Tolkien demonstrates his gentle trolling skills
I don’t mean it disrespectfully, but what we commonly today refer to as a “troll”, Tolkien seems to have had his cheeky way at spoiling the fun in his narratives.
Case in point is this chapter’s title. Its outcome is pretty much given away.
Then again, one could easily argue the cleverness behind such revelatory titles: the need to keep on reading and find out what this “ruin” is and how the “fall” occurs.
As it happens, all the answers are given in the following …
Chapter 18 – Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
After 450 years since Fingolfin landed back in Middle-Earth, Morgoth sends rivers of flame onto the plain of Ard-galen: scorching it and devouring everything in its path, bringing about death and destruction on a colossal scale. From that day onward, the green plain becomes known as Anfauglith (the Gasping Dust).
Thankfully, the heights of Dorthonion and Ered Wetherin hold back the fiery torrents from spreading further south.
Thus begins the fourth of the Great Battles in the Wars of Beleriand: Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame.
The Battle of Sudden Flame
Glaurung the golden, the father of dragons, comes forth with Balrogs and countless armies of Orcs. In the face of such terror and strength, both Elves and Men are overwhelmed and scattered. Major strongholds are surrounded, and kingdoms are isolated like islands without any hope of helping each other.
Morgoth almost achieves ultimate victory.
Fingolfin, being the good king that he is, foolishly decides to ride to Angband and challenge Morgoth to single combat.
Morgoth accepts the challenge, but is hard put to it – Vala though he is. The elf king springs lightly around him, avoiding being crushed to death by the hammer Grond. Fingolfin delivers seven wounds to the Dark Lord in a combat that sees the might of the elf king and the terror of Morgoth.
Fingolfin fights Morgoth
Eventually, Fingolfin is exhausted and is finally thrown down and slain.
As the body is about the be dropped from a precipice, Thorondor (King of the Eagles) rushes towards Morgoth and wounds his face – taking the body of the elf away to safety.
After the encounter, Morgoth never recovers from his wounds and carries the scars of the Eagle forever.
During this time of despair and loss, a small group of Men led by Barahir, withstand the power of Morgoth in the regions of Dorthonion. Eventually, the last remnants of the group are destroyed and the son of Barahir, Beren, escapes into the woods of Doriath.
Thus he came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.