Warning: spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power episode 6 The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s Secret Fire Easter egg is far more important than you might think, and holds an extra-special significance for Morgoth. Amazon’s The Rings of Power is packed with cute and cunning Easter eggs that reference broader Tolkien mythology – little nuggets of lore seldom mentioned anywhere else in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or even The Rings of Power’s Second Age. One of the most illuminating nods comes via Joseph Mawle’s Adar in The Rings of Power episode 6, who reminds Galadriel, « We are creations of the One, master of the Secret Fire, same as you. »
When Adar mentions « the One, » he’s referring to Eru Ilúvatar – the God of J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythology. Mentioned mostly in metaphor and allusion during Middle-earth’s biggest stories, Eru created Middle-earth, the wider world of Arda, the Valar and Maiar, and the Elves and Men (and Dwarves… sort of). The « Secret Fire » is spoken of even more rarely than Eru, since its nature is extremely vague and, as the title implies, the flame isn’t common knowledge among Middle-earth’s citizens. All Tolkien really explains about the Secret Fire is that Ilúvatar alone has mastery over its power, and that the flame is responsible for sentient life existing in The Lord of the Rings’ mythology.
Despite rarely getting a mention in Tolkien’s most famous tales, the Secret Fire plays a huge role in explaining Morgoth’s goals, how he first became a villain, and why evil exists in Middle-earth at all. Morgoth wasn’t originally a bad egg, starting out as one of Eru Ilúvatar’s Valar. The very first strains of his dissent only developed when the Lucifer-inspired Morgoth began wandering the Void seeking the Secret Fire, impatient with Ilúvatar and desperately wanting to bring his own living beings into existence. Morgoth would never find the sacred source of all life, which only made him even more annoyed, and left his creative urges unfulfilled.
This desire to share Ilúvatar’s power turned Morgoth into a subversive presence among the Valar, so when the deity and his angels brought Arda into being with the Song of the Ainur, Morgoth took it upon himself to add a few verses, weaving darkness into the fate of Middle-earth. Morgoth’s wish to wield the same Secret Fire as Eru Ilúvatar evolved into an urge to dominate this newly-formed realm and create new creatures of darkness such as Orcs, Balrogs and Dragons, all independently of Ilúvatar. The Secret Fire, therefore, marks the beginning of a dark path toward Morgoth and Sauron causing untold misery.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s description of the Secret Fire’s power in The Silmarillion clashes with Adar’s claim that Orcs are borne from the same flame of creation as the Elves. If Morgoth created Orcs, but only Eru Ilúvatar controls the Secret Fire, how can Adar so confidently state both races derive from the same holy source?
The Rings of Power episode 6 sees Galadriel confirm Adar as an Uruk – an Elf captured by Morgoth and corrupted into a progenitor for the entire Orc race long, long ago. The reason Orcs are considered creations of the Secret Fire (in The Rings of Power, at least) is their Elvish origin. Morgoth couldn’t create sentient life from scratch, but he could morph and spoil creatures Ilúvatar had already made. Hence, Elves like Adar became Orcs, Men became Nazgûl, Maiar became Balrogs, etc. These distortions allowed Morgoth to circumvent the rule that only Eru Ilúvatar can bring life into the world – all because he couldn’t get his menacing mitts on the Secret Flame countless eons prior.
Next: The Rings Of Power Just Revealed LOTR’s True Villain For The First Time
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues Thursday/Friday on Prime Video.