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Who is Morgoth in The Rings of Power? The first Dark Lord before Sauron

The release of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has brought fresh focus on one of Tolkien’s iconic characters.

Who is Morgoth in The Rings of Power?

Before The Lord of the Rings, before the Third and even the Second Age, before Sauron and the Rings of Power, there was already darkness in Middle-earth. This darkness took on many names over time.

Melkor, Morgorth and Belegurth were just some of the names given the all-encompassing darkness that threatened Middle-earth throughout the ages. With millions of The Lord of the Rings fans diving into the new The Power of the Rings series, we take a look at the origins of the mysterious Melkor…

Who is Melkor?

According to Tolkien’s writings, he belongs to the Valar, a kind of pantheon made up of the spiritual and immortal beings who created the world.

Melkor always dreamt of becoming Lord of the Valar but that position was destined and reserved for one of his brothers. Rejected in his attempts to win prominence, envy and resentment coursed through his veins.

Legend speaks of clashes between Melkor and the rest of the Valar but he was driven out of his land and banished to Arda. However later in J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing, Melkor returned on a vicious rampage, destroying the Two Trees of Valinor and murdering Finwe, the High King of the Noldor Elves.

Finwe’s son Feanor then began using the name Morgoth, which translates to ‘Dark Enemy’ or ‘Black Foe’ in Sindarin, one of Tolkien’s invented languages. This is often combined with the term Belegurth , which means either ‘Tyrant’ or ‘Oppressor’ in Sindarin.

Why does Melkor have such a prominent role in The Lord of the Rings?

Melkor was the first to rebel against his creator and seek to bring disorder and corruption to Arda. He was the most powerful of the Ainur, the Holy Ones who first inhabited the world, but he would go on to commit many atrocities during the First Age and the centuries that followed.

The descent of Morgoth and his reimagining as Melkor, Belegurth and others is in many ways the acorn from which the whole of The Lord of the Rings grows. It is the initial incident which brings turmoil to Valar and corrupts the world.

“From splendour he fell,” Tolkien wrote of Morgoth, “through arrogance to contempt for all things save himself.”


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