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


Arien the Maia-maiden first served Vána the Ever-young before she was charged to carry the vessel of the Sun. Arien was originally a spirit of fire whom Melkor was unable to deceive nor draw to his service. The eyes of Arien were said to be too bright for even the Eldar to look upon. In the Years of the Trees, Arien tended to the golden flower gardens of Vána where Arien would water the flowers with great bright dews collected from the great golden Tree Laurelin. Later, Arien 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 heats of the great Tree Laurelin and so was unhurt by it.[1] While in Valinor , Arien took a physical form similar to that of the Valar; but when Arien left Valinor, she forsook her raiment and became a "naked flame of fire, terrible in the fullness of her splendour".[2]

Arien holding the sun.

Later on, when the great Two Trees of Valinor were destroyed by Morgoth  and Ungoliant, the golden Tree Laurelin managed to produce one last golden fruit before it died away. Subsequently Aulë, the Greatest Craftmans of the Earth, then created a vessel to hold the last golden fruit of Laurelin. However the Maia Tilion, chosen to steer the vessel of the Moon, had traversed seven times before the vessel of the Sun was ready. So after the vessel for the Sun  also named 'Anarwas at last made ready, Arien carried the vessel of the Sun away up into the Heavens giving light to the World. Hence, Anar rose in glory and the first dawn of the Sun was like a great fire glowing upon the towers of the Pelóri Mountains in 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 pits of Angband and also withdrew all his servants as well. There, Morgoth sent forth great reeks and darkness of clouds to hide his land from the the light of the Daystar. For of Arien, Morgoth feared with a great fear and dared not come close to her having indeed no power to do so now.[2]

It has been told that Arien was more powerful than Tilion who was drawn to Arien and occasionally followed Arien through the night sky but when catching up to her, the Island of the Moon became burned and blackened by Arien's heat when in close proximity to her. Moreover, the Valar stored the great radiance of the Sun in many vessels, vats, and pools to use for their comfort in times of darkness.[1] As Arien was the "Guardian of the Sun", she was one of the most loved of the Maiar by mortal Men for her first journey across the sky was the signal of the Awakening of Men.[2]


Arien's name means "Maiden of Sunlight" in Quenya from áirë ("sunlight") and -ien, a feminine ending.[3]

Earlier Names

Urien and Urwendi are the earlier names for Arien, which both meant "Maiden of Fire".[4]

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.[5]

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.[5]

It was told that Arien and her maidens, before the rising of the Sun, entered into Fôs Almir which was a bath of flame that would make one pure.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol.5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion, Chap.6: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chap. 11: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  3. The Silmarillion, Appendix: "Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names"
  4. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part 1, Appendix: "Names in the Lost Tales – Part I"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part 1, Chap. 9: "The Hiding of Valinor"
  6. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part 1, Chap. 8: "Of the Sun and Moon"