Melkor, Greatest of the Valar (Tolkien Tuesday)

Melkor, Greatest of the Valar (Tolkien Tuesday)

Good morning Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

It’s Tolkien Tuesday, the day we talk about J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and any exciting happenings in the real life world of Tolkien’s mythology, and today we’re continuing our talk about the mythology of Middle-earth, starting with the Valar.

You’ll remember from the last Tolkien Tuesday that the Valar are the gods of Arda, which is the name of the world. Middle-earth is just one land in the world, not the name of the world itself.

The Valar were created by Eru Ilúvatar—remember, he’s God, THE God of Arda. It’s not certain how many Valar there were, but fifteen of them entered Arda after Ilúvatar created it.

Melkor was one of them, and just from the name, you know Melkor was not a good dude. He was the one who originally corrupted Eru Ilúvatar’s song when he was creating Arda, and he came into the world to…well, to mess it up more.

The world was basically a formless mass, and the other Valinor were trying to give it shape and meaning. But Melkor destroyed everything they built, and because he was the first of the gods, he was also the most powerful.

So he was able to hold his own against all the others, until one super-buff Valar named Tulkas came down. Tulkas tipped the scales, and Melkor fled before the other gods, leaving the world alone for a time.

The Valar started shaping the world again, putting it in order for the arrival of the Elves. That was the main reason they had come. Ilúvatar had told them the Elves were coming, and that they were his special children.

Rather than be annoyed that their dad had a new favorite, the gods built the world, though it was a very different shape than we know from the stories and maps of The Lord of the Rings.

Leading the Valar was Manwë. Manwë was considered the senior Valar, and he was Melkor’s brother, even though he was nowhere near as powerful. But he loved Ilúvatar, and was basically his favored son. We’ll talk about him more in another video.

During this time the Valar built two great lamps at the north and south ends of the world, and these lamps gave light to everything. There was no day and night, only an endless golden light that brought warmth and peace across the whole world.

So of course Melkor destroyed them. He had returned to Arda with an army of Maiar and built a huge fortress on the northernmost end of the world, near the northern lamp.

To guard the fortress he actually raised two mountain ranges. Yeah, raised them himself. Remember, he was the most powerful god around.

Then he rode out with his army and destroyed both lamps, and the fire of the lamps flooded throughout the world and threatened to destroy everything.

The Valar were a little busy trying to contain this destruction, which allowed Melkor and his army to retreat back to his fortress. He sat there and laughed evilly while the Valinor got things back to rights.

But their former island home had been all but destroyed, and they retreated west across the sea to build the kingdom of Valinor. That, incidentally, is where the name Valar comes from.

So Melkor basically ruled Middle-earth, because the other Valar were afraid to come back and fight him. Not that they thought they couldn’t beat him—none of them can be killed, after all—but they didn’t want to wreck the earth again before the Elves showed up.

Unfortunately, left to his own devices, Melkor proceeded to wreck the world again. Predictably. He created all kinds of foul creatures, and when the Elves showed up, they showed up ON Middle-earth. Melkor found them, captured a bunch of them, and tortured them INTO the orc race.

Yep, that’s where orcs come from! They’re actually just Elves, twisted and corrupted by Melkor. Fun!

This does, however, explain something: the Uruk-Hai, the big, super powerful orcs from the Lord of the Rings movies, were a merging of orcs and men.

They were much more powerful than regular orcs, just as the children of men and elves were always more powerful than either race alone. And from this we learn that genetic diversity is a GOOD thing.

We’ll talk more about Melkor and his eventual defeat next Tolkien Tuesday, and then talk about the other Valar and what part they played in the great events of Middle-earth.

For now, thank you so much for watching, and an extra special shoutout to my Patreon supporters who make all my YouTube videos possible. If you want to be one of those awesome people, click the link in the description.

Thanks so much for watching, and I will see you tomorrow. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at

Share This