Tolkien Gateway

Battle of the Powers

(Redirected from War for Sake of the Elves)
Previous war: First War
Next war: Wars of Beleriand
Battle of the Powers
Antonio Vinci - Tulkas.jpg
Beginning: Y.T. 1090End: Y.T. 1099
Place: Across the northern parts of Middle-earth, passing eastward from its northwestern coasts
Outcome: Decisive victory for the Valar
Combatants
Forces of the ValarForces of Melkor
Commanders
Manwë
Oromë
Tulkas
Melkor
Sauron

The Battle of the Powers, also known as the War of the Gods[1] and War of the Powers,[2] was a conflict fought between the Valar and the forces of Melkor. Under orders from Manwë, the Elder King, the Valar marched in force with the aim to end Melkor's authority over Middle-earth and liberate the newly-awakened Elves from his influence. It culminated in the siege of Utumno, where Melkor was captured, chained, and imprisoned for three ages of the world.

Contents

[edit] Background

Ring of Doom by Jacek Kopalski

Melkor ruined the Two Lamps that gave light to the worlds. The Valar held council among themselves and spoke of the coming Children of Ilúvatar, who first would be the Elves. Yavanna noted that the time of their arrival was unknown and they should not leave the lands of their future dwelling unprotected. Tulkas likewise agreed with the necessity of immediate action.[3]

Oromë espies the first Elves by Anke Eißmann

Manwë bid Mandos to speak, and he replied that the Children shall come in this age, and the Firstborn will walk under the stars. Varda then created other stars to help to light the world for the coming of the Elves. Using silver dews from Telperion, she created many new stars, including Wilwarin, Telumendil, and others. As a challenge to Melkor, high in the north, she hung the seven stars that make up the Sickle of the Valar. After Varda's long effort, the Elves, awoke in the starlight by the shores of Cuiviénen, the Water of Awakening.[3]

While Oromë conducted his hunting trips on his great steed Nahar, he heard the newly-born Elves singing. He met them and spent time among them, and yet perceived the influence of Melkor among them, as they were afraid of him. Oromë reported these findings to the Elder King, who once again called a gathering of all the Valar to the Ring of Doom, even the far-off Ulmo. He then proclaimed the counsel of Eru in his heart that they "should take up again the mastery of Arda at whatever cost, and deliver the Quendi from the shadow of Melkor".


[edit] Opening battle and the siege of Utumno

The titanic conflict between the Valar and Melkor now began in earnest, with the hosts of the West confronting the hosts of Melkor in the North-west of Middle Earth, and all that region was broken by this engagement. But the first victory of the hosts of the West was swift, and the servants of Melkor fled before them to Utumno.[3]

Then the Valar passed over Middle-earth, and they set a guard over Cuiviénen, from where the young Elves only felt the shaking of the Earth, and saw the north alight by mighty fires. Thus the Valar began the siege of Utumno, long and grievous it was and many battles were fought before its gates of which all is but a rumour to the Elves.[3]

After seven years,[4] the gates of Utumno were broken and its halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. But Tulkas arrived and wrestled with him and bound him with the chain Angainor that Aulë had wrought and led captive.[3]

[edit] Aftermath

Melkor chained by Roger Garland

The Valar failed to discover some of the deepest chambers under Utumno and Angband, and Melkor's lieutenant Sauron was never captured.[3] Some Balrogs and other evil creatures hid there, and others dispersed to the far edges of the earth.[3]

From the ruin great clouds arose and hid the stars. It was during this time that the contour of Middle Earth was changed, with the Great Sea being widened.[3] The Bay of Balar was carved out, as well as other minor bays until the Great Gulf southwards; the northern highlands of Hithlum and Dorthonion, sources of Sirion, were raised up as new mountain ranges, and the river came into being.[3]

The Valar dragged Melkor back to Valinor for judgment before Manwë, in the Ring of Doom. Melkor laid upon his face and begged for mercy from Manwë, but his prayers were denied. He was cast into the prison of Mandos for three ages, after which he would be brought before Manwë once more. Although the Elves didn't participate in the war, Melkor never forgot that his downfall was for their sake.[3]

The Valar gathered in council once again, and it was decided, after some debate, to summon the Quendi to Valinor to preserve them from evil. Though the Quendi were unwilling to listen to their summons after seeing their wrath and devastation of the war, thus Oromë chose three ambassadors to accompany him back to Valinor and speak on behalf of their people. The three ambassadors were Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë and in Valinor they beheld the glory of the Two Trees. The three ambassadors returned to their people and counselled them to accept the summons, then the Great Journey began soon thereafter.[3]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In Tolkien's earliest writings the conflict had a different form compared to later versions. In the Lost Tales Melko's devastation of the land is what caused the Valar to assault his fortress Utumna (early name for Utumno),[5] whereas in The Silmarillion it was the discovery of the newly-awakened Elves by Oromë at Cuiviénen that prompted the Valar to go to war on Melkor.

The confrontation between the Valar and Melkor in Utumno is expanded in the Lost Tales, but unlike the aggressive approach in The Silmarillion the Valar concoct a plan of deceit to capture Melko by satiating his pride. The heralds of Melko and Manwë whom were Langon and Nornorë exchange words to the two parties and the ruse is successful, Melko invites them to his chamber to pay homage before his seat. The Valar enter Utumna with Tulkas bound by Angaino (Angainor), Manwë kneeled before Melko however the sight of this angered Tulkas greatly and he leapt forward followed shortly by Aulë and Oromë. A great melee erupted in the hall between the Valar and Melko and his servants and at the end Melko was wrapped by Angaino.[6]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §6
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman: Second section of the Annals of Aman"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "IV. The Chaining of Melko": "Notes and Commentary"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "IV. The Chaining of Melko"