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|"And Morgoth came" by Jenny Dolfen|
|Other names||Melkor (Q)|
The Great Enemy
|Titles||The Dark Lord|
Lord of Men
King of the World
|Birth||Creation of the Ainur |
|Rule||V.Y. 3400 - F.A. 587|
|Death||F.A. 590 |
Executed in Valinor
Prophesied to return at the Dagor Dagorath
|Notable for||Disrupting the Music|
Controlling most of Middle-earth
Creating Orcs and Dragons
Destroying the Two Trees
Stealing the Silmarils
Taking over Beleriand
Warring with the Valar
|Gallery||Images of Morgoth|
- "And he descended upon Arda in power and majesty greater than any other of the Valar, as a mountain that wades in the sea and has its head above the clouds and is clad in ice and crowned with smoke and fire; and the light of the eyes of Melkor was like a flame that withers with heat and pierces with a deadly cold."
- ― The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë"
Morgoth, also known as Melkor, was the greatest of the Ainur. He fell from glory when he disrupted the Music of the Ainur and defied the will of Ilúvatar. Morgoth corrupted many of the Ainur to his service, fought the Valar, and marred Arda. His theft of the Silmarils and wars against Elves and Men encompassed much of the history of the late First Age. Eventually, Morgoth was bound in chains by the Valar and thrown into the Void, leaving the permanent damage his evils had done, and his former lieutenant Sauron, to trouble the world.
One day, according to a prophecy, Morgoth will rise again in great wrath, but he will be destroyed in the Dagor Dagorath.
History[edit | edit source]
The most powerful of the Ainur that Ilúvatar created was a spirit known as Melkor. Because he wandered through the Void in an attempt to find and use the Flame Imperishable, the source of Ilúvatar's creative activity, Melkor developed ideas unlike those of the other Ainur. His feelings grew rebellious against his creator, for he wished to create sentient beings to inhabit the Void and was dissatisfied by the fact that Ilúvatar had not done so. However, Melkor could not find the Flame, for it was not in the Void, but with Ilúvatar.
Music of the Ainur[edit | edit source]
When the Ainur made music, Melkor wove his strange thoughts into his song. His song clashed against the Theme of Ilúvatar, disturbing the Ainur around him and causing some of them to attune their music to his. For a while the Theme of Ilúvatar and the discords of Melkor warred against one another. But Eru smiled, and sent forth a new theme. Most of the Ainur joined with it, but Melkor rebelliously opposed it even more violently. At last, many of the Ainur stopped singing in dismay, and Melkor's discords gained dominance. Eru sent out a third Theme against Melkor, sweeter and more beautiful than the others, and unquenchable. But though Melkor could not defeat it, still he opposed it. At last, Eru halted the music completely with a single chord.
Eru then publicly rebuked Melkor, saying that all music finds its source in himself, and thus Melkor could not create his own song or truly alter the Themes of Ilúvatar. Thus, though Melkor opposed Eru to his last breath, he only furthered the cause of Ilúvatar in new and wondrous ways. Melkor was shamed and angered by this judgement, but hid his feelings. When Eru showed the Ainur the product of their music, Eä, Melkor was one of those who begged to enter Arda, pretending to be willing to cultivate it and guide it for Ilúvatar's glory. He actually wished to dominate Arda and its creatures, especially the Children of Ilúvatar.
Nonetheless, he was allowed to enter Eä and come to Arda with the other Valar. Once there, Melkor declared to his colleagues that he was the master of Arda henceforth. Manwë, his brother, did not understand his evil, but fearing that Melkor might try and disrupt their labours in Arda, called forth many more Ainur to protect them. Melkor departed to the remote regions of Eä, leaving the world in peace for a while.
Wars of the Valar[edit | edit source]
But Melkor took form more majestic than any of the Valar, great and terrible and burning with his malice, and he came to Arda to destroy the Valar's work in preparing it. There was war, the First War with Melkor, in which mountains were felled and brutality inflicted on the Valar. Though he disrupted their work and destroyed much, a great spirit named Tulkas came to Arda from other regions of Eä to combat him. After Tulkas drove Melkor away, the Valar managed to complete Arda, and the world was established.
