Chapter of the Week, Bk 2, Ch 5 - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

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gp.skinner

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May 17, 2004, 10:06:46 AM5/17/04
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Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

The chapter opens with the fellowship standing beside Balin's tomb. Frodo
thinks of Bilbo, his friendship with Balin, and the dwarf visiting the
Shire.[1] After a while they look around the room, bones litter the floor by
the doors. Amongst the bones they see various weapons some of which are
those of orcs.[2]

From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf retrieves a
damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well and truly mangled)
book.[3] Frodo and Gimli watch on as Gandalf carefully looks at the fragile
pages (upon which different styles of writing were evident - runes of Moria,
Dale, and Elvish script).

Gandalf then goes on to read what parts of the book are still legible
(though some pages are missing and much of the text obscured). In brief the
book starts off with Balin (and his companions) arriving at the Dimrill
Dale, their fight to clear orcs from the great gate, Floi being killed. The
book goes onto record "Balin has set up his seat in the Chamber of
Mazarbul."[4] It also shows they discovered truesilver. Much of the
remaining pages were too damaged to make much sense of until Gandalf finds a
page written in Elvish script (".Ori's hand," said Gimli). Ori had recorded
the death of Balin[5] who was killed by an orc as he looked into Mirror
mere, he also wrote of the companies last stand after the deaths of Loni and
Nali; Oin was killed by the watcher in the water. Some of the final entries
in the book are ".drums, drums in the deep." Then, "they are coming."[6]

Following his examination of the book Gandalf gives it to Gimli to take back
for Dain (lets just hope it did not weigh too much), then he gets the
fellowship ready to move.[7]

With the knowledge of where they stood within Moria Gandalf told the
fellowship which route they should take out of Moria. As Gandalf finished
telling them the route they heard ".a great noise: a rolling Boom that
seemed to come from depths far bellow, and to tremble in the stone at their
feet." Following the initial noise the great drum beat continued, then the
sound of a horn, and the sound of hurrying feet (I'm fairly sure the feet
had bodies joined to them).

After a short discourse[8] they draw their weapons - Glamdring shone, Sting
glinted. Gandalf looks out of the chamber into the passageway and tells of
the approach of orcs, Uruks of Mordor, and a cave-troll. Aragorn who was
standing by the other door (eastern) reports no sound of approach from that
direction.

Boromir closes and jams the door against the approaching orcs, the
fellowship retreat and something strikes the door, which then slowly begins
to open. A large green-scaled arm reaches through the gap, Boromirs sword is
turned aside and Frodo jumps forward stabbing the creature's foot, (at this
point I'd have been around ten miles away and still running). The door is
broken/forced open by the attacking host which then rushed into the chamber
a short fight follows in which Sam receives a scalp wound, when the
fellowship had killed 13 orcs the rest ran away.[9]

Gandalf calls for the company to move on. They made towards the eastern
door, at the same time however a large orc entered the chamber carrying a
spear, the orc pushed Boromir out of his way, avoided Aragorn, and then
threw his spear at Frodo which struck him on his right side. Aragorn kills
the orc; picks up Frodo and the fellowship leave through the eastern door
which Boromir shuts but cannot lock. Frodo tells Aragorn he can walk ok,
Gandalf instructs the fellowship to carry on giving them directions in case
he does not follow soon. The fellowship leave Gandalf and move down the
stairs in darkness, they can hear Gandalf's voice from above, then a bright
light flares above them and the drums go crazy before stopping.

Gandalf comes running down and they continue going straight and descending a
few flights stairs as they go, the drums resume. After an hour Gandalf stops
and says they should be on the same level as the gate. Gimli asks what had
happened at the door, and if he'd met the beater of the drums. Gandalf
responded by saying he did not know "But I found myself suddenly faced by
something that I have not met before."[10] He goes on to say how he'd tried
to keep the door closed with a spell, but whatever was in the chamber
(besides the orcs) had recognised his spell and tried a counter spell. The
door broke under the strain of the two spells, ".Something dark as a cloud
was blocking out all the light inside," the walls and roof of the chamber
gave way.

Gandalf then goes on to ask how Frodo is feeling, who replies he's bruised
and in pain but not too bad. Aragorn comments that hobbits made of tuff
stuff, Gandalf then says "There is more to you than meets the eye."[11].

The fellowship move on, Gimli notices a red light ahead. Gandalf says the
lower levels must be on fire. As they continue the light gets brighter and
the air became hot. Gandalf stops the company and goes ahead, when he
returns he tells the company he knows where they are and that the gates are
near. As they move forward into the Second Hall of Old Moria, they see ". a
great fissure had opened. Out of it a fierce red light came," Upon seeing
this Gandalf tells them that if they had come by the main road they'd have
been trapped, he then urges them on towards the bridge.

Arrows fly from the other side of the fire, Boromir laughs at the orcs
misfortune (being on the wrong side of the fire). Gandalf cautions them that
the bridge is narrow. Frodo sees that the door they wish to take is on the
far side of a chasm over which spanned a slender [12] curved bridge without
kerb or rail. Not the sort of bridge you'd wish to use if you feared
heights!

Gandalf halts them at the edge of the bridge and tells Gimli to lead the
way, with Pippin and Merry to follow him. Arrows continued to fall, one
striking Frodo (with no effect), another ending up through Gandalf's hat.
Frodo could see hundreds of orcs beyond the fire; the drums grow louder.

Legolas who was readying an arrow to shoot across at the orcs sees two
trolls bearing slabs of stone to bridge the fire, the orcs seemed afraid of
something and opened a path at first all he sees is ". a great shadow, in
the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe," when it was at the
edge of the fissure of fire the light faded. The flames increased as the
creature jumps across the fissure - it carried a blade "like a stabbing
tongue of fire" in its right hand, and a whip in its left. Legolas
recognises it as a Balrog and shouts warning to the others. The Balrog with
its mane flaming behind it rushes towards the fellowship and the orcs
follow. Boromir blows his horn and the approaching Balrog and orcs pause
before again approaching the fellowship.

Gandalf shouts at the fellowship to run over the bridge, that the Balrog was
beyond their strength to fight. Aragorn and Boromir do not move[13] the
others stop at the doorway then decide they can not let Gandalf face the
Balrog alone. As the Balrog reaches the bridge Gandalf stands in the centre
of the span, with his staff held in his left hand and his sword in the
other. The Balrog stops ". and the shadows about it reached out like two
vast wings."[14]

Gandalf tells the Balrog that he can not pass, as he is a servant of the
secret fire and wielder of the flame of Anor.[15]

The Balrog does not say anything (many people will argue about whether
Balrogs had wings or not, but could they talk? If so what language did they
speak?) but its fire in it seemed to die and the darkness increased as it
stepped onto the bridge drawing itself up to its full height, we are told
Gandalf looks tiny in comparison. The Balrog's flaming sword swings at
Gandalf who blocks the blow with his sword resulting in the Balrog falling
back its sword broken. The Balrog jumps onto the bridge with its whip ready.
Aragorn and Boromir run back along to bridge to aid Gandalf.

Then Gandalf raises his staff, and shouts as he strikes the bridge at his
feet. His staff is broken and white flames spring up. At the Balrog's feet
the bridge cracks at the stone falls into the chasm below leaving the half
where Gandalf, Aragorn, and Boromir stood remaining.

As it fell the Balrog cried out, and it vanished into the chasm, yet as it
fell its whip lashed out and wraps around Gandalf's knees pulling him to the
edge of the broken bridge, he staggers then falls into the chasm crying
"fly, you fools!"[16]

After the fall of Gandalf and the Balrog, the fire went out, the company
stood in shock until Aragorn urged them on saying that he would lead them
from the mines. Frodo and Sam wept[17] as they followed Aragorn; in the
background the beat of the drums could be still heard.

They left the mines with Aragorn killing the Orc captain who was guarding
the doorway, the remaining orc guard fled from him. It was not until they
were out of range from orc arrows and they stood in the Dimrill Dale.

When they looked back black smoke came from the mountain, drums could still
be heard in the distance, slowly fading as the company stood in grief.


_________________________________
NOTES

[1] I can remember thinking when I first read this passage (feels like a
long time ago now) that Balin must have visited at some point whilst Frodo
was living at Bag End - I don't know why as Balin left for Moria in the same
year that Frodo moved into Bag End (2989). So did Balin visit on his way to
Moria, or was it just the way I first read it?

