This website contains archives of the Tolkien Discussion Group from 2009 to early 2013.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Shawn Daysleeper  
Rajani                     (rajani.milton)
Lihan Taifun           
Leowen Landar       
Merp Brotherhood  

Varda is the most powerful of the female Valar. She is Manwë's partner. Manwë sees all; Varda hears all. From the earliest times, she could perceive Melkor's thoughts, and hated him.

Varda's specialty is "light" – not only the stars but all forms of light. She had an important role in making the Lamps (which came before the Two Trees) and also the Moon and Sun, as well as the stars.

Varda was especially revered by the Elves of Middle Earth This is partly because the Elves are fond of the stars, which she made, and which the Elves saw when they first awoke.. By the end of the Third Age, Varda ("Elbereth") is the only one of the Valar that the Elves of Middle Earth speak of. Is she somehow considered "friendlier" or more accessible than Manwë? Does she help the Elves more? Do the remnants of the Noldor feel that they are still in trouble with Manwë, but that Varda is more sympathetic to them? We don't know. And, do we really know that what the Elves of the Third Age told the hobbits (and thus what was recorded in Lord of the Rings) reflects everything the Elves were thinking? Maybe the Elves just didn't talk about the other Valar in the hobbits' hearing.

Varda/Elbereth seems to fill the role, for the Third Age Elves of Middle Earth, that the Virgin Mary filled for Tolkien with his Roman Catholic background – the powerful and accessible female helper and intercessor. Galadriel then fills this role for Frodo. Several times Frodo says, "if Galadriel were here, I would ask her for __", and that ends up happening. Some of us suspect Varda was actually responsible, since Galadriel's influence did not extend that far?

In Tolkien's early versions (Book of Lost Tales era), "Varda" was a title, meaning "queen".

(Off the topic of Varda), Aragorn and Arwen were related. Both were descended from Melian, and Luthien and Beren. Elrond was the brother of the first king of Númenor; Aragorn is a descendant of Arwen's first cousin.

In the Hobbit movie, will we see ten-year-old Aragorn, being raised at Rivendell?
"Born of Hope", a fan-made movie about Aragorn's parents:
"The Hunt for Gollum", another fan-made movie:

Merp's links:
Talk show (about 41 episodes so far): Middle-earth Talk Show with Michael Martinez and Hawke:
Middle-earth Radio (4 streams of all Tolkien, all the Time):
Inland Empire Tolkien Society and official UK Tolkien Society Smial: Spokane ASL weekly study group
an annual convention for Tolkien non-gamers and gamers called Tolkien Moot (formerly MerpCon) and

{Rajani, Ael, and Rhûn are each detained by other business.}
Lihan Taifun:            you won't tell us all about Varda before you go?
Rajani:                      has not been thinking about her enough to have anything to say :P
Lihan Taifun:            hmm, ok
Rajani:                      except she is the Star Goddess, and everything that Ilmare wants to be when she grows up :P

Lihan Taifun:            you and I could talk :) What do you know about Varda?
Shawn Daysleeper:   ok she seems to be the strongest of the female valar, and in charge of the air, like manwe is
Lihan Taifun:            she is a close partner with Manwe
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes I remember they are close
Lihan Taifun:            she has a connection to "light", not only the stars, but anything with "light"
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes
Lihan Taifun:            she helped a lot in making the Sun and Moon
Shawn Daysleeper:   Ael says he has to take a phone call and he apologise
Lihan Taifun:            yes, thank you
Shawn Daysleeper:   she made the lamps too I think
Lihan Taifun:            and the lamps, yes
Shawn Daysleeper:   they came before the sun and moon
Lihan Taifun:            yes, first the lamps, then the Trees, then the sun and moon. the sun and moon were high enough in the sky that Melkor couldn't break them
Shawn Daysleeper:   nods
Lihan Taifun:            on the third try -- an unbreakable source of light
Shawn Daysleeper:   right, which is closest to what exists in our physical world
Lihan Taifun:            yes
Shawn Daysleeper:   the stars came before the sun and moon.: the elves saw them when they first woke
Lihan Taifun:            Varda made some new stars, before the Elves awoke, brighter than the old ones
Shawn Daysleeper:   so varda was respected by them because of that
Lihan Taifun:            yes, Varda seems to be the one that the elves in Middle Earth really remember
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes
Lihan Taifun:            was that just because of the stars? why is she the most important of the Valar to them?

