The Two Trees of Valinor also known as the Trees of the Valar, the Two Trees. Laurelin (the Gold Tree) and Telperion (the Silver Tree), brought light into the Land of the Valar in ancient times. They were destroyed by Melkor and Ungoliant, but their last flower and fruit were made by the Valar into the Sun and the Moon.
Creation and destructionEdit
The first sources of light for all of Arda were two enormous Lamps, Illuin, the silver one to the north, and Ormal, the golden one to the south. These were cast down and destroyed by Melkor. Afterward, the Valar went to Valinor and Yavanna sang into existence the Two Trees, silver Telperion and golden Laurelin. Telperion was considered male and Laurelin female. The Trees sat on the hill Ezellohar located outside Valimar. They grew in the presence of all of the Valar, watered by the tears of Nienna.
Each tree was a source of light: Telperion's silver and Laurelin's gold. Telperion had dark leaves (silver on one side) and his silvery dew was collected as a source of water and of light. Laurelin had gold-trimmed leaves and her dew was likewise collected by Varda. One "day" lasted twelve hours. Each Tree, in turn, would give off light for seven hours (waxing to full brightness and then slowly waning again), so that at one hour each of "dawn" and "dusk" soft gold and silver light would be given off together.
Jealous, Melkor enlisted the help of the giant spider-creature Ungoliant (the mother of Shelob) to destroy the Two Trees. Concealed in Unlight, Melkor struck each Tree and the insatiable Ungoliant devoured whatever life and light remained in them.
Again Yavanna sang and Nienna wept, but they succeeded only in reviving Telperion's last flower (to become the Moon) and Laurelin's last fruit (to become the Sun). These were assigned to lesser spirits, male Tilion and female Arien, after the 'genders' of the Trees themselves. This is why, in The Lord of the Rings, the Sun is usually referred to as "she" and the moon as "he".
However the true light of the Trees, before their poisoning by Ungoliant, was said to now reside only in the Silmarils.
Because the Elves that first came to Valinor especially loved Telperion, Yavanna made a second tree like it to stand in the city of Tirion where the Vanyar and Ñoldor dwelt together at first. This tree, named Galathilion, was identical to Telperion except that it gave no light of its own. It had many seedlings, one of which was planted in the isle of Tol Eressëa (named Celeborn).
In the Second Age, a seedling of Celeborn was brought as a gift to the Númenoreans -- that was Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor. It lasted through the vast majority of the realm's duration, but when Sauron took control of the island he had king Ar-Pharazôn chop it down.
The Two Trees of Valinor existed at a time when the only other source of light was the stars (which had been created for the Elves' benefit by Varda from the dews collected from the Two Trees). When three Elven ambassadors were brought to see Valinor for themselves, in order that the Elves might be convinced to come to Valinor, it seems that the Two Trees affected them most significantly.
In particular Thingol is said to have been motivated in the Great Journey by his desire to see the Light of Valinor again (until he finds contentment in the light he sees in Melian's face). Also in later times, the Elves would be divided between the Calaquendi who had seen the light of the Trees, and the Moriquendi who hadn't; with the former group having found enlightenment and near rapture in the light they beheld.
The Silmarillion repeatedly states that those Elves who saw the Two Trees were mighty, with the light of Aman in their faces. As vassals of the Valar, the trees somehow bestowed otherworldy power and understanding on those who were exposed to them. Galadriel in particular had an affinity to Laurelin, as her hair was said to have captured the golden light of that tree. In turn this inspired Feanor to make the jewels that could hold that same light; the Silmarils.
In the Second and Third Ages, the White Trees of Númenor and of Gondor, whose likeness descends from that of Telperion, have a mostly symbolic significance. They stand both as symbols of the kingdoms in question, and also as reminders of the ancestral alliance between the Dúnedain and the Elves. Even in this late age the two trees are remembered by some. Gandalf obviously remembers them with reverence, as he speaks of them to Pippin.
Light as a concept is full of symbolism. Tolkien, as a Roman Catholic, would certainly have been exposed to the significance of light in Catholic symbolism. Trees were of special importance to Tolkien - in his short story "Tree and Leaf" or "Leaf by Niggle", which in a sense was an elaborate allegory explaining his own creative process, the protagonist, Niggle, spends his life painting a single Tree.
The Trees are just another appearance of the recurrent 'gold and silver' concept of the legendarium. They are created after the lamps Ormal and Illuin, and from the trees themselves, Sun and Moon are created.
Tolkien may have also gotten inspiration for the trees from the Sun which rose in the day representing Laurelin the golden tree and the moon which rose in the night, representing Telperion the silver tree or the White tree of Gondor.
Both Telperion and Laurelin are said to have been given many names among which are the following: Laurelin was also given the names of Malinalda and Culúrien while Telperion was also given the names of Silpion and Ninquelótë.
In early writings of Tolkien (see: The History of Middle-earth) Telperion's names were Silpion, Bansil and Belthil.
Telperion's name in Valarin, the language of the Valar, is said to have been "Ibrîniðilpathânezel"; however, Laurelin's Valarin name is not known.
"Yet even as hope failed [...] Telperion bore at last upon a leafless bough one great flower of silver, and Laurelin a single fruit of gold." - The Silmarillion
"... and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and Golden were in flower!" Gandalf to Pippin, The Two Towers
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- Tolkien could have taken the creation of light mentioned in Genesis as inspiration for the two trees as both brought light into Middle Earth and were turned into the moon and sun.
Translations around the WorldEdit
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Afrikaans||Twee bome van Valinor|
|Albanian||Dy Pemë e Valinor|
|Amharic||ጥዎ ጥሬስ ኦፍ ቫሊኖር|
|Armenian||Տւո Տրէս ոֆ Վալինոր|
|Azerbaijani||Valinor iki ağac|
|Basque||Valinorreko Bi Zuhaitzak|
|Belarusian||Тўо Треес оф Валінор|
|Bosnian||Dva stabla od Valinor|
|Bulgarian||Дървета на Валинор|
|Catalan||Dos Arbres de Valinor|
|Cebuano||Duha ka Kahoy sa Valinor|
|Croatian||Dva Stabla Valinoru|
|Czech||Dva Valinorské stromy|
|Danish||To Træer af Valinor|
|Dari||طوو طرههس وف والینور|
|Dutch||Twee Bomen van Valinor|
|Esperanto||Du Arboj de Valinor|
|Estonian||Kaks Puud Valinor|
|Filipino||Dalawang puno ng Valinor|
|Finnish||Kaksi Puuta Valinor|
|French||Deux Arbres de Valinor|
|Galician||As Dúas Árbores de Valinor|
|Georgian||ორი ხე ვალინორის|
|German||Zwei Bäume von Valinor|
|Greek||Δύο Δέντρα του Βάλινορ|
|Haiti Creole||De kalite pyebwa ki bay Valinor|
|Hausa||Biyu itatuwa na Valinor|
|Hungarian||Valinor két fája|
|Icelandic||Tveir tré Valinor|
|Indonesian||Dua pohon Valinor|
|Italian||Alberi di Valinor|
|Irish Gaelic||Dhá crainn de Valinor|
|Kazakh||Туо Треес оф Валінор|
|Kurdish||توۆ ترههس ۆف ڤالینۆر|
|Latin||Duae Arbores Valinoris|
|Latvian||Divi koki Valinor|
|Lithuanian||Du medžiai Valinore|
|Macedonian||Две стебла од Valinor|
|Malay||Dua Pohon-Valinor ?|
|Maltese||Żewġ Siġar tal Valinor|
|Mongolian||Түо Треес оф Валинор|
|Norwegian||To Trær av Valinor|
|Polish||Dwa Drzewa Valinoru|
|Portuguese||Duas Árvores de Valinor|
|Romanian||Doi copaci de Valinor|
|Serbian||Два Треес оф Валинора (Cyrillic) Dva Trees of Valinora (Latinised)|
|Slovak||Dva stromy Valinor|
|Slovenian||Dve drevesi Valinorja|
|Somali||Laba Dhirta Valinor|
|Spanish||Dos Árboles de Valinor|
|Swahili||Miti miwili ya Valinor|
|Swedish||Två Träd Valinor|
|Tajik||Тwо Треес оф Валинор|
|Turkish||Valinor'un iki ağaç|
|Ukrainian||Тwо Треес оф Валінор|
|Urdu||طوو طرےےس وف والینور|
|Uyghur||تۋو ترەەس وف ۋالىنور|
|Uzbek||Тwо Трэс оф Валинор (Cyrillic) Valinor ikki Daraxtlar (Latinised)|
|Welsh||Mae dau Coed o Valinor|
|Yiddish||צוויי ביימער פון וואַלינאָר|
|Yoruba||Meji igi ti Valinor|