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Old 12-09-2018, 09:21 PM   #1
Rhun charioteer
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Pro Morgoth version of the Dagor Dagorath

Forgive me, I know this is somewhat obscure.

But I've read somewhere about four versions of the Dagor Dagorath. One of them being a pro Morgoth version, with a chant by orcs.

It has something about Manwe and varda perishing underneath the sinking sea.

Basically Morgoth victorious and the hope of his followers for that.

Can anyone give me a source on this?
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:11 AM   #2
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Ooh, I like this question.

I mean, I think you're wrong. Tolkien was never very fond of 'enemy POV' in his stories - the most we get is lines like 'Orcs would after laughing tell' in the Lay of Leithian - and having a Morgothite version of his ultimate redemption story seems way out of character. (Is it possible that you're thinking of the four versions of the Fall of Numenor found in HoME 9?)

But what if you're right? It's time for a Dagorath hunt!

Tolkien Gateway gives two references for its Dagor Dagorath article. One goes to Unfinished Tales: The Istari, and points to these passages:

Who was "Gandalf?" It is said that in later days (when again a shadow of evil arose in the Kingdom) it was believed by many of the "Faithful" of that time that "Gandalf" was the last appearance of Manwë himself, before his final withdrawal to the watchtower of Taniquetil. (That Gandalf said that his name "in the West" had been Olórin was, according to this belief, the adoption of an incognito, a mere by-name.) I do not (of course) know the truth of the matter, and if I did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than Gandalf was. But I think it was not so. Manwë will not descend from the Mountain until Dagor Dagorath, and the coming of the End, when Melkor returns. 8 To the overthrow of Morgoth he sent his herald Eönwë. To the defeat of Sauron would he not then send some lesser (but mighty) spirit of the angelic people, one coëval and equal, doubtless, with Sauron in their beginnings, but not more? Olórin was his name. But of Olórin we shall never know more than he revealed in Gandalf.

This is followed by sixteen lines of a poem in alliterative verse:

Will thou learn the lore / that was long secret
of the Five that came / from a far country?
One only returned. / Others never again
under Men's dominion / Middle-earth shall seek
until Dagor Dagorath / and the Doom cometh.
Relevant information is that at Dagor Dagorath, Melkor will return from Outside, Manwe will descend from Taniquetil, and the dominion of Men will end.

The second reference is to HoME 10: Valaquenta, but seems to be just referencing the point where the Second Prophecy of Mandos disappeared. Let's dig deeper.

TG points (not as a reference) to HoME 1: The Hiding of Valinor, where we read probably the earliest version of the End of Days:

I will end the tale of Lindo and Vaire concerning the building of the Sun and Moon with that great foreboding that was spoken among the Gods when first the Door of Night was opened. For 'tis said that ere the Great End come Melko shall in some wise contrive a quarrel between Moon and Sun, and Ilinsor shall seek to follow Urwendi through the Gates, and when they are gone the Gates of both East and West will be destroyed, and Urwendi and Ilinsor shall be lost. So shall it be that Fionwe Urion, son of Manwe, of love for Urwendi shall in the end be Melko's bane, and shall destroy the world to destroy his foe, and so shall all things then be rolled away.
There are also references in the paragraphs above this to the Great End, noting that the world will be enmeshed in Time until then, and that at the Great End Iluvatar will call the Gods back.

It's worth noting that the Book of Lost Tales accounts are deeply weird. You think you know the fate of Men after death? Nah, think again:

The hall that she loved best was one yet wider and more dark than Ve, and she too named it with her own name, calling it Fui. Therein before her black chair burnt a brazier with a single flickering coal, and the roof was of bats' wings, and the pillars that upheld it and the walls about were made of basalt. Thither came the sons of Men to hear their doom, and thither are they brought by all the multitude of ills that Melko's evil music set within the world. Slaughters and fires, hungers and mishaps, diseases and blows dealt in the dark, cruelty and bitter cold and anguish and their own folly bring them here; and Fui reads their hearts. Some then she keeps in Mandos beneath the mountains and some she drives forth beyond the hills and Melko seizes them and bears them to Angamandi, or the Hells of hen, where they have evil days.

