** In this article, I will try to summarize the chapter from the first page of The Silmarillion to the birth of humans. Unfortunately, I cannot say exactly when the first age began, as the ages are uncertain in The Silmarillion. For this reason, I will describe the part before the birth of humans by counting it as before the first age.
First of all, there was Eru. Also known as the father of all things, Iluvatar. Continuing his existence in the Timeless Halls in a vast space, Eru closed his loneliness with the Ainur he created from the Flame Imperishable. The strongest of the Ainur was Melkor. He had different requests than others. He wanted to possess. His desire to learn and to possess led him to his quest in outer space. Wanting to find the Flame Imperishable and create his own way of life, Melkor searched but returned empty-handed from the great void. But his lengthy adventure in the void made him think and be alone with himself for a long time. The more he thought about it, the more independent he became from the other Ainur.
Eru then taught them all to sing. So they could all sing Ainulindale together. A magnificent composition composed by Eru. But no matter how beautiful the song was, Melkor tried to break the song’s harmony every time. He broke the notes and sang another song. And he sang with such confidence that some Ainur also began to sing his song. Enduring this turmoil for a while, Eru then introduced a second, stronger song to them. But Melkor did not stop. He continued to sing his own music with great confidence. His music now prevented others from singing. Then Eru stopped and introduced his third song. Slower, deeper, and full of sadness. But Melkor’s aggressive and repetitive music once again dominated. He was speaking louder. Angered by this confusion, Eru turned to Melkor, uttering one more last note, and said: “Even the difference you are trying to create is among my plans.” Then he left the Timeless Halls and blended into eternity. Melkor was ashamed of what he heard and tried to hide his hatred and anger. Then the Ainur curiously followed after Eru.
Eru showed them the illusion of Arda. And he said your music is made this. Every inch of land and all the life forms that exist in it are yours. One by one, Eru showed them the elements made up of what they were singing. Even the defeatist song of Melkor. Impressed by what they saw, the Ainur wanted it to happen. They begged Eru. Seeing their request, Eru answered and created Ea for them. He then said his only condition: Those who left may never return to the Timeless Halls until their purpose in the universe has been accomplished. The strongest of the Ainur who accepted this condition were called the Valar, and the others the Maiar.
The Valar and Maiar began to shape this all-earth and sea world, as in Eru’s illusion. The leader of the Ainur was Manwe, the King of the Valar. Melkor also came to Arda. Manwe’s malignant brother. His desire to possess was higher than ever before. He wanted to develop his talents and become the lord of the world of Iluvatar’s children.
The Valar formed a completely symmetrical flat earth surrounded by the sea. But Melkor declared war on all that was done, just as in the Timeless Halls. He tried to disrupt it. This caused a war between Melkor and the Valar. Melkor was so powerful that he nearly won the battle. However, Tulkas the Strong, the last to arrive from the Timeless Halls, managed to defeat Melkor and chase him into the voids of space. Melkor’s departure brought about a brief time of peace.
An island appeared in the middle of the war-torn Arda. The Valar decided to settle on this island, which they named Almaren. Then they built two towers, Illuin to the north and Ormal to the south, to give light to Arda. Thus began the Spring of Arda period, when Arda attained life forms such as flowers, insects, and animals.
But Melkor had returned. Melkor again challenged the Valar, building his fortress north of Arda, which he named Utumno. And this time, the poison he released was affecting others as well. At this point, some Maiar changed sides and sided with Melkor. The Balrogs joined him. One of the defectors was Sauron, the dark lord. Sauron’s original name was Mairon, The Admirable. Burning with the love of craftsmanship of iron and various metals, Sauron was with Aule and learned all the intricacies of production from him. Wanting more like Melkor, Sauron left Almaren for a time as a spy in the Valar and went to Utumno with his lord.
Taking power behind him, Melkor attacked and poisoned all of Arda with his creatures. Melkor also damaged Ulluin and Ormal and caused the island to remain in darkness again. The attack was so strong that it split the island into three. On the left was Aman, in the middle was Endor or Middle-earth, and on the right was the Land of the Sun. In the war, Almaren, the home of the Valar, was also destroyed. Homeless, the Valar went to Aman and founded Valinor, which would be called the Land of the Valar, where they would spend their entire lives. They planted 2 trees on the island to give light to Aman: Telperion and Laurelin. Life began anew in Aman with the radiant trees. Flowers grew, and animals were born. During this process, Endor, or Middle-earth, was left without light in Melkor’s hands.
