The Truth About Morgoth

Do I know what this post is really supposed to be about? I meannnnnn, not really? If we’re being honest? It’s going to be a hot mess, so you’ve been warned. But I’ve talked about Morgoth a lot on the blog–my Silmarillion review is practically ancient at this point, and it really needs updating, but it was where I first fell in love with him; plus, there’s the Is the Silmarillion Worth It? discussion AND an entire post dedicated to the beauty & gay that is Morgoth & Sauron. And I feel like it’s finally time to actually break it down.

Art by Phobs

First off, not that anyone who’s been weirdly paying attention to me–why would you do that to yourself, I am psycho when it comes to Tolkien–actually needs a primer, but let’s talk about who Morgoth actually is.

Way back when, in the earliest days of Middle-earth, when the world was referred to as Arda, there was Ilúvatar, who is basically God, and he wanted a bunch of kids, so he had the Valar, which are basically archangels.  Ilúvatar was kind of a dick, though, so when he sang the song of creation, he allowed one of his kids, Melkor, who is basically Lucifer, to let out all of his rage and feelings of inadequacy and not belonging so that, when Arda was being fully realized, it was pretty much a shit show.  Instead of, you know, talking to his depressed kid, Ilúvatar was just like, “Get it all out now so I can blame everything on you later.”

Okay, now you know who Morgoth is!  He had a name change at some point–you know, in the middle of destroying the lamps, tearing down the trees, stealing the Silmarils, beginning a massive war–that translates to be the Black Foe of the World.  At some point, too, Morgoth decided to peace out from Valinor and strike out on his own, so when we come to the point where I really get excited is when he’s in Angband, which is pretty much pre-Mordor, but waaaaaaay worse.  Even Morgoth is pre-Sauron, but at an insanely higher level of evil.  Everything you see in LOTR is just child’s play compared to Morgoth’s reign in The Silmarillion.

Fingolfin vs Morgoth
Art by Guillem H. Pongiluppi

What I wouldn’t have given to see Angband in its prime.  To just look up and up and up at the staggering height of Thangorodrim, to stare in horrified awe at the wastelands leading up to Angband’s gate, where Fingolfin rode across to engage in single combat with Morgoth, to just weep with joy at the sheer size of Ancalagon the Black.  And yes, I know that Morgoth is a villain and that Angband is a land of shadow and evil, but let’s just sidestep from that.  People can like villains for no other reason than they’re damn good villains.  I know that he did horrible things, and I don’t condone anything he’s done, but that doesn’t change my liking him as a villain.

And, really, my love of Morgoth probably stems from my sympathy with the devil. Morgoth & Lucifer do have a lot in common, which isn’t surprising in the slightest. Morgoth definitely does way worse things than Lucifer, but he’s also very calculated and conniving about it. He’s got a hell of a lot of cunning, and he’s willing to do anything it takes to get what he wants–which is pretty much everything–so he’s also got a lot of trickster in him. And it shouldn’t be, that I love Morgoth, because he does things like kidnap my other fave, Maedhros, hang him from Thangorodrim, and just watch on in glee as Fingon has to cut off Maedhros’ hand to free him.

He’s the worst of the worst, and yet? Here I am, literally shouting for joy over the fact that the Book of Lost Tales featured him so heavily. I am so done for more Morgoth history, for getting to understand why exactly he does the things he does. And that, really, is the root of all of it. Not that his upbringing is an excuse for the terrible atrocities he commits later in life, but he’s pretty much primed and ready for that kind of evil later on. I don’t want to say there’s a reason that Morgoth becomes a villain, but there really is. If you look at everything Ilúvatar–and, later, his siblings–put him through, well. I mean, duh. I’d pick the dark side, too.

royal bros
Manwe & Melkor sketch
Manwë & Morgoth
Art by Phobs

I also just find Morgoth utterly hilarious.  After he’s had an awful childhood and decided he’s moving out, off to form his own badass realm to live in, he realizes he’s pretty lonely, and that’s where Sauron comes in.  Well, eventually.  First, Morgoth tries to befriend Ungoliant, a giant spider that helps him steal the Silmarils, along with several other precious jewels.  When she tries to bite his head off (literally), Morgoth turns his attention to Ancalagon and Gothmog.  Alright, he says, no spider?  I’ll have a dragon and balrog instead, then.  This time, he’s smart enough to create his friends on his own (smart or desperate?), and it ends up working out in his favor.  I know it’s not canon, but this art of Morgoth & Ancalagon will forever break my heart:

sketch-request from
Melkor and his bby >3
Morgoth & Ancalagon
Art by Phobs

Even so, that’s not quite enough, and Morgoth decides that the best form of revenge is to do to Ilúvtar what has been done to him.  And the only way to do that is to corrupt one of the beloved Maiar, which are basically angels, and sway them to the dark side.  And, yup, that’s about where Sauron comes in.  At the time, he’s still known as Mairon, and he’s working for Morgoth’s brother, Aulë, so it’s a double whammy for Morgoth.  “I shall corrupt your Maiar, father, and steal your best student, brother, MUAHAHAHAHA!”  (Don’t even start with me, Morgoth totally muahahas all over the place.)

Mairon is just about as stubborn and annoyed as Sauron is, so he and Morgoth really get along!  They do lots of evil things together, and Sauron becomes Morgoth’s lieutenant in the days of Angband.  They even get defeated together!

But it’s just so adorable to me, this terrible track record of friends that he has, just trying so hard to find a family after the family’s he’s known abandoned him.  Which is not at all what I was trying to say, but the way Morgoth goes about making friends is hilarious.  Honestly, a lot of what he does is hilarious to me.  I mean??

(I realize that I literally just posted this art last week, but it’s always fun to see again.)

This has rambled way longer than I intended, and I probably didn’t do what I set out to in explaining why I loved Morgoth so much, but I think I maybe accidentally broke down the title?  Because the truth about Morgoth is that he’s sad, and he’s lonely, and he feels unloved.  He’s been emotionally abused by his father, abandoned by his family, and hated by most of the friends he tried to make until he just up and literally made them himself.  He breaks my heart, for so many different reasons, and I just wish that someone would give him a hug and tell him it was going to be okay.


Will I ever stop loving Morgoth an inordinate amount?  Nah, almost certainly going to get worse from here.

Art by Phobs

2 responses to “The Truth About Morgoth”

  1. waytoofantasy Avatar

    Continuing to love this deep diving into Middle Earth, Mary!

    Liked by 1 person

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