“Speak, friend, and enter…” Many The Lord of the Rings fans know the riddle that barred the Fellowship of the Ring from entering the Mines of Moria (a.k.a Khazad-dûm) and nearly cost them deeply. But in the end, the elven word for friendship opened the dwarven gates. Although clever, the Doors of Durin’s riddle feels mostly like a fun aside, as a way to note the long and complex relationship between dwarves and elves. But, based on The Rings of Power season one, the Doors of Durin may recontextualize the meaning of the word “friend.” And the gate could receive a more personal origin story. After all, the Doors of Durin originated in Middle-earth’s Second Age, just the right time for an appearance on The Rings of Power. And in this Tolkien rendition, the friendship between Durin IV and Elrond lives at the story’s heart.
The Lord of the Rings History of the Doors of Durin
All the important set pieces have come together for The Rings of Power‘s Doors of Durin to be built. Of course, the original story Khazad-dûm’s gate will need slight adjustments. But the landmark will take on even greater meaning for it.
In Tolkien’s lore, the Doors of Durin were built during the Second Age of Middle-earth. They appear to have been created under the rule of Durin III. Durin III, of course, has played a prominent role so far on The Rings of Power. Tolkien noted that the elves and dwarves had especially warm relationships during this period. And the elven realm of smiths, Eregion, especially collaborated with the dwarven stronghold of Khazad-dûm. Together they traded knowledge, materials, and more.
The Doors of Durin, also known as the Elven Door, were built to further enhance this relationship. This westernmost entrance into the dwarven realm allowed greater contact with Eregion. And it gave easier access for the elves to visit Khazad-dûm. The great elven craftsmen, Celebrimbor, who has now forged some of the Rings of Power on the Amazon series, and the skilled dwarf Narvi, collaborated to build the Doors of Durin. Notably, two elven trees decorate the gates. And ithildin, a specific type of mithril that only a few elves know how to forge, makes up the gate’s design.
The Dwarven Rings of Power May Reunite Elrond and Durin
In Tolkien’s lore, the Doors of Durin arose before the height of Sauron’s aggressions and the forging of the rings. But on The Rings of Power, the timeline will shift. Still, we can see all the elements in place for the doors to come to life.
Throughout season one of The Rings of Power, Elrond and Durin’s friendship served as the true emotional heart of the show. Despite ambitions, group-allegiances, the elvish disregard for the passing of time, and all the usual things that might separate a dwarf and an elf, they stuck together. Durin and Elrond proved to be a very elvish dwarf and a very dwarven elf. Although they began The Rings of Power estranged, their loyalty and love for one another flourished. Durin even willingly disregarded his father and King’s wishes to save the elves’, but really Elrond’s life by mining mithril.
Unfortunately, trouble is on the horizon for our favorite friends on macro and micro levels. The little bit of mithril Durin gifted to Elrond might have given the elves a new lease on life, but it also paved the way for the forging of the Rings of Power. Galadriel notes to Celebrimbor and Elrond that the power of the rings should remain for elves and elves alone. But the camera pans to Elrond in a way that makes it seem likely he won’t cleave to this edict.
After all, it was Durin who made the rings possible. And we already suspect Elrond’s sense of loyalty to his friend will likely drive him to share the secrets of the mithril alloy, the rings, and the new power forged with the help of darkness. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Appendix A even notes the elves gave the dwarves their rings.
It was believed by the Dwarves of Durin’s Folk to be the first of the Seven that was forged; and they say that it was given to the King of Khazad-dûm, Durin III, by the Elven-smiths themselves and not by Sauron, though doubtless his evil power was on it, since he had aided in the forging of all the Seven.
Perhaps the power promised by the rings will finally be enough to sway the stubborn mind of Durin III. Or perhaps, as somewhat implied by The Rings of Power‘s finale, Durin will make a move to seize power from his father. Either way, both sides seem incentivized to participate in this arrangement. The elves, of course, still may seek mithril, and the dwarves will likely hope to harness a new force.
Durin and Elrond’s Friendship and the Doors of Durin
To forge a Ring of Power takes both elven metal and dwarven mithril. And, no doubt, it takes a Durin and an Elrond to make a relationship work between elves and dwarves. The Rings of Power‘s arrangement will not exist as the carefree flow of ideas that lived in Tolkien’s lore. Instead, it will likely unroll more as a specific collaboration to forge the remaining Rings of Power. But in order to collaborate, one needs to open a door.
The dwarves and the elves may matter more widely. But the door to Khazad-dûm that Durin opens is one specifically for his friend. When we look at the Doors of Durin through the eyes of The Rings of Power, we can see how the show has laid the necessary foundations for the gate. We begin the season with Elrond seeking entrance to Khazad-dûm at a dwarven door. But, at first, Durin turns him away. This makes Durin and Elrond later building a gate together into an appropriately satisfying full circle.
The show then offers us the beautiful story of Elrond gifting Durin an elven tree like the one that grows in Lindon. Durin, of course, stubbornly grew the tree in the dimness of Khazad-dûm. And soon, it will sprout into the Doors’ design. The doors will then open to help save the twin of Durin’s tree, tying everything together. Additionally, we’ve already seen Elrond learn that dwarven doors can open to a riddle or song. And this highlights how he may offer the clever suggestion to embed the key in the door’s inscription. The riddle does have Elrond written all over it. More subtly, the riddle of the Doors of Durin is written in Sindarin elvish, not the Quenya of the high elves. And Elrond, as it happens, is a Sindarin name. A name that means, “Elf of the cave.”
It’s likely that opening the Doors of Durin on The Rings of Power will lead to doom in season two. Be it doom from the Balrog, the rings, or other perils. And yet, if the show infuses the long-existing gate with this new meaning, it will allow Elrond and Durin’s friendship to extend beyond any hardships. And even a full age later, Durin will still open his doors to the sound of Elrond’s elven friendship.