{Leowen arrives.  Greetings.}
Shawn Daysleeper:   I do not recall the elves saying much about Varda past her being the star kindler
Lihan Taifun:            we were just reviewing what we know about Varda
Leowen Landar:        I only know a bit from the Silmarillion
Lihan Taifun:            that is about all there is. that, and that she is the "Elbereth" from Lord of the Rings
Shawn Daysleeper:   and the bit from LOTR as Elbereth, yes  Shawn Daysleeper giggles   she is the only Valar mentioned in the films as well
Lihan Taifun:            we were just wondering whether creating the stars was the reason she was so respected in Middle Earth, when the other Valar are nearly forgotten.  was she mentioned in the films?
Rajani:                      ((is back))
Leowen Landar:        She is the hearer while Manwe is the seer of things
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that is an interesting partnership
Shawn Daysleeper:   Frodo says her name when he ligts the glass in Shelob's den
Lihan Taifun:            ah, ok, "light" again
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes that seems to be her sphere of influence
Lihan Taifun:            we mentioned that she helped make the Lamps, and the Sun and Moon, so she wasn't limited to making stars, although she is most famous for that
Rajani:                      it's interesting that the Elves would remember her more than Manwe,: or at least tell Hobbits about her more :P
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that is interesting
Shawn Daysleeper:   nods
Rajani:                      maybe she was friendlier? maybe she answered people when they called on her or something
Lihan Taifun:            or they felt they were in trouble with Manwe, after the Noldor left the Undying lands, but they weren't in trouble with Varda?
Rajani:                      hmm, that is very likely
Lihan Taifun:            the elves' songs are mostly about how much they miss the Undyling Lands
Rajani:                      "and now Varda, Queen of the Stars, has lifted up her hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow"
Lihan Taifun:            Maybe if they think they are in trouble with Manwe, it is too embarassing to write songs to him?   yes!
Leowen Landar:        Tolkien was Catholic and some say Varda was like the virgin Mary so yes more accessible and warmer
Rajani:                      "The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the voice of her song"
Shawn Daysleeper:   that makes sense
Lihan Taifun:            she does seem to fit a similar role, yes
Rajani:                      she does
Lihan Taifun:            did the elves need an intercessor with Manwe?
Leowen Landar:        She is the more caring and compassionate, while still being powerful
Lihan Taifun:            or was that more something Tolkien felt?   IS she more caring and compassionate than Manwe? Manwe seemed nice enough
Rajani:                      it seems like they think of "Varda, and the rest of the Valar" like she represents the concept of the Valar, and maybe even Eru, to them.: or maybe that is just how it sounds to Hobbits.: I would be hesitant to say that Manwe was too lofty to talk to if Varda wasn't. they're both pretty thorougly godlike.: Frodo is to Galadriel as Galadriel is to Varda? something like that
Lihan Taifun:            heh, yes, I noticed that, too
Rajani:                      (except Frodo wasn't a rebel, I guess)
Lihan Taifun:            Frodo keeps saying "if Galadriel were here, I would ask her for ..." and whatever it is always ends up happening
Rajani:                      yes   :D  : I actually always kind of assumed it was Varda's doing when that happened, without realizing that that was what I assumed
Lihan Taifun:            hmmm, interesting
Rajani:                      probably because of the whole thing with the light of Earendil and calling on Elbereth, hmm
Lihan Taifun:            either Galadriel is more godess-like than she realizes, or Varda is working through her
Rajani:                      nod, nod
Lihan Taifun:            yes, I get the same feeling there is some connection there
Leowen Landar:        Maybe both
Shawn Daysleeper:   now that is intresting
Rajani:                      Galadriel has certainly grown since she was a brash young kid running off to Middle Earth with the Noldor
Leowen Landar:        and how do you define "goddess"?
Lihan Taifun:            good question

