I: The Book of Lost Tales part 1, IV: THE CHAINING OF MELKO

In this chapter the tale is still told within the Eriol-framework, this time told by Meril-i-Turinqui. The text deals with limpë and the relation to long life and desires of elves and men as well as the relationship between the Valar and Melko. 

Eriol talks with Vairë the e lf about music he had heard in the night. It was at this moment he got his name “Eriol”. The music he had heard had been the flute of Tinfang Warble who was not really an elf, but partly a wood spirit like a fay. Eriol asks to get to drink limpë in order to get a heart to fanthom all music and song. Vairë tell him to seek out the queen, Meril-i-Turinqui with this request. Eriol travels to the korin (ring of elms) where she dwells. She discourages him about drinking limpë because of what it does and because of Eriol’s limited knowledge. She tells him about “Melko’s chains”.

After the building of Valinor the gods were dwelling in peace, because Melko had stayed hidden because he feared the anger of the Valar because of his treachery regarding the lamps. Spirits older than the world was faring to it, both good and evil creatures. When Melko had been lying low he burst forth in violence because he thought the others had left. He brought earthquakes, volcanoes and ravaging storms. Manwë called to council and a decision to trap Melko was made. Aulë fashioned chains called Angaino which were meant to use on Melko. Part of the chains were done using Tilkal. Some Valar armoured themselves and went to Utumna. By playing with Meko’s pride they were able to catch him and brought him to be fettered in deep vaults of Mandos. He was to be kept there for three ages and then being a servant at Tulkas house for another four ages in order to win the favour of the other Vala.

Characters and Creatures to note

  • Spirits – There were both good and evil spirits that fared into the world. Fays, pixes and leprawns are examples of woodspirits that came. In the grim north more evil spirits gathered under Melko. All these spirits are older than the world and were not made by Iluvatar.
  • Tinfang Warble – Also Timpinen. Plays the flute in a way that all love. “Shier than a fawn”. Said to be half a fay of the woods and half a Gnome or Shoreland Piper (=Eldar/Elf). Plays

Features to note

  • Limpë – A draught of the Eldar that keeps the drinker alive and well. It brings joy, merriment and deeper desires. It is dangerous for mortal men to drink it because it would erase his old desired.
  • Tilkal – A metal made from copper, silver, tin, lead, iron and gold. Has all their properties and more.
  • Angaino – The chain that fetters Melko. Made from Tilkal and the above mentioned metals. Manacles called Vorotemnar and the fetter Ilterendi.


The more interesting section in this chapter to me is where Meril tells about what limpë does and the changes that it creates within a man. The wish of Eriol is to be of the same kin as the elves, something which is not possible, even through this drink. “…what Ilúvatar has made unalike may not become alike while the world remains”. This relation and differences between elves and men will be more clear throughout the tales of this book.

Have you read this chapter? Please comment and tell me what you think of this part and if you have anything to add! 

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