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Nienna by Daniel Govar.

Nienna was a Queen of the Valar, the sister of Námo and Irmo. She ranked as one of the eight Aratar, the most powerful of the Valar. Nienna dwelt alone on the western borders of the World.



Grief and mourning were Nienna's province; in her halls in the distant west, she wept for the suffering of Arda. Her part in the Music of the Ainur was one of deep sadness, and from this grief entered the world in its beginning.

She taught pity and endurance; though she rarely travelled to the joyful city of Valmar, she went more often to the halls of her brother Mandos to comfort and counsel those in the Halls of Waiting. The Maia Olórin, who was later to travel to Middle-earth as Gandalf, learned much from her.

Nienna played a part in the making of the Two Trees of Valinor; she wept on the mound of Ezellohar, watering it with her tears. After the destruction of the Trees by Melkor, she once again wept on their wounded remains, cleansing the filth of Ungoliant, and helping to bring forth the last fruit and flower that were to become the Sun and the Moon.

The pity of Nienna is most clearly seen in her support for Melkor when he sued for the pardon of the Valar. Though she spent her time in the world mourning for the destruction he has wreaked in Arda, when he sued for release after his three ages of Captivity, Nienna spoke on his part.

Of Nienna's appearance we have almost no knowledge. The only hint is in the Quenta Silmarillion, where she "cast back her grey hood".[1]


Nienna is a Quenya name meaning "She Who Weeps" (pronounced [niˈenːa]). Her other recorded names were:

  • Nyenna [ˈɲenːa]; Sindarin form Ninir ([ˈninir]).
  • Heskil (Q: "Winter One", [ˈheskil])
  • Núri (Q: "Sighing One", [ˈnuːri])
  • Qalmë-Tári (Q: "Mistress of Death", [ˌkʷalmeˈtaːri])
  • Nienna is also called Fui (Q: "Night", [fuɪ]), though this is more correctly the name of her dwelling.

See Also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"