The Rings of Power: What Is Mithril, and Why Is It Important?

All that glitters is not gold. For better or for worse.

by J.R. Waugh


As shown in episode 4 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerwe got the resolution of one of the tantalizing mysteries from the first few episodes during Elrond and Durin’s plotline. Teased in earlier episodes with a Pulp Fiction-style box opening, only to swap camera angles to obscure the glimmering contents inside, we got confirmation of what was suspected to be inside: mithril. The precious material is known if you’ve watched even The Fellowship of the Ring, but What is Mithril, and Why is it Important in The Rings of Power?

The Rings of Power: What is Mithril, and Why is it Important?


Mithril is the prized ore of Durin’s Folk in Khazad-dûm, “lighter than silk, harder than iron, it would best our proudest blades. As specie, it may be dearer than gold.” This is a miracle ore that produces some of the mightiest weapons and armor in all of Middle-earth, but also sparks the dangerous levels of greed which would prove to be the downfall of Khazad-dûm’s Dwarves, alluded to in the near-death of miners seeking this mineral in the same episode. It’s in seeking this ore that the Dwarves of Durin’s Folk would plunge deeper below their city, and inadvertently unleash the Balrog of Morgoth encased below, which would leave their once proud city in the tattered remains shown in The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Significance of Mithril Beyond the Show, and its Name

The Dwarves had a secret word for their name of the ore, claimed by Durin to be “Grey Glitter” but the term “Mithril” comes from the equivalent words in Sindarin Elvish. This is curious, given how it’s easily recognized by the Elvish name in the events of LOTR. Perhaps this is due to the lasting friendship Elrond maintained with Durin during these times, it being one of the namesakes of their bond and common secret, or perhaps it’s because Elrond, an Elf, is the surviving witness to this discovery. For fans of The Lord of the Rings, you might recognize it as the ore used for the shirt which saved Frodo’s life from a rampaging cave troll in Moria and was eventually seized by the orcs of Mordor as an offering to Sauron.

Perilous to mine, and largely restricted from being mined by Durin III, this ore would prove to be the Dwarves’ downfall, made only worse when they come in possession of the Dwarven Rings of Power, which further exacerbate their greed. This concludes our coverage of Mithril, and Why it is Important in The Rings of Power! For more stories like this, check out our entertainment column!

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on September 1, 2022, with a 2-episode premiere. The first season will have 8 episodes total, so check every Friday for new content!

- This article was updated on September 16th, 2022

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