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The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria

The Doors of Durin were the western entrance to Hadhodrond or Khazad- d(o)m, later called Moria. They were built in the Second Age of Middle Earth, probably before Year 1000, at the time when the friendship between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Khazad-d(o)m was greatest there has ever been between the two peoples.

They stood until 13 January, 3019 Third Age, when the Fellowship of the Ring passed through them, narrowly escaping the Watcher in the Water, which slammed the Doors shut and buried them.

The Doors were built by the Elves and Dwarves in cooperation. Narvi, presumably the greatest craftsman of the Dwarves of that time, designed and made the Doors themselves; Celebrimbor, Lord of Eregion and a descendant of Feanor, drew devices on them in _ithildin_: The Emblems of Durin, a hammer and anvil surmounted by a crown with seven stars; The Tree of the High-Elves; and the Star of the House of Feanor. Written on the Doors were the words:
"The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak 'friend' and enter. I, Narvi, made them, Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs."

The Doors were so constructed that one could open them from within by pushing on them. According to the Dwarves, the strength of two was needed to do this. The Dwarves always kept a guard inside the doors, so that a single person, or a person trying to escape, could not escape without the help of the guard.

However, there was no way to open them from the outside except by saying the password - then the Doors would open by themselves.

After the Doors were made, they stood open for many years as the Dwarves of Khazad-d(o)m and Celebrimbor's people engaged in trade and various projects to their mutual benefit.

About 1200 Second Age, Sauron, in his guise as Annatar (Lord of Gifts) started to teach the elves of Eregion secrets of putting power into objects. Sauron made the One Ring in about 1600 S. A., and the Elves perceived that they had been tricked and Sauron would enslave them. The War of Sauron and the Elves began, and in 1697 S. A., Celebrimbor was killed and the Elves of Eregion were defeated by Sauron. A host of Dwarves and Elves from Lorien issued through the Doors upon Sauron's rear in the battle, which enabled Elrond to escape, after which the Door were shut against Sauron's army.

The Doors remained shut throughout the Dark Years (i. e. until the end of the Second Age).

The Doors are not mentioned again in history until the time of the Fellowship, although they must have been opened and closed many times by Durin's folk before the Balrog came in 1980 Third Age.

After that, with the brief exception of the occupation of Khazad-d(o)m (now called Moria) by Balin's expedition, they seem to have been closed. When the Fellowship stood before the Doors, no one knew how to open them from the outside.

Gandalf wasted much time and the Fellowship nearly fell victim to the Watcher because he erroneously translated the inscription on the Doors as:
"Speak, Friend, and enter."
He concluded that there was a password, but did not realize that the word was in front of him. He solved the riddle when he said "mellon", the Elvish word for friend, and the Doors opened. As Gandalf said:
"Those were happier times."

Happier and indeed trusting, to write the password on the outside!

On this page you can find out all you always wanted to know about Dwarves.
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