Did King Durin Know About The Presence Of Balrog In The Mines Of Khazad-Dum?


The introduction of Balrog in “The Rings of Power” had been anticipated from the very moment we saw King Durin III and his son, Prince Durin, talking about the discovery of a secret element that we came to know was nothing else but Mithril. According to the accounts of J.R.R Tolkien, the Balrogs didn’t have active participation in the “War of Last Alliance” that took place in the second age. It was believed that the horrifying creature was still hibernating beneath the surface of the earth and was only awakened during the reign of King Durin VI. But “The Rings of Power” introduces us to one of the most powerful Maiar in the second age itself. At this juncture, we have to take into account both possibilities, i.e., either Prince Durin goes against the wishes of his father and keeps mining for Mithril secretly, or the order of the King prevails, and the mines containing Mithril are sealed forever. The Balrog will definitely have a role to play if the Mithril mines of Khazad Dum are dug further, and we know that it’s the kind of creature that could make your worst nightmares turn true.

The last time we saw Balrog was in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings,” when Gandalf had to face the centaur-look-alike Maia in the abandoned mines of Moria. Gandalf, together with others, got surrounded by hundreds of orcs, but suddenly something strange happened. The orcs started to run away as if they had sensed the presence of a greater evil. The Balrog arrived at the scene and followed Gandalf, Frodo, and others to the bridge of Khazad Dum. It was said that Gandalf fought the Balrog from the lowest dungeon to the highest peak, and in the end, after a lot of effort, he was able to defeat it. Though the timelines of the events have been drastically changed in “The Rings of Power,” the Balrog which is revealed to us in the 7th Episode looks exactly like the one that fought with Gandalf in the third age. So, let’s decipher if King Durin knew about the existence of this peril from the very beginning or if the Dwarven realm was still unaware of the dark powers that existed in the mines of Khazad Dum.

Why Did The Elves Want Mithril?

High King Gil-galad wanted Elrond to meet Prince Durin, and he had sent him with Celebrimbor on purpose. Even Celebrimbor was aware of it, but Elrond was kept in the dark. The dwarfs were suspicious about the motivations of the High King. They did suspect that Elrond had been sent on a mission, and that is why Prince Durin had decided to come with Elrond to Noldor. Gil-Galad saw that Elrond and Prince Durin were quite fond of each other. Elrond eventually realized that Gil-galad had not sent him to Khazad-dum merely to build relationships with the dwarven realm but for a more tangible purpose. He took Elrond aside after dinner and asked him if he remembered the song of the roots of Hithaeglir. Elrond knew about it, but still, Gil-Galad reiterated it just to make him understand his motives. It was said that once there was a battle at the peak of the misty mountains (the same place where Khazad-dum was situated). The war was fought over a tree that was of great importance to both the conflicting forces. It was claimed that the last of the lost Silmarils was hidden in that tree. Gil-galad told Elrond that on one side was an elven warrior, and on the other side, there was the Balrog of Morgoth. The elven warrior put all his light into the tree and tried to protect it.

The Balrog, too, put all his evilness and hatred inside the tree. Lighting struck the tree, and the concoction of evil and good led to the formation of a unique element. That element was as pure as light and as unyielding as evil, and it went down through the roots of the tree into the deep and dark abyss of the mountains. That unique ore was called Mithril. Princess Disa had accidentally discovered it in Khazad Dum. As soon as it was discovered, the King and the Prince of the dwarven realm knew that it was an element of great significance. They knew that it could bring great material wealth and fortune to Khazad Dum in the future, but they were scared that the others would come to know about it. It was said that the Mithril contained the light of the lost Silmaril. Maybe that is why Gil-Galad wanted it. The light of the Eldar was fading, and Gil-Galad had been aware of it since the time Galadriel had returned to Noldor after her quest didn’t yield anything. Mithril was their only salvation, and Celebrimbor corroborated the fact that nothing diminished its light. Gil-Galad needed Mithril, as otherwise, he knew that his world would perish.

Elrond came on board and decided that he would ask Prince Durin about it. To his surprise, Prince Durin almost agreed instantly, but he told him that only his father would be able to give the permission. Durin promised that he would vouch for his friend, put in a good word and make sure that he gets what he wants. 

Did King Durin Know About The Presence Of Balrog In The Mines Of Khazad-Dum?

King Durin didn’t change his mind, even after Elrond gave him a lucrative offer. He told his son in private that the elves were trying to cheat death and according to him it was an unscrupulous agenda. Prince Durin was infuriated after hearing the opinions of his own father. He told the King that his friend, Elrond, and his tribe were drowning. At this point in time, the kind of bond Durin shared with Elrond reminded us of Gimli and Legolas and the affection they had for each other. Prince Durin was ready to sacrifice everything he had for his friend. He didn’t care if he was going by the book or not. He didn’t care if he was breaking the age-old customs and traditions by doing so. King Durin told him that the fate of the elves was already decided, and they shouldn’t try to alter it. He said that there were forces that were wiser than them. He had put his faith in those forces. He was not ready to go against them. He believed that a curse would fall upon those who tried to defy the natural order of things.

Probably King Durin didn’t know that a Balrog was present in the mines, but he knew that something bad would happen if they kept on digging for Mithril. He believed that if they dug more than what the earth could take, the mines would collapse and cost them the lives of their own kin. Though it didn’t take the life of their own kin, it had awakened the Balrog from its slumber. 

King Durin was a man who was still stuck in the past. He refrained from taking risks but wanted his son to have an entrepreneurial spirit. He wanted his son to dream big but still killed all the ambition inside him. He wanted him to bring glory to the realm of Dwarves but didn’t let him exercise his free will. King Durin had some opinions and ideologies, and he assumed that his son would have them, too, because, according to him, it was the righteous path. Though King Durin believed in some secret powers and prophecies, even in his wildest imaginations, he had not imagined that there could be a Balrog in the mines itself. It was because of Balrog that Khazad Dum turned into a ruin in the third age, and even if the King did not know specifically about it, he was a believer in the fact that there were greater forces at play and mortals like him shouldn’t dare to go against it.

The latter half of the second age, when Sauron came into power, was called the accursed age for a reason by J.R.R. Tolkien. Things that shouldn’t have been forgotten were lost, creatures that should have been on Middle Earth were awakened from their slumber, and the evil, which was thought to be terminated once and for all, rose from its own ashes like a phoenix.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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