In the fiction of J. In much of Middle-earth's fictional history , Moria was the greatest city of the Dwarves. The city's wealth was founded on its mines, which produced mithril , a fictional metal of great beauty and strength, suitable for armour. The Dwarves dug too deep, greedy for mithril , and disturbed a demon of great power: a Balrog , which destroyed their kingdom. By the end of the Third Age , Moria had long been abandoned by the Dwarves, and was a place of evil repute. It was dark, in dangerous disrepair, and in its labyrinths lurked Orcs and the Balrog.

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In the fiction of J. In much of Middle-earth's fictional history , Moria was the greatest city of the Dwarves. The city's wealth was founded on its mines, which produced mithril , a fictional metal of great beauty and strength, suitable for armour. The Dwarves dug too deep, greedy for mithril , and disturbed a demon of great power: a Balrog , which destroyed their kingdom. By the end of the Third Age , Moria had long been abandoned by the Dwarves, and was a place of evil repute. It was dark, in dangerous disrepair, and in its labyrinths lurked Orcs and the Balrog.

Scholars have identified likely sources for Tolkien's Moria: he had studied a Latin inscription about a lost ring at the temple of Nodens in Gloucestershire, at a place called Dwarf's Hill full of old mine-workings. The name Moria, Tolkien wrote, echoed the name of a castle in a Scandinavian folktale , while Gandalf's death and reappearance reminded critics of the resurrection and transfiguration of Jesus.

The West Gate that the Watcher in the Water crashes closed behind the Fellowship recalled to commentators the Wandering Rocks of Greek mythology , and Odysseus 's passage between the devouring Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. Finally, the Fellowship's entry into the darkness via the deadly lake by the West Gate, and its exit into the light via the beautiful Mirrormere, alongside Gandalf's death and reappearance, has been compared to a baptism , a ceremony that combines a symbolic death and the gift of new life.

Its multiple levels of tunnels and halls have served, too, as the basis for a variety of computer and board games. The name Moria had within the fiction originally applied only to the Black Chasm itself. Tolkien borrowed the name Moria itself, but not its meaning, from a book he had read.

It is translated into "translated Westron" as the Dwarrowdelf , an archaic form of what would be the Dwarves' delving in more modern language. Moria was originally a system of natural caves located in Dimrill Dale, a valley on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains.

The appearance of the Misty Mountains, and some of the experiences of Tolkien's protagonists, were inspired by his travels in the Swiss Alps in The caves led to a subterranean abyss: the Black Chasm: some fifty feet wide and of indeterminate depth, it was crossed only by Durin's Bridge, "a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail". Moria lay on the western edge of the Middle-earth region of Wilderland.

Three of the Misty Mountains' most massive peaks surrounded Dimrill Dale: the Mountains of Moria: Silvertine on the west; Redhorn on the north; and Cloudyhead on the east; or in Sindarin respectively Celebdil , Caradhras and Fanuidhol. However the principal mineral was mithril , a fabulously precious and versatile metal found nowhere else in Middle-earth.

Beginning under the Silvertine, the Dwarves mined ever deeper, and down towards the roots of Mount Caradhras. There they unearthed the Balrog, which drove the Dwarves into exile. Far below even the deepest mines of the Dwarves lay a primordial underworld of tunnels, streams and lakes in perpetual darkness, inhabited by primitive creatures.

The tunnels were "gnawed by nameless things" from the beginnings of Arda , [T 8] along with the Watcher in the Water , which Gandalf suggested may have come from the underworld's waters. Moria was founded by Durin at the end of the Ages of the Stars. During his reign, the precious metal mithril was discovered in the mines, and some of the major structures of Moria were built: Durin's Bridge, the Second Hall, the Endless Stair and Durin's Tower.

Durin died before the end of the First Age. Celebrimbor , the Lord of Eregion, used ithildin lettering on this gate on behalf of its builder, his friend the dwarf smith Narvi. When the elves discovered that Sauron , the Dark Lord had made the One Ring , giving him control of all the other rings, the War of the Elves and Sauron broke out.

In the Third Age, the more easily accessible seams of mithril were exhausted, and the Dwarves dug deeper until they disturbed a Balrog , a powerful fire-demon. Orcs occupied Moria, while the Balrog haunted its depths.

