The Chaining of Melkor refers to a time in Arda that was free of evil and Melkor was imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for his crimes and evils on the world.


Melkor chained-0

Melkor chained in the Halls of Mandos

At the end of the War for Sake of the Elves, Melkor's armies of darkness were defeated at the Battle of the Powers and his fortress of Utumno was leveled and destroyed. Defeated, Melkor was chained and bound and taken to Valinor for trial. There, he was sentenced to three ages of imprisonment in the dungeons of the Halls of Mandos by his brother Manwë, the King of Arda.[1]

During this time, peace reigned in Middle-earth and the Elves were invited to live in Valinor and settle outside of Cuiviénen with no evil to fear, and so they began their Great Journey. During this time, the Elves became a diversified people forming into many different groups and cultures.[1] The Elves that settled in Aman became High Elves and their princes kings. Written language systems were developed using the Sarati and the Tengwar.[2][3]

In Middle-earth, the Elves developed into the Sindar and were ruled by Elwë and his Queen, the Maia Melian, in Doriath. The lost group of Elves who followed Lenwë during the Great Journey reappeared in Beleriand calling themselves the Nandor, and settled in Ossiriand.[4]

The Chaining lasted three ages, or a total of about three thousand years. The era ended with the release of Melkor who slowly poisoned the peace and stirred up rivalries and dissent among the Noldor. Thus, the Noontide of Valinor came to an end, the Darkness of Valinor began, and many Noldorin houses rebelled against the Valar and went to war with Melkor, who was now known as Morgoth, in Middle-earth.[5][6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter III: "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter V: "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IV: "Of Thingol and Melian"
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VII: "Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VIII: "Of the Darkening of Valinor"
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