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Lady Elleth - Arien.jpg
"Arien" by Lady Elleth
Biographical Information
PronunciationQ, [ˈari.en]
Other namesÛrî (A)
PositionGuiding the Sun
AffiliationVarda, formally Estë and Vána
BirthCreation of the Ainur
Timeless Halls
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Arien
"Too bright were the eyes of Arien for even the Eldar to look on, and leaving Valinor she forsook the form and raiment which like the Valar she had worn there, and she was as a naked flame, terrible in the fullness of her splendor."
Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"

Arien was the Maia who guided the Sun.



Arien was originally a spirit of fire whom Melkor failed to corrupt.[1] In the days of the Two Trees, Arien was a Maia maiden who tended to the golden flowers in the gardens of Vána. She would water the flowers of Vána with dew gathered from the golden tree Laurelin.[2]

After the destruction of the Two Trees of Valinor by Melkor, Laurelin managed to produce one last golden fruit before it died away. Aulë crafted a vessel to hold the golden fruit. Arien was chosen by the Valar to guide the vessel of the Sun above the airs of Arda to give light to the World; Tilion, another Maia and one of Oromë's hunters, was chosen to steer the Moon. The Moon had already traversed the sky seven times before the Sun was finally ready. The first dawn of the Sun was like a great fire glowing upon the towers of the Pelóri Mountains of Aman. Morgoth was dismayed, and he descended into the uttermost pit of Angband and his servants withdrew. He sent up dark clouds of smoke to conceal his land from the light of the Sun.[1]

Tilion loved Arien and followed her through the night sky. When he occasionally caught up to her, his vessel became singed by her heat.[1]


Arien is Quenya for "Maiden of Sun".[3] It is derived from the root as-, seen also in árë ("sunlight"),[3] and -ien (feminine suffix).

The Adûnaic name Ûrî is given as the female personification of ûre ("the Sun"), but it actually refers to its guardian spirit, "the Lady of the Sun".[4]

Other versions of the legendarium

The Book of Lost Tales

In the earliest writings, Arien's name was Urwen or Urwendi, which translated in "Maiden of the Sunship". She was one of Vána's maidens who took care of the tree Laurelin; her task was to water it.[5] When the Two Trees of Valinor were destroyed, she offered to steer the Ship of the Sun.[6]

It was told that Urwendi and her maidens, before the rising of the Sun, entered into Fôs Almir (Faskalan), a bath of flame that would make one pure.[6]

Later versions

In Myths Transformed, which changed the timing of the Sun to have been primordial to Arda's inception, Melkor wanted to claim Arien as a wife,[7]:380-1 but when she refused him, he attempted to ravish her.[7]:405 However, she released her spirit and burned Melkor leaving him ashen and grey. The Sun was then left without a guide and caused uneven seasons and periods of excessive heat or cold in Arda.[7]:381 In other abandoned writings, she was a Maia of Varda.[source?]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", pp. 264-5
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry arien
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Three: The Drowning of Anadûnê: (vi) Lowdham's Report on the Adunaic Language", p. 426
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "III. The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor", p. 73
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VIII. The Tale of the Sun and Moon", p. 118
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] II"
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void