Days before days

From Tolkien Gateway
History of Arda
Before the Creation
Before the Ages
Days before days
Years of the Trees (up to Y.T. 1050)
Ages of the Children of Ilúvatar
First Age (begins in Y.T. 1050
and overlaps with the Years of the Trees
up to Y.T. 1500
- Years of the Sun begin in F.A. 1
Second Age
- Arda made round in S.A. 3319
Third Age
Fourth Age
Later Ages (up to present day)
End of Arda
Timeline of Arda
(See: Round World version of the Silmarillion
for a later conception of Tolkien's cosmology)

The Days before days were three thousand and five hundred Valian Years that passed ere the measurement of time first known to the Eldar began with the flowering of the Two Trees of Valinor.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

The Days before days began shortly after the Music of the Ainur, when the Valar descended into Arda. After they entered the world, it was still lifeless and had no distinct geographical features. However, Melkor claimed Arda for himself alone, and there were the First War that ravaged until the coming of Tulkas whose prowess urged Melkor to retreat.

When the Valar finally repaired damage made by Melkor, they chose the initial shape of Arda; it was of a symmetrical continent lit by the Two Lamps: one in the continent's north, and one in the south, made out of the misty light that veiled the barren ground. The Valar concentrated this light into two colossal vessels, Illuin and Ormal. Then Aulë the Smith forged great towers, one in the north, Helcar, and another in the south, Ringil. In the middle, where the light of the Lamps mingled, the Valar dwelt at the island of Almaren, their first kingdom. Thus the Spring of Arda flourished upon the Earth.

Early Arda by Steven White Jr.

The Two Lamps shone until they were destroyed by an assault of Melkor. Arda was again darkened, and the Lamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface, and thus the Spring came to an end. Separate continents were created: Aman in the far West, Middle-earth, or Endor, in the centre from the north to south, and the Land of the Sun in the far East. At the site of the northern Lamp the inland Sea of Helcar later formed, of which Cuiviénen was a bay. After that the Years of the Trees began when Yavanna grew the Two Trees in Valinor. However, Middle-earth was still covered in darkness and Melkor dominated it residing in his stronghold Utumno.[2]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In J.R.R. Tolkien's latest writings in which Arda was a round world from its beginning, the Sun and Moon (and the Two Trees for a time) had always given light to Arda, and the Two Lamps never existed.[3]

David Day's books[edit | edit source]

In David Day's books the period was fanonically misnamed "Ages/Years of the Lamps".[4] However, J.R.R. Tolkien himself never used such terms, and this is one of many reasons why Day's books are considered highly unreliable and criticised for misinterpretations of Tolkien's mythology.[5][6]

See also[edit | edit source]

Timeline of the Days before days


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman: First section of the Annals of Aman", p. 51
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", p. 375 - 385
  4. David Day, Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, section "History", pp. 14-15
  5. "Recommended books on Tolkien", David Bratman's Home Page (accessed 21 January 2015)
  6. "Tolkien Transactions XXXIII" dated 1 February 2013, Parma-kenta (accessed 21 January 2015)