Rings of Power: Why The Lindon Tree In Khazad-Dum Is So Significant

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Trees have always held amazing significance in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, and it seems as though the Rings of Power will follow in these same footsteps. In the second episode of the series, fans were introduced to the golden sapling of the tree in Lindon, growing deep in the heart of the dwarven kingdom of Khazad-Dum. But as with all trees in Middle Earth, this small piece of life growing deep underground is more significant than it at first appears. It represents the bond and kinship that exists between Durin and Elrond, and in that sense, between the elves and the dwarves, long before the two races become at odds with one another.

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The sapling itself was a gift from Elrond. It began as a tiny seed that was given to Durin in the earliest days of their alliance, as a symbol of good faith between them. Durin planted the seed in the earth, and as it began to grow and bloom, so did their alliance. Eventually, they began to see each other more as family than as simply acquaintances who occasionally crossed paths to achieve the common good. And although the tree is thriving, there is an unsettled nature to their friendship by the second episode of the Rings of Power. Elrond has missed several important events in Durin’s life, including his marriage to Disa and the birth of their children.

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Nonetheless, the Durin still cares for the tree each day, a sure sign of his commitment to their kinship. Disa says asks about the nature of the tree and where it came from, to which Elrond replies:

“A seedling of our great tree in Lindon. The very symbol of our people’s strength and vitality.”

So the trees seem to reflect the lives lived by those around them. The trees in Lindon are abundant and beautiful, just like the elves in this age. This is also true for Nimloth, the white tree in Numenor in the third episode. That tree serves as a direct link between the Valar in the Undying Lands, and the human race who still look to them fo guidance. But when it comes to the tree in Khazad-Dum, there is a suggested fragility there. It is the visual representation of Elrond and Durin’s bond, which is already becoming strained, as is shown by the rock-smashing competition at the beginning of the episode.

Some fans believe that the discovery, and the sharing of the secret of Mithril, will bring about the downfall of Elrond and Durin’s relationship, and indeed the alliance between dwarves and elves as a whole. It is clear that Mithril will become important, and that Durin is taking a great risk in imparting this knowledge to Elrond. That is why he makes him swear upon the stone of the mountain that he will take the secret to his grave, and never utter a word of it outside the halls.

However, there is clearly something gripped and captivated within Elrond when he holds the shard of Mithril in his hand. It suggests that a betrayal may take place, either accidentally, or because Elrond is bound by honor. He may have to tell the elves of the dwarven discovery in order to protect his people and avoid some terrible misfortune. Or perhaps it will be to use in Celebrimbor’s forging of the rings, an even worse betrayal for a greedy and selfish pursuit. And if this comes to pass, it is highly plausible that the tree Durin has been tending, the symbol of elven “strength and vitality,” will very quickly become a mocking, cruel reminder of his friend’s broken promise. Perhaps the tree will wither and die as their friendship does, and will become a metaphor for the beginning of thousands of years of animosity between the two races.

At the heart of its significance, the tree is an emblem of the love shared between people. Disa and Elrond both confirm this when Disa reflects:

“Some called him a fool, for believing it would grow in such darkness.”

And Elrond assures her:

“Where there is love, it is never truly dark. How could it not grow in a home like yours.”

But it is not the love between Disa and Durin that the tree thrives on, although that is a remarkable and beautiful image of family and devotion never before seen among the dwarves in any movie adaptation of Tolkien’s works. It is the love between Elrond and Durin, the forgiveness and the mutual need for one another’s well-being that helps the tree to grow so boldly. But a love like that can’t always exist in hateful times. And with the coming rise of Sauron, hateful times are indeed on their way.

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