The Valar dwelt in a land called Almaren, and raised up two lamps to light the young earth: Illuin and Ormal. Melkor, meanwhile, had attracted the attention--and in a few cases, admiration--of the Maiar, the lesser spirits of Arda. Melkor had many spies among them, and from them learned all that the Valar did, and bided his time. As the Valar sat down to a feast at the completion of their labours, Melkor gathered together those loyal to him, and looking down on the beautiful Arda, was filled with hatred. Tulkas was wedded to Nessa at that feast, and she danced before the Valar. Tulkas fell asleep, and that is when Melkor struck.
Melkor with his host passed over the Walls of Night and returned to Arda once more. Without the watchfulness of Tulkas, the Valar were unaware of his coming, and he began to delve in the depths of the earth, making a fortress called Utumno northwards beneath the mountains in the dimness of Illuin. The Spring of Arda became blighted as the cold evil flowed out of the fortress. Death and illness took the green things of Arda, and animals fought and killed one another, while flies brooded in massive numbers. The Valar knew then that Melkor was at work, and sought his hiding place.
But Melkor struck the first blow. He came to them in fire and war, destroying Almaren and the Two Lamps, and caused the world to be filled with flowing fire and surging water. The symmetry of Arda was broken. And in the darkness and confusion Melkor escaped, returning to Utumno. All combined, the Valar were a match for Melkor, but they needed their strength to keep the world from collapsing into ruin and could not pursue him, nor did they know exactly where he had fled to. The Spring of Arda had ended in turmoil.
Dominance of Middle-earth[edit | edit source]
With Almaren destroyed, the Valar departed to a new continent across the sea, Aman, and built Valinor. They also established new sources of light, the Two Trees, to light the world. Melkor, meanwhile, wandered across the face of Middle-earth, in various guises, but armed with cold and fire. Some of the Valar were unwilling to forsake Middle-earth, however; Ulmo and Yavanna, particularly. Also Oromë would ride in Middle-earth, killing the terrors of Melkor, who began to fear that the Valar might rise up against him in wrath.
Melkor brooded in the north and built his strength, gathering his demons about him, breeding great monsters, attended by his Maiar-servants later known as Balrogs. He also created another fortress and armory called Angband, in the north-west of Middle Earth, to resist any Valarin attacks. He placed his greatest servant, Sauron, in control of that stronghold. The Valar acted against Melkor in force, but they were routed, his might too great for them to overcome.
After his victory, Melkor began to delve more great fortresses and pits where he massed his hordes and wicked armies, confident in his domination of the world. Melkor, by wandering about in the dominion he now wrested, also learned of the awakening of the first of the Children of Ilúvatar, the Elves. He instilled fear in them, and slew or captured many of them. Some of those he captured, it is believed, may have been transformed into Orcs by torture and breeding.
Time in Valinor[edit | edit source]
The Valar were not long, however, in discovering the Elves. Fearing that they would be destroyed or corrupted by Melkor, Manwë decided that Ilúvatar wished them to recover Middle-earth at all costs. Bitter from their previous defeat, they arrived in Middle-earth with their full might. They began the Battle of the Powers, and eventually destroyed Utumno after a great battle during which the face of Middle-earth was transformed, though their losses were devastating in the process. Melkor was captured and chained with the chain Angainor, but Sauron escaped. Melkor was imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos, and remained there for three ages, plotting revenge. Still recovering from the grievous siege, the Valar could not pursue and destroy all of Melkor's forces that scattered from the icy fortress, and many foul creatures and minions escaped, left to brood amongst themselves until their master's return.
At the end of his time, Melkor was presented to his brother Manwë. Melkor, swallowing his pride with thoughts of vengeance, prostrated himself before the throne of Manwë, begging for pardon. Manwë granted him thus, though Ulmo and Tulkas were displeased with this judgement. Yet the Valar would not let him leave their sight, and he stayed in Valmar. Before long, he began to exert his corrupting influence on the Elves, especially the Noldor. For the Vanyar did not trust him, and the Teleri he thought too weak for his designs, but the Noldor were curious, and eager to learn what he could teach them.
Revenge against the Valar[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Darkening of Valinor
In time Melkor found his greatest adversary and yet greatest tool in the form of Fëanor, the eldest son of Finwë, High King of the Noldor. Fëanor was the creator of the Silmarils, which Melkor lusted after. As Melkor subtly spread lies and half-truths about the Valar and the Coming of Men in the form of rumours, Fëanor was greatly influenced, though he hated Melkor himself and had no idea that he was their source. His new ideas of wide lands and realms to rule touched the heart of Fëanor, and the hearts of many other Noldor. They began to murmur against the Valar, and the peace of Valinor was disturbed. Fëanor soon stirred up trouble, and while on trial before the Valar it was revealed that Melkor was at the bottom of the murmurings and troubles. Tulkas left straight-away to deal with him, but found Melkor gone. He had escaped.
Melkor was not seen for a while, but then appeared at Formenos to Fëanor, tempting him with words of friendship, and an offer of vengeance against the Valar whom Fëanor perceived had wronged him. Fëanor wavered, but Melkor pressed his advantage too much. He touched a chord about the Silmarils, and Fëanor, seeing his designs and lust for the jewels, cursed and rejected him. Melkor departed in anger, and went south past the mountain of Hyarmentir, to the shadowed valley of Avathar where there dwelt Ungoliant, a mysterious dark spirit in spider-form once his servant, but who had disowned him after his failure. After some time he convinced her to dismiss her fears with the offer of rich rewards. He imbued her with power, and she wove a cloak of shadow about them both.
Then Melkor and Ungoliant attacked while there was a high feast in Valmar. Melkor pierced the Two Trees with his lance, and Ungoliant drank their sap. Then she drank dry the Wells of Varda, and the two fled north to Formenos, leaving the land once more in darkness and confusion. At Formenos Melkor slew Finwë and ravished the treasury of Fëanor, including the Silmarils. Then he passed over the icy Helcaraxë, entering once more into Middle-earth. He had struck swiftly and surely. Fëanor cursed him, naming him Morgoth, and by that name he was known ever after to the Eldar.
Return to Beleriand[edit | edit source]
Once in safety, Ungoliant turned on her partner, demanding the jewels of Fëanor. The spider had grown greatly in size and strength from feasting upon the Trees and from Morgoth's own gifted power, and he, now very weak from his efforts, feared her suddenly. Lacking the strength to fight the monstrous spider in that moment, he reluctantly parted with each of the beautiful gems, and Ungoliant devoured them. But Morgoth refused to give up the Silmarils, and she encased him in webs, torturing him and nearly devouring him. A loud cry of desperation from Morgoth penetrated deep into the walls of Angband and was heeded by Gothmog and the balrogs, and they rescued him from her clutches, driving Ungoliant away with their whips. So Morgoth returned to Angband, where he wrought an Iron Crown for the three jewels.
Wars of Beleriand[edit | edit source]
Morgoth rebuilt the fortress there, and learned of the Elves who had remained in Middle-earth. Elu Thingol and the Sindar dwelt in the woodland kingdom of Doriath, while Círdan and the Teleri lived at the Falas and Denethor and the Nandor camped in Ossiriand. Morgoth made war on Thingol, surrounding Doriath and cutting Thingol off from Círdan. But Thingol was able to contact Denethor for help, and the Nandor joined with the Sindar to fight the Orcs between Aros and Gelion. Caught between the two armies, the Orcs of Morgoth were utterly defeated in the First Battle. Fleeing north they were intercepted and further demolished by the Naugrim. The Orcs attacking Círdan were more successful – pushing the Teleri to the very edge of the sea.
Dagor-nuin-Giliath[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Dagor-nuin-Giliath
Morgoth was confronted by further challenges when Fëanor landed in Middle-earth. They set up camp at Mithrim, but Morgoth attacked them quickly, hoping to dislodge them before they settled in too much and became a threat. But the Elves were just come out of Aman, and they had the light of that country in their eyes. The Orcs dreaded them, and were swept before them like chaff before wind. Fëanor pursued them even nigh to the Thangorodrim and the gates of Angband, but Morgoth sent out Gothmog and his balrogs. Fëanor was killed, but the balrogs were driven back. The Falas were freed, and though Morgoth had practically lost Beleriand outside of the Ered Engrin, he was comforted in the fact that Fëanor was dead.