[2] Why did none of them notice the signs of battle until now, you'd think
one of them would have been on their guard enough in such a dank dark place.

[3] I've always loved this bit (strange I know), but then I like looking
through dusty bookshops.

[4] Chamber of Records as translated by Gimli.

[5] It's a pity that nothing in detail is written about Balin and his
attempt to retake Moria.

[6] I had to include the quotes 'drums' & 'they're coming', it can still
send a shiver down my spine when I read this passage, its probably something
to do with having an overactive imagination.

[7] One of Gandalfs comments in this paragraph regarding Balin's attempt to
retake Moria ". so ended the attempt to retake Moria! It was valiant but
foolish. The time is not come yet." Did Gandalf already know what had
happened to Balin before they entered Moria, when do you suppose was the
right time to retake it (apart from after the downfall of Sauron).

[8] None of them said anything close to what my reaction would have been in
that situation.

[9] Cowards - There's no honour amongst orcs these days.

[10] I take this as he felt the presence of the balrog coming into the
chamber, though I'm surprised that Gandalf had not met one before - when you
consider the amount of time he'd already been travelling around Middle Earth
by then.

[11] You don't get much past Gandalf - or perhaps Bilbo had already told him
that he'd given the Mithril shirt along with Sting to Frodo.

[12] So slender that it had to be crossed in single file.

[13] I'd have been running so hard by now you'd have seen flames from my
boots.

[14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them. I'd
never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a picture of
the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times now
and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."

[15] The full version of Gandalfs statement is in my view an excellent piece
of writing by JRRT, for you get a lot of information in just four lines
(well its 4 lines in the copy I'm using for this anyway).

[16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only thing
that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this an
instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the
fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent back if
he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I suppose
a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down after
the Balrog.

[17] Probably some of the others did too but its not mentioned, Pippin has
always struck me as the one who would likely have been in floods of tears by
this point.

_____________________

Graeme

AC

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May 17, 2004, 1:17:16 PM5/17/04
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On Mon, 17 May 2004 15:06:46 +0100,
gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:
> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip excellent summary>

>
> [5] It's a pity that nothing in detail is written about Balin and his
> attempt to retake Moria.

Yes. That would have made a fascinating, though very sad story.

>
> [6] I had to include the quotes 'drums' & 'they're coming', it can still
> send a shiver down my spine when I read this passage, its probably something
> to do with having an overactive imagination.

This is one of the creepier pieces of writing in the entire book. The whole
sequence from Balin's Tomb to Gandalf's fall is a combination of thriller,
horror and action.

>
> [7] One of Gandalfs comments in this paragraph regarding Balin's attempt to
> retake Moria ". so ended the attempt to retake Moria! It was valiant but
> foolish. The time is not come yet." Did Gandalf already know what had
> happened to Balin before they entered Moria, when do you suppose was the
> right time to retake it (apart from after the downfall of Sauron).

It seems to me that the notion was that the failure to retake Moria was
rather inevitable. I don't think Gandalf had any foreknowledge of Balin's
death and the failure of Durin's folk to create anew Khazad-dum.

> [10] I take this as he felt the presence of the balrog coming into the
> chamber, though I'm surprised that Gandalf had not met one before - when you
> consider the amount of time he'd already been travelling around Middle Earth
> by then.

The impression that I get is that the Balrog of Moria was the last of its
kind. Whether Gandalf had ever, before or during his time in Ea encountered
one of these Maiar I don't know. I think this fits nicely, however, with
another current thread about sensing the Ring that beings of power could
sense another power, but possibly not the identity.

> [14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them. I'd
> never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a picture of
> the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times now
> and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
> part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."

I don't think it's important to the narrative, and you won't find me getting
dragged into this ancient flamewar.

> [16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only thing
> that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this an
> instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the
> fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent back if
> he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I suppose
> a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down after
> the Balrog.

Well, Gandalf's ultimate goal was to get the Ring to Sammath Naur, and since
no one else there had a hope in hell against the Balrog, it was up to him.
I don't know whether he expected to die or not, though the history of
Balrog-killers would not have, I'm sure, filled him with much hope.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

gp.skinner

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May 17, 2004, 2:22:08 PM5/17/04
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<Even more snippage>

> > [5] It's a pity that nothing in detail is written about Balin and his
> > attempt to retake Moria.
> Yes. That would have made a fascinating, though very sad story.

Sad last few pages perhaps but the build up would be worth it - though with
an ending where all the 'good guys' die would probably not sell very well.

> > [6] I had to include the quotes 'drums' & 'they're coming', it can still
> > send a shiver down my spine when I read this passage, its probably
something
> > to do with having an overactive imagination.
> This is one of the creepier pieces of writing in the entire book. The
whole
> sequence from Balin's Tomb to Gandalf's fall is a combination of thriller,
> horror and action.

For me, the way JRRT kept the drums as a constant throughout the rest of the
chapter was excellent. It almost gave you an insight into what the enemy was
thinking (or how excited the enemy was).

> > [14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them.
I'd
> > never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a
picture of
> > the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times
now
> > and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
> > part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."
>
> I don't think it's important to the narrative, and you won't find me
getting
> dragged into this ancient flamewar.
>

No, I'm not getting dragged into it either, but it seemed likely when I was
putting the notes together that one would erupt again. I've said my piece on
the matter above and thats pretty much it.

> > [16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only
thing
> > that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this
an
> > instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the
> > fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent
back if
> > he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I
suppose
> > a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down
after
> > the Balrog.
>
> Well, Gandalf's ultimate goal was to get the Ring to Sammath Naur, and
since
> no one else there had a hope in hell against the Balrog, it was up to him.
> I don't know whether he expected to die or not, though the history of
> Balrog-killers would not have, I'm sure, filled him with much hope.
>

Gandalf was the only one I agree to go up against the Balrog, Aragorn would
have been my second choice for the fight but I'd say he would only slow it
down enough whilst the others could run away.

Graeme

Kristian Damm Jensen

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May 17, 2004, 3:55:22 PM5/17/04
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"gp.skinner" <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote in message news:<40a8...@212.67.96.135>...

> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip>

> From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf retrieves a
> damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well and truly mangled)
> book.

There should be a law against treating books like that. :-)

<snip>

> Following his examination of the book Gandalf gives it to Gimli to take back
> for Dain (lets just hope it did not weigh too much),

Who cares? He's a dwarf.

> then he gets the
> fellowship ready to move.[7]

<snip>

> Gandalf halts them at the edge of the bridge and tells Gimli to lead the
> way, with Pippin and Merry to follow him. Arrows continued to fall, one
> striking Frodo (with no effect), another ending up through Gandalf's hat.
> Frodo could see hundreds of orcs beyond the fire; the drums grow louder.

Am I the only one to get a slight smile from Gandalfs newly addorned
hat?

<snip>

> After the fall of Gandalf and the Balrog, the fire went out, the company
> stood in shock until Aragorn urged them on saying that he would lead them
> from the mines. Frodo and Sam wept[17] as they followed Aragorn; in the
> background the beat of the drums could be still heard.

It's worthy of some note, that though Aragorn was the one more
attached to Gandalf, he apparently recovers before Boromir does.

What exactly was the relationship between the two? Friends, certainly.
But did Gandalf in a way play the role of the father Aragorn never
knew? Galdalf looks like the mentor, yet it is him that comes to
Aragorn for advice regarding Gollum.

<snip>

> [10] I take this as he felt the presence of the balrog coming into the
> chamber, though I'm surprised that Gandalf had not met one before - when you
> consider the amount of time he'd already been travelling around Middle Earth
> by then.

Where would he have met one? For all we know this is the last
surviving balrog.

<snip>

> [16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only thing
> that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this an
> instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the
> fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent back if
> he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I suppose
> a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down after
> the Balrog.

According to the author Gandalf didn't know he was going to be sent
back:

"for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could
direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was
in vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules,
and giving up personal hope of success."
-- Letters #156

Note especially "giving up personal hope of success".

<snip>

Kristian

gp.skinner

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May 17, 2004, 4:07:01 PM5/17/04
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> <snip>
> > From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf retrieves
a
> > damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well and truly mangled)
> > book.
> There should be a law against treating books like that. :-)
Anyone treating a book like that in my presence will get a good kick.

> <snip>
>
> > Following his examination of the book Gandalf gives it to Gimli to take
back
> > for Dain (lets just hope it did not weigh too much),
>
> Who cares? He's a dwarf.

