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The First Dawn of the Sun by Ted Nasmith

The Sun, the source of daylight, rose in the East of Middle-earth and sank in the West.[1][2]



During the Years of the Trees, Valinor was lit for many thousands of years by the light of the Two Trees, Telperion the Silver and Laurelin the Gold. When these were destroyed by Melkor and Ungoliant, Arda was plunged into darkness. Through the power of Nienna and Yavanna, though, Laurelin produced a single fiery fruit before it died. This golden fire was set in a vessel made by Aulë and his people, and steered into the sky by the Maia Arien.[3]

Valinor was in the West of the World, and so the first sunrise was in the west, not the east. Originally, Arien was to have steered Anar ceaselessly from west to east and back again, always remaining in the sky, but the Valar changed this counsel, so that each evening Anar would descend into the distant western seas, and re-emerge each morning in the east.[3]

The Sun was seen by the Elves as a sign for the awakening of Men, and they valued the Moon higher.[3] Morgoth's creatures, the Orcs, feared the Sun, and with the exception of the Uruk-hai, they did not travel while it was in the sky.

The Trolls of Middle-earth feared the Sun even more, and with great reason: they turned to stone under its light. Only the later Olog-hai were able to move under the Sun.

Names of the Sun

Names of the Sun amongst the Elves included Anar or The Fire-golden, a name given to it by the Vanyar; Anor, the common name for the Sun in Sindarin, as seen in Minas Anor (later Minas Tirith) and the Gondorian province of Anórien; and Vása, or Heart of Fire, a name given to the Sun by the Noldor.

A poetic name for the Sun was The Daystar, and Gollum referred to it as The Yellow Face.

Other versions of the legendarium

The Gates of Morn by Ted Nasmith

In the early versions of The Silmarillion as described in The Book of Lost Tales Part 1, a part of the History of Middle-earth series, the Sun was described in great detail as an immense island of fire. It was also said there that the youth Tilion, who guided the Moon, was said to secretly be in love with Arien, and that because he steered the Moon too close to the Sun the Moon was burned.

In writings not included in the Silmarillion tradition, Morgoth at one point was infatuated with Arien, and wanted to claim her as his wife: he is at one point even described as ravishing her, so she abandoned her body and 'died': the Sun after this for a while left its course, burning a large part of Arda the world (apparently creating the deserts of Far Harad). It is not clear if this would have been included in the Silmarillion had Tolkien lived to publish it himself.

In the Round World version of the legendarium, the Sun and the Moon were not the fruit of the Two Trees, but actually preceded the creation of the Trees. Instead, the Trees preserved the light of the Sun before it was tainted by Melkor when he ravished Arien.


The Sun appearing in J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium is a female entity,[4] consistent to the Germanic mythologies.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South": "...the Sun rode up from the East."
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Lothlórien": "...the sun sank behind the westward heights"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  4. Arien was a female Maia. See also, for example, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South": "'I have not brought the Sun. She is walking in the blue fields of the South...'" (Legolas).
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See Also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void