Tolkien Gateway

First War

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Next war: War for Sake of the Elves
First War with Melkor
Beginning: VY 1End: VY 1499
Place: All of Arda
Outcome: Victory for the Valar, Formation of Arda
Major battles: Many and various

Valar and Maiar

Melkor and Maiar




The First War was a titanic struggle between the Valar and Melkor at the beginning of Arda for its dominion.[1]



When Ainur came to Arda, before it was fully formed and anything dwelt, Melkor claimed it for himself. Manwë denied this, as it is the labour of the Ainur. Many spirits, including Varda[2], came to Manwe's side from the deeps of Ea.[1]

The War

Numerous undocumented battles began for the dominion of Arda.[1]

While the Valar formed Arda, Melkor undid or marred whatever they made, demolishing mountains they created, raising up their valleys and spilling their seas, ever hindering their plans.[1] Melkor mostly ruined the works of Aulë suffered most, and he grew weary repairing the damage and tumults by Melkor.[2]

Presumably it was during that War that Ossë and Sauron were ensnared by Melkor.[3][4]

Melkor prevailed for ages until news of the War reached far in heaven where other spirits remained. Learning of the War, Tulkas finally descended to Arda in Valian Year 1499. Hearing his mighty laughter, Melkor fled before Tulkas's anger and escaped beyond the Walls of Night.[5]


The result of the War was that Arda was marred. The completion of the world was hindered and its plan was altered. There was peace for a long time and thenceforth Tulkas was counted among the Valar. Tulkas and Aulë labored much to restore Arda and extinguish the fires.[5]

Aulë created the Two Lamps for the illumination of all Arda and the vegetation of Yavanna, who planted her seeds that sprouted. The earth was filled with plants from mosses to large trees in the Spring of Arda.[5]

Melkor forsook Arda and brooded in the outer darkness for some time, and held a hatred of Tulkas forever after.

Of that primordial duel the Elves knew only what the Powers told them of it.[1]

Other versions of the Legendarium

In Tolkien's latest writings where Arda was a round world from its beginning, this period of fire and cataclysm is said to correspond roughly with the earth's primeval epochs before this world became habitable for organic life. During these battles, it is said, the earth was given its elliptic orbit and the Moon broke away from the earth, both of which were caused by Melkor, though another version tells that the Valar wrought the Moon from the earth to counteract the night when Melkor was most active.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Valar"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Maiar"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Enemies"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed"