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The Silmarillion chapters
  1. Ainulindalë
  2. Valaquenta
  3. Quenta Silmarillion
    1. Of the Beginning of Days
    2. Of Aulë and Yavanna
    3. Of the Coming of the Elves
    4. Of Thingol and Melian
    5. Of Eldamar
    6. Of Fëanor
    7. Of the Silmarils
    8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
    9. Of the Flight of the Ñoldor
    10. Of the Sindar
    11. Of the Sun and Moon
    12. Of Men
    13. Of the Return of the Ñoldor
    14. Of Beleriand and its Realms
    15. Of the Ñoldor in Beleriand
    16. Of Maeglin
    17. Of the Coming of Men into the West
    18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand
    19. Of Beren and Lúthien
    20. Of the Fifth Battle
    21. Of Túrin Turambar
    22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
    23. Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
    24. Of the Voyage of Eärendil
  4. Akallabêth
  5. Of the Rings of Power

Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age is the fifth and last part of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is relatively short, consisting of about 20 pages.

The work is an essay dealing with the preamble to the events described in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and the events themselves, in the style of The Silmarillion. The fact that those events are explored in a mere handful of pages suggests that if the events described in the rest of The Silmarillion had been written in the style of The Lord of the Rings they would have filled hundreds of volumes. When Tolkien died in 1973, his son, Christopher Tolkien, completed this part, assisted by Guy Gavriel Kay. The chapter bears some similarities to Elrond's narrative in The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter "The Council of Elrond"; though neither divulges any details about how Arnor was destroyed and how Gondor became kingless.

Summary

The nineteen Rings of Power and their bearers as portrayed in the films

As the name implies, the events of the essay are focused around magical artefacts: the Rings of Power.

The Elves of Eregion helped Sauron forge many rings, including nineteen Rings of Power. But Sauron had deceived them, for in secret he made the One Ring for himself, which was the master of the rest. These rings of power were distributed to the leaders of the free peoples of Middle-earth in order to achieve control and therefore power. Seven to the Dwarf Lords, nine to mortal Men and three left to the Elves.

The One Ring worn by Sauron

But Sauron's plan failed: the Elves discovered his plot, for as soon as he put on the Ring, the Elves knew they had been deceived. They removed and hid the three Elven rings, and were therefore shielded from Sauron's influence, which would have held dominion over their bearers had they used them. Sauron then waged war upon the Elves in retaliation, but the three Elvish rings remained hidden from him. While many Elves were killed and the realm of Eregion destroyed, the Men of Númenor helped the Elves repel Sauron. Over 1500 years later, King Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor decided to capture Sauron to demonstrate his might. As it is described in the Akallabêth, Sauron was brought to Númenor as a prisoner; however, he soon corrupted most Númenóreans, encouraging them to replace their traditional reverence for Eru Ilúvatar with worship of Melkor, or 'Morgoth', Sauron's previous master. Under Sauron's influence, the Númenóreans decided to challenge the Valar by invading Aman. As a result, Númenor was destroyed and sank beneath the waves, a cataclysm far beyond the premeditated schemes of Sauron who himself was cast down into the sea.

Only a few survivors left Númenor successfully, and led by Elendil the Tall and his two sons Isildur and Anárion, their ships reached Middle-earth's coast, and they were recognized and accepted as rulers by those who encountered their arrival. They founded two great Realms in Exile; Elendil ruled over Arnor in the north, and Isildur and Anárion jointly ruled Gondor in the south. However, Sauron's spirit survived the disaster too, and although he had lost his fair physical appearance, he returned safely to his stronghold of old in the land of Mordor and regained his strength.

Years passed, and Sauron, who had renewed his might, gathered his allies of Orcs and evil men, including the Black Númenóreans (most of whom now followed leaders who wore Rings of Power) and decided to attack the new realms while they were still weak. His onslaught failed, however and King Elendil, his sons, and the Elven kings forces fought back. Forming a great coalition, the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, they defeated Sauron's armies in a great battle and then besieged the Dark Lord's fortress Barad-dûr for seven years. Sauron himself eventually came forth to challenge Elendil and Gil-galad in combat. Gil-galad and Elendil were both slain. But in the process they overthrew Sauron, after which Isildur used the broken hilt of Narsil to cut the One Ring from Sauiuron's hand, the final death blow it would seem. Sauron's spirit departed his dark armored body. Lord Elrond who stood nearby tried to convince Isildur to destroy the Ring then and there in the fires of Mount Doom where it was made, and the only place it could be destroyed for ever: But he took it for his own and declared that it would be a weregild for his father, and brother Anárion, who also was killed during the siege of Barad-dûr. The Elves could now wear their three Rings of Power freely as The One was no longer worn by the defeated Dark Lord. Thus began the Third Age of Middle-earth.

