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Halls of Mandos

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The Halls of Mandos were the dwellings of the Doomsman of the Valar, the mighty being properly called Námo, though he was more often given the name Mandos from his own halls. The halls stood on the western shores of Valinor, looking out across the Encircling Sea. They were said to grow in size as the World aged, and their walls were hung with the tapestries of Námo's spouse Vairë, depicting all the events of unfolding history.

It was to the Halls of Mandos that the spirits of Elves and Men were gathered to await their different fates, and so Mandos was given its name of the Halls of Awaiting.[1][note 1] After a time, the immortal Elves could be re-embodied, and return from the Halls to their kin in Aman. Men had a different fate, a fate which, even among the Lords of Valinor, only Mandos and Manwë truly understood. No one, however, not even Morgoth could escape the Halls without Mandos' permission.[2]



Other versions of the Legendarium

Tolkien originally intended the Halls to be in northern Aman, on the edge of the Outer Sea. Christopher Tolkien, erroneously seeing a discrepancy, changed this to western Aman, on the edge of the Outer Sea for the published Silmarillion.[3] In the Book of Lost Tales I he referred to this change a "this piece of unwarranted editorial meddling."[4]


  1. In The Hobbit, there is a reference to the halls of waiting in the last words of Thorin: "'Farewell, good thief,' he said. 'I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed.'" (Chapter 18).


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "III. The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor": "Notes and Commentary"
Dwellings of the Valar
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