I do, dwarves are cool

> > then he gets the
> > fellowship ready to move.[7]
> <snip>
> > Gandalf halts them at the edge of the bridge and tells Gimli to lead the
> > way, with Pippin and Merry to follow him. Arrows continued to fall, one
> > striking Frodo (with no effect), another ending up through Gandalf's
hat.
> > Frodo could see hundreds of orcs beyond the fire; the drums grow louder.
> Am I the only one to get a slight smile from Gandalfs newly addorned
> hat?

No, I normally smile at that point, its a slight comic moment(?) in the
midst of all the darkness.

> <snip>
>
> > After the fall of Gandalf and the Balrog, the fire went out, the company
> > stood in shock until Aragorn urged them on saying that he would lead
them
> > from the mines. Frodo and Sam wept[17] as they followed Aragorn; in the
> > background the beat of the drums could be still heard.
>
> It's worthy of some note, that though Aragorn was the one more
> attached to Gandalf, he apparently recovers before Boromir does.
>

Perhaps a better attitude towards living in constant threat in the wilds.

> What exactly was the relationship between the two? Friends, certainly.
> But did Gandalf in a way play the role of the father Aragorn never
> knew? Galdalf looks like the mentor, yet it is him that comes to
> Aragorn for advice regarding Gollum.
>

Goods friends and Gandalf in the mentor roll.

> <snip>
>
> > [10] I take this as he felt the presence of the balrog coming into the
> > chamber, though I'm surprised that Gandalf had not met one before - when
you
> > consider the amount of time he'd already been travelling around Middle
Earth
> > by then.
>
> Where would he have met one? For all we know this is the last
> surviving balrog.
>

Just theorizing - anythings possible :-)

> <snip>
>
> > [16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only
thing
> > that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this
an
> > instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the
> > fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent
back if
> > he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I
suppose
> > a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down
after
> > the Balrog.
> According to the author Gandalf didn't know he was going to be sent
> back:
> "for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could
> direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was
> in vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules,
> and giving up personal hope of success."
> -- Letters #156
> Note especially "giving up personal hope of success".

Had forgotten that letter, but the "giving up hope..." sounds like
self-sacrifice for the good of the others to me.

Graeme

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 17, 2004, 7:34:06 PM5/17/04
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gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:
> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip>

For now, a quick comment about the Balrog.

> faded. The flames increased as the creature jumps across the fissure

Fairly large creature, or good at jumping or er... Hmm.

<snip>

> the darkness
> increased as it stepped onto the bridge drawing itself up to its full
> height, we are told Gandalf looks tiny in comparison.

Again, fairly big, but must have tiny feet to fit on that narrow bridge.
Either that or it is secretly hovering. Oops. :-)

> into the chasm crying "fly, you fools!"[16]

I think he said "fly you fool" to the Balrog... LOL!

<snip>

> [14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of
> them. I'd never considered them to be winged creatures before I
> looked at a picture of the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read
> the passage many times now and I still stand on the no wing side of
> the fence as I see the relevant part of the sentence to be ".reached
> out LIKE two vast wings."

Hmm. I started my brief reply to the thread meaning to merely point out
how the narrow bridge set limits on the Balrog's size. Unfortunately I
got sidetracked by snide (and ancient) Balrog wings puns.

I'll try and do better next time!
Hopefully it is all out of the system now.

:-)

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Ancalagon The Black

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May 17, 2004, 8:16:18 PM5/17/04
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Graeme wrote:

>
> [2] Why did none of them notice the signs of battle until now, you'd think
> one of them would have been on their guard enough in such a dank dark place.

Khazad-dum is HUGE, and thus far they had been unmolested in their travels.
They obviously thought that the Orcs were far enough away so as not to pose a
threat. Of course after Pippin flung that stone down the well-shaft, they
should have been a lot more wary. Also, their curiosity overcame their guard.


>
> [5] It's a pity that nothing in detail is written about Balin and his
> attempt to retake Moria.

It is quite likely that the Dwarves were too busy fighting to sit and make
accurate records. The Dwarf colony would have been much like a military
outpost, to the records kept would have been of the level of a warship's log,
in terms of detail.

> [6] I had to include the quotes 'drums' & 'they're coming', it can still
> send a shiver down my spine when I read this passage, its probably something
> to do with having an overactive imagination.

This really sets the tone. The Company know that they have a long way to go to
reach the East Gate. They know that whatever is coming for them killed Balin,
and is coming to kill them also. They also know that whatever is coming to
kill them knows Moria a lot better than they do.


> [7] One of Gandalfs comments in this paragraph regarding Balin's attempt to
> retake Moria ". so ended the attempt to retake Moria! It was valiant but
> foolish. The time is not come yet." Did Gandalf already know what had
> happened to Balin before they entered Moria, when do you suppose was the
> right time to retake it (apart from after the downfall of Sauron).

Unless Gamdalf's comments contain a subconcious premonition of events to come,
then they are strange. Even if Sauron was overthrown the day beforehand, there
still remained the Balrog - and Gandalf had no idea such a creature was lurking
in Moria. Any Dwarf host aiming to retake Moria would have to bring Gandalf
(or another Maia) along to deal with this threat, before he passed back over
sea.

> [8] None of them said anything close to what my reaction would have been in
> that situation.

The situation looked like a horrifying repeat of history - there was a distinct
possibility that they would all die right there in that chamber - kind of
clarifies the situation somewhat, don't you think?


>
> [9] Cowards - There's no honour amongst orcs these days.

The Orcs obviously had no idea that they were in fact superior in numbers - they
see 13 of their own fall, and assume that their enemy must be at least twice
that number. The question is: why send so many ( at least 40 Orcs, a cave
troll AND a Balrog) to investigate a stone dropping down a well - did Gollum
have a hand in this?


> [10] I take this as he felt the presence of the balrog coming into the
> chamber, though I'm surprised that Gandalf had not met one before - when you
> consider the amount of time he'd already been travelling around Middle Earth
> by then.

In the War of Wrath, all of the Balrogs were either slain or hid themselves in
very deep places. They kept themselves VERY quiet indeed. They obviously had
no idea what happened to Melkor at the last, and didn't hang around to find
out. They were obviously waiting for "better" days to come along.

As for Gandalf feeling the presence of the Balrog in the Chamber of Mazarbul,
well ANYONE standing where Gandalf was standing would witness the same thing -
a Shadow filling the Chamber. Gandalf knew that something powerful was before
him, and the Balrog would know the same thing, but both would be unaware of the
true nature of the other.


>
> [11] You don't get much past Gandalf - or perhaps Bilbo had already told him
> that he'd given the Mithril shirt along with Sting to Frodo.

Gandalf probably surmised that if Bilbo gave Sting to Frodo, then he would more
than likely give him the Mithril shirt as well - it would make sense.



> [12] So slender that it had to be crossed in single file.

The Dwarves probably had tools for breaking the Bridge on its Western end,
thereby isolating the East Gate from the rest of Khazad-dum - close the doors
at the West Gate and Khazad-dum becomes impregnable.

One small point - the Orc word "ghash" meaning "fire". At first this appears to
signify that the lower levels are on fire - which turns out to be true.
However, I believe that this is part of the Orcs' description of the Balrog -
"fire spirit" or "fire demon"?

>
> [13] I'd have been running so hard by now you'd have seen flames from my
> boots.

Both Aragorn and Boromir are brave warriors, but the truth is they have no real
idea what it is they are facing - they are more used to facing Orcs, and
Boromir at least has faced the Witch-King. Clearly the Balrog does not project
the kind of latent, visceral terror projected by the Nazgul or the Dead Men of
Dunharrow. The Elf is paralysed with fear because he knows what the Balrog
represents - an extremely capable warrior, with virtually no equal - even
Sauron and Melkor in their prime would be hard pressed to defeat a Balrog in
physical combat.

>
> [14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them. I'd
> never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a picture of
> the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times now
> and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
> part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."

I am with you on this one. I too had never considered Balrogs to be winged, for
many reasons. The most important one is this: when the bridge cracks beneath
its feet the Balrog cries out - clearly it is caught by surprise. It then
makes no attempt to fly out of the chasm. The Balrog quite plainly knew what
was at the bottom of the chasm - why would a creature of fire deliberately fall
into deep, cold water?

