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‘The Rings of Power’ production designer breaks down Khazad-dûm

How Amazon depicted the Dwarven kingdom in all its glory.

Image from Amazon Prime Video

If there’s anything the divided Lord of the Rings fandom can agree on these days, it’s that Amazon Studios absolutely knocked it out of the park so far as the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm are concerned.

What will ultimately become the realm of Moria is so glorious in the Second Age that it leaves most audiences gasping in awe, even more so than Valinor or the High King Gil-galad’s kingdom of Lindon. The production team under showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay took great care to bring the Dwarven mines to life with all of their nuanced subtlety, and Ramsey Avery recently explained that design process in a chat with IndieWire.

“With the dwarves, literally the quote [from the books and the movie] is they ‘dug too greedily and too deep,’ right? That’s what brought about their downfall. So what does that visually represent, that sense of greedily and deeply? When you look at the architecture [in The Fellowship of the Ring], it’s really monumental. Those volumes are huge and the shapes are massive and there’s figurative work that’s humongous.

“But when you go back into what Tolkien talked about the dwarves being, that they are of stone and of flint, and there’s that great speech, I think, in The Two Towers that Gimli gives about the Glittering Caves, where he talks about how [dwarves treat stone] with such reverence and such care that sometimes they’ll only do a chip or two a day in terms of forming it. And I thought, well, that’s really the difference between second age and third age.”

The team has certainly done its Tolkien homework, even if some diehard gatekeepers are currently inclined to believe otherwise. And we can’t wait to see more of the Dwarves when The Rings of Power returns tomorrow with its fourth episode.

About the author

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.