The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
The end of the World, at least in its present form
Location
The plains of Valinor1
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  • Updated 21 November 2019
  • This entry is complete

Last Battle

The end of Arda

The Dagor Dagorath, the great battle at the end of the World foretold in the Second Prophecy of Mandos2 uttered before the Valar at the end of the First Age. There are in fact various tellings and accounts of this prophecy, and those accounts tend to differ in detail, but it is possible to describe the overall arc of events as foretold by Mandos.

Prophecies of the Last Battle

At least something was known of the events to come even before Mandos made his Second Prophecy. When Varda created the brighter stars before the awakening of the Elves - long before Mandos' foretelling - one of the most prominent star-patterns she made was that of Menelmacar or Orion. That constellation is referred to several times as presaging the great swordsman who would defeat Melkor in the Last Battle, and so it seems that Varda, at least, had some inkling of the events of the Last Battle independently of the full prophecy.

Further prophecies foretold that the Dominion of Men, firmly established at the end of the Third Age, would continue until the time of the Last Battle. It was also said that Manwë Súlimo the Elder King would remain on the heights of his White Mountain Taniquetil until the time of the Battle. In the closing years of the Second Age, King Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor had foolishly attempted an invasion of Aman, and he and his Men lay buried where they had fallen. When the Last Battle began, it was said, the King and his soldiers would rise once again to fight.3

The Battle

The various prophecies of the Last Battle are not fully consistent with one another, but all agree that it will start with the return of Melkor through the Door of Night, implying that the Valar will have grown weary of their long watch by that time. The Sun and the Moon will both be destroyed, but Eärendil in his vessel Vingilot will drive Melkor from the air to battle on the plains of Valinor.

There, Melkor will be faced by Tulkas and Eönwë joined by Túrin Turambar with his black sword Gurthang. (This inclusion of the mortal swordsman Túrin is perhaps surprising, but it is a consistent element of all the prophecies.) It is foreseen that it will be Túrin who finally slays the Dark Lord, overcoming the Doom that Morgoth placed on him and his family, and fulfilling the omen of the Swordsman of the Sky. Indeed, according to some versions of the prophecies, Túrin will be counted among the Valar after this act.

After the Last Battle

With the final defeat of Melkor, it was prophesied that the World of Arda would be remade as the Valar had originally intended. According to these prophecies, the Vala Aulë will break the World and rebuild it (with the help of the Dwarves, at least according to the traditions of that people). At this time the three Silmarils will be recovered from the earth, sea and sky, and Fëanor will return to give them to Yavanna. With their light, Yavanna will rekindle the Two Trees of Valinor, and the Light of the Trees will shine out across the whole World.


Notes

1

Actually, The Silmarillion never specifically states where the Last Battle will take place, though there is one hint. Akallabêth tells us that Ar-Pharazôn and his warriors are imprisoned in the Caves of the Forgotten 'until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom.' The fact that the Caves are located in Aman strongly suggests that the battle would have to take place there. This is apparently confirmed by several references in The History of Middle-earth that place the Last Battle in Valinor itself.

2

Almost all accounts of the Last Battle associate it with the Second Prophecy of Mandos, with a single exception. In that version, at least a partial prophecy is given by Andreth, a wise woman of the House of Bëor. However, since Andreth's foretelling describes the death of the Dragon Ancalagon in the Last Battle (whereas in fact he was slain by Eärendil in the War of Wrath) its reliability is questionable at best.

3

It is not said which side Ar-Pharazôn and his Númenóreans would take in the Last Battle. Sauron had brought the King to the worship of Melkor, so from one perspective it would seem natural for the King to take Melkor's part. On the other hand, it is clearly not implausible that the Númenóreans might seek to redeem themselves for their misdeeds by allying with the Valar.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 21 November 2019
  • This entry is complete

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