The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Entered Arda at its beginning; immortal
Valinor (with the exception of Ulmo, whose halls are beneath the Outer Sea)
Created by Eru Ilúvatar
Halls of Mandos, Ilmarin, Valmar, and other houses and halls
Arda is pronounced 'ar'da'
Arda means 'the realm (of Manwë)'
Other names


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  • Updated 21 January 2013
  • This entry is complete

High Ones of Arda

The Aratar, greatest among the Valar

" majesty they are peers, surpassing beyond compare all others, whether of the Valar and the Maiar, or of any other order..."
Of the Valar
in The Silmarillion

A title of the eight most powerful of the Valar, a translation of the Elvish word Aratar (which literally means 'High Ones'). They were ruled by Manwë the Elder King, and their number included four other Lords of the Valar (Ulmo, Aulë, Mandos and Oromë) as well as three of the Valier or Queens of the Valar (Varda, Yavanna and Nienna).

In terms of inherent power, Melkor would also have belonged to the High Ones, and indeed he is said to have once been counted among the Aratar. Because of his rebellion and wars against the other Valar, he was no longer considered part of the order, so that the noble Aratar of Valinor numbered eight, rather than the original nine.

Manwë The High King of Arda, and greatest of all the Valar
Varda The Kindler of the stars, and spouse to Manwë, with whom she dwells on Taniquetil. Varda is more commonly known as Elbereth in Middle-earth.
Ulmo Lord of the seas of Arda, Ulmo dwells apart from the other Valar in the depths of the Outer Sea.
Yavanna Called the Giver of Fruits, the guardian of all growing things.
Aulë The great Smith of the Valar and master of stone and metal, Aulë was the maker of the race of Dwarves.
Mandos The Doomsman of the Valar, who keeps the spirits of the dead in his Halls in the west of Aman.
Nienna The mistress of mourning, who weeps for Arda and the fate of its peoples in her halls on the western edge of the World.
Oromë The Huntsman of the Valar, who travelled most often to Middle-earth, and who discovered the Elves there soon after they had awakened.

The eight Aratar, or High Ones of Arda. Originally, Melkor was also numbered among these powerful beings.

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