Darkness, or "the Dark and the Shadow", is the ever-present evil in the Universe beginning with the rebellion of Melkor in his conceit before Eä. It is generally used to refer to the evil of Morgoth and of Sauron over the Ages.
History of DarknessEdit
The rebellion of Melkor tampered with and poisoned the original perfect symmetry of Arda and corrupted all the works of the Ainur, but his chief works of Darkness fell upon the souls of the Children of Ilúvatar. After his decline and fall, his successor Sauron continued his works of evil until he too was defeated.
Darkness and MenEdit
Of all the races in Arda, Men were the easiest to corrupt and drive into temptation and thus were most afflicted by the Darkness. Not long after they awoke, Morgoth, probably appearing as a black rider on a black steed convinced them to worship him as their god instead of Eru, but some escaped and repented, becoming the Edain, the ancestors of the Dúnedain, but most still remained in darkness. Those that did remain and never went West remained loyal to Morgoth became known as Easterlings and were ever allied with the dark powers throughout the long ages either for hope of conquest or plunder.
In the Second Age when the men of Númenor fell under the shadow, their faith wavered and their hearts turned ever to Darkness. Then Sauron came and was soon the master of the King's council and men fell ever further into the Shadow, convincing many of the faithless to worship Morgoth in the everlasting Darkness beyond. Here the chief hurt was that men grew afraid of death, a fear that lingered on all men. The embassy from Valinor speculated that this was the first sign of the shadow in Numenor. Afterwards, Darkness continued to compel men to follow its banner serving both themselves and Sauron even after his defeat in the War of the Ring.
It is possible that this is the “shadow” Gandalf is referring to when he commands Durin’s Bane to “Go back to the shadow!”.
Legacy of DarknessEdit
Marring its original design, the advent of Darkness has brought the world its greatest woe but has brought many together who opposed it. As men whose souls are forever corrupted with the seeds of Darkness brought down upon them by Morgoth and Sauron inherit the world after the Fourth Age, they may still have to face it again and again until the end of the world when all Darkness is prophesized to be defeated.
- ↑ The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur)
- ↑ The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XII: "Of Men"
- ↑ The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XVII: "Of the Coming of Men into the West"
- ↑ The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor)