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Tolkien's Ages(1,2,3)

Tolkien's Ages(1,2,3)

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Published by Rubia Cordifolia
helpful for tolkien enthusiasts. a record of the timeline that the composite narrative graphs
helpful for tolkien enthusiasts. a record of the timeline that the composite narrative graphs

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Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: Rubia Cordifolia on Apr 23, 2011
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06/22/2011

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In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, the
Valian Years
are used to measure the passage of time after the arrival of theAinur inArda. This definition of a year, named for  theValar , continued to be used during periods that used different definitions of a year,such as theYears of the Lamps, theYears of the Trees, and theYears of the Sun. The Valian years continued to be measured inAmanafter the first sunrise, but Tolkien provided no dates for events in Aman after that point. The account in Valian years isgenerally not used when describing the events of BeleriandandMiddle-earth. In the 1930s and 40s Tolkien used a figure which fluctuated slightly around ten beforesettling on approximately 9.58 solar years in each Valian year. However, in the 1950sTolkien decided to use a much greater value of 144 solar years per Valian year, andincluded this figure in
appendices as the length of the elvenyear (the
 yen
).However this new figure elongates the established timeline: TheFlight of the Noldor took 5 Valian Years (~50 of our years); with the new figure this would be'translated' into ~700 of our years. TheLalaith's Tolkien pagesuggests that these newfigures would be too long if applied directly to the existing dates and therefore thenew definition is a wholly different measure than the one used in the timeline andcannot be applied directly.In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the
Years of the Lamps
are the first of the threegreat time-periods of Arda.The Years of the Lamps began shortly after the creation of Arda by theValar . Whenthey entered the world, Arda was still lifeless and had no distinct geographicalfeatures. The initial shape of Arda, chosen by the Valar, was of a symmetricalcontinent lit by theTwo Lamps, Illuin and Ormal, made out of the misty light thatveiled the barren ground. The Valar concentrated this light in two large lamps, Illuinand Ormal. The ValaAulëforged two great pillars, Helcar in the north and Ringil inthe south. Illuin was set upon Helcar and Ormal upon Ringil. In the middle, where thelight of the lamps mingled, the Valar dwelt at the island of Almaren.This period, known as the
Spring of Arda
, was a time when the Valar had orderedthe World as they wished and rested upon Almaren, andMelkor lurked beyondtheWalls of Night. During this time animals first appeared, and forests started togrow. The Spring was interrupted when Melkor returned to Arda, and endedcompletely when he destroyed theLamps of the Valar .The lamps were destroyed by an assault by Melkor. Arda was again darkened, and thelamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface. New continents werecreated:Amanin the West,Middle-earthin the middle, the uninhabited lands (later 
 
called theLand of the Sun) in the East, and theDark Landin the South. At the site of  the northern lamp was later the inlandSea of Helcar , of whichCuiviénenwas a bay. After the destruction of the Two Lamps the Years of the Lamps ended and theYearsof the Treesbegan.InJ.R.R. Tolkien'sMiddle-earth legendarium, the
Years of the Trees
is one of thethree great time-periods of Arda. They follow theYears of the Lampsand precede theYears of the Sun, and are known to comprise several Ages, including the beginning of theFirst Age.Shortly after the destruction of theTwo Lampsand the kingdom of Almaren, theValar abandoned Middle-earth and moved to the continent of Aman. There they  built their Second Kingdom,Valinor .Yavannamade theTwo Trees, named
Telperion
(the silver tree) and
 Laurelin
(the golden tree) in the land of Aman.The Trees illuminated Aman, leaving Middle-earth in darkness.The Years of the Trees were divided into two epochs in Valinor. The first ten Ages,known as the Years of Bliss, saw peace and prosperity in Valinor. TheEagles,theEntsand theDwarveswere conceived, byManwë, Yavanna, andAulërespectively, but placed into slumber until after theawakening of the Elves. The next ten Ages, called the Noontide of the Blessed sawVardarekindling the starsabove Middle-earth. This was the first time after the Years of the Lamps that Middle-earth was illuminated. The firstElves awokeinCuiviénenin the middle of Middle- earth, marking the start of the First Age of the Children of Ilúvatar, and were soonapproached by the EnemyMelkor who hoped to enslave them. Learning of this, theValar and the Maiar came into Middle-earth and, in the War of Powers, defeatedMelkor and brought him captive to Valinor. This began the period of the Peace of Arda.After the War of Powers,Oromëof the Valar summoned the Elves to come to Aman.Many of the Elves were persuaded to go with Oromë on theGreat Journeywestwardstowards Aman. Along the journey several groups of Elves tarried, notablythe Nandor and theSindar . The three clans that arrived at Aman were theVanyar , Noldor and theTeleri. They made their home inEldamar . After Melkor appeared to repent and was released after his servitude of threeAges, hesowed great discord among the Elves, and stirred up rivalry between the NoldorinKingFinwë's two sonsFëanor andFingolfin. With the help of Ungoliant, he slew Finwë and stole theSilmarils, three gems crafted by Fëanor that contained light of theTwo Trees, from his vault, and destroyed the Trees of the Valar. The world was thendark, save for the faint starlight.
 
Bitter at the Valar's inactivity, Fëanor and his house left to pursue Melkor, cursinghim with the name "Morgoth". A larger host led by Fingolfin followed. TheyreachedAlqualondë, the port-city of the Teleri, who forbade them from taking their ships for the journey to Middle-earth. The firstKinslayingthus ensued, and a cursewas put on the house of the Noldor forever.Fëanor's host sailed on the boats, leaving Fingolfin's host behind — who crossed over to Middle-earth on theHelcaraxëor Grinding Ice in the far north, losing many. TheWar of the Great Jewels followed, and lasted until the end of the First Age.Meanwhile, the Valar took the last two living fruit of the Two Trees and used them tocreate the Moon and Sun, which remained a part of Arda, but were separate fromAmbar (the world). The first rising of the sun over Ambar heralded the end of theYears of the Trees, and the start of the Years of the Sun, which last to the present day.In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the
Years of the Sun
were the last of the three greattime-periods of Arda, together with theYears of the Lampsand theYears of the Trees. They began with the first sunrise in conjunction with the return of the Noldor toMiddle-earth, and last until the present day. (The history of the fictional Middle-earth is to be taken fictionally as a history of the real Earth, in the same manner as thefantastical voyages of Odysseusare purported to be historical.) The Years of the Sun began towards the end of theFirst Age of the Children of Ilúvatar and continuedthrough theSecond,Third, and part of theFourthin Tolkien's stories. Tolkien estimated that modern times would correspond to the sixth or seventh age
.In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the
Ages of the Children of Ilúvatar
chroniclemajor events in the history of theEruhíni.TheFirst Ageof the Children of Ilúvatar began during theYears of the Treeswhen theElves awokeatCuiviénen. This marked the start of the years when the Children of  Ilúvatar were active in Middle-earth. Later in the First Age the second kindred,humans, and Ilúvatar's adopted children, the Dwarves, also awoke.Tolkien wrote that the later Ages lasted about 3,000 years, though this duration wasnot fixed and he felt that the Ages 'sped up' over time. Each ended following thecompletion of some major event in the history of the Children of Ilúvatar.
[edit]Other versions of the legendarium
In some texts Tolkien referred to the 'First Age of Middle-earth' or the 'First Age of the World' rather than the 'First Age of the Children of Ilúvatar'. These variations hadearlier starting points, extending the First Age back to the creation of Arda, butconsistently ended withMorgoth's defeat inBeleriand.

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