The Valar were the fourteen Ainur who, after being molded of Eru's thought, entered Arda after its creation, to give order to the world and combat the new evils of Melkor. They had helped to begin the shaping of Arda through the music of Ilúvatar, and often referred to one another as "brother" or "sister". Each of the Ainur had added his or her own part to the music creating the world incarnate, save for Melkor, who at the time was counted as the strongest of them. His vision of what Arda should have been differed from Eru's, which led to his banishment and great rebellion that would cause most of the ills of the world of Arda.
The fourteen Valar originally dwelt on Almaren, a hidden island on the "Great Lake", but after it was destroyed and the earth was reshaped, long before the Awakening of the Elves, they relocated to Aman and founded the realm of Valinor. They would become known as the 'Powers of the World', though rarely directly intervening in the world's course of events. Eru instead gave them delegation of Arda, and so at Valinor they constructed the golden city of Valimar, their own mansions dispersed across the plain; and Máhanaxar, the "Ring of Doom", at which they would confer and hold counsels.
Eru created for them lesser heavenly beings named the 'Maiar', who were their servants. Though subordinate to the Valar, the Maiar were powerful nonetheless, and included Melian, Sauron (named Mairon), Olórin (later named Gandalf) and the other Istari, and those who would become the Balrogs. Most Maiar were associated with particular Valar: Ossë and Uinen, the "powers of the oceans", served under Ulmo, while Curumo (much later known as Saruman), served Aulë the Smith. Sauron also served Aulë before he was corrupted by Melkor.
It was originally Melkor's intention to rule Arda for himself, but Manwë, the superior of the Valar, called other spirits to help him confront Melkor. (Among these were the other Valar and the Maiar.) Melkor withdrew from Arda after the short War for Sake of the Elves, and the Valar continued their creation and furnishing of the World, while Melkor plotted to return and regain dominance. In time, once he returned in secret and ruined the Two Trees of Valinor with Ungoliant, Valinor lost its light, and the Valar eventually set to creating the Sun and Moon in the sky.
The War of the Jewels was prompted after Fëanor refused to forfeit his Silmarils to the Valar, for the rekindling of the Two Trees. He ended his and the Ñoldor's allegiance with the Valar, and bore a new conflict between the Elves and Melkor. The Valar soon fortified their realm, and brought about the "Hiding of Valinor", preventing Melkor and Fëanor and his followers from entering. The conflict between Melkor and the Valar was not resolved until the war's climax, during which the Valar came physically into Beleriand, helped conquer Melkor's forces at Angband, and captured him. He was taken to Aman and cast behind the Door of Night.
In the Second Age, the Valar created anew the island of Elenna in the middle of the Sea, for the noble peoples of the Edain who had resisted and endured the war against Melkor. On this island was established the kingdom of Númenor, which lasted three millennia until their king Ar-Pharazôn attempted to contravene the Ban of the Valar. The Valar sank the island, and the living Númenóreans sailed eastward, and settled Middle-earth.
Once Sauron had begun to regain power in Middle-earth after his defeat in the War of the Last Alliance, the Valar sent an order of five Maiar, the "Istari", unto Middle-earth, to provide a strong opposition to Sauron until his final destruction.
These are the names of the Valar as they were known to the Eldar. In Middle-earth, they were known by other names of Sindarin origin; for example they called Varda Elbereth. Men knew them by many other names, and sometimes worshiped them as Gods. The Elves called Varda, the creator of the stars, Elentári. The dwarves called Aulë, their creator, Mahal. The Ents called Yavanna, their creator, Kementári. It should be noted that, with the exception of Oromë, the names listed below are not actual names but rather titles: the true names of the Valar are nowhere recorded. Male Valar are called "Lords of the Valar"; females are called "Ladies of the Valar," or Valier. Among these exist six married couples, with only Ulmo and Nienna remaining single.
Lords of the Valar
- Manwë Súlimo the King of the Winds, and the King of the Valar, and husband of Varda.
- Melkor (Morgoth Bauglir) the First Dark Lord, was the strongest Vala before he was banished from the group.
- Ulmo the Sea King, and the Lord of Water.
- Aulë the Smith, and the Lord of Earth and all that's underneath, and the husband of Yavanna.
- Oromë Aldaron the Huntsman, the Lord of Forests, and the Great Rider, and the husband of Vána.
- Námo (Mandos) the Doomsman, and the Judge of the Dead, and husband of Vairë.
- Irmo (Lórien) the Lord and Master of Dreams, Visions, and Desires, and Creator of the Oloré Mallé, or Path of Dreams, and the husband of Estë.
- Tulkas Astaldo the Wrestler, the Champion of Valinor, and last of the Valar to come to Arda, and the husband of Nessa.
Ladies of the Valar
- Varda Elentári the Star Queen, and the Queen of the Valar, and the wife of Manwë.
- Yavanna Kementári the Fruit-Giver, and the Lady of Earth, and the wife of Aulë.
- Nienna the Weeper, and the Lady of Mercy.
- Estë the Gentle, Lady of Healing and Rest, and the wife of Irmo.
- Vairë the Weaver, and the wife of Mandos.
- Vána the Ever-young, and the wife of Oromë.
- Nessa the Dancer, and the wife of Tulkas.
The Aratar (Sindarin: Exalted) or High Ones of Arda were the eight greatest of the Valar: Manwë, Varda, Ulmo, Yavanna, Aulë, Mandos, Nienna, and Oromë. Melkor, the most powerful of all, is not counted among them. Lórien and Mandos were brothers, and would be referred to together as the Fëanturi or "Masters of Spirits".
Powers and abilities
Like the other Ainur, the powers of the Valar were ambiguously mysterious. The Valar had similar and superior abilities to the Maiar, such as the controlling light and of fire, transforming into many forms, or trancing Men or Elves with their presence. Manwë and Ulmo controlled the winds and waters of Arda, respectively. Yavanna and Nessa created the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, to illuminate much of Aman. Varda could realign stars into constellations that prophesied the doom of Morgoth. The Valar together had the power to raise the vast island of Númenor up to the surface of the Sea.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||維拉|
|Kazakh||Валар (Cyrillic) Valar (Latin)|
|Macedonian||Валар (Cyrillic) Valar (Latin)|
|Mongolian||Валар (Cyrillic) Valar (Latin)|
|Serbian||Валари (Cyrillic) Valar (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Валар (Cyrillic) Valar (Latin)|
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch. I: "Of the Beginning of Days"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch. IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor", pg. 85
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch. XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Index, entry "Gods"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter II: "The Music of the Ainur", Notes, pg. 61