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General Information
MembersImin, Iminyë, Ingwë, Indis, Elemmírë, Amarië, and others.
Physical Description
DistinctionsMost revered of the Elven kindreds, loved by Manwë.
Average heightTall
GalleryImages of Vanyar.

The Vanyar (Q, pron. N [ˈvaɲar], V [ˈβaɲar]) are one of the three groups of High Elves, along with the Noldor, and some of the Teleri. They comprise most of those who did not leave Aman.



The Vanyar are the highest of the High Elves. According to legend, the clan was founded by Imin, the first Elf to awake in Cuiviénen, his wife Iminyë, and their twelve companions. At this time, they were called the Minyar (Q: "first ones", pron. [ˈmiɲar]). However, it was Ingwë, the first Vanya to travel with Oromë to Valinor, who became their king. They were the first to reach Beleriand after the Great Journey.

All of the Vanyar journeyed to Valinor before the beginning of the Years of the Sun, and remained there. They are said to have the greatest skill in poetry of all the Elves, and Manwë and Varda love them for this.

At first the Vanyar dwelt in Tirion with the Noldor but they loved the light of the Two Trees and settled in the plains and woods Valinor or the slopes of Taniquetil. Ingwë is called High King of the Elves. He lives on Taniquetil beneath the halls of Manwë. [1]

Another notable Vanya was Indis, the second wife of Finwë and grandmother of Galadriel. It is from her Vanyarin blood that Galadriel gained the golden part of her famous silver-gold hair.


The Vanyar were the first and smallest clan of the Elves. They typically had blonde hair. Few of them were ever seen in Middle-earth, as they only returned for the War of Wrath.

They are also known as the "Spear-elves" for their love of spears, as opposed to the sword and shield of the Noldor and the bow and arrow of the Teleri.[2]


The Vanyar called themselves Minyar, "the Firsts", their ancient name. Another name was Ingar or Ingwer which means "Chieftains" (etymologically related to the name Ingwë).

In Sindarin they were called Minil.

The Vanyar also known under the name "Fair-elves",[3] from the fair colour of their hair.[4]


The name Vanyar means "the Fair" in Quenya, referring to their golden hair. It seems to be from a primitive Elvish form bányâ[5][6] (stem BAN) but also from wanjâ (stem WAN)[7]. The Teleri called them Baniai.

Other Versions of the Legendarium

In the earliest versions of Tolkien's legendarium (see: The Book of Lost Tales Part One), they were called Teleri, while the Elves known as Teleri in the published version of The Silmarillion were called Solosimpi.

In the late manuscript The Shibboleth of Fëanor (ca. 1968), the Vanyar are also called Ingwi. Christopher Tolkien notes that this might be the only use of the term since the Lhammas (1930s), when Ingwi was a name for an early conception of the Lindar (that is, being the first clan of Elves, the house and people of Ingwë).[8]


(Quendi · People of the Stars · Firstborn · Elder Kindred)
Three Kindreds:
(Eldar · Eldalië · Edhil)
 Vanyar (Fair-elves · Minyar) · Noldor (Deep-elves · Tatyar) · Teleri (Lindar · Nelyar)
(High-elves · Amanyar)
 Vanyar · Noldor · Falmari
Úmanyar:  Sindar (Grey-elves · Eglath) · Nandor (Green-elves · Silvan Elves)
 Moriquendi:  Úmanyar · Avari (Dark Elves · The Unwilling)
See Also:  Awakening of the Elves · Sundering of the Elves · Great Journey


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 215 footnote to §29
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names", Vanyar
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", p. 351
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, p. 402
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, p. 383
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", pp. 332, 356 (note 3)