Dagor Dagorath - Development and References in Tolkien's Works

Development and References in Tolkien's Works

In The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil, when banishing the Barrow-wight, refers to the time "Till the world is mended". This might be a reference to the times after Dagor Dagorath.

Christopher Tolkien removed the prophecy from The Silmarillion based on a 1958 version of the Valaquenta wherein his father wrote that none of Mandos' dooms had declared whether the Marring of Arda would ever be repaired (Christopher Tolkien adopted this passage and used it to close the Quenta Silmarillion).

The published Silmarillion contradicts the Second Prophecy in places. Whereas the Second Prophecy explicitly states that the Elves and Valar shall be renewed after Dagor Dagorath and that the fate of Men is unknown, The Silmarillion states that Men will participate in singing the Second Music, and that it is the fate of the Elves that is unknown, and nothing is said of the fate of the Valar.

This fact occurred because the published Silmarillion uses later versions of the Quenta Silmarillion (included in Morgoth's Ring and The Peoples of Middle-earth).

There are also two references to the final battle in the text of the essay about the Istari included by Christopher in Unfinished Tales. Explaining the insertion of the term in one poem included there Tolkien states that Manwë will "descend from Taniquetil" in order to confront Morgoth, an event that is foreshadowed in "Myths Transformed", one text published in Morgoth's Ring.

Who was "Gandalf?" It is said that in later days (when again a shadow of evil arose in the Kingdom) it was believed by many of the "Faithful" of that time that "Gandalf" was the last appearance of Manwë himself, before his final withdrawal to the watchtower of Taniquetil. (That Gandalf said that his name "in the West" had been Olórin was, according to this belief, the adoption of an incognito, a mere by-name.) I do not (of course) know the truth of the matter, and if I did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than Gandalf was. But I think it was not so. Manwë will not descend from the Mountain until Dagor Dagorath, and the coming of the End, when Melkor returns.

It must be mentioned here that "Dagor Dagorath", the name properly said, was not used by Tolkien in The Lost Road or in The Shaping of Middle-earth. All the occurrences of the term in these books were in the editorial notes of his son. The canonical mentions of the name are only in Unfinished Tales. Christopher Tolkien included the name in The Shaping of Middle-earth because the first mention of the Second Prophecy of Mandos was placed there but Tolkien did not mention the existence of a Prophecy in the text published in Unfinished Tales. The manner with which the name appears in Unfinished Tales suggests that there are some kind of "foretelling" of The End but does not state that it comes from one of Mandos' prophecies.

In his last writings about Middle-earth Tolkien substituted the Prophecy of the Last Battle (Dagor Dagorath) by another prophecy made by Andreth, probably about a different "Last Battle", the War of Wrath (the end of the Elder Days). In this prophecy Túrin was the destroyer of Ancalagon, the dragon, instead of Eärendil.

The next paragraph quotes Tolkien's words in The Problem of Ros, the others are the comments by Christopher Tolkien:

The language of the Folk of Haleth was not used, for they had perished and would not rise again. Nor would their tongue be heard again, unless the prophecy of Andreth the Wise-woman should prove true, that Túrin in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the Circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.

This remarkable saying has long roots, extending back to the prophecy at the end of the old Tale of Turambar (II. 115-16),(...)

Another reference is found in the Annals of Aman (X. 71, 76), where it is said of the constellation Menelmakar (Orion) that it 'was a sign of Túrin Turambar, who should come into the world, and a foreshowing of the Last Battle that shall be at the end of Days.

In this last reappearance of the mysterious and fluctuating idea the prophecy is put into the mouth of Andreth, the Wise-woman of the House of Bëor: Túrin will 'return from the Dead' before his final departure, and his last deed within the Circles of the World will be the slaying of the Great Dragon, Ancalagon the Black. Andreth prophesies of the Last Battle at the end of the Elder Days (the sense in which the term 'Last Battle' is used shortly afterwards in this text, p. 371); but in all the early texts (the Quenta, IV.160; the Annals of Beleriand, IV.309, V.144; the Quenta Silmarillion, V.329) it was Eärendil who destroyed Ancalagon.

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