While the Valar produced beauty in Aman, Melkor did not stand still. Melkor, who built a second stronghold called Angband next to Utumno, was thus able to fend off attacks from the west with this fortress.
Valar and Maiar
The Valar owed their labor in Aman to the attributes they had been blessed with by Eru. Manwe, King of the Valar, was the lord of the winds. Eagles guarded Middle-earth for Manwe, who built his home on Taniquetil, the highest point of the universe. Manwe married Varda, the Vala who brought light into the universe. She had made Illuin and Ormal and Telperion and Laurelin. She was the one who would fill space with stars and put the sun and moon in the future.
Ulmo was the king of the seas. He was one of the main architects of Arda. Ulmo lived in his palace under the sea, Ulmanon. Aule, The Smith, aka The Maker, was a blacksmith. His irrepressible interest in breeding had driven him to create dwarves. Jealous of his father Eru’s Elves, Aule secretly made dwarves from him. But he could not escape his father’s eyes. His father allowed Aule’s children to stay. However, Aule had to put them to sleep until the day they woke up, as the time had not yet come. Aule’s wife, Yavanna, was The Fiver of Fruits. Yavanna was the creator of the flowers and animals that made Aman beautiful. Seeing the dwarves her husband had brought to life, Yavanna feared for the safety of the creatures she had given life to and went to Manwe and told him what she had thought. Thus the Ents were born. The Ents, the production of Yavanna, would be the sentinels of the forests.
Orome, the Great Hunter, and the Lord of Forests had their own forests in Valinor but were also visiting Middle-earth. His wife, Vana, The Ever Younger, was Yavanna’s younger sister. Vana loved everything. She used to bloom on the paths she walked. Her love for Laurelin, the Golden Tree, would help the sun rise in the future.
Mandos was the director of Jude of the Dead, Halls of Mandos. Souls who have completed their lives in Arda go to the Halls of Mandos and await their final fate. His wife, Vaire, the Weaver, was busy writing the whole story of the world to the Halls of Mandos.
Irmo, aka Lorien, Master of Dreams and Illusions, was the brother of Mandos. The two were known as the Master of Spirits, aka Feanturi. Irmo’s wife was Este. The Valar of Rest. Este was the Valar who healed the living beings and cared for them.
And then there was Tulkas, the Champion of the Valar. He would always be remembered as Melkor’s greatest foe. His wife, Nessa, the Dancer, was Orome’s sister. Nessa was known for her unstoppable speed and love for certain creatures, such as deer.
And finally, Nienna, Lady of Mercy, Mandos, and Lorien’s sister. Nienna, She Who Weeps, was saddened by the suffering and tragedies in the world. Gandalf the Gray, his most influential disciple, would go to Middle Earth in the third age to fight against evil.
The Valar, who had done great things with the union, now couldn’t wait to meet the children of Iluvatar. Thus Varda, the Star Queen, adorned the sky with stars, illuminating the places outside Aman, awakening the Elves, the Children of Iluvatar. Elves were different from all living things in the universe. The Elves from Eru’s own mind were also blessed with immortality. Melkor was the first to notice the awakening Elves around Cuivienen. He took some by surprise and kidnapped them to find out what they were. He manipulated their minds, poisoned them, and thus created a whole new race of orcs.
Sometime after the elves awakened, the dwarves also awoke. Awakening in the east, the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks, and Stonefoots settled on Mount Orocarni. Longbeard, Durin the Deathless, Awakening in the west, settled his clan in the Khazad Dum fortress on Misty Mountain. Meanwhile, the Broadbeams and Firebeards founded Nogrod and Belegost in the Blue Mountains. In the process, the Ents also awakened. The Ents, who made up most Middle-earth forests, encountered the Elves, who taught them to speak and showed learning, research, and development. According to Treebeard, perhaps the oldest being in Middle-earth, the Trolls were created as a mockery of the Ents.
