Avathar place-name denoting the land between the southern Pelóri and the Sea, where Ungoliant dwelt; said to be "not Elvish" in WJ:404 and must be thought of as an adaptation from Valarin; on the other hand, MR:284 states that it is "ancient Quenya" and offers the interpretation "The Shadows". Whatever the case, it must have become *Avasar in Exilic Quenya.
place name. Shadows
A region in the far south of Aman where Ungoliant dwelled before she was recruited by Morgoth to destroy the Two Trees (S/73-4). Its meaning is uncertain. In one place (MR/284) Tolkien declared that it was ancient Quenya with the meaning “Shadows”. Elsewhere (WJ/404) he said it was not an Elvish word at all and was probably adapted from Valarin. Its use of “th” [θ] means this name must have been archaic or from the Vanyarin dialect, since [[q|[θ] became [s]]] by the time of the Noldorin exile.
Very likely it is derived from the root √WATHAR (VT42/9-10) as suggested to me by Lokyt.
Conceptual Development: The earliest mention of this region was perhaps the name ᴱQ. Harwalin “Near the Valar” (QL/39), though this form had many variations. The issue is confused in Tolkien’s very early writing, because this name was often interchanged with ᴱQ. Eruman (later Q. Araman). In the Lost Tales, Tolkien eventually settled on the name ᴱQ. Arvalin “Nigh Valinor” (LT1/22), and the region retained this name for a long time, appearing in The Etymologies from the 1930s as ᴹQ. Arvalin “Outside Valinor” (Ety/AR²). It wasn’t until Tolkien’s Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s that the name changed to its final form, first (briefly) Vastuman of unclear meaning, then Avathar (MR/291).
- √WATHAR “*shadow, veil”
- Vastuman ✧ MRI/Vastuman