>>"mailbox@..." <mafoster@...> wrote:
>>"The question was exactly how rare was mithril in Middle-earth at
the end of the Third Age... most informative reference was Gandalfâs
comments while they were passing through Moria..."
Gandalf's history of _mithril_ --"For here alone in the world was
found Moria-silver, or true-silver as some have called it: _mithril_
is the Elvish name..." (II,iv)-- is supplemented slightly in Appendix
A ("The Dwarves delved deep at that time, seeking beneath Barazinbar
for _mithril_, the metal beyond price that was becoming yearly ever
harder to win") and Appendix B ("Later some of the Noldor went to
Eregion, upon the west of the Misty Mountains, and near to the West-
gate of Moria. This they did because they learned that _mithril_ had
been discovered in Moria"). By the way, Gandalf is contradicted in
_Unfinished Tales_ --I haven't got that text at hand and can't
specify the section-- where it says that _mithril_ is found in
>>"the only specific artifacts... were the helmets of the high guard
of Gondor, Bilboâs coat, and... one of the three rings."
That was Galadriel's ring, Nenya, "the ring wrought of _mithril_,
that bore a single white stone flickering like a frosty star"
(VI,ix). The dwarves also used _mithril_ to make "ithildin,
starmoon, which you saw upon the doors" of Moria's West-gate,
according to Gandalf (II,iv); the door's inscriptions were made in
the Second Age, however, by Narvi and Celebrimbor. Also on Arwen's
banner, "the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of
_mithril_ and gold" (V,vi). And after Minas Tirith's Fourth Age
facelift, "its gates were wrought of _mithril_ and steel, and its
street were paved with white marble" (VI,iv; also noted in App. A).
>>"I offered the opinion that there were around 15 or 20 mithril
artifacts scattered around Middle-earth, but perhaps there were only
half a dozen or in the other extreme maybe the number was in the
hundreds, stashed away wherever elves keep their valuables. Any
I don't think we know enough to quantify. Gandalf says that "little
is left above ground, and even the Orcs dare not delve here for it...
Of what they [the dwarves] brought to light the Orcs have gathered
nearly all, and given it in tribute to Sauron, who covets it"
(II,iv). Balin's dwarves found some in Moria, as Gandalf reads from
the Book of Mazarbul: "I can see _we found truesilver_, and later the
word _wellforged_ and then something, I have it! _mithril_!"
(II,v). Tolkien's illustrations of the Book's pages actually
read "coat m(ade?) all of purest mithril" -- I copied that from the
2005 Tolkien calendar (and I think it was previously noted in
_Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien_).
On a side-note, I think the first mention of _mithril_ in _LotR_
precedes any explanation of its nature: "A ship then new they built
for him / of _mithril_ and of elven-glass / with shining prow; no
shaven oar / nor sail she bore on silver mast" (II,i).
And of course it's only after writing this up that I have the sense
to search the web and find a decent summary of _mithril_ here:
There it says, citing _UT_, that the Elendilmir was made of _mithril_.