What is Valinor? If you have been watching Amazon’s fantasy series The Rings of Power, you have undoubtedly heard many strange-sounding places. However, one particular location that keeps coming up in every conversation with Elves involved is Valinor.
Now, Valinor doesn’t strictly appear in the Lord of the Rings movies, and if you haven’t read JRR Tolkien’s work, you may be a bit confused as to what and where exactly Valinor is. So far, we have seen flashbacks of the mysterious land from Galadriel, heard tales of it from Gil-Galad, and even Elrond has some thoughts about it. But, before we all get confused – Valinor isn’t Middle-earth, and is instead another important mystical realm that every fan should know.
So to help you with this influx of Tolkien geography, here is our Valinor explained guide, where we clear up this repeated and vital location in the TV series.
What is Valinor?
Valinor is a land on the continent of Aman, across the sea from Middle-earth. It is where the Valar live after they had to migrate from their kingdom of Almaren thanks to some destructive actions of Melkor – who would later become known as Morgoth, Sauron’s master.
Valinor was known as a place of health, with no corruption or sickness touching those who lived there. It is also known as the Undying lands, which is a name that fans of Peter Jackson’s fantasy movies will know very well – remember that ending scene from Return of the King?
The history of Valinor
After the destruction of the Two lamps by Morgoth in Almaren, a new source of light was needed, which led to the Two Trees of light being planted in Valinor -Laurelin (the Gold Tree) and Telperion (the Silver Tree). During the early years of the trees, the Valar and Maiar (spirits created to help the Valar) lived in peace, away from Morgoth and all of his dark intentions.
But things began to change once Elves entered the picture in 1050 of the Years of the Trees. In order to protect the most favoured of the earthly races, the Valar offered refuge, and many Elves began to build settlements in Valinor. The Elves were mostly peaceful, but once the Ñoldor Fëanor crafted the three gems with the light of the Two Trees – the Silmarils – everything changed.
Morgoth hated the elves due to his hatred of the Valar and his own inability to craft life. He also lusted for the Silmarils, which would lead him to destroy the Two Trees of Valinor and stealing the gems for himself before fleeing from Aman to Middle-earth.
Valinor was put in a state of crisis, and Fëanor, desperate to retrieve the Silmarils, would kill his fellow elves for their boats to chase Morgoth across the sea. With a number of the elves now in exile in Middle-earth during the First Age, the Valar fortified Valinor and banished the elves who had left, including Galadriel, from returning to their land.
During the Second Age, the Valar took Valinor out of Aman and instead put it above the surface of the earth, making it impossible to reach unless following what Tolkien called ‘The Straight Path’. So, in short, Valinor is basically Olympus, home of the gods and the land of immortality.
During The Rings of Power, we saw the canon of Valinor change slightly as many of the Elves in episode 1 were heading back to the land – as if the ban against them never existed in the first place. While it is true that Tolkien wrote of a few elves being forgiven and allowed passage back to Valinor, many stayed in Middle-earth, as relationships between elves and the Valar were still a bit frosty following the demise of Morgoth at the end of the First Age.
We are curious to see if more changes or descriptions of Valinor appear in The Rings of Power season 2. You can now watch season 1 of The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video. To sign up for a Prime membership, click our link here. For more on the people of Middle-earth’s Second Age, check out our guide to the best Rings of Power characters and we also have an article about the Rings of Power cast.