War of the Elves and Sauron

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Previous war: Wars of Beleriand
Next war: War of the Last Alliance
War of the Elves and Sauron
Peter Xavier Price - Celebrimbor's Death.jpg
Beginning: S.A. 1693End: S.A. 1701
Place: Throughout Eriador, but centred on the land of Eregion
Outcome: Victory for the Elves and allies
Major battles: Sack of Eregion, First Siege of Imladris, Battle of the Gwathló

Elves of Eregion
Elves of Lindon
Elves of Lórinand
Dwarves of Khazad-dûm

Forces of Sauron


Durin III


The War of the Elves and Sauron was a great war fought in the Second Age between the forces of Sauron and the Elves in Eriador and their allies.


See also: Rings of Power

During the Second Age, Sauron planned to corrupt the Elves and put them under his dominion. In his guise as Annatar, he instructed the Elves of Eregion in the making of the Rings of Power. He returned to Mordor and then secretly constructed the One Ring of his own to enslave the bearers of the Rings.[1] Unknown to him, the Elves had made Three Rings of their own, so that when Sauron took up his own Ring, they understood his intentions and his centuries of planning came to nothing.[2]



What he could not control by subtlety, Sauron resolved to destroy by force. He obtained the allegiance of Men that lived in lands that were adjacent to Mordor, including in regions of the White Mountains and in Calenardhon. The Númenóreans who occupied the Ethir Anduin and the coasts of Lebennin discovered his activities and informed Gil-galad about them. However Sauron did not allow the tribes of eastern Men to come in sight of the Númenóreans or of Men of Good Will that lived in Eriador, Calenardhon, the Vales of Anduin, Greenwood the Great or in the plains between that wood and Mordor to avoid the risk that his gathering of armies in the east would be discovered. Sauron gathered and trained his armies for approximately ninety years before he felt ready to attack. He was able to gather less troops than he hoped for, because powerful enemies in the East and South opposed his gathering of troops.[3] Among those powerful enemies in the East were the two wizards Morinehtar and Rómestámo. Their task was to stir up rebellion and to cause dissension and disarray in the East. Otherwise the forces of the East would have outnumbered those of the West in the Second Age and in the Third Age.[4] In S.A. 1695[5] Sauron's vast armies passed through Calenardhon, invaded Eriador and turned north to attack Eregion.[1]

Destruction of Eregion[edit]

Main article: Sack of Eregion
Celebrimbor by Kimberly

When news of the invasion arrived to Gil-galad he sent a force commanded by Elrond from Lindon to reinforce Eregion as well as word to Númenor for aid.[1] Elrond's forces were held back by Sauron's greater host and Eregion was devastated. In S.A. 1697, Ost-in-Edhil fell, with Celebrimbor himself leading a last desperate defence on the steps of the House of the Mírdain. He was taken captive by the Orcs and Dark Lord demanded that the Rings of Power be turned over to him as well as the Three Rings. Celebrimbor yielded the Nine Rings and later even the Seven Rings, but was able to hide the identities of those who bore the Three. Later Celebrimbor was shot through with Orc-arrows, and by some accounts, Sauron used Celebrimbor's body as a banner as he turned to face Elrond's host.[1]

Founding of Imladris[edit]

Sauron gathered up the Rings of Power that remained, except for the Three Rings, which had been sent far from Eregion at the beginning of the war and laid waste the land of Eregion, bringing an end to its people. The surviving Elves of Eregion seem to have scattered, as there are various accounts of their fates. Some fled northward to join Elrond's host, and that host was itself forced into retreat; some of these Elves of Eregion settled at Imladris when Elrond founded it shortly afterwards.[1] They were joined there by others of their kind who had escaped into the Wild, and only later found their way to safety. Many of these people seem to have later abandoned Middle-earth and sailed into the West.[1]

Other survivors escaped into Khazad-dûm and were granted passage by their friends the Dwarves, coming eventually through the Mountains to the woodlands that would long afterwards be called Lórien. The Dwarves of Khazad-dûm indeed did more than simply allow the Elves to pass through their mansions; they went out against Sauron's armies along with a force of Galadhrim under Amroth. It was with their aid that the beleaguered Elrond was able to escape into the north and thus save many of the Elves of Eregion. Once the Dwarves returned to Khazad-dûm, the Doors of Durin were shut and remained so until the Fellowship of the Ring came there thousands of years later.[1]

Sauron Routed[edit]

Main article: Battle of the Gwathló

Over the next six years, Sauron's armies overran Eriador, and they moved west aiming to take Lindon and claim one of the Three Rings. Just as Sauron's victory looked secure, a great navy appeared in the north, carrying the forces of Númenor sent by Minastir, the heir[6][3][note 1] of Queen Tar-Telperiën. The Númenóreans put Sauron's armies to rout, and forced them back out of the Westlands.[5] So Eriador was saved, but Celebrimbor's kingdom of Eregion had been wiped out, and a great many of the Rings of Power had fallen into the hands of Sauron.


Given the devastation of Eregion, it was decided that Imladris should become the new Elvish stronghold in eastern Eriador. In recognition of his efforts, Gil-galad bestowed the ring Vilya upon Elrond at this time and made him his vice-regent in Eriador.[1]


  1. His aunt Queen Tar-Telperiën only surrendered the sceptre in Second Age 1731. In addition the chapter XVIII Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans in The Nature of Middle-earth mentions "the great host of Minastir" instead of "the great host of Tar-Minastir".


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVIII. Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XIII. Last Writings", The Five Wizards, pp. 384-85
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Line of Elros: Kings of Númenor", entry X Tar-Telperien