War of Wrath
|Brief Description |
The War of Wrath is held in the Northwest Beleriandin in the last years of the FirstAge when the host of the Valar and the Elves of Aman come to Middle-earth and fight against Morgoth.
|Synopsis of the course of the war |
as per Chapter 24 of the published Silmarillion)
When Vingilot, the white ship of Eärendil has been released into the seas of heaven, shining with the Silmaril recovered from Morgoth by Beren and Luthien, “the people of Middle-earth beheld it from afar and wondered, and they took it for a sign, and called it Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope.”
Melkor, being the unchallenged ruler in Middle-earth, is dismayed at the new bright star in the skies, but he had never thought what it would bring to his kingdom, “for so great was his pride become that he deemed that none would ever again come with open war against him. Moreover he thought that he had for ever estranged the Noldor from the Lords of the West, and that content in their blissful realm the Valar would heed no more his kingdom in the world without”.
The Host of the Valar reach the lands of Middle-earth and the “trumpets of Eönwë filled the sky”.
- “The host of the Valar prepared for battle; and beneath their white banners marched the Vanyar, the people of Ingwë, and those also of the Noldor who never departed from Valinor, whose leader was Finarfin the son of Finwë. Few of the Teleriwere willing to go forth to war, for they remembered the slaying at the Swan-haven, and the rape of their ships; but they ... sent mariners enough to sail the ships that bore the host of Valinor east over the sea. Yet they stayed aboard their vessels, and none of them set foot upon the Hither Lands”.
The meeting of the hosts of the West and of the North is named the GreatBattle, and the War of Wrath.
The whole North Middle-earth bursts in the flames of the war.
- "There was marshalled the whole power of the Throne of Morgoth, and it had become great beyond count”
There are no many detailed accounts of the GreatBattle. It is however known that Melkor’s armies are completely destroyed for the power of the West was not to be overwhelmed. The Balrogs and the Orcs and all other countless creatures and men from the east - allies of the Great Dark Lord are killed or dispersed. Some of them flee from the battlefields and hide in dark places or deep under the mountains. The Easterling run back to the far East.
In that great battle the few men from the houses of the Edain, left in Middle-earth, fight on the side of the host of the West, “and they were avenged in those days for Baragund and Barahir, Galdor and Gundor, Huor and Húrin, and many others of their lords”.
The defeat of Morgoth’s armies is complete. Recognizing his position Melkor hides in Angband, but throws into the battle his last weapon – dreadful winged dragons of fire “and so sudden and ruinous was the onset of that dreadful fleet that the host of the Valar was driven back, for the coming of the dragons was with great thunder, and lightning, and a tempest of fire".
Then comes on Vingilot the heavenly Eärendil “shining with white flame, and about Vingilot were gathered all the great birds of heaven and Thorondor was their captain, and there was battle in the air all the day and through a dark night of doubt. Before the rising of the sun Eärendil slew Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of the dragon-host, and cast him from the sky; and he fell upon the towers of Thangorodrim, and they were broken in his ruin.”
This new victory is decisive for the final outcome of the battle. The Hosts of the West are thrown into a final assault and they reach and destroy all dragons and go into the deeps of the earth “and all the pits of Morgoth were broken and unroofed”.
Morgoth hides into the deepest mines of his fortress, but he is found and he pleads for mercy, “but his feet were hewn from under him, and he was hurled upon his face. Then he was bound with the chain Angainor which he had worn aforetime, and his iron crown they beat into a collar for his neck, and his head was bowed upon his knees. And the two Silmarils which remained to Morgoth were taken from his crown, and they shone unsullied beneath the sky; and Eönwë took them, and guarded them.”
Thus ends the War of Wrath.
So ends the reign of Evil in the North. Numerous slaves are released free from the dungeons and pits of the ruined Angband.
The war has been however devastating. Beleriand is completely changed.
After the battles are over, the Host of the West is summoned and Eönwë as herald of the Elder King in Aman, offers to all the Elves, remaining in Middle-earth to return to the Blessed Realm. Many consent.
- “For so great was the fury of those adversaries that the northern regions of the western world were rent asunder, and the sea roared in through many chasms, and there was confusion and great noise; and rivers perished or found new paths, and the valleys were upheaved and the hills trod down; and Sirion was no more".
The two remaining sons of Fëanor, and others from the Noldor in exile however refuse. Maedhros and Maglor, though having fought against Morgoth in the GreatBattle, now are blinded again by the oath they had long ago taken before their father and they attempt to recover the Silmarils in a desperate assault upon the camp of Eönwë. They still claim their right over the Silmarils.
Maedhros and Maglor steal the jewels but are captured. It is Eönwë who forbids the slaying of those two and lets them go away unfought and having each one of the stones. He has however warned them that their right over the jewels has become void.
The sons of Fëanor soon discover the truth of the words of Eönwë. The Silmarils burn them heavily and in great pain and feeling disgraced "Maedhros casts himself into a gaping chasm filled with fire, and so ended; and the Silmaril that he bore was taken into the bosom of the Earth.”
“And it is told of Maglor that he could not endure the pain with which the Silmaril tormented him; and he cast it at last into the Sea, and thereafter he wandered ever upon the shores, singing in pain and regret beside the waves”.
Thus, the three Simarils find their rightful home – one in the skies with Earendil, the second – in the depths of the earth and the third – in the great Sea.
Thus the War of the Jewels is finally ended.
Morgoth is defeated and chained. His stronghold – Anband ruined. The Simarils – gone and whole Beleriand changed, elven kingdoms of ancient times – destroyed and vanished under the waters of the Sea.