Reading about the Valar something stands out. Originally there were seven Queens i.e. "female" Valar and 8 Lords i.e. "male" Valar with Melkor later rebelling and becoming Morgoth.

It seems to me that even though not all Valar are married (Ulmo and Nienna being the exception) it is a bit of a coincidence (ok 50% but we're dealing with a universe controlled by a author) that the "extra" Lord would be the one going rogue.

  • Was Ilúvatar not creating a potential partner for Melkor intentional as to not have more potential rebel Valar?
  • Was Ilúvatar not creating a potential partner for Melkor somehow a factor in his rebelling?
  • Was Tolkien trying to convey some theme I'm not getting by not giving Melkor a Queen?
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    He is Ilúvatar. Who are we to question why there wasn't a "female" or counterpart to Melkor? Their genders were arbitrary considerations anyway, so perhaps Melkor "he who arises in might" did not require one. Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 21:33
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    It was an allegory on the demographic situation in China with the gender imbalance resulting from One Child policy</tolkien_hated_allegory>. Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 22:20
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    Melkor only lusted for the Imperishable Flame, and was otherwise too self-centered to enter a relationship with Nienna, even if she was rather emo, too.
    – Eureka
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 10:52
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    If you haven't noticed, occasionally comments get used as opportunities for sarcasm and the like. Granted, I don't take as much of an opportunity as many to do so, but sometimes even I can't resist the urge to poke fun at a question. I am sorry if it caused difficulties Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 15:44
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    Dude just wanted to get laid. The synopsis that applies to every story every written. Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 23:01

7 Answers 7


Not all the Valar are 'paired'. Neither Nienna nor Ulmo have spouses. So the idea of a 'female counterpart' is much weaker than you might think. The Valar who are espoused do not necessarily have complementary functions.

My memory is that the 'pairing' of the Valar was done after Melkor's rebellion. In other words, as I understand it, there were Ainur, both male and female. Then Eä was created, and Melkor rebelled and was banished or hid in Arda. Then fourteen Ainur volunteered to go into Arda and protect it from Melkor - seven males and seven females, who were called the Valar.

The implication is that there are other Ainur outside Eä, and that they are not necessarily paired. The Maiar are not paired, and are not different kinds of beings from the Valar, simply less powerful.

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    In fact, the Valar weren't chosen, they chose themselves to go down into Arda.
    – Joel
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 20:38
  • They also didn't all arrive in Arda at the same time - Tulkas came later. Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 12:23
  • There's also Danuin, Ranuin, and Fanuin, sons of Aluin (Day, Month, and Year, sons of Time), who (in an earlier version of "The Hiding of Valinor" in The Book of Lost Tales I) assisted in fixing the courses of the Sun and the Moon. They appeared, helped out a bit, revealed themselves to be of the Ainur, then went back to the Timeless Halls.
    – chepner
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 17:43
  • @chepner The sons of time returned to the Timeless Halls? That doesn't make any sense... And where is Aluin then, because he can't be in the Timeless Halls. Or is he Illuvatar?
    – Amarth
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 17:50
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    The problems of time-themed Ainur creating concepts of time that already exist is discussed in CRRT's commentary following the chapter. There is an explicit reference to Aluin being subject to Ilúvatar, so without getting into some hairy theological arguments, one can assume he is not Ilúvatar. Also, they are only described as vanishing from Valinor, not (as I stated) returning to the Timeless Halls. Maybe Eru created multiple versions of Eä, and the job of the Three Time Bros is to travel from one to the next, solving local time-related problems for the local Valar before moving on. :)
    – chepner
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 18:02

In Tolkien's mythos, evil stands alone by its very nature.

From Morgoth's Ring, book 10 of History of Middle-Earth, section "Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion" (emphasis mine):

Evil is fissiparous. But itself barren. Melkor could not "beget", or have any spouse (though he attempted to ravish Arien, this was to destroy and "distain" her, not to beget fiery offspring). Out of the discords of the Music — sc. not directly out of either of the themes, Eru's or Melkor's, but of their dissonance with regard one to another — evil things appeared in Arda, which did not descend from any direct plan or vision of Melkor: they were not "his children"; and therefore, since all evil hates, hated him too. The progeniture of things was corrupted. Hence Orcs? Part of the Elf-Man idea gone wrong. Though as for Orcs, the Eldar believed Morgoth had actually "bred" them by capturing Men (and Elves) early and increasing to the utmost any corrupt tendencies they possessed.

(This is more or less the same point as made in Nerrolken's excellent answer, but supported with a canon quote from Tolkien himself.)

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    Why am I not surprised Melkor was also a rapist. Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 7:25

I don't think we can answer this definitively, but Melkor 'posessed all aspects of Eru's thought'. Since Eru has no female counterparts, if Melkor is more like Eru than any other Vala, then I suppose it's not surprising that he has no female counterpart either.

