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Lórien is one of the Valar, the "powers that be," beings somewhere between deities and angels, in The Silmarillion, a fantasy book of fictional mythology and folklore by J.R.R. Tolkien. Lórien's given name is actually Irmo, which in Tolkien's constructed language of the elves, Quenya, means "desirer" implying governance over the wishes and desires of mortals. The name Lórien is actually a title referring to Irmo's realm, the Gardens of Lórien, and the word Lórien itself means "dreamland." Irmo's work as a Vala involves sending dreams to the elves of Middle-Earth and providing a peaceful place of refuge within his gardens.

Irmo is counted among the three Fëanturi, "masters of spirits," along with his sister Nienna, the wise Vala who mourns the suffering in the world, and his brother Namo, also called Mandos after his realm, the Halls of Mandos, where the souls dead go before moving onto other states of existence.

Irmo's wife is Estë the Gentle, who grants mortals rest and relief from their sorrows and weariness, and who sleeps by day on a small island in the lake Lórellin, within the Gardens of Lórien.

The most significant act by Irmo and Estë in The Silmarillion is advocating that there should be a nighttime to complement the day, in order that mortals be granted a regular period of sleep, and to prevent all the plants of the world from withering away under the heat and brightness of both the sun and the moon being in the sky at the same time, at all hours. Varda, the queen of the Valar whose work concerns the lights in the sky, regarded this as good counsel, and set the great lights moving in a circuit through the sky, inventing the twilight hours of dawn and dusk as well, in which the stars, her favourite lights, could show to best effect.

In Tolkien's Old English translations regarding the Valar, in his compendium The Book of Lost Tales, the fictional Saxon translator Eriol calls Irmo "Swefnfréa," meaning "dream-ruler."

Iron Noder 2020, 10/30

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