One of the biggest side stories we’ve seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is in relation to the relationship between the Elves and the Dwarves and the friendship between Elrond and Durin IV. This is an important part of the storyline because the Elves are losing their light and immortality due to the world’s growing darkness. As such, they need to acquire mithril from the Dwarves, only for King Durin III to deny it to them. So, why doesn’t King Durin want to help the Elves in The Rings of Power?
King Durin doesn’t want to help the Elves because mining the mithril is a dangerous venture that could risk not only the lives of the Dwarven miners but also the entire Khazad-dûm populace. He isn’t willing to risk Dwarven lives just so the Elves could cheat their fate and live forever.
The fact that King Durin doesn’t want to help the Elves is the biggest reason for the growing rift between him and his son, Prince Durin. The younger Durin’s ambition is getting the best of him in this instance, and the older Durin’s care for his people is making him hold on to the traditions of old. Of course, this is a growing concern in the series. As such, let’s talk more about this topic.
Why Doesn’t King Durin Want To Help The Elves?
Back in the earlier episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we learned that the Dwarves were able to discover a new ore called mithril, which is harder than steel, as light as silk, and a lot more precious than gold. Mithril is also capable of creating its own light, which Elrond describes as similar to that of the stars.
As the storyline progressed, we learned that the Elves had been looking for a way to stop their kin from dying off, as the light of the Elves was revealed to have been dimming due to the growing darkness of the world. In that regard, High King Gil-galad wanted Elrond to reveal what he knew about mithril because it is rumored to contain the power of one of the lost Silmarils. And it is through the light of mithril that the Elves believe that they can save their own kin and continue to live forever.
Elrond, of course, told Prince Durin about this because he was one of his best friends. Durin wanted to help his best friend as well, and that was what prompted him to take the matter to his father, King Durin. Then, in episode 7, we saw that Elrond was ready to offer whatever kind of help and provisions that the Elves could offer to the Dwarves so that they could get their hands on mithril as well.
Nevertheless, King Durin stood firm by telling his son that he wasn’t going to allow them to mine mithril and give it to the Elves. This was upsetting to Durin, who simply wanted to help his friend out. And while he initially wanted to respect his father’s word, Prince Durin went on to mine mithril together with Elrond so that he could find a way to help his friend.
King Durin saw this and banished Elrond from Khazad-dûm. Meanwhile, Prince Durin had an earful from his father, who seemingly took away the younger Durin’s right to inherit the throne from him as he believed that the fact that his son disobeyed him made him less than worthy of his crown. So, why doesn’t King Durin want to help the Elves?
The fact that King Durin doesn’t want to help the Elves is rooted in his overall nature as a person. He told Prince Durin the story of the creation of his people, as the Vala named Aulë created them using fire and rock. The fire was supposed to help keep them ambitious enough to want to have greater things in life. However, being created from rock also meant that the Dwarves needed to stay grounded so that they could accept the reality of life.
What that meant was that King Durin was ready to accept the reality that being too ambitious would be harmful to his people. In the past episodes, it was already clear that mining the mithril was dangerous because it was too attached to the earth, and that meant that removing it from the rocks of Khazad-dûm could risk the lives of not only the miners themselves but of the other residents of the Dwarven city as well.
For King Durin, risking the lives of Dwarves that would be the first to see the harm in case anything happened to them while mining mithril was not something he was willing to consider. He was never going to risk the lives of his kin for the sake of helping the Elves “cheat death.”
In that regard, King Durin also said that it was not in the place of the Dwarves to help the Elves escape a fate that had seemingly been decided for them by the gods long ago. That was why he said that the Dwarves needed to stay grounded as well, as they shouldn’t be too greedy when it comes to delving into matters that are well beyond their control. And when these matters involved the lives of the Dwarves, the king was not willing to risk any of their lives for the sake of helping the Elves, who had lived long lives already.
Does King Durin Hate The Elves?
Throughout the writings of JRR Tolkien and the different adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, what was clear was that the Elves and the Dwarves never got along well enough to the point that they were willing to help each other in a heartbeat. So, does that mean that King Durin also hates Elves?
In The Rings of Power, it was yet to be seen that the Elves and the Dwarves are actually at odds with one another, even though it was already clear that they weren’t too particularly fond of each other. The Elves hate the obstinate and rude nature of the Dwarves. On the other hand, the Dwarves hate the fact that Elves often think too little of other races and act high and mighty.
Nevertheless, it was never hinted that King Durin actually hated the Elves. In fact, the Elves and the Dwarves were able to enjoy a good partnership in the project that Celebrimbor was undertaking. As such, he didn’t want to help the Elves just because he hated their kind. Instead, he simply didn’t want to help them due to the risks involved with mining mithril, as he didn’t think that Dwarven lives should be risked to help make the Elves live for thousands of years more.
But there is a good chance that this incident between King Durin and the Elves is one of the reasons why the two races will eventually hate one another in the future. We saw in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that these races aren’t fond of each other, and one of the roots of this animosity between the Elves and the Dwarves could be established in this side story in The Rings of Power.