A point to consider here is that this passage is written from the perspective of
the Company (at least to my mind) - what *they* see and hear, hence "...reached
out like two vast wings." If anyone had asked them afterwards what they saw,
that is the description they would have given. Clearly the clouds of smoke and
fume and Shadow wrapped around the Balrog were affected by the air currents
rising from the chasm, which is why they rose and spread to fill the hall.

A less tangible reason is this: in Tolkien's main works (The Silmarillion, The
Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings) all of the flying creatures are explicitly
described as capable of taking to the air:

- Thuringwethil
- Thorondor
- Ancalagon The Black
- Smaug
- Gwaihir & Landhroval
- The winged steeds of the Nazgul


Did Balrogs talk? I'm going to go out on a limb and say "no", simply because
there may have been no *need*. This not to say that they were not capable of
it. I'm sure Melkor and Sauron could communicate telepathically - how else
would Sauron summon the Nazgul to the Sammath Naur? The Balrog could probably
imprint its will upon the chief Orcs, who in turn would pass orders onto the
others.


> [15] The full version of Gandalfs statement is in my view an excellent piece
> of writing by JRRT, for you get a lot of information in just four lines
> (well its 4 lines in the copy I'm using for this anyway).

This part reminds me much of the confrontation between Melkor (could Melkor
wreathe himself in Shadow?) and Fingolfin before the gates of Angband, with the
Enemy casting a huge shadow, making him seem far greater than he really was,
and the words of "the good guy" still managing to cast doubt into the Enemy's
mind.


>
> [16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only thing
> that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this an
> instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the
> fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent back if
> he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I suppose
> a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down after
> the Balrog.

I wouldn't call it self-sacrifice - Gandalf had the full weight of the Balrog
dragging him down, and a flaming whip wrapped around his legs - he didn't have
much choice but to fall. His words were simple - get out before the Orcs come
to their senses and finish off the rest of you.

Best,
--
Ancalagon The Black, Secret Fire Of Angband
ancalagon...@virgin.net


----== Posted via Newsfeed.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==----
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Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 18, 2004, 3:28:11 AM5/18/04
to
gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:
> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip>

> As they move forward into the Second
> Hall of Old Moria, they see ". a great fissure had opened. Out of it
> a fierce red light came," Upon seeing this Gandalf tells them that if
> they had come by the main road they'd have been trapped

Apparantly the 'lower levels' were on fire. Is this to do with the
Balrog, or is this due to some volcanic activity? The chasm opening up
sounds like some seismic event tore the ground apart, and there could be
accompanying volcanism.

<snip>

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
May 18, 2004, 6:06:28 AM5/18/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:

>> into the chasm crying "fly, you fools!"[16]
> I think he said "fly you fool" to the Balrog... LOL!

ROTFL. Thanks. You made my day.

- Dirk

gp.skinner

unread,
May 18, 2004, 9:08:08 AM5/18/04
to
<SNIP>

> > As they move forward into the Second
> > Hall of Old Moria, they see ". a great fissure had opened. Out of it
> > a fierce red light came," Upon seeing this Gandalf tells them that if
> > they had come by the main road they'd have been trapped
> Apparantly the 'lower levels' were on fire. Is this to do with the
> Balrog, or is this due to some volcanic activity? The chasm opening up
> sounds like some seismic event tore the ground apart, and there could be
> accompanying volcanism.

If the fissure was natural it was lucky the whole hall did not collapse, its
also lucky the bridge did not crumble away if the area had been experiencing
seismic activity.
I've always taken it to mean that the Balrog had a hand in the fire blocking
off the fellowships escape route, the orcs would not have had the power to
do it, nor a cave-troll.

Graeme

gp.skinner

unread,
May 18, 2004, 9:24:05 AM5/18/04
to
> > [2] Why did none of them notice the signs of battle until now, you'd
think
> > one of them would have been on their guard enough in such a dank dark
place.
> Khazad-dum is HUGE, and thus far they had been unmolested in their
travels.
> They obviously thought that the Orcs were far enough away so as not to
pose a
> threat. Of course after Pippin flung that stone down the well-shaft, they
> should have been a lot more wary. Also, their curiosity overcame their
guard.
>
Agreed, but they'd have to walk past all the bones and weapons to get into
the chamber.

> > [5] It's a pity that nothing in detail is written about Balin and his
> > attempt to retake Moria.
> It is quite likely that the Dwarves were too busy fighting to sit and make
> accurate records. The Dwarf colony would have been much like a military
> outpost, to the records kept would have been of the level of a warship's
log,
> in terms of detail.

Sorry, did not make this one very clear, I meant its a pity JRRT did not
write more about the dwarves, and their attempt on Moria as a separate book
(or as an additional appendices).

> > [6] I had to include the quotes 'drums' & 'they're coming', it can still
> > send a shiver down my spine when I read this passage, its probably
something
> > to do with having an overactive imagination.
> This really sets the tone. The Company know that they have a long way to
go to
> reach the East Gate. They know that whatever is coming for them killed
Balin,
> and is coming to kill them also. They also know that whatever is coming
to
> kill them knows Moria a lot better than they do.
>

Brown trouser time in other words, its funny how sometimes a simple device
like a drum beat can set the tone where other times it can take page upon
page to give the same effect.

<snip>


> > [9] Cowards - There's no honour amongst orcs these days.
> The Orcs obviously had no idea that they were in fact superior in
numbers - they
> see 13 of their own fall, and assume that their enemy must be at least
twice
> that number. The question is: why send so many ( at least 40 Orcs, a
cave
> troll AND a Balrog) to investigate a stone dropping down a well - did
Gollum
> have a hand in this?

I don't think Gollum had a hand in this, he wanted the ring for himself, if
the Orcs had killed the fellowship in the chamber they'd have likely found
the ring whilst robbing the bodies.

> As for Gandalf feeling the presence of the Balrog in the Chamber of
Mazarbul,
> well ANYONE standing where Gandalf was standing would witness the same
thing -
> a Shadow filling the Chamber. Gandalf knew that something powerful was
before
> him, and the Balrog would know the same thing, but both would be unaware
of the
> true nature of the other.

Yes but Gandalf had shut the door at that point though and was using his
shutting spell upon it.

<snip>

> Did Balrogs talk? I'm going to go out on a limb and say "no", simply
because
> there may have been no *need*. This not to say that they were not capable
of
> it. I'm sure Melkor and Sauron could communicate telepathically - how
else
> would Sauron summon the Nazgul to the Sammath Naur? The Balrog could
probably
> imprint its will upon the chief Orcs, who in turn would pass orders onto
the
> others.

I'd not considered how the Balrog would communicate with the Orcs, so
without looking through every book for a reference on the subject I'm going
for the talking Balrog.

> > [15] The full version of Gandalfs statement is in my view an excellent
piece
> > of writing by JRRT, for you get a lot of information in just four lines
> > (well its 4 lines in the copy I'm using for this anyway).
> This part reminds me much of the confrontation between Melkor (could
Melkor
> wreathe himself in Shadow?) and Fingolfin before the gates of Angband,
with the
> Enemy casting a huge shadow, making him seem far greater than he really
was,
> and the words of "the good guy" still managing to cast doubt into the
Enemy's
> mind.

If it weakens the enemy before the attack all the better. (Perhaps we should
be doing CotW on the Sil. next?)

Graeme

AC

unread,
May 18, 2004, 2:28:09 PM5/18/04
to
On Tue, 18 May 2004 01:16:18 +0100,
Ancalagon The Black <ancalagon...@virgin.net> wrote:

> Graeme wrote:
>
>> [7] One of Gandalfs comments in this paragraph regarding Balin's attempt to
>> retake Moria ". so ended the attempt to retake Moria! It was valiant but
>> foolish. The time is not come yet." Did Gandalf already know what had
>> happened to Balin before they entered Moria, when do you suppose was the
>> right time to retake it (apart from after the downfall of Sauron).
>
> Unless Gamdalf's comments contain a subconcious premonition of events to come,
> then they are strange. Even if Sauron was overthrown the day beforehand, there
> still remained the Balrog - and Gandalf had no idea such a creature was lurking
> in Moria. Any Dwarf host aiming to retake Moria would have to bring Gandalf
> (or another Maia) along to deal with this threat, before he passed back over
> sea.

