I had in my mind that while "unclothed" both Valar and Maia would be able to travel in any form they liked, perhaps invisible, perhaps as great birds or as you said just appear. It would seem though that perhaps Tolkien had different ideas as always these beings would appear in their chosen form having Travelled that way, or seemingly anyway.
I alway find Orome on Nahar most interesting. Could Nahar gallop on water or fly?
I'm sure were in for some interesting ideas.
when/how did the Maia travel over to ME?
They were there before time began, Assisting the Valar to build Middle-Earth. In fact the first dwelling of the Valar was in Middle-Earth. If I remember correctly it was destroyed when Melkor attacked the lamps.
what about others like the Istari?
Gandalf sailed over the sea and made port at the Grey Havens. It's been a long time since I read about the Istari but I believe they all did sail there.
He made the balrogs very early on with Maia
He didn't actually make them. They just chose the form of balrogs and were in his service.
Regarding the dragons:
I don't think that the dragons had anything to do with Maiar. At least not the Maiar we hear about in the Silmarillion, with the exception of Ungoliant. There were other spirits that used to dwell around Arda in those times (Tulkas). I think that Morgoth bred the dragons and then bound a lesser spirit in to the body he had bred.
I'm sure there are texts that make the above seem foolish but my books are gone and I have not yet replaced them.
Sorry I should've been clearer in my frist post. I already mentioned the ones who were already over there, but I was unsure, mainly about the Istari, but also if there were any others (though I don't think there were) that came over that I was leaving out.
I know it states Gandalf "sailed" over in I beieive The Sil, I was wondering if there's any specific text that mentions the journey, considering at that point, after the fall of Numenor, it was impossible for anyone from Middle Earth to sail back to Valinor. So I was curious if the Vala had to open up a specific path or a special ship or something. I'm sure they did but I would like to have read more about it. But...Guess not. And to be fair I just used the word make, though you're right I should've used "inspired."
In regards to the dragons, you should check out the "If Melkor Could Not Create" thread. Some interesting discussions going on in there that might sway your opinion.
Also Ungoliant wasn't a maia. She was a "Tom Bombadil" type figure and nobody really knew what she was.
I know it states Gandalf "sailed" over in I beieive The Sil, I was wondering if there's any specific text that mentions the journey, considering at that point, after the fall of Numenor, it was impossible for anyone from Middle Earth to sail back to Valinor. So I was curious if the Vala had to open up a specific path or a special ship or something.
Or maybe the ship or the path wasn't special at all, but the spirit of Ulmo (and Osse) allowed them to travel to Middle Earth safely. I don't know.
I guess all of the Istari were in their Middle-Earth 'forms' during the journey. Sorry for the lack of source, but I think the Elves greeted them in* Grey Havens.
* is that the correct preposition? You know, I'm not a native English speaker, but I like to learn, so correct me, please.
I have read both UT and BoLT and nowhere (to my recollection, its been a year or two) does it specifically mention details of the journey or its means. We know the original istari "sailed" over and landed in the Grey Havens, but what about Gandalf the White? Certainly he didn't sail an entire boat across the seas by himself and then traveled all the way to Isenguard in the time span of, what, a few months? A year at most?
And so I guess my other question was answered in that there were no new maia between the early 1st age and the arrival of the Istari.
The first time i read the Sil i imagined it like; the Maia are seeds spread out by the Iluvatar the ones that were gathered up by the Valar became good and helped build the world. The ones that were lost and alone came to Melkor and served his purpose.
Is Ungoliant a Maia?
No Ungoliant is a mystery character. Not much is known about her origins or death. There are a few theories, but nothing is known for sure. She's definitely not a maia though. She seems to have come from the darkness of Arda at the worlds creation.
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