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We asked showrunner Patrick McKay and actor Owain Arthur about the contents inside the Dwarves' box
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episodes 1 and 2.]
The premiere of Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power left us with quite the mix of cliffhangers, the most obvious being the literal shadow looming over Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). The pair has just survived a storm at sea, and a mysterious figure stands above them on a boat. But another mystery lies within Khazad-dûm, the underground kingdom inhabited by Durin's Folk. In The Rings of Power Episode 2, the half-Elven Elrond (Robert Aramayo) visits his old pal Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) with the goal of securing the Dwarves' help on an Elvish project. Elrond was assigned to helping Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) create something of "real power," — a majestic forge — and thought that collaborating with the Dwarves would speed up the process. After Durin eventually warmed up to the idea, he makes the pitch to his father, King Durin III. But the King is not fully onboard, and shows his son something that would complicate a potential team-up with the Elves: a box with a mystery object shining a bright light inside.
What exactly is inside this box? "What I can say in true Dwarven fashion, we are very secretive," Arthur told TV Guide when asked about the contents within. "I'm going to keep it a secret and you can watch the third episode — well, third and fourth — to find out what's in there." That doesn't tell us much, but at least we can expect to have more clarity about the Dwarves' box in the next two episodes.
The Rings of Power's co-showrunner Patrick McKay gave more context about this scene involving the box. "One of the things we love about Tolkien's writings, as readers, is that every leaf has a story, every mountain has a mythology," he said. "We wanted to make a show that was filled with mystery." McKay shared about how the box connects to the Misty Mountains, the mountain range above Khazad-dûm. "The Dwarves live in a mountain, and they feel very close to that mountain and they protect that mountain," he said. "As Disa (Sophia Nomvete) talks about, there are riches in that mountain. But there's also times when you shouldn't dig, the question is where they are on that axis."
What the Dwarves are keeping in the box will likely impact their relationship with the Elves. "All of the worlds in Middle-earth are important. And Tolkien's stories are perhaps their best when his fictional characters leave the confines of their own worlds and come together or come apart from other Middle-earth worlds," said executive producer Lindsey Weber. "I think watching the Dwarves interact with the Elves in this season will be a really important story for where all Middle-earth goes."
To find out about the box's contents, McKay said viewers will have to wait and see what Elrond learns while he's at Khazad-dûm. "Elrond promises Galadriel that if the evil she perceives is really there, that he'll deal with it," McKay added.
Based on their comments, it seems like Elrond will play a major role in whatever happens next with the Dwarves' box. His presence is significant because Elven-Dwarven friendships are quite uncommon given the history of the two peoples. Here's a little background: According to Tolkien's work, the Elves and Dwarves were friendly in the First Age (Rings of Power is taking place in the Second Age) until the fight for a Silmaril — a precious Elvish jewel — soured the relationship. The Elven King Thingol asked the Dwarves of Belegost to make jewelry that could hold the Silmaril, and the Dwarves created the necklace Nauglamír. But after they made Nauglamír, the Dwarves wanted to keep the Silmaril for themselves. This sparked a battle with the Elves, and resulted in the deaths of many Dwarves as well as Thingol himself.
Which leads us to our theory about what's in the Dwarves' box. Since the contents within is something that King Durin III believes will significantly impact the Dwarves' relationship with the Elves, we think it could be the retrieved Silmaril that lays inside. If that's the case, it seems unlikely that the Dwarves will agree to Elrond's proposal to help with Celebrimbor's project — since it would be in their best interest to keep the Elves far away.
Episodes 1 and 2 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are available to stream.