Arien (Quenya; IPA: [ˈari.en] or [ˈarijen] - "Maiden Of Sunlight") is a Maia and the guardian of the Sun.


Arien govar

Arien holding the sun.

Arien was originally a Maia in service of the Valië Vána the Ever-young, though in some writings she served Queen Varda. Arien from the beginning was originally a spirit of fire whom Melkor was unable to deceive nor draw her to his service. The eyes of Arien were said to be too bright for even the Eldar to look upon. In the Days of the Trees, she tended to the golden flower gardens of Vána. Arien would water the flowers with great bright dews collected from the great golden Tree Laurelin of Valinor . Arien later was chosen by the Valar to carry the vessel of the Sun because she was the only one who was not afraid and could bear the heat of the great Tree Laurelin, and so was unhurt by it.[1]

While in Valinor, Arien took a form similar to that of the Valar, but when Arien left Valinor, she forsook the raiment like the Valar and became a "naked flame of fire, terrible in the fullness of her splendour". Later on, when the great Two Trees of Valinor were destroyed by Morgoth and Ungoliant , the great golden Tree Laurelin managed to produce one last golden fruit before it died away. So the last surviving golden fruit of Laurelin was given to Aulë, 'the Great Smith of the Valar', who then crafted a vessel to hold the precious golden fruit which was how the Sun was fashioned. The Valar then charged Arien to guide the vessel of the Sun. So after the vessel for the Sun also named 'Anar' was made ready, Arien carried the vessel of the Sun away up into the Heavens giving light to the World. However, it took Tilion (a Maia who was one of the Vala Oromë's hunters) who was chosen to steer the </span>Moon to traverse seven times before the vessel of the Anar (Sun) was ready. Then Anar rose in glory, and the first dawn of the Sun was like a great fire glowing upon the towers of the great Pelòri Mountains of Aman . And the clouds of Middle-earth was kindled and there was heard the sound of many waterfalls. Then indeed Morgoth was dismayed and he descended to the lowest pit of Angband his stronghold and also withdrew all his servants as well. Then Morgoth sent forth great reeks and darkness of clouds to hide his lands from the land of the Sun.[2]

By Anar the waters of the OUter Sea were made hot and glowed with colored fire, and hence Valinor has light for awhile after the passing of Arien. Consequently, by the coming and going of Anar-Arien, the Valar reckoned the days thereafter until the "Change of the World". Of Arien, Morgoth feared with a great fear but dared not come close to her, having indeed no power to do so now. For as Morgoth grew in malice, and sent forth from himself the evil he conceived in lies and creatures of wickedness, thus his might was passed to them and was dispersed, and Morgoth himself became ever more bound to the earth, unwilling to issue out from his dark strongholds. With shadows Morgoth hid himself as well as his servants from the glance of Arien whose eyes could not be endured for long.[3]

Arien was more powerful than Tilion, the guardian of the Moon. As Arien is the guardian of the Sun, she is one of the most loved Maiar by mortal men, and her first journey across the sky was the signal of their awakening.[4]


Arien's name means "Maiden of Sunlight" in Quenya from áirë ("sunlight") and -ien, a feminine ending.[5]

Earlier Names

Urien and Urwendi are the earlier names for Arien, which both mean "Maiden of Fire".[6]

Other versions of the legendarium

In other writings, Morgoth wanted to claim Arien as a wife, and ravished her, upon which she abandoned her body and "died", leaving the Sun to travel through the skies uncontrollably and burning parts of Arda.[7]

It was also stated that Arien, then named Urwendi, fell into the Sea and met her "death". Fiönwë, later called Eönwë, a son of Manwë, defeats Melkor, driven by his love for Urwendi.[7]


  1. History of Middle-earth Vol.5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, VI."Quenta Silmarillion"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon", P.112-13
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XI: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  5. The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names
  6. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I
  7. 7.0 7.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, IX: "The Hiding of Valinor"

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