How was he defeated if he's the strongest being?

He begged for mercy and got thrown into the Outer Dark where he currently dwells.

  • 2
    Leverage. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:15
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    @MajorStackings You mean he stumbled over the doorstep of the Door of the Night? :D
    – Eureka
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:28
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    Nobody beats the wrestler god, Tulkas, at wrestling, I mean that's like his thing right. Morgoth is really strong, but Tulkas would be a pretty boring god if he wasn't really the best wrestler. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:33
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    Being the strongest individual doesn't mean everyone else can't gang up and overpower you together. Plurality of power ≠ majority of power.
    – jwodder
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 1:12
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    And thus, @jwodder summed up the entirety of Tolkien's work in a single equation.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


There is no contradiction: At the time he was finally cast in the void, Morgoth was not the strongest being anymore.

As explained in my other answer, it is important in The Silmarillion not to confuse Melkor, the mightiest of all except Eru, and Morgoth, which is the Evil Overlord form which remains once he scattered most of his original power in devious creatures and infused it in the very matter of Arda itself.

For Tolkien, the whole Earth became Morgoth's Ring, which explains why Evil always survives and prospers thanks to this marring in all things, and how he cannot be truly defeated until the whole world is broken and recreated anew.

Sauron with his One Ring reproduced the exact same process on a much smaller scale, since he was only a Maia to begin with: He only used it to gain influence over all the other rings, rather than over the whole Creation.

  • but how could he beg for mercy? seems pretty humiliating and ridiculous for him to beg for mercy. Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 18:56
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    Morgoth begged both time he was defeated: The psychogical fall is even harder when you thought you were invicible. Moreover, some texts mention how both him and the Valar were shocked to find out how diminished he had become compared to them.
    – Eureka
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:33
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    Melkor weakened himself by dissipating his power throughout Arda; in HoME10 Tolkien remarks that "Sauron was 'greater', effectively, in the Second Age than Morgoth at the end of the First. Why? Because, though he was far smaller by natural stature, he had not yet fallen so low."
    – user8719
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 23:18
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    @JimmyShelter That's why I provided a link to my other answer, which includes this particular quote and is generally more detailled :)
    – Eureka
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 23:21

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