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The First Dawn of the Sun, by Ted Nasmith

"...and Anar the Fire-golden, fruit of Laurelin, they named the Sun. But the Noldor named [it] Vása, the Heart of Fire, that awakens and consumes; for the Sun was set as a sign for the awakening of Men and the waning of the Elves"
The Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"

The Sun was a heavenly creation of the Vala Aulë; he and his people made a vessel to hold the radiance of the last fruit of Laurelin. The vessel of the Sun was guided by Arien, a Maia of Vána.[1]


Arien holding the Sun

During the Years of the Trees, there stood the Two Trees of Valinor, Telperion the Silver and Laurelin the Gold, which were the sources of light in Valinor. In YT 1495,[2] Melkor and Ungoliant arrived in Valinor and destroyed the Two Trees, plunging Arda in darkness. With the power of the Valier Yavanna, Nienna, and Vána,[3] Telperion produced a single flower, and Laurelin a single fruit. Aulë and his people made a vessel for the fiery fruit, and Arien was chosen to steer the vessel of the Sun.[1]

The Years of the Sun began with the first rising of the Sun in the west, not in the east, as Valinor was located West of the World. Yet the Valar changed this and from then on, Arien would descend the vessel of light into western sky and then ascend it into eastern sky. The Sun was seen by the Elves as the rising of the Men, but they valued the Moon higher.[1]

Morgoth's, Sauron's and Saruman's evil and corrupt creatures, never being able to stand light, feared it. The Orcs feared the Sun and were weakened by it and rarely travelled under it. The Uruk-hai were the exception to this and were not weakened by it and could travel while it was in the sky though they still hated it. The Trolls feared the Sun even more, and with great reason: they turned to stone under its light.[4] Only the later trolls known as the Olog-hai were able to move under the Sun.


Other names

Other versions in the legendarium

In some texts, the Sun was described in great detail as an immense island of fire. Tilion, who guided the Moon, was said to secretly be in love with Arien, and that because he steered the Moon too close to the Sun, the Moon was burned.

In another, Melkor was, at one point, infatuated with Arien and wanted to claim her as wife. He would later ravish her, so she abandoned her body and "died", leaving the Sun for its own course, burning some parts of Arda,[9] particularly the deserts of Far Harad. It is not clear if this would have been included in The Silmarillion had Tolkien lived to publish it himself.

In the Round World version of the legendarium, the Sun and the Moon were not the fruit of the Two Trees, but actually preceded the creation of the Trees. Instead, the Trees preserved the light of the Sun before it was tainted by Melkor when he ravished Arien.[10]

Behind the scenes

In Old English, the word "Sun" is masculine. However, in the legendarium, the Sun is often referred as feminine. In The Lord of the Rings, Elves and Hobbits always refer to the Sun as she.[11] There is another instance where Legolas stated that, "I have not brought the Sun. She is walking in the blue fields of the South..." [12] This is because the ancestral condition for Germanic languages as a whole is a feminine word, and at least Germanic and Norse mythologies feature female solar deities.


Foreign Language Translated name
Albanian Diell
Amharic ፀሐይ
Arabic الشمس
Armenian Արեգակ
Azerbaijani Günəş
Bengali রোদ
Breton Heol
Bulgarian Слънце
Catalan Sol
Chechen Малх
Cheyenne Éše'he
Cornish Howl
Cree ᒌᔑᑳᐅᐲᓯᒽ
Croatian Sunce
Czech Slunce
Danish Solen
Dari خورشید
Davehi އިރު
Dutch Zon
Esperanto Suno
Estonian Päike
Finnish Aurinko
French Soleil
Galician Sol
German Sonne
Georgian მზე
Greek Ήλιος
Gujarati સન
Haiti Creole Solèy
Hebrew שֶׁמֶש (Sun)

ואסה (Vása)

Hindi सूर्य
Icelandic Sólin
Indonesian Matahari
Irish Gaelic Ghrian
Italian Sole
Japanese 太陽
Javanese Srengéngé
Kannada ಸನ್
Kazakh Сұн
Khmer (Cambodian) ព្រះអាទិត្យ
Korean 태양
Kurdish خۆر
Kyrgyz Күн
Lao ແສງຕາເວັນ
Lithuanian Saulė
Luxembourgish Sonn
Macedonian Сун
Malay Matahari
Marathi सन
Mongolian Сун
Navajo Jóhonaaʼéí
Nepali सूर्य
Norwegian Solen
Old English Sunne
Pashto لمر
Persian آفتاب
Polish Słońce
Portuguese Sol
Querétaro Otomi Hyadi
Romani Kham
Romansh Sulegl
Romanian Soare
Russian Солнце
Sanskrit सूर्यः
Scottish Gaelic Grian
Shona Zuva
Siamese (Thai) ดวงอาทิตย์
Sicilian Suli
Sinhala සූර්යයා
Slovak Slnko
Slovenian Sonce
Somali Qorraxdu
Spanish Sol
Sundanese Panonpoe
Swahili Jua
Swedish Solen
Tajik Сун
Tamil சன்
Telugu సన్
Tibetan ཉི་མ།
Turkish Güneş
Ukrainian сонце
Urdu سورج
Uyghur قۇياش
Uzbek Сун (Cycillic) Quyosh (Latinised)
Vietnamese Mặt Trời
Walloon Solea
Welsh Haul
Western Flemish Zunne
Yiddish זון
Yoruba Òrùn
Yucatec Maya K'iino'
Zulu Ilanga


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XI: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  2. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, VIII: "The Tale of the Sun and Moon"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter II: "Roast Mutton"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part One. The Grey Annals
  6. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter II: "The Passage of the Marshes"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter III: "The Black Gate is Closed"
  9. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, IX: "The Hiding of Valinor"
  10. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, "Myths Transformed"
  11. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter IX: "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
  12. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter III: "The Ring goes South"