War of Wrath
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Following the [[Fall of Gondolin]], the of survivorsprotected by [[Ulmo]] had escaped them was the [[Eärendil ]]
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|War of Wrath|
|Conflict: War of Wrath|
|Date: F.A. 545 - 587|
|Outcome: Decisive victory for the Host of the Valar|
Unknown, "whole power of the Throne of Morgoth"
- "I remember well the splendour of their banners," he said. "It recalled to me the glory of the Elder Days and the hosts of Beleriand, so many great princes and captains were assembled. And yet not so many, nor so fair, as when Thangorodrim was broken, and the Elves deemed that evil was ended for ever, and it was not so."
- ― Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond
The War of Wrath, or the Great Battle, was the final conflict in the Wars of Beleriand fought between the Host of the Valar (or Host of Valinor) and the forces of Morgoth. The devastation caused by the two sides clashing left Beleriand mostly destroyed and at the end most of the land sank beneath the waves.
Due to its brief description in The Silmarillion one could easily deduce that the conflict lasted for a short period of time. However according to The Tale of Years it lasted for more than four decades (F.A. 545 - 587), meaning that the campaign lasted for many years where both sides suffered victories and losses.
After over five centuries since the rising of the sun, Morgoth had become mighty in Middle-earth; he had defeated his enemies in the war and the majority of the Elves and Men of Beleriand were captured in droves, enslaved in the pits of Angband. The few that remained outside his grasp lived around the Mouths of Sirion or elsewhere in the woods and mountains.
Following the Fall of Gondolin, the few survivors protected by Ulmo had escaped the city, among them was Eärendil son of Tuor and Idril and he later married Elwing the daughter of Dior and Nimloth and became the lord of the people living in the mouths of Sirion. With the aid of Círdan the shipwright they built the vessel Vingilótë and Eärendil sailed the sea hoping to find the last shore.
While Eärendil was returning from his voyages the sons of Fëanor attacked the havens when Elwing refused to yield the Silmaril to them and she cast herself to the ocean with the jewel. The Silmaril was not lost as Ulmo bore her up from the sea and she took the form of a great white bird and reunited with Eärendil. Eärendil then sought to look for Valinor once more and wearing the Silmaril on his brow he traversed pass the enchantments of the sea and he came to Valinor, the first with even a drop of mortal blood to set foot there. He was brought before the Powers of Arda and he delivered the 'errand of the Two Kindreds', begging the Valar for pardon for the Noldor and to deliver them from Morgoth.
The Valar were moved by Eärendil's plea and his prayer was granted. Thus the host of the Valar prepared for battle joined by many Maiar, along with the Vanyar and Noldor that were in Valinor, riding in the ships of the Falmari. Still bitter about the First Kinslaying, the Teleri did not participate in the war.
Meanwhile Eärendil and Elwing were given their judgement, as it was decreed by Mandos that no mortal should set foot in Aman and live, yet Eärendil is also of Elf lineage. Thus Manwë forbade punishment for the two trespassing as Eärendil came out of love of the Two Kindreds while Elwing came out of love for him, but they would never return to Middle-earth ever and they were given a choice to choose which kindred their fate shall be judged together. Elwing chose to be counted among the Eldar and Eärendil chose alike, then the Valar took Vingilótë, hallowed it and bore it away to the edge of the world through the Door of Night and Eärendil was at the helm with the Silmaril bound upon his brow.
The massive hosts of Valinor and of Morgoth met in the Beleriand region, which was subsequently destroyed by the colossal exchanges of power from the combatants. The arrayed armies of Morgoth were uncountable, and the mountains rang underneath the boots of the Valar; the entire North was aflame with war. The Host of Valinor initially landed and drove Morgoth's Orcs from the shores of Beleriand, and as they marched forward they were halted at the River Sirion, and for nearly forty years the Host of Valinor and the Host of Morgoth contested that river and the region bitterly, heavy losses to both as the Valarian forces struggled to secure a foothold and passage into Morgoth's lands.
