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Flame of Anor

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"I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor."
—Gandalf, to the Balrog of Moria

In The Lord of the Rings, in his fight with the Balrog, Gandalf says he is the wielder of the Flame of Anor. It is nowhere else referred to, so its particular meaning remains unclear. Anor is the Elvish word for the Sun, so literally the flame of Anor would be the light of the Sun, which originated in the fiery fruit of Laurelin, one of the Two Trees of Valinor. Thus, Gandalf may be referring to the power he gains as a servant of the Lords of the West, in defiance to the corrupted darkness of the Balrog.[1]

Alternatively, Gandalf may be referring here to Narya, the Ring of Fire. He is certainly the "wielder" of that ring, and therefore of that fire, but it seems highly unlikely that Gandalf would want to reveal his ownership of a Ring of Power—a matter of utmost secrecy—to one of his greatest enemies.[1]

In Tolkien's earliest drafts, forms of this passage were variations on: "I am the master of White Flame. The Red Fire cannot come this way" (and one variation mixes in the idea of Black Shadow, too). These terms seem to be symbolic - white for the powers of good, but red or black for Sauron and his servants. As the text developed, the Red Fire and Black Shadow were lost. The White Flame remained, but developed into the more poetic flame of Anor. On this reading, then, the 'flame of Anor' doesn't refer to a specific thing, but is Gandalf's way of announcing what he stands for, or perhaps his power as a servant of the Valar.[2]

"Only one thing I have added, the fire that giveth Life and Reality, and behold, the secret fire burnt at the heart of the world."
—Ilúvatar [3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Flame of Anor, The Encyclopedia of Arda
  2. The History of Middle-earth Vol. 7, "The Mines of Moria (2): The Bridge"
  3. The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 1, p. 53 (Christopher Tolkien, editor. 1992)

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