I think there is some real room for debate on this point. Most certainly,
Durin's folk must have known what the being that evicted them from
Khazad-dum looked like. Unless they were completely secretive, folks like
Gandalf and Elrond must have at least had some suspicions. Let's face it, I
doubt it would be terribly hard to ID a Balrog even from a description by
some spooked Dwarf. The only possibility is that the Dwarves refused to
give any hint as to the nature of the thing that drove them from Khazad-dum.

>
>> [10] I take this as he felt the presence of the balrog coming into the
>> chamber, though I'm surprised that Gandalf had not met one before - when you
>> consider the amount of time he'd already been travelling around Middle Earth
>> by then.
>
> In the War of Wrath, all of the Balrogs were either slain or hid themselves in
> very deep places. They kept themselves VERY quiet indeed. They obviously had
> no idea what happened to Melkor at the last, and didn't hang around to find
> out. They were obviously waiting for "better" days to come along.

I dunno about that. I'm sure the Balrog knew just as well as anyone what
happened to Morgoth. At the very least they must have known that there was
no way, even with all the might of the Angband released, that Morgoth was
going to defeat the hosts of Aman.

>
> As for Gandalf feeling the presence of the Balrog in the Chamber of Mazarbul,
> well ANYONE standing where Gandalf was standing would witness the same thing -
> a Shadow filling the Chamber. Gandalf knew that something powerful was before
> him, and the Balrog would know the same thing, but both would be unaware of the
> true nature of the other.

That's my feeling as well. Powerful beings could sense other powerful
beings, but they might not be able to tell what exactly it was. By the same
token, when Frodo, Sam and Smeagol were in the Morgul Vale, the Witch King
could sense another power, but certainly could not identify it as the Ring.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

AC

unread,
May 18, 2004, 2:30:30 PM5/18/04
to
On 18 May 2004 18:28:09 GMT,
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> I think there is some real room for debate on this point. Most certainly,
> Durin's folk must have known what the being that evicted them from
> Khazad-dum looked like. Unless they were completely secretive, folks like
> Gandalf and Elrond must have at least had some suspicions. Let's face it, I
> doubt it would be terribly hard to ID a Balrog even from a description by
> some spooked Dwarf. The only possibility is that the Dwarves refused to
> give any hint as to the nature of the thing that drove them from Khazad-dum.

An additional thought on this. Khazad-dum was also strengthened by Dwarves
of other kindreds, and I'm assuming that means Belegost and Nogrod.
Certainly rumor of the Balrogs of the First Age must have been known by at
least some of the dwellers of Khazad-dum.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Ancalagon The Black

unread,
May 18, 2004, 2:56:17 PM5/18/04
to

> An additional thought on this. Khazad-dum was also strengthened by Dwarves
> of other kindreds, and I'm assuming that means Belegost and Nogrod.
> Certainly rumor of the Balrogs of the First Age must have been known by at
> least some of the dwellers of Khazad-dum.
>

And here's another question: Gothmog killed Feanor and Fingon, and then was
defeated by Ecthelion, who died in the process - fought three, won two, drew
one. Another Balrog killed Glorfindel, who also died - fought one, drew one.

Clearly Balrogs can be killed by lesser beings in physical combat, so unless
Khazad-dum was also overrun with Orcs, by rights the Dwarves should have been
able to slay the Balrog, even at great cost to themselves.

Not much is said about the situation in Moria at the time the Balrog stood forth
- does Letters shed any more light on this?

AC

unread,
May 18, 2004, 2:57:55 PM5/18/04
to
On Tue, 18 May 2004 19:56:17 +0100,
Ancalagon The Black <ancalagon...@virgin.net> wrote:
>
>> An additional thought on this. Khazad-dum was also strengthened by Dwarves
>> of other kindreds, and I'm assuming that means Belegost and Nogrod.
>> Certainly rumor of the Balrogs of the First Age must have been known by at
>> least some of the dwellers of Khazad-dum.
>>
>
> And here's another question: Gothmog killed Feanor and Fingon, and then was
> defeated by Ecthelion, who died in the process - fought three, won two, drew
> one. Another Balrog killed Glorfindel, who also died - fought one, drew one.
>
> Clearly Balrogs can be killed by lesser beings in physical combat, so unless
> Khazad-dum was also overrun with Orcs, by rights the Dwarves should have been
> able to slay the Balrog, even at great cost to themselves.
>
> Not much is said about the situation in Moria at the time the Balrog stood forth
> - does Letters shed any more light on this?

Well, the Noldor were lesser beings compared to the Balrog, but we're
talking about Eldar, born and raised in the light of the Two Trees, and that
probably puts them a good ways above the Dwarves. I would imagine, though
it's never stated, that for every Elf that killed a Balrog, there were
probably a good many Elves slain in turn.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Ancalagon The Black

unread,
May 18, 2004, 3:10:47 PM5/18/04
to
gp.skinner wrote:

.
>
> Yes but Gandalf had shut the door at that point though and was using his
> shutting spell upon it.
>

I don't want to get into a nit-picking debate here, but I don't think that
Gandalf had actually physically shut the eastern door at this point - similar
to the Western door of the Chamber, this was a large stone door that required
the strength of Boromir in order to close it.

I think that Gandalf cast a shutting spell to close the door and have it STAY
closed. He was probably finishing off casting the spell (the door was closed
but not "locked") when the Balrog came into the Chamber.

At this point the Balrog issues a counter-spell and the door begins to open.
Gandalf speaks a word of Command and the door shatters. Gandalf expects to see
light coming into the Chamber from one of the high windows, and no doubt a host
of Orcs - instead he is confronted by Shadow.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 18, 2004, 3:36:44 PM5/18/04
to
gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:

> Gandalf was the only one I agree to go up against the Balrog, Aragorn
> would have been my second choice for the fight but I'd say he would
> only slow it down enough whilst the others could run away.

And then a few minutes later the Balrog would have caught up with them
and squashed them as well. Gandalf was the _only_ one with any chance.
Unless of course the Balrog was just misunderstood and was only after
the hobbits' furry slippers. :-)


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 18, 2004, 3:57:10 PM5/18/04
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> The only
> possibility is that the Dwarves refused to give any hint as to the
> nature of the thing that drove them from Khazad-dum.

This is maybe supported by a quote from two chapters further on...

Celeborn: "Alas! We long have feared that under Caradhras a terror
slept. But had I known that the Dwarves had stirred up this evil
again...."

This seems to imply that Celeborn was uncertain about the exact nature
of this terror. Then again, barring dwarves from your land doesn't
exactly improve your intelligence gathering!

And even the Dwarves only called it: "Durin's Bane". Not very helpful.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 18, 2004, 4:05:40 PM5/18/04
to
gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:
> <SNIP>
>>> As they move forward into the Second
>>> Hall of Old Moria, they see ". a great fissure had opened. Out of it
>>> a fierce red light came," Upon seeing this Gandalf tells them that
>>> if they had come by the main road they'd have been trapped

>> Apparantly the 'lower levels' were on fire. Is this to do with the
>> Balrog, or is this due to some volcanic activity? The chasm opening
>> up sounds like some seismic event tore the ground apart, and there
>> could be accompanying volcanism.

Oops. Re-reading the relevant passages, it seems that Gandalf was only
_speculating_ that the lower levels were on fire. In fact, maybe the
Second Deep _was_ these 'lower levels', and they weren't on fire.

Maybe the fire just means the fire in the chasm.

Kristian Damm Jensen

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May 18, 2004, 4:06:52 PM5/18/04
to
"gp.skinner" <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote in message news:<40a9...@212.67.96.135>...

> > <snip>
> > > From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf retrieves
> a
> > > damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well and truly mangled)
> > > book.
> > There should be a law against treating books like that. :-)
> Anyone treating a book like that in my presence will get a good kick.
>
> > <snip>
> >
> > > Following his examination of the book Gandalf gives it to Gimli to take
> back
> > > for Dain (lets just hope it did not weigh too much),
> >
> > Who cares? He's a dwarf.
>
> I do, dwarves are cool

I think you misunderstand me. He's a dwarf, hence capable of carrying
large burdens. He wouldn't worry, why should we?

I do, in fact, care about Gimli.

<snip>

Kristian

gp.skinner

unread,
May 18, 2004, 4:23:09 PM5/18/04
to
> > Yes but Gandalf had shut the door at that point though and was using his
> > shutting spell upon it.
> I don't want to get into a nit-picking debate here, but I don't think that
> Gandalf had actually physically shut the eastern door at this point -
similar
> to the Western door of the Chamber, this was a large stone door that
required
> the strength of Boromir in order to close it.

