This week, my villain of choice was the Dark Lord before there was a Dark Lord (wasn’t that just hipster of him?).
Man esselya ná?
Originally known as Melkor of the Ainur (which is Quenyan for ‘He who arises in Might), he is more commonly known as Morgoth or Morgoth Bauglir. He has been known by many names such as:
- the Foe of the Valar
- the (Great) Enemy
- the Dark King
- the Dark Lord (sometimes called ‘the Lord of the Dark’)
- the Dark Power of the North
- the Evil of the North
- the Black Hand
- the Master of Lies
- the Hunter and the Rider
- Dark Enemy of the World
- Black Foe of the World
His faithful servant, Sauron (yes, that Sauron) referred to him as:
- the Lord of the Darkness
- the Lord of All
- the Giver of Freedom
Morgoth referred to himself as “the King of the World.” Me thinks he had a bit of an ego trip.
Ma istanyel? Or, Morgoth in 10 words or less:
Evil. Insatiable lust for power. Megalomaniac. Dark Lord.
Man carnel? (a brief bio):
In the beginning of Tolkien’s mythology of Middle-earth, there is a Creator, Eru, who makes the Ainur, ancient and powerful beings that look after Eru’s creation. Melkor was the mightiest of these beings but his jealousy led him to turn against the other Ainur and attempted to claim the world for himself (sound familiar?). He was defeated, but after nursing a grudge for an age or two, returned to destroy the Two Lamps–the primary light sources for the Ainur. This time, when the rest of the Ainur got their hands on him, they changed him up in the Void for three ages, after which he was released for good behavior (what part of ‘Dark Lord’ means that he can be put on probation?).
This time, he went after the Two Trees and the Silmarils, the most beautiful light sources in all of Arda. With the help of Shelob’s great-grandmommy, Ungoliant, he destroyed the Trees and took the Silmarils. He was henceforth known as “Morgoth.” Throughout his reign as the Dark Lord, he managed to:
- Corrupt mankind
- Convince the Numenoreans (Aragorn’s ancestors) to worship him
- Take hostage Lúthien Tinúviel (Arwen’s great-great grandmother)
- Kill Fingolfin, the High King of the Noldor
Eventually, he was captured and cast out into the Void. Gone? Yes. Forgotten? Well, Sauron still existed, didn’t he?
Thus [Fingolfin] came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.
That was the last time in those wars that he passed the doors of his stronghold, and it is said that he took not the challenge willingly; for though this might was greatest of all things in this world, alone of the Valar he knew fear. But he could not now deny the challenge before the face of his captains; for the rocks rang with the shrill music of Fingolfin’s horn, and his voice came keen and clear down into the depths of Angband; and Fingolfin named Morgoth craven, and lord of slaves. -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
How ballsy is it for one elf to call out the ‘greatest of all things in this world’ for one-on-one combat? This scene gives me chills every time I read it. In other words, Fingolfin basically knocked on the Dark Lord of Everything’s front door and said:
Pure Evil or Misunderstood?
There exists nothing in Tolkien’s world that is more evil than Morgoth. “The North was the seat of the fortresses of the Devil,” Tolkien wrote in a 1967 letter. Morgoth’s fortress of Angband was located in the North. Morgoth = the Devil, and the daddy of that little Dark Lord that Frodo Baggins faces in The Lord of the Rings.
May we all be as brave as Fingolfin and tell the Dark Lord to “Eca, a mitta lambetya cendelessë orcova.”