{Merp Brotherhood arrives. Greetings.}
Merp Brotherhood:   Hawke of Inland Empire Tolkien Society, Middle-earth Radio, etc.
Leowen Landar:        We are discussing Varda
Lihan Taifun:            we were discussing what connections we saw between Galadriel and Varda; at least, Rajani and I saw connections
Lihan Taifun:            did you, Shawn?
Shawn Daysleeper:   Varda seems to be the only Valar she recognises,: so yes there may be a connection
Lihan Taifun:            the other Valar are hardly mentioned at all

Lihan Taifun:            have we just run out of things to say?
Leowen Landar:        Varda is more of a title than a actual name.
Rajani:                      oh hmm really?
Leowen Landar:        Well I had heard that and found a reference: In Quenya Elvish, vard- is "rule, govern", vardar is "king", varni is "queen" so this could be translated in context as queen.
Lihan Taifun:            hmmm, we were looking for the word for "queen" in Quenya once, and couldn't find it! I have also seen "Varda" translated as "the exalted" where are you looking? you must have a source I don't
Shawn Daysleeper:   this goes along with her being strongest of the female valar
Leowen Landar:        I am not sure how reliable references are
Lihan Taifun:            that looks like it is from Book of Lost Tales
Rajani:                      aha
Lihan Taifun:            which is much earlier than the Silmarillion, but does have some interesting things
Leowen Landar:        Melkor feared and hated Varda the most out of the Valar, because she could read his thoughts
{Shawn has to leave. Farewells.}
Lihan Taifun:            reading Melkor's thoughts sounds seriously unpleasant
Rajani:                      it really does
Lihan Taifun:            though it would certainly explain why she hated him
Rajani:                      ha! would
Lihan Taifun:            do we want to pick a topic for next month?
Rajani:                      hmm
Leowen Landar:        Were we going to continue with the Hobbit chapters?
Rajani:                      something Ael and Belenos will come to? :P
Lihan Taifun:            yes, we will also have chapters from the Hobbit
Rajani:                      oh yeah what's happening with the Hobbit?
Lihan Taifun:            Book Discussion: The Hobbit, Chapters 3 & 4
Tuesday, April 17
7 pm SLT/PDT
Lihan Taifun:            and Ael and Rhun would have been here tonight, except Ael's phone rang
Leowen Landar:        I just came upon something I didn't know that surprised me.
Lihan Taifun:            oh?
Leowen Landar:        Not about Varda though.  Elrond was Melian's great-great-grandson, and Aragorn, too, was her descendant, though through many more generations than Elrond. So they were actually related
Rajani:                      they were!
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that is why the story of Beren and Luthien is so important to the story. heh heh, but nobody ever asks whether it was incestous
Rajani:                      ha
Lihan Taifun:            Elrond was the brother of the first king of Numenor
Rajani:                      well, it is lucky that Elros was counted as Human and had so many descendents before Aragorn showed up,: because Elros's kids would have been Arwen's first cousins
Lihan Taifun:            The Valar gave the two "half-elven" brother the choice of which race they wanted to belong to
Rajani:                      Aragorn is just Arwen's first cousin's great-something-something-grandson :P
Lihan Taifun:            Elrond chose elvish, Elros chose human, and became the first king of Numenor; yeah, what Rajani said
Leowen Landar:        Arwen was related to Aragorn though distantly
Lihan Taifun:            she was also 2300 years older than he was, which I would have thought would be awkward
Leowen Landar:        Elrond in fact raised Aragorn as his own son
Lihan Taifun:            and probably wasn't as snarky about it as he was in the movie
Rajani:                      heeee
Merp Brotherhood:   after Arathorn was slain in the Fall of Arnor right?
Rajani:                      yeah Arathorn was killed fighting orcs when Aragorn was, like, three?
Lihan Taifun:            was that where Arathorn died? ok
Rajani:                      I think much later than the fall of Arnor, but when Aragorn was wee. and really, ten-year-old Aragorn *should* be in the Hobbit movie at Rivendell
Lihan Taifun:            oh, he really should!
Merp Brotherhood:   there is that community based "Born of Hope" movie about the early years with Arathorn meeting the mother of Aragorn and such, who has seen it?
Rajani:                      I saw it! it was quite good really
Leowen Landar:        I have not seen it
Merp Brotherhood:   definitely enjoyed, and encouraged that the community was able to produce it.
Lihan Taifun:            oh, I haven't either!
Rajani:                      it's worth looking up, oselle
Merp Brotherhood:
Rajani:                      very much in the style of the Peter Jackson movies
Merp Brotherhood:   a little over an hour
Lihan Taifun:            I will have to watch it
Rajani:                      all fan-made
Lihan Taifun:            thank you for the link
Rajani:                      features wee baby Aragorn, later in the story, and an OC who isn't completely terrible
Merp Brotherhood:   there is also the Gollum one from another group, "The Hunt for Gollum", it wasn't quite as good, but still worth seeing:
Lihan Taifun:            that one I have seen
Leowen Landar:        Thank you I will watch this soon
Leowen Landar:        I have not seen that one either
Rajani:                      I don't know if I saw the Gollum one! I should, hmm, especially if it does come subtitled, hmm, will have to check

