Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Book Two, Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of the second book of The Fellowship of the Ring, YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. REALLY??? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.



Of course I completely forgot the detail about the “alternate” route that Gandalf suggested just a few pages ago, the one that brought fear to Aragorn’s face. SO OF COURSE I FLIPPED MY SHIT WHEN HE SUGGESTED THAT THEY TAKE IT AGAIN. Oh, right, that secret path? THE MINES OF MORIA.



Okay, so, I didn’t even really understand what was so awful about Moria, except that Gimli was like LOL NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING GANDALF. I knew that he and Aragorn and Boromir despised the idea. And honestly? THAT IS TOTALLY ENOUGH FOR ME TO RETREAT WITH MY TAIL BETWEEN MY LEGS. Wait, that is also just an expression. I don’t literally have a tail. BUT WHAT IF I DID. Oh god, I would love to use it to freak people out by wagging it while I was furious just to fuck with their heads. “I think Mark’s angry,” they’d say, “but he’s wagging his tail and it looks kind of cute???” Wait, does that mean I’d have to cut a hole in all my shorts and jeans to accommodate for the tale?

Wow, that’s the worst tangent I’ve ever gone on. How ’bout that chapter four, y’all????

“There is even a chance that Dwarves are there, and that in some deep hall of his fathers, Balin son of Fundin may be found. However it may prove, one must tread the path that need chooses!”

I’m just putting this here, okay? I’m putting it here because I am going to need it in about a thousand words, and I am going to flip the fuck out on all of you.

In the meantime, the Company decides to place their faith that Gandalf knows what he’s doing. It’s an interesting dynamic to me because…well, I keep making jokes about Gandalf being the Sassy Gay Best Friend because he constantly acts as if he knows everything. It’s not necessarily a bad thing either, because he’s right most of the time. I think he’s the oldest member of the Company. Still, even if Gandalf does harp on everyone in his own way, there’s this unspoken subtext that even he knows he could be wrong. After failing at the Redhorn Gate, the choice they’re making to go through the Mines of Moria is just as bad or worse than what they’ve just faced.

But this is all an act of faith, and that faith isn’t even meant in a religious sense, though there’s a nice parallel to that as well. It’s all that they have left: they can have faith that Gandalf will guide them safely, or they can doubt him and refuse to follow. There still is a healthy dose of that doubt, and multiple characters outright refuse to go to Moria. They give themselves a night of sleep before they make a final decision, but I think it’s admirable that Tolkien doesn’t just force this out of them. These nine characters have to make the best choice they think is available, and for some of them, the Mines of Moria aren’t worth it.


Actually, I’m sort of more concerned about the fact that when the sun rises, the bodies of the wolves they killed disappeared? YEAH THAT BOTHERS ME A WHOLE LOT. How is that even possible? Is that what wargs are? Did they turn back into humans after they “died”? I am so terribly confused right now. AND THIS TURNS OUT TO BE THE LEAST OF MY WORRIES!

It’s really a good thing this is all so fascinating to me, because I’m starting to realize that this book should have an alternate title, something like, The Lord of the Rings; or Nine Dudes Spend Most of the Time Walking. Again, I really am enjoying myself, but if you count the hobbit, I think I’ve spent at least a couple hundred pages reading about characters walking. There’s a context to it all, obviously, and I want to treat it fairly. It’s not like they aren’t walking with a purpose in mind, and it’s also not like it’s all the same. Even here, it’s really the first time that the characters are intentionally walking into a disaster. I mean, do they honestly expect this to be uneventful and perfect? No, but they have to move on. All the choices they have are pretty damn awful when you think about it, but what can they do?

After a brief moment where everyone worries that Gandalf may be wrong about the trail that leads up to the entrance of Moria, Gimli is able to find the path, and the Company presses on. But since so many years had passed since Gandalf was last here, the road is not what he thought it was, and that’s when we have to begin to deal with the loss of the first Company member: Bill the horse. The path inside the mine is far too perilous and narrow for Bill to come along, and suddenly I am really upset? You can’t even make horses talk, and now Sam has to leave his horse outside the mine?

As Sam, the last of the Company, led Bill up on to the dry ground on the far side, there came a soft sound: a swish, followed by a plop, as if a fish had disturbed the still surface of the water. Turning quickly they saw ripples, black-edged with shadow in the waning light: great rings were widening outwards from a point far out in the lake.



Oh, you are joking. You are not doing this on purpose, are you? Wolves are howling nearby? The wolves found them? And Gandalf is still stumped by the door? Oh, so they’re going to get eaten alive because they’re stuck? This is great! This is everything I have ever wanted from life!!!

And then Gandalf figures out that a question Merry asked hours ago was really the answer to the code and I start thinking that everything is pretty fine! That’s neat! All he had to do was speak the Elvish word for “friend” and it opened the door! Phew! At least they can focus on getting in the mine, right?

Frodo felt something seize him by the ankle, and he fell with a cry. Bill the pony gave a wild neigh of fear, and turned tail and dashed away along the lakeside into the darkness. Sam leaped after him, and then hearing Frodo’s cry he ran back again, weeping and cursing. The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end.

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!!?!?1

Out from the water a long sinuous tentacle had crawled; it was pale-green and luminous and wet. Its fingered end had hold of Frodo’s foot, and was dragging him him into the water. Sam on his knees was now slashing at it with a knife.


Many coiling arms seized the doors on either side, and with horrible strength, swung them round. With a shattering echo they slammed, and all light was lost. A noise of rending and crashing came dully through the ponderous stone.


And then: walking. Okay, I know I’m poking a lot of fun at this concept, but they really do walk so much. What makes this work, though, is how Tolkien brilliantly combines notions of exhaustion and terror. At this point, the Company truly is tired, hungry, cold, and miserable. There’s little to find joy in in the Mines of Moria; it’s dark, the passages are narrow, it’s dark, the silence is creepy, and it’s really fucking dark.

Yet Frodo began to hear, or to imagine that he heard, something else: like the faint fall of soft bare feet. It was never loud enough, or near enough, for him to feel certain that he heard it; but once it had started it never stopped, while the Company was moving.

Sorry, this is like…legitimate nightmare fuel for me???? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS??

‘Poor old Bill!’ said Sam. ‘I wonder where he is. I hope those wolves haven’t got him yet.’

I literally had not even had this thought at all. Until the moment I read this. Then I realized that Bill was out with the tentacle creature and a pack of wolves and was probably being devoured.

what is this book doing to me

And if there was even a chance of me being bored by this, Tolkien assures that he’s prepared to make me feel terrible things for the rest of the day. Possibly week. No, you don’t get it. When I’m tired, I dream about whatever it was I was thinking about the most during the day. Here are things that have consumed my thoughts on this fine day:

  • Pippin looking into the well. I honestly thought he’d fall in.
  • Gandalf being upset. Why does that, in turn, upset me so much? An angry Gandalf scares me.
  • More pattering of feet. I don’t like this, and I hate that Tolkien still hasn’t told me what or who this is. Damn it!
  • Gandalf creating a flash of lightning. The action itself? Pretty cool! But I expected so much awful shit to be hiding in the shadows and it’s still creeping me out right now just thinking about it.
  • WHAT ARE ORCS? Like, I know everyone in the world knows what they are, but I’ve never encountered them before! I don’t even know what they look like.
  • Frodo seeing two luminous eyes in the dark. Yeah, no. No thank you. No thank you forever. Is that yet another creature driven out of the depths of Moria by the Orcs? God, this is going to ruin me.

I was totally blown away by the reveal that Frodo’s mail was made of mithril. UM THAT IS GOING TO BE AN IMPORTANT PLOT POINT, YES??? But good lord, can you imagine what it feels like to know you’re wearing the most expensive thing EVER? oh god WHAT

But let’s just get to the real shit. After all of this–losing Bill, the terrors of the wolves and the tentacle-thingy, the pitter-patter of feet and the glowing eyes, the uncertainty of the Mines of Moria–the Company finds a tomb in a chamber lit by natural light. On the one hand, it’s a good sign; they’re close to getting out. But then Gandalf reads what it says:


‘He is dead then,’ said Frodo. ‘I feared it was so.’ Gimli cast his hood over his face.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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373 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Book Two, Chapter 4

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    Man, this chapter is terrifying. This series, all told, contains some of the very greatest foundations of nightmare fuel, and yet Moria, for me, is one of the worst. I guess it goes back to my fear of the dark, but I felt physically trapped, suffocating, just reading this chapter. First though, I love the riddle on the door… "Speak, friend, and enter." So simple, and yet had it been me, I NEVER WOULD HAVE GOTTEN IT. It made me giggle.

    Leaving Bill behind was possibly the SADDEST THING EVER TO HAPPEN EVER. I was so upset when Sam burst into tears!! But what I love is that Sam had to make a choice between Frodo and Bill…. we all know how very much he loves Bill, but he chose to follow Frodo to the depths of the unknown. There are not words to express my love for Sam!!!!

    Anyways, back to the absolute horror of Moria. You know, a couple of years ago, I got on my elevator at my apartment (I lived on the seventh floor) and right after the doors closed all of the lights went out. I cannot tell you how terrifying this was. I was convinced that once the lights came on there would be a person on the elevator with me waiting to kill me. Seriously, that thought ran through my head. I have never EVER exited an elevator quicker… I pretty much squeezed through the door and ran all the way to my apartment and jumped in my bed and pulled the covers over my head and stayed there until my heart stopped trying to break my ribs.

    I suspect Moria is like this, only multiplied by a million, and instead of a mere human serial killer, you fear FALLING TO YOUR DEATH or UNSEEN MONSTERS or BEING TRAPPED FOREVER IN THE DEPTHS OF THEM MOUNTAIN or other horrors that I cannot even begin to name. GREAT. Also, the footsteps that Frodo hears?? I swear, if I heard that while in Moria, I would die. Just drop dead right then and there. And also, overly large spaces are my second greatest fear, so sleeping in that huge cavern that they do?? NOT MY PARTICULAR CUP OF TEA. guhhhhhhh

    Pretty much this entire post is a really really long way of saying that BILL IS GONE SAD FOREVER and HOLY SHIT MORIA IS THE VERY DEPTHS OF MY NIGHTMARES DO NOT WANT. the end

    • Saphling says:


      I find this to be an accurate summation of the entire chapter, actually.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I agree with Saphling, and your elevator story actually creeped me out a lot more than Moria. No thanks to either situation!

