From Tolkien Gateway
Source of light
Lady Elleth - Arien.jpg
"Arien" by Lady Elleth
Other namesSee below
LocationIlmen in
Y.T. 1500
GalleryImages of the Sun

Anar, the Sun, is the source of daylight, rising in the East of Middle-earth[1] and sinking in the West.[2]


During the Years of the Trees, Valinor was lit for many thousands of years by the light of the Two Trees, Telperion the Silver and Laurelin the Gold. When these were destroyed by Morgoth and Ungoliant, Arda was plunged into darkness. Through the power of Varda and Yavanna, though, Laurelin produced a single fiery fruit before it died. This golden fire was set in a vessel made by Aulë and his people, and steered into the sky by the Maia Arien.[3]

The First Dawn of the Sun by Ted Nasmith

Valinor was in the West of the World, and so the first sunrise was in the west, not the east. Originally, Arien was to have steered Anar ceaselessly from west to east and back again, always remaining in the sky, but the Valar changed this counsel, so that each evening Anar would descend into the distant western seas, and re-emerge each morning in the east.[3]

The Sun was seen by the Elves as a sign for the awakening of Men, and they valued the Moon higher.[3] Morgoth's creatures, the Orcs, feared the Sun, and with the exception of the Uruk-hai, they did not travel while it was in the sky.

The Trolls of Middle-earth feared the Sun even more, and with great reason: they turned to stone under its light. Only the later Olog-hai were able to move under the Sun.

Etymology and names[edit]

For the Dwarf see Anar (dwarf)

Names of the Sun amongst the Elves included:

  • Anar (derived from the root ANÁR[4]) or The Fire-golden,[3] a name given to it by the Vanyar.
  • Anor (derived from the root ANÁR[4]), the common name for the Sun in Sindarin, as seen in Minas Anor, the Gondorian province of Anórien, and elanor ("Sun-star").
  • Vása ("the Consumer"[5]), or Heart of Fire, a name given to the Sun by the Noldor as it marked the waning of the Elves.[3]
  • Aþâraigas, meaning "appointed heat", was the name of the Sun in Valarin.[6]
  • Ūri, is one of the Adûnaic words for the sun, giving the "later" forms (Westron?) Uir/Ŷr.[7]:306 There is also the personified name Ūrī "Lady of the Sun".[7]:426[8]

A poetic name for the Sun was The Daystar, and Gollum referred to it as The Yellow Face.

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The Gates of Morn by Ted Nasmith

In the early versions of the legendarium as described in The Book of Lost Tales Part One, the Sun was described in great detail as an immense island of fire. It was also said there that the youth Tilion, who guided the Moon, was said to secretly be in love with Arien, and that because he steered the Moon too close to the Sun the Moon was burned.

In some early versions of The Silmarillion, it is prophecised that in the End Morgoth will destroy the Sun and Moon.[9][10]

In an unwritten revision of the Silmarillion, Morgoth at one point was infatuated with Arien, and wanted to claim her as his wife: he is at one point even described as ravishing her, so she abandoned her body and 'died': the Sun after this for a while left its course, burning a large part of Arda the world (apparently creating the deserts of Far Harad).[11]

In the Round World version of the legendarium, the Sun and the Moon were not the fruit of the Two Trees, but actually preceded the creation of the Trees. Instead, the Trees preserved the light of the Sun before it was tainted by Melkor when he ravished Arien.[12]


A depiction of the Norse god Máni and the goddess Sól (Lorenz Frølich, 1895)

Tolkien stated that "Elves (and Hobbits) always refer to the Sun as She",[13][note 1] and Yvette L. Kisor has remarked that the reference to the Sun as a female entity in the legendarium derived from Old Norse mythology and language.[14]

See also Moon: Inspirations

See also[edit]


  1. Also, Arien was a female Maia. For an example of the feminine form of the Sun, cf. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South": "'I have not brought the Sun. She is walking in the blue fields of the South...'" (Legolas).


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South": "...the Sun rode up from the East."
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Lothlórien": "...the sun sank behind the westward heights"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 348
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", p. 401
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Three: The Drowning of Anadûnê: (vi) Lowdham's Report on the Adunaic Language"
  8. "[ûri ]", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 3 November 2020)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: Commentary on the Quenta, [Section] 19", p. 205
  10. 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. 333
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] II"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] V", pp. 389-90
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony", footnote
  14. Yvette L. Kisor, "'Elves (and Hobbits) always refer to the Sun as She': Some Notes on a Note in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings", in ’Tolkien Studies, Vol. IV (eds. Douglas A. Anderson, Michael D.C. Drout, Verlyn Flieger)
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void