After the Elves took many casualties in the Dagor Bragollach, Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, rode up to the gates of Angband and challenged Melkor to single battle in such a way that he couldn't decline. Melkor being a Vala, Fingolfin clearly couldn't win, but he dealt Melkor seven wounds, survived three blows, and then when he was finally knocked down, dealt a blow to Melkor's ankle that haunted him forever.

I was searching for pictures of the battle, and I noticed that there was a huge disparity in Melkor's depicted height, from about 12 to 100+ feet, and that got me wondering how large he actually was. I looked around but couldn't find even any guesses. Being a Vala, he could have taken any shape or size he desired for the fight. With the speed-power tradeoff between the two, I've always imagined him to be about 25 feet.

Is there any indication as to how large he was for that fight, or his usual height and form?

Melkor about 12 feet tall
Melkor about 12 feet tall
By EthalenSkye on DeviantArt

Melkor about 50 feet tall
Melkor about 50 feet tall
By Davix92 on DeviantArt

Melkor about 100 feet tall
Melkor about 100 feet tall
By juliedillon on DeviantArt


3 Answers 3


Melkor lost his ability to change his shape after the death of the Trees, as Of the Darkening of Valinor notes:

Now Melkor came to Avathar and sought her out; and he put on again the form that he had worn as the tyrant of Utumno: a dark Lord, tall and terrible. In that form he remained ever after.

As for his size, Tolkien doesn't say explicitly, but he's certainly large enough so that Thorondor could "mar his face" (rather than utterly obliterate it, as one might imagine Thorondor doing to a human-sized opponent), but yet small enough so that Fingolfin could wound him seven times and in the end "hew his foot".

In Of Beren and Lúthien we also learn that Morgoth is definitely small enough to enable Lúthien to cast her cloak in his face, and a shard of the knife Angrist can smite his cheek.

But since Tolkien never gives an actual size, that's as good as you're going to get.

  • Howe's illustration is likely as close to scale as we are likely to get. He's well versed in the lore. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 12:24
  • @KorvinStarmast I agree, though the plate armor Morgoth is wearing doesn't match what we know. Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 22:27

Certainly my favorite scene in all Tolkien... it's my PC wallpaper... :-)

To add to what Darth Satan said, Morgoth must be small enough so that Fingolfin could withstand him for a while, and small enough so that:

"...Morgoth set his left foot upon his neck" (On the ruin of Beleriand and the fall of Fingolfin)

If we consider that Fingolfin was probably about 7 feet high, and that Morgoth couldn't logically have been much more than twice his height, it leaves him about the size of the first image, which looks more like 18-20 feet tall considering the height of Fingolfin and that Morgoth is bending, so he's easily more than twice his height there.

That would be big enough to rend the earth all around the king and make him look like a tower... at the most, I would say 25 feet tall... which would be a quite frighening sight altogether !


The pits of Grond were large enough for Fingolfin to fall in. They must have been at least 8 or so feet wide and long.Therefore Grond must have been at least 25 foot in length. Therefore Morgoth was at least 40 foot tall.

  • 4
    I don't know about you, but I'm certainly capable of falling into a one foot pit.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 9:45

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