Tulkas (Quenya; IPA: [ˈtulkas] - "Strong" or "Steadfast") was an Ainu; a Vala responsible for participating in war and the last of them to descend into Arda, coming to the aid of the others when he heard of their war with Melkor. He was also called Tulukastāz or Astaldo.
Having heard of his fellow Valar's struggle against Melkor, Tulkas was the last of the Valar to descend upon Arda, thus tipping the scales of battle against Melkor. Melkor fled before him, and the Spring of Arda was begun.
After the Two Lamps were erected and the Valar had made their first dwelling at Almaren, Tulkas wedded Nessa in a great feast. Being weary and content he slept, and Melkor decided his hour to retaliate had come.
When the Children of Ilúvatar awoke, there was a council among the Valar regarding Melkor. Much to Tulkas's delight, it was decided that Melkor should be removed. During the War for Sake of the Elves, he wrestled with Melkor and bound him with Angainor, which was forged by Aulë. Upon Melkor's release from captivity, Tulkas remained vigilant and distrustful of him.
At the end of the War of Wrath, Tulkas entered Angband and descending to the lowest pits found Melkor cowering. Tulkas wrestled with him, again casting Melkor down, dragging him out and binding him with the chain Angainor.
Tulkas is described as delighting in wrestling and contests of strength. He wields no weapon, and rides no steed. As he cares little about either past or future, he was not a good counselor, but nonetheless a very hardy friend. He is described as being slow to wrath, but also slow to forgive; for that reason, he was one of the Valar that opposed the release of Melkor.
In appearance, Tulkas was described to have ruddy flesh and golden hair and beard.
He also tended to be impatient; before the Awakening of the Elves he urged the other Valar to wage war against Melkor. After the Darkening of Valinor he also hurried Fëanor to take a decision about surrendering the Silmarils.
Tulkas was known for laughing in sport and in battle. He was possibly the only being on Arda with the courage to laugh in the face of Melkor, the most powerful being in Valinor (at the time) - and did so once while engaged in battle with him. Despite not being one of the Aratar, Morgoth feared Tulkas more than any of the other Valar.
He was also the strongest (physically) of all the Valar. Most likely, he was physically stronger than Morgoth, as it was he who first chained him with Angainor.
In Quenya, the name Tulkas means "Strong" and "Steadfast", from the root tuluk. His Valarin name is Tulukhastāz, which means "the golden-haired", from the words tulukha(n) ("yellow") and (a)sata- ("hair of head"). His Ñoldorin name was Tulcus ("strong").
Astaldo means "the Valiant".
An earlier name for Tulkas was Turenbo.
Earlier versions of the legendarium
In earlier texts (the Lost Tales), Melkor served in Tulkas' house when doing penitence for the Valar, following his "three ages" of imprisonment. Melkor would escape after the destruction of the Two Trees. Many years later, after Tulkas overthrew Melkor in the battle of the Silent Pools, and bounds him to be kept within Lumbi. Here, the Hound of Mandos, Gorgumoth, guarded Melkor in his captivity.
In an earlier context, Tulkas had a son Telimektar, "whose tale is yet to tell".
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Kazakh||Түлкас (Cyrillic) Tulkas (Latin)|
|Serbian||Тулкас (Cyrillic) Tulkas (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Тулкас (Cyrillic) Tulkas (Latin)|
- The Silmarillion, Valaquenta, "Of the Valar"
- The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur)
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter I: "Of the Beginning of Days"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter III: "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part Four: Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D: Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I
- The Silmarillion, Index of Names
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter I: "The Cottage of Lost Play"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter VI: "The Theft of Melko and the Darkening of Valinor", pg. 140 (1984 Houghton Mifflin publication)
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, chapter VI: "The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales"