Here are all of the significant occurrences and developments that occur throughout J.R.R. Tolkien’s Second Age, which is equally as dramatic and significant as The Lord of the Rings‘ time. The timeline of Eä (the cosmos in which Middle-earth resides) is divided into ages, some of which span many millennia, due to Tolkien’s fictional mythology’s immense scope. The extraordinarily long Years of the Valar and the Years of the Trees followed the beginning of existence. After Morgoth brutally burned the Two Trees of Valinor, the First Age started, followed by the Second, Third, and Fourth Ages, which mark the conclusion of Tolkien’s chronology.
For comparison, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit both take place roughly 3000 years into the Third Age, and The Return of the King’s coronation of Aragorn ushers in the Fourth formally. Although the events of his two most well-known stories take place within a single century, Tolkien wrote extensively about what came before, including in The Silmarillion, appendices, and other works. He covered everything from the moment Eru Ilvatar and his band sang the world into existence to the day Bilbo Baggins left the Shire with a group of dwarves and a wizard.
The stories of the Third Age have taken center stage on bookshelves and in movie theaters, but Tolkien’s other eras are just as epic and significant. “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Amazon is inspired by the Second Age, which is debatably more seismic than its successor. Here is an explanation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Second Age, which spans 3441 years.
The Landscape of the Second Age Described
The War of Wrath, which saw Morgoth taste defeat at the hands of a powerful host from Valinor, brought an end to the First Age and allowed the Free Peoples to build their homes once more. Gil-Galad was crowned High King of the Oldor by the Elves, and Lindon was made into their major province. Crdan was in charge of the neighboring Grey Havens, from where the elves would embark for Valinor. The Valar created an island in the oceans separating Middle-earth from Valinor as payment to the Houses of Men who fought Morgoth. Here, Elros, the brother of Elrond, became the first king of the realm of Nmenor.
Although Lindon would continue to be the center of elf activity during the Second Age of The Lord of the Rings, people with pointy ears gradually migrated to the east over time. Galadriel and her husband Celeborn relocated to Lothlórien on the other side of the range, while Eregion, ruled over by Lord Celebrimbor, was created next to the Misty Mountains. Men who stayed in Middle-earth and who either didn’t participate in the War of Wrath or served under Morgoth tended to live along the coasts and in the south or in Rhovanion and the Rhûn in the east. While halflings would secretly appear in Rhovanion, there were pockets of dwarves scattered throughout Middle-hilly earth’s regions.
The Third Age of The Lord of the Rings depicted a vastly altered racial environment, with men on the increase, Hobbits establishing themselves in Eriador’s Shire, and the Dwarves’ most illustrious and opulent halls being destroyed by dragons, balrogs, and avarice.
How The Second Age Prepares Numenor for Destruction
Numenor served as a dazzling example of the heights that a mortal civilization may reach for almost 2000 years. As successive kings carried on Elros’ lineage, the island kingdom prospered, expanded, and underwent a change. In the sixth century of the Second Age, the Nmenóreans’ prowess at sailing enabled them to rediscover Middle-earth, the country of their ancestors. Gil-Elves Galad’s and Numenor developed close ties as the blessed men taught “lesser” relatives they came across about their superior understanding. Swift stops eventually developed into long-term bases, providing Numenor a foothold in their homeland. In spite of the good news, Nmenor’s arrival in Middle-earth pushed the kingdom one step closer to extinction.
During this time, the Nmenórean foundations started to crack again. A girl named Silmarin was the first child of Nmenor’s then-ruler, but because herald rules forbidding female succession, her younger brother received the scepter instead. Silmarin and her spouse started a breakaway line known as the Lords of Andni, who are essentially non-ruling descendants of Elros, even if the top position escaped her. Elendil, Isildur, and later Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings would all descend from Silmarin’s ancestry.
The Lords of Andni and Nmenor’s reigning house developed quite different philosophical perspectives over the years. The immortality of the Elves made the king’s line more and more envious, and they were enraged at the Valar for forbidding them from heading west toward Valinor. The Numenor eventually abandoned their previous customs and allegiances during the third millennium of the Second Age, abandoning both Vala and elf, and ruling over the men of Middle-earth rather than collaborating with them. The Lords of Andni, on the other hand, avoided the temptations of power and stayed true to their origins.
How “The Power Rings” Were Made (& What Happened Next)
Comparatively speaking, Sauron’s Lord of the Rings voyage is like riding a roller coaster from the Second Age (embarrassing defeat at the hands of hobbits notwithstanding). After the First Age came to an end, a feeble Sauron immediately went into hiding in Middle-earth for almost five centuries, after which his presence started to reappear. However, the Dark Lord kept a low profile until he decided to make Mordor his permanent home about the year 1000 of the Second Age. Then another 500 years would pass as Sauron built his empire, turned Mordor into a filthy wasteland, and devised a cunning scheme.
