||This Middle-earth-related article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (December 2009)|
|Place from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium|
|Other names||Undying Lands, Eressëa, Deathless Lands, Blesses Realm|
|Description||Land of the Ainur and the Elves|
|Location||Valinor, Eldamar, Araman, Avathar|
|Lifespan||Years of the Trees – forever|
In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Aman, also known as the Undying Lands or Blessed Realm, is the home of the Valar, and three kindreds of Elves: the Vanyar, some of the Noldor, and some of the Teleri.
Aman is a continent far to the west of Middle-earth across the great ocean Belegaer. The island of Tol Eressëa lies just off its eastern shore. At the end of the Second Age, Aman was removed from the surface of the Earth to another realm, and is no longer reachable by ordinary means of travel.
Eldamar is "Elvenhome", the "coastal region of Aman, settled by the Elves", wrote Tolkien. Eldamar was included in Valinor, which meant the "land of the Valar," but was the true Eldarin name of Aman, according to Tolkien.
The size of Eldamar is unknown, but the area between the Bay of Eldamar and the Pelóri was probably at least a few dozen miles wide; Eldamar also consisted of the shore of Taniquetil and the Calacirya pass where Tirion was built. The shore probably extended hundreds of miles to the north of the Calacirya.
The land is regarded as being well-wooded, or at least containing areas of forest, as Finrod was recounted as "walking with his father under the trees in Eldamar" and the Teleri needed timber to build their ships.
The city of the Teleri, on the north shore of the Bay is Alqualondë, or Haven of the Swans, whose halls and mansions are made of pearl. The harbour is entered through a natural arch of rock, and the beaches are strewn with gems given by the Noldor. It includes the Calacirya and stretches far to the north and around the east-slopes of Taniquetil.
Calacirya (meaning "Light Cleft" in Tolkien's artificial Elvish language Quenya) is the pass in the Pelóri mountains north of Taniquetil where the elven city Tirion was set on Túna hill. After the hiding of Valinor this was the only gap through the mountains of Aman. The Valar would have closed the mountains entirely but, realizing that the Elves, even the Vanyar, needed to be able to breathe the outside air, they kept Calacirya open. They also did not want to wholly separate the Vanyar and Noldor from the Teleri on the coast.
The name refers to the light of the Two Trees that streamed through the pass into the world beyond, the only source of light other than the stars before the coming of the sun and moon.
The city of the Noldor (and for a time the Vanyar also) is Tirion, which was built on the hill of Túna, raised inside the Calacirya mountain pass, just north of Taniquetil, facing both the Two Trees and the starlit seas.
The city had a central square at the top of the hill and a tower called the Mindon Eldaliéva, a beacon visible from the seashore miles to the east.
Alqualondë (meaning Swanhaven in Quenya) is the chief city of the Teleri on the eastern shores of Valinor.
Alqualondë is perhaps best known as the site of the first Kinslaying as recounted in The Silmarillion. The city is said to be north and east of Tirion between the Calacirya and Araman in northern Eldamar.
The city was walled and built in a natural harbour made of rock. Other than the great harbours where the Teleri ships were moored, it also housed the tower of Olwë, brother of Thingol. The city was covered with pearls which the Teleri found in the seas and jewels obtained from the Noldor.
After the destruction of Almaren in ancient times, the Valar retreated to Aman, and established there the realm of Valinor. Seeking to isolate themselves, they raised a great mountain fence, called the Pelóri, on the eastern coast, and set the Enchanted Isles in the ocean to prevent travellers by sea from reaching Aman.
Outside the wall of the Pelóri the Valar left two lands: Araman to the northeast and Avathar to the southeast. Ungoliant, an ancient evil being who chose the form of a great spider, lived in Avathar. When Melkor was released from captivity, he fled to Avathar, scaled the mountains with the help of Ungoliant, and wrought destruction in Aman: he persuaded Ungoliant to kill the Two Trees of Valinor and take from them what energy she could to quench her hunger, for Ungoliant was always hungry. (See also Shelob.)
Soon after that, the first Kinslaying occurred when Fëanor led the host of Noldor to Alqualondë and slaughtered the Teleri for refusing Fëanor use of their ships. When Fëanor left Valinor he needed ships to get to Middle-earth without great loss, but the Noldor possessed no ships, and Fëanor feared that any delay in their departure would cause the Noldor to reconsider. The Noldor, led by Fëanor and his seven sons, tried to persuade their friends, the Teleri of Alqualondë, to give him their ships. However, the Teleri would not help in any way against the will of the Valar, and in fact attempted to persuade their friends to reconsider and stay in Aman. In their insanity and rage, the Noldor started taking the ships and sailing them away. This angered the Teleri, and they threatened the Noldor with rocks and arrows, and they threw many of Fëanor's Noldor out of the ships into the harbour (though probably not killing any of them). They also began to attempt to block the harbour, but it is only slightly possible that the Teleri drew first blood.
Then the Noldor drew swords, and the Teleri their bows, and there was a bitter fight that seemed evenly matched, if not even in favour of the Teleri, until the second Host of the Noldor, led by Fingon, arrived together with some of Fingolfin's people. Misunderstanding the situation, they assumed the Teleri had attacked the Noldor under orders of the Valar, and they joined the fight. In the end many Teleri were slain and the ships taken, and many of the stolen ships were wrecked in the waves. All that continued towards Middle-earth were therefore cursed by Mandos.
The first mortal man to succeed in navigating to and passing the Isles of Enchantment was Eärendil, who came to Valinor to seek the aid of the Valar against Melkor, now called Morgoth. His quest was successful, the Valar went to war again, and also decided to remove the Isles.
Soon after this, the great island of Númenor was raised out of Belegaer, close to the shores of Aman, and the Three Houses of the Edain were brought to live there. Henceforth, they were called the Dúnedain, or Men of the West, and were blessed with many gifts by the Valar and the Elves of Tol Eressëa. The Valar feared — rightly — that the Númenóreans would seek to enter Aman to gain immortality (even though a mortal in Aman remains mortal, due to it not being their final destination), so they forbade them from sailing west of sight of the westernmost promontory of Númenor. In time, and not without some corrupting help from Sauron, the Númenóreans violated the Ban of the Valar, and sailed to Aman with a great army under the command of Ar-Pharazôn the Golden. Eru collapsed a part of the Pelóri on this army, trapping it but not killing it. It is said that the army still lives underneath the pile of rock.
In light of this new development, Eru removed Aman from the spheres of the world. The earth, at this time, was flat. Eru split it in two, and then made the half containing Middle-earth spherical, so that a mariner sailing west along Eärendil's route would simply emerge in the far east. For the Elves, however, Eru crafted a Straight Road that peels away from the curvature of the earth and passes to the now-alien land of Aman. Very few non-Elves are known to have passed along this road; those who have include Gandalf, Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, and Gimli.
- Kept in a folder labelled "Phan, Mbar, Bal and other Elvish etymologies", published in Parma Eldalamberon, n°17.
- See Parma Eldalamberon, n°17, p. 106.
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Appendix, ISBN 0-395-08256-0
- Tolkien, J.R.R. Christopher Tolkien, ed. The Silmarillion. Ballantine Books. pp. 59, 62, 75, 88, 114, 298.
- Day, David (1996). Tolkien: the illustrated encyclopaedia. Simon and Schuster. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-684-83979-0.
- Manguel, Alberto; Guadalupi, Gianni (2000). The dictionary of imaginary places. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-15-600872-3.
- Drout, Michael D. C. (2007). J.R.R. Tolkien encyclopedia: scholarship and critical assessment. CRC Press. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-415-96942-0.