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Of the Darkening of Valinor

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"We have a long way to go, and there is time ahead for thought." — Treebeard
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The Silmarillion chapters
  1. Ainulindalë
  2. Valaquenta
  3. Quenta Silmarillion
    1. Of the Beginning of Days
    2. Of Aulë and Yavanna
    3. Of the Coming of the Elves
    4. Of Thingol and Melian
    5. Of Eldamar
    6. Of Fëanor
    7. Of the Silmarils
    8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
    9. Of the Flight of the Noldor
    10. Of the Sindar
    11. Of the Sun and Moon
    12. Of Men
    13. Of the Return of the Noldor
    14. Of Beleriand and its Realms
    15. Of the Noldor in Beleriand
    16. Of Maeglin
    17. Of the Coming of Men
    18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand
    19. Of Beren and Lúthien
    20. Of the Fifth Battle
    21. Of Túrin Turambar
    22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
    23. Of the Fall of Gondolin
    24. Of the Voyage of Eärendil
  4. Akallabêth
  5. Of the Rings of Power

Of the Darkening of Valinor is the eighth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion.


The Valar strengthen the watch on the northern borders of Aman after Melkor flees, thinking he will go back to his old domain in the north of Middle-earth where the ruins of Utunmo lay. However, in truth he flees to the south of Valinor, where the region of Avathar lies. In this dark region he seeks his former minion, Ungoliant. A creature in the shape of a massive spider, Ungoliant both hates and desires the light of Aman, and so made her dwelling in Avathar. Melkor persuades her into helping him take revenge against the Valar. He promises her whatever she wants in exchange for her help, but does not intend to fulfill this bargain.

Ungoliant spins her dark webs, creating a way for Melkor to climb to the top of the mountains on the southern border of Valinor. There, they both see the light of the Two Trees. Using the darkness of Ungoliant, they make their way across the plains towards the trees.

In Valinor, a festival for the gathering of first fruits and offering to Eru is being held. The guard of Valinor is relaxed compared to all other times. The Valar are there, along with the Vanyar and the Noldor who remain in Tirion. However, of the Noldor who follow Fëanor, none of them are present except for Fëanor himself, and he is present only at the command of Manwë. Hoping to heal the feud between Fëanor and Fingolfin, Manwë attempts to have them reconcile. Fingolfin releases his brother from exile, but Fëanor only half-heartedly returns the sentiment.

At this moment, Melkor strikes. He attacks both Trees with his spear, breaking their bark and causing them to bleed sap. Ungoliant then drinks the sap of the Trees and poisons them, withering the Trees and destroying their light. She then drinks the light in the wells of Varda dry, becoming swollen and massive.

A darkness falls upon Valinor, with only Taniquetil being visible. All of Valinor is silenced. Manwë and Varda are the only ones able to see the darkness of Melkor and Ungoliant, who are running away from the Trees. Tulkas, Oromē, and others attempt to chase Melkor, but lose their way in the darkness, which seems to be all encompassing. Valinor is darkened, the trees and their light destroyed.

Ungoliant and the Two Trees by Ted Nasmith

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