Varda (Quenya; IPA: [ˈvarda] - "Sublime" or "Lofty") is an Ainu, one of the Aratar and a Vala who was responsible for the outlining of the stars in the heavens above Arda. She was also called Elbereth (Sindarin; IPA: "Queen of the Stars") or Gilthoniel and is the spouse of Manwë, with whom she lives in Ilmarin on the summit of Taniquetil in Aman.
When Melkor first began to create his discord, Varda saw his mind, and hated him and was forever his enemy and had always mistrusted him. As a result of his discord, Melkor hated Varda the most out of the Valar and it was her that he retreated from the most. Varda came to Arda with Manwë and the other Valar in the beginning of days. Varda aids Manwë in the rule of Arda and the watching of Middle-earth. Varda is concerned with light. She made the stars, filled the Lamps of the Valar with light, collected the dews of the Two Trees in her Wells, fashioned the newer stars and constellations in preparation for the Awakening of the Elves, hallowed the Silmarils, established the courses of the Moon and Sun, and set the Star of Elendil in the sky.
Because of her creation of the stars, Varda was the dearest of the Valar to the elves, who called to her for aid from Middle-earth. It is said that when Manwë sits beside her upon their throne on Taniquetil she is able to hear more clearly than any other ears, the prayers and laments of those in need from the furthest east even unto the west. At times she answered their prayers, and also those of Men. During the War of the Ring, for example, she aided Sam through the Phial of Galadriel (which contained the Light of Eärendil) during his struggle against Shelob. Varda was the most beautiful of the Valar. Varda is said to be too beautiful for words. Within her face radiates the light of Ilúvatar.
Maiar of VardaEdit
The Valar are divine beings below a greater, more ultimate Creator, Ilúvatar. Thus some equate the Valar of Middle-earth with saints and angels; thus Varda, in her role as the most loved and prayed-to Vala, may be an equivalent of the Virgin Mary in Tolkien's own Catholic faith.
With his creation and inclusion of the Valar into his works, Tolkien also paid homage to Greek mythology and the Greek Pantheon in particular. Each of the Valar had a specific realm within the world that were at their command, much as the Greek gods in ancient myth. Tolkien wanted to create a mythology for his world, and the Greek model fit the bill perfectly. With this in mind Manwë, who is the King of the Valar, is most akin to Zeus who was King of the gods. In the same manner Varda, the wife of Manwë and the Queen of the Valar, is the equivalent of Hera, wife of Zeus and Queen of the gods as well as Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty.
- Varda means sublime or lofty in Quenya.
- Elentári means queen of the stars in Quenya.
- Gilthoniel means kindler of the stars in Sindarin.
- She is probably best known by her Sindarin name, Elbereth Gilthoniel, as Frodo uttered that name at Weathertop to drive away the Ringwraiths.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- In NetHack and some other Roguelike games, the name Elbereth is used as a protective charm. For more, read the NetHack Elbereth FAQ; for a wiki page, try Elbereth.
- "Varda" (ורדה) is a Hebrew name meaning "Rose", and is a common female first name in contemporary Israel. It is unknown whether Tolkien was aware of and influenced by this, or whether he created a similar name independently.
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|Ainur of Arda|
|Lords of the Valar (of Valinor):||Manwë (Súlimo) | Ulmo (Ulubôz) | Aulë (Návatar) | Oromë (Aldaron) | Námo (Mandos) | Irmo (Lórien) | Tulkas (Astaldo)|
|Queens of the Valar (of Valinor):|| |
Varda (Elentári) | Yavanna (Kementári) | Nienna | Estë | Vairë | Vána | Nessa
|Maiar (of Valinor):|| |
Eönwë | Ilmarë | Ossë | Uinen | Salmar | Melian | Arien | Tilion | Curumo (Saruman) | Olórin (Gandalf) | Aiwendil (Radagast) | Alatar (Morinehtar) | Pallando (Rómestámo)
|Lords of the Valar (The Enemy):|| |
|Maiar (The Enemy):||Sauron (Mairon) | Gothmog | Durin's Bane | Ungoliant | Shelob | Curumo (Saruman)|