The Orc-chieftain Azog became the master of Moria. The Fellowship reluctantly passed through Moria in winter, gambling that most of its Orcs had been killed in the Battle of Five Armies.

They were attacked by the monstrous Watcher in the Water as they entered the West-gate, and faced further perils in the subterranean passages. They reached the Chamber of Mazarbul, the ancient repository of documents holding Balin 's tomb and his colony's chronicle, the Book of Mazarbul.

Gandalf confronted the Balrog on Durin's Bridge. The two duelled briefly before plunging together into the chasm, allowing the rest of the Fellowship to escape to the Eastern Gates. Unknown to the Fellowship, Gandalf climbed to the top of Mount Celebdil and continued to fight the Balrog for two days in the Battle of the Peak; both of them died, but Gandalf returned to Middle-earth as Gandalf the White. There were at least six levels above the Great Gates , and many more levels —or Deeps— below it.

Every level consisted of a network of arched passages, chambers and many-pillared halls, often with "black walls, polished and smooth as glass". The Endless Stair of many thousands of steps rose in an unbroken spiral from the lowest dungeon of Moria to Durin's Tower at the summit of Celebdil; it was destroyed in the battle between Gandalf and the balrog, Durin's Bane. The West-gate enabled travellers to pass right through the Misty Mountains , thus providing a weather-free alternative to the notorious and arduous Redhorn Pass , 15—20 miles to the north.

The J. Tolkien Encyclopedia notes that Middle-earth gates are important both symbolically and practically: "They mark exclusion or admission. They test character and wisdom.

They suggest mystery, secrecy, and privilege. The Doors of Durin, also called the West-gate or the West-door, formed the western entrance to Moria. When shut, the gates were invisible and impossible to open by physical means. They were however decorated with designs engraved in ithildin made by the elf-Lord Celebrimbor of Eregion and the dwarf Narvi from mithril mined in Moria.

Tolkien's drawing of the designs on the Doors of Durin was the only illustration in The Lord of the Rings during his lifetime other than cover-art and calligraphy.

In moonlight, a password made the designs visible. The designs contained a second password to open the doors. When the Fellowship enter, the Watcher in the Water , the monstrous aquatic guardian of the gates, slams the doors shut with its tentacles, plunging the Fellowship immediately into hellish darkness; the scholar of English literature Charles Huttar compares this "clashing gate" to the Wandering Rocks that in Greek mythology lie near the opening of the underworld , Hades , and to Odysseus 's passage between the devouring Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis.

In , a 4th-century pagan mystery cult temple was excavated at Lydney Park , Gloucestershire. Silvianus has lost a ring and has donated one-half [its worth] to Nodens. Among those who are called Senicianus do not allow health until he brings it to the temple of Nodens. Tolkien Encyclopedia notes also the "Hobbit-like appearance of [Dwarf's Hill]'s mine-shaft holes", and that Tolkien was extremely interested in the hill's folklore on his stay there, citing Helen Armstrong's comment that the place may have inspired Tolkien's "Celebrimbor and the fallen realms of Moria and Eregion".

Bowers notes that the name of the Elven-smith Celebrimbor is the Sindarin for "Silver Hand", and that "Because the place was known locally as Dwarf's Hill and honeycombed with abandoned mines, it naturally suggested itself as background for the Lonely Mountain and the Mines of Moria.

Moria first appeared in Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. Tolkien later recalled that the name was "a casual 'echo' of Soria Moria Castle in one of the Scandinavian tales translated by Dasent. I liked the sound-sequence; it alliterated with 'mines', and it connected itself with the MOR element in my linguistic construction. Rang asked Tolkien whether the name Moria was a reference to the biblical mountains of Moriah , where according to the book of Genesis Abraham was to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

Tolkien denied this, writing that his mind did not work that way, explaining that Moria meant "Black Chasm" in Sindarin , and detailing the connection with the root Mor found in Mordor , Morgoth , Morgul. Internally there is no conceivable connection between the mining of Dwarves, and the story of Abraham.

All the same, critics have noticed biblical echoes in the story. Anne C. Petty, writing about " Allegory " in the J. Tolkien Encyclopedia , cites Michael W.

