Melkor, which translates to "He who Arises in Might" was known by many names, chiefly Morgoth or "Dark Enemy of the World". A key figure in The Silmarillion, Melkor was the chief evil in the Eldar days. One of the Valar, the powerful holy ones of the land of Arda, Melkor became corrupted by impatience with the slow designs of Illúvitar, the overseer of creation and wished to create things for himself. The Valar became wise to his secret desires when he blighted Arda, so that plants rotted, rivers were choked, forests became perilous, and beasts became monsters. Melkor stalled their attacks against him, but was imprisoned for three ages. Whilst his servants continued to work on his designs, Melkor managed to deceive Manwë his brother into freeing him.
Melkor had long desired the three Simarils, great jewels created by the high elves and holding the light of the two trees of Valinor, and this desire led him to commit terrible acts against mortals, elves and the Valar. With the aid of Ungoliant, the giant spider shown in the rightmost of the three paintings, he destroyed the two trees, and took the silmarils for himself. He fled to mortal lands and created himself a realm in Northern Middle Earth known as Angband, protected by the Mountains of Iron curving from East to West, which later became known as the Mountains of Shadow bordering Mordor. He set the Silmarils into an iron crown and built himself the fortress of Thangorodrim, his powers now ones of destruction, deception and distortion. His chief weapon was Grond, a great mace with which he could shatter the earth. A great war was fought with a great loss of life to elves and men, but only one Silmaril was regained as Melkor bred orcs, trolls, balrogs and dragons, and corrupted men to fight for him. A great darkness ensued, during which the Valar mustered themselves and destroyed Melkor, casting him into the void. This destruction sadly came too late to destroy the evil now awakened in Middle Earth. Many of the creatures he created lived on, and one of his cheif servants survived to become Sauron, Lord of Mordor, whose corrupted followers worshipped Melkor.
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