The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


About this entry:

  • Updated 3 December 2013
  • Updates planned: 1


A red star created by Varda

One of the bright stars created by Varda the Kindler in preparation for the awakening of the Elves. Its name contains the Elvish word for 'red', and it is named first among all the stars Varda created at that time, so we can presume that it was a significant light. There might in principle be several bright red stars that would be candidates to be identified with Carnil, but its identity is made all but certain in volume 10 of The History of Middle-earth. In his notes to the index of that volume, Christopher Tolkien describes material that seems1 to make Carnil not in fact as star at all (at least as we would understand the term), but the Elves' name for the planet Mars.



Against a list of star names, J.R.R. Tolkien noted individual stars as 'M', 'S', 'Jup', 'M' and 'N'. These seem clearly to relate to the planets of the Solar System, and though the fact that there are two 'M's in the list leaves room for a sliver of doubt, the reference to redness in Carnil's name, alongside other compelling reasons, make its connection with Mars almost unavoidable. (The other 'M' - which must be Mercury on this model - is connected to the star Elemmírë.)

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1998, 2001, 2013. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.