Yavanna

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Yavanna
Tolkien's legendarium character
Aliases Kementári, Palúrien
Race Ainur
Book(s) The Silmarillion (1977)

Yavanna [jaˈvanːa] is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, written about in The Silmarillion.[1] In Tolkien's pantheon, Yavanna is the god of Kelvar (Fauna) and Olvar (Flora).[2] She is the elder sister of Vána, and is the spouse of Aulë. Yavanna was responsible for the creation of the Two Trees as well as the provider of the fruit that created the Sun and the Moon, resulting in the end of the Sleep of Yavanna. Yavanna is the creator of "all things that grow" and planted the first seeds of Arda:

The spouse of Aulë is Yavanna, the Giver of Fruits. She is the lover of all things that grow in the earth, and all their countless forms she holds in her mind, from the trees like towers in forests long ago to the moss upon stones or the small and secret things in the mould. In reverence Yavanna is next to Varda among the Queens of the Valar. In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwë spoke in its leaves. Kementári, Queen of the Earth, she is surnamed in the Eldarin tongue. (The Silmarillion, Chapter 2, "Valaquenta")

Following the destruction of the Two Lamps, the Valar requested that their new realm, Valinor, be lit. The Valar sat listened as Yavanna sang while her sister Nienna wept upon the green mound of Ezellohar. Her song, with the aid of the tears of Nienna brought forth the Two Trees, which were her greatest creation. Yavanna had achieved her mission to light Valinor. However, she did not forsake the Outer Lands; at times she would go there and heal the hurts of Morgoth.[3]

Sleep of Yavanna[edit]

The Sleep of Yavanna was the period following the destruction of the Two Lamps, which cast most[a] of Arda into semi-darkness. It is described in the Silmarillion:

Through long ages the Valar dwelt in bliss in the light of the Trees beyond. The Mountains of Aman, but all Middle-earth lay in a twilight under the stars. While the Lamps had shone, growth began there which now was checked, because all was again dark. But already the oldest living things had arisen: in the seas the great weeds, and on earth the shadow of great trees; and in the valleys of the night-clad hills there were dark creatures old and strong. To those lands and forests the Valar seldom came, save only Yavanna and Oromë; and Yavanna would walk there in the shadows, grieving because the growth and promise of the Spring of Arda was stayed. And she set a sleep upon many things that had arisen in the Spring, so that they should not age, but should wait for a time of awakening that yet should be. " ("The Silmarillion", Chapter 3, "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor")

Whilst the Plants and Animals of Arda were not considered sapient, they did inhabit Arda before and during the Sleep of Arda, but they did not age, and did not breed. This made it logical that Oromë would be hunting in the woods of Cuiviénen wheere he discovered the Elves, whose creation subsequent discoverey is vital to Tolkien's legendarium. There were several races that lived during the duration of the Sleep of Yavanna, which included the Dwarves, the Elves[b], and the Orcs. The Sleep of Yavanna lasted until the Sun and the Moon were created by Aulë, thus beginning the First Age.[4]


Etymology[edit]

The name Yavanna means "Giver of Fruit" in Quenya. The name is a compound of the Elven (Quenya) words "yáve" meaning 'Fruit' + "anna" meaning 'Gift'.[5] Her surname Kementári is translated "Queen of the Earth." Yavanna's name in Sindarin would be Ivan.[6]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ Whilst the destruction of the Two Lamps had cast Middle-Earth into darkness, the Valar retreated to Aman, and in Valinor the Valar used their power to create a concentration of light. Because of this, it cannot be said that the whole of Arda lay in relative darknesss, as there were certain places in Arda that possessed a light source other than the stars.

b. ^ Whilst Elves could go weeks without having to eat, they were not impervious to starvation. The Silmarillion states that "“Though Middle-earth lay for the most part in the Sleep of Yavanna, in Beleriand under the power of Melian there was life and joy." This meant that the elves had a sanctuary in which life, and therefore food, could grow. It is also said that Elves were keen hunters and foragers, and so whatever remained dorment during the Sleep or Yavanna could have been recovered as sustenance.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.. "Valaquenta: Of the Valar". In Tolkien, Christopher. The Silmarillion. 
  2. ^ Fauskanger, Helge K. "English - Quenya" (PDF). ambar-eldaron.com. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.. "Of the Beginning of Days". In Tolkien, Christopher. The Silmarillion. 
  4. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.. "Of Men". In Tolkien, Christopher. The Silmarillion. 
  5. ^ Fauskanger, Helge K. "English - Quenya" (PDF). ambar-eldaron.com. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.. Tolkien, Christopher, ed. The People of Middle Earth. Christopher Tolkien. p. 404.