The One Wiki to Rule Them All
The One Wiki to Rule Them All

Varda (Quenya: "Sublime" or "Lofty"), one of the mightiest of the Valier and Queen of the Valar, was an Ainu and Aratar, responsible for situating the stars in the heavens above Arda. She was also known as Elbereth (Sindarin: "Queen of the Stars"), Tintallë ("The Kindler"), or Gilthoniel, and was the spouse of Manwë, with whom she lived in Ilmarin on the summit of Taniquetil in Aman.


Varda was the most beautiful of all the Valar, and her beauty was said to be beyond the description of Men and Elves, for her face radiated the light of Eru Ilúvatar. Unsurprisingly, the province over which she ruled was light, to the extent where it was said that "in light is her power and her joy".[1]

Even before Melkor first began to create his discord, Varda knew his mind well, and rejected him because of it, and was always his enemy from that moment on. As a result of this, Melkor also hated Varda the most out of the Valar, and feared her more than all others whom Eru had created.

Varda came to Arda with her husband, Manwë, and the other Valar in the beginning of days. She aided Manwë in the rule of Arda and the watching of Middle-earth. She made the stars, filled the Lamps of the Valar with light, collected the dew of the Two Trees in her Wells, fashioned the newer stars and constellations in preparation for the Awakening of the Elves, hallowed the Silmarils, established the courses of the Moon and Sun, and set Gil-Orestel, the Star of High Hope, in the sky.

Because of her creation of the stars, the Elves of Middle-earth revere and love her the most out of the Valar. They even gave her the name of "Elbereth", invoke her in times where they require aid, and sing her praises whenever the stars rise. It was also said that when Manwë sits beside her upon their throne on Taniquetil, she was able to hear more clearly than any other ears, the prayers and laments of those in need from the furthest east even unto the west. At times, she would answer the prayers of not only Elves, but also those of other races. For example, during the War of the Ring, she aided Sam through the Phial of Galadriel (which contained the light of Gil-Orestel) during his struggle against Shelob.

Maiar of Varda[]

  • Ilmarë, the handmaiden of Varda and Queen of the Maiar alongside Eonwë, Manwë's herald.
  • Olórin (Gandalf), the second-in-command (and later leader) of the Order of Wizards sent to Middle-earth to combat Sauron.


  • Varda means sublime or lofty in Quenya.
  • Elentári means queen of the stars in Quenya.
  • Elbereth means queen of the stars in Sindarin.
  • Gilthoniel means kindler of the stars in Sindarin.

In The Lord of the Rings her Sindarin name, Elbereth Gilthoniel, appears many times, usually in a song or invocation. In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Elves whom Frodo Baggins, Peregrin Took, and Samwise Gamgee meet in the Shire are singing a song in her praise. Frodo calls out to Elbereth when he is attacked at Weathertop, and Aragorn refers to her name as "deadly" to the Nazgûl. In The Return of the King, Frodo calls out to her when first using the Phial of Galadriel, in the caves of Shelob. Later, Sam suggests "Elbereth" as a password to Frodo after he frees Frodo from the Orcs in the Tower of Cirith Ungol; for when Frodo must let down the ladder once returning from gathering gear for two to wear in Mordor.

Perhaps, its Sindarin name could be related to Ilbereth, the name of the secretary of Father Christmas in Letters From Father Christmas.

In other versions[]

In earlier versions of the legendarium Manwë and Varda were called with the title of Wanwavoisi[2] and they were conceived as the parents of Eönwë (called Fionwë Úrion) and Ilmarë (called Erinti). Tolkien later abandoned this idea of the Children of the Valar.[3]


Literary connections[]

The Valar are divine beings below a greater, more ultimate Creator: Eru Ilúvatar. Hence, some equate the Valar of Middle-earth with saints and angels, and Varda (as the most beloved and most prayed-to Valar) may therefore be an equivalent of the Virgin Mary in Tolkien's own Catholic faith.

With his creation and inclusion of the Valar into his words, Tolkien also paid homage to Greek mythology, particularly the Greek Pantheon: each and everyone of the Valar had a specific realm within the world that was at his or her command, much as the Greek Gods in ancient myths. Tolkien wanted to create a mythology for his world, and the Greek model fit the bill perfectly.

With this in mind, Manwë, King of the Valar, is most akin to Zeus (the King of the Greek Gods). In the same manner, Varda, as the wife of Manwë as well as the Queen of the Valar, is the equivalent of Hera (the wife of Zeus and Queen of the Greek Gods). Due to her being the most beautiful and lovable of the Valar, she was also seen to be most akin to Aphrodite (the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty).


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ቫርዳ
Arabic فاردا
Armenian Վարդա
Belarusian Cyrillic Варда
Bengali ভাড়া
Bulgarian Cyrillic Варда (Varda)

Варда Елентари (Varda Elentari)

Chinese 瓦爾妲
Danish Varda (Vala - Stjernedronningen)
Georgian ვარდა
Greek Βάρντα
Gujarati વરદા
Hebrew ורדה
Hindi वर्दा
Japanese ヴァルダ
Kazakh Варда (Cyrillic) Varda (Latin)
Korean 바르다
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Варда
Macedonian Cyrillic Варда
Malayalam വാര്ഡ
Marathi वर्डा
Mongolian Cyrillic Варда
Nepalese वर्द
Pashto واردا
Persian واردا (Varda)

واردا النتاری (Varda Elentári)

Punjabi ਵਰਡਾ
Russian Варда
Sanskrit वर्द
Serbian Варда (Cyrillic) Varda (Latin)
Sinhalese වාඩා
Tajik Cyrillic Варда
Tamil வர்டா
Telugu వార్ధా
Thai วาร์ดา
Urdu واردا
Ukrainian Cyrillic Варда
Uzbek Варда (Cyrillic) Varda (Latin)
Yiddish בֿאַרדאַ


  1. The Silmarillion, Valaquenta, "Of the Valar"
  2. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter II: "The Music of the Ainur"