Some too, and these be the many, she sends aboard the black ship Mornie, who lieth ever and anon in a dark harbour of the North awaiting those times when the sad pomp winds to the beach down slow rugged paths from Mandos. Then, when she is laden, of her own accord she spreads her sable sails and before a slow wind coasts down those shores. Then do all aboard as they come South cast looks of utter longing and regret to that low place amid the hills where Valinor may just be glimpsed upon the far off plain; and that opening is nigh Taniquetil where is the strand of Eldamar. No more do they ever see of that bright place, but borne away dwell after on the wide plains of Arvalin. There do they wander in the dusk, camping as they may, yet are they not utterly without song, and they can see the stars, and wait in patience till the Great End come.

Few are they and happy indeed for whom at a season doth Nornore the herald of the Gods set out. Then ride they with him in chariots or upon good horses down into the vale of Valinor and feast in the halls of Valmar, dwelling in the houses of the Gods until the Great End come. Far away are they from the black mountains of the North or the misty plains of Arvalin, and music and fair light is theirs, and joy.
And here's the fate of Turin Turambar, which again touches on the End:

But the Elves of Kôr have told, and they know, that at last Urin and Mavwin fared to Mandos, and Nienori was not there nor Turin their son. Turambar indeed had followed Nienori along the black pathways to the doors of Fui, but Fui would not open to them, neither would Vefantur.

Yet now the prayers of Urin and Mavwin came even to Manwe, and the Gods had mercy on their unhappy fate, so that those twain Turin and Nienori entered into Fôs'Almir, the bath of flame, even as Urwendi and her maidens had done in ages past before the first rising of the Sun, and so were all their sorrows and stains washed away, and they dwelt as shining Valar among the blessed ones, and now the love of that brother and sister is very fair; but Turambar indeed shall stand beside Fionwe in the Great Wrack, and Melko and his drakes shall curse the sword of Mormakil.'
The Caves of the Forgotten are linked to the End of Days, and we find this in Silm: Akallabeth:

But Ar-Pharazôn the King and the mortal warriors that had set foot upon the land of Aman were buried under falling hills: there it is said that they lie imprisoned in the Caves of the Forgotten, until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom.
Not much to go on, but there are a couple of other references to the Last Battle in the Silm. From Silm: Of Aule and Yavanna:

For [the Dwarves] say that Aulë the Maker, whom they call Mahal, cares for them, and gathers them to Mandos in halls set apart; and that he declared to their Fathers of old that Ilúvatar will hallow them and give them a place among the Children in the End. Then their part shall be to serve Aulë and to aid him in the remaking of Arda after the Last Battle.
Later, in Silm: Of the Coming of the Elves, when Varda is moving stars around:

and Menelmacar with his shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days.
HoME 10 explicitly equates Menelmacar with Turin; we'll get to him later.

'End of Days' is another useful phrase, and points to this in Silm: Ainulindale:

Never since have the Ainur made any music like to this music, though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Ilúvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Ilúvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Ilúvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased.
Ooh, 'it has been said'? I know who said it! And it's not Mandos (whose remit doesn't extend 'after the end of days'). It's my favourite character of them all: Finrod Felagund, in HoME 10: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth:

'Ah, wise lady!' said Finrod. 'I am an Elda, and again I was thinking of my own people. But nay, of all the Children of Eru. I was thinking that by the Second Children we might have been delivered from death. For ever as we spoke of death being a division of the united, I thought in my heart of a death that is not so: but the ending together of both. For that is what lies before us, so far as our reason could see: the completion of Arda and its end, and therefore also of us children of Arda; the end when all the long lives of the Elves shall be wholly in the past.

'And then suddenly I beheld as a vision Arda Remade; and there the Eldar completed but not ended could abide in the present for ever, and there walk, maybe, with the Children of Men, their deliverers, and sing to them such songs as, even in the Bliss beyond bliss, should make the green valleys ring and the everlasting mountain-tops to throb like harps.'

Then Andreth looked under her brows at Finrod: 'And what, when ye were not singing, would ye say to us?' she asked.

