It is said that the Valar made the Sun and the Moon:

for they remembered the Avari that remained by the waters of their awakening, and they did not utterly forsake the Noldor in exile.

But even before the Trees were annihilated by Ungoliant, Middle-earth was more or less in darkness, ever since the lamps were broken. This was my understanding reading The Silmarillion, and I also found reinforcement here.

So what gives? What about the poor Avari that remained by the waters of their awakening up until then?

I get it that there wasn't much evil since Melkor was captured/presumed good, but there was evil. There were his servants of old, Ungoliant, and who knows what else.

  • 2
    The Valar are not infallible. It's hinted in some places that their decision to invite the elves to live with them near the Trees was not necessarily a good one to begin with (and some, like Ulmo, were against it from the start). But that's an answer to a slightly different question, I think.
    – Annatar
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 10:27
  • Yeah, I would understand if they thought that was the best course of action and were wrong. I just don't understand why the poor all Avari by the waters of their awakening are remembered only after the Noldor in exile join them.
    – Wade
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 10:43
  • 1
    @Annatar - I don't think it's just hinted at. PE17/NoMe explicitly says their decision was against the design of Eru.
    – ibid
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 10:45
  • 1
    There are various references to starlight during this period. I assume that was enough for them to see by. Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 11:21
  • Yes, but the Valar then decided it wasn't enough.
    – Wade
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


The point of the sun and moon wasn't to fight evil general or to light Middle-earth for the sake of light. There was not much reason to think it would have helped a great deal. It was mostly about an attempt to restrain Morgoth, since they did not dare go to war against him again, in fear of the damage it would cause. As well another new reason. There were answers in the writing immediately before and after what was quoted in the question.

These things the Valar did, recalling in their twilight the darkness of the lands of Arda; and they resolved now to illuminate Middle-earth and with light to hinder the deeds of Melkor.


...and Manwe knew also that the hour of the coming of Men was drawn nigh. And it is said indeed that even as the Valar made war upon Melkor for the sake of the Quendi, so now for that time they forbore for the sake of the Hildor, the Aftercomers, the younger Children of Iluvatar. For so grievous had been the hurts of Middle-earth in the war upon Utumno that the Valar feared lest even worse should now befall; whereas the Hildor should be mortal, and weaker than the Quendi to withstand fear and tumult. Moreover it was not revealed to Manwe where the beginning of Men should be, north, south or east. Therefore the Valar sent forth light, but made strong the land of their dwelling.

"Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor" - The Silmarillion

It was about fighting Morgoth without going to war, and a hope of making the awakening of humans a little safer. Outside of those reasons they probably did not see a need to light Middle-earth (and were probably cautious about doing so after Morgoth knocked down their first attempt, with the pillars).

  • Yes, I think you're right. To me it seemed clear that there was need of light with or without Melkor, but it's clearly implied the Valar did not think this way (whether they were right or not). Thank you!
    – Wade
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 9:19

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