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Daniel Govar - Ulmo Lord of the Seas.jpg
Biographical Information
Other namesUllubōz, "King of the Sea", "Lord of Waters", Ulu, Guiar, Gulma
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Ulmo

Ulmo (Quenya, pronounced [ˈulmo] was a Vala, also known as King of the Sea and Lord of Waters. He was third in majesty of the Valar, after Manwë and Varda; he was in other words the third of the Aratar.



Ulmo was very close in friendship to Manwë, and he had always distrusted Melkor. The Dark Lord feared him almost as much as he feared Varda, since the sea cannot be tamed. Ulmo had no dwelling in Valinor, or any permanent dwelling on land. He prefered the deeps of the seas and the rivers to land. His palace, on the bottom of the Outer Sea, was called Ulmonan.

He seldom came to the Councils of Máhanaxar, and only when in great need. He preferred to stay in Arda, not by walking on the land, as his form would fill man or elf with great dread. All waters were under his government; bays, rivers and even the waters under the earth. It is through these that he kept in touch with Arda, and thus knew more of the goings on with the children of Ilúvatar than even Manwë, for it was said he lived in the very veins of the world.

He was said to be fearful to look upon to mortal eye, dressed like a giant wave in glittering green armour, blowing his great horn Ulumuri. Ulmo's vassal Ossë, and Ossë's spouse Uinen were, to the elves, the best known of the Maiar. Through them Ulmo would learn much of the elves.

Ulmo had always loved the Eldar and the Edain, even when the Valar forsook Middle-earth. He opposed Oromë's plan to bring the Elves to Aman. But he eventually helped them get to Aman, because he knew that was what they wanted, and he accepted that. He tore a great piece of land off the shores of Beleriand and used it to transport the Eldar to the blessed coasts of Aman. He anchored the island (it was renamed Tol Eressëa) in the Bay of Eldamar, which he did because he knew the minds of the Teleri. Ulmo was the Vala most responsible for the fall of Morgoth, by urging Turgon to build Gondolin and Finrod to build Nargothrond. He appeared before Tuor and urged him to to go to Gondolin as a messenger for Turgon, when he got there he eventually married Turgon's daughter Idril and fathered Eärendil; and saved Elwing from the sack of the Havens of Sirion, and thus she took the Silmaril to her husband Eärendil which allowed them to gain admittance to Valinor and plead for their mercy. Ulmo also defended them in the council from the potential wrath of Mandos.


The name Ulmo is said to derive from the Valarin Ullubōz.[1]

Alternatively, Ulmo is a Quenya title, which means "He who pours" (cf. ulya- "to pour" and agentive ending -mo "-er").[source?]

In the earlier writings his Noldorin name was Ylmir, among them Tuor's The Horns of Ylmir.[source?] (Another Noldorin translation of his name is given as Nûron.)[2][3] The Sindarin form is Ulu ([ˈulu]), though he is also called Guiar ([ˈɡuɪ.ar]) and Gulma ([ˈɡulma]).[source?]

In Eriol's Old English translations, Ulmo is referred to by various names: Garsecges frea "Ocean ruler", ealwaeter-frea "All-waters ruler" or agendfrea ealra waetera "owning lord of all waters".[4]

See also


  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'"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", p. 378 (entry for NŪ-)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part Two" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 46, July 2004, p. 7
  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"