The Mines of Moria
|Place in Arda|
|Summary||A realm that was once a dwarven realm until it was claimed by orcs, Cave-trolls & a Balrog|
|Lord||King of Khazad-dûm, Durin's Bane, Lord of Moria (briefly)|
|Lifespan||Years of the Trees ? – TA 1981 (First Dwarven kingdom) - Resettled by the Dwarves sometime in the Fourth Age|
Moria (also known as Khazad-dûm, Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond in Elven, Halls of Durin, Mines of Moria, and Phurunargian) is the name given to the Dwarven underground city, mines, pillars, columns, and tunnels of Khazad-dûm beneath the Misty Mountains after its abandonment by the Dwarves.
Moria, or as it was known in the ancient days Khazad-dum, was founded by Durin the Deathless. Durin awoke at Mount Gundabad, in the Misty Mountains, in the period of time known as the Years of the Trees, and came upon a shimmering lake beneath the mountain Celebdil with a crown of stars reflected in its waters. He named it Kheled-zaram as it was known in Dwarvish tongue, the Mirrormere. Thereafter it remained a revered place amongst the Dwarves. In the caves above the lake, Durin's folk built Moria.
Durin thus became King Durin l of Khazad-dum, the first of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves.
Many centuries later, the dwarves continued to name their kings after him, as they believed that all other rulers of Moria were re-incarnations of Durin who wished to live amongst his people once again. Millenia passed and the caverns of Khazad-dûm became ever more famous in Middle-earth and many kings were set upon the throne of Durin the Deathless. The gates were kept open, as there was no shadow on the world at that point, and the dwarves were on very friendly terms with the Elves.
In SA 40 after the fall of Beleriand in the War of Wrath and the Dwarves of Nogrod had left Middle-earth, the city was enriched in numbers, smithing, crafting, and masonry. These factors ever strengthened Khazad-dûm and brought prosperity to their city.
With the fall of Beleriand in the north, the Noldor looked for a new land to call home. They founded the land west of Moria, Eregion. A rare friendship sprang up between the Elves and the Dwarves of this new land, and they each aided each other in constructing the magical Western-gate of Moria, and went so far that they even presented King Durin lll with a lesser Ring of Power. The bond between Khazad-dûm and Eregion suddenly came to end as, in SA 1697, the Dark Lord Sauron corrupted the country of the elves, and despite the best efforts of the dwarves to help them, he succeeded in destroying the fair land driving away all the elves. At this time the Doors of Durin were flung shut and sealed against Sauron's forces, and Khazad-dûm began a long seclusion from the outside world. It was at this time that the Orcs invaded Mount Gundabad, taking it from the Kingdom of Durin for themselves.
Their seclusion was broken for a time at the beginning of the War of the Last Alliance. Led by Durin IV, the dwarves fought alongside the Elves and Men in their campaign to defeat Sauron for the last time. Losing the battle, the dwarves returned to their long seclusion from the world inside Moria.
Throughout the beginning of the Third Age, the dwarves of Khazad-dûm expanded its treasure, but its numbers began to dwindle. The majority of their wealth was based on their hoards of Mithril of which they mined in their deepest tunnels, and as the centuries went by the dwarves delved ever deeper for the precious metal.
In TA 1980, they dug too deeply and greedly for Mithril and to their loss they unearthed a nameless terror in the depths beneath the city. This dreadful creature wreaked destruction throughout the city wiping out most of the dwarves and slaying King Durin VI. Thereafter the creature was named Durin's Bane. The following year, Durin's son Nain was also lost to the creature, and thus the Dwarves fled their ancient home for good. After the Dwarves had left, Khazad-dûm gathered dust and stood dark and empty, but for the evil creature that lurked in the depths. This was when it was named Moria, the Black Pit.
The monster, later revealed as a Balrog of Morgoth, remained alone in Moria for nearly five centuries until it was populated once again, but not by Dwarves. The Orcs, refugees from the north, began to raid the abandoned city of its treasures and made a decision to occupy it. They came upon the Balrog and began to worship it as their deity. Mordor started to send out troops of Orcs and Cave Trolls to populate Moria, making an evil place for them to multiply. During the Battle of Azanulbizar, many of these orcs were felled in the valley beneath the eastern gate of Moria in TA 2799, and the numbers were reduced dramatically. But the Balrog still remained and many orcs and trolls with him, and so Khazad-dûm stayed evil for the time being.
In TA 2989, the Longbeards, the descendants of the ancient Durin's Folk then living at Erebor, started an attempt to reclaim and recolonise their ancestral dwelling - Khazad-dûm. The expedition was led by Balin son of Fundin, one of Thorin Oakenshield's Company of Dwarves who had accompanied Bilbo Baggins on the Quest of Erebor. He led a group of Dwarves from Lonely Mountain to Moria, and was successful in killing a considerable amount of orcs, taking many of the eastern halls and recovering priceless ancestral treasures such as Durin's Axe. However, the number of orcs was too great compared to their small company and all, including Balin, were slain in TA 2994.
Quest of the RingEdit
When the Hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin; the Men Aragorn and Boromir; the Dwarf Gimli; the Elf Legolas; and the Wizard Gandalf set out from Rivendell on the Quest of the Ring, they were forced to make their way through Moria after the failed attempt of climbing Caradhras (Redhorn) where they were pursued by Wargs. They entered through the western-gate near a lake with dark waters from which a tentacular monster emerged and attempted to kill Frodo. When inside, the Fellowship passed through many tunnels and great halls until finally reaching the Chamber of Mazarbul. It was here that they came across Balin's Tomb and a book, explaining the last accounts of the Longbeards.
They were then taken by surprise as orcs and cave trolls pursued them through Moria to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm where the Balrog rose from the depths. Gandalf bravely confronted the creature saving his friends' lives as they carried on out of Moria into Dimrill Dale. Gandalf led the Balrog up the Endless Stair to the peak of Celebdil where a final battle took place. Gandalf destroyed the Balrog and cast it down the side of the mountain. Gandalf lived the last few seconds of his life with satisfaction as the Balrog tumbled down Celebdil to its death, but Gandalf's story was not over; not yet anyway...
Fourth Age and beyondEdit
Portrayal in AdaptationsEdit
Moria is depicted in both Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film The Lord of the Rings and the 2001 live action film The Fellowship of the Ring. It is also depicted in the video games The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game), The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age and The Lord of the Rings Online.
Moria appears in the film adaptation of The Hobbit, in a flashback sequence where Azog killed Thror, only to be defeated himself by Thorin Oakenshield who cuts off his arm, none of which happened in (or is consistent with) what Tolkien wrote.
Moria means 'black chasm' in Sindarin.
|Dwarven Realms of Middle-earth throughout the Ages|
|Years of the Trees & First Age:||Bar-en-Nibin-Noeg | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Nulukkizdîn | Orocarni|
|Second Age:||Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad|
|Third Age:||Grey Mountains | Iron Hills | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Northern Blue Mountains|
|Fourth Age:||Glittering Caves | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Atlas of Middle-earth pgs. 65 & 128-9
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellow of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellow of the Ring, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"