Finrod laughed. 'I can only guess,' he said. 'Why, wise lady, I think that we should tell you tales of the Past and of Arda that was Before, of the perils and great deeds and the making of the Silmarils! We were the lordly ones then! But ye, ye would then be at home, looking at all things intently, as your own. Ye would be the lordly ones. "The eyes of Elves are always thinking of something else," ye would say. But ye would know then of what we were reminded: of the days when we first met, and our hands touched in the dark. Beyond the End of the World we shall not change; for in memory is our great talent, as shall be seen ever more clearly as the ages of this Arda pass: a heavy burden to be, I fear; but in the Days of which we now speak a great wealth.'
We've strayed a little off-topic: we're after the End now, not in the Last Battle itself. But it shows how Tolkien thought of it, and why he's highly unlikely to have written a Morgothite version.

It's probably about time to give the text of the Second Prophecy of Mandos itself, the source text for the Dagor Dagorath. This comes from HoME 5:

Thus spake Mandos in prophecy, when the Gods sat in judgement in Valinor, and the rumour of his words was whispered among all the Elves of the West. When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth, shall come back through the Door of Night out of the timeless Void; and he shall destroy the Sun and the Moon. But Eärendil shall descend upon him as a white and searing flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the Last Battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Morgoth, and on his right hand shall be Fionwë, and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, coming from the Halls of Mandos; and the black sword of Túrin shall deal unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.

Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Eärendil shall descend and surrender that flame which he hath had in keeping. Then Fëanor shall take the Three Jewels and bear them to Yavanna Palúrien; and she will break them and with their fire rekindle the Two Trees, and a great light shall come forth. And the mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the light shall go out over all the world. In that light the Gods will grow young again, and the Elves awake and all their dead arise, and the purpose of Illúvatar will be fulfilled concerning them. But of men in that day the prophecy of Mandos does not speak, and no Man it names, save Túrin only, and to him a place is given among the sons of the Valar.
Okay... what else? Well, how about this, from HoME 12: The Problem of Ros?

The language of the Folk of Haleth was not used, for they had perished and would not rise again. Nor would their tongue be heard again, unless the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman should prove true, that Turin in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the Circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.
This one raises so many questions. Does Turin now habitually speak the language of the Haladin? Why is he killing Ancalagon instead of Morgoth? Did Andreth mention this to Finrod? And, most importantly, is the Last Battle here Dagor Dagorath, or (as elsewhere in the same document) the War of Wrath?

Maybe we should move onto something a little clearer: The Fellowship of the Ring. Back to back on the Barrow Downs, we get a pair of apocalyptic references in poems:

Originally Posted by The Barrow-Wight
Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never mare to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.

In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand
over dead sea and withered land.
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains!
Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.
(Are there going to be side effects from quoting the banishment of a wight on the very Downs? )

The Wight's quote is the closest we come to a Melkorite Dagorath: the sun fails, the moon dies, the stars die, the sea is dead and the land is withered. The only problem is that there's no indication it's a prophecy: it could well just be a threat.

Bombadil has the same issue in the opposite direction. He seems to be saying that the Gates (to the Void?) will remain closed until after the world is renewed - so Morgoth won't be allowed back in until after the Second Music has healed him! I'm sure the Valar would love that, but I'm not sure we can accept Tom's word on it.

I'm sure there are more quotes. I'd swear I remember one which had Tulkas chasing Melko up a tree, but I can't track that one down. Between this lot, though, we've got at least four, maybe five versions. Chronologically:

1. Melko tricks the Sun and Moon into both leaving Arda, then destroys the Doors of Night. Fionwe, son of Manwe, kills Melko. Turambar is a Vala, and fights alongside Fionwe. He's also probably still married to Nienor, because that's not messed up.

2. The classic version. Morgoth sneaks back into the world and destroys the Sun and Moon. Earendil drives him out of the skies, and Tulkas, Turin (back from the Halls of Mandos), and Fionwe/Eonwe will fight him. The armies of Numenor will be released (though whose side they'll fight on is anyone's guess), and after the battle Arda will be remade (with the help of the Dwarves).

2.5. (Possibly) Turin will return from the dead and kill Ancalagon the Black. This is actually chronologically the last of all, but it's clearly a modification of 2, so it goes here.

3. The Dark Lord wins. All Light is destroyed, and Morgoth (or Sauron) rules over a dead world.

4. There is no war. At some point, the Valar presumably get together and just fix the world. Then they fix Morgoth and all his creatures, let them back in, and everything is hunky dory.

