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War of Wrath

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War of Wrath
Per Sjögren - War of Wrath.jpg
Conflict: War of Wrath
Date: F.A. 545 - 587
Place: Beleriand
Outcome: Decisive victory for the Host of the Valar, drowning of Beleriand, expulsion of Morgoth from Arda

Host of the North: Morgoth and his minions, including Balrogs, Orcs, and Dragons

Host of the Valar: Finarfin, Eärendil, Vanyar, Noldor, Eagles and Eönwë


"great beyond count"[2]

Extremely vast


Virtually entire force


The War of Wrath, or the Great Battle, was the final conflict against Morgoth at the end of the First Age, and the greatest war ever fought in all of Middle-earth.


[edit] History

[edit] Prelude

500 years into the First Age, Morgoth had become mighty in Middle-earth; the Noldor had all but fallen, and the Elves and Men of Middle-earth were captured in droves by Morgoth, enslaved in the pits of Angband. Following the Siege of Gondolin, almost all of the Noldor's influential figures had been slain, though a handful of survivors protected by Ulmo had escaped. Among them was the mariner Eärendil, wearing the Silmaril on his brow, and he came to Valinor, the first with even a drop of mortal blood to set foot there. He begged the Valar to help the enslaved Elves and Men of Middle-earth and to liberate them from Morgoth's tyranny.

The Valar were moved by Eärendil's plea, and sent many Maiar, along with the Vanyar and Noldor that were in Valinor, riding in the ships of the Falmari, came to Middle-earth in a mighty host. Still bitter about the First Kinslaying, the Teleri did not participate in the war. The Host marched across Beleriand, and met the forces of Morgoth in the plains of Anfauglith.[2]

[edit] The Great Battle

The massive hosts of Valinor and of Morgoth met in the Beleriand region, which was subsequently destroyed by the colossal exchanges of power from the combatants. The arrayed armies of Morgoth were uncountable, and the mountains rang underneath the boots of the Valar; the entire North was aflame with war. The Host of Valinor initially landed and drove Morgoth's Orcs from the shores of Beleriand, and as they marched forward they were halted at the River Sirion, and for nearly forty years the Host of Valinor and the Host of Morgoth contested that river and the region bitterly, heavy losses to both as the Valarian forces struggled to secure a foothold and passage into Morgoth's lands.

Over the course of these four decades, however, the forces of Valinor eventually pushed over the Sirion and drove Morgoth's forces back; they and their allies ultimately destroyed the Balrogs, all save a few who fled and hid themselves in the depths of the earth, and the armies of the Orcs perished like straw in a great fire or leaves before a hot wind. While the Three Houses of the Edain fought with the forces of Valinor, many other Men fought and died alongside Morgoth, which led to their scorn by the Elves. As the War carried into its final years, Morgoth faced defeat, and unleashed his ultimate weapon, the winged Dragons of Angband, which had never been seen in Middle Earth before. The Host of Valinor was taken by surprise and overcome by the devastation the dragons brought, and were driven back across the region. The greatest of these dragons was Ancalagon the Black, the largest and most powerful dragon in the history of Arda, and the damage his dragon horde inflicted on the Valar was grievous. The skies erupted with lightning and flame at the dragons' arrival, and Morgoth's hosts repulsed the Valarian forces, pushing them away from Angband.

As the situation grew dire for the Valar, Eärendil came with his sky-ship Vingilot, along with great flocks of birds and the Eagles, and they fought the dragons. In the end Eärendil slew Ancalagon, after a fight lasting a full twenty-four hours. Ancalagon broke the towers of Thangorodrim in his fall. With Ancalagon slain, morale was renewed, and the Valarian forces retook the ground that had been lost and ultimately slew the remainder of Morgoth's dragons. With them, the majority of Morgoth's other forces were soon defeated, survivors driven to the depths of the world and to places far underground. Soon Morgoth's power was dispersed entirely, and Angband alone remained his only possession.

Morgoth fled to the deepest dungeons of Angband, where he was caught. By this point, Morgoth's power had weakened considerably, and rather than challenge his foes, he demanded peace and parley, but his feet were hewn from under him and Morgoth fell upon the floor. He was bound with his old chain Angainor; the two Silmarils still in his possession were taken by the Maia Eönwë and guarded (whence they were later stolen by Maedhros and Maglor). In the end the Valar thrust him "through the Door of Night, beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void", where he remains until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom. Only then shall he be utterly destroyed.[2]

John Howe - The Doors of Night

[edit] Aftermath

Countless slaves were freed from Morgoth's dungeons after his defeat and they looked upon a world that had changed greatly, for the fury of both sides in the War had wreaked havoc on much of the land. The northern areas were torn asunder, rivers formed or destroyed, mountains and hills changed. The wreckage of the war was immense indeed; most of the land west of the Ered Luin, as well as a large part of the central part of the mountains, was laid waste and soon after sank beneath the waves. The two great Dwarf cities of Nogrod and Belegost were also ruined, forcing their populaces to flee. Most of the Elves went to the West, while others went East. The Valar raised up the island of Númenor in the Western Sea as a new home for the Edain. Morgoth's defeat here was not total, however; his chief lieutenant Sauron, survived, and surrendered to the Valar in fear of them. When ordered to return to Valinor, Sauron instead fled and hid deep in Middle-earth, where he would later rise once more to carry on the will of his master. The terrible destruction of the War of Wrath convinced the Valar to avoid direct intervention in Middle-earth for the sake of Men and Elves. As a result, Sauron would rise to great power and prove a devastating opponent for the free peoples there for the next two Ages. As with the Siege of Utumno, the Valar were not omniscient, and either lacked the knowledge or strength to pursue every one of Morgoth's creatures. Along with Sauron, some creatures of Morgoth escaped, and would live on in Middle-earth.[2][3]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

The album Nightfall in Middle-Earth by Blind Guardian opens with a track with a conversation between Sauron and Morgoth during the War of Wrath.

[edit] External links

[edit] Notes

  1. According to certain sources, it was Ingwion who led the Vanyar to Middle-earth, sailing across the Great Sea and landing at Eglarest, where he defeated the Orcs who held the Haven. In the published Silmarillion, Ingwion has disappeared, and only Finarfin is named as a leader of the armies of the Elves. In The Shaping of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien suggests that this omission may have been an error, and Ingwiel should have remained in the text as joint commander of the Elves of Valinor.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

Wars of Beleriand
First Battle · Dagor-nuin-Giliath · Dagor Aglareb · Dagor Bragollach · Nirnaeth Arnoediad · War of Wrath