Vital statistics
Race Ainur
Gender N/A
Status Unknown
Faction Valar (Aratar)
Position Dark Lord, King of the World, Lord of the Dark, Elder King, Master of the Fates of Arda, Lord of Angband, Lord of Utumno
Voice actor None

Melkor, later named and known as Morgoth, was the most powerful of the Valar and the greatest in knowledge. Because of his pride and his desire to dominate others he fell into darkness, and became the first Dark Lord. He infected Arda with decay, and spread a purely material empire upon the earth.

Morgoth was eventually defeated at the end of the War of Wrath, he was thrown, unhoused, chained up and cast through the Door of Night into the Void. However, his lieutenant Sauron continued to wage war on Middle-earth for thousands of years. It is prophesied that he will return in the end of days where he will fight in Dagor Dagorath and will finally be defeated and Arda will be remade without his evil.


Before the creation of Arda, Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur. Because of his unique station, he sought to create wills in the manner of his own Creator, so he alone would venture sometimes into the Void in search of the Flame Imperishable, the Secret Fire, which would grant him this ability. But he never found it, as it is with Eru only. He had sought to fill the Void with sentient beings and was dissatisfied with Eru's abandonment of it. Instead, in what he hoped would be an expression of his own originality and creativity, he contended with Eru his (God) in the Music of the Ainur, introducing what he perceived to be themes of his own.

Unlike his fellow Ainu Aulë, Melkor was too proud to admit that his creations were simply discoveries wholly made possible by, and therefore "belonging" to, Eru. Instead, Melkor aspired to ascend the level of Eru, the true Creator of all possibilities.

During the Great Music of the Ainur, Melkor attempted to alter the Music and introduced what he believed to be elements purely of his own design. As part of these efforts, he drew many weaker-willed Ainur to him, creating a counter to Eru's main theme. Ironically, these attempts did not truly subvert the Music, but only elaborated Eru's original intentions: the Music of Eru took on depth and beauty precisely because of the strife and sadness Melkor's disharmonies (and their rectification) introduced.

Since the Great Music of the Ainur stood template for all of the history and all of material creation in Middle-earth cycle (it was first sung before Time, and then the universe was made in its image), there was an aspect of everything in Middle-earth that came from Melkor's malign influence; everything had been "corrupted".

After the creation, many Ainur entered into Ea. 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. Melkor and his followers entered Ea as well, but he was frustrated that his fellow Valar would not recognize him as leader of the new realm, despite his having a greater share of knowledge and power than all the rest. In anger and shame, set about ruining and undoing what the others had achieved.

Each of the Valar was attracted to be 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, 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 collective might of all of the Valar. Arda never seemed to achieve a stable form until the Vala Tulkas entered Ea and tipped the balance.

Driven out by Tulkas, Melkor brooded in the darkness, and the island Almaren, the first home of the Valar on Earth, was destroyed in the violence of the lamp's 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 domain 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 llu

vatar, awoke at the shores of Cuivienen, and the Valar resolved to rescue them from his malice. The Valar waged a devastating war on Melkor, and destroyed Utumno. Melkor was bound with a specially forged chain, Angainor, and he was brought to Valinor, where he was imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for three ages.

Upon his release, Melkor was paroled to Valinor, though a few the Valar distrusted him. He made a pretense 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 of the 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. With the help of Ungoliant, he destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor, slew the king of the Noldor, Finwe, and stole three Silmarils, jewels made by Finwe's son Feanor, which were filled with light of the Trees. Feanor then named him Morgoth, "Black Foe of the World", and the Eldar knew him by this name alone afterwards.


Melkor fighting Fingolfin

Morgoth resumed his rule in Middle-earth, this time in Angband, a lesser fortress than Utumno, but not as completely destroyed. He rebuilt it, and raised above it the volcanic triple peak of Thangorodrim. The Simarils he set into crown of iron, which he wore at all time. Feanor and most of the Noldor pursued him, along the way slaying their kin the Teleri and incurring the Doom of Mandos. On arriving in Beelerian, the region of Middle-earth nearest to Angband, the Noldor established kingdoms and waged 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 Dago-nuin-Giliath (Battle under Stars, fought before the first rising of the Moon), Dagor Aglareb (Glorious Battle), Dagor Bragolach (Battle of Sudden Flame). After these battles, the long-standing siege of Angband was broken, and during the battle of Nirneath Arnoedied, the Man Beren and Elf Luthien, the daughter of Thingol, entered Angband and recovered a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown. It was inherited by their granddaughter Elwing, who joined the mouths of Sirion. Her husband Earendil, wearing the Silmaril on his bow, sailed across the ses to Valinor, where he pleaded with the Valar to liberate Middle-earth from Morgoth.

During the ensuing War of Wrath, Belerian 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 Thangorodim was shattered when Earendil slew the greatest dragons, Ancalagon the Black. 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 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 prophesied Dagor Dagorath, when he would meet his final destruction. His evil remained, however, as "Arda marred", and his will still influenced living creatures.

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 allegiance of his former master's worshippers. Similarly, in Numénor following his capture, Sauron became very powerful by seducing Ar-Pharazon to worship Melkor, establishing a cult in which it was only natural that, as Melkor's foremost former disciple, he became high priest.


  • In Tolkien's early writings Melkor was known as Melko.
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