The first season of Rings of Power is in its home field and the dominoes begin to fall, reminding even the most casual onlooker that all of this will eventually become the world of Lord of the Rings. The great cities and societies we’ve seen this season will fall to ruin over the next four seasons – some quicker than others.
This week, we saw exactly how the beautiful dwarven city of Khazad-dûm will transform into the dark and cursed ruins of Moria, in the form of one of the most incredible and iconic scenes in the series. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson. There is a Chekhov gun on the hearth of Khazad-dûm, and one way or another it will all end in fire.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 7, “The Eye.”]
When Durin (Durin’s son) and his father, Durin (Durin’s father), have the consequences of falling out, the dwarven king orders to seal the mithril that the prince discovers – but not before it makes sense. Throw Elrond’s damaged leaf for demonstration- purpose down the chamber. The camera follows the gentle fall of the leaf until it reaches the bedrock and is rejuvenated by small criss-crossing veins on every surface.
Then the leaf was consumed by fire from a familiar form: a conglomerate.
The frog that killed Gandalf?
Yes, this is the frog that Fellowship encountered thousands of years later in the ruins of Moria. In the Tolkien books, it is the only balrog to survive Morgoth’s defeat, by fleeing eastward and hiding in the roots of the Misty Mountains, until being taken by the dwarves Khazad-dûm discovered thousands of years later.
As described in the appendix of The return of the Kingthe dwarves of Khazad-dûm “wake from sleep a horror […] has lurked at the foundations of the earth since the arrival of Host of the West: A Balrog of Morgoth. Durin was killed by it, and a year later Náin I, his son; and then the glory of Moria passed away, and its people perished or fled far away. “
Or, immortalized by Christopher Lee’s voice in Jackson’s The fellowship of the ring: “The dwarves are too greedy and too deep. You know what they wake up in the darkness of Khazad-dûm: darkness and fire. ”
Is this the same frog they talked about a few episodes ago?
Returning to episode 6, “Farewell,” King Gil-galad recounts the story of a goblin warrior and a condor dueling atop the Misty Mountains, a battle that inadvertently created deep mithril underground. But after all, there is more than one balrog, and we have not been told one way or another if they are the same. The whole story is initially for Ring of Powerso there’s no Tolkien legend to tell here either.
Wait… is there more than one balrog?
Balrogs is Maia – like Gandalf and Saruman and Sauron himself – and at least some are among Morgoth’s oldest allies, who joined him in his descent into darkness when he first betrayed the Valars during the creation of the world. As Middle-earth became a battleground between Morgoth and the rest of the gods, these spirits took on terrible form. “Their hearts are on fire,” said Silmarillion, “But they were covered in darkness, and terror came before them; they have fire whip. ”
Though small in number, compared to an army, they were Morgoth’s most formidable servants. They are his generals, his guardians of honor, and his executors – essentially the same ability that the Black Riders serve Sauron. There are only three stories of the defeat of a trio in a battle, and in any case, as with Gandalf, the opposing hero was killed. Only two balrogs have ever been distinguished from the rest: Gothmog, their leader; and the unnamed conglomerate known only as “Durin’s Bane.”
So we’ll be watching it… summarizing everything?
That’s an interesting question! It sure looks like Ring of Power is alluding to it that way, with the younger Durin swearing that when he is king he will mine mithril and bring his people unprecedented prosperity. But if Ring of Power wanted to wake up the balrog soon, it would be a break from the Tolkien classics.
Appendices of The return of the King said that the frog had buried itself so well that the dwarves did not discover it until the Third Age, a time beyond the reach of the dwarves. Ring of Power. The fall of Khazad-dûm took place during the reign of Durin VI, rather than Durin IV and Durin V in the show – and in Tolkien lore, the Durins were often discontinuous dwarven rulers, like the empire. British monarchy.
But then again, Ring of Power is taking events that happened in thousands of years of history and condensing them for a single generation of humans. And that means Durin’s Bane can actually be a potential threat; a sword of Damocles dangled from a flaming whip over the entire dwarven civilization.