The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
The very distant past1
Affecting all parts of Arda, the World
Arda is pronounced 'a'rda'
Arda means 'realm (of Manwë)'


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  • Updated 31 May 2010
  • Updates planned: 2

Marring of Arda

The breaking of the designs of the Valar

"She is acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor."
From the description of the Vala Nienna
Of the Valar in the Valaquenta,
The Silmarillion

It was the purpose of the Valar to form the World according to an ideal, and to create a perfect habitation for the Children of Ilúvatar, but Melkor opposed them in this, corrupting or subverting whatever they attempted. This conflict in the ancient past robbed Arda of the peace the Valar had intended for it, making it instead a place of decay and misery, and it came to be known as Arda Marred. The Vala Nienna mourned for the Marring, and she was said to weep for all the great hurts that Melkor had caused in the World.



Melkor's marring of the plans of the Valar took place over millennia, dating back to the time the Powers first entered the World (nearly 50,000 years before the first rising of the Sun). Specific dates from this distant and rather nebulous past are difficult to determine, but one particular event can be dated with some accuracy. This is the marring of the Spring of Arda, the first growth of living things, which was disrupted at the time Melkor began the secret building of Utumno. According to the Annals of Aman (in volume 10 of The History of Middle-earth) this took place some hundred Valian Years before the making of the Two Trees, dating it at about 15,000 (solar) years before the rising of the Sun.

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