Morgoth, meaning "Black Enemy," or "Black Foe of the World," as named by Feanor and the other Eldar, whose real name is Melkor, meaning "He who arises in might," is the primary antagonist of The Silmarillion, and the lord and master of, and predecessor to, Sauron, who, in-turn, is the eponymous primary antagonist of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Once the greatest of the Valar, Melkor became the first Dark Lord. This descension was inspired by being jealous of his Creator, Eru Iluvatar's, Secret Fire, the animating essence of all soul and reality. But seeing that the Fire was inaccessible to him, and invisible, he struck out in anger against his Lord's chorus, disrupting the Ainulindale, or Great Music, of the Valar with his selfish ambitions, inspiring fear and corruption amongst his brothers and sisters and seducing many Maia and other Ainu to his side. Eventually, Iluvatar rebuked Melkor for his pride and arrogance, and reminded him that pride was his weakness, and that all of Melkor's ambitions were originally inspired by the Voice of their Creator. Ashamed, Melkor withdrew, but when Iluvatar showed the Valar His new creation: Ea, or, "All that is," Melkor longed to possess it. He gained a foothold on Ea's newly created surface, a world known as Arda, and fell into battle with his brethren, which lasted all through the plane's early history. Eventually, Melkor claimed Kingship over Ea, and declared himself god of the then infinite plane, being rebuked by the Valar who descended soon after. With time, however, he fled to the East, in the land called Middle-Earth, and plotted his vengeance in the pits of Utumno and the mountain fortress of Angband, felling both the Two Great Lamps and Trees of the Valar. However, after many treacheries, the corruption of the Children of Iluvatar on a massive scale, and general discord wrought throughout the realm of Ea, the combined efforts of Elves, humans, Valar, and all the Free Peoples of the world, the Valar captured him and thrust him through the Door of Night bound in a great chain, Angainor.
Amongst the Maiar (Angels) that Melkor corrupted was Sauron, who became the greatest of all the Maia in the footsteps of his Master. Sauron became the most like Melkor in corruption, emulating his Master and serving his will on Arda. Melkor handed some of his powers to Sauron to corrupt and govern the world, but Sauron was not defeated until some 3500 years after Melkor's defeat. Melkor's lies and illusions live on in the souls of humans and Elves, who have inherited the world, and takes shape in men as the fear of death. Death began as a gift to humans from Iluvatar, allowing them to separate from the world and go to astral parts unknown (Possibly Eru's original inhabitance, where the Valar dwelt before coming to Valinor as Ainur), which elves cannot do, as they are bound to it eternally. He warped this gift to be perceived as a curse and an insult, as if immortality had been stolen from Men. Sauron later uses this to his advantage on the Numenorians, which led to Iluvatar's removal of the Undying Lands from the spheres of the universe, shifting the myriad lands of the world into a globe and expanding a vast void around it in all edges, so that Men may might never reach it again.
Powers and Stats
Tier: Unknown | At least 4-A, likely 3-B | 3-A | At least Low 2-C, likely 2-C
Name: Morgoth, Melkor
Origins: Lord of the Rings
Age: As old as the universe itself
Classification: Ainu, Vala (Formerly), Dark Lord
Powers and Abilities: Superhuman Physical Characteristics, Flight, Regeneration (Low-Godly), Immortality (Types 1, 3 and 4), Dark Magic (Energy Manipulation, projection, and Forcefield Creation via Words of Command. Invisibility via control over the Unseen World, an evil place which he was implied to have created, being the source of all wickedness), Shapeshifting (Was revealed to have spent some time with the Atani under the gaze of a stately figure, while later appearing as a Dark Lord in his fight with Fingolfin), Size Alteration (Appeared humanoid while among the Atani, while growing near as massive as tower while fighting Fingolfin), Magma and Elemental Manipulation (Created volcanic explosions), Heat and Ice Manipulation (Created unnatural heat and cold), Curse Manipulation (Cursed Húrin's children to doom and despair), Earth Manipulation (Kept the earth unformed for many years as Melkor), Fear and Darkness Manipulation (The Balrogs are implied to derive much of their power from him), possibly Time Manipulation and stop (Bragged that he was the master of the fates of Arda. Posses all the powers of all Ainur, including Vairë), Weather Manipulation (Can create clouds of ash), Air Manipulation (The brother of Manwë. Posses the powers of all other Ainur), Empathic Manipulation (The lords of the Ainur could create joy and, by extension, sorrow), Invulnerability (The Ainur are immune from harm via conventional weaponry, as seen when, upon unlocking more of his divine power, Gandalf became invulnerable) Illusion