The opening episode of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has thrown fans straight back into the fantasy world of Middle-earth.
Yet despite some familiar faces, the series has also followed the Tolkien tradition of piling huge levels of lore onto its unsuspecting viewers.
Just minutes into the first of eight episodes, the prequel treats viewers to a monologue from the Elf Galadriel; a character originally played by Cate Blanchett but now taken up by His Dark Materials’ Morfydd Clark.
From the get-go, Galadriel recounts the recent(ish) battles Middle-earth has faced and brings up one evil power in particular: Morgoth. For the non-Silmarillion obsessed, this name should be pretty unfamiliar, but it’s well-worth knowing a bit more about this beastie before going on with the series.
Who is Morgoth?
Morgoth, also known as Melkor, is an ancient being from the beginning of creation that became primary source of evil on Middle-earth.
As the main antagonist of several of Tolkien’s books, including The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin, Morgoth is the precursor to Sauron. His primary goal was to bring evil and corruption to the world and destroy the Valar (the other ancient beings).
During the First Age of Middle-earth, he committed many evils. As briefly referenced in The Rings of Power, he stole the Silmarils – powerful jewels created by the Elves – and destroyed the two trees of Valinor, which were the source of light in Middle-earth.
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He also captured Elves and transformed them into the infamous orcs that would be the grunts of Tolkien’s stories for years to come.
After ruling over Middle-earth for thousands of years, with the help of his servant Sauron, Morgoth was eventually confronted by the Valar. Using Elves, eagles and their armies, the Valar managed to recapture the Silmarils and banished Morgoth into the void – although Tolkien prophesied that Morgoth would one day return.
After he disappeared, Sauron was the next dark lord and kept the memory of his master alive. Once the Second Age of Middle-earth began, he corrupted men into worshipping evil and soon became just as powerful.
Does Morgoth appear in the Rings of Power?
It’s inevitable that Sauron will at some point appear in The Rings of Power, although he’ll probably go under the pseudonym Annatar, but what we don’t know is when.
As it stands in the series, the Elven smith Celebrimbor is looking to forge something important with the help of Elrond, which could definitely lead to some sneaky Sauron intervention.
Yet when it comes to Morgoth, it’s unlikely he’ll be mentioned in anything but name and influence.
As the first great evil, his power is sewn into the fabric of Middle-earth, so we’ll be sure to see his handiwork in the form of orcs, Balrogs and more. But while he’s trapped in the void, there’s always a chance he might return...
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- What is the Second Age of Middle-earth? Rings of Power timeline explained
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1 and 2 are available now on Amazon Prime Video – you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.