The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Immortal; existed before the making of Arda
Race
Division
Pronunciation
a'rien
Meaning
Sun-maiden1

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  • Updated 5 November 2013
  • This entry is complete

Arien

The Maia of the Sun

Called the Sun-maiden, Arien was a spirit of fire who originally belonged to the Maiar of Vána. During the Years of the Trees, it was her role to bring the glowing dews of the Golden Tree Laurelin to Vána's gardens. At that time she took a form similar to one of the Children of Ilúvatar, but even so her fiery spirit could be seen in the brilliant glow of her eyes.

When the Valar created the Sun from Laurelin's last fruit, Arien was given the task of directing it through the sky. At that time she cast off her old shape, and took on the appearance of a brilliantly burning flame. In that form she took charge of the vessel that Aulë had made for the new Sun, and guided it along its course above the World.


Notes

1

Arien's name derives from the Elvish root ar-, literally 'day, daylight', though the name is usually interpreted 'Sun-maiden' rather than 'day-maiden'. The name Arien only makes sense after she was chosen as the guide of the Sun, so presumably she had an earlier, different name during her time in the gardens of Vána. If so, no specific record of this earlier name exists. In The Book of Lost Tales, the equivalent character is known as Urwen; this is interpretable as 'fire-maiden', and would make more general sense for a spirit of fire, though the name was superseded by Arien.

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