The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Inscribed on the West-gate of Moria in c. II 1500;1 the inscription was apparently destroyed on 13 January III 3019
Location
Origins
Written by Celebrimbor of Eregion
Races
Made by an Elf on the Doors of a Dwarf-kingdom
Divisions
Celebrimbor was of the Noldor; the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm belonged to the Longbeards, otherwise known as Durin's Folk
Culture
Family
Ruled by the House of Durin
Settlements
Khazad-dûm, later called Moria
Pronunciation
me'llon
Meaning
'Friend'

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About this entry:

  • Updated 6 May 2012
  • This entry is complete

Mellon

The password of Khazad-dûm

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"Ennyn Durin Aran Moria: pedo mellon a minno."
"The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria: Say "Friend" and enter."
The inscription on the West-gate of Moria,
and Gandalf's corrected translation
The Fellowship of the Ring II 4
A Journey in the Dark

The Elvish word for 'friend', made famous by its use as the magical password to the Dwarf-city of Khazad-dûm. When the Fellowship of the Ring arrived at the West-gate, Gandalf mistranslated the inscription as 'Speak, friend, and enter', and was thus unable to immediately fathom the opening spell. He tried various Elvish incantations, including:

Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen!
Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!

This is translated by Christopher Tolkien (in volume 6 of The History of Middle-earth) as 'Elvish gate open now for us; doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue.' Only after numerous other attempts (including the imperative Edro!, 'Open!') did it strike Gandalf that he had misconstrued the inscription, which actually contained the opening word, 'Friend'. On uttering the Elvish Mellon!, the West-gate swung open. Immediately after Gandalf led the Fellowship into Moria, the doors were destroyed by the Watcher in the Water, and so Gandalf was the last to use the ancient password Mellon to enter the halls of ancient Khazad-dûm.


Notes

1

The doors of the West-gate were referred to as the Doors of Durin, a reference to Durin III of Khazad-dûm, and so we can presume that they were made during his reign. The dates of that reign are not known, but it was said that Durin received a Ring of Power from Celebrimbor, so he must have ruled during the sixteenth century of the Second Age, when those Rings were made. On that basis the inscription on the West-gate must have been placed there within a few decades of the year II 1500.

See also...

Doors of Durin, West-door

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