Irmo (Quenya; IPA: [ˈirmo] - "Desirer" or "Master of Desires") was an Ainu, and a Vala who was responsible for the creation of dreams and desires as well as visions too. He was more commonly known as Lórien, after the name of his dwelling place. Irmo-Lórien was the younger brother of Námo who also like his brother was commonly known as Mandos the name of his dwelling place, and also the brother of Nienna (Lady of Pity and Mourning).
Lórien, along with his brother Námo-Mandos, were known as the Fëanturi, the "Masters of Spirits". Between them, Lórien was the "Master of Visions, Dreams, and Desires". His wife Estë the Gentle lived with him in Lórien where the Gardens of Lórien were considered as the fairest and most beautiful place in the world and was filled with many spirits. Melian dwelt in Lórien for a time, tending to the trees that flowered there before she departed to Middle-earth. All the Valar of Aman, would indeed come often to the gardens of Lórien to rest from the cares of Arda, and they would also draw refreshment from the fountains of Lórien and Estë. Along with that, there were many Maiar who served Lórien and Estë in Lórien.
Though Lórien dwelt far away from Valmar, his dwelling was still within the Realm of Valinor. Together, Lórien and Estë provided a refuge in Valinor in the groves and gardens of Lórien. In his fair gardens, Lórien tended to the Elves of Valinor and would provide the them with guiding visions and dreams.
During the Noontide of Valinor when the Elves lived in Valinor, Míriel of the Ñoldor grew weary and tired of her earthly life after giving birth to her infamous son Fëanor and she yearned release from the labor of living. Hence, Manwë commanded Lórien to take her under his care. Then Míriel went to Lórien's gardens to lay down and rest but her spirit quickly departed silently from her body to the halls of Mandos and thereafter never came back. Nevertheless, the maids of his wife Estë tended to the body of Mírel so that it would not whither.
When the Sun and Moon were originally set in their paths, Varda purposed that the two vessels should journey in Ilmen and ever be aloft. It was largely due to the prayers of Lórien and his wife who declared that sleep and rest had been banished from the Earth; therefore, Varda changed her council and allowed for a time of night where the world would still have shadow and half-light.
The name Irmo was a Quenya word that meant Desirer or Master of Desires. He was also given the title Master of Dreams.
Lórien did not work in the open, his power was unseen and his influence was subtle even to the Wise. He was not sought in scenes of strife or woe where conflict took place. He sent hope to the Children of Ilúvatar when the darkness of Morgoth covered Middle-earth. Lórien was sought in inspiration, in desire, in hope, and in the dreams and hearts of those that opposed evil. He was associated with hope, inspiration, love, desire, dreams, sleep, and visions.
Other versions of the legendarium
Lórien's dwellings were built south at the feet of the great mountains of Aman. Soon after, Aulë (Master of Craftsmanship) had created Lórien's halls of mist gathering beyond Avathar from the misty shadowy seas. The halls of Lórien were great and dimly lit, and the wide gardens of Lórien wandered marvelously about winding near to the feet of the great silver Tree Telperion whose shining silver light lit the gardens of Lórien.
Yavanna (Queen of the Earth) gave Lórien a great wealth of yew trees and cedars, and pines that exuded drowsy aromas at dusk, and these trees were hung over by deep pools of water. In the midst of his gardens, Lórien set a ring of shadowy yew trees reaching high above his cauldron Silindrin where he would gaze upon it and see many visions.
Manwë was grieved when the Valar had to hide Valinor from the rest of the world. Because of this, and that of the coming of Men was nearly coming, Manwë ordered Lórien to create a path where the spirits of Elves and Men can come to the Gardens of Lorien. So Lórien went about creating the "Path of Dreams", known to the Elves as the Olórë Mallë. The Path was a spiritual road to Valinor, only accessible through the mind. It was through this path that the Elves and the Men loyal to the Valar travelled in their sleep. The final destination was the Gardens of Lórien. Lórien blocked the Olórë Mallë from the Ñoldor when they rebelled against the Valar and left Valinor and Manwë decreed that they could never return to Valinor.
At the time of the Hiding of Valinor, the Island of Tol Eressëa was woven with magical spells. Henceforth, of those the mariners who had been able to step foot upon the Isle of Tol Eressëa, were never seen again in life. Soon, they became overwhelmed with age-long sleep by the power of Lórien upon that Isle.
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- The Silmarillion, Valaquenta, "Of the Valar"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XI: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Chap. 3: "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor"