The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Associated with the first rising of the Sun in I 1;1 presumably removed from the World after the Downfall of Númenor in II 33192
Location
In the farthest East of the World
Origins
Created by the Valar to allow the passage of the Sun into the sky
Race
Division
The Gates were made by the Valar, and the Sun was piloted by Arien, one of the Maiar

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  • Updated 6 September 2020
  • This entry is complete

Gates of Morning

The eastern gateway of the Sun

During the Elder Days, when the Sun drew down through the western sky, it descended into the Outer Sea beyond the lands of Aman. From there, servants of Ulmo guided it beneath the World, until it passed beneath Arda into the distant east. At the appointed time each day, it emerged through a great gateway to lift once more back into the sky, bringing light to Middle-earth once again. That great gateway was known as the Gates of Morning, and before the Downfall of Númenor it was physically present in the World (indeed, Númenórean mariners were said to have seen it with their own eyes).

After the Downfall, the advent of the Bent World meant that the Gates of Morning could no longer exist as they had, though what became of them is not recorded. Presumably they were taken away from the World in the same way that Aman was in the West, so that they can no longer be found by Mortal travellers.


Notes

1

We have no specific account of the making of the Gates of Morning. They might in principle have existed before the making of the Sun, but it is hard to imagine what purpose they might have served. Rather more likely, they were created by the Valar specifically to allow the Sun to emerge from beneath the World and into its skies.

Actually, the Gates were probably made some short time after the first appearance of the Sun. It was Varda's original intention that the Sun should remain permanently in the sky, travelling from the West into the East and then crossing the sky back again. Under that arrangement, there would have been no need for the Gates of Morning to exist. Varda later changed her plans so that Middle-earth would have a time of darkness, and it was only after this change, which involved the Sun passing beneath the Earth to emerge in the distant East, that the Gates would have been needed.

2

After the Downfall of Númenor, the Gates of Morning must have ceased to exist, at least within the newly 'Bent' World of mortals. Where the Sun had previously travelled beneath a flat World to emerge on its eastern rim, the World was now made round, and the entire notion of the Sun climbing through the Gates of Morning no longer made sense. At least, this would be true from the perspective of mortals, but perhaps the Gates of Morning somehow remained in the older World that could still be reached by those travelling the Straight Road.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 6 September 2020
  • This entry is complete

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