TTRT: The Silmarillion – Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Elendil goes against Sauron (header)

In which these tales and this series come to an end

The fourth and final of the short works that make up The Silmarillion, deals primarily with the events taking place in the Third Age, most of which are recounted in The Lord of the Rings.

It’s fascinating to know that Tolkien wanted to include this work along with the others, thereby producing a book that stretched all the way from the beginning of Arda (in the Ainulindalë) right through the end of the Third Age.


Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

After the catastrophic events that brought about the destruction of Beleriand and the end of the First Age, many of the Elves who did not depart for the West established their kingdoms along the coasts of Middle-earth.

The Dwarves occupied the great mansions of Khazad-dûm, and an alliance existed between the two races.

Eregion, situated near Moria, was a stronghold of the Elves and renowned for its great craftsmen, among whom Celebrimbor was the greatest in skill.

Men, meanwhile, multiplied in the south and many fell under the power of Sauron. The Dark Lord came to the Elves as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, and gave much knowledge to the Elves. There came a time when he assisted the craftsmen of Eregion to forge Rings of Power that would give each bearer great strength and force of will over others.

In each ring Sauron’s dark influence was present, except the three Rings of the Elves that were forged by Celebrimbor in secret. Even Sauron was not aware of these Three, and when he himself forged the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, the Elves knew they had been betrayed.

An unceasing war was launched in which the Dark Lord captures most of the Rings of Power, but the Three remain hidden from him.

Following the destruction of Númenor, Arnor and Gondor flourish under the rule of Elendil and his sons, who bring much knowledge from their previous home: building impressive fortresses and securing a strong foothold against the growing threat of Mordor. With Gil-galad, Elendil forges an Alliance of Elves and Men to wage a long war against the Dark Lord.

Elendil goes against Sauron

Elendil Battles Sauron

In the ensuing war, Sauron is defeated and Isildur claims the One Ring; but it is soon lost in the Anduin river. As thousands of years pass, the line of Kings fails but the descendants of Isildur remain hidden.

Around the year 1000, the five wizards come to Middle-earth to aid its people. Soon, however, only Gandalf the Grey remains truthful to his quest. Whilst Saruman has not yet become evil, he resists Mithrandir requests to assault Dol Guldur during the meeting of the White Council.

Eventually, Saurman gives in and the Wise clear out Dol Guldur and restore temporary piece to the southern borders of Mirkwood.

By this time, the Three Rings of Power reside with Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf. The One Ring, meanwhile, remains hidden in the Misty Mountains.

The rest, as they say, is history 🙂

Favourite Quote

Thus began the Third Age of the World, after the Eldest Days and the Black Years; and there was still hope in that time and the memory of mirth, and for long the White Tree of the Eldar flowered in the courts of the Kings of Men . . .

11 thoughts on “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

  1. Another excellent post, just a small point, but I noticed 2 typos in one sentence: Saurman gives in an the Wise clear out Dol Guldur and restore temporary piece to the southern borders of Mirkwood. Of course it should be “and the Wise” and later peace, rather than piece

    1. Indeed it is, for during the time of Numenor, the Elves brought a sapling from the tree Celeborn which grew on Tol Eressëa. After the destruction of Numenor, Isildur stole a sapling from the Tree at took in back to Middle-earth and planted it in Minas Ithil. After Sauron took the fortress, another seedling was taken to Minas Tirith.

      So the White Tree of Gondor descends right back to Telperion, one of the Two Trees of Valinor.

  2. I’m almost caught up–I found this a little late, so I have consistently stayed a few chapters behind. But yesterday I finished the Quenta Silmarillion…the most beautiful thing I ever have and ever will behold, and the greatest work of art ever done by a human being. I feel like I’ve lived every minute of it. I can’t wait to read it again.

    Just “Akallabêth” and “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age” are left!

    1. So glad you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Quenta Silmarillion, Carlynn! It is truly an amazing experience to complete such a monumental piece of work. I’m sure you’ll equally enjoy the remaining two works 🙂

  3. I’ve finished it! Only 2 1/2 months late! Yeesh — I’m annoyed with myself that I let it take this long. I should have buckled down and given it my full attention — I think next time, I’ll read it in the winter when I seem to be drawn to non-fiction, as this reads much more like nf, for the most part.

    Thank you so much for hosting this read-along — you’ve been ever so helpful and encouraging.

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