Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 18:37, 17 February 2013 by Morgan (Talk | contribs)
"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
This article or section needs more/new/more-detailed sources to conform to a higher standard and to provide proof for claims made.
Kent Burles - Ossë.png
Biographical Information
Other namesYssion, Gaerys
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Ossë

Ossë (Q, pron. [ˈosːe]) was a Maia of the Sea associated with Ulmo.



Ossë guarded the waters around Middle-earth and islands, and did not go into the deep places of the Sea. Uinen was his spouse, and he was a friend of Círdan the Shipwright.

In the early days of Arda, Ossë turned to Melkor for a time, but Uinen brought him back to the loyalty of the Ulmo. However, Ossë's wild and wilful nature was still evident; he delighted in and enjoyed making dangerous Sea storms.

Ossë was a friend of the Sindar, a kindred of Elves who lived by the shores of the Sea in Beleriand, and was respected as much as the Valar by them.

After the Valar pronounced the Doom of the Noldor, Ossë helped guard the shores of Beleriand to keep the ships of the Noldor from reaching Valinor. His storms had a part in wrecking all the ships that they sent, and only one Elf from among their crews survived, by the will of Ulmo: Voronwë. During the Second Age he rose the island of Elenna (Numenor) from the depths of the Sea.


At least two explanations exist for the name Ossë. In The Etymologies, it is understood as the Qenya word osse ("terror"), deriving from the root GOS ("dread").[1] A later note pertaining to the name instead suggests it is a name of non-Elvish origin, deriving from Valarin Oš(o)šai ("spuming, foaming").[2] The same later note mentions that Ossë's Sindarin names were Yssion and Gaerys.[3][2]

In Eriol's Old English translations, Osse is referred to as Saefrea "Sea-ruler".[4] However, this reflects his status as a Vala (Fréa) in the earlier Legendarium.

Other versions

In older versions of The Silmarillion as well as the Annals of Aman, Ossë (along with his spouse Uinen)were Valar in their own right, and often opposed the will of Ulmo.

Osse was also the name of a Tengwa similar to Roman c, which apparently had the value o.[5] However elsewhere, this letter is named Elwe and has the value of e. In the Mode of Beleriand this letter instead has the value a.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", p. 359
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", p. 400
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", gaer
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: Appendix 1: Fragments of a translation of The Quenta Noldorinwa into Old English, made by Ælfwine or Eriol; together with Old English equivalents of Elvish names"
  5. Vinyar Tengwar, Number 45, November 2003 p.15