Dagor Aglareb[edit | edit source]
Yet Fingolfin came next, with his sons and the sons of Finarfin. They marched even to the gates of Angband, and yet could not go farther. As the Elves began to build (or rebuild) their kingdoms in Middle-earth, Morgoth waited sixty years before he struck again. It was the Dagor Aglareb, the "Glorious Battle", called such because it was a great victory for the Elves. Fingolfin and Maedhros, eldest son of Fëanor, combined their strength and repelled Morgoth. They then set up the Siege of Angband, which was designed to keep Morgoth holed up in his fortress.
Dagor Bragollach and Fingolfin[edit | edit source]
Thus he came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.
—The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
Morgoth appeared all but defeated to his foes; he remained dormant and hidden until F.A. 455. He surged forth suddenly in great wrath, his armies taking the slackened besiegers by surprise. In the winter he cast great rivers of flame over the formerly green Ard-galen (causing the battle to be known as the Dagor Bragollach), burning many Elven horsemen alive. His forces beset strongholds on all sides, led by Glaurung and Gothmog, and several Noldor-lords fell in the succeeding combat. Much of Beleriand was overrun and Dorthonion was taken, as were northern Sirion and Maglor's Gap.
In a single stroke Morgoth had broken the Siege of Angband, but the victory was not as complete as he would have preferred. Ered Wethrin, Himring and Hithlum had held against him, though just barely. King Fingolfin was dismayed and enraged by the defeat, and went to Angband in anger. With fire in his eyes, Morgoth's Orcs mistook him for a vengeful spirit and fled from him. There he challenged Morgoth to single combat. Despite Morgoth's power, he held a fear of death greater than any other Valar, and was hesitant even against Fingolfin. When Fingolfin declared Morgoth craven, he scoffed the Elf-Lord and did not dare refuse his challenge. He strode out, his footsteps like thunder on the earth. He was clad in black armour with a spiked crown and shield, with Grond, the Hammer of the Underworld, and he and Fingolfin fought in a ferocious duel. Flames gashed from the earth with each strike of his hammer, but Fingolfin was faster and avoided each powerful, but slow, swing. The Elf-lord gave Morgoth seven wounds, and though Morgoth shouted in anguish, he was too powerful to be slain. Fingolfin grew weary and was struck down by Morgoth's shield. Thrice he staggered to his feet in vain, his crown and shield broken, and thrice Morgoth cast him down, before Fingolfin collapsed over one of the pits left by Grond.
As Morgoth placed his foot on Fingolfin's neck to break it, Fingolfin in one last strike ran his blade through the Dark Lord's foot, and Morgoth's blood filled pools made by his hammer. The enraged Morgoth crushed Fingolfin, though he was left with a permanent limp from the injury. Morgoth wished to rend the corpse and feed it to his wolves, but could not desecrate the fallen King, for Thorondor flew in, scratching Morgoth's face and escaping with Fingolfin's body.
Quest for the Silmaril[edit | edit source]
For some time after that the world lay in watchful discomfort. The southern part of Beleriand was, for the most part, free from Morgoth's direct wrath. There arose two in Doriath, Beren of Bëor's House and Lúthien Tinúviel, Thingol's daughter. These two lovers embarked on the Quest for the Silmaril, in the process removing Sauron from Tol-in-Gaurhoth and entering Angband in disguise. Morgoth plotted some evil against Lúthien when she stood exposed in his presence, but allowed her to dance for him and she lured him to sleep with her song. One of the Silmarils was stolen from his crown, and Morgoth bore only two until the War of Wrath.
Nirnaeth Arnoediad[edit | edit source]
Some time after, in F.A. 471, Maedhros made a great alliance with the Naugrim, Edain, and other Noldor. They marched to challenge Morgoth, clearing Beleriand of his scattered forces. But Morgoth through his spies anticipated their actions, and met them with his allies the Easterlings in a huge battle in which he prevailed, and many princes and rulers of Men, Elves, and Dwarves fell. Thus the battle was named Nirnaeth Arnoediad, "Battle of Unnumbered Tears". Morgoth's victory was almost complete, as he razed Hithlum, the Falas, the March of Maedhros, as well as Nargothrond in 495. But Turgon, King of Gondolin, escaped by the valiant actions of the House of Hador, the last of the Edain in the north. The survivors had all gone down to the Isle of Balar and the Mouths of Sirion.