Over the course of these four decades, however, the forces of Valinor eventually pushed over the Sirion and drove Morgoth's forces back; they and their allies ultimately destroyed the Balrogs, all save a few who fled and hid themselves in the depths of the earth, and the armies of the Orcs perished like straw in a great fire or leaves before a hot wind. While the Three Houses of the Edain fought with the forces of Valinor, many other Men fought and died alongside Morgoth, which led to their scorn by the Elves. As the War carried into its final years, Morgoth faced defeat, and unleashed his ultimate weapon, the winged Dragons of Angband, which had never been seen in Middle Earth before. The Host of Valinor was taken by surprise and overcome by the devastation the dragons brought, and were driven back across the region. The greatest of these dragons was Ancalagon the Black, the largest and most powerful dragon in the history of Arda, and the damage his dragon horde inflicted on the Valar was grievous. The skies erupted with lightning and flame at the dragons' arrival, and Morgoth's hosts repulsed the Valarian forces, pushing them away from Angband.
As the situation grew dire for the Valar, Eärendil came with his sky-ship Vingilot, along with great flocks of birds and the Eagles, and they fought the dragons. In the end Eärendil slew Ancalagon, after a fight lasting a full twenty-four hours. Ancalagon broke the towers of Thangorodrim in his fall. With Ancalagon slain, morale was renewed, and the Valarian forces retook the ground that had been lost and ultimately slew the remainder of Morgoth's dragons. With them, the majority of Morgoth's other forces were soon defeated, survivors driven to the depths of the world and to places far underground. Soon Morgoth's power was dispersed entirely, and Angband alone remained his only possession.
Morgoth fled to the deepest dungeons of Angband, where he was caught. By this point, Morgoth's power had weakened considerably, and rather than challenge his foes, he demanded peace and parley, but his feet were hewn from under him and Morgoth fell upon the floor. He was bound with his old chain Angainor; the two Silmarils still in his possession were taken by the Maia Eönwë and guarded (whence they were later stolen by Maedhros and Maglor). In the end the Valar thrust him "through the Door of Night, beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void", where he remains until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom. Only then shall he be utterly destroyed.
Countless slaves were freed from Morgoth's dungeons after his defeat and they looked upon a world that had changed greatly, for the fury of both sides in the War had wreaked havoc on much of the land. The northern areas were torn asunder, rivers formed or destroyed, mountains and hills changed. The wreckage of the war was immense indeed; most of the land west of the Ered Luin, as well as a large part of the central part of the mountains, was laid waste and soon after sank beneath the waves. The two great Dwarf cities of Nogrod and Belegost were also ruined, forcing their populaces to flee. Most of the Elves went to the West, while others went East. The Valar raised up the island of Númenor in the Western Sea as a new home for the Edain. Morgoth's defeat here was not total, however; his chief lieutenant Sauron, survived, and surrendered to the Valar in fear of them. When ordered to return to Valinor, Sauron instead fled and hid deep in Middle-earth, where he would later rise once more in a bid to conquer Arda. The terrible destruction of the War of Wrath convinced the Valar to avoid direct intervention in Middle-earth for the sake of Men and Elves. As a result, Sauron would rise to great power and prove a devastating opponent for the free peoples there for the next two Ages. As with the Siege of Utumno, the Valar were not omniscient, and either lacked the knowledge or strength to pursue every one of Morgoth's creatures. Along with Sauron, some creatures of Morgoth escaped, and would live on in Middle-earth.
Other versions of the legendarium
Portrayal in adaptations
- How was Beleriand destroyed in the War of Wrath? by Michael Martinez - A speculation on how the War destroyed the western lands
- ↑ In the published Silmarillion, Ingwion has disappeared, and only Finarfin is named as a leader of the armies of the Elves. In The Shaping of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien suggests that this omission may have been an error, and Ingwiel should have remained in the text as joint commander of the Elves of Valinor.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: V. The Tale of Years"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
|Wars of Beleriand|
|First Battle · Dagor-nuin-Giliath · Dagor Aglareb · Dagor Bragollach · Nirnaeth Arnoediad · War of Wrath|