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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.[1]

Two Trees of Valinor by Patchak

Telperion and Laurelin, by Jordan Patchak

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.[1]

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.[2]

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,[3] 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 afterwards reside only in the Silmarils.

Telperion's descendantsEdit

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 Númenóreans - this was Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor. It lasted through the majority of the realm's duration, but when Sauron took control of the island he commanded King Ar-Pharazôn to chop it down.

Fortunately Isildur managed to save a single fruit of that tree. Of this fruit later came the White Tree of Gondor.

Internal significanceEdit

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.

The whole of the history of the First Age is strongly affected by the desire of many different characters to possess the Silmarils, which contain the only remaining unsullied light of the Trees. Yet upon his flight from Valinor after destroying the light of the Two Trees, Melkor stole the Silmarils and sparked the Oath of Fëanor (who renamed Melkor Morgoth) and after many years the Valar embarked on the War of Wrath, Which ended the First Age

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.

External significanceEdit

Tolkien, as a Roman Catholic, would have been exposed to the significance of light in Catholic symbolism. Trees were of special importance to him - in his short story Leaf by Niggle, which in a sense was an elaborate allegory explaining his own creative process, the protagonist spends his life painting a single Tree.

The Two Trees represent the recurrent 'gold and silver' concept of the legendarium. They are created after the lamps Ormal and Illuin - and from the trees themselves, the Sun and Moon are later created.

Tolkien may have also gotten inspiration for the trees directly from the Sun, which rises in the day (as Laurelin, the golden tree), and the moon which rises in the night (Telperion, the silver tree).

EtymologyEdit

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 named Silpion and Ninquelótë. Telperion's name in Valarin, the language of the Valar, is said to have been Ibrîniðilpathânezel; Laurelin's name is recorded as Tulukhedelgorûs.

In early writings of Tolkien, Telperion's names were Silpion [4], Bansil, and Belthil.

QuotationsEdit

"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

Notes Edit

  • 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 ቫሊኖር ሁለት ዛፎች
Arabic شجرتي ڢالينور
Armenian Երկու ծառեր Վալինոր
Azerbaijani Valinor iki ağac
Basque Valinorreko Bi Zuhaitzak
Belarusian Cyrillic Тўо Треес оф Валінор
Bosnian Dva stabla od Valinora
Bulgarian Cyrillic Дървета на Валинор
Catalan Dos Arbres de Vàlinor
Cebuano Duha ka Kahoy sa Valinor
Croatian Dva Stabla Valinora
Czech Dva Valinorské stromy
Danish To Træer af Valinor
Dutch Twee Bomen van Valinor
Esperanto Du Arboj de Valinor
Estonian Kaks Puud Valinor
Filipino Dalawang puno ng Valinor
Finnish Kaksi Valinorin Puuta
French Deux Arbres de Valinor
Galician As Dúas Árbores de Valinor
Georgian ვალინორის ორი ხე
German Zwei Bäume von Valinor
Greek Δύο Δέντρα του Βάλινορ
Haitian 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
Japanese 二つの木 ?
Kannada ವಾಲಿನೊರ್ ಎರಡು ಮರಗಳು
Kazakh Валинордың екі ағашы (Cyrillic) Valïnordıñ eki ağaşı (Latin)
Kurdish Du Darên ji Valinor (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Latin Duae Arbores Valinoris
Latvian Divi koki Valinor
Lithuanian Du Valinoro medžiai
Macedonian Cyrillic Две дрва на Валинор
Marathi वलिनोर दोन झाडे
Malay Dua Pohon-Valinor ?
Maltese Żewġ Siġar tal Valinor
Mongolian Cyrillic Валинорын хоёр мод
Norwegian To Trær av Valinor
Persian دو درخت از والینور
Polish Dwa Drzewa Valinoru
Portuguese Duas Árvores de Valinor
Punjabi ਵਲਿਨੋਰ ਦੇ ਦੋ ਰੁੱਖ
Romanian Doi Copaci din Valinor
Russian Древа Валар
Scottish Gaelic Dà Craobhan de Valinor
Serbian Два стабла Валинора (Cyrillic) Dva stabla Valinora (Latin)
Sinhalese වලිනොර් ශාකවලටද දෙකක් ?
Slovak Dva stromy Valinor
Slovenian Dve drevesi Valinorja
Somalian Laba Dhirta Valinor
Spanish Dos Árboles de Valinor
Swahili Miti miwili ya Valinor
Swedish Två Träd av Valinor
Tajik Cyrillic Ду пораи Волинор ?
Tamil வலிநொர் இரண்டு மரங்கள்
Telugu వాలినోర్ రెండు చెట్లు
Thai ทวิพฤกษาแห่งวาลินอร์
Turkish Valinor'un iki agacı
Ukrainian Cyrillic Два дерева Валінора
Urdu والینور کے دو درخت
Uzbek Валинор икки Дарахтлар (Cyrillic) Valinor ikki Daraxtlar (Latin)
Vietnamese Hai cây của Valinor
Welsh Dau Goed o Valinor
Yiddish צוויי ביימער פון וואַלינאָר
Yoruba Meji igi ti Valinor
Places in Aman
Regions of the Valar
Woods of OromëPastures of YavannaHalls of MandosHalls of NiennaGardens of LòrienWells of VardaHouse of TulkasMáhanaxarTwo Trees of Valinor
Other Regions
ValinorEldamarTol EressëaUndying LandsAlalminórëEnchanted IslesAramanAvatharPlain of ValinorHaerastOiomurë
Mountains and Passes
PelóriTúnaTaniquetilCalaciryaHyarmentirCaves of the Forgotten
Bodies of Water
Bay of EldamarLórellinShadowy SeasHíriSirnúmen
City and Fortifications
ValmarTirionFormenosAvallonëAlqualondëKortirionTavrobel
Other Places
Cottage of Lost PlayMindon EldaliévaGalathilionHouse of the Hundred ChimneysTower of AvallónëTower of TavrobelIlmarinBridge of TavrobelEzellohar


ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter I: "Of the Beginning of Days"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VIII: "Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XI: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  4. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter III: "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor"