Names and descriptions
Manwë:Greatest of the Valar, spouse of Varda and King of
Arda. The winds and airs of Arda are under his command.
Varda: Queen of the Stars. She set the stars in the sky. Also known
Ulmo: Lord of the seas. Kept watch on Elves and Men while the others
of his order remained in Valinor
Aulë: Concerned with the substance of Arda; rock and metal.
He was also the builder and inventor of the Valar.
Yavanna: Queen of the Earth. The giver of fruits. Spouse to Aulë.
Mandos: The Doomsman of the Valar. Also known as Námo, Keeper
of the Dead. Lord of Spirits
Vairë: The Weaver, who lives with Mandos and weaves the tales
of the history of Arda.
Niernna: The Weeper, sister to Mandos and Lórien. Grief and
mourning were her domain. She teaches Pity and Endurance and Olorin(Gandalf)
learns a great deal from her.
Oromë: The Hunstman of the Valar. Bearer of the Great Horn
Valaróma. Lord of Forests
Vána: The Ever-young, who lives with Oromë and is the
sister of Yavanna. Flowers were said to open, and birds sing, at her passing
Lórien (also known as Irmo): Lord of Visions and Dreams. The common name given to the Vala Irmo, from the gardens in Valinor where he dwelt with his spouse Estë
Tulkas: Lord of Strength. last of the Valar to descend into Arda.
Known as the strong and the steadfast Also the most warlike and lover of sports.
Nessa: The spouse of Tulkas and sister to Oromë, who delights in dancing on the green lawns of Valimar.
Estë: A lady of the Valar, The Healer.The Gentle, healer of
hurts and weariness, spouse of Irmo, who dwells with him in the gardens of Lórien in Valinor.
Concerning the Maiar:
It is written in the Silmarillon that the Maiar are deities of lesser power who faithfully served the Valar in Valinor. The best known of the Maiar being Melian, Thingol of Doriath's wife, Sauron, Saruman, Radagast and Olorin, also know as Mithrandir or Gandalf. Each of the Valar had their favourite Maia. Melian served both Vána and Estë (see listing above), Saruman served Aulë and Sauron served Morgoth/Melkor. As far as Gandalf is concerned, he is considered by certain sources as being the wisest of the Maiar serving Manwë, the King of the Valar, Varda his wife as well as Irmo and Nienna.
The Origins of the Istari
Concerning the Istari:
Saruman (Curumo), Gandalf (Olórin), Radagast (Aiwendil) along with Alatar and Pallando, known as the Blue Wizards, were sent to Middle Earth to combat Sauron. They had all memory of their past and powers removed from so that they could go about the task the Valar confided them with. Sauron on the other hand, having fled to Middle Earth to escape the wrath of the Valar and the remnants of the Númenórean kings. Melian, the Maia, went to Middle earth of her own free will and kept all her powers because she was concerned that the evil creatures of Morgoth were defiling all the good Yavanna had created. When she married Thingol she withdrew to his secret kingdom and encircled the kingdom with a spell so that none could enter unless Thingol wished it.