I don't see it as nit-picking, if the door was well made - as we can assume
it was being built by dwarves, Gandalf should have been able to move it.

> I think that Gandalf cast a shutting spell to close the door and have it
STAY
> closed. He was probably finishing off casting the spell (the door was
closed
> but not "locked") when the Balrog came into the Chamber.
> At this point the Balrog issues a counter-spell and the door begins to
open.
> Gandalf speaks a word of Command and the door shatters. Gandalf expects
to see
> light coming into the Chamber from one of the high windows, and no doubt a
host
> of Orcs - instead he is confronted by Shadow.

If the whole chamber was collapsing then dust and debris would probably
obscure anything inside it.

Cheers
Graeme

Jim Deutch

unread,
May 18, 2004, 5:08:08 PM5/18/04
to
On 17 May 2004 12:55:22 -0700, da...@ofir.dk (Kristian Damm Jensen)
wrote:

>"gp.skinner" <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote in message news:<40a8...@212.67.96.135>...
>> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

>> Gandalf halts them at the edge of the bridge and tells Gimli to lead the
>> way, with Pippin and Merry to follow him. Arrows continued to fall, one
>> striking Frodo (with no effect), another ending up through Gandalf's hat.
>> Frodo could see hundreds of orcs beyond the fire; the drums grow louder.
>
>Am I the only one to get a slight smile from Gandalfs newly addorned
>hat?

I always thought it rather cheap of JRRT to have an arrow bounce off
Frodo. Only two of the Company are protected by chain mail, and it's
one of those two that gets hit by an arrow. Sounds more like
something . . . PJ would do!

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
"Physics is the science of determining which subset of mathematics the
universe respects." - John Schilling

Troels Forchhammer

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May 18, 2004, 5:29:09 PM5/18/04
to
In message <news:OZbqc.2833$%i.283...@news-text.cableinet.net>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

> gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:
>>
>> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip>

>> into the chasm crying "fly, you fools!"[16]


>
> I think he said "fly you fool" to the Balrog... LOL!

<style="silly_mood">

No, no, no, no ... No!

He said exactly what was reported, and it obviously means that Fools
have wings and can fly - test them youself!

</style>

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)mail.dk>

A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally
established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white
pigeon or three normal sized billiard balls.
- (Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic)

Ancalagon The Black

unread,
May 18, 2004, 7:00:18 PM5/18/04
to
AC wrote:


> Well, the Noldor were lesser beings compared to the Balrog, but we're
> talking about Eldar, born and raised in the light of the Two Trees, and that
> probably puts them a good ways above the Dwarves. I would imagine, though
> it's never stated, that for every Elf that killed a Balrog, there were
> probably a good many Elves slain in turn.
>

True indeed, but then Azghal and his boys fared much better against Glaurung
than any of the Eldar, and that was in the First Age - the Elves, new-come from
Valinor I might add, were "withered" by the Dragon's fire. I'm willing to bet
that Balrog-fire wasn't quite as hot as Dragon-fire.

I could be wrong though...

Michael O'Neill

unread,
May 19, 2004, 6:35:30 AM5/19/04
to
gp.skinner wrote:

> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip>

One thing which may be covered by other posters to this thread is the
issue of the writing on the Tomb.

IIRC [and I'm no scholar on this], wasn't there a comment that it was the
anglicised version of "Here lies Balin, Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria".

We know hardly any of the Dwarf tongue.

If Dwarves had written it, it would have been either in the Common Speech
or the Dwarf tongue.

IIRC it is neither.

A comment for a summary perhaps - assuming my recollection is correct.

FWIW

M.

Troels Forchhammer

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May 19, 2004, 8:16:50 AM5/19/04
to
in <2c9e2992.0405...@posting.google.com>,
Kristian Damm Jensen <da...@ofir.dk> enriched us with:

>
> "gp.skinner" <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote in message
> news:<40a8...@212.67.96.135>...
>>
>> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

<snip>

>> From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf
>> retrieves a damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well
>> and truly mangled) book.
>
> There should be a law against treating books like that. :-)

Truly!

<snip>

>> Arrows continued to fall, one striking Frodo (with no effect),
>> another ending up through Gandalf's hat.
>

> Am I the only one to get a slight smile from Gandalfs newly addorned
> hat?

Certainly not - I have always loved that little detail ;-)

<snip>

> What exactly was the relationship between the two? Friends, certainly.
> But did Gandalf in a way play the role of the father Aragorn never
> knew?

I'd think that the role as father for Aragorn was taken by the one in
whose house he grew up - Elrond (and of course he, in the end, becomes
another kind of 'father' to Aragorn).

By keeping in his care Aragorn's various heirlooms I think Elrond at
least put himself in the role of guardian for the fatherless Aragorn, and
the tale in appendix A suggests to me that Elrond helped raising Aragorn
and helped him as advisor. Add to that that Aragorn didn't meet Gandalf
until 2956 (Tale of Years) when he was 25 ...

> Galdalf looks like the mentor, yet it is him that comes to Aragorn for
> advice regarding Gollum.

Friends, I'd say, but with Gandalf being the wiser it's inevitable that
he, in many ways, would end up as also mentor and tutor of the young man.
In some areas, however, Aragorn was the more experienced, and as a ranger
he was probably unparallelled.

<snip>

> -- Letters #156

I had that in mind as well. It is clear that Gandalf thought that he was
sacrificing himself for the quest ("For in his condition it was for him a
/sacrifice/ t operish on the Bridge in defence of his companions" - same
letter, Tolkien's emphasis), and I think that it was this willingness
for self-sacrifice that made Eru accept and enhance him (it also reminds
me of the story of Odin's self-sacrifice because of Tolkien's description
of Gandalf the Grey's physical appearance as an "Odinic wanderer", but I
doubt that this is intentional, though Tolkien possibly recognised it
[possibly after the fact]).

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the
opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
- Niels Bohr

gp.skinner

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May 19, 2004, 10:16:22 AM5/19/04
to
> <snip>
> One thing which may be covered by other posters to this thread is the
> issue of the writing on the Tomb.
> IIRC [and I'm no scholar on this], wasn't there a comment that it was the
> anglicised version of "Here lies Balin, Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria".
> We know hardly any of the Dwarf tongue.
> If Dwarves had written it, it would have been either in the Common Speech
> or the Dwarf tongue.
> IIRC it is neither.
> A comment for a summary perhaps - assuming my recollection is correct.
> FWIW

I think its being covered in the chapter 4 thread.

Graeme

Henriette

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May 19, 2004, 4:20:36 PM5/19/04
to
"gp.skinner" <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote in message news:<40a8...@212.67.96.135>...
> Book II Chapter V - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum
>
Thank you Graeme, excellent summary and points!

No personal offence meant ofcourse, but as for the lay-out: in the
beginning I thought this [1][2]etc. idea (which I think Troels came up
with) quite original and handy, but after a couple of chapter
treatments I find the scrolling up and down tiresome. I don't think
*I* will use it again in a chapter treatment.

> From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf retrieves a
> damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well and truly mangled)

> book.[3]
> [3] I've always loved this bit (strange I know), but then I like looking
> through dusty bookshops.

Not strange at all. Nothing like old books: handwritten ones from the
Middle Ages, handwritten ship journals from the 16th century, maps
from the 17th century with lots of blank parts, old letters from times
when other types of letters were used and words hardly remembered...
We (Dutch)have libraries for them with special climate conditions for
better preservation.

> As Gandalf finished
> telling them the route they heard ".a great noise: a rolling Boom that
> seemed to come from depths far bellow, and to tremble in the stone at their
> feet." Following the initial noise the great drum beat continued, then the
> sound of a horn, and the sound of hurrying feet (I'm fairly sure the feet
> had bodies joined to them).
>
Yes, ofcourse. But from the former chapter on I keep noticing how rare
it is in this day and age in which the focus is so much on visuality,
to describe experiences-of-hearing as well as JRRT does. The instances
described here are an example. To the *sound* of the
drum/horn/trembling stone and hurrying feet, the bodies do not matter.

> the fellowship retreat

You are very consistent in writing: the fellowship retreat/leave, etc.
(plural)
Is that grammatically correct? Would singular also be correct?

> [14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them. I'd
> never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a picture of
> the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times now
> and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
> part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."
>

I have thought so too , re-read upon re-read. But suddenly I noticed
very clearly, a few lines below '*like* two vast wings': 'suddenly it
drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall
to wall'. Suddenly, upon the 12th re-read, doubt has entered my mind,
after all these years....