Isildur takes the One Ring

In the second year of the Third Age, Isildur and his guard were ambushed by a band of Orcs near the Gladden Fields. With almost all of his men killed, Isildur put the Ring on his finger in the hope of eluding the Orcs as the Ring made him invisible. He plunged into Anduin, the great river, in order to escape. Yet the Ring slipped from his finger, revealing him to the Orcs, who then shot him with many arrows. As Isildur died the Ring was lost in the great river for nearly two and a half thousand years.

For a millennium after the War of the Last Alliance, the realms of Arnor and Gondor enjoyed freedom and prosperity. However afterwards, Arnor divided into warring successor states, which became subject to attacks from the evil kingdom of Angmar. The remaining kingdom of Arthedain's strength gradually dwindled until it was destroyed. Its people were scattered, and its royalty decreased in number; however they remained true to their Númenórean descent. They became the Rangers of the North, protecting the lands of Eriador from the menace from the East.

As for Gondor, it prospered for much of the Third Age, becoming very powerful. However after a disastrous civil war, the Kin-strife and an even more destructive Great Plague and Wainrider War the kingdom began to decline.

Istari

In TA 1000, several Wizards, known as 'the Istari', had come to Middle-earth: Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, and two others who went into the east. Although it was unknown to the peoples of Middle-earth, they were emissaries from the West, sent on behalf of the Valar to help them resist the power of Sauron, who had been secretly orchestrating the attacks on Arnor and Gondor.

Taking up residence at Dol Guldur as the 'Necromancer', Sauron rebuilt his power over many centuries, opposed unsuccessfully by the White Council, until eventually in TA 2951 the Dark Lord declared his return to Mordor.

Sauron made war on Middle-earth again. In this war, the Heir of Isildur, Aragorn II Elessar, arose and led the host of the West to victory at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, whilst the now traitorous Saruman was defeated and captured at Isengard. Then Gandalf, the sons of Elrond and Aragorn led the army of the west to the Black Gate of Mordor. But Frodo the Hobbit had embarked on the Quest of the Ring, carrying the One Ring stealthily to Mount Doom and destroying it, thus defeating Sauron for good.

The Elven Rings of Power as glimpsed in The Fellowship of the Ring film (2001)

After this, it was made clear that Gandalf bore the red ring, Narya. Galadriel and Elrond had the other two rings, Nenya and Vilya. The Third Age ends with the Keepers of the Three Rings departing over the Sea, bringing an end to the time of the Elves except in story and song.

