What is mithril and where does it come from? The Lord of the Rings change explained in The Rings of Power

What is mithril and where does it come from The

The 5th episode The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Partings, not only brings a Númenor departure, new Southlands developments and a Meteor Man allegiance to Prime Video*, but also reveals the origin of mithril, which even JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson might be new to. Because the important origin of the metal in Amazon’s series did not exist in the books and films.

Precious Lord of the Rings Metal: What is Mithril in Tolkien?

From Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, we know mithril primarily as the material from which Frodo’s chain mail exists, which saves his life in the fight against the Moria troll. Light in weight, easy to forge and still extremely resilient, the material, also known as “silversteel” or “Morian silver”, is infinitely valuable in Middle-earth.

©Warner

Frodo’s mithril shirt in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Tolkien’s word mithril, translated from Sindarin Elvish, means “gray shimmer” and was discovered and mined by the dwarves in the Misty Mountains. Since the elves also wanted it, trade flourished. At the same time, however, a lot of suffering is associated with the degradation of the coveted substance: because the dwarves dug too deep in their kingdom of Khazad-dûm, they woke it up Durin’s Banei.e. a Balrog.

Tolkien also mentions mithril deposits in Númenor and Aman (i.e. the continent with the Elven kingdom of Valinor), but since these two places were not accessible to all races or were no longer accessible from a certain point in Middle-earth history, sat the dwarves of Moria on one resource treasure.

The Rings of Power invent a new origin story for mithril with the Silmaril

In the 5th episode of The Rings of Power, Mithril charged with a whole new meaningwhich Tolkien did not exist in this form: It is no longer “just” a valuable metal, but has its very own legend: Elven king Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) reminds Elrond (Robert Aramayo) of the (from the Amazon series reinvented) Song of the Roots by Hithaeglir.

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The Rings of Power: Song of the Roots of Hithaeglir

This “unrecognized legend” even among Elves tells of a battle around a tree high up in the Misty Mountains (Elvish: Hithaeglir). Hidden in the tree was the last Silmaril, as one of the jewels in which the light of the destroyed trees of Valinor had been preserved. Up there, a pure Elven warrior and a dark Balrog fought to protect and destroy the tree. A Lightning strike in this duel of light and darkness (using the Silmaril as a catalyst?) forged one new power from the Strengths of both opponents: pure and light/clear as the good; strong and unyielding as evil.

This power reached the depths of the rocks through the roots of the Misty Mountains: From the light of the lost Silmaril a new ore was born: mithril. This glowing metal that unites good and evil found the dwarves in Amazon’s The Rings of Power and sworn Elrond to secrecy about it.

Middle-earth Change: Entire races are now tied to mithril

Why does Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series give mithril a new meaning and origin story? This opens up in the following conversation between Gil-galad and Elrond: The Decline of the Elves has begun, which is reflected in Lindon’s black infected tree. The “light of the eldar” (elves) begins to fade and their people threaten to dwindle by spring.

The Elven King’s hope is that mithril stop this decay because the metal has the Silmaril light inherent in it, which would revitalize the light-fixated prickly ears (quasi like living batteries) with new energy. The change from the age of the elves to that of the people must therefore only take place in the third age (at Frodo’s time), as we know it from Peter Jackson’s films.

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The Rings of Power: Unprocessed Mithril in The Lord of the Rings Series

Elrond will not break his oath to Durin to keep his mithril secret. Gil-galad stops him by doing this to damn his people and Middle-earth. In order to save themselves, the Elves would have to go to the West and leave Middle-earth to the evil. The remaining races would be overrun by the army of darkness. At the end of episode 5, Elrond still doesn’t have to become an oathbreaker: by telling Durin about his dilemma, Durin can decide to help (with mithril) of his own free will and still appear as a hero.

Even though the mithril origin is reinvented by The Rings of Power, it fits into Tolkien’s world and punches you wide arc between all peoples in the fight against Sauron, which is at the heart of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings story. It’s also no small feat for the future of the series that Galadriel’s ring, Nenya, was forged from mithril by Tolkien.

Podcast: The Rings of Power Episode 3 & 4 with recap, theories and explanations

Where does Amazon’s fantasy series The Rings of Power leave us after the first half of Season 1? We dig deep into Episodes 3 and 4 of The Lord of the Rings series to talk exciting developments, mysteries unraveled, and secret identities.

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Do you think the reinvented mithril origin fits well into Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings world?

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