Despite its ambitious runtime, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy could still not cover the entirety of author JRR Tolkien’s incredibly detailed mythology, including the saga’s true final battle – Dagor Dagorath. Diehard fans of the British fantasy writer’s literary universe would know Middle-Earth awaited a prophetic battle to end all battles several ages after The Lord of the Rings’ heroes defeated Sauron and his evil minions. While Tolkien is mostly renowned for The Hobbit and its follow-up, many of his other related writings were published posthumously to shed more light on the worlds he conjured with his words.

The poetry/short story anthology The Silmarillion is a prominent case in point that was published by the author’s son, Christopher Tolkien, in 1997. This work is monumental for Lord of the Rings fans as it gives them a brief glimpse into what happened in the ages before and after the events of The Return of the King. Much like how the Prime Video original series The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power seeks to recreate the other continents of Arda beyond Middle-Earth, the prophecy of Dagor Dagorath is an interesting look at what was to come if perhaps Tolkien chose to follow the narrative set up beyond The Lord of the Rings.

In the Elvish tongue of Sindarin, the words “Dagor Dagorath” literally translate to “Battle of all Battles”. Generally regarded as the Final Battle among Tolkien fans, Dagor Dagorath is mentioned in the early editions of the writer’s posthumous 1997 work The Silmarillion, right in the final pages as a prophecy aptly titled “The End.” While Tolkien never described the actual battle, he referenced it in great detail with a prophecy read aloud by Mandos. For those only acquainted with the Tolkienverse within The Lord of the Rings, Mandos was one of the powerful divine beings created by the god-like creator Eru Ilúvatar, responsible for judging the souls of the Elven dead.

Dagor Dagorath is predicted by Mandos as an event that will lead to a clash between the Dark Powers and the Free Peoples of the World. The catastrophic battle will be the biggest of its kind in all of Arda. Aficionados of religion and mythology can equate Dagor Dagorath to the Norse legend of Ragnarök and the Biblical prophecy of Armageddon. However, Mandos offers hope in his doomsday prophecy as he does end with the claim that The Marring of Arda will still be undone one day. “Thereafter shall the Earth be broken and remade,” reads a portion of the glimpse into Arda’s future.

Among the essential facts about The Silmarillion is that this prophecy can’t be found in the book anymore. In the second section of the anthology (titled Valaquenta), Tolkien wrote that Mandos’ claims offer uncertainty around the Final Battle’s verdict. The hope for Arda’s reconstruction fades away and it’s hinted that maybe, the battle does end everything after all. The contradictions between these two different claims on the battle prompted Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien to finally scrap the final prophecy from all published editions of The Silmarillion. Still, it can be found in older manuscripts and the Lord of the Rings Wikia.

The year of the Dagor Dagorath isn’t specified, but considering that it marks the end of Arda as Lord of the Rings readers know it, the battle imost likely takes place during the Fourth Age. While the battle against Sauron and the quest to destroy the One Ring took place in the Second Age, the prophecy of the Dagor Dagorath is what is supposed to happen after the Lord of the Rings ending. Following Sauron’s downfall in the Third Age, the Fourth Age was ushered in with Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and humans prospering. And this peaceful reign eventually gets disturbed by the forces that led to annihilation.

As no other battles and events are mentioned after Dagor Dagorath, it’s believed that the battle takes place in the final year of the recorded history of Middle-Earth. The dark lord Morgoth who is canonically regarded as the original source of all evil in the world awakens in the Fourth Age in this era of peace by turning the sun black and stealing all the moon’s light. Mandos’ prophecy further added that the return of Morgoth is what will prompt the Ainur to fight back under the leadership of Manwë, the King of the Arda. The battle was fought on the fields of Valinor in the Ardan continent of Aman.

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