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Tol EressŽa is a Tolkien writers roleplay. We are G-rated & well moderated. If you like to write, come join our friendly community of roleplayers as a Tolkien book character. We also have an area for original poetry, short stories and artwork. Many of our members are also playing Lord of the Rings Online and you will find us there on the Landroval server in the kinship Leaves of Laurelin. Come join us there.


 Aman and the Undying Lands
Posted: Aug 25 2006, 09:57 AM

Balrog Slayer

Group: Tauristo
Posts: 2,305
Member No.: 1
Joined: 20-October 04

Aman (The Undying Lands)

Of all the lands he described, Aman received the most attention with the least corresponding detail. We know what kinds of lands existed there but not exactly where they were located. The Eldar ranged through the lands, especially the western regions, and the accounts of Aman are drawn from their traditions.

The continent proper was divided by a mountain range, the Pelori, which ran from the south to the north in a sweeping arc which bulged toward the east. These mountains were raised by the Valar to be a defense against Melkor, but he never attempted to assault the West.

The four major regions of Aman were Valinor, Eldamar, Araman, and Avathar. Of Avathar we know nothing save only that for a time Ungoliant lived there, spinning webs of darkness. It may be that after her departure and the rising of the Sun the Valar cleansed the land for the Eldar, but Tolkien never indicated what became of the region.


Valinor was the home of the Valar and their people, the Maiar. The Valar and Maiar were Ainur, angelic beings who were not native to Middle-earth but who were charged with its shaping and governance. Several of the Valar established a "country" in Valinor, but they also built a city near the Pelori at about the middle latitude of the land. This was Valimar, where they established a Ring of Doom, Mahanaxar. This was a circle of thrones where the Valar would sit in debate or judgement.

Although it's difficult to place the regions of the individual Valar, Nienna's halls were said to be "west of West, upon the borders of the world." This region would have been upon the shores of Ekkaia, the Encircling Sea. Tolkien wrote that "the windows of her house look outward from the walls of the world", so it may be Nienna's region was actually beyond Ekkaia, in a mountainous land that originally was the westernmost region of the flat Arda (Arda before the Change of the World). Mandos, the dwelling of Namo (the Doomsman of the Valar), was said to be close to Nienna's land. He is not said to dwell outside Valinor, and he may have governed the western regions of the land, for his halls grew constantly, making room for more and more "spirits".

OromŽ the hunter dwelt in the woodlands of Valinor, but Tolkien does not precisely place them. They were in the southern regions, ending somewhere near Hyarmentir.

Probably the dwelling of Tulkas and Nessa (OromŽ's sister) was close by OromŽ's forests because she loved to run through the woods, leading deer in her wake.

The region of Lorien probably lay close to Mandos. Irmo, Lord of Lorien, was Namo's brother. Their sister was Nienna, so Lorien may have lain in western Valinor as well. In the midst of Lorien was a great lake, Lorellin. The shores of the lake were forested and the land was filled with gardens and fountains.

The Halls of ManwŽ and Varda upon Taniquetil were the easternmost dwelling of the Valar in Aman. Many Maiar (and later some Vanyar) settled on the slopes of Taniquetil to be close to ManwŽ and Varda.

Valimar lay in a plain in the center of the land. Its eastern gate opened upon a green hill or mound, Ezellohar, where Yavanna planted the Two Trees, Telperion and Laurelin. Telperion was white. Laurelin was golden and it produced a golden dew that Varda collected into lakes throughout Valinor. Mahanaxar, the Ring of Doom, lay between the city and Ezellohar.

The Halls of AulŽ were said to be in the very midst of Valinor, which implies the center region. Since he was associated with mining and the earth he must have raised hills or mountains there.

Perhaps Valinor was divided in the following way:

The southernmost region of Valinor appears to have been empty and only partially lit by the Two Trees. This was the region overlooked by Hyarmentir, the tallest mountain in the southern Pelori. Just north of that region lay the woods of OromŽ, and to the west stood the gardens of Yavanna. Lorien must have extended northward from Yavanna's land.

North of OromŽ's woods lay the plain of Valimar, and beyond that region lay the Halls of AulŽ. Mandos was west of Valimar and AulŽ's lands, while Taniquetil lay to the east of Valimar, and the mountain's southern slopes faced toward Tirion upon Tuna.

Note - Michael Martinez says: Karen Wynn Fonstad offers a different placement of the regions of the Valar, but for reasons I won't go into here, I disagree with her interpretations of the texts.


Eldamar was the home of the Eldar. It consisted of a valley in the middle region of the Pelori where the hill named Tuna rose up and the lands to the east of the Pelori which lay close to the Bay of Eldamar. The valley was the Calacirya (Cleft of Light) which the Valar created when they brought the Eldar to Aman.

Within the Bay of Eldamar the Valar set the isle Tol EressŽa (the Lonely Isle). There were apparently forests and gardens in Eldamar since the Teleri were able to find wood to build their ships. At least one mountain rose up in the midst of the isle, and its western shore was the region where flowers first bloomed (and probably where the Teleri dwelt until they learned to build ships).

Tol EressŽa was originally used as a ferry by the Valar to bring the Elves to Aman. None of the Noldor and Vanyar stayed there, but the Teleri lived on the isle for a long time before they learned to build ships and spread to the shores of Eldamar. Some Teleri may have continued to live on the isle throughout the Years of the Trees.

After the First Age the Exiles and the Sindar who went to Aman settled in Tol EressŽa, where they may have built several cities (Tavrobel and Kortirion are mentioned in early stories describing Tol EressŽa). The city of AvallonŽ, built on the eastern shores of Tol EressŽa, was the chief haven of the Eldar of Middle-earth and it was from here that their ships sailed to Numenor. The Noldor are said to have dwelt in Tirion and in the hills and mountains "within sound of the western sea," but they also spread northward through the western hills of the Pelori (within Valinor) because FŽanor built Formenos in the far northern mountains.

A road ran east from Tuna toward the sea, and apparently turned northward along the coast to AlqualondŽ. Another road ran west into Valinor toward Valimar.

Although the Noldor and Teleri remained for the most part in Eldamar or the nearby lands, the Vanyar migrated into Valinor. Tolkien wrote "they forsook the city of Tirion upon Tuna, and dwelt thereafter upon the mountains of ManwŽ, or about the plains and woods of Valinor."

IngwŽ's house was in fact located on the western slopes of Taniquetil, overlooking the plain of Valimar and the city. FinwŽ, in order to visit with IngwŽ, had to pass into Valinor and climb the mountain from the west, following only paths and no road.

AlqualondŽ was built in a natural harbor along the northern shore of the Bay of Eldamar. The Swan-ships of the Teleri sailed through a great stone arch to enter or exit the harbor. The city itself was built of stone but was adorned with pearls and in the Years of the Trees was lit by many lanterns. For some reason the city had walls when FŽanor attacked it. Perhaps the "walls" were built atop a natural ridge of stone surrounding all or part of the harbor (and of which the great arch would have been a part).

Eldamar appears to have extended far to the north of AlqualondŽ, but THE SILMARILLION does not indicate whether these lands were inhabited before the Noldor went into exile. After the Noldor took the ships of the Falmari they traveled north for some length of time (a period of years, measured in Years of the Sun) before they left Eldamar.


North of Eldamar lay Araman (Outer Aman). Originally this area was not settled but the Noldor passed through it on their return to Middle-earth. When Melkor and Ungoliant passed through Araman the region consisted of "barren plains," and yet the Noldor were able to survive there for the equivalent of 15-20 Years of the Sun, perhaps by fishing. It may be that trees grew there after the rising of the sun, spreading north from the forests of Eldamar, or planted by the Eldar or Valar.

After the First Age the Teleri built a tower for Elwing in far northern Araman, so they may have spread up the coast lands.

THE SILMARILLION says the Noldor "came at length to the northern confines of the Guarded Realm, upon the borders of the empty waste of Araman which were mountainous and cold." The passage seems to imply that Araman stretched westward across Aman and that Valinor did not extend very far to the north of the Calacirya.

Near the HelcaraxŽ Araman became a cold and desolate land, afflicted by the cold fogs and ices escaping from the Grinding Ice in the north. It was only in this region that the Noldor actually began to suffer from the climate on their road into Exile. Fingolfin's host of Noldor actually wandered through this region for a long time before they finally passed north and crossed the HelcaraxŽ itself.


South of Eldamar lay Avathar where we have heard only Ungoliant ever dwelt. After her departure with Melkor there is no further mention of Avathar, but it may be that eventually the webs of darkness she had woven there were destroyed and the region was claimed by the Elves.

Avathar was a very narrow strip of coast land (compared to Araman) and Ungoliant's valley was far to the south of Eldamar, beyond Hyarmentir, which was the highest peak in the southern Pelori and about even with the southernmost settled regions of Valinor.

This is taken from Parma Endorion by Michael Martinez

Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and keen, and his voice like music; on his brow sat wisdom, and in his hand was strength.

Glorfindel Biography

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