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Wilwarin was one of the constellations of Arda.

Wilwarin was created by the Valië Varda. It was set in the heavens of Arda to welcome and give light to the Elves, who were just waking in Cuiviénen.[1]

[edit] Etymology

Wilwarin (wilwarind-, pl. wilwarindi) means "butterfly" in Quenya.[2]

Wilwarin comes from the same root (wil-, "fly, float in air") as the name for the Ring of Air, Vilya, and shares this common root with the Sindarin word gwilith, "air".[2]

[edit] Inspiration

J.R.R. Tolkien gave no description of the constellation, nor any counterpart in our modern-day constellations, but Christopher Tolkien suggested that it could be the commonly-known constellation Cassiopeia.[3] Cassiopeia is a plausible candidate for being Wilwarin as its "W"-shape is a reasonable match to that of a butterfly.

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In early versions of Tolkien's notes, the name of the constellation is "Vilvarin".[4]

From other published writings, we know of a few other forms of the word wilwarin. The words wilwarindëa and wilwarindië (older Qenya form was wilwarindeën[5]) are the respective singular and plural forms meaning "like a wilwarin or butterfly".[6] We also know of the Qenya form wilwarindon, "as a butterfly".[5]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "The Etymologies", entry WIL-, pp. 398-9
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "The Later Quenta Silmarillion", pp. 160, 166
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Monsters and the Critics, "A Secret Vice", pp. 213, 216, 220
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Elvish Poetry" in Christopher Gilson (ed.), Parma Eldalamberon, vol. 16, 2006, p. 96
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void