Merp Brotherhood:   btw, would love to get folks feedback from our talkshow on these kinds of topics, Michael and I have many such conversations, and always looking for knowledgeable Tolkienists to join in the conversations. I'm wondering if it's possible to link our voice broadcasts into a secondlife session so we can all participate together? are these meetings here weekly or monthly?
Lihan Taifun:            currently monthly.  we have a couple of people for whom voice wouldn't work well
Merp Brotherhood:   ok. we also have our IRL Tolkien Society meetings once per month, usually the second Saturday of each month, is it possible to link the audio from my laptop into here, so folks in SL could participate? ic, but could they listen, and then type to post questions?
Lihan Taifun:            between the hard of hearing, and the not native speakers of English
Merp Brotherhood:   oic; I do also run an ASL weekly group here in Spokane (American Sign Language), so I understand that challenge.
Lihan Taifun:            wow! Tolkien in ASL?
Merp Brotherhood:   heh, alas no, two different groups, none of the ASL members are signers, and none of the signers are into Tolkien  :-(  : but it would be fun to do
Lihan Taifun:            it would!
Leowen Landar:        I have attended some meetings in SL where the speakers in voice were translated at least in summary for those who could only use text
Lihan Taifun:            but we might have some people who could participate in your broadcast
Merp Brotherhood:   anyone want the link to the talk show, society, and asl sites? I don't want to be spammy, but excited to share for folks to join in, but asking permission first. ;-)
Leowen Landar:        I do
Lihan Taifun:            please
Merp Brotherhood:   Talk show (about 41 episodes so far): Middle-earth Talk Show with Michael Martinez and Hawke: Middle-earth Radio (4 streams of all Tolkien, all the Time): Inland Empire Tolkien Society and official UK Tolkien Society Smial: Spokane ASL weekly study group
Merp Brotherhood:   any Tolkien RPG fans here? (non-computer based or otherwise?)
Rajani:                      we have a SL-based RP going here in Alqualonde :)
Lihan Taifun:            we have Fellowship of the Fourth Age roleplay here, yes
I told you about our archive; the RP archive is at
Rajani:                      which reminds me I owe Lihan an email about Ilmarë :P
Lihan Taifun:            the rp here is very text-based, even if it happen in sl
Rajani:                      yes,: I'm sort of in costume for my character right now, though Lihan isn't
Merp Brotherhood:   I run an annual convention for Tolkien non-gamers and gamers called Tolkien Moot (formerly MerpCon) and
Merp Brotherhood:   ic
Lihan Taifun:            lots of interesting things to read, Merp. It will take me a while to catch up. do keep in touch
Merp Brotherhood:   sorry, didn't mean to sidetrack the Numenor related conversation, but it is an area I enjoy. : I hope to be more regular joining in the future.
Lihan Taifun:            so, what do we want to discuss next month?
Leowen Landar:        It is easy to get too multi focused so I will read it later. Thank you for the links
Merp Brotherhood:   you bet leowen. here's stuff wrote on NUmenor:
Merp Brotherhood:   what is the usual process for deciding on an upcoming topic here?
Lihan Taifun:            people suggest topics they want, and often one of the suggestions appeals to the group. we have discussed quite a few things, over the years
Rajani:                      what were the last few topics for the last couple of months, do you remember?
Lihan Taifun:            previous topics:
Rajani:                      (keeps forgetting to come to these...) oh! thank you
