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

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

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

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

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.

References