    • knut_knut says:

      AHHH! elevators are THE WORST. After the incident in NY I spent a night looking up death by elevator O_O They're terrifying

    • Debbie says:

      I have claustrophobia, and can't stand being in elevators at the best of time. The elevator in my residence in University would sometimes open up between 2 of the floors, they called it the wall of death. People had written things all over it. I was terrified of finding it. I did once, and quickly pushed all the buttons on the elevator to get to another floor. I hate elevators.

      Also, I would freak in Moria. The dark tunnels, not being able to see. I felt claustrophobic enough just READING it.

      I was sad when they had to leave Bill behind though. I felt so bad for Sam, and my thoughts were, is Sam carrying those things of Frodo's that he packed? Or were they left behind?

      • notemily says:

        THE WALL OF DEATH omg that sounds like the basis for a horror movie. Like if you see the Wall of Death, SOMETHING HORRIBLE IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU.

      • flootzavut says:

        I have two Do not Want elevators that I would like to never even go in again.

        First was in Russia, where the lift in our obshezhitie (I can't think how best to translate that so it's staying in rather doggy transliterated Russian…) tended to stop just above or below each floor, never actually ON any floor. Did not like.

        Second and much worse (though fortunately I only used it a couple of times visiting a friend) was the paternoster lift in Sheffield Uni. you have to get on and off the thing as it moves and there is no door so you see the walls moving past every time and there's a gap every floor and all I could think about was the possibility of getting part of myself caught as it moved and just leaving a leg or an arm on one of the floors as we went past. Soooooo grateful it was not my uni…

  2. Ryan Lohner says:

    And so you now understand what your banner is referencing. Happy?

  3. Tauriel_ says:

    More pictures from Karina Chmiel! 🙂

    Dances with wolves
    <img src="; width="800">

    Walls of Moria
    <img src="; width="800">

  4. Tauriel_ says:

    Tauriel's Linguistic Corner

    As promised, here's the stuff from yesterday:


    Here we have a spell of sorts that Gandalf uses to light fire, in Sindarin:

    naur an edraith ammen

    naur – "fire"
    an – "for"
    edraith – "saving", "salvation"
    ammen – "to us", "for us", "of us"

    Literal translation is therefore: "fire for saving of us".

    And some names:

    Elladan – "Elf-Man" or "Star-Man". Sindarin origin: adan means "Man", "human"; el- is a prefix that can mean either "star" or "Elf" (since the word for Elves is Eldar = "People of the Stars").
    Elrohir – "Elf-rider" or "Elf-knight", alternately "Star-rider" or "Star-knight". Sindarin origin: roch means "horse", and "rochir" or "rohir" means "horse lord", "knight", "rider". Note the similarity with the names of Rohan and Rohirrim. 🙂
    Andúril – "Flame of the West". Sindarin origin: annûn means "west", but another version of the stem used in compounds is dún-; rill – "brilliance", "flame", "glitter".
    Caradhras – "Redhorn". Sindarin origin: caran – "red"; rass – "peak".
    Celebdil – "Silvertine". Sindarin origin: celeb – "silver"; till, in compounds as -dil means "sharp horn", "tine", "sharp-pointed peak".
    Fanuidhol – "Cloudyhead". Sindarin origin: fanui – "cloudy"; dôl or dhol means "head", "hill". Compare with Dol Guldur.

    (con'd below)

    • Tauriel_ says:


      In this chapter we have several sentences in Sindarin:

      ‘Naur an edraith ammen! Naur dan i ngaurhoth!’

      The first sentence is the same as previously.

      naur – "fire"
      dan – "against"
      i – definite article "the"
      ngaur – "werewolf"
      hoth – "host", "crowd", "horde"

      So the full sentence means: "Fire against the werewolf host!"

      The inscription on the Gates of Moria:

      Ennyn Durin Aran Moria: pedo mellon a minno. Im Narvi hain echant: Celebrimbor o Eregion teithant i thiw hin.

      ennyn – "gates". Singular form is annon
      aran – "king"
      pedo – "speak" (imperative form, stem is ped-)
      mellon – "friend"
      a – "and"
      minno – "enter" (imperative form, stem is minna-)
      im – pronoun "I"
      hain – pronoun "them", but only for inanimates. For women it would be "hîn" and for men it would be "huin"
      echant – past tense "made", from stem echad- ("make", "fashion", "shape")
      o – "of", "from"
      teithant – past tense "drew", "wrote", from stem teitha- ("draw", "write")
      thiw – "sings". Singular form is têw or thêw
      hin – "these". Singular form is hen (lenited) or sen

      "The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter. I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs."

      (con'd below)

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen! Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!

      annon – "gate"
      edhellen – "Elvish" (from edhel – "Elf")
      edro – "open" (imperative form, stem is edra-)
      hi – lenited form of si = "now"
      ammen – "to us", "for us"
      fennas – "doorway", "gateway"
      nogothrim – "Dwarves". Singular form is nogoth
      lasto – "listen" (imperative form, stem is lasta-)
      beth – "word"
      lammen – "my tongue". From lamm ("tongue") and possessive ending -en ("my")

      Full translation: "Elvish gate open now for us! Doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue!"

      And some names:

      Sirannon – "Gate-stream". Sindarin origin: sîr (in compounds sir-) – "river"; annon – "gate".
      ithildin – "Moon-star" or "starmoon". Sindarin origin: ithil – "Moon"; tinu (in compounds -din) – "small star", "spark".
      mithril – "truesilver". Sindarin origin: mith – "grey"; rill – "brilliance", "flame", "glitter".

  5. knut_knut says:

    Gur Jngpure! Zragnyyl cnfgvat Tvyrf’ snpr ba n fdhvq’f …. This whole journey in the dark is completely terrifying. Caves are cool when you’re on a guided tour or when you’re watching Planet Earth, but not when you’re pretty much lost in the dark, and then maybe hear something softly following you. Oh, and there are giant cracks and wells in the middle of the ground so that you can PLUMMET TO YOUR DEATH. I am clearly not a dwarf.

    V ybbbir gur zhfvp jura gur sryybjfuvc svefg fgrcf vagb gur Unyy bs Qjneebjqrys (gur cneg jurer Fnz fnlf Gurer'f na rlr bcrare naq ab zvfgnxr”). Gung’f bar bs gur fcbgf jurer V guvax gur zhfvp ernyyl urycf perngr Gbyxvra’f jbeyq. Unq vg abg fjryyrq naq orra fb tenaq V cebonoyl jbhyq unir whfg tbar “jbj, ybgf bs cvyynef”, be fbzrguvat rdhnyyl gevivny, naq abg gubhtug nobhg gur snpg gung guvf jnf n unyy pneirq ol qjneirf haqretebhaq naq ubj zhpu jbex jbhyq unir tbar vagb perngvat fhpu n cynpr.

    What is the story behind the cats of Queen Berúthiel?

    PS- please grow a tail. Somehow

    • cait0716 says:

      Oh yes, I was curious about the cats, too. I liked the way Aragorn just dropped that reference into conversation the way we might reference a book or movie. I'm guessing the answer, like so many, is in The Silmarillion

      • msw188 says:

        Gur nafjre'f npghnyyl va gur Hasvavfurq Gnyrf. V qba'g erzrzore gur qrgnvyf, ohg vg'f qrsvavgryl fbzrguvat gung Gbyxvra arire ernyyl syrfurq bhg.

        • knut_knut says:

          I just bought the Unfinished Tales!! Must read!

        • BetB says:

          "Gur nafjre'f npghnyyl va gur Hasvavfurq Gnyrf. V qba'g erzrzore gur qrgnvyf, ohg vg'f qrsvavgryl fbzrguvat gung Gbyxvra arire ernyyl syrfurq bhg."

          Guvf vf whfg nabgure rknzcyr bs gur evpuarff bs Gbyxvra'f ivfvba bs Zvqqyr-Rnegu.

          Sebz zrzbel (juvpu pbhyq or snhygl), Dhrra Orehguvny yvirq va Bftvyvngu orsber Tbaqbe ybfg pbageby bs Zvanf Vguvy. Fur hfrq ure pngf gb fcl ba crbcyr va gur pvgl. Fur orpnzr qrfcvfrq qhr gb guvf fclvat. Ure pngf gung fcvrq sbe ure pbhyq svaq gurve jnl ubzr sebz naljurer va gur qnex fb gurl orpnzr gur fghss bs yrtraq.

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        "But she only has one cat."
        "Give her time…"

      • monkeybutter says:

        Please don't use the word crazy on this site.

    • Saphling says:

      V ybirq gung cneg va gur zhfvp, orpnhfr gur tenaq, rkcnafvir fbhaq tnir n uvag ng gur Qjneebjqrys'f tybel qnlf, onpx gubhfnaqf (naq gubhfnaqf) bs lrnef ntb.

    • Clamarnicale says:

      Gbyxvra zragvbaf va uvf Yrggref gung ur uvzfrys unq ab vqrn jung gur Pngf bs Dhrra Oreúguvry zrnag. Ur yngre "svtherq vg bhg", naq jung'f xabja bs gurz ner gb or sbhaq va Hasvavfurq Gnyrf (be ba Jvxvcrqvn: uggc://

    • arctic_hare says:

      Lrf! Ubjneq Fuber'f zhfvp va gur zbivrf vf nyjnlf njrfbzr, ohg gung cneg vf bar bs zl cnegvphyne snibevgrf naq bar bs gur ernfbaf V ybir gur fbhaqgenpxf fb zhpu.

    • flootzavut says:

      Gur Jngpure! Zragnyyl cnfgvat Tvyrf’ snpr ba n fdhvq’f


  6. Mariska says:

    Who is with me in saying it's best for Mark to read the books first before watching the movies?!

