The main part of this article relates to the last versions of Middle-earth's history, and as such may controvert parts of The Silmarillion. See Middle-earth canon for a discussion. This subject's portrayal in earlier or alternative versions is discussed in the other versions of the legendarium section.
The Vanyar were the first and smallest of the Kindreds of the Eldar. Under the leadership of Ingwë, the Vanyar (Quenya; IPA: [ˈvaɲar]; singular Vanya; adjectival Vanyarin; [ˈvaɲarin]) were the first to set forth on the Great Journey and the first to reach the shores of Belegaer; they sailed to Aman on the first voyage of Tol Eressëa. In Aman the Vanyar first dwelt in Tirion. Later, they came to love the full light of the Trees and wandered into Valinor or settled on Taniquetil. Many of the Vanyar marched to the Great Battle with the Host of Valinor, but otherwise they remained content in Valinor, ruled by Ingwë.
The Vanyar are the fairest of all the elves hence their name: the Fair Elves. Unlike the others who were attracted to the sea or the building and forging of things, they seemed to love high culture and pursued it to brilliance. This is probably the reason why they loved the light of Valinor best of all the other places in Aman and wisdom of the Valar, and why they were favored by Manwe and Varda and always distrusted Melkor. They are said to have the greatest skill in poetry of all the Elves, and Manwe loves them for it. Their hair was golden and their banners white.
Vanyar are descendants of Imin, the first Elf to awake at Cuiviénen, his wife Iminyë, and six other pairs of Elves who were awoken by them. Imin's companions, Tata and Enel, later awoke groups of nine and twelve pairs respectively, and Imin decided that since his group was now the smallest and each group that he and his companions discovered was larger than the last, he would now choose third rather than first in order to make up the numbers. However, only a further two groups were discovered, leaving Imin's group of fourteen by far the smallest of the three Elven clans.
When the Elves were discovered by Oromë, each clan chose an ambassador to return with him to Valinor to verify his claims of its greatness. The Minyar (Imin's companions) sent Ingwë. Upon his return, his people were swayed by his testimony and adopted him as their king (appropriate, as the name Ingwë means chieftain in Quenya), and he led them with Oromë to Aman. Ingwë has since been reckoned the High King of all Elves, and became known as Ingwë Ingweron, the "Chief of Chieftains", and his people were known by the rest of the Eldar as the Vanyar. He dwells with them on the slopes of Taniquetil, beneath the halls of Manwë.
After arriving in Aman, the Vanyar were rarely seen even by other Elves. Very few individual Vanyar are named besides Imin, Ingwë, and his sister (or possibly niece) Indis, the second wife of Finwë (the king of the Noldor) and the mother of Fingolfin and Finarfin, the latter of which founded the only house of Noldorin Elves to sport golden Vanyarin hair. After her husband was killed by Melkor in his attack on Formenos, she returned to her people, along with her daughter Findis.
The pure Vanyar were only seen in Middle-earth once, with rare exception, after their departure, when Ingwë's son Ingwion led an armed host of his people from Valinor to fight in the War of Wrath. They returned to Aman, along with most of the Eldar living in the now largely destroyed Beleriand, at the end of the First Age.
Other Known Vanyar Edit
The name Vanyar means "the Fair" in Quenya, referring to their golden hair. The Vanyar often called themselves Minyar; IPA: [ˈmiɲar]; "Firsts"; singular Minya; adjectival Minyarin; [ˈmiɲarin]), their ancient name. This ancient name does not still refer to any of the Avari who remained in Middle-earth, since all of the Vanyar heeded the call of the Valar to come to Valinor.
Other Versions of the Legendarium Edit
In the earliest versions of Tolkien's mythology (see: The History of Middle-earth), they were called Teleri, while the elves known as Teleri in the published version of The Silmarillion were called Solosimpi.
The People of Middle-earth