If there’s one thing The Rings of Power must get right, it’s the Rings of Power themselves. These magical gifts mark a huge turning point, where Sauron goes from a nuisance to a threat to the very existence of Middle-earth. Although, despite their importance in The Lord of the Rings’ timeline, there’s still a surprising amount of ambiguity surrounding the Rings of Power specifically concerning the ones gifted to Dwarves.
In Elven lore, there’s the famous verse, “Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for mortal men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne; In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.” Everyone knows what happens to the One Ring, and the nine gifted to Men turn them to Nazgul. The three for Elves are later worn by Elrond, Gandalf and Galadriel during The Lord of the Rings. But as for the seven gifted to the Dwarves, things are far from clear.
Despite their importance, Tolkien never confirmed which seven Dwarf-lords were gifted the Rings of Power. It’s a safe bet to say one was given to each major Dwarven clan; the Ironfists, Durin’s Folk, Broadbeams, Firebeards, Stonefoots, stiffbeards and Blacklocks. But as for who specifically earned a Ring of Power, that’s entirely down to speculation.
At the very least, Dwarven stories imply that King Durin III received one. With he and his son being a key part of The Rings of Power, it seems likely he’ll be gifted a ring in the show. More specifically, tales of Durin III claim he was gifted the Ring of Thror, which was said to make the wearer exceedingly rich and multiply whatever valuables they mined. What became of the ring is left unknown as some tales say it was lost in the Mines of Moria. Gandalf, however, claims it was taken from Thorn Oakenshield’s father before The Hobbit.
As for how the Dwarves handled the Ring’s of Power, they managed to fair better than most. Men were corrupted and turned to Nazgul, while the Elves quickly removed their rings to avoid the effects. But for the Dwarves, they’re so stubborn and unruly that Sauron’s One Ring had little to no effect on them, at least in the short term. Over time, many Dwarven kingdoms fell to ruin and were left completely abandoned and it wouldn’t be surprising if the rings had a part to play.
By the time of The Lord of the Rings, it’s said that Sauron had reclaimed three Dwarven rings while the remaining four had been swallowed or destroyed by dragons. But other than that, the fate of the rings is kept intentionally vague, which gives The Rings of Power plenty of wiggle room with the adaptation. The corruption of Durin III could be shown from his son’s point of view. As for the dragons which destroy the others, there’s the potential for fire-breathing beasts to appear at any time.
With how important the Rings of Power are to Elves and Men, there’s no doubt that they’ll be the center of attention in the coming seasons. But it’ll be a missed opportunity if the Dwarves are ignored. Durin III’s descent could offer a more subtle insight into the rings’ corruption, and be a rare opportunity to add to Middle-earth’s lore without conflicting with Tolkien’s work.
ALSO READ: Isildur Isn’t The Rings of Power’s Hero – He’s the Villain
With The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power taking place mid-way through the Second Age of Middle-earth, Isildur’s introduction into the story is far sooner than in Tolkien’s lore. But being a show that needs to condense a plethora of details into something watchable, it’s an understandable change. And so, with Isildur’s sudden involvement in the tale, The Rings of Power has the chance to portray him as the person he really is a villain.
Whether it be from the original novels or Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, most know that Isildur will eventually defeat Sauron on the slopes of Mount Doom and take the One Ring for himself. However, this isn’t the first time Isildur makes morally questionable decisions. For his entire life, he was a maverick who wanted the spotlight; and it all leads to the eventual downfall of his people.
To Isildur’s credit, he never sides with Sauron throughout his entire tale, even though most of his people eventually joined the Dark Lord. And because of this, he got his first taste of fame after stealing from the traitorous Men of Númenor, as he managed to take a sapling from the Númenóreans’ special White Tree that Sauron planned to destroy. This White Tree was once gifted by the Elves and stood as a symbol of Men, so Isildur was greatly praised for managing to sneak in and save a piece.
For his victory, Isildur later ruled much of Gondor and had the capital city of Osgiliath (foolishly) built on the very border of Mordor. And his overconfidence soon cost the lives of his people when Sauron’s forces attacked Osgiliath, which forced Isildur to flee with his wife and children and leave his city in ruin. In his frustration, Isildur then cursed the Men of the Mountain for breaking their oath and not aiding him in battle a curse that Aragorn later removes in The Lord of the Rings.
With the formation of The Last Alliance, Isildur’s father, Elendil, led the forces of Men into battle. And fighting beside him was Gil-galad, who bore the prestigious title of High King of the Elves in the West. Together, these two kings fought Sauron at Mount Doom and managed to weaken the Dark Lord to the brink of death. But just before Sauron reached the breaking point, they were defeated and slain by his hand.
It was here that Isildur grabbed his father’s sword and cut off Sauron’s finger, breaking his bond with the One Ring and destroying his body. Isildur happily embraced his status as the one who defeated the Dark Lord, but he only dealt the final blow after Elendil and Gil-galad’s hard work. Then, of course, Isildur kept the One Ring and his greed kick-started the events of The Lord of the Rings.
So while there are plenty of heroic quantities to Isildur, he’s far from the hero he believed himself to be. And The Rings of Power can finally show this. Instead of setting him up as the destroyer of Sauron, he should be shown to be the hot-headed maverick who makes foolish decisions out of his need for fame and fortune.