
 The Story
 Introduction and the Music
The universe is first described as empty, with only Eru Ilúvatar existing. Ilúvatar created the Ainur when there was nothing. He taught them to sing and to make music according to his themes, and he was glad to hear them as they grew in skill and learned to perform harmoniously. When they had learned much, he gathered the Ainur and declared to them the Great Music. From the theme he gave them, they would orchestrate it, according to their own thoughts, if they will. The Ainur began to create the music according to the theme of Ilúvatar. The music was so grand that it is said no music as elegant or beautiful has been played by the Ainur since, but their greatest song shall be played near the end of days, before the Children of Ilúvatar.
 The Revolt of Melkor
Ilúvatar listened with content, hearing no flaws in the music inspired by him, but then Melkor, the Ainu who had received the most gifts of power and knowledge from Ilúvatar, began to deviate and to express his own thematic composition, desiring to give greater glory to the part assigned to himself. This threw off the other Ainur, some of whom began to adjust their melodies according to his. The harmony fell to chaos, and the result was described as a raging storm of warring waters. Ilúvatar sat and listend awhile, but then he arose, and the Ainur perceived he was happy, as he lifted his left hand. A new theme, similar, yet different to the first, overtook to the flow of the sounds. Melkor resisted and clashed with the sound in another war of noise. Ilúvatar rose yet again, appearing quite stern, and held up his right hand. A third theme that was unlike the others overtook the music and chaos. Melkor again rebelled and attempted to control the concert with his violent music and was managing to succeed. Ilúvatar rose for a third time, "and his face was terrible to behold. Then he raised up both his hands, and in one chord, deeper than the Abyss, higher the the Firmament, piercing as the light of the eye of Ilúvatar, the Music ceased."
 The Will of Ilúvatar
He then explained to the Ainur that they would see what all they had done, and to Melkor, he declared that no theme may not have its source in him, lest the instruments of Ilúvatar be proven more wonderful. These words frightened the Ainur, for they did not yet understand, and Melkor felt ashamed, from which came secret anger. Ilúvatar brought them forth to the Void and gave them a vision of the World, the fate of which unfolded before them. Ilúvatar instructed them that this world would be created, according to the theme of their music, that they may modify as seen fit, but he reminded Melkor that all of his innermost desires played only a small role of a much grander scheme.
He told them much more, and the memory of the Ainur came to know much of what was, what is, and what will be, but there are some fates that not even the Ainur shall know, until the end of days. Only Ilúvatar can see all ends. One of the sights that most bedazzled the Ainur was that of the Children of Ilúvatar. They are known so, for their roots come from the third theme of Ilúvatar, of which the Ainur had no part. They saw no purpose beyond the beauty of these children and loved them.
 The Children and Arda
"Now the Children of Ilúvatar are Elves and Men, the Firstborn and the Followers." Ilúvatar chose for the Children a habitation under many stars. The Ainur had all of their greatest desires set on the vision of the world, and Melkor most of all, but he desired to make things according to his design and to rule the world that they would create. He desired servants and to control the wills of others. He envied the Children of Ilúvatar for the gifts given to them. Soon the Ainur observed the many colors and substances of Arda, the Earth, which were iron, stone, silver, gold, and the most adored, water, which is said to echo still the sounds of the Music of the Ainur. And to water, Ulmo gave his thought, and to the wind and the air, Manwë gave his thought, and to fabric of the Earth, Aulë gave his thought. They became the masters of these domains.
Ilúvatar spoke to Ulmo of the beauty of water: "Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of thy clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds, thou art drawn nearer to Manwë, thy friend, whom thou lovest." Ulmo was moved by this speech and sought Manwë, forever becoming his ally. Together, they were the most loyal to the purposes of Ilúvatar.
 The Coming of Ëa
Soon the Ainur found disappointment. They became aware of Darkness and of the holes in the destiny of the world that were masked from them, and the vision of the world stopped before the Dominion of Men and the fading of the Firstborn, and the end of days were unknown. This disturbed the Ainur, but Ilúvatar found a remedy, for he knew the desire kindled in their hearts. So he sent into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it became the heart of the world. It looked like a cloud with an inner flame, and they knew it not to be a vision. Ilúvatar had created Ëa, the World that Is. Some of the Ainur remained with Ilúvatar, but the others went to create the habitation, and their power would forever be bound to the world, to see it to completion. They then became known as the Valar, the Powers of the World. So the Valar went to Ëa and Manwë, Aulë, and Ulmo led the creation of the world. Melkor, however, interfered and created great flames so that the Earth was aflame, and he claimed it as his own kingdom. In protest, Manwë rallied many spirits to stop Melkor from ruining what was not yet made. He claimed that Melkor had no right to claim kingship, for all had labored hard. So Melkor withdrew to distant regions, but the desire for the Kingdom of Arda waned not.
 The War with Melkor
The Valar took on form and color, in the likeness of those seen in Vision of Ilúvatar. The Valar may take any shape they so desire, though, and need not a binding, physical form to exist. In most times, they fashion themselves like the Children of Ilúvatar, but their form shall reflect their own thoughts and feelings accordingly. The Valar drew many friends of varying might, some lesser, and some almost equal. When Melkor saw the Valar walking their lands in splendor, he burned with envy and took the form of someone dark and terrible. Thus initiated the first battle between the Valar and Melkor for Arda. Everything they made, Melkor reversed. He raised valleys, leveled mountains, drained oceans. Yet not all was in vain, for the time eventually came when "the habitation of the Children of Ilúvatar was established at last in the Deeps of Time and amidst the innumerable stars."
 Other Details
The rogue attitude of Melkor as the Great Music is played foretells the reigns of darkness to come. Melkor's first attempt to subdue the melody represents his war with the Valar before the time of the Firstborn. His second attempt correlates to his return to power as the Dark Lord, before being overthrown forever. The third interference is related to Sauron and the War of the Ring, as mentioned in the end of The Silmarillion and in The Lord of the Rings.
There are many relations of Middle Earth lore to real world mythology and tales. Melkor's story is similar to Lucifier's descent from Heaven and becoming Satan. Ilúvatar reflects the old Hebrew idea of there being one god above all, but with other divine beings existing as well. Similarly to monotheistic beliefs, Arda was created before any living being, for the living beings. This is similar to the tale in Genesis when God gives mankind dominion over the Earth. This idea is furthered with the Dominion of Men in the later years of Middle-earth.