    Again, a great review <3

    • @ljrTR says:

      I have already stated this so many times I am afraid of being banned. Mark will (most likely) love the movies but they can sit and wait until he finishes the book(s)!!! Really, esp, in the second 2 films they are so spoilery for the 3rd book. and the changes in the characters made in the films, while understandable, should be dealt with after a person has met the characters through the books.
      Just my opinion, but I feel pretty strongly.

    • Alice says:

      I'm behind you on that 😀

    • Pam says:

      Yes! Please wait, Mark! It may not seem like there are major differences, but seeing one of those movies before you’ve read the whole thing will color how you see characters and tone and loads of stuff. This isn’t like the HP movies, where they were kind of in the dark for the first five movies about how it would all end. Peter Jackson started the LOTR movies with ALL the story, plus all the supplemental information. He made one gigantic movie based on one gigantic book, and that’s the ideal way to experience both mediums, in my opinion.

      • Zeynep says:

        What Pam said: It really is one book. Just the temporal organization demands of the two media are so different…

      • @flourish says:

        I completely agree!


      • Melewen says:

        THIS times a thousand!

      • calimie says:

        plus all the supplemental information
        Exactly! The movies are a great work and it's simply better to read the books first to appreciate them wholly.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        YESSS!!! TEAM ONE NOVEL!!!! I've said this a few times before, so I'll keep it short: Mark, please don't watch the movies until you finish all the books. We want you as spoiler-free throughout the story as possible, and the movies would spoil you for several story lines. Jung fnl lbh? 😉

    • wahlee says:

      Yes! Team One Novel strikes again!

      Mark, really. There is SO MUCH to be spoiled on if you watch the movies before finishing the books. We just don't want your reading experience to be tainted in any way. Is that so much to ask?

    • TheFormerAstronomer says:

      Definitely 🙂

    • rabidsamfan says:

      *waves my One True Novel banner again*

      I think that the movies would overwhelm the kind of sensory data that Mark is getting from the book — between sight and sound, he'd imagine things differently (and yes, he's said he doesn't "see" as he reads, but neither do I, and that''s why I'm so sure the visuals would be overwhelming.)

      Besides, how can you stop reading when chapters end like this one?

    • arctic_hare says:

      I'm with y'all too. I love the movies, they are my favorite film trilogy of all time and all that, can't wait for the liveblogs, but I think they'll be better appreciated once one has read ALL the books, the way it was for me.

      • notemily says:

        I saw the movies first, so I don't care about that, but Mark cares about spoilers so much that I do think it would be best for him to finish the books first.

        • cait0716 says:

          Yeah. It's a bit sad, because I was looking forward to there being movie gifs in the comments of TTT and RotK. But there's plenty of art, and holding off on the movies means the drawings and paintings will continue to get highlighted in the comments.

          Also, he can then pay off months of anticipation with a glorious 12 hour marathon if he chooses.

          • notemily says:

            He has said that non-spoilery movie gifs are okay, although I know a lot of us are holding out on posting them for various reasons (casting spoilers and the like). I myself was planning on [univat n tvs cnegl nsgre Obebzve'f qrngu jura jr pna svanyyl erirny gung ur'f cynlrq ol Frna Orna], but maybe I shouldn't? (It would be SO MUCH FUN tho.)

            • cait0716 says:

              It would be fun, but is probably still a casting spoiler. I guess there will just have to be gif parties in the movie reviews. I can wait. Probably

              Rira fbzr bs gur ynaqfpncrf sebz gur zbivr frrz yvxr gurl pbhyq srry fcbvyrel orpnhfr ubyl fuvg gung zbivr jnf ornhgvshy naq V xvaq bs jnag Znex gb whfg trg sybberq ol gur fprarel gur jnl V jnf.

              • rabidsamfan says:

                Lrnu, V unir gb nterr — gur ynaqfpncrf ner ornhgvshy, ohg juvyr V'z erernqvat V'ir orra erzvaqrq bs nyy gur jnlf va juvpu Zvqqyr Rnegu vf ABG Arj Mrnynaq. Gbyxvra perngrf ragver rpbflfgrzf ernyyl. Naq fvapr Znex yvxrf tbvat bhgqbbef, V'z fher ur'f vzntvavat gubfr cynprf va jnlf vasbezrq ol uvf bja rkcrevrapr naq abg jung'f ba n fperra.

              • notemily says:

                V'z cynaavat gb unir n Lbh Funyy Abg Cnff/Syl Lbh Sbbyf tvs cnegl va gbzbeebj'f pbzzragf, gbb. V ubcr gung'f abg fcbvyrel, fvapr Znex nyernql xabjf jub cynlf Tnaqnys.

      • eregyrn says:

        Am with you on that. As huge a book fan as I am, I'm also a huge fan of the trilogy. But I think that watching even the first of the movies would inevitably color Mark's perception of the rest of the books. Not least, by making him eye future book developments more actively not only in terms of "will this make it into the movies?" but "how will this be altered for the movies?" And I think that's a different layer of reading that would interfere with his basic absorption of the story.

        While I have you, as it were — how do his liveblogs work? Is it possible to read his liveblogging reaction to something after he's done it? Are they archived in some way?

        • arctic_hare says:

          Yes, the liveblog posts definitely stay up, plus he does a full review afterwards of all his thoughts.

          • eregyrn says:

            Thanks! I realized after your reply that part of my problem was starting off trying to look at his liveblog for The Golden Compass — for which it seems he didn't do a full review post afterwards. And I didn't look far enough in the comments to see that he was commenting as well, there. So I kept thinking, "well, the comments here are for readers, but where are Mark's thoughts?" and being all confused. It became much clearer once I looked at the example of a different movie.

    • hpfish13 says:

      The selfish part of me that wants to watch the movies now disagrees, but I think this is a good idea. There are enough changes/bringing things in from later books that make watching them after all the books is a better idea. You lot have officially pulled me on to this bandwagon!

      • feminerdist says:

        Yes, I agree with this. I am selfish and want liveblogs now, HOWEVER, it seriously is best to wait. They do too much blending, which I think was the correct choice for the movies, but not for staying spoiler free between books.

        So Mark should wait. And anyone else reading along for the first time.

      • shortstuff says:

        Yea, this sums up my feelings perfectly. At first I was like, people, enough with the campaigning already! But I have really come around to the books-first viewpoint. Everything, from the casting to the scenery to the music, is best taken in altogether, even if there's NOT a spoiler that pops up.

    • Tauriel_ says:


      And also Mark should read the Appendices, too, before watching the films, because some important plot points and developments in the films are taken from the Appendices. He could dedicate one review to the Appendices, I'd like that. 🙂

    • Erik says:

      I started out thinking the other way, but I’m coming around now to your view. There are enough things brought forward from the Appendices and from later character recaps/flashbacks and woven into the movie’s single sequential timeline that aspects of the book will definitely be spoiled by the movies.

  7. Jenny_M says:

    Thoughts RE: Orcs and Mark: Vg vf penpxvat zr hc gung Znex unfa'g svtherq bhg gung bepf = tboyvaf lrg. V zrna, Gbyxvra fcrpvsvpnyyl fnlf va guvf puncgre gung Bepf sbhtug va gur onggyr bs gur svir nezvrf!

  8. cait0716 says:

    Did anyone else get the impression that the tentacly thing in the lake was cthullu? Is it possible that Tolkien was a fan of Lovecraft?

    • knut_knut says:

      I used to think it was one of the Martians from War of the Worlds and its lake was the crater made when they crash landed on Middle Earth. Clearly, that makes a lot of sense -_-

    • Atrus says:

      Yeah, I definitely got a 'great old ones' vibe from the Watcher in the Water, especially after the "gurer ner byq guvatf bs juvpu rira Fnheba qbrf abg xabj nobhg" line (rot13 'cause I don't remember if it has been said yet).

    • Dreamflower says:

      It's possible that JRRT had read Lovecraft– they were sort of contemporaries. Lovecraft was older by a few years, but he died relatively young. (He died of cancer in 1937.)

      But "monsters of the deep" is an old trope going back to the earliest of times. After all, the term "kraken" goes all the way back to Icelandic and Norwegian mythology, in which JRRT was well versed.

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      It is possible that Tolkien read Lovecraft, but it doesn't seem very likely. I don't think Lovecraft was especially well known outside the US during his lifetime and his fame probably spread after The Lord of the Rings was finished. Also Tolkien as an adult was apparently not much interested in contemporary fiction, much less US pulp fiction. So he appears not to have been aware of the parallel fantasy tradition in the US pulp magazines starting in the early 20th century, which was eclipsed in the popular consciousness by The Lord of the Rings (hence the common claim that Tolkien invented fantasy).

      I think the most likely source of inspiration was the Edwardian "lost world" adventure genre and especially H Rider Haggard (Tolkien specifically mentions She as an influence, but I can't help but think of King Solomon's Mines) for this part. There's a fair chance that he also read The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle and it's possible that he may have encountered some Edgar Rice Burroughs. Also, maybe HG Wells and The War of the Worlds had an influence.

      And it's not directly relevant, but I can't help but feel the whole "fleeing the Shire" movement has something of a John Buchan feel.

      Tolkien's main acknowledged influence among near-contemporary (ie not mythical) authors was William Morris.

  9. Ryan Lohner says:

    On the DVD commentary, Phillipa Boyens says she thinks this is the best written chapter of book one. I particularly love the "riddle" of the door, using the old Purloined Letter strategy that you're so focused on finding some deep, hidden answer that you miss the answer staring you in the face.

    The other highlight of this part of the commentary: Crgre Wnpxfba jnagrq gur Jngpure gb teno Ovyy, naq rira qbrf na vzcerffvba bs gur "urr unj" Ovyy jbhyq znxr nf ur jnf qenttrq haqre.

    • Dreamflower says:

      *sheesh* I'm glad he did NOT do that.

      Gurer ner ybgf bs guvatf ur pbhyq unir qbar, rira cynaarq gb qb, naq qvqa'g. Naq nyy bs gurz jbhyq unir ehvarq gur zbivrf sbe zr cerggl zhpu. Fb V nz irel tynq ur qvq abg qb gurz.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Holy shit no.