Creation, Transmutation, Precognition, Fire Manipulation, Telekinesis, Poison Manipulation, Life Manipulation (Created the Orcs as Melkor) Death Manipulation (Kept Húrin alive throughout all his years of imprisonment), Mind Manipulation (Bound Húrin to his chair with a thought), Resistance to Death and Fire Manipulation (The Balrogs are implied to derive much of their power from him. In Lord of the Rings the land of the dead is a real tangible place, Mandos, and can be affected and exited. Ainur don't go there upon death, rather becoming spirits until the regenerate. The only way to keep them there is if they are physically brought there and held by physical might), can sap the power from Ulmo's waters, possess the powers of all other Ainur and presumably everyone else in all Arda/Eä, Intangibility and Non-Corporeality (At the very least in spirit form) | All previous powers amplified to a higher degree | All the powers of the Ainur amplified to a much higher level, though he might have lost his dark magic | Intangibility and Non-Corporeality, Reality Warping, Conceptual Manipulation (Altered the Ainulindalë which made every concept and universe in Arda)
Attack Potency: Unknown (Morgoth lost much of original power, yet still held some strength. He could drive off even Maiar with his firestorms, and was still above the likes of Ancalagon) | At least Multi-Solar System level, likely Multi-Galaxy level (He was initially the strongest of the Valar by a significant amount, and was able to cause the other Valar to flee Middle-earth by breaking the Two Lamps. In this state, he could contend with the entire host of other Valar simultaneously) | Universe level (Outmatched the collective power of the Ainur, who combined were even stronger than the Valar. The Valar collectively "had a command, great individually, almost complete as a united council, over the physical matter of Eä.") | At least Universe level+, likely Low Multiverse level (Significantly stronger than all 14 other Valar combined, he is the second strongest being in all of existence. Created multiple concepts, including discord, with his thoughts, and was able to singlehandedly change the Theme that brought the universe into being, as well as permanently damage and affect the other Themes which Eru Ilúvatar had shaped)
Speed: Unknown. Massively FTL+ combat speed and reactions (Still superior to Ancalagon the Black, who could fight Eärendil in Vingilot. Vingilot can go through into the cold void of space and return in lass than a day) | Unknown. Massively FTL+ combat speed and reactions | Unknown. Massively FTL+ combat speed and reactions | Immeasurable (Existed in the Timeless Halls, a place that transcended linear time and is best likened to a higher temporal dimension)
Striking Strength: Unknown | At least Multi-Solar System Class, likely Multi-Galactic | Universal | At least Universal+, likely Low Multiversal
Durability: Unknown | At least Multi-Solar System level, likely Multi-Galaxy level | Universe level | At least Universe level+, likely Low Multiverse level (Existed beyond the basic universe, and endured the perversion of two of Eru Ilúvatar's Themes)
Stamina: Unknown. Likely high | Extremely high | Effectively limitless | Limitless
Range: Extended melee range. Unknown with magic | Extended melee range. Universal with magic (Far above Varda) | Extended melee range. Universal with magic | At least Universal+, likely Low Multiversal
Standard Equipment: Being the Dark Lord, Morgoth is famous for his black armor and weapons. He also possesses an Iron Crown which contains the Silmarils.
Black spear: Morgoth wields a massive black spear. This weapon appears to be incredibly sharp, perhaps even poisonous, as it was able to pierce the Two Trees and drain their light.
Black armor: Morgoth wields a massive, indomitable suit of armor. This suit is huge and black, the size of a "tower." It does, however, have its limits, as Fingolfin was able to breach.
- Black shield: Morgoth also wields a black,"unblazoned," shield. He used this to bash Fingolfin to the ground three times.
Grond: He also possessed a legendary warhammer known as Grond, which, upon each strike brought down lightning bolts and created a crater in the earth. He used this weapon in single combat against Fingolfin, High King of the Ñoldor, who, although passing away, managed to greatly injure the Dark Lord. "Grond" means "Hammer of the Underworld." Given that "Underworld" was another name for Utumno, this was likely forged there, perhaps by one of the Maiar of Aulë under Morgoth's control (Maybe even Sauron), as the latter later carried within his ranks a massive battering ram under the same name, as well as using a mace which resembled his master's weapon.
The Silmarils: The Silmarils are the three great gems of Fëanor. They were awe-inspiring in their beauty yet wielding a terrible power. They likely fed Morgoth's power, as they did Carcharoth's, yet because of their hollowed nature, they caused him great pain. They burned his hands and bowed the Iron Crown within which they were held.