I also noticed a detail for the first time: the words 'after noon'
suddenly made me understand the word afternoon, as I remember some
time ago suddenly the meaning of the word breakfast dawned on me
(break fast, as ofcourse you all knew for ages:-).

> [16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only thing
> that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this an
> instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the

> fellowship escaped from Moria (snip)

Yes. It was a foe beyond any of them, so he had no choice.

Henriette

Jim Deutch

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May 19, 2004, 4:30:43 PM5/19/04
to
On 18 May 2004 18:28:09 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>I think there is some real room for debate on this point. Most certainly,
>Durin's folk must have known what the being that evicted them from
>Khazad-dum looked like. Unless they were completely secretive, folks like

You're assuming that at least one dwarf who got within eyesight of the
Balrog escaped alive. Not sure that's even probable.

As far as "unless they completely secretive" goes, practically the
_only_ thing we know about Dwarves is that they were extremely
secretive.

When <insert Dwarf name that escapes me at the moment> defeated Azog
on the steps of Moria and peeked inside the doors, he would never
speak a word after about what he'd seen there. I think Dwarves are
especially unwilling to talk about their fears, and would make very
poor subjects for psychoanalysis.

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--

no time to pick a .sig

gp.skinner

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May 19, 2004, 4:34:45 PM5/19/04
to
> Thank you Graeme, excellent summary and points!

Your welcome, I quite enjoyed doing it.

> No personal offence meant ofcourse, but as for the lay-out: in the
> beginning I thought this [1][2]etc. idea (which I think Troels came up
> with) quite original and handy, but after a couple of chapter
> treatments I find the scrolling up and down tiresome. I don't think
> *I* will use it again in a chapter treatment.

I tried a few formats and this was the one I picked in the end, though I'm
used to reading science texts in this format. Perhaps if I had written fewer
notes it would have been easier on the mouse (less scrolling).

<snip>


> > As Gandalf finished
> > telling them the route they heard ".a great noise: a rolling Boom that
> > seemed to come from depths far bellow, and to tremble in the stone at
their
> > feet." Following the initial noise the great drum beat continued, then
the
> > sound of a horn, and the sound of hurrying feet (I'm fairly sure the
feet
> > had bodies joined to them).
> Yes, ofcourse. But from the former chapter on I keep noticing how rare
> it is in this day and age in which the focus is so much on visuality,
> to describe experiences-of-hearing as well as JRRT does. The instances
> described here are an example. To the *sound* of the
> drum/horn/trembling stone and hurrying feet, the bodies do not matter.

Perhaps television has influenced modern writers to focus on visuality so
much.

> > the fellowship retreat
> You are very consistent in writing: the fellowship retreat/leave, etc.
> (plural)
> Is that grammatically correct? Would singular also be correct?

You're asking the wrong guy, English is my native tongue but writting a
grammatically correct sentance is beyond me.

> > [14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them.
I'd
> > never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a
picture of
> > the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times
now
> > and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
> > part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."
> I have thought so too , re-read upon re-read. But suddenly I noticed
> very clearly, a few lines below '*like* two vast wings': 'suddenly it
> drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall
> to wall'. Suddenly, upon the 12th re-read, doubt has entered my mind,
> after all these years....

I think the second mention of wings in this passage just referrs to the
shadow like effect.

Graeme

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 5:00:01 PM5/19/04
to
gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:
>> <snip>
>> One thing which may be covered by other posters to this thread is the
>> issue of the writing on the Tomb.

<snip>

> I think its being covered in the chapter 4 thread.

Well, yes. It is, after all, in chapter 4... :-)

But for this chapter, we could discuss the writing in the book that they
find in the chamber of Mazarbul:

"...in runes of both Moria and Dale, and here and there in Elvish
script."

Now, I'd assume the runes of Dale to be a Mannish script, and the runes
of Moria to be a Dwarvish script, and the Elvish script to be, er, an
Elvish script! But runes can be used to write a variety of languages, so
I would assume that they are all written in Westron.

At least I would assume that is so, and definitely not in the Dwarvish
language (even if in Dwarvish runes), because I would not expect even
Gandalf to know that secret language. And I believe Dwarves used the
languages of those around them. In this case that would be Westron for
the NW of ME.

But the mixture of runes (alphabets) is surprising. It must have been
very confusing having to learn these different alphabets in ME. How many
different alphabets are there on Earth today? [Major languages that
is...]

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 5:07:38 PM5/19/04
to
Jim Deutch <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:

> When <insert Dwarf name that escapes me at the moment> defeated Azog

Dain II Ironfoot (as he was later known - though he was already
Ironfoot)

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 5:09:38 PM5/19/04
to
gp.skinner <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:

[about footnote formats]

> I tried a few formats and this was the one I picked in the end,
> though I'm used to reading science texts in this format. Perhaps if I
> had written fewer notes it would have been easier on the mouse (less
> scrolling).

That format is better in HTML and suchlike formats, so you can click
back-and-forth.

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 5:14:44 PM5/19/04
to
Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> "gp.skinner" <gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote

>> From one of the recesses that were cut into the walls Gandalf
>> retrieves a damaged (slashed, stabbed, charred, basically well and
>> truly mangled) book.[3]
>> [3] I've always loved this bit (strange I know), but then I like
>> looking through dusty bookshops.
>
> Not strange at all. Nothing like old books: handwritten ones from the
> Middle Ages, handwritten ship journals from the 16th century, maps
> from the 17th century with lots of blank parts, old letters from times
> when other types of letters were used and words hardly remembered...
> We (Dutch)have libraries for them with special climate conditions for
> better preservation.

Old Dutch maps! Mercator(s) and Hondius. Great map-makers. I once saw a
book of modern reproductions of lots of those old maps. Unfortunately it
was about £150. A mite too expensive.

>> the fellowship retreat
>
> You are very consistent in writing: the fellowship retreat/leave, etc.
> (plural) Is that grammatically correct? Would singular also be
correct?

I'd say 'retreated' and 'left', but definitely not 'retreats' and
'leaves'. The fellowship might be a single entity, but it is made up of
many different parts.

Belba Grubb from Stock

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May 19, 2004, 6:15:57 PM5/19/04
to
On Mon, 17 May 2004 15:06:46 +0100, "gp.skinner"
<gp.sk...@NOSPAM.talk21.com> wrote:

>[1] I can remember thinking when I first read this passage (feels like a
>long time ago now) that Balin must have visited at some point whilst Frodo
>was living at Bag End - I don't know why as Balin left for Moria in the same
>year that Frodo moved into Bag End (2989). So did Balin visit on his way to
>Moria, or was it just the way I first read it?

That got me thinking that perhaps Balin made several visits to the
Shire, but Frodo's thinking "of Balin's visit to the Shire long ago."
This must refer to the one visit we know about, at the end of "The
Hobbit," in 2949 (Frodo was born in 2968). Bilbo must have spoken
about that visit, and about Balin, who was one of the first dwarves to
take a liking to Bilbo, a lot in Frodo's hearin.

Externally, that moment of recall of the happy, normal Shire works so
well to make the Moria gloom darker and to highlight Frodo's own
plight, so far from home.

>[2] Why did none of them notice the signs of battle until now, you'd think
>one of them would have been on their guard enough in such a dank dark place.

Er, they were blinded by the light? (g)

>[3] I've always loved this bit (strange I know), but then I like looking
>through dusty bookshops.

I have heard that JRRT drew at least a part of the Book of Mazarbul
and tried to get it included in "The Lord of the Rings" as an
illustration, but couldn't. It is available in one of the collections
of his illustrations -- will have to dig up the name and author.

(google)

Right: it was three of the burnt pages, and I think they're in
"Pictures of (by?) J.R.R. Tolkien." I also learned that the images
are online at a Russian site: both images and commentary are taken
from the 1977 "Lord of the Rings" calendar -- isn't that a copyright
infringement?

>[7] One of Gandalfs comments in this paragraph regarding Balin's attempt to
>retake Moria ". so ended the attempt to retake Moria! It was valiant but
>foolish. The time is not come yet." Did Gandalf already know what had
>happened to Balin before they entered Moria, when do you suppose was the
>right time to retake it (apart from after the downfall of Sauron).

