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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: c. F.A. 545 - 587
Place: Beleriand
Outcome: Decisive victory for the Host of the Valar, Drowning of Beleriand, Expulsion of Morgoth from Arda
Combatants

Morgoth and his minions, including Balrogs, Orcs, and Dragons

The Host of the Valar, including the Vanyar and Eärendil

Commanders
Strength

"Uncountable"

Unknown; likely hundreds of thousands or more

Casualties

Virtually entire force

Severe

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.

Contents

[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 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 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.[1]

[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. Over the course of nearly four decades, however, the Valar 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 Valar, many other Men fought alongside Morgoth, which led to their scorn by the Elves, and perished in the fighting. 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 before by the Valar. The Valar were taken by surprise and overcome by the devastation the dragons brought, and were driven back across the region. The leader 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.

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, the mightiest of the dragon horde, who broke the towers of Thangorodrim in his fall. With Ancalagon slain, the Valar morale was renewed, and they 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 underground even the Valar could not access. 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 Tulkas hewed his feet 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.[1]

John Howe - The Doors of Night

[edit] Aftermath

The wreckage of the war was immense; 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.[1][2]

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

[edit] External link


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