Maher, S. The critic Jane Chance observes that the fall of the dwarves, first those of Durin, then those of Balin, is brought about through avarice, their greed for Moria's deeply-buried mithril. She identifies this as "their internal vice", [18] which the Balrog "monstrously projects".

The critic Clive Tolley notes that the contest between the wizard Gandalf and the evil Balrog on Durin's bridge somewhat recalls a shamanistic contest, but that a far closer parallel is medieval vision literature, giving the example of St Patrick's Purgatory , and even Dante 's Divine Comedy. Critics such as Chance and Jerram Barrs have recognised the death of Gandalf the Grey at the hands of the Balrog , and his reappearance as Gandalf the White, as a transfiguration , [20] the change in colour hinting at "a parallel with Christ 's own death and resurrection ".

The professor of English literature Sue Zlosnik notes that the fantasy world in Tolkien's "fake" mythology "for England" [21] is constructed with elaborate detail. She cites Humphrey Carpenter 's biographical account of Tolkien's "painstaking crafting" of The Book of Mazarbul that appears in Moria, complete with "burnt and tattered" pages, and Tolkien's disappointed wish for a facsimile of this artefact to appear in the first edition of Fellowship of the Ring.

In Zlosnik's view, this sort of detail recalls Horace Walpole 's love of the " Gothic ". Erin Derwin, writing on The Artifice , compares the fellowship's time in Moria with Siegfried Sassoon 's First World War poem "The Rear-Guard", in which he describes "groping along the tunnel" in a labyrinth of dark trenches, with "muttering creatures underground", recalling, Derwin suggests, the awakening of the Orcs and the Balrog by the hobbit Pippin.

Matthew Dickerson , writing in the J. Tolkien Encyclopedia , suggests that of all the caves, barrows, tunnels and underground kingdoms in Tolkien's writings, Moria is "the most significant". Moria, he argues, citing Hugh Keenan's description of the two contrasting lakes at the Fellowship's entrance and exit from Moria, and giving the example of Gandalf's death and rebirth, functions as both Womb and Tomb.

In Christianity, he notes, Baptism is at once a symbolic death and the gift of new life. The roguelike computer game Moria was modelled on The Lord of the Rings events. The goal in the game is to reach the bottom of a maze-like simulation of the Mines of Moria and kill a Balrog.

Moria is featured in board games such as Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings. The uppermost is the path of Durin's Way, which pierces the mountain to reach the cliffs of Zirak-Zigil. Further down in the subterranean realm are the Silvertine Lodes and the Redhorn Lodes, and the furthest depths contain the submerged Water-Works, the fiery Flaming Deeps, and the Foundations of Stone, where Gandalf and the Balrog fought before ascending the Endless Stair. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Moria J.

Tolkien 's legendarium location Durin's emblem, as on Moria's West-gate. Further information: Nodens and Ring of Silvianus. Tolkien , The Letters of J. IV 'Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn' p. Drout, Michael D. Doors and Gates. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. Lobdell, Jared ed. A Tolkien Compass. Open Court. Clearly Charybdis is yet another route to hell.



Back to the list. Games Workshops original Dwarfs of middle earth, though not as fancy looking as Erbor or the Iron Hills, they still shine in their own way, being cheaper to collect and with the most units to pick from you can create a fair few different lists. Not to mention that your army list can gain more Heroes when you take Balin as your leader. The Wealth of Moria lay not in gold or jewels, but Mithril: Any Dwarf with the Moria or Khazad-dum keyword may re-roll to wounds roll of 1 when fighting in close combat.


Bridge of Khazad-dûm

It was known for being the ancient realm of the Dwarves of Durin's Folk. It was the greatest kingdom ever built by the Dwarves. The Dwarrowdelf was founded by Durin 'the Deathless' in the far distant past, long before the creation of the Sun and Moon. Durin had awakened at Mount Gundabad not long after the Elves first awoke, and as eldest among the Fathers of the Dwarves was acknowledged as preeminent among them, a status subsequently inherited by his descendants, the kings of the Longbeards. From Mount Gundabad, Durin's growing clan "spread southward down the vales of Anduin ", all the while "under attack from the orcs of Morgoth ". All of these places became revered amongst Durin's people in later days.

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