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The Court was formed in the waning years of the First Age of Arda, when Morgoth, the Black Enemy, ruled the Northwest of Middle-earth, possessing the Silmaril in his Iron Crown. As is well known, after the death of the Two Trees of Valinor (which had lighted Valinor and to a lesser extent the rest of the world), the Valar created the moon and the sun, which were much brighter than the dim luminescence which had filtered to Middle-earth from Valinor and the Trees, and it blinded and drove into hiding nearly all of Morgoth's servants. Only in the night and the relative dimness of the moon could they roam abroad and cause terror, and even then they cursed the silvery lunar light, preferring overcast skies. Morgoth thought long upon this, and decided that the sun and moon too, must be destroyed so that his dominion would be assured in eternal darkness. As we are told in the Silmarillion

"Then he [Morgoth] assailed Tilion, sending spirits of shadow against him and there was strife in Ilmen beneath the paths of the stars, but Tilion [the moon's guide] was victorious." -Sil.119

The sun was an even greater obstacle to his schemes,

"...Arien [the sun's guide] Morgoth feared with a great fear, but dared not come nigh her, having indeed no longer the power; for as he grew in malice, and sent forth from himself the evil that he conceived in lies and creatures of wickedness, his might passed into them and was dispersed, and he himself became ever more bound to the earth, unwilling to issue from his dark strongholds." -Sil.119

So bright was the light in Ariens eyes, that he could not stand against it even for a brief time. So he devised another plan to bring down the hated new lights. Sauron being his chief servant, could not be spared for even this important task. Instead, the Black Enemy called upon Ardana. A Noldo of power, she was the mightiest of the Eldar whom Morgoth corrupted to his cause, and, perhaps, one of the most tragic. She was once a follower of Elbereth, a lover of the stars. She knew much of the ways of the Heavens - so she was charged to devise a plan how the fall of the Lights could be accomplished. Following her assignment Ardana traveled Middle-earth, seeking a method by which she could bring down the sun and moon, gathering followers in her wake. Being a powerful Lady of the Eldar, appearing in shimmering raiment, she convinced many of the Elves that her plan was what was best for them: that the glaring lights in the sky were "evil" contrivances, designed to blot out the light of Elbereth's stars, cherished by all Elves. Ardana herself was lured into this belief (and after some time caught in it), for indeed the sun, and even the moon to some extent, blotted out the stars which were so dear to all Elves. Indeed, this goal is an extreme form of an all-time elvish longing: To order things according to their own wishes and needs, halting the change of the world and conserving a state in which they feel most comfortable. A similar longing among the Noldor of Eregion (though not nearly as radical) was the main incentive to forge the Rings of Power. Beside Celebrimbor's desire to surpass Fëanor in skill the Elves also wished to halt the passage of time and establish an everlasting, Aman-like state in Middle-earth, having the benefits of Middle-earth (forming the ruling caste) while experiencing the delights of Aman (halting the aging of Arda as described in the essay "Aman"). Fanatical in her belief she became, and her fervent self-assurance was contagious: thus were some of the strong of the Eldar turned and so they fell from grace. However, there were a few even among those Elves whose hearts were black and whose nature was genuinely evil. Karol Dekdarion (Cambragol), and the woman Fëatur were two of the Eldar who were truly cruel. They killed without mercy and on a whim. The others for the most part, killed only when necessary for their cause. They would not be turned and, as is true especially of the Noldor, their ways were clever to achieve their ends.

Greater Lords of the Court

The lesser Lords

Lesser Members and Associates

Creatures of the Court

Ardan Holds

References

  • MERP:The Court of Ardor in Southern Middle-Earth
  • Fanmodules:The Mûmakan