- Cosmic power: The Silmarils together held the full power of the Two Trees. The fruit of Laurelin, the golden tree, each held as much power as the Sun, if not more, as the one that made the Sun was from a weakened and dying Laurelin. Teleperion, the silver tree, produced the light needed to make every star in the universe. The power of the Silmarils seemed to feed whoever wielded them, but also cause them great pain if they are wicked (See Carcharoth).
- Holy aura: The Silmarils were hollowed by Varda and thus possessed a holy power. This power could be used in many ways. For example, it amplified that beauty of Lúthien. Sadly, Beren and Lúthien's bodies were consumed by its power, and they died.
- Illusion banishment: The energy of the Silmarils can be focused into a blast of power, undoing illusions, such as the Griddle of Melian (See Carcharoth). This power was so immense that it could break a barrier not even Ungoliant could.
- Protection: The Silmarils are holy objects that protect their wearer from evil. Unfortunately, as Melkor is a creature of darkness, this power only causes him harm.
Intelligence: Extremely high (Morgoth was extremely treacherous and conniving. He often manipulated his foes, turning them against each other. Each of the Ainur control their aspect of reality and bring some knowledge of it when they enter Eä, giving them powers of foresight and hindsight. Their knowledge is not limited to that of the future, and includes the past, and of secrets within the Earth. However, there are still some things the Ainur do not know, such as the nature of the Nameless Things, monsters that "gnaw at the world." In addition, knowledge outside their domain is hidden from them. Morgoth, unlike the other Ainur, has a share in all concepts. Also, despite all his knowledge, he is not wise, and does not understand pity or compassion. It was this ignorance that led to his downfall. | Possibly Nigh-Omniscient (The Ainur created the universe and its concepts, with each of them knowing everything related to their respective concept, except for that which Eru himself withheld. Melkor himself had a share in all concepts, and thus likely knew something about them all. Corrupted the vision of creation)
Weaknesses: Has a limited amount of power that goes down the more he uses it. Extremely cowardly, and has a tendency to grossly underestimate his foes | None notable
- Created a massive tempest of fire. This flame was so massive and powerful that it drove back Eönwë.
- Caused volcanic eruptions several times, including once when he killed many hundreds if not thousands of Elven warriors.
- Summoned dark spirits to defeat Tilion. Though they were defeated, it was a very close fight.
- His foot was as heavy as a small hill.
- Blocked out the Sun, perhaps even in direct opposition to Arien
- Terrified the entire race of Man.
- Rent massive pits in the ground.
- Was so massive his blood filled those pits.
- Bashed Fingolfin to the ground three times.
- Raised mountain ranges.
- Cursed Húrin so that he may never leave his chair, and had to watch the misfortune of his house.
- Cursed the house of Húrin to misfortune and death.
- Granted Sauron enough power to surpass Eönwë.
- All of Arda is Morgoth's ring.
- His scream of pain was so loud that it could be heard in Angband all the way from Lammoth, and shattered rocks.
- He was still the strongest Vala, including Varda, who created the stars, and Ulmo, who controlled all of space.
- Maintained the upper hand over all the Valar combined, as well as most of the Maiar.
- Spilled oceans.
- Raised valleys.
- Destroyed mountain ranges.
- Cast down the Two Lamps, each of which were taller than Taniquetil (A mountain so high you can see the entire world from it).
- The destruction of the Two Lamps ravaged the entire world, yet Melkor was unharmed even by the tremendous chaos.
- Appeared as "...a mountain that wades in the sea, and has its head above the clouds, and is clad with ice and crowned with smoke and fire, and the light of the eyes of Melkor was like a flame that whithers with heat and pierces with a deadly cold."
- Destroyed the Sun and Moon during Dagor Dagoroth.
- At his strongest even Tulkas could not best him (As seen in Dagor Dagoroth), and required he presumably be weakened before he could.
- Existed in a realm without Discord, and was able to comprehend it.
- Created the concept of Discord in the Anulindalë.
- Existed beyond linear time and the physical universe.
- The greatest and "oldest" of the Ainur.
- Was able to match the collective power of all the Ainur.
- Corrupted the First Theme of the Anulinadalë in what amounts to universal destruction.
- His music was so loud many gave up their own during the Anulindalë.
- Corrupted the Second Theme of the Anulinadalë, which was stronger than the First, in what likely amounts to universal destruction.
- Was able to match the collective power of the Ainur that was bound in the Third Theme of the Anulindalë.
- Stood in the midst of the war of music that enveloped the Timeless Halls and was unharmed, even during the Third Theme.
- Was unharmed by the ending of the Third Theme of the Anulindalë, an action performed by Eru Ilúvatar himself.
Notable Attacks/Techniques: As the greatest of the Ainur, Morgoth possesses a large variety of powers. He can also wield dark magic and corrupt the world around him.