There are a lot of other stories tied up in this. The War of Wrath was a 'Final Battle' in Tolkien's early mythology. The great Faring Forth from Tol Eressea aimed to rekindle the Magic Sun and redeem the elves left in the mortal lands - but ended with their utter defeat and fading. And the Athrabeth has Andreth relating a story she doesn't believe herself, about the Old Hope of Men, wherein Iluvatar himself will be born on Middle-earth. But as far as the Dagor Dagorath itself goes, this is about all I can find.

In closing, here's the final words of the Athrabeth, with Finrod once again conveying Tolkien's message in all of this: that what's important is not the End of Days, but what comes after:

Darkness fell in the room. He took her hand in the light of the fire. 'Whither go you?' she said.

'North away,' he said: 'to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defense—that yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes.'

'Will he be there, bright and tall, and the wind in his hair? Tell him. Tell him not to be reckless. Not to seek danger beyond need!'

'I will tell him,' said Finrod. 'But I might as well tell thee not to weep. He is a warrior, Andreth, and a spirit of wrath. In every stroke that he deals he sees the Enemy who long ago did thee this hurt.

'But you are not for Arda. Whither you go may you find light. Await us there, my brother--and me.'
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:19 AM   #3
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Huinesoron has given a pretty comprehensive response, so I'll only add this:

I have this possibly erroneous memory that there was once a hint of an idea in a version of the Second Prophecy which essentially said that if Men sided with Morgoth then Morgoth would win, but if Men sided with the Valar then he would lose.

That being said, I can't substantiate this. Perhaps it was just my imagination.
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:04 AM   #4
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You're right! Sort of & maybe. This is tied up in the Faring Forth, which is a fairly nebulous idea from the end of the original legendarium. The quote I think you're thinking of is this:

Originally Posted by Book of Lost Tales 2
(6) The Elves' prophecy is that one day they will fare forth from Tol Eressea and on arriving in the world will gather all their fading kindred who still live in the world and march towards Valinor - through the southern lands. This they will only do with the help of Men. If Men aid them, the fairies will take Men to Valinor - those that wish to go - fight a great battle with Melko in Erumani and open Valinor. Laurelin and Silpion will be rekindled, and the mountain wall being destroyed then soft radiance will spread over all the world, and the Sun and Moon will be recalled. If Men oppose them and aid Melko the Wrack of the Gods and the ending of the fairies will result - and maybe the Great End.
Does 'maybe the Great End' mean that a failed Faring Forth would be a precursor of Dagor Dagorath - that the Wrack of the Gods would be followed by all the shenanigans with Turin and Fi/Eonwe? Or is the battle in Valinor the Dagorath, and only takes place if Men aid the elves (since in the second scenario, Men never even reach Valinor)? It's not at all clear.

What makes all this even more confusing is that the Faring Forth happened - sort of. Tolkien's notes for the end of the Book of Lost Tales include this:

Originally Posted by BoLT2
Rising of the Lost Elves against the Orcs and Nautar. The time is not ready for the Faring Forth, but the fairies judge it to be necessary. They obrain through Ulmo the help of Uin, and Tol Eressea is uprooted and dragged near to the Great Lands, nigh to the promontory of Ros. A magic bridge is cast across the intervening sound. Osse is wroth at the breaking of the roots of the isle he set so long ago - and many of his rare sea-treasures grow about it - that he tries to wrench it back; and the western half breaks off, and is now the Isle of Iverin.

The Battle of Ros: the Island-elves and the Lost Elves against Nautar, Gongs, Orcs, and a few evil Men. Defeat of the Elves. The fading Elves retire to Tol Eressea and hide in the woods.

Men come to Tol Eressea and also Orcs, Dwarves, Gongs, Trolls, etc. After the Battle of Ros the elves faded with sorrow. They cannot live in air breathed by a number of Men equal to their own or greater; and ever as Men wax more powerful and numerous so the fairies fade and grow small and tenuous, filmy and transparent, but Men larger and more dense and gross. At last Men, or almost all, can no longer see the fairies.

The Gods now dwell in Valinor, and come scarcely ever to the world, being content with the restraining of the elements from utterly destroying Men. They grieve much at what they see; but Iluvatar is over all.
Given the prophecy, this failed Faring Forth is nothing more or less than the elves trying to kick off the End of Days. They never get that far, though - they get stuck in northern France, and never make it to the 'southern lands'. There is actually a narrative fragment covering the failure; it's interesting reading.

