Against the deep of the Firmament, the Queen of the Valar made new stars, twinkling beacons that break the unending dark, a welcome from the heavens for the Firstborn waking upon the shores of Cuiviénen, in response to the Doom Mandos spoke.
‘In this age the Children of Ilúvatar shall come indeed, but they come not yet. Moreover it is doom that the Firstborn shall come in the darkness, and shall look first upon the stars. Great light shall be for their waning. To Varda ever shall they call at need.’
For a sf nerd, the introduction of Varda spoke to the vision of a intergalactic Entity who warps space-time with a thought, and traverse the dimensions at will.
With Manwë dwells Varda, Lady of the Stars, who knows all the regions of Eä. Too great is her beauty to be declared in the words of Men or of Elves; for the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face. In light is her power and her joy. Out of the deeps of Eä she came to the aid of Manwë; for Melkor she knew from before the making of the Music and rejected him, and he hated her, and feared her more than all others whom Eru made.
And yet, she tied herself to the earthly plane, to rule by Manwë’s side. Because of the pronouncement of Mandos, she made new stars and constellations for the Firstborn of Ilúvatar yet to be unveiled.
Then Varda went forth from the council, and she looked out from the height of Taniquetil, and beheld the darkness of Middle-earth beneath the innumerable stars, faint and far. Then she began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming into Arda. She took the silver dews from the vats of Telperion, and therewith she made new stars and brighter against the coming of the Firstborn; wherefore she whose name out of the deeps of time and the labours of Eä was Tintallë, the Kindler, was called after by the Elves Elentári, Queen of the Stars. Carnil and Luinil, Nénar and Lumbar, Alcarinquë and Elemmírë she wrought in that time, and many other of the ancient stars she gathered together and set as signs in the heavens of Arda: Wilwarin, Telumendil, Soronúmë, and Anarríma; and Menelmacar with his shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days. And high in the north as a challenge to Melkor she set the crown of seven mighty stars to swing, Valacirca, the Sickle of the Valar and sign of doom.
(This collection of the “Constellations of Middle-earth” on tumblr post is just beautiful)
And she was the one who devised and made the Sun and the Moon in the aftermath of the death of the Two Trees.
Personally, I like the stars, and this is an excuse to squint into the vaults of heavens for a bit, because I see the hand of Varda, with perhaps a dash of humour, in the stellar objects described here.
Take the HR 4796 Binary Star System. Is this not an uncanny likeness of the Eye?
The Eye of Sauron? It certainly looks like a depiction of the Lord of the Ring’s lidless eye wreathed in flame. But, in fact, it is an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of a dusty ring around the star Fomalhaut, HR 4796’s primary star. The disk of debris is around 14 to 20 billion miles away from the young star.
“Concealed within his fortress, the lord of Mordor sees all. His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
Check the rest. Though the author equate them with other characters and images, I see Middle-earth resemblance in all of them. What do you see?
- Black Widow Nebula: Ungoliant
- Nebula SH2 136: Thuringwethil in flight
- PSR B1509-58: Nicknamed “Hand of God”: The White Hand
- Witch Head Nebula: Smaug. Actually, Ancalagon came to mind, but the colouring ain’t right
- Lagoon Nebula: Black Rider
- Horsehead Nebula: The obvious would be Nahar, or maybe Shadowfax. Though I see a striding giant with a swirling cloak too, perhaps Manwë heading to an appointment with the Vanyar? Or a stone giant lobbing something. It could also be a fetal Balrog.