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Kimberly - Osse and Uinen.jpg
"Osse and Uinen" by Kimberly
General Information
Other namesthe Beautiful, the Folk of the Valar
OriginsCreation of the Ainur
LocationsAman, Middle-earth
LanguagesValarin, Quenya, Sindarin, Black Speech, Westron
MembersEönwë, Ilmarë, Ossë, Uinen, Sauron, Gandalf, Balrogs, Melian
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Maiar

The Maiar (singular Maia; Quenya, pronounced [ˈmaɪ.ar]) were those spirits which descended into Ëa to help the Valar shape the World. They were numerous, yet not many were named, and few also took visible shapes in Middle-Earth. The Maiar were Ainur — technically, any Ainu in Ëa that is not counted as a Vala is a Maia.

History[edit | edit source]

Their chiefs were Eönwë, banner-bearer and herald of Manwë, and Ilmarë, the handmaid of Varda.

Each of the Maiar was associated with one or more particular Vala, and were of similar stock, though less powerful. For example, Ossë and Uinen, as spirits of the sea, belonged to Ulmo, while Curumo, who came to be known in Middle-earth as Saruman, belonged to Aulë the Smith. Melian served both Vána and Estë.[1]

Others included Mairon, also originally of Aulë's people, who later became known as Sauron; Aiwendil, who was known in Middle-earth as Radagast the Brown and belonged to the people of Yavanna; and Olórin, the wisest Maia, also known as Gandalf, belonged to Manwë and Varda.The latter's ways took him often to the house of Nienna from whom he learned pity and patience, which perhaps aided him in his later struggles to unite the Free Peoples of Middle-earth against the power of Sauron.

The Blue Wizards travelled to the east, and never returned to the west. Their fate is unknown. The Balrogs were Maiar corrupted by Melkor, just like Sauron. Their associated Vala is not known.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The Quenya name Maiar means "the Beautiful".[2]

Individuals[edit | edit source]

Descendants of Melian[edit | edit source]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In the earliest forms of the legendarium, such as The Book of Lost Tales, many beings are said to be among the lesser Ainur, including dryads and mermaids. The concept of the Maiar was introduced in the reworking of the Annals of Valinor into the Annals of Aman, and superceded most references to such beings.[3]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Maiar"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman: First section of the Annals of Aman", p. 49
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman: Notes [on Section 1]", p. 56
Valar Lords Manwë · Ulmo · Aulë · Oromë · Mandos · Irmo · Tulkas · Melkor
Valier Varda · Yavanna · Nienna · Estë · Vairë · Vána · Nessa
Maiar Arien · Blue Wizards · Eönwë · Gandalf · Ilmarë · Melian · Ossë · Radagast · Salmar · Saruman · Tilion · Uinen
Úmaiar Sauron · Balrogs (Gothmog · Durin's Bane) · Boldogs
Concepts and locations Almaren · Aratar (indicated in italics) · Creation of the Ainur · Fana · Máhanaxar · Ainulindalë · Order of Wizards (indicated in bold) · Second Music of the Ainur · Timeless Halls · Valarin · Valinor · Valmar