Shield bash: Morgoth can use his shield to bash his opponents to the ground. He used this strategy to attain victory in his fight with Fingolfin, hurling him to the ground three times.
Greatest of the Ainur: As the first and greatest of the Ainur Morgoth is far above his brethren. He posses a share in all their power, thus having all of their powers to a lesser degree. He is thereby a sort of jack-of-all-trades. This may be one of the reasons for his great control over life and death.
- Healing (Power of Estë): Estë was the Vala charged with tending to the hurt an weary, and as such it is very likely that her magic is connected to healing and tending. Further supporting this is how she and her servants could preserve a corpse's appearance indefinitely.
- Telepathy (Power of the Istari): The Istari can keep in telepathic contact with allies, gain information from the minds of others, detect and resist mental compulsion (Such as that used by Sauron, or Saruman's corruption of Théoden), and even dominate the minds of others. They can also intimidate others, causing themselves to appear gigantic and threatening to others.
Corruption: Morgoth can corrupt anything, slowly twisting it into something dark and profane. Certain elements seem harder to drain the power from. Water is almost invulnerable to his corruption, whereas gold can be twisted to darkness very easily. This is likely the reason for the One Ring being made of gold. This grew so severe that it is said all of Arda is Morgoth's ring.
- Power absorption: Morgoth can "sap" the power out of anything, consuming it and turning it into something dark. He seems to be able to absorb the energy of light (And should possess the powers of Ungoliant), though it causes him great pain (See the Silmarils).
Creation: Morgoth can create new things within Arda. However, he cannot grant them souls, instead only twisting the creations of others. However, he can create souless things, such as Dragons or dark spirits (See below).
Dark Lord: Morgoth is a massive and terrifying Dark Lord. As such he has several powers related to darkness and evil. He uses these powers during the War of the Great Jewels to help defeat the Elves and Edain. His mere presence is terrifying and awe-inspiring.
- Volcanoes: Morgoth can force volcanoes to erupt, creating massive waves of lava and fire. He used this power to attain victory in the infamous Dagor Bragollach. In that famous battle, he caused Thangorodrim to belch forth fire and smoke, killing many Elves and Edain.
- Storms: Morgoth can create massive storms of ash and smoke to shroud the presence of his armies and sow confusion among his enemies. His servant, Sauron, later used this ability to hide the Sun and ease the passing of his armies
- Shadow: Morgoth can create shrouds of darkness, similar to his storms, to hide the presence of his armies and intimidate his enemies. He used this to create a layer of darkness over the home of the Atani (Men) in an effort to convince them to serve him.
- Terrible aura: As Dark Lord, Morgoth is surrounded by an aura of fear and dread. The existence of this aura is unsurprising given his nature as a mountainous giant, clad in black armor. He is also surrounded by an aura of unnatural terror, like that of the Balrogs.
- Godlike strength: Morgoth has incredible strength and endurance, having survived blows from Fingolfin and rent massive pits in the ground. He was so enormous that his blood could fill even these pits and was described as smoking.
True form: As one of the Ainur, Morgoth posses a vastly more powerful true form. In this true form, he posses far stronger abilities, transcending linear time and having the power to warp concepts and physical laws.
- Ainulindalë: To unleash his conceptual power, Morgoth (Known as Melkor at the time) most take part in the Ainulindalë, the song that brought the world into being. Here his voice allows him to change the rules of reality, creating and destroying physical laws and pocket universes.
Clairvoyance: Morgoth was implied to have clairvoyant abilities, as, when Húrin saw all that Morgoth saw, he could see all the misfortune that befell his children, caused by the curse of Morgoth. It was likely that Morgoth could see most of Arda, and knew much of its happenings, given that within it was bound most of his might.
Dark magic: Morgoth is a sorcerer and practitioner of dark magic, likely having invented it along with Sauron. He almost certainly possess the powers of Sauron, and is confirmed to wield magic such as the creation and control of dark spirits (See below).
- Words of Command: The Words of Command are powerful spells, much more dangerous than normal ones. The first recorded use of a Word of Command was when Gandalf used it to close a door, with the Durin's Bane using his magical knowledge to try and open it, leading to its destruction. Words of Command may have a relation to the Anulindalë, where the entire world was formed by words strung together in song, with the Words of Command possibly being extensions or continuations of the music. If so, this may be the only way to change the original music except for by the actions of man, making it one of the most potent forms of magic in Lord of the Rings. The spells Gandalf referred to may be Words of Command, with men not needing any do to being able to work outside the music without needing Words of Command, which might work as a sort of cheat code.
