Tolkien’s Second Age of Middle-earth:
A Selective Summary

 

A period of 3,441 years from the defeat of Morgoth, to the first defeat of Sauron.

Middle-earth is in a dark age after the War of the Jewels. Beleriand has been overtaken by the sea leaving a new coast line. Elves are counseled to return to the west. But rather than going again to Valinor they go to the islands of Eressea and Numenor. Still many of the elves remain in Middle-Earth. This is a time of the flourishing of the dwarves.

The three most important aspects of the history of the Second Ages:

1) Sauron
With the defeat of his master Morgoth, Sauron “repents”, but is not fully brought to justice. Over time he becomes the new dark lord as he lusts after complete power. He uses what had been left of the orc and goblin armies. Builds a fortress in Mordor, called Barad-dur (“the dark tower”)

2) The second fall of the elves: the fashioning of the rings of power
Of the elves that stayed in Middle-Earth. Establishment of Rivendell by Elrond. Alliances formed between elves and dwarves.

Sauron tempts the elves to fashion the rings of power: To make Middle-earth as beautiful as Valinor, and to enhance their natural powers. Sauron fashions the one ring, the Ring of Power, to contain and control all the others; forged in the fires of Mount Doom in the land of Mordor.

3) The war between Sauron & the elves / the fall of Numenor
Elves of Numenor send an army to Middle-earth against Sauron. Sauron is defeated and brought back to Numenor. While there Sauron perverts the elves to partake in a “dark religion”. When ships went out west from Numenor to assail the land of the Valar, in judgement Numenor is swallowed up by the sea. Valinor & Eressea are removed from the world completely.

Sauron himself escapes from Numenor, back to Middle-earth, where he regains strength in his fortress in Mordor. In a great battle before the dark gate, the ring is cut from his hand by Isildur and Sauron’s disembodied spirit flies back to the dark tower in Mordor. Later Isildur is drowned in the River Anduin. The One Ring of power is lost for over 2,000 years until found by Deagol (a creature akin to hobbits). Smeagol (Gollum) obtained the ring almost immediately when he killed his friend Deagol to take it for himself.

A Second Age Bibliography

“Akallabeth” in The Silmarillion (1977)
“The Second Age” in Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth (1980)
“The Fall of Numenor and the Lost Road” in The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987)

            [The History of Middle-Earth ; 5]

                                                                                                                    PJS [rev. 7/06]   

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