Lihan Taifun:            recently? Tom Bombadil, Geography ... Minas Tirith, Yavanna
Leowen Landar:        oooo I would have liked those
Rajani:                      *scrolls down list* holy cats you've talked about a lot of things :D
Leowen Landar:        Have there been any machinimas in SL made that were based on any of Tolkien's books?
Rajani:                      possibly, but I haven't seen them.: do you know, Lihan?
Lihan Taifun:            I haven't heard of any, but I'm not sure that I would have
Rajani:                      I remember a few years ago we knew people who were talking about it but I don't think it ever got off the ground
Lihan Taifun:            do you know how to make machinima?
Rajani:                      some of the Valimar crew
Lihan Taifun:            it would be fun, wouldn't it?
Merp Brotherhood:   indeed. years ago we tried to get a fully animated version of the Silmarillion going (underground community)
Leowen Landar:        I like hearing the Elven songs in Quenya and Sandarin too.
Merp Brotherhood:   starting with the creation via music, and working forward from there, using cgi rendering, but alas it bogged down after a few years.
Lihan Taifun:            that sounds like a huge project
Leowen Landar:        aww that would have been great Merp
Lihan Taifun:            Ilianor sometimes sings the elven songs
Leowen Landar:        Silmarillion is huge
Merp Brotherhood:   keep hoping someday to bring those stories to life, make it smaller pieces by just one portion of a story at a time. I'm getting closer to a setup that might mke it possible for people to read their portions of script more effectively. : still in dream stage, but hope over time will become more a reality. ;-)
Lihan Taifun:            it's a start
Leowen Landar:        It is easier to do machinima in SL or other VWs than to get good enough quality CGI or to do in RL. Lots less costly too
Lihan Taifun:            since the viewer is doing most of the cgi for you
Leowen Landar:        Let me know if you would like some help.
Lihan Taifun:            do keep us informed
Leowen Landar nods
Merp Brotherhood:   something to consider. the first step is trying to gett all the voice recordings first, then the animation medium could be worked on.
Rajani:                      yes, that sounds very cool
Lihan Taifun:            it's midnight in my timezone. did we have any ideas about topics? we can do one we have done before, if it hasn't been recent
Leowen Landar:        There is no lip synch at all good in SL. More like watching a forgien movie
Lihan Taifun:            lip sync would be very hard
Rajani:                      yeah
Rajani:                      thinking about topics, hmm
Leowen Landar:        That is one of the hardest things in CGI too
Leowen Landar:        Were we going to stick with the Hobbit more or move on to other things?
Rajani:                      have we talked about hobbits recently? or, IDK, peoples of southern Middle Earth? or just more about The Hobbit I suppose. or, Giant Spiders of Middle Earth?
Lihan Taifun:            there are two sets of discussions each month: first tuesday is "topics", and third tuesday (more or less) is Hobbit book discussion
Rajani:                      ahh, so they are separate, ok
Merp Brotherhood:   ah
Lihan Taifun:            yes, so Hobbit Chapters 3&4 is already on for April 17
Leowen Landar:        Oh I see thanks
Lihan Taifun:            AND we need a topic for May 1
Leowen Landar:        oooo May Day hmmm
Lihan Taifun:            and half the people will be exhausted from Fantasy Faire
{Discussion wanders off on the topic of Fantasy Faire, and of other Tolkien RP groups, in and out of SL.}