Varda

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Varda Elentári is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.

Contents

Character overview

Varda is one of the Valar, a group of divine beings similar to archangels. Also known as "Queen of the stars", she is said to be too beautiful for words; within her face radiates the light of Ilúvatar (God). She resides with her husband Manwë, with whom she shares a complementary power. When they are together, Manwë "sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea" and Varda "hears more clearly than all other ears the sound of voices that cry from east to west". Varda created the stars before the Valar descended into the world, and later with the dews from the vats of Telperion she made the constellations, most significantly the Valacirca, The Sickle of the Valar (The Big Dipper). It is also said that Varda alone is the creator of all light.

When the evil Vala Melkor first began to create his discord, Varda saw his mind, and rejected him. Melkor fears and hates Varda the most out of the Valar. This is because he greatly desired to possess light, that which she created. Melkor however, failed in this task.

It is remarked that high elves sing to her. In general, Varda seems to represent the goddess of beauty and light in Tolkien's legendarium.

Names

Like most of the legendarium's characters, Varda has a different name in each of Tolkien's invented languages. Her Quenya name Varda means "sublime" or "lofty", and her epithet Elentári means "Star-queen". Another epithet of her is Tintallë, which means "Star-kindler".

In Sindarin, she was also known as Elbereth ("Star-queen"), Gilthoniel ("Starkindler") and Fanuilos ("Ever-white"). In Primitive Quenya she was called Barathī, in Telerin she is called Baradis, and in Adûnaic her name was Avradî.

She was also referred to by the epithets The Kindler, Lady of the Stars, Queen of the Stars, Snow-white. They are translations of her Elvish names.

Cultural references

  • In the computer game NetHack, the player can ward off most monsters by engraving the name "Elbereth" into the ground.

See also

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