Curse upon Húrin[edit | edit source]
Morgoth took Húrin, who had been captured during the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and set him in the high places of Thangorodrim, to watch his family, whom Morgoth cursed. Upon the death of Túrin Turambar and Nienor, Húrin's children, Morgoth released Húrin to further his cause.
Fall of Gondolin[edit | edit source]
Some time later, by the aid of Maeglin, a traitor-elf, Morgoth discovered and laid siege to Gondolin. King Turgon, the last male heir of Fingolfin's house, was killed during the siege. Morgoth's victory in the north was now complete, though he had lost Gothmog his captain and marshall of his armies. Also, a small remnant including Tuor and Idril escaped the destruction of the city, bearing their son Eärendil.
War of Wrath[edit | edit source]
This was to be Morgoth's doom, for some years later, Eärendil sailed to Valinor seeking the pardon of the Valar. This he earned, and the Valar advanced across Belegaer with a mighty host. Morgoth loosed all his demons and defenses against them, but could not stop their might. His dragons fell to the Eagles, and Ancalagon was brought down by Eärendil himself from his ship, Vingilot. Morgoth was seized in his fortress Angband, his feet "hewn from under him, and he was hurled upon his face", the Silmarils were removed from his crown, and he was bound once more with the chain called Angainor. This time, however, he was ejected from Arda and thrust into the Timeless Void, and thus was put outside Time and Space, outside Eä altogether.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Morgoth remains in the Void, watched by Eärendil and unable to return to Arda as long as the Valar maintain their power over it. However, the lies he put in the hearts of the Children of Ilúvatar still remain and will create their evil results till the end of days. Morgoth's will was suffused into the matter of Arda, so in a sense he is never truly gone. Arda was marred by him so deeply that only Eru could fully repair the damage. Those who wished to follow in Morgoth's footsteps, such as Sauron, found that by using his residual influence, they could easily corrupt races they wished to dominate.
About his servant and heir Sauron it is said that "in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void". Also, during the last days of Númenor in the Second Age, Sauron corrupted the King Ar-Pharazôn and the King's Men to the worship of Melkor, describing his old master as a god of deliverance while denying the existence of the One. Thus he began a cult in the Temple in which the Númenóreans made sacrifices to Melkor. By the Third Age, Sauron's pride overreached itself yet again and "he claimed to be Morgoth returned".
Nevertheless, according to the Second Prophecy of Mandos, Morgoth will come back and attack Arda. He will fight in the Last Battle against the Valar and their allies, but will ultimately be slain by Túrin Turambar, the Man he cursed. By finally defeating Morgoth, Túrin will avenge not only himself, but all members of the race of Men.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
It was said of Morgoth that "his might was greatest of all things in this world." He was the most powerful being in existence, second only to Ilúvatar, and perhaps more powerful than every Vala put together. Fitting to his name, Morgoth eventually took a form great and terrible, and soon was unable to leave it. He received many scars and wounds over the ages: his hands were burned forever when he touched the Silmarils, Fingolfin wounded him seven times during their battle and inflicted a wound to the foot that caused him ever after to limp, and Thorondor scarred Morgoth's face.
When Morgoth first took visible form he was said to be of greater power and majesty than any other Vala, as a colossal mountain wading in the sea with its head above the clouds, his appearance both of splendour and terror. As a physical being Morgoth was described as highly imposing, and was reckoned to a tower compared to the warrior Fingolfin, and the shadow of the shield he wielded was like a stormcloud. Ever since his downfall, Morgoth held a desire for destruction; above all else, however, Morgoth held deep hatred of the mere existence of intelligent or beautiful life. Unlike his servant Sauron, Morgoth's ultimate goal was solely the corruption, not control, of all that he despised. He was nonetheless persuasive, and could sway and corrupt many forms of life to become his willing servants.
