Who is Morgoth? Tolkien's original dark lord is crucial to Rings of Power

Here’s everything you need to know about Morgoth.

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There aren’t many Lord of the Rings characters more important than Morgoth. Despite that, most casual fans probably only have a faint idea of who he is and what he did during his time in Middle-earth. With the premiere of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power less than a week away, that may not be true for much longer.

Not only is Morgoth one of the most powerful characters that J.R.R. Tolkien created, but almost everything bad that happened in Tolkien’s world before the start of The Rings of Power was his fault. Fans should therefore expect to hear Morgoth’s name get dropped quite a lot throughout The Rings of Power.

With that in mind, here’s what viewers should know about Morgoth, Middle-earth’s first Dark Lord, before the premiere of The Rings of Power.

Also read: The Ladies of the Rings: The Rings of Power cast talks representation, secrecy, and Sauron

Introducing Morgoth, Middle-earth’s First Dark Lord

Before Sauron, there was Morgoth.

New Line Cinema

Before Middle-earth existed, there were the Ainur. Created by Eru Ilúvatar, the omnipotent creator of J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe, the Ainur are essentially the angels of Tolkien’s fictional world.

The most powerful of the Ainur was Melkor, who would later become the Dark Lord known as Morgoth. Unlike his fellow Ainur, Melkor felt a rebellious spark that led him from the path of Ilúvatar, and during the creation of the universe Melkor weaved his dark thoughts into the fabric of existence.

When the world was finally created, Melkor entered it with his fellow Ainur, who became known as the Valar and the Maiar. Unlike many of the Ainur, who sought to refine the world in the vision of their Creator, Melkor sought to dominate not only the world but also the Elves and Men who would one day be born into it.

The Two Trees of Valinor before their destruction in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Courtesy of Prime Video

His desire to bend the world and its inhabitants to his will led Melkor to cause innumerable problems. Melkor committed several atrocious deeds throughout the early years of creation, including the destruction of the Two Lamps, Illuin and Ormal, Middle-earth’s first light sources.

Melkor’s attacks forever marred the world, filling it with flowing fire and ruining its once-beautiful land. He also seduced some of the Maiar into his service, many of whom became Balrogs like the one Gandalf faces in The Fellowship of the Ring. Melkor’s great Maiar servant, however, was Mairon, who would later become known as Sauron.

Eventually, Melkor sought to send the world into darkness again by destroying Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees of Valinor, which had been created following his destruction of the Two Lamps.

Morgoth’s thirst for power and dominance destroyed countless lives.

Prime Video

Working with a primordial spider known as Ungoliant, Melkor destroyed the Two Trees and killed the Elven king known as Finwë before stealing the Silmarils, three beautiful gems created by Finwë’s son, Fëanor. Upon discovering the murder of his father and the theft of the Silmarils, Fëanor cursed Melkor and gave him a new name: Morgoth.

Morgoth’s rivalry with Fëanor led to much suffering for the Elves throughout the First Age, which was punctuated by some of Morgoth’s most horrible deeds. Throughout the First Age, Morgoth’s presence grew to be so dominant and horrible that a Half-elven mariner named Eärendil decided to sail to Valinor in the hopes of convincing the Valar to provide aid to the Men and Elves of Middle-earth who were being crushed by Morgoth’s might.

The Valar agreed to Eärendil’s request. The Host of the Valar came to Middle-earth to face Morgoth, and the conflict that followed became known as the War of Wrath. The cataclysmic war resulted in an entire region of Middle-earth sinking beneath the sea, but it also ended with Morgoth being captured and cast out of the world, bringing the First Age to a close.

This battle in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power may take place during the War of Wrath.

Prime Video

The Inverse Analysis — The first trailers for The Rings of Power have made it clear that certain characters, especially Morfydd Clark’s Galadriel, will still be grappling with their lingering emotional and physical scars from the War of Wrath. We still don’t know, however, whether Morgoth will actually appear in one of The Rings of Powers flashbacks.

Even if he doesn’t physically show up, Morgoth’s impact on Middle-earth will still be felt when The Rings of Power begins. That makes Morgoth a figure every fan should know about if they want to understand the full context of the events set to unfold throughout the new Amazon series.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Friday, September 2 on Prime Video.

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