Who Is Morgoth: The Lord Of The Rings Villain Explained

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" premiere is here, and you might have questions! Today we're going to dive into a character that is integral to where we find ourselves — the Second Age of Middle-earth. (Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit" trilogy are set in the Third Age, thousands of years after.) That character is Morgoth (meaning "black foe of the world"), originally known as Melkor ("he who arises in might"), the main villain of author J.R.R. Tolkien's work "The Silmarillion." And at the beginning of "The Rings of Power," the character gets name-dropped a lot. 

Though he is defeated by the time the main action of the Prime Video series begins, his evil actions irrevocably changed Middle-earth and gave rise to Sauron. Yes, the guy with the eye from "The Lord of the Rings" was mentored by and served Morgoth. Sauron is the one who, as his alter-ego Annatar, befriended the Elven smith Celebrimbor (who we will see in this series) and helped him create the rings of power. Then he forged the One Ring to rule them all. You know what happens next.

"The Rings of Power" will explore the creation of these rings. Though this takes place long after Morgoth was gone from Arda, his servant Sauron's influence will change the world. In fact, Sauron's alter-ego Annatar could be the person who comes out of the fiery meteor crash we've seen in several trailers.

Who is Melkor, aka Morgoth

There is a whole lot of history from Tolkien's supplemental works like "The Silmarillion," so I'm going to try to make this as simple as possible. Melkor was a powerful member of the Ainur, also known as the Holy Ones. They were the first immortal beings created by the world's supreme being, Eru.

Long before Elves, Dwarves, or humans walked the land, Melkor wanted to rule. He resented the fact that his brother was granted the position instead. He rebelled and became known as the Dark Lord of the First Age through his many evil acts. 

Melkor tried to corrupt the world, stealing the Silmarils; the gems made from the essence of the Two Trees of Valinor. That theft killed the trees, which were the source of light for the world before there was ever a sunrise. (It's mentioned in one of the trailers, with a visual of those trees, which you can see above.) Their final flowers created the sun and the moon. For his actions, Melkor received the name of Morgoth.  

When he discovered the newly-created Elves, he captured some of them and tortured them to create the first Orcs. He created the Balrogs (which you'll remember from the "LOTR" trilogy), and possibly (depending on which story you read) created the dragons as well. 

All of this, combined with his other evil acts, led to a major war. Morgoth was eventually captured and banished from the world into an endless Void. His pupil Sauron, however, remained free, though hidden.

Why Morgoth might be important in the story

Morgoth was the evilest creature in the history of this world, and his influence leads directly to what happens with Sauron and the rings of power. His past acts and his still-living pupil greatly affect the time period we'll visit in the series. 

The most recent trailer showed us a flashback of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) mourning over the body of her brother, who was killed in the war against Morgoth. His loss is one of the things that drives her decision to keep fighting after the war is over, which she's scolded for by others in the trailers. We'll see the Morgoth-created Orcs in this series as well, with the latest trailer showing them gathering.

We also got a glimpse of some mysterious pale figures in white robes, which could be members of an order dedicated to Morgoth. We know from Tolkien's writings that Sauron corrupted many in the island kingdom of Númenor — including its king — into the worship of the Dark Lord, leading to Númenor's fall.

That fall happens in the Second Age, and we've seen the kingdom in the trailers. Sauron influencing the fall could be a plot point in the series, directly stemming from Morgoth's influence. And if you want to learn even more about all of this, keep in mind there is a novel coming out entitled "The Fall of Númenor," edited by Tolkien expert Brian Sibley with a collection of Tolkien's writings on the Second Age. It won't be released until November of 2022, but if you're interested in Morgoth, this might be something you'd like to read. 

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.