Valinor (Quenya; IPA: [ˈvalinor]; also Valinórë [valiˈnoːre], meaning 'Land of the Valar'), the Land across the Sea, was the realm of the Valar in Aman; the place to which they migrated after being driven from Almaren by Melkor in times before the First Age. It was known also as the Undying Lands, as Elves once dwelt there in eternal bliss, and could again later, in addition to the Ring-bearers.
Lay of the land
The major city of Valinor was Valmar, where the Vanyar and the Valar resided. Two other cities were Alqualondë and Tirion, the respective homes of the Teleri and the Noldor. It also had an island, Tol Eressëa, just off its east coast.
Each of the Valar had their own region of the land where they resided and altered things to their desire. Yavanna, the Vala of nature, growth, and harvest, resided in the Pastures of Yavanna in the south of the island. Orome, the Vala of the hunt, lived in the Woods of Orome to the north-east of the pastures. The forest was home to many creatures which Orome could track and hunt. Nienna, the lonely Vala of sorrow and endurance lived cut off in the far west of the island in the Halls of Nienna where she spent her days crying, looking out to sea. Just south of the Halls of Nienna and to the north of the pastures there were the Halls of Mandos. Also living in the Halls of Mandos was his spouse Vairë the weaver, who wove the threads of time.
To the east of the Halls of Mandos was the Isle of Estë, which was situated in the middle of the lake of Lorellin which in turn was situated to the north of the Gardens of Lórien (not to be confused with Lothlórien in Middle-earth which was created by the same Valar, Lórien also known as Irmo, the Vala of dreams). Este and Lórien being husband and wife lived close together. To the north of this were the Mansions of Aule the smith Valar who was spouse to Yavanna. In the north-east lay the Mansions of Manwe and Varda, the two most powerful Valar, also married. To the west of them stood the Trees of Valinor, Telperion and Laurelin. The entire great island of Valinor was surrounded on three sides (excluding the north which was instead protected by ices flows) by a huge mountain range called the Pelóri mountains. In the extreme north-east, past the mountain range was the pass of Helcaraxë, a vast and treacherous ice sheet which in the beginning, before the fall of Númenor, joined the two continents of Valinor and Middle-earth. In the beginning, the Noldor, tricked by the evil Vala Melkor passed along this pass to go back to Middle-earth, among those was Galadriel. Those who took this pass were not allowed back to Valinor for many years, as of the Hiding of Valinor, but in the end pity was taken on them when Middle-earth began to fade and pass into the age of Men, and Elves were allowed to pass back to the Undying Lands of their own accord when they felt ready to do so.
Also, for a time after the exile of the Noldor and before the ruin of Númenor, a long chain of small islands called the Enchanted Isles ran the full length of the east coast to the continent. The enchanted islands and a bewildering shadow created the Shadowy Seas, which to prevent mariner, mortal or immortal, from reaching the land by sea (by the Belegaer, the Great Sea which separated Middle-earth and Valinor. (Until the Changing of the World, the isle of Númenor was in the center of this Sea.) The enchantments protecting Valinor lasted centuries until Eärendil was guided through the Shadowy Seas by the light of the Silmaril, brought on board by his wife Elwing. They sailed on Vingilot, said to be the fairest ship ever fashioned, constructed by Eärendil and Cirdan the shipwright.
After the First Age
After the destruction of the island of Númenor and the Changing of the World, the Undying Lands were no longer a physical part of Arda, such that Men could no longer sail to Aman or Tol Eressëa. Only the Elves could sail there by the Straight Road, if in ships capable of passing out of the Spheres of the Earth.
By special permission of the Valar, the Hobbits Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins, and Samwise Gamgee were also permitted to go to Valinor, as they had once borne the One Ring of Sauron. Later, after the death of Aragorn, Legolas the Elf would sail to Valinor and bring with him Gimli the Dwarf.
Earlier versions of the legendarium
Among the Lost Tales, compiled in the first volumes of The History of Middle-earth, are J.R.R. Tolkien's first accounts of the Building of Valinor, the Darkening of Valinor, and the Hiding of Valinor. In The Silmarillion, published much later, these events are again covered, in reduced detail.
Primitive names of Valinor were Valinórë and Land of the Gods.
Behind the scenes
It has been suggested that the concept of Valinor was based off Hy Brasil, a mythical land that can reputedly be seen off the coast of Ireland for one day in every seven years, or alternatively "Heaven". The latter is more possible, as Valinor being peaceful is similar to how Heaven is represented, and Middle-earth being violent is similar to how Earth is represented.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Serbian||Валинор (Cyrillic) Valinor (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Валинор (Cyrillic) Valinor (Latin)|
- The Silmarillion: Valaquenta
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter III: "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor"
- 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"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter IX: "The Hiding of Valinor"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Index