After the Creation, many Ainur entered into Eä. The most powerful of them were called the Valar, or Powers of the World; the lesser, who acted as their followers and assistants, were the Maiar. They immediately set about the ordering of the universe and Arda within it, according to the themes of Eru as best they understood them. Melkor and his followers entered Eä as well, and they set about ruining and undoing whatever the others did.
Each of the Valar was attracted to a particular aspect of the world that became the focus of his or her powers. Melkor was drawn to terrible extremes and violence — bitter cold, scorching heat, earthquakes, rendings, breakings, utter darkness, burning light, etc. His power was so great that at first the Valar were unable to restrain him; he single-handedly contended with the collective might of all of the Valar. Arda never seemed to achieve a stable form until the Vala Tulkas entered Eä and tipped the balance.
Driven out by Tulkas, Melkor brooded in the darkness at the outer reaches of Arda until an opportune moment arrived when Tulkas was distracted. Melkor re-entered Arda and attacked and destroyed the Two Lamps, which at the time were the only sources of light. Arda was plunged into darkness, and the island of Almaren, the first home of the Valar on Earth, was destroyed in the violence of the lamps' fall.
After the fall of the Lamps, the Valar withdrew into the land of Aman in the far West. The country where they settled was called Valinor, which they heavily fortified. Melkor held dominion over Middle-earth from his fortress of Utumno in the North.
Melkor’s first reign ended after the Elves, the eldest of the Children of Ilúvatar, awoke at the shores of Cuiviénen, and the Valar resolved to rescue them from his malice. The Valar waged devastating war on Melkor, and destroyed Utumno. Melkor was bound with a specially forged chain, Angainor, and brought to Valinor, where he was imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for three ages.
In the account published in The Silmarillion, Melkor had captured a number of Elves before the Valar attacked him, and he tortured and corrupted them, breeding the first Orcs. Other versions of the story (written both before and after the published text) describe Orcs as corruptions of Men, or alternatively as soulless beings animated solely by the will of their evil lord. This last version illustrates the idea of Morgoth dispersing himself into the world he marred.
Upon his release, Melkor was paroled to Valinor, though a few of the Valar distrusted him. He made a pretence of humility and virtue, but secretly plotted harm toward the Elves, whose awakening he blamed for his defeat. The Noldor, most skilled of the three kindreds of Elves that had come to Valinor, were most vulnerable to his plots, since he had much knowledge they eagerly sought, and while instructing them he also awoke unrest and discontent among them. When the Valar became aware of this they sent Tulkas to arrest him, but Melkor had already fled. With the aid of Ungoliant, a dark spirit in the form of a monstrous spider, he destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor, slew the King of the Noldor, Finwë, and stole the three Silmarils, jewels made by Finwë’s son Fëanor, which were filled with the light of the Trees. Fëanor thereupon named him Morgoth, "Black Foe of the World", and the Eldar knew him by this name alone afterwards.
Morgoth resumed his rule in the North of Middle-earth, this time in Angband, a lesser fortress than Utumno, but not so completely destroyed. He rebuilt it, and raised above it the volcanic triple peak of Thangorodrim. The Silmarils he set into a crown of iron, which he wore at all times. Fëanor and most of the Noldor pursued him, along the way slaying their kin the Teleri and incurring the Doom of Mandos. On arriving in Beleriand, the region of Middle-earth nearest Angband, the Noldor established kingdoms and made war on Morgoth. Soon afterwards, the Sun and the Moon arose for the first time, and Men awoke if they had not done so already. The major battles of the ensuing war included the Dagor-nuin-Giliath (Battle Under the Stars, fought before the first rising of the Moon), Dagor Aglareb (Glorious Battle), Dagor Bragollach (Battle of Sudden Flame) at which the long-standing Siege of Angband was broken, and the battle of Nírnaeth Arnoediad (Unnumbered Tears) when the armies of the Noldor and the Men allied with them were routed and the men of the East joined Morgoth. Over the next several decades, Morgoth destroyed the remaining Elven kingdoms, reducing their domain to an island in the Bay of Balar to which many refugees fled, and a small settlement at the Mouths of Sirion under the protection of Ulmo.
Before the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, the Man Beren and Elf Lúthien, the daughter of Thingol, entered Angband and recovered a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. It was inherited by their granddaughter Elwing, who joined those dwelling at the Mouths of Sirion. Her husband Eärendil, wearing the Silmaril on his brow, sailed across the sea to Valinor, where he pleaded with the Valar to liberate Middle-earth from Morgoth.
During the ensuing War of Wrath, Beleriand and much of the north of Middle-earth was destroyed and reshaped. In the end, Morgoth was utterly defeated, and his armies were almost entirely slaughtered. The dragons were almost all destroyed, and Thangorodrim was shattered when Eärendil slew the greatest of dragons, Ancalagon the Black, who crashed upon it as he fell. The few remaining dragons were scattered, and the handful of surviving Balrogs hid themselves deep within the earth. Morgoth fled into the deepest pit and begged for pardon, but his feet were cut from under him, his crown was made into a collar, and he was chained once again with Angainor. The Valar exiled him permanently from the world, thrusting him through the Door of Night into the void, excluded from Arda until the prophesied Dagor Dagorath, when he would meet his final destruction. His evil remained, however, as "Arda Marred," and his will influenced all living creatures.
The Cult of Melkor
After Morgoth's defeat, his lieutenant Sauron gradually rallied many of Morgoth's servants to his own cause, and during the Second Age established himself in the land of Mordor. Sauron lacked the raw power and malice of his master, but he was far more cunning, and seduced many to his allegiance with lies and false promises. In the Second Age, Sauron repeatedly used his fame among Men as Morgoth's erstwhile lieutenant to portray himself as Morgoth's representative and thus gain the allegiance of his former master's worshippers. Similarly, in Númenor following his capture, Sauron became very powerful by seducing Ar-Pharazôn to the worship of Melkor, establishing a Cult in which it was only natural that, as Melkor's foremost former disciple, he became high priest. This cult exploited the Númenórean fear of death by claiming that human sacrifice to Melkor would grant the Men of Númenor immortality. In actuality by turning away from Eru and the Valar they only dwindled more rapidly. Sauron used this religion among his means of encouraging Ar-Pharazôn's invasion of Valinor, which resulted in the destruction of Númenor by Eru. By the Third Age Sauron came more often to propound himself, rather than Morgoth, as the object of worship for his servants and subjects, but in his pride also portrayed himself as Morgoth returned when it was more convenient for him to do so.
#gif #melkor #morgoth #lotr #lordoftherings #Tolkien
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