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Rings of Power: War of The Great Jewels Explained

By Rishabh Shandilya
September 4,2022

There was a string of confrontations in the years before the closing of the First Age remembered variously as the War of the Jewels, the Battle of the Great Jewels, as well as the Battles of Beleriand. It was a fight involving Morgoth’s armies as well as the Elves of Beleriand, who were aided by the Edain and on occasion the Dwarves.

Morgoth launched his assaults on the inhabitants of Beleriand from the safety of his powerful stronghold, Angband. However, despite the Noldor’s successes, the impending destruction of Mandos was always a threat. Both parties lost countless men in these conflicts, and the Elves held contempt for the mortals who sided with darkness for a very long time thereafter.

The War of Jewels

The War of Jewels Still from Rings of Power

What Transpired The War of Jewels

These struggles occurred in the Elder Days, a timeframe prior to the First Age. In these conflicts, the Noldor—the subgroup of Elven warriors—fought to retrieve the Silmarils from the grasp of Melkor, the world’s personification of evil.

Fanor, a master jeweler among the Noldor, fashioned the three Silmarils. These gems were stunning in their beauty, and they contained a portion of the Glory of Valinor that emanated out of the two glowing Trees of Valinor.

Melkor

Melkor also known as Morgoth

Because of their sacred status, any attempt by a human or bad being to grab them would result in instant death. Tragically, whenever anyone lusted for them, starting with Morgoth and leading to Fanor himself longing after them, they were poisoned by pride and greed.

When Morgoth (then known as Melkor) annihilated the Two Trees of Valinor, the sole thing left to hold the brightness of those trees were the Silmarils. The Valar urged Fanor to relinquish the Silmarils in exchange for the replanting of the Two Trees, however, he steadfastly denied it.

Not long after this, word spread that Melkor had murdered Fanor’s father, taken the Silmarils, and fled to his castle in Angband. Clearly, Feanor was enraged, not just at Melkor, whom he sometimes called Morgoth, but also at the Valar, whom he suspected of plotting to take the stones. Feanor and his sons swore that they would fight anybody who tried to keep them from obtaining the Silmarils.

Feanor’s Scorched Middle Earth In Search of Silmarils

Silmarils

The Three Silmarils

The majority of the Noldor, including Feanor, set out towards Middle-earth in quest of Morgoth and a battle over the jewels. Many lives were lost on both sides in the five major conflicts fought with Morgoth, however, the Noldor were ultimately unsuccessful. Ultimately, two of the warrior were somehow able to take control of one of the Silmarils and handed it to Eärendil. Eärendil then carried the stones to Valar.

Galadriel, the Elvin Queen caught some of the brilliance from the Silmaril in her mirror and gave it to Frodo in a flask, which he later used to fight and distract Shelob ( a giant spider). The Silmaril was then placed in the heavens always to be hailed as the Star of Eärendil.

The Quest for The Remaining Silmarils

War of Beleriand

War of Beleriand

The forces of evil, and good once again clashed their swords and spears in the final war of Beleriand, often remembered as the Great Battle. The tribes of Men, Elves, and Dwarfs fought valiantly against the forces of Morgoth eventually vanquishing and bringing a century-old war to a close.

The war is hailed as the biggest war ever fought in Arda, and it was so destructive to the northwestern region of Middle-earth (known as Beleriand) that it eventually sank under the waves. Even when Morgoth was vanquished, a few of his soldiers, like the Orcs, lingered and prospered under Sauron’s leadership, causing problems in the long run.

The remaining two jewels that the Dark Lord had acquired were afterward salvaged by Fanor’s children. But the gems refused to be owned by the sons, burning their fingers like they had scorched Morgoth’s.

Orc

Orc still from Rings of Power

In one story, a son sacrificed his life by jumping into a pool of flames holding the Silmaril in hand, whereas in another, a son hurled his jewel into the water. This made sure that the three Silmarils were now scattered over the three regions of Arda: the heavens, the earth, and the oceans.

When it was revealed that no one had really managed to capture the Silmarils, it seemed as though all the fighting and deaths had been for nothing. Maybe it was always preferable for the Silmarils to remain unreachable to anybody else who might want them, preventing further wars over the precious stones.