From all my readings of the Silmarillion and other Middle-Earth writings (such as the HoME series), I always got a clear impression that the Valar were much taller than the Elves or Men. However, I came across someone's opinion that the Valar were of the same stature as Elves, quoting that the Valar assumed the shapes of the Children of Iluvatar, save only in majesty and splendour, and saying that majesty and splendour don't refer to physical size.

Have you come across anything in Tolkien's works that gives an idea about how tall the Valar were?

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    My guess is that they could be as tall or short as they chose to be. – Wad Cheber Jul 4 '15 at 7:35
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    I know that they could. But the Valar also lived in Valinor in houses, and interacted with the Elves who lived there on a regular basis. Were they constantly enlarging or shrinking their stature depending on how much impression they wanted to make? I don't think so. I get a fairly clear impression that, "normally", the Valar's physical raiment was of a constant size, chosen by them when they entered the World. – Maksim Jul 4 '15 at 7:43
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    @Maksim Eh, that's not an entirely valid assertion. Recall Ainulindalë: "But the shapes wherein the Great Ones array themselves are not at all times like to the shapes of the kings and queens of the Children of Ilúvatar; for at times they may clothe themselves in their own thought, made visible in forms of majesty and dread." Maybe they do have day-to-day bodies, but off the top of my head I can't recall them ever being described. Possibly Lost Tales, for whatever that's worth – Jason Baker Jul 4 '15 at 8:23
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    As tall as they want to b... oh, @WadCheber has got it. :) – Lexible Jul 4 '15 at 18:03
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    "Not at all times" or "at times" suggests an exception to the rule. Lost Tales also have numerous hints that the Valar were of great stature (such as numerous seabirds coming to rest on Osse's shoulders). Thanks for your answers and comments so far, but saying "as tall as they wanted to be" hardly cuts it for the purposes of this particular question. – Maksim Jul 4 '15 at 23:04

As tall as they wanted to be. Some of the most famous illustrators of Tolkien's work routinely depict Valar as being extremely large:

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Ulmo and Tuor, by John Howe

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Morgoth and Fingolfin, by John Howe

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Mandos and Lúthien, by Ted Naismith

The Valar are archangels. They can do whatever they want. They could be an inch tall if they chose, or they could be a hundred miles tall. There are no limitations on their sizes, as far as we know.


When Melko Morgoth first came to Earth, he took a form like a mountain that has its feet in the sea and its head in the clouds, etc., etc., a descripiton which gives the impression of a vast size.

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