Orome, a wanderer in Middle-earth, learned what Melkor had done to the Elves. When he immediately went to Valinor and told what had happened, the Valar were enraged and gathered together and set out to wage war on Melkor. The war, called war for the sake of the Elves, began in Angband. The Valar won this great battle, called the Battle of the Power, and Melkor fled to his stronghold of Utumno. Meanwhile, the Valar advanced to protect the Elves. Having besieged Utumno for years, the Valar finally managed to get in with Tulkas and captured Melkor. Having put Melkor in chains, Tulkas took him to Valinor. Although they had won the war, the Valar could not find Melkor’s servants and creatures. They all dispersed into the dark corners of Middle-earth, waiting for Melkor to return one day. Sauron was also among those not caught. Once again, from the evil of Melkor, Arda was spared. However, these wars also seriously damaged Arda and caused it to remodel.
Journey to Valinor
Melkor remained a prisoner in the Halls of Mandos for 3 epochs. During his absence, flowers of peace and tranquility bloomed in Arda, and songs were sung. With Melkor absent, the Elves could now roam freely. But the Valar had a different plan for them. The Valar, who sent Orome, said the Elves had been invited to Aman. Taking Ingwe, Finwe, and Elme as the Elves’ regents, Orome brought them to Valinor to see the light of the trees. Seeing the glow of the trees, the Elves told the other Elves of this magnificent sight and persuaded many of them to go to Aman. But some Elves were reluctant to go. Thus the Elves were separated from each other.
Those who remained in Cuivienan were called Avari, those who did not see the light. Those who went or attempted to go to Aman were also called Eldar. For this reason, the Eldar were also divided into 3. Vanyar under Ingwe, Noldor under Finwe, and Teleri under Elwe. During the journey, Elwe left the group for a while and headed for the forest. Out of curiosity, he heard Melian singing, who had left Valinor and come to Middle-earth. Elwe was so fascinated by Melian’s song and voice that the moment they touched each other, they fell under a spell and froze in place for many years. The Teleri panicked over the disappearance of their leader, Elwe. The Teleri stayed behind to search for their leader as the Vanyar and Noldor sailed to Valinor over the Belegaer sea, accompanied by Ulmo. But unable to find their leader, the Teleri were also torn to pieces. The Teleri elves who went to Aman were called Falmari. Sindar and Nandor were left behind. Sindar settled to the west of the Blue Mountains and Nandor to the east. Nandor was also divided into two: Laiquendi and Silvan. The Falmari succeeded the Teleri Elves by settling on an island called Tol Eressea, just east of Valinor. The Falmari who settled here mastered shipping and shipbuilding. Time and time again, Elwe and Melian awoke with great love. Taking the Sindar Elves with him, Elwe, later King Elu Thingol, founded the kingdom of Doriath with Melian.
After a long time, Melkor was brought out of his prison and brought before the Valar. Expressing regret for what he had done, Melkor said he wanted to return to the light of Iluvatar and his brother Manwe. Although Aule and Tulkas did not believe what he said, Manwe forgave and released him. Melkor began to re-sow the seeds of his wickedness by pretending to be helpful, however benevolent he may seem. Most of all, he disliked Elves. For this reason, he wanted to make the Elves hurt each other and hurt the Valar. It was for this very reason that he became close with Feanor, son of Finwe, one of the greatest of the Elves. Feanor was the one who produced the Silmarils that would later change the history of all of Arda. But Feanor was also among those who distrusted Melkor.
However, Melkor somehow managed to deceive Feanor and said that his brother Fingolfin had dug his well behind his back and that he wanted to take away his rightful throne. Learning of this, Feanor threatened Fingolfin with death in public, and for this, he was punished by exile by the Valar. Finwe, Feanor’s father, who had settled in the fortress of Formenos north of Valinor, also went with him. But in time, Feanor realized that he had been tricked. Though he set out to return and reconcile, Melkor had already put his grandest plan in motion.
During Valinor’s spring celebrations, Melkor sneaked into Aman with the ever-hungry spider Ungoliant, destroying two trees that lit up the island. Penetrating the trees with his spear, Melkor watched Ungoliant drink their essence. Then, on their way to Formenos, the duo killed Finwe, stole the 3 Silmaril stones Feanor had created from the sap of the trees and returned to Middle-earth. Seeing her father killed and the Silmaril stones stolen, Feanor was enraged. He named Melkor, Morgoth, meaning “Black Enemy,” and assembled an army that would follow Morgoth to get the stones at any cost. Following most of the Noldor and his 7 children, Feanor went to Falmari, Tol Eressea, the island of the Teleri.