- Necromancy: Necromancy in Lord of the Rings is very vaguely defined. All that is known of it is that it is practiced by Sauron (Hence his title the Necromancer) and likely by Morgoth. However, given the existence of undead in LOTR, necromancy probably still has the classic definition of resurrecting the dead and using death-related magic.
- Dark spirits: Morgoth posses the power to create dark spirits, such as the ones he summoned against Tilion. There have also been cases of sorcerers like Morgoth creating and controlling barrow wights; terrifying spirits that haunt the barrow downs. In all likelihood, this is an application of necromancy.
- Spellcraft: Spellcraft is not an official term, yet rather the best term to capture the art of creating spells via potions and metals. Examples of spellcraft include the plantiri, magical stones crafted in Valinor; Durin's door, an ithildin door crafted by Celebrimbor; the Rings of Power, magic rings that grant invisibility to those who use them, which where crafted by the Elves of Eregion and the Silmarils, magic jewels crafted by Fëanor. Spellcraft can be used to manipulate objects and give them special properties, making them far more potent in combat. Most Elven swords appear to have magical qualities. Spellcraft usually revolves around using and/or creating magical substances runes and other, more obscure forms of magic. Being one of the Ainur, and a sorcerer himself, this should not be beyond the reach of Morgoth's magic.
- Catoptromancy: Catoptromancy, or mirror magic, is the practice of enchanting an object so that it can be used to give the user clairvoyance or precognition. This was used by Galadriel to enchant her mirror, allowing her to see the past, present, and future, presumably via spellcraft. Being a skilled sorcerer Morgoth should be more than capable using this power.
- Control over the Unseen World: The Unseen World, also known as the wraith-world, is a parallel universe in which wraiths and spirits reside. To enter the wraith-world requires one to bring apportion of their essence into it, such as via the use of Rings of Power. Those who enter the wraith-world become invisible, and it is possible that if they brought the entirety of their essence into it, they would become completely intangible. Morgoth almost certainly has great control over it, perhaps even creating it.
Cursing: Morgoth can curse his enemies to doom and despair, such as when he cursed the house of Húrin to despair and darkness. However, eventually, this backfired on him, leading to his death at the hands of Húrin's son, Túrin. However, whether Túrin was given the power to kill Morgoth by the curse, or for some other reason, was never confirmed.
Powers of the Ainur: As the strongest Valar, Melkor has access to wide variety of potent and devastating supernatural abilities, for the Ainur (The Valar specifically) were created as elemental spirits, and each has divine authority and absolute control over a certain aspect of nature. Each and every one of the Ainur is also able to manipulate magical energies and reality to serve their needs, and take any form they wish, even intangible and non-corporeal spiritual forms. Given he is a Vala (And the strongest of them no less), above any of the Maiar, there is no doubt he can use all of the basic Ainur powers.
- Shapeshifting: Morgoth can change his form to appear both pleasing and terrifying. During his fight with Fingolfin, he appeared as a terrible Dark Lord, while he appeared pleasing when he met with the first Men.
- Elemental manipulation: As one of the Ainur, beings who are foremost elemental spirits, Morgoth has great control over said elements. Each of the Maiar have varying control over a sub-element, whereas the Valar have full control over a true element. Melkor, however, has a share in the power of all Valar.
- Life and death manipulation: It seems that Morgoth has great control over life and death; far greater than all other Valar. Examples of this can be seen when he cursed Húrin to never die, and twisted the Elves to give life to the Orcs. This may be connected to his nature as the first and greatest of the Ainur (See above).
- Empathy: The Ainur are surrounded by an a powerful aura, which can affect those around them, bringing joy and presumably sorrow to those near him: "In Beleriand King Thingol upon his throne was as the lords of the Maiar, whose power is at rest, whose joy is as an air that they breathe in all their days, whose thought flows in a tide untroubled from the heights to the deeps."
- Foresight/Hindsight: As one of the Ainur, Morgoth can see the past and future. Given his nature as leader of the dark powers and his part in the War of the Great Jewels, this ability should be very useful for him.
- Spirit form: As one of the Valar, it was highly likely that Melkor had the typical Ainur ability to cast off his physical form like a snake shedding its skin, and take on an intangible and non-corporeal spiritual form. In this spiritual state, the Ainur can travel forward and backward in time (Though they are unable to affect the future or the past, only see it). Though, it is possible that Melkor lost this ability after becoming Morgoth. Of the Ainur's spirit forms and precognitive powers this was said:
|“||They could move backward or forward in thought, and return again so swiftly that to those who were in their presence they did not appear to have moved.||„|
Key: Severely weakened | Weakened | Full power | True form