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Villain Overview

You say it. I am the Elder King: Melkor, first and mightiest of all the Valar, who was before the world and made it. The shadow of my purpose lies upon Arda, and all that is in it bends slowly and surely to my will. But upon all whom you love my thought shall weigh as a cloud of Doom, and it shall bring them down into darkness and despair. Wherever they go, evil shall arise. Whenever they speak, their words shall bring ill counsel. Whatsoever they do shall turn against them. They shall die without hope, cursing both life and death.
~ Morgoth boasting of himself to Húrin, lying about creating Arda, and cursing him, The Words of Húrin and Morgoth.

Morgoth Bauglir, originally named Melkor, is the overarching antagonist of the Middle-earth legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien, serving as the main antagonist of both the mythopoeic novel The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth, and the unseen overarching antagonist of The Children of Húrin and The Lord of the Rings.

He is an evil Vala (the Middle-earth equivalent to an archangel) and the first Dark Lord of Middle-earth, as well as the master and predecessor of Sauron, master and creator of some of the most evil creatures in the whole of Middle-earth (mainly Dragons and Balrogs) and the de-facto ultimate evil of the whole universe, known as Eä. He was the mightiest of the Ainur created by Eru Ilúvatar, but he rebelled against his master and sought to control Arda for himself.


And he descended upon Arda in power and majesty greater than any other of the Valar, as a mountain that wades in the sea and has its head above the clouds and is clad in ice and crowned with smoke and fire; and the light of the eyes of Melkor was like a flame that withers with heat and pierces with a deadly cold.
~ The Silmarillion on Morgoth's coming to the whole of Arda.

When he first came to Arda (the mortal world), Melkor took the form of a colossal ice-white humanoid. This form was the size of a mountain, with his head touching the furthest skies and the uppermost clouds. This projected not only his massively arrogant, overconfident and prideful nature, but also his immense greed and lust for power and, last but not least, deep hatred towards his Valarian siblings on the early Arda, and it severely damaged the world with its mere presence after rising for the first time.

The more time Morgoth spent in the world, and the more his presence corrupted the whole of it, while his own divinity proportionately diminished. As time went on, his shapeshifting abilities were lost. His true form isn't described other than in vague terms.

As the Dark Lord, he was superhumanly tall, "like a tower", clad in his black armor, and covered in many dark storm clouds and a dark powerful aura, that humbled all who saw him. He wore his Iron Crown at all times, and he placed the Silmarils in his crown until they were recaptured by Lúthien.


For now, more than in the days of Utumno ere his pride was humbled, his hatred devoured him, and in the domination of his servants and the inspiring of them with lust of evil he spent his spirit.
~ The Silmarillion (on Morgoth).

Morgoth was a fearsome opponent because the presence of Ilúvatar had given him godly powers. He was a skilled, influential, and manipulative politician and could charm his enemies, as he tried to do with Húrin.

When seen as Melkor, he was perceived as resplendent, majestic, and noble, even by his enemies, but when he became Morgoth, he became a giant looming threat, feared by even the greatest warriors on Earth. Only six characters are known to have challenged him: Fingolfin & Thorondor, Beren and Lúthien, Húrin, and Eärendil, of which Fingolfin alone faced Morgoth in single combat. Although Morgoth won the duel, Fingolfin and Thorondor gave him seven wounds, which never healed.

Unlike the other Valar, Morgoth knew fear and pain; possibly as a result of his own misdeeds. He could feel the pain of the Silmarils, and also the wounds given to him by Thorondor and Fingolfin. Lúthien commented that Morgoth's life was a "burden", and she rid him of this for a while by putting him to sleep.

Morgoth loved challenging people and reducing their wills to dust. He prided himself on his immense powers, giant size, and intelligence, and knew that he would most likely come off better in any confrontation. However, these tables got turned into his downfall.

Powers and Abilities

Morgoth was the greatest of the Valar, and the greatest of all the beings Eru Ilúvatar had created. He was gifted with the greatest power and the greatest intelligence, second only to Eru. However, he used his gifts for evil purposes, such as torturing Elves into Orcs and twisting Arda's creatures into those which were not in accordance with Ilúvatar or the Valar (including Trolls and quite possibly even Dragons).

