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|"Lúthien's Lament Before Mandos" by Ted Nasmith|
|Other names||Námo, Bannoth, Badhron, The Judge, The Just|
|Position||Ruler of the Dead|
|Location||The Halls of Mandos|
|Siblings||Irmo and Nienna|
|Gallery||Images of Mandos|
Mandos was the "elder brother" of the Vala Irmo (also called Lórien). Together, Mandos and Irmo are called the Fëanturi (Q: "Masters of Spirits"). Their sister is Nienna. Vairë the Weaver is his wife. His actual — less common — name was Námo, "Mandos" being the name of his dwelling place. He keeps the Houses of the Dead where he summons the spirits of the slain.
Mandos knows and remembers nearly all things that were and shall be. Only Ilúvatar knew with full certainty what the full doom of Arda will be, and he will not reveal it all, even to Mandos or Manwë. Mandos and Manwë have always been allied since their entering into Eä, and together they understand most clearly the Vision of Ilúvatar more than any of the other Valar.
As the Doomsman of the Valar, he pronounces his judgements at the bidding of Manwë.
Mandos is said to be the grimmest of the Valar. However, this in no way implies that Mandos is dark or evil. His grimness is wholly part of his nature, coming (one must assume) from that part of the mind of Ilúvatar from which he came. Neither is Mandos willful or malevolent in declaring the fates of Arda.
During one of the early councils of the Valar, the Powers worried that the Elves would come in darkness. Manwë bid Mandos to speak, and he revealed that the age of the Children of Ilúvatar approached and it was the doom of the Elves to wake under the stars and revere Varda. This prompted Varda to prepare new stars for the Awakening of the Elves.
After Melkor was overthrown in the Siege of Utumno, the Valar debated on whether to summon the Elves to Aman. Though some such as Ulmo felt the Elves should be left to dwell in Middle-earth, the Valar decided to summon the Elves. At this, Mandos broke his silence with the words "So it is doomed".
When the rebellious Noldor carried out the Kinslaying at Alqualondë and were in the lands of Araman north of Valinor, Mandos, or one of his servants, pronounced the Doom of Mandos, a warning if they continued in their rebellion. This caused Finarfin to repent and return to Eldamar.
When Beren and Lúthien died, she sang a song of such extraordinary power and beauty that it moved even the implacable heart of Mandos. So Beren was returned to a second life and Lúthien was granted a unique fate, to become mortal and return to Middle-earth with him.
After, when Eärendil set foot in Aman and begged the Valar for the forgiveness of the Noldor and help in their war with Morgoth, he was the one who demanded he be executed for no mortal should set foot in Aman and live. But Ulmo spoke against him, asking whether he was the son of Tuor of the Edain or Idril of the Noldor. Mandos responded that in either case, since the Noldor are still under the ban, he should not live. Regardless of that, Manwë answered his prayer and commanded the Host of the Valar be assembled and wage war on Morgoth. Considering Eärendil's doom, along with Elwing's, his wife, he offered them and their children a choice: whether to be counted among Elves or Men.
Other versions of the Legendarium
Christopher Tolkien notes that in the early version of the legendarium Mandos does exclaim prophecies, but he doesn't function as the "Doomsman of the Valar" as in the later Silmarillion. His wife was Fui Nienna.
In the Qenya Lexicon the Vala in Qenya was called Ve or Vefantur Mandos. In the Gnomish Lexicon his Gnomish names are Bannoth Gwi, Gwi-fanthor and Gwivannoth. His personal name(s) Ve/Gwi are said to derive from a primitive root VEHE, but no meaning or translation are given.
Mandos is the Qenya name of the region and their Halls, also known as Ve after him. The Gnomish form Bannoth also refers to the Vala and the region of the souls, but also improperly his Halls (properly Gwi or Ingwi).
In the later The Etymologies, the name of the Vala was Mando, translated as "Imprisoner, Binder", derived from root MBAD. Note that here, Mando was envisioned as the actual name of the Vala proper (not his realm). In that conception, the form Mand-os is a lengthened form (from Mandosse) meaning "Dread Imprisoner". The Noldorin name for Mandos is Bannos. Cf. GOS, Osse.
An epithet of Mandos was Morimando (Dark Mando), being the dark counterpart of Manwe Kalamando (Light Mando). Tolkien notes that in those epithets, the element man loses its sense as "doom, prison", and is understood as the root referring to "holiness" (root MAN in Manwe).
Mandos is comparable to gods of the dead of real world mythologies, like Hades or Hel. The instance of Lúthien singing to him in order to release her beloved, is reminiscent of similar ancient tales, such as Orpheus singing to Hades to release Eurydice, or Hermod who asks Hel to release Baldur.  Another similarity shared between Mandos and the two mythological figures, is that they bear the name of their realms.
The story of Orpheus has been retold in English literature as Sir Orfeo.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Valar"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, "Qenya Noun Structure", in Parma Eldalamberon XXI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith), p. 85
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, p.350
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, "From Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 39, July 1998, p. 6
- ↑ 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"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor": "Notes and Commentary"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part One
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", entry MBAD
- ↑ Dawn Felagund, "Námo Mandos", Silmarillion Writers Guild (accessed 10 October 2015)
|Valar||Lords|| Manwë · Ulmo · Aulë · Oromë · Mandos · Irmo · Tulkas · |
|Queens||Varda · Yavanna · Nienna · Estë · Vairë · Vána · Nessa|
|Maiar||Aiwendil · Arien · Blue Wizards · Curumo · Eönwë · Ilmarë · Mairon · Melian · Olórin · Ossë · Salmar · Tilion · Uinen|
|Wizards||Saruman · Gandalf · Radagast · Blue Wizards|
|Evil||Sauron · Balrogs (Gothmog · Durin's Bane)|
|Music · Valarin · Almaren · Valinor · Valmar · Second Music • italics indicates Aratar|