While the major story of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power revolves around Galadriel and her efforts to find and destroy Sauron, we also know for a fact that there are side stories that the series wants us to see as well. One such side story is in relation to the politicking between the Elves and the Dwarves due to a rare ore called mithril. So, why do the Elves want mithril in The Rings of Power?
The Elves want mithril in the Rings of Power because they are “losing their light” and are showing signs that they would eventually lose their immortality. In that regard, because mithril produced its own light because of its possible connection with the Silmarils, High King Gil-galad coveted the ore.
It was always known that the relationship between the Elves and the Dwarves in JRR Tolkien’s writings was never peaceful as they have always been complete opposites of one another. In that regard, the Rings of Power is looking to add another dent in this relationship by putting mithril at the middle ground between the Elves and the Dwarves. Now, let’s look into the reason why the Elves want mithril.
What Is Mithril In The Rings Of Power?
The Lord of the Rings and the other related writings of JRR Tolkien have always been full of different wonders in the form of creatures and objects. Of course, one of the objects that have become quite influential in the history of fantasy writing and storytelling is mithril, which is a kind of ore that could be seen in many of Tolkien’s works.
For those who watched The Lord of the Rings movies by Peter Jackson, we know for a fact that mithril was introduced in The Fellowship of the Ring when Bilbo gave a mithril shirt as a present to Frodo to protect him from peril. The shirt did indeed prove its strength when Frodo survived getting pierced by a Cave Troll using a spear. Of course, we also learned in The Hobbit that the Dwarven king named Thorin Oakenshield was the one who gave this gift to Bilbo.
Of course, mithril also became a subject of topic in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power when it was made clear as early as the second episode that the Dwarves were up to something. Then, in episode 4, Prince Durin IV finally revealed to Elrond that they discovered a new ore called mithril. So, what is mithril?
Mithril is a rare ore that was discovered by Prince Durin and his wife, Disa, during one of the different mining operations that the Dwarves had in the deepest mines of Khazad-dûm. As Durin described mithril, it is harder than iron, as light as silk, and a lot more valuable than gold. He believed that mithril could help usher in a new age for the Dwarves because of its value.
Meanwhile, in episode 5 of The Rings of Power, High King Gil-galad suggested that mithril was the result of the power of one of the Silmarils, which we know are some of the most valuable jewels in the history of Middle-Earth. It was the fact that the Silmarils produced their own light that tempted Morgoth to steal them. As such, Fëanor and the Ñoldor Elves went to war against Morgoth to usher in the First Age of Middle-Earth.
In the Song of the Roots of Hithaeglir (which is the Elven name for the Misty Mountains), it was mentioned that a tree was said to have had one of the lost Silmarils. A solitary Elf protected the tree from a Balrog of Morgoth, who wanted to destroy it. It was because of their fierce battle that lightning struck the tree and allowed the light of the Silmaril to seep into the earth to produce a weapon that had the very light of the Silmaril itself.
High King Gil-galad believes that mithril was the result of the Silmaril’s power. He wanted the Elves to be able to get their hands on the mithril as well. And that is where a possible conflict between the Elves and the Dwarves may arise in the future.
Why Do The Elves Want Mithril In The Rings Of Power?
As mentioned, the Dwarves believed that Elrond only visited Khazad-dûm to learn more about mithril. Nevertheless, Elrond knew nothing about it as he merely wanted Durin’s help in relation to the project that Celebrimbor wanted to undertake. But it was revealed by both Gil-galad and Celebrimbor that they wanted Elrond to go to the Dwarves because of his relationship with Durin. And the fact that he was close with Durin would have allowed him to learn more about the possibility that the Dwarves did indeed discover mithril.
We also saw in episode 4 that Durin wanted Elrond to keep the discovery a secret because of how perilous it was to mine mithril. Elrond made an oath that he had no intention of breaking so that Durin would spill the beans. Nevertheless, that was what Gil-galad wanted Elrond to do in the first place.
Of course, while we have discussed that the Elves believe that the mithril ore contains the very same light that the Silmarils possessed, why is there a need for them to acquire mithril? Why did Gil-galad even want Elrond to betray Durin into revealing to him that he knew that the Dwarves had already found the mithril ore?
After Elrond stayed loyal to Durin, Gil-galad allowed him to see that one of the trees in Lindon was rotting. He also said that he sent Galadriel away in the hopes that the final vestiges of war would disappear and that the rotting would go away. Nevertheless, the trees continued to rot, as Gil-galad himself said:
“The blight upon this tree is but an outer manifestation of an inner reality—that the light of the Eldar, our light, is fading.”
In that regard, Gil-galad believes that the light of the Elves is fading away and that their power and their immortality are going to eventually lose their luster. And the very fact that the mithril ore quite possibly contains the very same light that the Silmarils possessed could be the only way for them to save their own light.
When Elrond had a conversation with Celebrimbor, the older Elf told him that the light in the mithril ore that he possessed did not diminish under heavy pressure, and that could mean that it did indeed produce its own light in the same way that the Silmarils did. Celebrimbor also suggested that the Elves could restore their own light if they were to bathe themselves in the light coming from the mithril ore.
That is why the Elves wanted mithril. They believe that the very light coming from the mithril could save them, and that is the very reason why Elrond told Durin that the fate of the Elves is in his hands. Of course, as a good friend, Durin agreed to speak to his father regarding the matter so that they could find a way to save the light of the Elves.
Unfortunately, what none of them ever thought was that the blight was not due to the possibility that the light of the Elves was fading but was because of the fact that Sauron’s darkness was steadily returning and growing. Neither Gil-galad nor Elrond ever thought that Sauron was the reason for the ever-growing darkness in Middle-Earth. And when they do realize that the dark lord was behind it, that is when they will regret the fact that they announced the end of the war.