Tag Archive for valaquenta



“With Manwë dwells Varda, Lady of the Stars … Too great is her beauty to be declared in the words of Men or Elves; for the light of Illuvatar lives still in her face. In light is her power and her joy … Of all the Great Ones who dwell in this world the Elves hold Varda in most reverence and love. Elbereth they name her, and they call upon her name out of the shadows of Middle-earth, and uplift it in song at the rising of the stars.” — Silmarillion, Valaquenta

Indeed, Frodo can tell the Elves crossing the Shire in Fellowship are High Elves because they sing of Elbereth (see below). I wanted Varda to be youthful and yet matronly, which is befitting one of the greatest of the Valar. Her hair  is similar to Galadriel’s which captures the light of the Two Trees of Valinor, but instead of the Trees it captures the light of her stars.

Varda inspired the longest verse of Sindarin to make it into one of Tolkien’s published works. “Ah!” but you might say, Galadriel’s lament is much longer than this fragment. To that I say, it is in Quenya, not Sindarin.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!
O Elbereth Starkindler,
white-glittering, slanting down sparkling like a jewel,
the glory of the starry host!
Having gazed far away
from the tree-woven lands of Middle-earth,
to thee, Everwhite, I will sing,
on this side of the Sea, here on this side of the Ocean!



“…Manwë is dearest to Illuvatar and understands most clearly his purposes. He was appointed to be … the first of all Kings: lord of the realm of Arda and ruler or all that dwell therein. In Arda his delight is in the winds and the clouds … Sulimo he is surnamed, Lord of the Breath of Arda.” — Silmarillion, Valaquenta

Not mentioned in this particular passage, but Manwë has a special affinity for birds, especially eagles, presumably due to his delight in the winds. Thus the winged circlet (I also like the hearkening to the winged helmets of Gondor). I maintain that this affinity for birds is the reason Gandalf has such a good relationship with Gwaihir the Eagle —  before leaving Valinor to become Istari in Middle Earth, Gandalf was Olorin, one of the Maiar of Manwë.

All of the Valar took the guise of what they thought the Children of Illuvatar would look like when they finally came. Manwë has the overall look of a Noldorin Elf with dark hair and light eyes, which are both also reminiscent of the sky (this becomes more important when we later talk about Varda, his Queen).

I chose a dark stone in his circlet for a similar reason as the dark hair. Also because there seems to be an ongoing elemental theme with the other Valar, and with Ulmo being water I thought black was a better air color for Manwë than blue.