Morgoth wielded Grond in battle, a weapon he presumably forged himself in Angband (unless Sauron or Gothmog had held it safe after the Battle of the Powers), and was clad in black armor, with an iron crown. Despite his strength initially, he continually spread his residual influence, corruption, and might thin across Arda after his treachery and suffered several defeats, and his power slowly, though significantly, weakened. He alone of the Valar had a deep fear of death, and even against inferior foes he held a hesitance to ever risk his own life.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
Melkor[edit | edit source]
Melkor is Quenya for "He who arises in Might", literally "Mighty Arising", "uprising of power" or "Mighty One". The name is generally used to refer to this Vala prior to his theft of the Silmarils; for after the theft Fëanor named him Morgoth.
The older form of Melkor is said to be Melkórë.
In earlier versions of the legendarium, the form of the name was Melko.; other variations included Belcha, Melegor, Melekō. At one instance in a late glossary (c. 1959), Melko, meaning "simply 'the Mighty One'", is also said to be an alternative form of Melkor. '
Other names[edit | edit source]
Bauglir was a name used of Morgoth by the Sindar following his return in the late First Age , meaning "the Constrainer". It was often combined with the name Morgoth to become the full title Morgoth Bauglir. Another of his names was Belegûr, meaning "He who arises in Might", but this was rather used in the altered form of Belegurth, meaning "Great Death".
Among his many epithets and titles were:
- The Black Hand, called thus by Beleg.
- The Black King, used once by Sador.
- The Dark King, given by the Edain.
- The Dark Lord, given by the Edain.
- The Dark Power of the North, probably given by the Free Peoples.
- The Elder King, title of Manwë, claimed by himself when speaking to Húrin.
- The First Enemy, given by the Free Peoples after his downfall at the end of the First Age
- The Great Enemy, used once by Aragorn.
- The King of the World, given by himself after his return to Middle-earth.
- The Lord of All and the Giver of Freedom, used by Sauron when he encouraged Ar-Pharazôn to engage in Morgoth-worship.
- The Lord of the Dark, given by the Edain. The very similar Lord of the Darkness was used by Sauron when he encouraged Ar-Pharazôn to worship Melkor.
- The Marrer of Middle-earth, used once by Húrin 
- Master of Lies, given by Amlach.
- Master of the fates of Arda, used by himself when speaking to Húrin.
- The Wicked King, used once by Túrin.
Genealogy[edit | edit source]
Minions and allies[edit | edit source]
- Sauron – Most trusted lieutenant; became his heir as the second Dark Lord and was eventually maimed by the One Ring's destruction
- Gothmog - Lord of Balrogs and High-Captain of Angband; slain by Ecthelion
- Durin's Bane - One of the Balrogs; usurped Moria and was later vanquished by Gandalf
- Ungoliant - Former ally, spirit of darkness and shadow in the shape of a giant spider devourer of the sapped Two Trees
- Glaurung – Father of Dragons; slain by Túrin
- Ancalagon – Greatest of the Winged Dragons; slain by Eärendil
- Draugluin - First of the Werewolves of Angband; slain by Huan
- Carcharoth - Greatest of the Werewolves of Angband; slain by Huan and Beren
- Thuringwethil - Vampire Herald of Sauron; presumably slain by Huan
- Ulfang - Chieftain of Easterlings
- Lorgan - Lord of the Easterlings in Hithlum
- Brodda - Easterling chief in Hithlum; slain by Túrin
- Maeglin - Coerced turncoat, revealed the location of Gondolin in exchange for Idril; slain by Tuor
- Characters from older concepts
- Langon - Messenger, sent to negotiate with the Valar when they besieged Utumno
- Fankil - Lieutenant, escaped from Utumno after its fall, leader of dark armies in the East (Palisor)
- Tevildo - Cat possessed by an evil spirit, companion
- Lungorthin - Balrog-lord
- Boldog - Orc-chieftain sent to attack Doriath; slain by Thingol
- Othrod – Orc-lord during the Fall of Gondolin; slain by Tuor
- Balcmeg - Orc-general during the Fall of Gondolin; slain by Tuor
- Lug - Orc-warrior during the Fall of Gondolin; slain by Tuor
- Orcobal - Orc champion during the Fall of Gondolin; slain by Ecthelion
- Gorgol - Orc of renown; slain by Beren
Other versions of the Legendarium[edit | edit source]
Morgoth's Ring[edit | edit source]
In an essay dated 1955, appearing in a 1959 newspaper article, Tolkien detailed several events regarding Melkor quite differently than what appeared in The Silmarillion. In this essay, Tolkien emphasized the vastness of Melkor's power at the beginning of Arda, placing him as far beyond all of the other Valar combined and capable of singlehandedly besting them at the outset of his rebellion.