Also! I found the other story I was thinking of, with Melkor being chased up a tree. The BoLT material is super weird, did I mention?

Originally Posted by BoLT2
After the departure of Earendel and the coming of the Elves to Tol Eressea (and most of this belongs to the history of Men) great ages elapse; Men spread and thrive, and the Elves of the Great Lands fade. As Men's stature grows theirs diminishes. Men and Elves were formerly of a size, though Men always larger.

Melko again breaks away, by the aid of Tevildo (who in long ages gnaws his bonds); the Gods are in dissension about Men and Elves, some favouring the one and some the other. Melko goes to Tol Eressea and tries to stir up dissension among the Elves (between Gnomes and Solosimpi), who are in consternation and send to Valinor. No help comes, but Tulkas sends priviliy Telimektar (Taimonto) his son.

Telimektar of the silver sword and Ingil surprise Melko and wound him, and he flees and climbs up the great Pine of Tavrobel. Before the Inwir left Valinor Belaurin (Palurien) gave them a seed, and said that it must be guarded, for great tidings would one day come of its growth. But it was forgotten, and cast in the garden of Gilfanon, and a mighty pine arose that reached to Ilwe and the stars.

Telimektar and Ingil pursue him, and they remain now in the sky to ward it, and Melko stalks high above the air seeking ever to do a hurt to the Sun and Moon and stars (eclipses, meteors)...
This is fascinating stuff, because I think it's the only place that casts Melko[r] as a continuing force for evil in the world, rather than just a shadow on the hearts of Men. Also... Melko got chased up a tree! And he only escaped because his pet cat chewed through, presumably, the massive unbreakable chain Angainor.

And finally... that pine tree may well exist in the real world. Tavrobel is pretty closely identified with Great Haywood, where Edith Tolkien lived in the winter of 1916. Gilfanon, in whose garden the pine grew, lived in the House of the Hundred Chimneys near the bridge of Tavrobel.

One popular guess at the house Tolkien was thinking of is Shugborough Hall, which sits right next to a rather gorgeous old bridge outside Great Haywood. And wouldn't you know it, guess what the most prominent tree in the gardens of Shugborough is?


(Bridge of Tavrobel, Gilfanon's house, Great Pine of Tavrobel)

Watch out - you never know who might be coming down...

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Old 12-10-2018, 10:10 PM   #5
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I don't remember where I read it, it was online somewhere but one line I do recall was "Manwe and Varda perish under the sinking sea" or something to that effect. An orcish chant foretelling Morgoth's final victory it seemed.

I don't remember where I read it, but I do recall that line in particular.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:34 AM   #6
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Ah, now I know what you're thinking of. I didn't recognise the line, but the only place I know of that could contain it as a chant would be one of the epic poems. Sure enough, in the Lay of Leithian, Sauron says these lines:

Originally Posted by LoL Canto VIII
"Whom do ye serve, Light or Mirk?
Who is the maker of mightiest work?
Who is the king of earthly kings,
the greatest giver of gold and rings?
Who is the master of the wide earth?
Who despoiled them of their mirth,
the vain Valar? Repeat your vows,
Orcs of Bauglir! Do not bend your brows.
Death to light, to law, to love;
cursed be moon and stars above;
may darkness everlasting old
that waits outside in surges cold
drown Manwë, Varda and the sun;
may all in hatred be begun
and all in evil ended be
in the moaning of the endless Sea!"
... to which Beren responds by mouthing off, because that's kind of his thing. And then Sauron offers to serenade them, because Middle-earth, in case you didn't know, is kind of odd.

Is this a prophecy? I'd say not. Rather, it's a prayer of sorts to Morgoth Bauglir, asking or hoping that he will bring the world into utter darkness. Which makes Orcish religion a seriously messed-up prospect; I'm not sure anyone's ever written about Orcs as a cult before, but look at that: they swear vows to the Lord of Mirk, Maker, Gift-Giver, King of Kings and Despoiler of Bliss, and what they vow is 'death to law, to light, to love'. Wow.

What this does give us is Morgoth's idea of how the Dagorath should go: he gets to destroy everything. That's the key difference between Morgoth and Sauron: Sauron may not want to create, precisely, but he does want to rule. For Morgoth, ruling is just a means to an end, and the end is smashing the world.


Last edited by Huinesoron; 09-23-2022 at 05:56 AM.
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