TOLKIEN TUESDAY: Melkor and the Theft of the Silmarils

TOLKIEN TUESDAY: Melkor and the Theft of the Silmarils

Hello Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

It’s Tolkien Tuesday, the day we talk about J.R.R. Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and any exciting real-life happenings concerning the fictional world of Middle-earth.

Today we’re going to continue the story we were telling about the creation of Middle-earth, as covered in the Silmarillion, and with a specific focus on Melkor—although this is the last video where we’ll be calling him that.

When last we left our villain, he and the spider Ungoliant had destroyed the Trees of Valinor, ridding the world of their light forever. And in fact all the world was plunged into darkness.

In that confusion, Melkor swiftly went north to the fortress of Fëanor. Now, remember, Fëanor was an Elf of the Noldor, and the greatest craftsman the world had ever seen.

And he had crafted three gems of unparalleled beauty called the Silmarils—now, the book The Silmarillion is NAMED after the Silmarils, so that should be a hint that they’re pretty important, and this is why.

After failing to get the Silmarils before, Melkor now broke into Fëanor’s fortress—Fëanor was away at the time—killed Fëanor’s father, Finwë and stole the Silmarils.

When he picked them up, they burned his hand, and the pain of that burning never left him for all eternity. But he managed to stick them in a sack, or whatever, and fled the fortress to return to his stronghold of Angbad in the north of what would later be called Middle-earth.

Now all this time, the great spider Ungoliant was still with Melkor, because he had promised that if she helped him destroy the Trees of Valinor, he would satiate her unending hunger, and give her anything she wanted with both hands open.

And the impenetrable darkness that followed Ungoliant was a big reason why they were able to escape from Valinor without the Elves, or any of the other Valar, catching them.

But just before they reached his fortress, Ungoliant asked Melkor to honor his end of the bargain. And Melkor held out one hand with all the jewels and treasure he had stolen from Fëanor’s fortress.

But he kept his other hand behind his back, and in it he held the Silmarils.

Ungoliant, it turns out, wasn’t an idiot, so she asked for the other hand, like an eldritch horror version of the shell game. Melkor turned and tried to flee to his fortress, but Ungoliant became enraged and attacked him.

She bit him and poisoned him and wrapped him in webs of her eternal darkness. And Melkor’s screams of agony were so loud that it roused all the forces in his stronghold of Angbad.

A ton of Orcs swarmed out of Angbad, but remember that Melkor also had entire armies of Balrogs. So imagine a few hundred, or thousand, of those swarming at you. And yeah, Ungoliant turned around and ran.

The Balrogs might have caught her and destroyed her, but Melkor called them back, because, you know, he had owies.

So Ungoliant was free to retreat far to the east where she would eventually give birth to tons of hideous little spider babies, including Shelob, from the third Lord of the Rings book and movie.

Melkor retreated into Angbad and started preparing his defenses, because he had a tiny little inkling that maybe the Elves were gonna be coming for him soon.

And boy did they. As soon as the trees were destroyed, the other Valar realized that their light only existed in one place now: the Silmarils that Fëanor had created.

They called Fëanor in and were like, “Hey, so, the light of the trees kind of makes the world possible, so how about you give us the Silmarils so we can make use of them?”

Fëanor basically told them to piss off. And JUST then, a messenger arrived to tell them all that Fëanor’s father had been killed, and the Silmarils had been taken.

Fëanor was, as you can imagine, a little upset, and he gave Melkor a new name: Morgoth, which meant “Dark Foe of the World,” and that’s what Morgoth was called forever after.

Fëanor mustered every Elf who would follow him, intending to march with war upon Melkor in his stronghold in Middle-earth. But that march, unfortunately, would not turn out well—as we will discuss in next week’s Tolkien Tuesday video.

That’s it for today, Rebels. A special shoutout to my supporters on Patreon who make my YouTube channel possible. If you want to be one of those excellent people, or to get signed copies of my books, there are links in the description to both of those things.

Thank you 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

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