Melkor must be made far more powerful in original nature [...] The greatest power under Eru. Later, he must not be able to be controlled or 'chained' by all the Valar combined. Note that in the early age of Arda he was alone able to drive the Valar out of Middle-earth into retreat.
The intervention of Manwë and the Valar in besieging Utumno was an act of desperation and fear, one which they believed would have had no chance of success, but would merely serve as a distraction for the Quendi to escape his influence. When Manwë and Melkor confronted one another in the fortress's depths, both were surprised; Manwë to see his brother so weakened, and Melkor to see that he was no longer capable of daunting Manwë by his gaze alone. In this version of the battle, Melkor never fights Tulkas,[source?] nor is he overcome by the might of the Valar, rather he deliberately humbles himself before Manwë and asks to be pardoned.
Though he briefly considers truly repenting, he decides to deceive his brother instead, for it is at this moment that Melkor desires to bring ruin to Valinor itself. His surrender and pleading to the Valar are not out of fear or guilt, but out of a sense of wicked pleasure and mockery of them, as he devised to feign aid to the Valar by claiming to serve them as penance, and in secret would ruin and corrupt their very domain. The Valar are hesitant, but Manwë in both pity and fear of his brother, agrees to his terms.
The Valar, however, do not fully pardon him in this version of the story, and he remained under the watch of Mandos while in Valinor. Unable to enact his plans unnoticed, and realizing he was now separated from his servants and armies, whom he divested a large portion of power into, he grows doubtful of his plans, wishing that he had instead fought Manwë and the others in fiery rebellion rather than willingly submit to them.
Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]
- 1 September: A Shadow of the Past:
- Morgoth is seen taking on the form of a giant cloud of Darkness that appears to look similar to a humanoid. The Two Trees of Valinor are seen being burnt up beneath his darkness.
[edit | edit source]
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] VII", p. 403
- 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", p. 333
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Darkening of Valinor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Enemies"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 183, (undated, probably written 1956)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] VII", pp. 395-6
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Eldarin Hands, Fingers & Numerals and Related Writings — Part Three" (edited by Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 49, June 2007, pp. 24-5
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Qenya Noun Structure", in Parma Eldalamberon XXI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith), p. 85
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names", entry "Melkor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 115
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Four. Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: Glossary", p. 350
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The History of Middle-earth, passim
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "I. The Lay of the Children of Húrin: Prologue (Húrin and Morgoth)"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Index: Star-names"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", p. 358 (note 21)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar".
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin", p. 42
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Words of Húrin and Morgoth", p. 64
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 131, (undated, written late 1951)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Words of Húrin and Morgoth", p. 65
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] VI", p. 339
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] VI", p. 340
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] VI", p. 341
|1st Dark Lord|
V.Y. 3400 - F.A. 587
Next held by:
Sauron, c. 1603 years later
|Valar||Lords||Manwë · Ulmo · Aulë · Oromë · Mandos · Irmo · Tulkas · |
|Valier||Varda · Yavanna · Nienna · Estë · Vairë · Vána · Nessa|
|Maiar||Arien · Blue Wizards · Eönwë · Gandalf · Ilmarë · Melian · Ossë · Radagast · Salmar · Saruman · Tilion · Uinen|
|Úmaiar||Sauron · Balrogs (Gothmog · Durin's Bane) · Boldogs|
|Concepts and locations||Almaren · Aratar (indicated in italics) · Creation of the Ainur · Fana · Máhanaxar · Ainulindalë · Order of Wizards (indicated in bold) · Second Music of the Ainur · Timeless Halls · Valarin · Valinor · Valimar|