Nienna (Quenya; IPA [niˈenna] or [niˈjenna] - "Weeping" or "She Who Weeps") was an Ainu, one of the Aratar and a Vala who was responsible for the mercy and grief spread across Arda. She was the sister of Mandos and Irmo and had no spouse. Her part in the Music of the Ainur was one of deep sadness, from which grief entered the world at its beginning. She had dominion over the Halls of Nienna, which were on the western edge of Valinor, looking over the sea.
Nienna was concerned with mourning, and she pitied the suffering of others, especially the Marring of Arda by Melkor. Yet the lesson of Nienna is not of endless grief, but rather of pity, hope, and the endurance of the spirit.
The pity of Nienna is most clearly seen in her support for Melkor when he sued for the pardon of the Valar. Though she spent her time in the world mourning for the destruction he had wreaked in Arda, when he sued for release after his three ages of Captivity, Nienna spoke on his behalf.
After the Flight of the Ñoldor, Nienna mourned for the destruction of the Two Trees, and her tears brought healing, but could not heal the mortal wounds. Thus, the trees brought forth their last flower and fruit, and made into the Sun and Moon.
Gandalf was Nienna's greatest pupil among all the others who dwelt in the Halls of Nienna. She taught him pity and many other things before he was chosen as the second wizard sent to lead the people of Middle-earth into standing against Sauron.
All that is known about her appearance is that she wore a grey hood. Given that Gandalf was her greatest student, his being clothed in grey may have been a mark of respect to his teacher.
Other versions of the legendarium
In The Book of Lost Tales Part One, a character similar to Nienna was called Fui (“night”), the Death-Goddess. In Gnomish she was Fuil, the Queen of the Dark. She dwelt in halls that bore her name, and had a roof of bats' wings. As Fui, she was the spouse of Vefantur (Mandos in Tolkien's later writings) and dwelt in his halls of Ve. She judged the humans while Vefantur judged the elves.
Heskil (Winter One) and Núri (One who Sighs) were her names as well. She was additionally called Qalme-Tari (Mistress of Death).
List of names and pronunciation:
- Nyenna [ˈɲenːa]
- Fui (Quenya; IPA [fuɪ] - "Night")
- Heskil Quenya; IPA [ˈheskil] - "Winter One")
- Núri (Quenya; IPA [ˈnuːri] - "Sighing One")
- Qalmë-Tári (Quenya; IPA [ˌkʷalmeˈtaːri] - "Mistress of Death")
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Kazakh||Ниенна (Cyrillic) Nïenna (Latin)|
|Serbian||Нијена (Cyrillic) Nijena (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Ниенна (Cyrillic) Nienna (Latin)|
- The Silmarillion, Valaquenta, "Of the Valar"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Valinor"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter I: "Of the Beginning of Days"
- 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 Silmarillion, Valaquenta, "Of the Maiar"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, The First Phase, "Of the Valar"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I