    • knut_knut says:


    • Juliana Moreli says:

      That would be extremelly sad…

    • arctic_hare says:

      Oh my stars and garters NO. So glad that didn't happen!

    • shortstuff says:

      I seriously love that you always post cool things from the commentaries. I've listened to them, but I don't remember everything. How do you remember these every single day?

      About the rot-13: Of course he would! lol That man always had the strangest ideas, and some of them worked great. Others… not so much lol

  10. blossomingpeach says:

    "…now you’re going to have Gandalf tell Sam that he can’t take Bill inside? So you’re going to make me both sad and terrified at the same fucking time? OH, BE GLAD YOU’RE DEAD BECAUSE I WOULD WRITE YOU THE ANGRIEST LETTER EVER FOR THIS. I REALLY WOULD. AND I WOULD UNDERLINE CERTAIN PASSAGES LIKE HOW DARE YOU BREAK SAM’S HEART I WILL FIND A WAY TO BREAK YOURS."

    Maybe now would have been the time to talk? "NO WAY ARE YOU LEAVING ME OUT HERE WITH RIPPLES ON THE WATER!"

    I can watch all kinds of human characters get killed off in movies/books, but when the beloved animal gets sacrificed to the danger, I can't handle it. Goodbye, Bill! Please be safe, okay?

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Gur zbivr'f rkrphgvir cebqhpre, Znex Beqrfxv, jnf irel hcfrg nobhg gur jnl Ovyy jnf yrsg oruvaq, naq vafvfgrq gurl guebj va gur yvar "Ur xabjf gur jnl ubzr."."

  11. Tauriel_ says:

    Gah, I didn't have time to type up a proper detailed review, so just a few points:

    – AAAAAARGH, WOLVES!!! Badass Fellowship is badass, though (especially Gandalf)

    – Bye-bye, Bill! 🙁 🙁 🙁 Hopefully you'll find a way to Rivendell.

    ‘It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship waned,’ said Gimli.
    ‘I have not heard that it was the fault of the Elves,’ said Legolas.

    Stubborn much? :p N cynthr ba gur fgvss arpxf bs obgu Qjneirf naq Ryirf!

    ‘What are you going to do then? ‘ asked Pippin, undaunted by the wizard’s bristling brows.
    ‘Knock on the doors with your head, Peregrin Took,’ said Gandalf. ‘But if that does not shatter them, and I am allowed a little peace from foolish questions, I will seek for the opening words.

    I love when Gandalf verbally smacks Pippin! 😀 Sassy old wizard. <3

    He is surer of finding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Berúthiel. – here's my quick sketch of Queen Berúthiel (only very slightly spoilery, but just in case, I'm posting a link and not the image itself)

    (con'd below)

    • Tauriel_ says:

      ‘What’s that? ‘ cried Gandalf. He was relieved when Pippin confessed what he had done; but he was angry, and Pippin could see his eye glinting. ‘Fool of a Took! ‘ he growled. ‘This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance. Now be quiet!’

      FOOL OF A TOOK! <3 <3 😀 Finally, we can use it freely without rot13. 😀 This is so excellent. Gandalf being angry with Pippin is the best thing ever. Although V qb cersre gur svyz irefvba – gur jnl Cvccva znxrf gung pbecfr snyy vagb gur jryy, naq gur ohpxrg nf jryy – naq nyfb Tnaqnys'f fyvtugyl punatrq jbeqf: "Guebj lbhefrys va arkg gvzr naq evq hf bs lbhe fghcvqvgl". Oyrff uvz. <3 <3 <3 x-D x-D x-D

      ‘I know what is the matter with me,’ he muttered, as he sat down by the door. ‘I need smoke! I have not tasted it since the morning before the snowstorm.’

      Oh dear. Gandalf suffering from nicotine withdrawal. That explains the increased snarkiness.

      – Love Gimli's song. <3

      – Bilbo's mithril shirt that he gave Frodo is worth more than the whole Shire. WHOA.

      – OH NOEZ! BALIN IS DEAD!!! :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        Ian McKellan has a great bit in the commentary about how much he loved saying "Fool of a Took." Something like "It flows so naturally off the tongue."

      • Dreamflower says:

        I love that sketch!

        Yes, "Fool of a Took!" That was so cranky Gandalf! But I just love that he later goes and sort of apologizes to Pippin and takes over the guard duty for him.

      • arctic_hare says:

        That is a GORGEOUS sketch! 😀

        V ybir gur zbivr irefvba zber gbb. Ovyyl Oblq'f rkcerffvbaf nf vg snyyf qbja naq xrrcf uvggvat rirelguvat ner cresrpg, Tnaqnys'f yvar vf terng, naq Fve Vna'f qryvirel vf, nf nyjnlf, synjyrff.

    • Geolojazz says:

      I like that sketch, cool! Is the full story in the Sil?

      • Tauriel_ says:

        I think it's mentioned in the Unfinished Tales (or possibly even in the LOTR Appendices? I'll have to check). It's a little piece of history that passed into legend and is used as a saying.

    • notemily says:

      I like your sketch! Finally a Lord of the Rings character I can really relate to. (That's kind of a joke since of course MOST of Tolkien's characters are relateable, but I really really like cats.)

  12. Bep says:

    Orcs are the goblins that we met in "The Hobbit." As I recall, "goblin" is just the english translation of the elvish word "orc."

    • @LarrikJ says:

      Yes, that's explained in one of the forewords to The Hobbit.

      I would imagine everyone else thinks this is a spoiler? I don't know why, and I've read a TON of Tolkien over the years.

  13. Erin says:

    JRR Tolkien mentions in The Hobbit that Orcs are very large Goblins. There's a lot more to the story, of course, but that's all spoilery.

  14. MidnightLurker says:


  15. TheFormerAstronomer says:

    Eee! So much excitement. Basically I was introduced to your website a couple of months back by a friend, and was going to follow along with the LoTR reviews, but missed the first few. I was determined to catch up before we got to Moria though!

    Anyway, this is me finally delurking. Hi, everyone 🙂

    • Saphling says:

      Welcome! 😀

    • knut_knut says:


    • @ljrTR says:

      I'm new too. Hi! or Mae Govannon isn't it in Elvish? Tauriel would know.

      • floppus says:

        It's govannen, but maybe gevennin when you're addressing a group of people? I'm not sure. Hello anyway. 🙂 I'm also new, though I've been lurking for a few months.

    • monkeybutter says:


    • plaidpants says:

      hello! Go back and read all of the reviews if you can! I know there's a ton, but its fun to read his reactions even if you haven't read the books (the twilight ones are particularly amusing)

      • cait0716 says:

        Also a good way to lose a week of your life. But very much worth it.

        • TheFormerAstronomer says:

          Only a week? Reading through the Twilight reviews alone took about that long 😀

          I'm currently reading the HDM reviews in parallel with these, and trying veryvery hard not to spoil the remaining 2.5 books of ASoIaF that I still have to go by reading the stand-alone reviews and comments for those xD

          It's actually really interesting reading a USian's take on both LoTR and HDM – there's so many UK and european cultural cues that I didn't even realise that I was using when I read these originally myself. It makes me wonder what I'm missing when reading (e.g.) north american lit.

          • cait0716 says:

            Okay, maybe it's more like a month. 🙂

            I was also quite tempted to read the Dance with Dragons review before finishing that book. But hooray for willpower (and it moving off the main page).

            I like that there are commenters from all over the world to help point out the cultural things I miss. It's like we're creating our own annotated versions of these books while reading them! Behold the power of the internet!

            And again, welcome! (if you get a nifty intense debate account, you can earn points! They're kind of meaningless, but they're points!)

            • Becky_J_ says:

              Haha I love the points. They mean absolutely nothing but they make me feel *super special and important*

    • Rheinman says:

      Welcome aboard.

      I came in on the Harry Potter reviews as a lurker and am reading through the Avatar series right now. I had to sign up and post for LOTR because Mark is finally reading something in real time I can follow along with and weigh in on. (Wait, is it lurking to read without commenting two years later?!?!)

      Although it is the origin story for this site, I don't think I can subject myself to Twilight even throuogh the filter of Mark's dissection of them.

    • MrsGillianO says:

      Welcome! Are you reading his take on "Buffy" too? Wonderful and hilarious.

      • TheFormerAstronomer says:


        I haven't read any of the Buffy reviews yet – I'm sure I will get around to it soon! (So many reviews, so few hours in the day…)

    • Becky_J_ says:

      Welcome!! I always love it when someone comments for the first time… I lurked for a long time, it took me about five months to go through all of Mark’s reviews, and I wanted to participate in the discussion SO BAD but of course the had been inactive for so long…. finally participating in the comments is the best!

    • Dreamflower says:

      Hi! I'm new too– just started with The Hobbit! I am LOVING this SO much!

  16. @ljrTR says:

    Oh Mark – Thanks so much for these reviews. I am enjoying this re-read of this book SO much. Aren't you glad the council decided not to throw the Ring into the sea where our tentacled overlords could get it?
    I am continually amazed at how inventive Prof. Tolkien was – mining ancient mythologies to come up with something so new that people have copied ever since.!
    I really don't trust myself to respond to anything else without drifting into spoilerdom. What a week at Mark Reads this is!

  17. Geolojazz says:

    Time for me to share some…highschool poetry about Bill!!


    I waited for a while

    I sniffed and stayed and learnt that life deals blow incomparable to those that humans deal out.

    But I never know; I'm small.

    I listened to the dangers that they felt always imminent.

    But I never know; I'm small.

    In the weeping wonder of the twilight hour where the sky and the sweet earth kiss,

    I found myself at the shore of a lake of nightmares, and not the type that I like.

    I sniffed and stayed and learnt that fate deals blows with the suddenness of eternity.

    I watched the waters brown edges, no longer, no longer stronger from the flowing that power and gravity brings about.

    Fear, it must have been fear, fear, fear incarnate leaping out at me from the brown murk of fright.