Feanor, who wanted a ship from them to go to Middle-earth, got angry when he got the refusal and caused the event that would be known as the “Kinslaying” in the future. Attacking the Teleri and seizing their ships, Feanor set out for Middle-earth. But Mandos cursed them all for this and forbade them to return to Valinor. Meanwhile, when Fingolfin and his Noldor Elves, who remained behind, reached Tol Eresea, he thought that the Teleri had attacked Feanor, and they responded. But they all fell short of Feanor’s ambitions. Feanor had promised to return the ships he had stolen. For this reason, Fingolfin and his Elves began to wait. But Feanor never sent the ships back. Burning the ships upon him, Feanor attacked towards Angband with a group that fully believed in him. The flames of the ships burning in Middle-earth could be seen even from Valinor.
War in the Middle-Earth
Meanwhile, Melkor and Ungoliant had also returned to Middle-earth. But on the way, a disagreement arose between them. Ungoliant asked Melkor to give the stones as he had promised. A fight broke out between them when Melkor gave her the fake stones. After absorbing the sap from both trees, Ungoliant overpowered and attacked Melkor with all her might, tying him up with her nets. Hearing his cries for help, Balrogs came, Hardly saved him. Ungoliant, on the other hand, took her endless hunger and disappeared into the darkness. No one saw her again.
Returning to Angband, Melkor raised a brand new army to rule Arda. But this time, he faced the Elves who remained in Middle-earth. The first leg of the war, which started under the name of the War of Great Jewels, was the First Battle of Beleriand. The commanders of Melkor’s war were Sauron and Gothmog, the leader of the Balrogs. The Sindar Elves also responded with the participation of Laiquendi and the dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost. Although the good managed to push the evil home, the war did not end well at every point. In Heavens of the Falas, the army under Lord Cirdan’s command was under siege for a long time. Thingol refused to participate in the existing war, saying he had seen enough battles, and remained in Doriath. His wife, Melian, cast a spell and built an invisible wall around Doriath called the Girdle of Melian. This invisible wall was a spell that protected their city from strangers, preventing them from entering. Not only Doriath but also the dwarves had retreated to their mountains. When Laiquendi, also green Elves, saw their king Denethor slain in battle, they returned to their forest Ossiriand, vowing never to participate in wars again, and went into secrecy.
But hope to save Cirdan, and his people came from the west, out of nowhere. Arriving at Lammoth in their ships, the Noldor attacked Melkor and his army without delay. With their attack, the siege of the Heavens of the Falas was lifted, and evil was forced to retreat. Dagor-nuin-Giliath, or Battle under the Stars, was the battle in which the Noldor repelled the evil army. Although the elves were outnumbered by their dark foes, they fought like heroes, with an elf killing at least 10 orcs. The course of the battle was going so well for the Elves that Feanor, instead of being cautious with the confidence of the course, went further and came to the gates of Angband with the small party he had taken with him. At the gate he came to defeat Melkor, he met the Balrogs. Although the sons of Feanor came and chased the Balrogs, it was too late. Feanor was too injured to heal after Gothmog’s final blow. On his last breath, Feanor cursed Angband 3 times and died. His anger was so great that it completely turned his body to ashes as his spirit left it. Then his sons gathered under the leadership of Maedhros and took an oath, saying they would take the 3 Silmarils from Melkor at any cost.
Meanwhile, Fingolfin and the remaining Noldor elves had to choose a much more difficult path when the ships did not arrive. Fingolfin and the elves, who tried to pass over Helcaraxe, where it was almost impossible to withstand challenging weather conditions, suffered severe losses in this grueling adventure. But eventually, they managed to reach Middle-earth. But when they came, all was long gone, and with Feanor’s death, the Noldor was already scattered throughout Endor.
Melkor was defeated but not lost. Enclosing himself in Angband, Melkor remained hidden inside for many years. The Elves also took advantage of this time, spread to Middle-earth, and established their own living spaces. Meanwhile, the Valar used their last blossoms to place the moon and sun above after the trees were destroyed. Thus, the light came to the whole universe again. With the coming of the light, humans awoke in Hildorien.