From Tolkien Gateway
"Nienna" by Aerankai
Biographical Information
PositionLady of pity and mourning
LocationHalls of Nienna
AffiliationClose to Olórin
SiblingsMandos, Irmo
Physical Description
ClothingGrey hood
GalleryImages of Nienna

Mightier than Estë is Nienna, sister of the Fëanturi; she dwells alone. She is acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor.

Nienna was a Queen of the Valar, the sister of Mandos and Irmo, acquainted with grief and sorrow but also pity and courage.


The sister of the Fëanturi, she is ranked as one of the eight Aratar, the most powerful of the Valar. Her element is grief and she is ever mourning for the wounds of the world by evil. Those who listen to her learn wisdom and endurance in grief.[1]

Her halls are in the distant west, close to the Halls of Mandos, but on the western borders of the World, and her windows look outward from the Walls of the World. She dwells alone and rarely travels to the joyful city of Valmar. She goes more often to the halls of her brother Mandos to comfort and counsel those in the Halls of Waiting who cry to her.[1]

All that is known about her appearance is that she wears a grey hood.[2]


Her part in the Music of the Ainur was one of deep sadness, and from this grief entered the world in its beginning.[1]

The Maia Olórin, who was later to travel to Middle-earth as Gandalf, learned much from her.[3]

Nienna played a part in the making of the Two Trees of Valinor; she wept on the mound of Ezellohar, watering it with her tears.[4] After the destruction of the Trees by Melkor, she once again wept on their wounded remains, cleansing the filth of Ungoliant, and helping to bring forth the last fruit and flower that were to become the Sun and the Moon.[2]

The pity of Nienna is most clearly seen in her support for Melkor when he sued for the pardon of the Valar. Though she spent her time in the world mourning for the destruction he wrought in Arda, when he sued for release after his three ages of Captivity, Nienna spoke on his part.[5]


Nienna is a Quenya name which contains the word nie ("tear").[6]



Other versions of the legendarium

In The Book of Lost Tales, some early names of Nienna were:

The importance of Nienna increased along the development of the Legendarium, and even in The Annals of Aman, she is referred to as the sister of Manwë and Melkor.[9]


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 · Valimar