Since Sauron could still change his form during the Second Age, his brilliant strategy entailed becoming an alter ego named “Annatar,” who appeared far less like a mythological tyrant hell-bent on destroying the world. While Gil-Galad, Elrond, and Galadriel were all highly suspicious of this foreigner who seemed too good to be true, Annatar, who had come to the Elves with promises of knowledge and gifts, Celebrimbor the elven-smith quietly brought Sauron into Eregion. The elves of Eregion built a series of nineteen magic rings with the help of an evil Maia, only three of which Celebrimbor himself crafted free of malign meddling.
Sauron built the One Ring covertly, as The Fellowship of the Ring’s history lesson explains, but he played his cards too soon and the Elves understood they had been tricked. Sauron was successful in stealing fifteen rings, giving nine to human monarchs and six to dwarf-lords (who had one already from the elves). Sauron then carried out his evil scheme, but the elves had already taken off their three rings, and the dwarves had shown too resilient to be tainted. Only the men were enslaved by Sauron and were changed into the Nazgûl. In the meantime, Sauron used the One Ring to complete building his Barad-dûr castle in Mordor.
Rise, Fall, Rise, Fall, Rise & Fall of Sauron’s Middle-earth
Sauron and the Elves engaged in a seven-year war as a result of his One Ring treason. While Lindon resisted the siege and Lothlórien was kept safe by Galadriel, Sauron took the upper hand in this battle and entirely destroyed Eregion. Elrond created Rivendell (of The Lord of the Rings fame) from the ruins of Eregion, and it resisted an attack by Sauron’s armies with equal tenacity. The arrival of reinforcements from Numenor marked the turning point in the fight. Sauron was forced back to Mordor with his tail between his black-armored legs thanks to the combined efforts of Men and Elves.
Not until almost 1500 years later would the black shadow of Middle-Earth reappear. The valiant race of Numenor had vanished under its own black shadow by the time Sauron’s schemes were ready, having spent that time consolidating and preparing a new conquering campaign. But Ar-Pharazôn, the haughty ruler of Nenmenor, objected to Sauron’s proclamation that he was “King of Men,” for the islanders had grown to feel that they were worthy of such a high title. The Nmenóreans set sail for Middle-earth one more, but this time they captured their adversary and dragged Sauron back to their star-shaped island in a moment of profound regret.
Sauron took advantage of the aforementioned differences and cultivated the ruling house’s hate of the Valar over the course of the following fifty years as he rose the ladder of opportunity from Nmenor’s prisoner to the closest advisor of Ar-Pharazôn. Ar-Pharazôn was ultimately persuaded by Sauron to attack Valinor, which is akin to persuading a young kid to shoot a water gun at a tank. Ar-army Pharazôn’s was destroyed either at sea or on the coasts of Valinor, and Numenor was submerged beneath the waves. Despite surviving the heavenly attack, Sauron lost his power to shift.
The History of Gondor (& What Happened To Arnor)
On the day Eru Ilvatar’s wrath reshaped the Sundering Seas’ topography, not every Nmenórean perished. Some members of the Lords of Andni and other Lords who upheld Nmenor’s founding principles were spared, allowed to flee the carnage on a small fleet of ships, and made it back to Middle-earth without incident. The most significant of these refugees for The Lord of the Rings were Elendil and his two sons, Isildur and Anárion. In Middle-earth, the Elendil declared himself king over all mankind (except for those who had already chosen the path of darkness, such as the Black Nmenóreans and the Easterlings). Elendil built two enormous kingdoms in the likeness of Numenor, Gondor, and Arnor, alongside his sons. The Lord of the Rings details the rocky past and tenacious existence of Gondor. By the time Frodo leaves the Shire, Arnor has already fallen for a considerable amount of time. Due to internal strife and a gradual loss of prominence throughout the early Third Age, Arnor suffered a steady fall before being overthrown by the Witch-king of Angmar.
The Last Alliance of Men and Elves (and Why It Failed)
The Second Age of the Lord of the Rings came to a close with a decisive conflict between the combined forces of Sauron, whose leader had returned from Numenor with the One Ring, and the assembled armies of Gil-Galad, Elendil, and several dwarven tribes (most likely from Khazad-dûm). Both sides suffered significant losses, with Gondor losing Osgiliath, its first capital. Eventually, the forces of unity prevailed, and as described in The Fellowship of the Ring, the Last Alliance drove Sauron back to Barad-dûr and totally besieged the castle. Although Sauron was personally fought by Gil-Galad and Elendil, who both perished in the process, Sauron was sufficiently debilitated for Isildur to tear the One Ring free, diminish Sauron to a whisper of his full grandeur for the following 3000 years, and bring an end to the Second Age.
Despite the Last Alliance’s victory, the good guys never fully bounced back. The Elves’ dynasty of High Kings came to an end with the loss of Gil-Galad, and the Numenor event weakened the coastal Lindon. More elves would later move west toward Valinor, as seen in The Lord of the Rings. As the Third Age began, men would, as is their nature, create their own problems. Gondor was weakening, Arnor had been vanquished, and the mortals of Middle-earth urgently needed a genuine king to unite them.
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