    I fled

    My life from out me bled

    I fled in fear I fled

    I left behind my reason for courage, I left behind my friends

    But I'm safe now.

    I look out the fields and wonder, wonder, wonder.

    Where are they? Have they completed the task? That great task that they spoke about? Saved the world?

    But I never know; I'm small.

    Man, why you gotta kill Bumblebee's mother like that? Optimus fucking Prime is upset now, yo.

  19. msw188 says:

    Although there's plenty to love about this chapter, I think my favorite is the whole scene when they find the door. The characters are great. When Gandalf reveals he doesn't know the password, they all get freaked out, EXCEPT ARAGORN, who "knew Gandalf well." Then the whole exchange between Boromir and Gandalf is amazing. Boromir is questioning Gandalf: he's brave enough to speak his mind plainly, but not wise or patient enough to see the whole picture. But Gandalf doesn't need anyone to remind him of the immediacy of the danger, and he doesn't have time for Boromir's bullshit:

    "And you may ask what is the use of my deeds when they have proved useless."

    That awesome sentence is basically an elvish construction for, "Shut up, asshole."

    (This special edition of Linguistic Corner brought to you by msw188)

  20. Peg says:

    FYI: Tolkien actually became stuck at this point in the writing and paused for about a year! He had no idea what happened next for a long, long time.

    • Geolojazz says:

      Uhu, fb jung qb lbh qb jura lbh trg fghpx? Xvyy gur jvmneq!!!

    • Saphling says:

      V pna frr ubj fhpu n puncgre zvtug yrnir rira gur nhgube n ovg va gur qnex nf gb jurer gb tb arkg. >_>

    • Dreamflower says:

      I know. I find it really encouraging, when I think how long I get stuck with my own WIPs! He found a way to continue, so I can too.

    • SERIOUSLY? You have no idea with what wild glee this fills me. Tolkien, that linguistic and worldbuilding genius, was a pantser?! He was writing the book one chapter at a time with no outline telling him how he'd get from Point A to Point Z? THAT IS PRACTICALLY THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD.

      • wahlee says:

        You would love Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle Earth. Tolkien's writing process was ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING.

      • Mirima says:

        I am reading Tolkien's Letters and in many letters he talks about the writing process. It really is fascinating to kind of follow the creation of LotR though the letters, and see how he really did not know at the beginning what was going to happen. Finding Strider sitting in the corner of the Prancing Pony was a shock to him and before going into the mines, Moria was just a name to him! I also like how describes the times when he got stalled in the writing as having to wait until what had actually happened became clear to him.

        • notemily says:

          The meaning for all of this is clear to me now. Everything in the book actually happened. Tolkien was just a psychic who got visions of it and he couldn't write any more until he got the proper vision for that scene.

          This is my head canon and you can't take it from me

    • Bumblebea says:

      Ooooh that makes me feel so much better. Ha. I still have eleven months left before I have to work out where I'm going with my WIP.

  21. Geolojazz says:

    Pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb eha vagb gung, ur'f tbaan syvc!! :Q Zvaq lbh, gung'f evtug orsber Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver…Q:

  22. monkeybutter says:

    Vf vg jebat gung V jnag Znex gb uheel naq cvpx hc ba Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf, fgne-pebffrq ybiref?

    I started to tear up when Sam was saying goodbye to Bill, and Bill nuzzled him. I'm also really proud of Sam for being the only one who wasn't in a state of shock when the tentacle thingy attacked Frodo, and that he rushed to save him. I love the hobbits.

    Still, I'm more disturbed by the tentacle thingy slamming the doors behind them and barricading them in than the actual attack on Frodo.

    Fool of a Took! I get what you mean about being scared of angry Gandalf. He's the Responsible Adult, and it's unsettling to see him get agitated. Also, you don't want to disappoint him. Poor Pippin. I can imagine myself doing the same thing — giant holes are just asking to have a pebble dropped into them! — so I felt ashamed with him.

    Poor Balin. That was a pretty somber note on which to end the chapter.

    • Dreamflower says:

      He is the Responsible Adult. But he's also the Kindly Grandfather– don't forget that after letting Pippin stew a little, he lets him off the hook (and blames his own crankiness on his nicotine withdrawal, LOL!).

      I recall a few years back coming to the conclusion that Balin must have made another visit to the Shire at some point– Frodo's grief seems personal, as though he had met the Dwarf at some point. I could be wrong of course, but it's a part of my headcanon now.

      • TheFormerAstronomer says:

        Sort of spoilery, so rot13'd just in case: V guvax vg'f zragvbarq evtug ng gur ortvaavat bs gur arkg puncgre?

        • Dreamflower says:

          Jryy, vg pbhyq or ernq gung jnl, be vg pbhyq or gung ur'f whfg erpnyyvat jung Ovyob'f gbyq uvz bs gur bppnfvba. Ohg V qb yvxr gb guvax gung Sebqb npghnyyl zrg uvz va crefba.

      • Bumblebea says:

        It was mentioned at the end of the Hobbit that Balin used to drop round for tea and seed-cakes occasionally, wasn't it?
        Or did I just invent that to satisfy my need for more Balin? (He always was my favourite dwarf.)

        • Dreamflower says:

          One visit was specifically mentioned, but I think it's possible there might have been others.

        • baruchan says:

          It was mentioned in the first chapter that there were dwarves involved during the preparation of Bilbo's party, and that there were dwarven guests invited, so I'm guessing dwarves used to come around Bag End before Bilbo left the Shire, at the very least.

    • @_Weaver says:

      "Vf vg jebat gung V jnag Znex gb uheel naq cvpx hc ba Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf, fgne-pebffrq ybiref?"

      Tbq, V XABJ. Gung'f fbzrguvat V nz npghnyyl fnq nobhg va gur svyzf. Gurl znqr Tvzyv zhpu zber bar-abgr pbzrql, naq hccrq gur oebznapr orgjrra Nentbea naq Yrtbynf vafgrnq. Gur evinyel'f fgvyy gurer, ohg tbq, va gur obbxf! GUR BAYL QJNES GB TB GB GUR TERL UNIRAF. V jvyy arire abg ybir gurz gur zbfg.

      • sporkaganza93 says:

        Vg'f fgvyy cerfrag va gur zbivrf, gubhtu.

        "Arire gubhtug V'q qvr svtugvat fvqr ol fvqr jvgu na rys." "Jung nobhg fvqr ol fvqr jvgu n sevraq?" "Nlr… V pbhyq qb gung."

        Znlor vg'f zber va gur rkgraqrq rqvgvbaf; V pna'g ernyyl erzrzore jung vf naq vfa'g gurer va gur gurngevpny rqvgvbaf orpnhfr vg'f orra fb ybat fvapr V jngpurq gurz.

      • Mirima says:

        My thoughts exactly.

    • Laurelluin says:

      Why do people insist that bromance = gay lovers? There is no sexual component in Sam's love for Frodo, or later in the eryngvbafuvc orgjrra Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf. It is neither more nor less than slash fanfic to put it there.

  23. Atrus says:

    This and the next one are among my favourite chapters of LotR and fiction in general, they're just a perfect mix of spookiness, adventure, grand exploration and (unintentional) comedy.
    And walking. Lots of walking.

    Small movie gripe: gur Jngpure urer vf irel pbafvqrengr bs ryira pensgfznafuvc naq fvzcyl pybfrf gur qbbef fuhg; va gur zbivr ur oernxf gurz qbja nybat jvgu n tbbq cneg bs gur nagrpunzore. ONQ JNGPURE, AB PBBXVR (BE CBAL) SBE LBH.

    • floppus says:

      Vg qvq hcebbg n pbhcyr bs 5000-lrne-byq gerrf, gubhtu. 🙁

    • TheFormerAstronomer says:

      Movie stuff: Gur cneg va gur Zvarf bs Zbevn jnf bar bs zl snibhevgr cnegf bs gur svyz gubhtu. Ol guvf cbvag va gur pvarzn V jnf srryvat xvaq bs tehzcl (jurer'f Gbz Obzonqvy? Naq Tybesvaqry? Naq V yvxr Uhtb Jrnivat ohg nf Ryebaq? Jebat! rgp. rgp. rgp.). Naq gura jr tbg gb Zbevn naq vg'f nyy njrfbzr naq V jnf unccl ntnva 🙂

      V haqrefgnaq jul gurl phg/punatrq gurfr cnegf va gur svyz, bs pbhefr, ohg gur cnegf gurl phg jrer nzbat zl snibhevgrf naq V fgvyy unir n ovg bs n fnq bire gur ybff

    • Rheinman says:

      V qvfnterr. Tnanys fnvq gung gur qbbe jnf rnfl gb bcra sebz gur vafvqr. Er-ernqvat gur obbx, lbh pna frr gung gur jnl jnf fuhg oruvaq gurz, abg whfg orpnhfr gurer jnf n zbafgre va gur ynxr, ohg nyfb orpnhfr bs gur qnzzntr qbar gb oneenpnqr gur qbbe oruvaq gurz.

      V'q yvxr gb guvax gung va gur 4gu Ntr fbzr Qjneirf pnzr onpx naq chyyrq gur cyht ba gung qnz naq qenvarq gur ynxr. Tbbq evqqnapr gb onq ehoovfu.

      • Atrus says:

        Nf lbh fnl, gur jnl bhg jnf oneevpnqrq ol hcebbgvat gur gerrf naq chggvat ebpxf va sebag bs gur qbbe, ohg gur qbbef gurzfryirf jrer vagnpg. Va gur zbivr gurl'er qryvorengryl chyyrq bhg bs gurve uvatrf naq oebxra. It's a minor difference overall but for some reason it upsets me.

      • etharei says:

        YBY V qb yvxr ubj Gbyxvra yrsg gur sngr bs Zbevn xvaq bs bcra-raqrq, yvxr vg'f n greevoyr cynpr abj ohg bar qnl gur Qjneirf (be Qheva uvzfrys) znl erghea. Nyfb, V nyjnlf gubhtug gung gur Jngpure zvtug unir orra n zber oraribyrag perngher bapr, ohg gura gur eviref qevrq hc naq vg tbg fghpx va gung cbby naq znlor gur qnexarff gung pnzr nsgre gur Onyebt fubjrq hc qebir vg znq.

  24. rubyjoo says:

    Not all of the company are against the idea of the Moria route, Mark: "Only Gimli lifted up his head; a smouldering fire was in his eyes". He is excited at the thought of exploring this old dwarven kingdom, showing it off to the others and perhaps finding Balin & Co. In a way, as the last chapter was Boromir's, so this one is Gimli's. He strides ahead in conversation with Gandalf and, when Gandalf finally lights up his staff to reveal the vastness, achievement and beauty of the great dwarven halls, it is obviously a significant moment of discovery for him. Boromir, on the other hand, drags his feet, becomes grumpier and stirs up the Watcher in the lake with that reckless stone.

    I also remember being terrified by the story of their trek through Moria the first time I read it. The most frightening part of this chapter for me was when Pippin drops the stone down the well and we suddenly hear: "tap-tom, tom-tap, tap-tap, tom!" Fool of a Took, indeed!

    • Dreamflower says:

      V nyjnlf qvfyvxr gung va gur zbivrf gurl tnir gur fgbarf ng gur jngre gb Zreel naq Cvccva vafgrnq bs Obebzve– nf vs gur lbhatre uboovgf ner gur bayl barf jub jbhyq qb fbzrguvat sbbyvfu!

    • rubyjoo says:

      Yes, i dislike that too. Spreading the blame is a much more sensible choice. BTW, I think these remarks are vague enough to not need rot.13. I find this method of hiding spoilers very laborious (and thought you were all speaking dwarish when I first came to this site, LOL!) Have alternative methods ever been discussed such as blanking out the spoilers which can be restored with a click and a drag?

      • cait0716 says:

        There are plugins you can get for your browser to make the decoding easier. I have one for chrome, and while I still need to highlight, right click, choose decode, it beats opening a new tab. I actually haven't attempted to use the coding feature yet, which is a bit silly, but I'm slow to change.

        Maybe you can look in to a plugin for whatever your browser of choice is.

      • baruchan says:

        If you're using Mozilla Firefox, there's an add-on called Leet Key that lets you set a keyboard shortcut for ROT-13-ing stuff. It's really easy to use. You can set shortcuts for ROT-13'ing highlighted text and for typing into a textbox which ROT-13's whatever you type in real time.

        I don't know, though, if there's any equivalent add-on for other broswers. But ever since I started using Leet Key, this site is so much easier to navigate 😀

    • @RadagastWiz says:

      So that's two reckless stones in one chapter – Boromir at the lake and Pippin at the well. Bored adventurers are dangerous!

    • Milla says:

      I can totally relate to Gimli wanting to see Moria. I'm one of those who will spend hours and hours at archeological sites and historical museums, if I had the chance to see some ancient but almost unknown/forgotten wonder of the world, I would pretty much jump at the chance, even if there were dangers attached (naq gura V jbhyq erterg vg sberire nsgre frrvat gur Onyebt).

      Movie related: Ubjrire, V qba'g ernyyl yvxr ubj va gur zbivr Tvzyv vf chfuvat gb tb guebhtu Zbevn. Va gur obbx vg'f boivbhf ur'f njner bs gur qnatref, juvyr va gur zbivr ur pbzrf bss nf fbzrjung sbbyvfu naq bar-qvzragvbany. Naq jevgvat guvf V ernyvmr gung bs pbhefr vg'f abg rnfl gb pncgher gur pbzcyrkvgl bs Gbyxvra'f punenpgref va gur srj ubhef ninvynoyr sbe gur zbivrf, ohg fgvyy – V whfg srry uvf chfuvat vf fb HAARPRFFNEL!

    • Icarus says:

      I find it interesting that Gandalf holds Aragorn in such high regard that at first they follow Aragorn's plan.

  25. threerings13 says:

    This chapter! Naq lrg vg'f bayl gur ORTVAAVAT bs gur shpxrq hc fghss va Zbevn. Mark=unprepared.

    So much awesome and iconic stuff here, though. The Thing in the water! It's like a cameo appearance of a Lovecraft monster. It freaked me out SO MUCH when I was 11. Mostly the idea that SOMETHING is in the water and you need to stay away from it.

    And then Pippin and the well! And "Fool of a Took!" We can stop ROT13-ing that!

    Oh, but I forgot possibly my favorite Gandalf moment ever: Pippin asks what Gandalf is going to do to open the doors and Gandalf says, "Knock on the doors with your head, Peregrin Took,… but if that doesn't shatter them, and I am allowed a little peace from foolish questions, I will seek for the opening words."

    Anyone else think Gandalf and Pippin bicker like characters from a romantic comedy who are ultimately going to end up together? I'm not saying I ship them, but…in other circumstances, I'd be all over that.

    • Dreamflower says:

      I always think Gandalf treats Pippin like a grumpy old grandpa– fond but strict! And really, when you consider that he was friends with the Old Took (as we learned in The Hobbit) it kind of makes sense– he probably does consider the Old Took's descendants in a kind of familial way. (Remember how he thought of Bilbo as "Belladonna Took's son" rather than as a Baggins?)

      I love also how he relented on Pippin's "punishment" after the stone-in-the-well incident and then blamed his own grumpiness on his lack of pipe-weed.

    • @ljrTR says:

      "Naq lrg vg'f bayl gur ORTVAAVAT bs gur shpxrq hc fghss va Zbevn" – SO TRUE1

    • Nerdfoxy says:

      My first reaction is yuck – Gandalf is old and Pippin is a young kid. I more think of them as Dennis the menace and the neighbor guy.

      • threerings13 says:

        Well, if you consider in his thirties as a young kid. The age difference being one of the circumstances I mentioned.

  26. Dreamflower says:

    This chapter truly is one great nightmare fuel crawl, isn't it? I had not thought much about that in recent years– it takes a first time reader to point out so much that I'd known but forgotten.

    Mark's so caught up in the terror that he did not seem to notice Gimli's chant. I love that one: "The world was young, the mountains green/ no stain yet on the moon was seen…"

    V jnf fhecevfrq gung Znex qvq abg chg gjb-naq-gjb gbtrgure nobhg gur zlfgrevbhf sbbgfgrcf naq Tbyyhz– V qb erpnyy gung fcenat gb zl zvaq ng bapr ba zl svefg-gvzr ernq!

    I love the "Fool of a Took" moment, and love it even more because Gandalf relents and sort of apologizes (" 'Get into a corner and have some sleep, my lad,' he said in a kindly tone.") And I also love that he blames his crankiness on lack of pipe-weed. Poor Gandalf, he should have brought along some Nicorettes…

    Now that we are past the spoilery point, here's a link to a couple of my stories:

    Anytime I Want To (takes place while they are still marching through Hollin…)

    Overheard in the Dark (a little "fill-in" conversation after Pippin's "stone in the well" incident)

  27. cait0716 says:

    Maybe that's what the tantacle monster was coming to do. He knew they all needed hugs and that he'd be able to hug them all at once, so he was trying to provide his services. But when they ran away he got dejected and angry and threw a temper tantrum because, really, he needs a hug, too

  28. threerings13 says:

    Oh, oh, also, I have a question for the class. Nentbea fnlf ur'f jbeevrq nobhg jung zvtug unccra FCRPVSVPNYYL gb Tnaqnys vs gurl tb vagb Zbevn. Jul? Vf gurer fbzr xvaq bs cebcurpl? Qbrf ur unir n cerzbavgvba? Be qbrf ur unir na vqrn bs jung vf jnvgvat va Zbevn naq whfg xabjf gung Tnaqnys jbhyq or gur bar gb gnxr ba gur Onyebt?

    • MasterGhandalf says:

      Nentbea nccrnef gb unir n snveyl zvabe, ohg qrsvavgryl cerfrag, sbez bs sberfvtug- V jbhyqa'g pnyy vg cebcurpl fb zhpu nf ernyyl tbbq vaghgvba, gubhtu. Erzrzore va "Erghea bs gur Xvat", ur gryyf Rbzre gung gurl jvyy zrrg ntnva "gubhtu nyy gur ubfgf bs Zbeqbe fgnaq orgjrra", juvpu nyfb pbzrf gehr (nf Rbzre uvzfrys cbvagf bhg).

    • Juliana Moreli says:

      I think that the last one is the answer…he just knew it.

    • BetB says:

      Vg frrzf gung nyy gur "jvfr" crbcyr va guvf fgbel unir sberfvtug. Ryebaq, Tnynqevry, Tnaqnys, Fnehzna, Qrargube naq bguref yvxr gb fnl guvatf nobhg gur shgher. Rira gbjneq gur raq bs EbgX, Sebqb cerqvpgf nobhg 4 bs Fnz'f puvyqera naq gurve anzrf.

      V nyjnlf gbbx vg nf Gbyxvra'f jnl bs sberfunqbjvat riragf naq nyfb vaqvpngvat n punenpgre'f vafvtug naq jvfqbz.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Abg bayl gur "jvfr" unir fbzr sbez bs sberxabjyrqtr; va nqqvgvba gb gur barf lbh zragvba, Snenzve naq Unyonenq nyfb qvfcynl gung dhnyvgl. Qrargube'f sberxabjyrqtr zvtug or ynvq gb gur cnynagve, ohg abg gbgnyyl, V guvax. Naq Sebqb, Zreel naq Cvccva unir cerfpvrag qernzf va gur Ubhfr bs Gbz Obzonqvy, naq Cvccva qvfcynlf vg ntnva gjvpr orsber gur raq bs gur fgbel.

        V guvax gung WEEG jnagrq gb fubj gung vaghvgvba, be "xabjvat fbzrguvat va bar'f urneg" jnf npghnyyl n inyvq naq npprcgrq sbez bs xabjyrqtr va Z-r. Lbh arire urne nalbar qvfchgvat guvf "xabjyrqtr", nygubhtu gurl znl abg nyybj vg gb fjnl gurve npgvbaf.

        • Icarus says:

          "V guvax gung WEEG jnagrq gb fubj gung vaghvgvba, be "xabjvat fbzrguvat va bar'f urneg" jnf npghnyyl n inyvq naq npprcgrq sbez bs xabjyrqtr va Z-r. Lbh arire urne nalbar qvfchgvat guvf "xabjyrqtr", nygubhtu gurl znl abg nyybj vg gb fjnl gurve npgvbaf."

          Va Gbyxvra'f rffnl "Ba Snvel Fgbevrf" ur gnyxf nobhg ubj snvel gnyrf tb orlbaq gur beqvanel naq tvir hf tyvzcfr vagb gur rkgenbeqvanel. Guvf, cyhf Obebzve'f qernz, naq Sebqb'f cerzbavgvbaf nobhg gur Tenl Uniraf ner arire rkcynvarq.

          V guvax gung'f jung jr sbetrg va ohvyqvat snagnfl abiryf: va zvzvpxvat Gbyxvra'f ernyvfgvp jbeyq-ohvyqvat, jr artyrpg gur rkgenbeqvanel, znxvat zntvp naq fhpu cneg bs gur "ehyrf" bs gur ernyvfz bs bhe jbeyqf. Gbyxvra nyjnlf vapyhqrf fbzrguvat orlbaq gur beqvanel. Naq gura qbrfa'g rkcynva.

    • @flourish says:

      Jryy, nzbat bgure guvatf, Tnaqnys vf n Znvn. Vg qbrfa'g frrz yvxr GBB ovt n yrnc sebz "gur qjneirf jbxr fbzrguvat va gur qrrcf" gb "vg'f cebonoyl n Onyebt," naq Onyebtf ner Znvne jub jrer frqhprq ol Zryxbe/Zbetbgu. Fb boivbhfyl abobql ohg Tnaqnys jbhyq or noyr gb svtug vg – Tnaqnys vf, rffragvnyyl, na natry, naq gur Onyebt n qrzba.

      Bs pbhefr, guvf gubhtug bayl jbexf vs Nentbea (1) xarj Tnaqnys jnf n Znvn naq (2) unq urneq ehzbef nobhg jung vf va Zbevn. Ohg V guvax obgu ner yvxryl: Ryebaq pregnvayl xarj nobhg gur Znvn guvat (Píeqna tnir Tnaqnys Aneln, naq Ryebaq jbhyq unir unq gb unir xabja sebz gung!) naq V pna'g frr jul Nentbea jbhyqa'g unir nf jryy – naq gura bs pbhefr nf n Enatre Nentbea jnf orfg cbfvgvbarq gb svaq guvatf bhg bs nal bs gurz.

    • Icarus says:

      Gurer'f ab vaqvpngvba gung ur unf fcrpvsvp xabjyrqtr bs jung qnatref yvr va jnvg sbe Tnaqnys va Zbevn. Rira Tnaqnys'f fhecevfrq ol gur onyebt.

      Fb vg'f zbfg yvxryl n cerzbavgvba. Nentbea unf gur rkgen-ybat yvsrfcna bs gur zra bs Ahzrabe, yngre vf noyr gb jerfg gur Begunap frrvat fgbar sebz Fnheba'f pbageby … naq ur'f orra Tnaqnys'f sevraq sbe n ybat, ybat gvzr.

      Cneg bs vg jbhyq or pbzzba frafr, gbb. Qrnyvat jvgu gur evat jvyy or Tnaqnys'f terngrfg gnfx (nf cre gur cerivbhf puncgref), fb ur'f tbvat gb fgvpx uvf arpx bhg shegure guna ur unf va gur cnfg. Naq va gur zvarf bs Zbevn gurl jrer tbvat gb or ynetryl qrcraqrag ba uvz, naq eryl ba uvz gb trg gurz bhg bs gebhoyr. Fb ur'f gur bar gnxvat gur terngrfg evfx tbvat gurer.

  29. Juliana Moreli says:

    This chapter is really terrifying…but I remember that when I read this for the first time, I didn't knew who Balin was, so his death was not a big deal to me…but then, after reading The Hobbit, everytime I read about his tomb I get sad…naq nyfb sbe gur bgure qjnesf gung jrag jvgu uvz…so sad…

    Movie spoilers:

    V nyjnlf trg ernyyl fnq sbe Cvccva va gur zbivrf jura Tnaqnys fcrnxf natevyl gb uvz…ohg ur ernyyl qbrf fbzr sbbyvfu fghss…

    Va gur zbivr gur qbbe bs Zbevn jnf fb ornhgvshyyl znqr gung V fgnegrq gb jnag bar yvxr gung sbe zlfrys…ernyyl…jung nobhg gur unyyf bs Zbevn, gur tvtnagvp pbyyhzf, naq gur cbjreshyy fbhaqgenpx…

    V fhfcrpg gung Znex ernyyl ybfg uvf fuvg va gur arkg puncgre… n onyebt naq tnaqnys’f qrngu…V pevrq yvxr n onol ng gur zbivrf jura ur qvrq…

  30. plaidpants says:

    Gandalf seems to have a particular vendetta against Pippin, and it cracks me up. Particularly when he mentions how he's going to get through the door by using Pippin's head to break it down. (can't remember the exact quote, but it amuses me)

    • Dreamflower says:

      Gandalf has a long acquaintance with Tooks– remember in The Hobbit that was specifically mentioned. I have a feeling he knows just how foolish Tooks can get. Besides, I think his insults to Pippin have a certain grandfatherly fondness to them.

      It's always been my "headcanon" that Pippin must've reminded Gandalf of his good friend and Pippin's great-great-grandfather, the Old Took.

      • wahlee says:

        Not to mention Pippin is the youngest of the hobbits (hasn't reached 33 yet) so he's pretty much a teenager. Can you imagine bringing an 18 year old boy on a journey like this? NO THANK YOU.

        • Dreamflower says:

          OTOH, can you imagine Elrond finding a sack sturdy enough to keep him from following.

          • wahlee says:

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. 😛 It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of thing. 😉

            (Incidentally, I ADORE PIPPIN. This is not a slam on Pippin at all. But you just know he's the kind of troublemaker that Gandalf has to keep an eye on.)

  31. tanbarkie says:

    So, movie fans. Unyyf bs Zbevn – orfg frdhrapr jvgu gur ORFG zhfvp, NZ V EVTUG?

    (V'q cbfg n tvs be fbzrguvat ohg V errrrrrrrrrrrrnyyl jnag Znex gb frr gung ovg hafcbvyrq.)

    • plaidpants says:

      Vg'f njrfbzr, ohg V qb unir gb fnl gung zl snibevgr zhfvp vf gur Ebuna gurzr. V ybir gur fprar bs Rbjla fgnaqvat bhgfvqr gur Terng Unyy jvgu gur jvaq oybjvat, naq gur zhfvp cynlvat.

      • baruchan says:

        LRF gb gur Ebuna gurzr! GGG jnf npghnyyl gur svefg svyz V jngpurq, naq bu tbq V ybir gur cynvagvir gbar bs gung ybar svqqyr gung cynlrq nsgre fjryyvat zhfvp naq gura gur fgevat naq ubea frpgvba wbvarq va naq RCVP ZHFVP VF RCVP, L'NYY.

    • Rheinman says:

      Massive Spoiler Alert:

      V'yy tvir lbh gung vg'f gur orfg fprar va gur Svefg zbivr, ohg zl crefbany snibevgr vf gur punetr bs gur Ebuveevz va gur 3eq

    • arctic_hare says:

      V pna'g cvpx whfg bar orfg frdhrapr!!! Ohg Zbevn vf qrsvavgryl bar bs gur ovttrfg uvtuyvtugf bs gur svefg svyz sbe zr, ivfhnyyl naq nhenyyl, naq gung vf fnlvat fbzrguvat, oryvrir zr.

    • msw188 says:

      Uh oh. V unir gb nqzvg, gung fubg jnf abg jung V rkcrpgrq. V zrna, V qba'g guvax V rire raivfvbarq Zbevn gb or uhtr va gung jnl, jvgu raqyrff cvyynef nyy gur fnzr. Cyhf, vg frrzrq fgenatr gung gung unyy jnf fb uhtr, juvyr abguvat ryfr jnf pbzcnenoyr hc gb gung cbvag; va gur obbx V nyjnlf tbg gur srryvat gung gur jrfgrea fvqr jnf fvzcyl va terngre qvfercnve nf pbzcnerq gb gur rnfgrea fvqr, jurernf va gur zbivr vg frrzf gung gur rnfgrea fvqr jnf gur 'npghny pvgl'.

      Gur zhfvp'f njrfbzr gurer, ohg gur zhfvp'f njrfbzr va fb znal cynprf. Va grezf bs fprarel+zhfvp, V zvtug nterr jvgu fbzr bs gur bguref ba Rbjla ybbxvat bhg sebz gur Rqbenf cbepu. Va grezf bs cybg+zhfvp, V'q cebonoyl cvpx N+Y+T punfvat gur Bepf gbjneqf Ebuna, naq gur vagrejrnivat bs gur gjb gurzrf. N zvkgher bs gurfr gjb jbhyq tvir gur yvtugvat bs gur ornpbaf nybat gur Juvgr Zbhagnvaf. Va grezf bs punenpgref+zhfvp, rvgure gur syhgr-l guvat gung cynlf sbe gur uboovgf gelvat gb pyvzo Zbhag Qbbz, be gur zbzrag jura Tbyyhz erpynvzf gur Evat naq gur bepurfgen phgf bhg, naq gur fvatyr ibpny phgf va. Zl rlrf ner npghnyyl jryyvat whfg glcvat nobhg gung fubg.

  32. hpfish13 says:

    The idea of traveling for so long in the dark, underground, absolutely terrifies me!

    There are two pieces of art today!

    Everyone outside the gate
    <img src=""&gt;

    And then in the halls of Moria itself (this is the art on the cover of my book)
    <img src=""&gt;

    • Juliana Moreli says:

      That game "Minecraft" reminds me of Moria…everytime lol!!!

      There is a group of people who actually made middle-earth on Minecraft lol!

