Mithril

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Mithril is a fictional metal from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fantasy writings. It is described as silvery and stronger than steel but much lighter in weight. The malleability, lack of tarnishing and use of the metal in jewellery suggest some similarity to the non-fictional metal platinum. The author first wrote of it in The Lord of the Rings, and it was retrospectively mentioned[1] in the third, revised edition of The Hobbit in 1966. In the first 1937 edition, the mail shirt given to Bilbo was described as being made of "silvered steel".[1]

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien writes that mithril was found only in Khazad-dûm (Moria) in Middle-earth, where it was mined by the Dwarves. However, in Unfinished Tales he writes that it was also found in Númenor.

The name mithril comes[citation needed] from two words in Sindarinmith, meaning "grey", and ril meaning "glitter". The metal's Quenya name is mistarillë. Mithril was also called "true-silver" or "Moria-silver"; the Dwarves had their own secret name for it.

Contents

Properties

Within the text, the wizard Gandalf explained mithril to others while passing through Khazad-dûm:

The Noldor of Eregion made an alloy out of it called ithildin ("star moon"), which was used to decorate gateways, portals and pathways. It was visible only by starlight or moonlight. The West Gate of Moria bore inlaid ithildin designs and runes.[2] It is implied at one point that the "moon-letters" featured in The Hobbit were also composed of ithildin.

Abundance

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