Analysis of Runes in Moria

By Eris Caffee

The following images are blown up details of several images from the Moria scenes of New Line's Fellowship of the Ring that have recently been released/escaped into the wild. In the details below, you will find both a mostly unprocessed version of the image, and a version in which I have drawn the lines of the runes that I believe I have found. I have not always found complete runes, but in cases where I see lines that I feel confident belong to runes, I have marked them in the hopes that they will give a clue as to what the complete rune looks like.

The Chamber of Mazarbul

From the various images of the Chamber of Mazarbul, it is apparent that the walls of the Chamber are nearly completely covered with runes, and that a band of double height runes runs around the room at a height of approximately 3 feet off the floor. Naturally, these runes are the easiest to interpret. I also believe that these runes consist of a short phrase that is repeated many times around the room, that phrase being "Durin ulg...nturgul Khazad-dum". The middle portion is a mystery, and of course, I may be assuming too much in expecting the phrase to be repeated. My expectation is based on the fact that both images which show a clear portion of the double height runes have the rune row ending with "Khazad-dum". The Entrance to the Chamber

The first image I analyzed is the wall of the entrance to the chamber, in this photo, completed with the door braced against the imminent invasion of orcs. Many of the runes are clearly visible, though only the double height runes are complete enough to give a complete reading. They say

n t u r g u l kh a z a d d [u m]

The porion is mysterious, but the last part is clearly "Khazad-dum", with the "um" obscured by the heads of the axes in the corner.

The other scattered runes are too sparse and patchy to yeild any meaningful analysis at this time.

The Back of the Chamber

Here we see the skeleton that Pippin will soon be knocking down the well bringing death and doom upon the Fellowship. For our purposes, though, the most important thing is that we can read the writing on the wall - some of it, at least. Here again, the large runes are the most easily read, but even they are patchy in this picture. Looking for the moment only at the large runes on the back wall, the only ones that can be made out with any certainty, we have:

d u r i n u l? g ... kh a z a d d u m

9 42 12 39 22 42 31 19 ... 20 48 17 49 9 9 43 6

At least, so it appears to me. Note the use of rune 49 instead or 48 for the final A in Khazad-dum. I expect that will resolve itself to a transcription error, on my part, but since the second diagonal stroke is so strong, I will not omit it, and must call it rune as 49.

The Statue of Durin (The Three Kings)

I am assuming that at least one of the three statues is intended to represent Durin I.

i o i d r e . l m ... e d e a th l e? s? s?

39 50 39 9 29 46 _ 31 6 ... 46 9 46 48 10 46 35 35

Note that I believe the interpretation of these runes makes more sense using the older Angerthas values rather than the Angerthas Moria values used in the Chamber of Mazarbul pictures.

The first word (coming down on the diagonal) is a mystery, and I expect my transcription of the runes is in error, but the second word may be "realm" and the last word is apparently "deathless". Could the missing middle portion have said "of Durin the", giving "Realm of Durin the Deathless" as the complete horizontal line? If nothing else, this inscription would appear to be in English.