Gandalf probably guessed what would happen to such a small group
trying such a big project in such dangerous times. As for the time,
most likely it will be during the time of"Durin VII & Last" as shown
in the Line of the Dwarves of Erebor in Appendix A -- perhaps after
the Last Battle when the Dwarves are busy mending the hurts of the
world (as their own legends predict)?

>[14] Ok - you can now start discussing Balrogs wings / or lack of them. I'd
>never considered them to be winged creatures before I looked at a picture of
>the scene (on a calendar years ago). I've read the passage many times now
>and I still stand on the no wing side of the fence as I see the relevant
>part of the sentence to be ".reached out LIKE two vast wings."

Not the controversy, but it struck me just now how few characters
there are in fiction that have so few words and space in the book and
yet are so famous as the Balrog of Moria. I'd love to be able to
create a character like that.

>[16] I don't know about you, but the first time I read this the only thing
>that went through my mind was "you can't do that to Gandalf!" Was this an
>instance of self-sacrifice on Gandalfs part to ensure the rest of the

>fellowship escaped from Moria, or was he aware that he could be sent back if
>he died? As last words go "fly you fools" is fairly brief, though I suppose
>a full set of instructions would be a bit difficult as you hurtle down after
>the Balrog.

In this and the last chapter we really get a look at the difficult
life of wizards -- some things are easy (the doors of Moria), once you
look at them the right way; much of it is a long, hard slog through
darkness with some tough judgment calls along the way (that turn out
to be right most of the time, if you're Gandalf); sometimes the spells
work, especially if they're in your specialty (lighting the wood on
Caradhras and the trees on the hill of defense against the spectral
wolves), and sometimes they don't (the attempted spell of closing on
the door and its sequelae); and your worst challenges seem to come
when you're already tired. Also, don't ever get too attached to your
staff....

Barb

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 6:35:39 PM5/19/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:
> I have heard that JRRT drew at least a part of the Book of Mazarbul
> and tried to get it included in "The Lord of the Rings" as an
> illustration, but couldn't. It is available in one of the collections
> of his illustrations -- will have to dig up the name and author.

He talks about this in 'Letters' as well:

Letters 137 [plus footnote], 138, 141, 151, 187.

The 'burnt pages' were published as illustration no. 23 in /Pictures/ by
JRR Tolkien.

Tolkien appeared to have wanted the pages blood-stained, but the cost of
colour printing was too much. He did seem to be quite aggrieved:

"Without them the opening of Book Two, ch. 5 (which was meant to have
the facsimilies and a transcript alongside) is defective, and the Runes
of the Appendix unnecessary."

<checks thread title>

Yup. Right chapter.

> Not the controversy, but it struck me just now how few characters
> there are in fiction that have so few words and space in the book and
> yet are so famous as the Balrog of Moria. I'd love to be able to
> create a character like that.

True. This chapter (and a brief appearance in 'The White Rider') is
really 'The Balrog' chapter. The main appearance is only 2 pages out of
over 1000.

But I wouldn't be so sure about there not being other 'brief but famous'
characters in other stories. But I can't actually think of any!

Matthew Woodcraft

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May 19, 2004, 6:41:54 PM5/19/04
to
Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>You are very consistent in writing: the fellowship retreat/leave, etc.
>(plural) Is that grammatically correct? Would singular also be
>correct?

I wonder why this comes up so often in this newsgroup. I think it
should go in the FAQ.

One of my favourite letters is letter 218. "You may take your choice."

-M-

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 7:33:25 PM5/19/04
to
Matthew Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> You are very consistent in writing: the fellowship retreat/leave,
>> etc. (plural) Is that grammatically correct? Would singular also be
>> correct?
>
> I wonder why this comes up so often in this newsgroup. I think it
> should go in the FAQ.

Agreed.

> One of my favourite letters is letter 218. "You may take your choice."

LOL!

Belba Grubb from Stock

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May 19, 2004, 7:38:00 PM5/19/04
to
On Wed, 19 May 2004 22:35:39 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>Tolkien appeared to have wanted the pages blood-stained, but the cost of
>colour printing was too much. He did seem to be quite aggrieved:
>
>"Without them the opening of Book Two, ch. 5 (which was meant to have
>the facsimilies and a transcript alongside) is defective, and the Runes
>of the Appendix unnecessary."

A good point -- and he was right about the blood; it shows up well on
the images and is quite ghastly and gruesome. Makes the Chamber of
Mazarbul seem like a very fearful place indeed.

I wonder, though: with so many grand halls, why did Balin set up his
throne in "the library"?

>But I wouldn't be so sure about there not being other 'brief but famous'
>characters in other stories. But I can't actually think of any!

Oh yes, there are some unforgettable BBFs in literature and lore,
though it may seem a contradiction that it's also a little hard to
think of them right away. One has to look at the giants and also
recall the limited space their "feet" rest one. Takes a lot of energy
and some familiarity with the wider body of fiction.

Let's see: Professor Moriarty takes up relatively little space in the
overall collection of Sherlock Holmes tales; but we all know him
because he was described as very evil and took Holmes over the cliff
with him. Hey! Hadn't thought of the possible parallel there with
that. Interesting.

There is Siddhartha's charioteer, for any familiar with that body of
literature.

I'm not very familiar any more with "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," but
surely there must be at least one BBF in either or both of those
epics. Anybody?

And....

Barb

Igenlode

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May 19, 2004, 6:45:24 PM5/19/04
to
On 18 May 2004 AC wrote:

[snip]

> Most certainly, Durin's folk must have known what the being that
> evicted them from Khazad-dum looked like. Unless they were completely

> secretive, folks like Gandalf and Elrond must have at least had some
> suspicions. Let's face it, I doubt it would be terribly hard to ID a Balrog
> even from a description by some spooked Dwarf. The only possibility


> is that the Dwarves refused to give any hint as to the nature of the
> thing that drove them from Khazad-dum.

Personally, I was quite surprised when Gimli was able to identify a
Balrog on sight as "Durin's Bane!" I suppose I'd always assumed that
nobody knew what Durin's Bane actually was, because none of those who
came up against it survived. But there probably were people who
glimpsed it and yet escaped.

Yet if there were stories of the thing going around in sufficient detail
for a Dwarf who had never seen one to recognise it instantly from its
context, one would have thought, as you say, that the Wise would have
been aware of the rumours.

(Come to that, I suppose one could wonder how Legolas came to be
familiar with the appearance of a Balrog... I just took it for granted
that Elves seemed to be much more knowledgeable about the supernatural
and the Elder Days in general than anyone else, rather than assuming
that he'd personally met one before!)
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

* The old that is strong does not wither *

Christopher Kreuzer

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May 19, 2004, 8:57:21 PM5/19/04
to
"Igenlode" <Use-Author-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote

> Personally, I was quite surprised when Gimli was able to identify a
> Balrog on sight as "Durin's Bane!"

> (Come to that, I suppose one could wonder how Legolas came to be


> familiar with the appearance of a Balrog... I just took it for granted
> that Elves seemed to be much more knowledgeable about the supernatural
> and the Elder Days in general than anyone else, rather than assuming
> that he'd personally met one before!)

If you look closely at the Balrog's furry slippers, you will see that
they are carefully monogrammed "Balrog". So Legolas's keen elven vision
takes care of that.

As for Durin's Bane, that is what it says on the Balrog's T-shirt....

:-)

Glenn Holliday

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May 19, 2004, 9:13:50 PM5/19/04
to
"gp.skinner" wrote:
>
> [1] I can remember thinking when I first read this passage (feels like a
> long time ago now) that Balin must have visited at some point whilst Frodo
> was living at Bag End - I don't know why as Balin left for Moria in the same
> year that Frodo moved into Bag End (2989). So did Balin visit on his way to
> Moria, or was it just the way I first read it?

It was Bilbo that Balin visited, so it was probably before Frodo
moved in. It would have been in character for Bilbo to show
off by introducing Balin to his favorite nephew. When Balin
left for Moria Frodo was 30, so Frodo could have had a friendship
and his own memories of Balin from his visits to Bilbo.

Frodo might also have been remembering Balin's visit only from
Bilbo's extensive stories.

> [15] The full version of Gandalfs statement is in my view an excellent piece
> of writing by JRRT, for you get a lot of information in just four lines

But in the context of LOTR it's still a mystery.
Gandalf is obviously claiming some authority and power,
but we don't know enough to grasp what kind.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Glenn Holliday

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May 19, 2004, 9:23:27 PM5/19/04