The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power director Wayne Che Yip explains a crucial scene involving the Balrog and the creation of mithril. Based on the beloved fantasy novels by author J.R.R. Tolkien, The Rings of Power chronicles the rise of evil during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Prime Video’s new fantasy series takes place thousands of years before the events of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and follows a host of characters new and old, including returning fan-favorites like Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo).
Recent episodes of The Rings of Power have explored the discovery of mithril and the incredible value the fictional ore holds for various parties in Middle-earth. After overcoming his initial hesitancy, Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) eventually lets Elrond know that mithril has been discovered in the mines of Moria, with much mystery remaining about how the substance was created. The Rings of Power episode 5 delves deeper into the potential origins of mithril, with Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) and Elrond recounting the legend of an ancient battle between a Balrog and an Elf over a coveted Silmaril hidden in a tree atop the Misty Mountains. When lightning strikes the tree, the power of the Silmaril is said to have transferred into the rock below, thus creating mithril.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power director Wayne Che Yip explains the episode 5 scene involving the Balrog and the creation of mithril. Yip explains that, of the three Silmarils outlined in Tolkien’s writing, one is never found, meaning the show’s writers were able to use Gil-galad’s story to present a possible explanation as to what became of it. Whether that story is true or not, however, Yip doesn’t say. Check out Yip’s full comment below:
« There was one Silmaril that was never really accounted for. And so this was us sort of thinking about what possibly could have happened to it. Part of what makes mithril special could be because of the fact that it might contain the light of the Silmaril. Again, it was sort of like a lot of great myths and great stories, they kind of hint to ideas of what could be, infusing things with the possibility of something magical. And then it’s down to the discovery of whether that’s true or not. But we thought, JD [Payne] and Patrick [McKay] had the beautiful idea that that could be, again, a possibility. And so, part of the season is the exploration as to whether that’s true or not. »
As has already been shown in Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, mithril is a material of incredible value, boasting superior lightness and strength to any other metal in existence. Frodo is gifted a mithril shirt in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and it ends up saving his life on multiple occasions, including during a dangerous battle with a cave troll. In The Rings of Power, however, mithril is said to be crucial to the continued survival of the Elves, with Gil-galad hopeful that his race can live on through the light of the Silmaril contained within it.
It remains to be seen whether the story regarding the creation of mithril is true and Elrond himself claims that the story is apocryphal. Gil-galad is presented as a somewhat untrustworthy Elf in The Rings of Power thus far, who clearly isn’t beyond lying and manipulating in order to ensure the survival of his people. Although audiences already know that Elves survive well into the Third Age of Middle-earth, the discovery of mithril in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power creates a very interesting set of circumstances for Elrond and Durin and their respective races, with the ore likely to cause increased friction in the episodes to come.