  • Immortality/Enhanced Longevity: Morgoth, like Sauron, was functionally immortal; failing that, seemingly very long-lived having existed with and without a physical form for the better part of several thousand years. (Morgoth was created before the physical realm of Arda and Middle-earth was established, thus his age is unquantifiable. Assuming a consecutive lifespan, he is at least 50,000 years old.)
  • Vast Physical Strength: By using his mace, Grond, Morgoth can cause lightning strikes and create pits where lava and smoke come out of the ground.
  • Cursing: Morgoth could give curses to his foes, such as when he cursed Húrin.
  • Shapeshifting: Morgoth was given the ability to change his form, such as his mountain-sized humanoid form. In that form, he was able to do excessive damage to Arda while the other Valar were doing work there. However, after his long list of crimes, this ability was eventually taken away from him.
  • Pyrokinesis: Like his servant Sauron, he was capable of altering the physical substance of the world around him by a mere effort of will. He could cause massive firestorms and create huge craters.

In Films

The Lord of the Rings (film series)

Morgoth never appears in Peter Jackson's film trilogies; however, a few references are still made to him. Legolas calls Durin's Bane a "Balrog of Morgoth" in the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Gandalf calls him the same thing while talking to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Galadriel calls Sauron a “Servant of Morgoth”. It is very likely that similar events to The Silmarillion including Morgoth occurred in the past.

In Video Games

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Morgoth himself never appears in this game; however, there is a graven idol representing him, which can be found in the western part of Udûn.

Allusions in other works

  • Morgoth appears as a character in Legendary Frog's parody series of flash videos, One Ring to Rule them All. Ironically, he only appears in the third video. In the video, Melkor acts as Sauron's old master (or college roommate) and gives him a visit. However, he steals his spices and seasonings for Legolas.

Servants of Morgoth

​Victims of Morgoth

A few notable members of those that Morgoth has killed, either if he directly killed them or is responsible for them perishing.


Said by Morgoth

This shall be my own kingdom; and I name it unto myself!
~ Morgoth before the beginning of Arda, proclaiming the world as his own.
Do as I bid; and if thy hunger still when all is done, then I will give thee whatsoever thy lust may demand.
~ Morgoth tells Ungoliant to follow him and gives her a false promise.
Yet I may come at you, and all your accursed house; and you shall be broken on my will, though you all were made of steel.
~ Morgoth to Húrin.
Behold! The shadow of my thought shall lie upon them wherever they go, and my hate shall pursue them to the ends of the world.
~ Morgoth
Fool, little among Men, and they are the least of all that speak! Have you seen the Valar, or measured the power of Manwë and Varda? Do you know the reach of their thought? Or do you think, perhaps, that their thought is upon you, and that they may shield you from afar?
~ Morgoth to Húrin about the Valar.
What wouldst thou have more? Dost thou desire all the world for thy belly? I did not vow to give thee that. I am its Lord.
~ Morgoth to Ungoliant.
Nay! Thou hast thy due. For with my power that I put into thee thy work was accomplished. I need thee no more. These things thou shall not have, nor see. I name them unto myself forever.
~ Morgoth refuses to give Ungoliant the Silmarils.

Pertaining to Morgoth

Then Ilúvatar spoke, and he said: "Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilúvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."
~ J.R.R. Tolkien about Ilúvatar despising Morgoth about his music, The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë.
Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning: so say the wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery. This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Ilúvatar.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien about how Morgoth created the Orcs, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor.
Now news came to Hithlum that Dorthonion was lost and the sons of Finarfin overthrown, and that the sons of Fëanor were driven from their lands. Then Fingolfin beheld… the utter ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses; and filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar. Thus he 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.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien about Morgoth face-to-face with Fingolfin, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.
Therefore Morgoth came, climbing slowly from his subterranean throne, and the rumour of his feet was like thunder underground. And he issued forth clad in black armour; and he stood before the King like a tower, iron-crowned, and his vast shield, sable unblazoned, cast a shadow over him like a stormcloud. But Fingolfin gleamed beneath it as a star; for his mail was overlaid with silver, and his blue shield was set with crystals; and he drew his sword Ringil, that glittered like ice.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien describing Morgoth's might as the latter and Fingolfin are about to challenge each other, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.
Morgoth held hurled aloft Grond, Hammer of the Underworld, and swung it down like a bolt of thunder. But Fingolfin sprang aside, and Grond rent a mighty pit in the earth, whence smoke and fire darted. Many times Morgoth essayed to smite him, and each time Fingolfin leaped away, as a lightning shoots from under dark cloud; and he wounded Morgoth with seven wounds, and seven times Morgoth gave a cry of anguish, whereat the hosts of Angband fell upon their faces in dismay, and the cries echoed in the Northlands.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien recounting the duel between Morgoth and Fingolfin, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.
Morgoth set his foot upon his neck, and the weight of it was like a fallen hill.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien about Morgoth defeating Fingolfin, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.


