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Lord of the Rings - The Last Battle
By Rider, 10 July 2007; Revised
Category: History and Fiction
Many people have envisioned an end of the world; mostly, it has been a part of their mythology. The Norse Ragnarok is one of the most well known end-of-the-world-depictions. J.R.R. Tolkien also envisioned the destruction of his created realms, known as Beleriand, or the Middle Earth. The two are quite similar in many ways.
The name Dagor Dagorath is the Sindarin (an Elvish language) name for the Last Battle, the final good versus evil confrontation. Melkor, the most evil and corrupt being, will discover a way to escape from the "Doors of Night" where he was held captive. Immediately upon freeing himself, he will destroy the Sun and the Moon, and the Valar shall gather a huge host of all the Free Peoples of Middle Earth – the Valar, the Elves, the Men and the Dwarves. They will be led by Manwë Sulimo, Tulkas Astaldo, Eärendil the Mariner, Eönwë and Túrin Turambar. Also, to this great and magnificent host will be added the fleet and armies of Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, which were imprisoned under the lands of Aman (much like the Titans were imprisoned to Tartarus after their unsuccessful war with the gods). After Melkor, or Morgoth Bauglir, all his armies have gathered and Sauron the Deceiver has also been called back to life.
In the battle, Tulkas and Melkor will wrestle, but it remains inconclusive as none can best the other. Then, Túrin Turambar and Eönwë will fight Melkor side by side and slay him by slicing his sword through Melkor’s heart, avenging his kin. The host of Valinor will lay waste the forces of Melkor and, during the battle, the lands will be reshaped – the mountains of Pelori leveled.
After the Last Battle, the Valar will reclaim the three Silmarils – lost to the earth, sky and seas. These are given to Yavanna and the spirit of Feanor shall return from the Halls of Mandos to break the Silmarils. With this, the light of the Two Trees shall be renewed and the Second Music of the Ainur shall be sung. This will recreate the entire world. Also, all the Elves shall be reawakened.
At first, there will come a winter and it will be called the Fimbul-winter. There will be three of such with no summer in between. People have maddened and will kill each other for no reason. A wolf shall eat the sun and another will eat the moon and the people will despair. The stars shall disappear and the landscape shall be reshaped. All bonds are broken. The Grey Wolf, Fenris, shall be freed and the Midgard-snake shall destroy lands in his anger. From the sea, a ship made of finger and toenails, Naglfar, shall emerge. The skies shall be ripped apart and the Muspellssons shall ride to Earth with Surt in front of all others. His sword will shine brighter than the Sun. They all shall go towards the field that is named Vigrid. The fields of Vigrid are a hundred miles from every side. Loke and Hrymr, a giant, are already there, and, along with him, there are many other giants.
However, the god, Heimdal, has blown his horn, Gjallar, and that has sounded over all lands. Odin has gone to ask advice from Mimer and the oak tree, Yggdrasil, will shake and all are afraid. Odin will lead all the Valkyries into battle heading towards the Grey Wolf. Tor shall go and fight the Midgard-snake and can’t help Odin. Frey shall battle with Surt, but Frej shall die for his sword shall fail him. Tyr shall fight the dog Garm and both shall kill the other. Tor will kill the Midgard-snake and walk away for nine steps, but then falls to the ground, dead. Fenris will eat Odin, but Vidar, son of Odin, shall slay Fenris. Loke shall battle with Heimdal and both will kill the other. Then, Surt will burn all the lands.
However, after everything is burned, a new green land will arise from the seas. Vidar and Vali are both alive and they shall live there, where Asgard was before, on the fields of Idavold. Also, the sons of Tor, Magni and Modi, shall come from the realm of Hel, Balder and Oder. There, they will be and live. Two humans have found shelter in a forest and they are named Liv and Livstraser. These two shall be the forefathers of all other people - as the Sun had given birth to a child and the child will continue her mother’s journeys.
Both legends begin with the fact that something shall destroy the Sun and the Moon. Also, someone very evil (Fenris for Ragnarok and Melkor for Dagor Dagorath) shall escape from a place he was being held in. This results in the hosts of evil and good gathering on a field to determine the final outcome. There is a battle and the battle is terrible – lands shall be undone and the landscape will become distorted (especially after Surt ignites the fields of Vigrid). The forces of 'the good side’ will be successful with great losses, as we see at Ragnarok, or with small losses (due to the fact that they were revengeful, most likely), as in Dagor Dagorath. The most powerful gods will not engage in the Dagor Dagorath (Manwë will stay away from direct combat and so will Ulmo and Oromë), however, in Ragnarok, many of the high gods bested their opponents and killed themselves and their opponents.
Also, the Greek War between the Titans and the Gods is quite similar – the battle between the sides will destroy the lands; Zeus shall slay many enemies and few of their side are killed (although many are injured), however, Cronos shall not be slain as are Fenris, Loke and Melkor. This might be due to the fact that the War between Titans and Gods is part of the beginning of Greek mythology and not the end. The Titans will be imprisoned at Tartarus, far underground (like Ar-Pharazôn the Golden and his mighty fleet are also kept imprisoned underground). There is also a great dragon-like beast, Typhon, similar to Midgard-snake, that takes part of the war. Such a beast exists in the mythology of Tolkien too – a mighty dragon, called Ancalagon the Black. Both, the Midgard-snake and Typhon are slain by thundergods (Zeus and Tor), however, Ancalagon falls under the blade of Eärendil the Mariner. It is unclear if the dragon, Ancalagon, takes part in the last battle (for Sauron was resurrected for it, and, theoretically, so could Ancalagon, although it is unlikely).