The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power opened up with Galadriel’s backstory as a child and what led to her journey to Middle-Earth and her quest for vengeance against Sauron. Of course, while her quest to search for Sauron is the main story, we did notice that the series didn’t expound too much on Morgoth, who was introduced as the one who started the war during the First Age but was now absent at the start of the Second Age. So, what happened to Morgoth during the First Age?
Morgoth was one of the mightiest of the Valar, the godlike beings that live in Valinor. He started the war by stealing the Silmarils when Ungoliant sucked the light out of the Two Trees of Valinor. A war that lasted centuries began, but Morgoth was defeated when the Valar finally interceded in the war.
Even though we often see Sauron as the big bad guy of The Lord of the Rings, Morgoth was bigger and badder. In fact, he was Sauron’s master before Sauron simply took over from where Morgoth left off, and that is why the search for Sauron was so important for Finrod and Galadriel in The Rings of Power. Now, let’s look at what we know about Morgoth during the First Age.
Who Is Morgoth In The Rings Of Power?
When we look at the story of The Lord of the Rings, especially if we’ve only seen the movies, the one thing that pops out is the fact that Sauron was presented as the biggest threat that the world has ever faced. Of course, to some extent, this is true because he threatened, on multiple occasions, to plunge the world into darkness with the help of the One Ring. But the truth is that he was merely subordinate to an even greater evil.
It all started at the very beginning with the supreme creator of the world of Tolkien’s works creating a group of different gods called the Valar. The Valar were the ones who helped Eru Ilúvatar bring life to Middle-Earth, as it was only Eru who could create life. Nevertheless, the job of the Valar was to prepare Middle-Earth for two of Eru’s best creations—elves and men. The elves, of course, started their lives in Valinor, where the Valar live, all while men stayed in Middle-Earth.
Meanwhile, a Valar named Melkor was one of the mightiest among the gods of Valinor. However, as mighty as Melkor was, he desired mastery over living things. Like all of the Valar, he was never a perfect being that was altruistic in terms of his nature. Instead, he desired dominance over all of creation, and that was when he turned to the darkness, as JRR Tolkien said: “From splendor he fell through arrogance to contempt for all things save himself.”
At that time, Melkor had become so dark and powerful that he earned the name Morgoth, which soon became the name that everyone knew when it came to the original dark lord because the name literally means “black foe of the world.” However, the Valar were hesitant to try to fight Melkor because he was so powerful that any fight involving them would destroy entire mountains. That was why the Valar decided to stay in Valinor, where they created the Two Trees, which provided the light that they needed in that haven.
The problem, however, was that Morgoth desired all things that he could desire, and that was what prompted him to steal the light of the Two Trees. Nevertheless, he needed to be cunning if he wanted to steal the light of the Two Trees, and that was when an elf named Fëanor came in to make things easier for Morgoth.
Fëanor was described by Tolkien as the greatest of the elves because of the fact that he was the most skillful and intelligent elf ever. There was no other elf that could match his craft and knowledge, as he himself was the one who invented the written elven alphabet. However, Fëanor was also known for his skill in crafting gems.
Originally, Fëanor was captivated by the light of Galadriel’s hair, which is often said was able to capture the same light of the Two Trees. However, Galadriel could see the ambition and the egotistical nature within Fëanor. So, when the greatest elf to ever live asked for a strand of her hair three times, Galadriel refused three times as well.
That was when Fëanor became so ambitious that he created the Silmarils, which were three gems that captured the different phases of light coming from the Two Trees of Valinor. In a sense, if he couldn’t have Galadriel’s hair, then he thought that he could create gems that had the same light. Because these gems were so beautiful, the egotistical Fëanor became quite paranoid of the possibility of the gems getting stolen.
Of course, Morgoth was the one who swooped in to steal the gem after he had Ungoliant, an ancestor of Shelob, suck the life out of the Two Trees. This was the scene we saw in The Rings of Power when the Two Trees lost their light, albeit we never saw the giant spider in the series. Nevertheless, Morgoth took the opportunity to steal the Silmarils when everyone else in Valinor was kept busy by the giant spider sucking the life out of their only source of light.
After that, Fëanor swore a vow that he and his seven sons would kill anyone who kept them from the Silmarils. That was when he and some of the other Noldor elves traveled all the way to Middle-Earth to recover the Silmarils by defeating Morgoth.
However, while it may have been a good idea for the elves to wage war against Morgoth, who needed to be stopped because of his evil ways, the fact was that the Valar were angry at Fëanor because his purpose for wanting to defeat Morgoth was quite petty. To make matters worse, Fëanor and the Noldor elves killed the Teleri elves, the only shipwrights in the Undying Lands, so that they could take control of their ships. This act was what forced the Valar to ban Fëanor and the Noldor elves from ever returning to Valinor.
So, in a sense, while Fëanor is often regarded as the greatest of the elves, he was simply the worst because of his actions. Nevertheless, it was still his actions that eventually led to the bloody battles between Morgoth during the First Age.
As Galadriel said in the opening scene of The Rings of Power, they thought that the war would be over quickly. However, battles were waged against Morgoth for 600 years. Meanwhile, Fëanor himself died long before the battle was over, as it was his descendants that carried on with the war against the original dark lord.
What Happened To Morgoth In The First Age?
Near the end of a war that had lasted for six centuries, the different Noldor elves realized that they no longer had a reason to fight for the same reason that drove Fëanor and his sons to Middle-Earth 600 years ago. That was when Eärendil and his wife, Elwing, used a boat and a Silmaril to travel all the way back to Valinor, as they believed that the fighting would never end without the help of the Valar. Luckily, Eärendil and Elwing were able to convince the Valar to take pity on the elves, and that was when they interceded in the war against Morgoth.
With the Valar now ready to fight off the dark lord, the War of the Wrath began, as a good part of Middle-Earth sank to the bottom of the sea due to the sheer destructive power of the Valar. This caused the Silmarils to become lost forever as well, as Fëanor’s sons soon took their own lives. Meanwhile, Morgoth was defeated in a manner that was quite vague.
All that Tolkien wrote about Morgoth’s defeat was that he was “thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void.” Essentially, he was defeated and crippled by the Valar. He was bound with the chain Angainor. Nevertheless, it was said that he infused his spirit in the very essence of the entire world, and that’s why darkness and corruption never left Middle-Earth long after Morgoth’s defeat at the hands of the combined forces of the Valar and the elves.
Morgoth’s defeat sparked the end of the First Age, which spanned six centuries. Nevertheless, the Second Age, which is when The Rings of Power takes place, is still a period of darkness because his lieutenant, a Maiar named Sauron, as we will eventually see in the series, will eventually take his place as the new dark lord of Middle-Earth by using the One Ring and the Rings of Power.
Is Morgoth Going To Return In The Rings Of Power?
It was said that, upon his defeat, a great portion of his evil spirit was dispersed throughout the world. Essentially, the world became the case that contained Morgoth’s spirit, much like how much of Sauron’s own spirit and malice are infused within the One Ring. This essentially means that, throughout the existence of the planet and even during the time of the Second Age (and The Rings of Power), Morgoth’s influence still remains.
Nevertheless, in terms of his physical presence, he will not return during The Rings of Power because the entire series will revolve around Sauron’s own rise to power. Of course, even during the Third Age, Morgoth never returned because Sauron was still the big bad evil that they needed to defeat in the end.
However, according to some of the writings of JRR Tolkien, there is a rumor that states that Morgoth will eventually learn how to break the Door of Night and re-enter the world to initiate the final battle called Dagor Dagorath. In that regard, Morgoth will return but not during the events of The Rings of Power.