The Ainur are the immortal Spirits existing before Creation in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe. These were the first beings made of the thought of Eru Ilúvatar.[1]

Fictional history

Before the Creation, Eru Ilúvatar made the Ainur or "Holy Ones". This Quenya name comes from the Elvish root ayan- "revere, treat with awe".[2] "Ainur only appears in plural [in Elvish texts] since after the Creation all those were Maiar includes Valar and their lesser kin, but not those who did not take part in the Great Theme, or else did not enter Eä."[2] This means that only apocryphal texts written by Men and Hobbits used the singular Ainu.

The Universe was created through the Music of the Ainur or Ainulindalë, music sung by the Ainur in response to themes introduced by Eru. This created universe, the song endowed with existence by Eru, was called in Quenya. The Earth and our solar system are part of the Creation. These are called Arda in Quenya. Those of the Ainur who felt concern for the Creation entered it, and became the Valar and the Maiar, the guardians of Creation.

The Holy One Melkor or Melko claimed the Earth for himself. His brother Manwë and several other Holy Ones decided to confront him. Much of the world was marred by the conflict between the Valar and Melkor. According to The Silmarillion, the Valar and Maiar — with the aid of the Vala Tulkas, who entered the Creation last — were able to exile Morgoth, Melkor's physical manifestation, into the Void.


  1. Tolkien, J.R.R. (1977), The Silmarillion, New York City: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-618-12698-8 
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages", Parma Eldalamberon 17, p. 149.

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