Mithril coat

From Tolkien Gateway
It's a pretty thing, isn't it by Matěj Čadil

The mithril coat or mithril mail was a Dwarf-mail coat made of mithril, owned by Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

History[edit | edit source]

The most famous of the items made from mithril was the "small coat of mail" that had been made for a young elf-prince long before the Quest of Erebor. It was retrieved from the hoard of the dragon Smaug, and given to Bilbo Baggins by Thorin.[1]

A "kingly gift" (in Gimli's estimation), the mithril-coat was worth more than the entire worth of the Shire.[2] Bilbo kept it as decoration in Bag End. He later lent it to Mathom-house museum in Michel Delving,[3][4] but he took it back before leaving the Shire for Rivendell. Years later, he gave it to his nephew Frodo Baggins in Rivendell.[5] Frodo wore it during the Quest to Mount Doom. It saved Frodo several times; the first when he was nearly skewered by the spear of an Orc in the Mines of Moria[6] and a second when he was struck by an arrow while on the river Anduin.[7]

The coat was later taken by the Orcs who captured Frodo in the pass above Cirith Ungol,[8] and it was passed on to the Dark Lord's servants at Barad-dûr. When the coat was displayed before the hosts of Aragorn at the Gates of Mordor, many despaired, thinking Frodo had been captured or killed, and the Ring taken.[9] Gandalf reclaimed it from Sauron's lieutenant[9] and was later able to return it to Frodo after the battles were won.[10] After the Battle of Bywater, the coat once again saved Frodo's life when Saruman attempted to assassinate him at Bag End.[11]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In the original editions of The Hobbit, Bilbo's mail was of "silvered steel". It was altered to mithril in a 1966 revision.[12]

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

In the Hervarar saga, which was a cycle dealing with the magic sword Tyrfing (and from which Tolkien borrowed, for instance, the names Dwalin and Durin), the hero Orvar-Odd wore a silken mailcoat which nothing could pierce (Oddr svarar: "ek vil berjask við Angantýr, hann mun gefa stór högg með Tyrfingi, en ek trúi betr skyrtu minni, enn brynju þinni, til hlífðar").

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

The coat as depicted in the movies

2001-2003: The Lord of the Rings film series

The coat follows closely the same narrative, save it is not shown after Frodo's recovery.