What was the fate of Khazad-dûm after the War of the Ring and the defeat of Sauron?

I read that it is said that Durin the 7th led an army to Moria and purged it from the Orcs within, and then reestablished a dwarven community in Khazad-dûm.

Has the new colony of Durin the 7th survived to the 4th age? Did they completely restore Khazad-dûm to its days of glory? What happened to it after the 4th age and after all the Elves left Middle-earth? What was its ultimate fate?


1 Answer 1


Durin the Last first emerges in the second surviving draft of the dwarf section of Appendix A, which originally ended with this line about Moria, right after talking about Dain and Erebor.

And the line of Dain prospered, and the wealth and renown of the kingship was renewed, until there arose again for the last time an heir of that House that bore the name of Durin, and he returned to Moria; and there was light again in deep places, and the ringing of hammers and the harping of harps, until the world grew old and the Dwarves failed and the days of Durin's race were ended.
The Peoples of Middle-earth - IX The Making of Appendix A - (iv) Durin's Folk

There is also an (unpublished) accompanying genealogy table to this draft, which says that he "re-established the Realm of Moria". There are no other surviving Tolkien writings refer to Durin VII (or any other later dwarves) returning to Moria.

Thus it was here that 'Durin the Last' emerged, and it is said of him that he returned from Erebor to Moria and re-established it (as is said in the accompanying genealogical table). To this my father never referred again.
[In the draft's accompanying genealogy, Dain's son] Thorin III is now called 'Stonehelm', and 'Durin the Last' is shown as his son, 'who re-established the Realm of Moria'; beneath his name is a dotted arrow indicating unnamed descendants.
Christopher Tolkien's commentary on the previous excerpt

Later, as Tolkien expanded this section of Appendix A, the Dain section went on to discuss what happened during the War of the Ring, so this concluding sentence about Durin VII got dropped. Nothing more about him is said in any of the successive drafts, but the name 'Durin VII & Last' re-appears in the final genealogy in Appendix A, but as a later direct descendant of Dain, no longer his grandson.

Christopher Tolkien says he is unsure if the idea was actually rejected or simply didn't make its way into the book, but that he thinks the appearance in the final genealogy implies that the idea was kept.

It is impossible to discover whether my father did in fact reject this idea, or whether it simply became 'lost' in the haste with which the Appendices were finally prepared for publication. The fact that he made no reference to 'Durin VII and Last', though he appears in the genealogy in Appendix A, is possibly a pointer to the latter supposition.

So to answer your specific questions according to the earlier draft where the idea appeared:

  • Durin VII presumably wasn't born until the 4th age, so the colony that he started must have at the very least been around in the the 4th age. (There's ~100 years between each Dwarf generation.)
  • We don't know how his colony compared with the original Khazad-dûm, but perhaps "there was light again in deep places" implies this.
  • His colony lasted "until the world grew old and the Dwarves failed and the days of Durin's race were ended."
  • I suppose there was a bit of fighting involved in reclaiming Khazad Dûm.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Mar 18 at 23:21

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