The Valar were the fourteen (fifteen including Melkor) Ainur who entered Arda after its creation to give order to the world and combat the evils of Melkor. They helped to begin the shaping of Arda through the music of Ilúvatar and often referred to one another as brother or sister. Each of the Ainur added his or her own part to the music creating the world incarnate. All except Melkor. His vision of what Arda should have been was different than Eru's. This led to the casting out of Melkor and his great rebellion that caused so many of the ills of the world of Arda. The Valar originally dwelt on the hidden Isle of Almaren, but after its destruction, long before the Awakening of the Elves, they moved to Aman and founded Valinor.
The Valar were powers of the world created by Ilúvatar, or Eru, who rarely directly intervened in the world's course of events. They were part of the Hierarchy of Spirits that is a major part of the Tolkien Myth. Eru (the One), also called Ilúvatar by the Elves, was the Creator. The angel-like spirits he created were the Ainur, which comprised the Valar and the Maiar. The Valar were the greatest of the Ainur, but the Maiar were also spirits whose being began before the world, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree.
Though less powerful than the Valar, the Maiar were powerful nonetheless, and included Melian, Sauron, Olórin (later known as Gandalf) and the other Istari, the Balrogs, and many others. A Maia would often associate himself with a particular Vala. For example, Ossë and Uinen, powers of the oceans, served under Ulmo, while Curumo (later known as Saruman), served Aulë the Smith. Sauron also served Aulë before he was corrupted by Melkor.
It was originally Melkor's intention to rule Arda for himself, but Manwë called other spirits to help him confront Melkor. Among these were the other Valar and the Maiar. Melkor withdrew from Arda, and the others continued their creation of the World. But Melkor saw this, and returned to fight for control of Arda.
These are the names of the Valar as they were known to the Eldar. In Middle-earth, they were known by other names of Sindarin origin; for example they called Varda Elbereth. Men knew them by many other names, and sometimes worshipped them as Gods. The elves called Varda, their creator, Elentári. The dwarves called Aulë, their creator, Mahal. The ents called Yavanna, their creator, Kementári. It should be noted that, with the exception of Oromë, the names listed below are not actual names but rather titles: the true names of the Valar are nowhere recorded. Male Valar are called "Lords of the Valar"; females are called "Queens of the Valar," or Valier.
Lords of the Valar
- Manwë, the Wind-King and the King of the Valar.
- Melkor, the Dark Power and most powerful of the Valar.
- Ulmo, the Sea-King and the Lord of Water.
- Aulë, the Smith and the Lord of Earth and all that's underneath.
- Oromë, the Huntsman, the Lord of Forests and the Great Rider.
- Námo (Mandos), the Doomsman and the Judge of the Dead.
- Irmo (Lórien), Lord and Master of Dreams, Visions, and Desires, and Creator of the Oloré Mallé, or Path of Dreams.
- Tulkas, the Wrestler, the Champion of Valinor and last of the Valar to come to Arda
Ladies of the Valar
- Varda, the Star-Queen and the Queen of the Valar.
- Yavanna, the Fruit-Giver and the Lady of Earth.
- Nienna, the Weeper and the Lady of Mercy.
- Estë the Gentle, Lady of Healing and Rest, and spouse of Irmo.
- Vairë, the Weaver and spouse of Mandos.
- Vána, the Ever-young and spouse of Orome.
- Nessa, the Dancer and spouse of Tulkas.
The Aratar (Sindarin: Exalted) or High Ones of Arda are the eight greatest of the Valar: Manwë, Varda, Ulmo, Yavanna, Aulë, Mandos, Nienna, and Oromë. Melkor, the most powerful of all, is not counted among them.
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|Manwë (Súlimo) • Ulmo (Ulubôz) • Aulë (Návatar) • Oromë (Aldaron) • Námo (Mandos) • Irmo (Lórien) • Tulkas (Astaldo)|
|Varda (Elentári) • Yavanna (Kementári) • Nienna • Estë • Vairë • Vána • Nessa|
|Eönwë • Ilmarë • Ossë • Uinen • Salmar • Melian • Arien • Tilion • Curumo (Saruman) • Olórin (Gandalf) • Aiwendil (Radagast) • Alatar (Morinehtar) • Pallando (Rómestámo)|
|Sauron (Mairon) • Gothmog • Durin's Bane • Ungoliant • Shelob • Curumo (Saruman)|