One of the most harrowing portions of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy takes place when Gandalf leads the Fellowship of the Ring through the subterranean labyrinth of Moria. Everyone and their mother knows about the journey in the dark, which takes days to complete and ends with a distressing encounter with an army of evil creatures led by a Balrog.
From there, the story moves on as the company escapes the dreadful underground house of horrors and seeks refuge in nearby Lothlorien. Even Gandalf, who stays behind and slays the demon, is reincarnated and heads off to fight Mordor as Gandalf the White. And that’s it. That’s pretty much the last that we hear about Moria. The Balrog might be gone, but the abandoned Dwarven city falls off the radar and no longer impacts the story in a significant way.
Okay, so that’s it then? Taken at face value, Moria feels like little more than a plot point. It’s a dangerous obstacle placed in the path of our intrepid heroes, a lightless bump in the road, a monkey wrench tossed in to complicate their journey, a hindrance that ultimately can’t stop the fate of Frodo and his companions. But anyone who knows anything about J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings knows that nothing — like, nothing — is merely added in to “juice up the plot.” Every location, creature, and event in Tolkien’s story hints at something bigger — including the dark depths of Moria.
With that said, we’ve gathered up everything there is to know about the ancient Dwarven mansion and how it came to play such a dark role in the destruction of the One Ring. Here is the history of the Dwarven stronghold of Khazad-dûm, or as it’s commonly referred to, Moria.