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From Tolkien Gateway
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Helkar was one of the two towers that held one of the Two Lamps created to light Middle-earth in an early conception of the legendarium.


Helkar was a great tower, raised by Melko to house the southern of the Two Lamps fashioned by Aulë to illuminate Middle-earth. The tower was extremely tall, rising to the stars, and shone like pale blue crystal. Melko claimed that Helkar and its northern twin Ringil were made of a strong, imperishable substance that he had devised; in reality he lied for they were made of ice (a material unknown to the other Valar). Thus, when Aulë's lamps were placed upon them (silver in the north and gold in the south) the ice melted and caused great floods to pour into the seas.[1]


Helka is Qenya for "ice-cold". The Gnomish cognate was Helchor.[2]

Other versions of the legendarium

Christopher Tolkien noted that the story of the Lamps in its early stage was very different from the published Silmarillion. It is Melko, not Aulë, who built the two towers. The name Helkar disappeared as the name for the southern tower; eventually the Sea of Helcar would be the body of water formed at the roots of Illuin, the northern tower and lamp. The only remaining influence from the older version of the story was that the fall of the towers created inland seas, a vestige of the notion that the towers had been made of ice that melted.[3]