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Rings of Power: why do the elves want the dwarves’ mithril?

Rings of Power: It turns out Gil-Galad had an ulterior motive for sending Elrond to Khazad-dûm. So why do the elves want the dwarves' mithril?

Rings of Power: Prince Durin

Why do the elves want the dwarves’ mithril? In the first episode of the fantasy series Rings of Power, Elrond was dispatched to the mines of Khazad-dûm to seek the aid of Prince Durin. Durin wasn’t super pleased to see his old elven friend turn up on his doorstep after a decades-long absence, but after a quick game of rock smashing, the pair made up.

In fact, it wasn’t long before Elrond managed to discover Durin’s big secret. The dwarves had found more than gold and diamonds in their deepest mine shafts; they found something spectacular, mithril. Mithril is a super strong, extremely lightweight metal that’s worth a fortune, and Durin believes its discovery will start a new age for the dwarves.

However, the dwarf prince isn’t ready to share his secret with Middle-earth just yet, and he swears Elrond to secrecy. It seems, though, that the Eldar may know more about this mystical metal than they first let on. So what do the elves want with the dwarf’s mithril?

Why do the elves want the dwarves’ mithril?

In the Rings of Power episode 5, Gil-Galad, the elven king, seems very interested in what the dwarves of Khazad-dûm have been mining —usually interested, in fact. Elrond takes note of this, and in a private conversation with his king, he asks for the real reason he was sent to the dwarves.

Gil-Galad basically admits that he’s heard rumours that the dwarves may have found something very special in the mountain and reminds his young steward of The Song of the Roots of Hithaeglir.

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This ancient and obscure elven legend tells the story of an elven warrior who sought to protect a tree (that may have contained one of the lost Silmarils) from a raging balrog high in the peaks of the Misty Mountains. To do so, the elf poured his light into the tree, strengthening it, but the balrog was not a foe to be trifled with. It poured its hate and malice into the tree to destroy it.

As the forces of good and evil met in the tree, it was struck by lightning, spreading the light of good and the strength of evil through the roots of the tree and into the ore of the mountain. This ore supposedly contained the light of the lost Silmaril, which makes it of critical importance to the elves.

Rings of Power: Elrond in Khazad Dum

The Silmarils were three magnificent gems that contained the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. This alone makes them incredibly valuable cultural artefacts, but Gil-Galad needs them for another reason. He shares with Elrond that one of the elves’ sacred trees has started to rot and that nothing the elves have done can slow it.

The king believes the tree’s rot is a sign that the light of the Eldar is fading and that if the elves do not find a new light, they will be forced to either sail back to Valinor or remain in Middle-earth and die. Basically, without mithril and its light, the elves are doomed.

If you love Middle-earth, check out our guide to the best Lord of the Rings characters, or if you want to know more about the great enemy Sauron we’ve got you covered.