Bear in mind that Tolkien was a Roman Catholic and this strongly influenced his conception of Middle Earth, which he considered to be a fictional time and place in our world, and not a fantasy world set apart from it. Therefore it shouldn't be surprising for the basically patriarchal nature of traditional Christianity and Abrahamic religion to colour his fictional theology. The Valar are not pagan gods but more like Archangels.


The world Tolkien created is a profoundly pluralist one. The "good guys" are consistently shown to be inclusive of many cultures and ideas (the most famous example being the Fellowship, with members drawn from all over Middle Earth), while the "bad guys" are consistently shown to be focused on exclusion, domination, and the control of the many by one.

This is even more clearly shown through the characters tempted to switch sides: Thorin's mistrust of anyone beyond his own kin is part of his "madness" and doom, and the visions of power given by the Ring always involve the domination of those who would oppose the wearer. Even Sam, who envisions the ability to create great huge sweeping gardens (seemingly a beautiful act of creation), is being tempted toward a path of wiping out whatever is in his path in order to make everything the same.

The Tolkien scholars in the Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition documentaries discuss this: Sauron's doctrine is a kind of obsessive monism. One eye, One lord, One ring to rule them all. He brooks no disagreement, allows for no other perspective. Meanwhile, the Free Peoples of Earth have, between them, nineteen rings and countless leaders and factions. Even the spiritual side of Middle-Earth, while nominally monotheistic because Eru Ilúvatar rules above all, is absolutely brimming with Ainur and Valar and Maiar and nature spirits, and the creation of the world involved music created by all the Ainur together, not simply Eru on his own.

Following this philosophy, it makes sense that Melkor would be a single figure at the top of his "evil empire", without a partner or companion. The whole philosophy of evil in Arda is that of control and domination, and as Gandalf says in the Fellowship of the Ring film, the Dark Lord "does not share power."

The Fellowship of the Ring: Legolas (Elf), Boromir (Man), Merry (Hobbit), Pippin (Hobbit), Gimli (Dwarf), Gandalf (Wizard), Frodo (Hobbit), Aragorn (Man), Bill (Pony), Sam (Hobbit)

pictured: Diverse people working together

The Eye of Sauron above the tower of Barad-dûr

pictured: Not so much

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    I disagree with the premise of "the good guy's pluralism vs Sauron's exclusionism". I think the fundamental opposition in LotR is between a kind of idyllic and benevolent monarchy of nature-loving people vs an industrialist tyrannical all-controlling regime. One thing you cannot accuse Sauron of is of exclusionism: there is equal opportunity employment in Mordor's army! There are Orcs of several breeds, Trolls, Maiar, Haradrim, corsairs, wights and spectres of various shapes and forms. "See the world!", they said. "Conquer Gondor!", they said.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 23:04
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    @AndresF. Naturalism vs Industralism is another major theme, definitely. And I'm not saying Sauron doesn't command diverse peoples, but I'm saying that according to Tolkien, the nature of evil includes a strong tendency against power-sharing. Evil wants absolute power, not cooperation. Hence, Morgoth doesn't have a partner, or female counterpart.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 0:10
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    I'm really really realy tempted to go all Freudian on this answer's illustrations Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 15:40

The pairing was not a compulsory aspect of Illuvitar's creation and Melkor was no exception since Ulmo, Nienna weren't paired. Tulkas did not also had a wife but later he married. No, Melkor's rebelling was not due to his not being paired, it was due to his urge to match the power of Eru and govern Ea. Melkor and Manwe were brothers, this doesn't mean that the other Valar are not powerful or are different to Manwe by not having a brother.


Valar weren't created in pairs. Even more, when they were created, they were just Ainur, only after they descended into Arda they became known as Valar. They were free - free to decide if they want to go to Arda, or to marry with others.

As for Melkor, he was attracted to Varda, who later became his brothers wife, but she didn't like him, so it was rather his fault that he wasn't married.


On the topic of lust. Melkor did lust for the sacred light, which is why he felt the stars mocked him and so deeply hungered for the Silmarils. It's worth noting that his hatred for the stars is linked to his hatred for Varda, the Vala he hates the most. She has the light of Illuvatar in her face, and she knew Melkor's mind and rejected him before the music written of in the Valaquenta. There is some indication that Melkor was her obvious pairing in the beginning, but she and Manwe paired after.

In short, Melkor was a reject, but it's not the source of his evil. It's pride and ambition.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. You write that Varda is the "obvious pairing" for Melkor, which would be responsive to the question, but don't provide any support for that assertion.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 2:50
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    Sounds like you're responding to Eureka's comment beneath the question moreso than the question itself. Given that this was posted as an answer rather than another comment, it should really focus on addressing the question. Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 2:58
  • @LogicDictates, doesn't it need a certain reputation level to post a comment instead of an answer? Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 12:31
  • @Michael Foster - Yes, you need a minimum of 50 reputation to post comments in threads started by other users. So until you've earned that level of reputation, the only thing you're supposed to post in other user's threads is answers. That level of reputation can be earned very quickly though. You just need a net total of five upvotes, and single good question or answer can earn you that. Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 12:38

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