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Van die Ringe van Krag en die Derde Ouderdom
Albanian Unazat e Pushtetit dhe Mosha e Tretë
Amharic ኃይል ቀለበቶች እና ሦስተኛ ዘመን
Arabic عن خواتم القوة والعصر الثالث
Armenian ՝ Իշխանության մատանիների և Երրորդ ժամանակների մասին
Azerbaijani Hakimiyyəti Üzüklərin və Üçüncü dövrünə
Basque Botere eraztunak eta Hirugarren Aroa
Belarusian Cyrillic Пра Пярсцёнкі ўлады і Трэцюю эпоху
Bengali শবে রিং এবং তৃতীয় বয়স
Bosnian O prstenovima moći i Trećem Dobu
Breton Gwalinier ar Galloud hag an Trede Amzer
Bulgarian Cyrillic За всевластните пръстени и Третата епоха
Cambodian នៃចិញ្ចៀនអាពាហ៍ពិពាហ៍នៃអំណាចនិងអាយុទីបី
Catalan Dels Anells de Poder i de la Tercera Edat
Chinese 魔戒及第三紀元
Corsican Di l 'Aneddu di -Sintinedddi e la Terza età
Croatian O prstenovima moći i Trećem dobu
Czech Z Kruhů síly a Třetího Věku
Danish Om de Mægtige Ringe og den Tredje Tidsalder
Dutch Over de Ringen van Macht en de Derde Era
Esperanto De la Ringoj de Potenco kaj la Tria Aĝo
Estonian Rõngad võimu ja kolmas vanus
Fijian Ni na Mama ni Kaukauwa kei na Ikatolu ni Yabaki
Finnish Mahtisormukset ja Kolmas Aika
French Les Anneaux de pouvoir et le Troisième Âge
Frisian Fan de Ringen fan macht en de Tredde Leeftyd
Galician Dos Aneis do Poder e a Terceira Idade
Georgian ძალაუფლების ბეჭდებისა და მესამე ეპოქის შესახებ
German Von den Ringen der Macht und dem dritten Zeitalter
Greek Τα Δαχτυλίδια της Δύναμης και η Τρίτη Εποχή
Gujarati પાવર ઓફ રિંગ્સ અને થર્ડ ઉંમર
Hausa Daga cikin Zobba mulki kuma na uku shekaru
Hebrew על טבעות הכוח והעידן השלישי
Hindi सत्ता के छल्ले और तीसरे आयु के
Hungarian A gyűrűkről és a harmadkorról
Icelandic Af Hringir af Krafti og Þriðja Aldri
Indonesian Cincin Kekuasaan dan Ketiga Umur ?
Irish Gaelic As na bhFáinní na Cumhachta agus an Tríú hAoise
Italian Gli Anelli di Potere e la Terza Età
Japanese 力の指輪と第三紀のこと
Javanese Saka dering daya lan umur Katelu ?
Kannada ಶಕ್ತಿಶಾಲಿ ಉಂಗುರಗಳ ಮತ್ತು ಮೂರನೇ ವಯಸ್ಸು
Kazakh Қуат сақиналары және Үшінші а дәуір (Cyrillic) Qwat saqïnaları jäne Üşinşi a däwir (Latin)
Korean 힘의 반지와 제3시대’의 다섯 파트로 나뉜다
Kurdish Wekî we Qulp Hêz û Serdema Sêyemîn ? (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Latin De Anulis Potestatis et Tertia Aetate
Latvian Gredzenu varas un Trešā Laikmeta
Lithuanian Apie Galios Žiedus bei Trečiąjį Amžių
Lombard I Anei del podè e la Terza Età
Luxembourgish Vun de Réng vun Muecht an den Drëtte Alter
Macedonian Cyrillic На прстените на власта и Трето доба
Malaysian Daripada Cincin Kuasa dan Umur Ketiga
Maori O nga Mowhiti o te Mana me te Tau Tuatoru
Marathi पॉवर रिंग व तिसरे वय
Mongolian Cyrillic Гүрэн Бөгжний болон гурав дахь зэвсгийн тухай
Nepalese पावर को छल्ले र तेस्रो आयु को
Norwegian En redegjørelse om Maktens Ringer og Tredje Tideverv
Occitan Los Anèls del poder e l'Edat Tresena
Pashto د بریښنا د کړۍ_ګانې او د دریم عمر ?
Persian حدیث حلقه‌های قدرت و دوره سوم
Polish Pierścienie Władzy i Trzecia Era
Portuguese Dos Anéis de Poder e da Terceira Era
Punjabi ਪਾਵਰ ਦੀ ਰਿੰਗ ਅਤੇ ਤੀਜਾ ਦੀ ਉਮਰ ਦੇ
Romanian Despre Inelele puterii şi cel de-al Treilea Ev
Russian О кольцах власти и о Третьей Эпохе
Samoan O le mama o le Mana ma le Tausaga Tolu
Serbian О Прстеновима моћи и Трећем добу (Cyrillic) O Prstenovima moći i Trećem dobu (Latin)
Sindhi پاور ۽ ٽيون عمر جي ويڪريون جي
Sinhalese විදුලිබල හා තුන්වන වයස පිළිබඳ රින්ග්ස්
Slovak O Prsteňoch moci a Treťom veku
Slovenian O prstanih moči in Tretjem vek
Somalian Oo ka mid ah Siddo oo Xoog iyo da'da Saddexaad
Spanish De los Anillos de Poder y la Tercera Edad
Sundanese Tina Cingcin daya jeung Katilu Jaman
Swahili Wa Pete ya Madaraka na Umri Tatu
Swedish Om Maktens Ringar och Tredje Åldern
Tajik Cyrillic Аз зиреҳҳои Ҳокимият ва Синну сеюм
Tamil பவர் வளையங்கள் மற்றும் மூன்றாம் வயது
Telugu రింగ్స్ అఫ్ పవర్ మరియు మూడవ వయసు
Thai ออฟเดอะริงของอำนาจและยุคที่สาม
Turkish Güç Yüzüklerine ve Üçüncü Çağa Dair
Ukrainian Cyrillic Про Персні Влади та Третю епоху
Urdu بجلی کے حلقے اور تیسری عمر کے
Uzbek Қадр Узуклар ва учинчи Асри (Cyrillic) Qadr Uzuklar va uchinchi Asri (Latin)
Vietnamese Của những chiếc nhẫn quyền lực và con thứ ba Tuổi
Welsh O'r Cylchoedd Grym a'r Trydydd Oed
Yiddish וועגן די רינגס פון מאַכט און די דריט עלטער
J.R.R. Tolkien's - The Silmarillion
Ainulindalë | Valaquenta | Quenta Silmarillion | Akallabêth | Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
The History of Middle-earth
(earlier versions of the story of The Silmarillion)
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