Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is here. 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?
- What is Khazad-dûm?
- Who is Celebrimbor?
- What is the Last Alliance of Men and Elves?
- Who is Elendil?
- New Pics! Who are Bronwyn and Theo?
- What is Rivendell?
- The Rings of Power First Reactions Are In!
- What is Lindon?
- What are the Nine Human Rings?
- Empire Magazine’s The Rings of Power Covers
- New Character Pictures
- Will Wizards Appear in The Rings of Power?
- New Promo for The Rings of Power
- What is Eregion?
- Leaked! Rings of Power Trailer Breakdown
- The Rings of Power Teaser Breakdown
- New EW Rings of Power Pictures
- SDCC Rings of Power Trailer Breakdown
- Who is Isildur?
- The Rings of Power is Here! Read the Reactions
- Who is the Stranger?
- Who is Queen Míriel?
- Who is Ar-Pharazôn?
- What is the broken black blade?
- What is Mordor?
It has been an entire week since The Rings of Power wrapped up its first season. We know from leaks earlier in the month the second season of the show is currently shooting in its many locales all over the world. In case you didn’t know from the long pre-production runway up to The Rings of Power premiering the show was given an initial two season order.
In the time between the end of the show and The Rings of Power season two I’m going to bridge the gap by tackling topics we missed or I believe need a deeper exploration from the first season and making predictions about what is coming in the second season as more details become available to us.
If you have any topics or if there are any questions you’d like answered surrounding The Rings of Power feel free to drop a comment on this post or you can hit me up on my Twitter.
Let’s get to the Mithril of it all!
If you’ve watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films you have at least a passing familiarity with Mithril from the events of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Bilbo bequeaths his Mithril shirt to Frodo when uncle and nephew are reunited at the Great Elven Refuge Rivendell before Frodo set outs on his quest to destroy the One Ring.
As with all things “Mithril” isn’t simply a beautiful collection of letters which sounds “Mithril”. It’s from Tolkien’s Sindarin Elvish language and means: “grey glitter”. When Mithril is first introduced to readers in The Hobbit it’s described by Tolkien as: “silvered steel”.
Tolkien invented many aspects of Middle-Earth from culture to language, but Mithril is the only mineral he created. Its impact was so all-encompassing and startling it’s gone on to be a feature in many other high fantasy stories. R.A. Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms stories featuring Drizzt Do’Urden come to mind when I think of all the places Mithril has gone since its creation.
It was discovered and mined in the dwarf kingdom of Khazad-dûm which is something The Rings of Power has echoed in its television adaptation.
As far as metals are concerned MIthril is noted to be soft and malleable which makes it prime for forging, shaping, and creating whatever a talented smith could imagine. It was largely incorporated into alloys to make either jewelry, armour, or weapons.
At the height of its power before “the dwarves delved too greedily and too deep”, unleashed the Balrog, and consigned Moria to the annals of Middle-Earth history, Mithril was worth ten times its volume in gold. For all intents and purposes it was the most valuable substance in Arda. It was prized. Increased demand led to increased yield. The desire to have Mithril takes the characters of Middle-Earth into a brief brush with capitalism which ends up with the destruction of an entire race of dwarves.
The elves of Eregion (please imagine Celebrimbor now), prized Mithril because they used it to create the “star moon” alloy ithildin. This alloy is particularly special because it is hidden during the day. The intricacies can only be viewed in full moonlight. Seem familiar? The doors of Moria (“speak friend and enter”), as seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings and Elrond’s map from The Hobbit trilogy are both on screen examples of ithildin and its many uses across Middle-Earth.
The Kingdom of Gondor – as you’ll remember from an earlier installation of Did You Hear? was founded by Isildur and his brother Anárion of Númenor … one of whom is main character in The Rings of Power – features Mithril as well in the armour of the Citadel Guards (yes, the very ones Pippin Took joins the ranks of in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). FUN FACT: post-War-of-the-Ring the dwarves of Aglarond were paramount in the rebuilding of Gondor including the Great Gate of Minas Tirith using Mithril and steel.
If you’ve read this entire feature wondering where the ties between Mithril and the fate of the elves you’re not going to find it. This parallel – evocative of the tie between Arwen’s life and the fate of the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – is a storyline invented for The Rings of Power. Along with the rotting tree the Mithril we see in The Rings of Power embodies the elves’ connection to the natural world which is, ultimately, what makes them sage, revered, and long-lived. Gil-Galad also shared the legend of The Song of the Roots of Hithaeglir (which the High King admits to being apocryphal), creating a tie in The Rings of Power between The Silmarils and Mithril.
The Song of the Roots of Hithaeglir was not written by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Diverging from the source material doesn’t make anything bad and as The Rings of Power progresses I’m going to try to include context from the show as well as its narrative builds out storylines or deepens ideas we may not find in either The Silmarillion or The Unfinished Tales.