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Morgoth

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Morgoth
Biographical Information
Other namesSee names
Created/bornBefore the Music of the Ainur
Years influentialc. Y.L. 1-Y.L. 1500, c. Y.L. 3400-Y.T. 1100, c. Y.T. 1500-F.A. 590
DestroyedThrust into the Void F.A. 590
RealmUtumno, Angband
Physical Description
RaceAinur
GenderMale
AppearanceAs Dark Lord, assumed tall, dark, terrible form
AccomplishmentsDisrupted the Music, corrupted Arda, Controlled all of Middle-earth for a time, created Orcs, destroyed the Two Trees, stole the Silmarils, took over Beleriand, destroyed the Two Lamps
Morgoth (S, pron. [ˈmorɡoθ]), 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 Eru Ilúvatar. Morgoth corrupted many of the Ainur to his allegiance, fought the Valar, and corrupted Arda. His theft of the Silmarils and wars against Elves and Men encompassed much of the history of the 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 servant Sauron, to trouble the world. One day, according to prophecy, Morgoth will rise again in great wrath, but he will be destroyed in the Dagor Dagorath.

Contents

[edit] History

The first and 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.

[edit] The Music of the Ainur

Ted Nasmith - Melkor weaves Opposing Music

When the Ainur made music, Melkor weaved 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 found 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 judgment, but hid his feelings. When Eru showed the Ainur the product of their music, , 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 labors 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.

[edit] Wars of the Valar

But Melkor took form, great and terrible, and attacked the Valar’s work in preparing the Earth. There was war, the First War with Melkor, and 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 even in a few cases admiration from 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 labors, 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 destroyed 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. Though together the Valar were stronger than Melkor, they could not punish him at that time, for they needed their strength to keep the world from collapsing into ruin. The Spring of Arda had ended in turmoil.

[edit] Dominance of Middle-earth

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 northwest of Middle Earth, to resist any Valarin attacks. He placed his greatest servant, Sauron, in control of that stronghold. Melkor, by wandering about, 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.

[edit] Time in Valinor

Jacek Kopalski - The Captivity of Morgoth

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. They laid siege to Utumno, and eventually destroyed it after a great battle during which the face of Middle-earth was transformed. 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.

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.

[edit] Revenge against the Valar

John Howe - The Killing of the Trees

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 rumors, 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, and she wove a cloak of shadow about them both.

Then Melkor and Ungoliant attacked while there was festival in Valmar. Melkor drained the Two Trees with his lance, and Ungoliant drank the blood. 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 was soon back in Angband. He had struck swiftly and surely. But Fëanor cursed him, naming him Morgoth, and by that name he was known ever after to the Eldar.

[edit] Return to Beleriand

Ted Nasmith - Ungoliant Demands the Silmarils

Once in safety, Ungoliant turned on her partner, demanding the jewels of Fëanor. The spider had grown in size and strength, and Morgoth, now very weak from his efforts, feared her suddenly. Lacking the strength to fight the monstrous spider, 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.

[edit] Wars of Beleriand

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.

[edit] Dagor-nuin-Giliath

Morgoth was confronted by further challenges when Fëanor landed in Middle-earth. They set up 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.

[edit] Dagor Aglareb

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.

[edit] Dagor Bragollach and Fingolfin

John Howe - Fingolfin's Challenge
Though Morgoth was not as helpless as he appeared, he remained dormant and hidden until F.A. 455. Then he surged forth suddenly, taking the slackened besiegers by surprise. Flames covered the formerly green Ard-galen (causing the battle to be known as the Dagor Bragollach), 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. Himring and Hithlum had held against him. King Fingolfin was dismayed and enraged by the defeat, and went to Angband. There he challenged Morgoth to single combat. Morgoth scoffed the warrior, and did not dare refuse his challenge. He strode out, his footsteps like thunder on the earth. He was clad in black armor 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 ran his blade through his 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 body, for Thorondor flew in, scratching Morgoth's face and escaping with Fingolfin's body.

[edit] The Quest for the Silmaril

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.

[edit] Nirnaeth Arnoediad

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.

[edit] The Curse of Morgoth

Ted Nasmith - Morgoth Punishes Húrin

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.

[edit] The Fall of Gondolin

Some time later, by the aid of Maeglin, a traitor-elf, Morgoth discovered and laid siege to Gondolin. Turgon King, 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.

