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Outside the western gates of Valmar in Valinor
Associated with Valmar, the city of the Valar
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 23 Febuary 2023
  • This entry is complete


The Ring of Doom before the gates of Valmar

Map of the Máhanaxar
The Máhanaxar before the gates of Valmar (conjectural)
The Máhanaxar before the gates of Valmar (conjectural)

Beyond the golden gates of Valmar, to the west of that city of the Valar, the thrones of the Powers stood in a Ring of Doom. Here the Valar gathered to ponder events of great import, or to speak their judgements, and this Ring of their thrones was named the Máhanaxar.

The Valar did not need to speak with words, but could share their thoughts with one another while seated in their thrones in apparent silence. The councils and conclaves of the Powers were not always attended by all of the Valar. In particular, Ulmo the Lord of Waters, who dwelt in the depths of the Outer Sea, would take his place among the thrones of the Máhaxanar for only the most weighty of debates.

Near the Máhanaxar stood a Green Mound named Ezellohar. Early in their time in Aman, the Valar came together in their Ring of Doom, while Yavanna and Nienna brought forth a pair of Trees from the mound. These Two Trees shone with brilliant Light, one silver-white and the other golden, and they would spread this Light across Valinor, the land of the Valar, for many millennia to come.

While the Two Trees shone in Aman, the wide lands of Middle-earth beyond the Great Sea still lay in darkness beneath the stars. To these lands, the Vala Oromë would ride at times, and it was thus that he discovered that the first Elves had awakened in the distant eastern parts of Middle-earth, where they were unprotected from the wiles of the Dark Lord Melkor. Oromë returned to Valinor, where the Valar gathered at the Máhanaxar to consider the fate of the newly awakened Elves. They decided to go to war against Melkor, whom they defeated and brought before them at the Ring of Doom. There Melkor begged for Manwë's pardon, but instead he was imprisoned within the Halls of Mandos for three ages. Meanwhile, those Elves who wished to do so set out on a Great Journey that led them across the Sea to Valinor, where they would dwell in bliss under the Light of the Trees.

After the appointed three ages had passed, Manwë agreed to release Melkor from his Captivity, and Melkor soon began to foment discord in secret among the Elves. This led eventually to Fëanor drawing his sword on his half-brother Fingolfin, and the Elf was brought to the Máhanaxar to face judgement. Fingolfin forgave his brother, but nonetheless Fëanor was exiled from the Elves' city of Tirion for twelve years.2

When Melkor's part in these events was revealed, he fled from Valinor into the shadowy south. Manwë attempted to heal the rift between the Elves by holding a festival of reconciliation, but while the feast was held on Taniquetil, Melkor returned in a cloud of darkness. He defiled the Two Trees and stole the Silmarils from Fëanor's vaults, slaying his father Finwë, before escaping into Middle-earth. Unable to recapture Melkor in the spreading darkness, the Valar then gathered at the Máhanaxar, pondering how to react. Not yet having heard of their theft by Melkor, Fëanor at this time refused to give up the Silmarils to heal the stricken Trees. When news came of the loss of his Jewels and the death of his father, Fëanor departed from the Ring of Doom, ultimately to lead his people back to Middle-earth in pursuit of Melkor. Meanwhile, the Valar took thought to bringing about a return of the lost light, and from the labours that followed they created the Sun and the Moon to shine down across all of the world.

The council held by the Valar before the making of the Sun and Moon is the last time the Máhanaxar is formally recorded. We do, however, have an account of a much later council that we might naturally imagine to have taken place there. This council would have been held in the early part of the Third Age, in response to the growing Shadow of Sauron in Middle-earth. At this council, the Valar gathered to select five Maiar to send as emissaries to the lands across the Great Sea. Two of these Maiar were named Olórin and Curumo, who would gain new names among Men in Middle-earth: Gandalf and Saruman.



At least according to notes on the Valarin language, the name Máhanaxar was a contraction of the original name used by the Valar themselves, which was said to be Máχananaškād. That word in turn derived from Máχallām 'throne' and akašān, 'law, commandment', so literally Máhanaxar meant 'thrones of the law' or 'thrones of doom', but it is universally translated as 'Ring of Doom' or 'Doom-ring' (where 'ring' describes the arrangement of the thrones of the Valar).


At this time the Sun had yet to be created, so the length of Fëanor's twelve-year exile is more ambiguous than it might appear. During the Years of the Trees, the Valar measured time in 'Valian Years', each of which was much longer than a solar year. So, Fëanor may have been exiled for twelve years as we would understand 'years', but if the 'years' meant here were Valian Years, then the period of his exile would have been much longer: approximately 115 years of the Sun.

See also...

Aman, Lords of the West, Valmar


About this entry:

  • Updated 23 Febuary 2023
  • This entry is complete

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