  • Morgoth is an analogy for Satan, being an angelic-like creature that rebels against his creator and creates all evil in his world.
  • How Morgoth created the Orcs is up for much debate, because Tolkien himself says, “Who has explored the mind of Morgoth?” This being said, the creation of Orcs is entirely open to speculation.
  • While not appearing in the film series (most likely because he no longer existed in the world at the time of the said series because of his banishment to the Void in the War of Wrath in The Silmarillion), Morgoth's most powerful servants, such as Sauron, still thrive, and Morgoth was mentioned in ​The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers since when Gandalf speaks of his battle with the Balrog (Durin's Bane), he refers to it as "the Balrog of Morgoth". He was also mentioned in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies when Galadriel calls Sauron a "Servant of Morgoth". He did, however, get a cameo appearance in the 2019 film Tolkien which chronicles the author's life. In this film, Morgoth appears to Tolkien as a gigantic fiery humanoid smoke from the Somme battlefield.
    • Ironically, Morgoth was not even mentioned in the novel The Hobbit, because by that time, Tolkien had not yet conceived his mighty mythology, and he had only begun to create the barest aspects.
    • Morgoth appears in his earliest incarnation in the novel Unfinished Tales which compares the earliest scripture of The Lord of the Rings with the final version. In this version, Morgoth is named Melko instead of Melkor and is either another name for him or an epithet of Melkor itself.
  • Sauron is said by Tolkien to have been certainly more successful than Morgoth, given that Sauron was far more cunning, and possessed shape-shifting and deception to fool others. Morgoth is compared to Sauron by Tolkien because the whole Earth was "Morgoth's Ring". However, Morgoth is much more powerful and majestic than Sauron and is not to be overlooked or taken lightly.

External Links


           Middle earth sbg-1-1024x257.png Villains

Dark Lords
Sauron (Peter Jackson | Conquest | Shadow of Mordor) | Morgoth

Witch-king of Angmar | Khamûl | Helm Hammerhand | Suladan | Isildur | Nazgûl Sisters

Durin's Bane | Gothmog | Tar-Goroth

Smaug (Peter Jackson) | Ancalagon | Scatha | Drogoth the Dragon Lord | Glaurung

Great Spiders
Shelob | Ungoliant


Azog | Torturer of Dol Guldur | Bolg | Brogg the Twin | Mogg the Other Twin | Yazneg | Grishnákh | Gothmog | Gorbag | Zog the Eternal | Gazmog | Lord of the Lash

Gorkil the Goblin King | Great Goblin

Uglúk | Lurtz | Shagrat | Hodhvarz

Black Númenóreans
Mouth of Sauron (Battle for Middle-earth) | Queen Beruthiel | Agandaur | Black Hand of Sauron | Hammer of Sauron | Tower of Sauron

Brûz the Chopper

Corrupted Elves
Fëanor | Celegorm | Caranthir | Curufin | Maeglin | Celebrimbor

Corrupted Hobbits
Gollum (Peter Jackson) | Lotho Sackville-Baggins | Ted Sandyman

Alfrid Lickspittle | Master of Laketown | Gríma Wormtongue | Bill Ferny | Ar-Pharazôn | Lheu Brenin | Hwaldar

Saruman (Peter Jackson) | Old Man Willow | Easterlings | Corsairs of Umbar | Dunlendings | Haradrim | Barrow Wights | Trolls | Fellbeasts | Gûlavhar | Watcher in the Water | Karsh