[edit] The War of Wrath

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.[1] This time, however, he was ejected from Arda and cast into the Void. But though he had been vanquished, Arda was forever marred, and there was one still at large to carry on his evil legacy: his greatest servant, the fallen Maia Sauron.

[edit] The Future

Morgoth remains in the Void, unable to return to Arda as long as the Valar maintain their power over it. Nevertheless, according to the Second Prophecy of Mandos, Morgoth will come back and attack Arda. He will fight a great battle, called the Dagor Dagorath, 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, since Morgoth seduced them long ago. In other versions Eönwë is the one who will kill Morgoth for his love for Arien (previously named Urwendi), instead of Turin. This is said at the end of The Hiding of Valinor. Either way, the prophecy states that Melkor will bring great devastation to Arda, which will be remade into a greater form after his permanent defeat.

[edit] Legacy

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.

[edit] Characteristics

It was said of Morgoth that "his might was greatest of all things in this world". 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 as well as a wound the foot that caused him ever after to limp, Thorondor scarred his face with his talons. Physically, 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 power; 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 destruction, 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.[2][3]

Morgoth wielded Grond in battle, a weapon he presumably forged himself in Angband (unless Sauron or Gothmog had held it safe after the Siege of Utumno), and was clad in black armor, with an iron crown. Morgoth was originally the most powerful of the Ainur and stronger than any other Vala; however, after his treachery, he continually spread his influence and might thin across Arda and suffered several defeats, and his power slowly, though significantly, weakened.[2]

[edit] Etymology

The Sindarin name Morgoth ("the Black Foe"[4] or "Dark Tyrant"[5]) was given him by Fëanor.

Tolkien experimented (but apparently never reached a decision) with different Quenya translations of Morgoth: Moringotto, Moriñgotho, or Morikotto.[4]

[edit] Names

[edit] Melkor

Melkor (Q, pron. [ˈmelkor]) means "mighty arising"[6] or "'Mighty-rising', sc. 'uprising of power'"[7]. 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.

Melkor is a compound of mbelek- (melek, "great, mighty, powerful"; root BEL, MBEL) + óre.[6]

The older form of Melkor is said to be Melkórë.[7]

In earlier versions of the legendarium, the form of the name was Melko.[8] 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.[7]

[edit] Other names and titles

  • Bauglir, (S. "the Constrainer") was a title given to Melkor after his return to Angband at the beginning of the First Age. It was often combined with the name Morgoth to become the full title Morgoth Bauglir.
  • Dark King (of Angband) – given him by Men
  • Dark Lord
  • Sindarin Belegûr ("he who arises in might") or Belegurth ("Great Death"; containing the element gurth "death")[9][10]
  • King of the World - called thus himself after his return to the Middle-earth[11]
  • Black King[12]
  • Lord of All and Giver of Freedom – thus called by Sauron who encouraged Ar-Pharazôn to worship Melkor[13]
  • Lord of the Dark
  • Dark Hunter – Given him by the fearful early Elves before they met Oromë
  • mbelekôroCommon Eldarin
  • Great Enemy
  • Master of Lies - given him by Amlach[14]
  • Master of the fates of Arda - used by him when speaking to Húrin
  • Elder King - used when speaking to Húrin[15]
  • Melko, Belcha, Melegor, Meleko – Earlier names Tolkien used but abandoned

[edit] Minions

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed"
  4. 4.0 4.1 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
  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
  6. 6.0 6.1 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
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Four. Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: Glossary", p. 350
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The History of Middle-earth, passim
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", p. 358 (note 21)
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor".
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin", p. 42
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West".
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Words of Húrin and Morgoth", p. 64


Ainur
Valar
Lords:  Manwë · Ulmo · Aulë · Oromë · Mandos · Irmo · Tulkas
Queens:  Varda · Yavanna · Nienna · Estë · Vairë · Vána · Nessa
Former:  Melkor
Associated Maiar
Manwë Eönwë · Olórin Varda Ilmarë · Olórin · Arien
Ulmo Ossë · Uinen · Salmar Yavanna Aiwendil
Aulë Mairon · Curumo Estë Melian
Oromë Tilion · Alatar · Pallando Vána
Other Maiar
Balrogs Gothmog · Durin's Bane · Lungorthin
Wizards Saruman · Gandalf · Radagast · Blue Wizards (Rómestámo · Morinehtar)
Topics
Music · Valarin · Almaren · Valinor · Valmar · Second Music