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Vaiya

Vaiya (Q, pron. [ˈvaɪja]), or Vaia (pron. [ˈvaɪ.a]) or Waia (pron. [ˈwaɪ.a]) is the dark sea that surrounds the world of Arda before the cataclysm at the end of the Second Age. Vaiya is globed within the Ilurambar, the Walls of the World, and outside them is the Void.[1]

Vaiya flows completely around the world, forming a sea below it and a form of air above it. Arda is described as floating on Vaiya, like a ship on a sea. Ulmo the Lord of Waters dwells in Vaiya, below the roots of Ambar, the Martalmar. The waters of the Inner Seas are actually a compound of the substances of Vaiya, Ilmen and Ambar.[2]

Vaiya is narrow at the West and East of the world, and deepest in the North and South. Vaiya is described as extremely cold: where the interior seas fell down the Chasm of Ilmen, their waterfalls made bridges of ice which close the chasm. The ice extended to all Vaiya and even the Ilurambar.[2] The Sun passes through Vaiya on its way around the world, warming it as it passes.

It cannot support any ships except the boats of Ulmo: the ships of the Númenóreans that tried to sail on it sank, drowning the sailors.

After Arda was made round, Vaiya became the upper atmosphere of the spherical world.[3]

The next layer of "air", inside Vaiya, is Ilmen, and the last layer, closest to the surface, is Vista.[2]

[edit] Etymology

Vaiya or vaia (from earlier waiya, waia) means "fold, envelope".[4] It derives from the root WEY.[5]

In the earlier Book of Lost Tales, the early Qenya forms Vai and Vatya are derived from the root vaya- "enfold".[4] From that root are derived the Gnomish forms Bai and Baithon "the outer airs".[6]

Before the writing of the Lord of the Rings, Waiya > Vaiya was the name of the Tengwa that would appear as Vala in Appendix E.[7]

[edit] Other versions of the Legendarium

In the early schematic titled I Vene Kemen, the highest layer of airs was marked as Vaitya (Qenya) which "wrapped around the world and without it". The earliest versions also mention Vai as the Outer Ocean with so thin waters that is unsailable except for the fishes and the car of Ulmo.[8] Christopher Tolkien suggested that Vaiya of the Ambarkanta is a concept combined from both Vai and Vatya.[4]

Vaiya is mentioned for the last time in The Later Quenta Silmarillion but without its property as an outer layer of air above and below the World. In that text, Vaiya was renamed Ekkaia, which is retained in the published Silmarillion.[9] There it is described more vaguely, and only as a wide Sea around Arda, inside the Walls of Night.[10] Christopher Tolkien notes that in the Ambarkanta, as well as an earlier unfinished version of the Silmarillion (c. 1937), there is the Chasm of Ilmen between the Earth and Vaiya, into which Tilion guides the Moon. However for the published Silmarillion, he preferred a later passage (c. 1951) where Tilion plunges into a Chasm which is beyond the Outer Sea[11] thus describing a different Outer Sea than that of the Ambarkanta.[12]

[edit] References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Diagram I"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Of the Fashion of the World"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Diagram III"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor": "Notes and Commentary"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part One
  7. Vinyar Tengwar, Number 46, July 2004 p.32
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (I) The First Phase: 2. Of Valinor and the Two Trees"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta: Commentary on the Ambarkanta"
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