Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is six months away. We want all Spoilerites to have the best viewing experience possible and have the widest knowledge base about the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This is a weekly Let’s Get Nerdy article series highlighting a different piece of Tolkien I think you need to know about!
In past articles I have answered the question:
- What Are the Rings of Power?
- What is Númenor?
- What is the Second Age?
- Who are the Harfoots?
- Who is Prince Durin IV?
Last week we dove into the world of Prince Durin IV and the dwarves of Middle-Earth. Since I wrote so much about Khazad-dûm and it has appeared on screen previously in The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring AND seems very likely to appear in The Rings of Power I thought this week we could explore more about the iconic underground city – particularly what it was like at the height of its power.
If you are sitting reading this in your hobbit hole or on your smart phone and asking:
“Wasn’t it Moria we saw in The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring?”
You would absolutely be correct.
As with many things in Tolkien lore the dwarven city has many names in many languages including: Khazad-dûm, Moria, and Dwarrowdelf.
It is located beneath the Misty Mountains which is not only the most prominent and immediately recognizable mountain range in all of Middle-Earth, it is also the subject of a beautiful song written by J.R.R. Tolkien and brought to life by the cast of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:
Movie Soundtrack EVM The Misty Mountains ColdThe Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
Khazad-dûm is the ancestral home of Durin’s Folks and the most famous of all dwarvish cities. When dwarves sought refuge following the final battle against Morgoth they found it in Khazad-dûm. As a result of this mass migration Khazad-dûm enjoyed an upswell of citizens at the beginning of the Second Age. They brought with them knowledge and skills and art not seen under the Misty Mountains previously. This resulted directly in Khazad-dûm becoming the cultural hub and diverse crafting center of the race.
It was also during the Second Age (in the 700th year of the Age), a peaceful friendship developed between the new elven city built west of Khazad-dûm (named Eregion), and the dwarves suddenly had neighbours for the first time. This same relationship is later echoed by the deep filial love which develops between Gimli and Legolas during the events of The Lord of the Rings.
Celebrimbor – the elf smith I’ve written about previously who forges the eponymous Rings of Power – often passed through Khazad-dûm and in order to make his passage easier the doors of Moria were built. If you were wondering why the doors to a dwarf dwelling were marked in high elvish Celebrimbor is the reason.
It has been confirmed Celebrimbor will appear in The Rings of Power played by Charles Edwards. Along with Celebrimbor we know Lady Galadriel is going to be the lead of The Rings of Power and she too passes through Khazad-dûm. She leads her people back to their home of Lothlórien.
While Khazad-dûm signified safety for many in Middle-Earth no matter their race it also held a great danger. Beneath the city, the mines, and the treasure as hidden an ancient monster. The Balrog. As seen in The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring where the members of the fellowship run across a narrow bridge called “Durin’s Bridge” which Gandalf eventually falls from.
Further in the Second Age comes the War of the Elves and Sauron. Lord of Khazad-dûm at the time was Durin III who sent out dwarven soldiers to back up Elrond’s attack. As a result, Khazad-dûm became a feature of Sauron’s hatred. He would often cause trouble from this stewing malice. By the time Prince Durin IV comes to power Elrond is back at it with the Last Alliance of Men and Elves to which he takes after his father and also send reinforcements for the armies.
Perhaps as a lasting curse wrought from Sauron’s hate, Khazad-dûm falls and evil rises therein early in the Third Age until the events most of us are more familiar with when Gimli and the fellowship arrive.