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      That second picture was one of Peter Jackson's major inspirations to want to make the movies, so he could recreate it. And his wife actually persuaded Alan Lee to give her his original painting, so she could give it to Peter for his birthday, and it now hangs proudly in his house.

    • notemily says:

      I love illustrations of the Halls of Moria. Especially when the Fellowship is in there and they look SO TINY compared to this vast cavern of stone pillars.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Love Alan Lee's art for this chapter! Particularly that last one – it really captures the scale and beauty of Moria, even if only just a glimpse of its former glory.

  33. notemily says:

    – OK first of all WHAT THE HELL happened to the wolves' bodies? Did they just… disappear, leaving Legolas's arrows intact? Because that is SUPER CREEPY.
    – Moria, meaning "Black Pit," is one of those Names To Run Away From Really Fast. (In fact, that page has a whole section on names starting with Mor.)
    – [Jura qvq Nentbea tb gb Zbevn orsber? Jung unccrarq gb uvz gurer?]
    – They come to a stream BUT THERE IS NO WATER. And then there's a waterfall WITH NO WATER IN IT. And then there's a dammed lake. I feel like this is another of Tolkien's commentaries on industry–they dammed the river and so kept it selfishly for themselves, and now the land nearby is barren and bereft of water.
    – "Neither sky nor sunset was reflected on its sullen surface." I'm now imagining the lake as a sulky teenager.
    – Dwarf/Elf rivalry! [V ybir ubj Greel Cengpurgg cynlf jvgu guvf va uvf obbxf, rfcrpvnyyl Guhq.]
    – Quite apart from the riddle, I enjoy that the password to open the doors is "friend," since the door was made at a time when Elves and Dwarves were friends. The door itself is a symbol of friendship between the races.
    – The trees on the door are supposed to have crescent moons on them, but I don't see them? Unless the curved branches are supposed to be moons? They look kind of crescent-y.
    – I don't know who made this:

    <img src=""&gt;

    – THAT GODDAMNED THING IN THE WATER. FUCKING CREEPY. I have to wonder–was the lake made to house the monster? Or did the monster only come after the lake had formed?
    – I give you The Broship's version of the scene in which Sam must abandon his beloved mode of transport:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Art as always by Gingerhaze. (There shouldn't be any spoilers if you just click on the image, but read the rest of her tumblr at your own risk.)
    – "Fool of a Took!" Dammit Pippin why you gotta drop things in bottomless holes and cause something to make mysterious knocking noises
    – Gandalf needs a smoke! Ha. Even wizards have vices, it seems.
    – Durin was one of the original Seven Dwarves (that always cracks me up) that were created, yes? I think we learned that in The Hobbit? I also like the call-back to The Hobbit with all the stuff about how much the Dwarves like to make really inconvenient doors.
    – The whole "delving too deep" thing also makes me think of Tolkien's views on industry and the environment. The message seems to be that industry is fine up to a point, but there is a point at which it does more harm than good.
    – OK so they're in an underground mine/city and they don't quite know the way out, there may or may not be someone/something following them, there may or may not be someone/something making mysterious knocking noises, and now Balin is dead. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Somebody posted a thing on tumblr juxtaposing an image of Balin from The Hobbit with an image of his tomb in LOTR and I was like *sniffle*

    • wahlee says:

      The part with Gandalf trying to open the gates always reminds me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Hassan can't remember how to get into Ali Baba's treasure cave. "Open Sarsaparilla? Open Saskatchewan? Open Septuagenarian?"


      • Katarina says:

        What is it they try in the original story when they can't remember? Various seeds, isn't it?

        • wahlee says:

          Sadly, despite having two degrees in English lit, I've never read the original story, and Wikipedia was less than helpful (GASP!).

          I love that cartoon, though. "Mine Mine Mine! I'm rich! I'm a happy miser!"

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Yep, seeds and stuff.

    • msw188 says:

      V'ir jbaqrerq nobhg Nentbea tbvat gb Zbevn gbb. Jung jnf ur qbvat gurer? Ybbxvat sbe n arj fjbeq? "V'yy arire trg gurz gb ersbetr guvf guvat…"

      When I first read the books, I was surprised that SMOKING was what Gandalf, the ever-wise, wanted. But thinking about it historically, people looked at tobacco a bit differently back then, I think. In fact, I've heard somewhere that many armies during WW1 considered it mandatory to supply the soldiers with cigarettes.

    • Alice says:

      I LOVE the broship cartoons :))) they are so funny.^_^

      I like John Howe's artwork for the Gate of Moria

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      THAT GODDAMNED THING IN THE WATER. FUCKING CREEPY. I have to wonder–was the lake made to house the monster? Or did the monster only come after the lake had formed?

      Frodo asks Gandalf and this is his reply: "I do not know" answered Gandalf; "but the arms were all guided by one purpose. Something has crept, or has been driven out of dark waters under the mountains. There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world." Love that line. So yeah, it doesn't exactly answer where the creature came from, or whether it was purposely placed there, but Gandalf apparently suspects it wasn't always in the pool right outside the door to Moria.

  34. @stephen_g says:

    Which chapter is gurl ner pbzvat in? This one or the next? Anyway, that's my favourite moment. So creepy!

  35. Rheinman says:

    This whole chapter is one breathless ride of a page-turner. I honestly can't believe Mark was able to stop and write a review without going on to see what happens next.

    I agree with Mark, the little glimmer of hope at the beginning of the chapter "Hey, maybe we will find Balin and we can hang out and get some rest before moving on" is just so throughly crushed by the rest of the chapter.

    Va gur Zbivr, vgf rira jbefr jvgu Tvzyv'f rntre qrfpevcgvbaf bs Qjneira ubfcvgnyvgl. Fb fnq.

    The watcher in the water definately has a Lovecraftian vibe. JK Rowling's squid is fairly benign and innocuous by comparison.

  36. TreasureCat says:

    Oh lord I go away for a few days and I miss ~things~ and now I have a HUGE ART DUMP FOR YOU ALL, I HOPE YOU ARE PREPARED!
    bodyisready.jpeg, etc etc
    Ok, here we go…

    Sam and Bill:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Legolas Greenleaf:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Gimli, son of Gloin:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Elrond, Lord of Rivendell:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Gandalf at the Door of Durin:

    <img src=""&gt;


    <img src=""&gt;


    <img src=""&gt;

    And finally, another of my favourite pictures from the book, titled 'Retreat from Caradhras':

    <img src=""&gt;

    To finish off and because I missed out on Rivendell and the Council of Elrond, an anecdote of the day! My uncle loved the name Arwen so much when he read this book that I now have a cousin named after her 😛

    • Darth_Ember says:

      Bearded Elrond WTF. That just looks so wrong. And not just wrong, it looks so far beyond wrong that it is setting out on a quest to throw the One Wrong into the fires of Mount Wrong.

      …Opinions? Me? Never!:p

      • Zoli says:

        No, that was my exact thought. Elves do not have beards!

        Also, wtf is Boromir's hat in that last one? And his mustache?

        Gandalf is okay but the rest of those just look weird.

      • rubyjoo says:

        Although I truly appreciate you putting up these pictures, TreasureCat, because it's so interesting to see how different artists have pictured LotR, I can't like them either because they look too Nordic to me – the characters of LotR come from different parts of Middle-earth and there should be a difference in their clothing. Also, by making them so Nordic, I feel that they are stealing from me a story that was written to be an English myth. As a mongrel race made up of Ancient Britons, Celts (an inappropriate word for the tribal groups the Romans found but it has become heavily used), Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Danes/Vikings, I think that clothing and armour should be a bit of a mish-mash vaguely but not too strongly representing one or other of these groups.

      • BetB says:

        Elrond looks too much like the European drawings of Jesus. I know he's wise and old, but he is not a deity.

    • tigerpetals says:

      From which version are these?

      I like Legolas, Gimli, Sam, and Gandalf. They're close to what I imagine they might look like, vs vg jrera'g sbe gur zbivrf. Legolas looks really, well, fairyish in the face, which is fitting.

  37. "Son of a motherless bumblebee?"

    brb giggling forever

  38. tigerpetals says:

    For some reason I find Gandalf's bristling brows to be funny. Like, are they incredibly bristly and move like caterpillars? Though I'm sure in real life he'd be scary.

    I'm glad of his self-doubt, even if he ends up being right all the time anyway. I mean, I like him and all, and he seems to have good reason to be so sure of himself, but still, it's good to puncture his confidence a bit.

    Rereading the Hobbit, it uses the word orc once or twice in a way synonymous with goblin, but I'm not really sure now how much of a difference there is. That's also where the mail Frodo is wearing was first said to be made of mithril.

    Hopefully Bill will be okay, with Gandalf's spell on him.

    Strangely, even though I sometimes got tired of the constant walking in the earlier chapters, I don't mind at all with this one. The atmosphere and the plot urgency works for that. Plus Frodo's senses, where you can't be sure if he's seeing and hearing real things or if it's a bad effect of the wound or what.

    [youtube gtnLogUgAMI youtube]

    • hpfish13 says:

      About those bristling brows, I believe in The Hobbit it is stated that his eyebrows stick out beyond the brim of his hat. Which, when you try to picture it, it pretty ridiculous, and awesome.

  39. Nomie says:

    How many other nerds put "speak friend and enter" on their doors?

  40. arctic_hare says:

    I take back what I said a few chapters ago, THIS is my favorite chapter! It's spooky and creepy and kind of sad and filled to the brim with atmosphere and the heavy feeling of history and EEEEEE. <3 Exactly my sort of thing. But more on that after ARTSES! This one will look very familiar to you all.

    <img src="; border="0"/>

    Yes, that is indeed the picture you see in the banner. It is a lovely depiction of Balin's tomb in Moria, done by the artist Tony Galuidi. I selected it because of prettiness, significance of the image to the story, twisting the knife like the person who chose to put THAT BENCH in the final Amber Spyglass banner, and of course the green color scheme, which will make sense to many of you. (Shhhh! Don't say why!)

    Anyway, this chapter fucking rules. People can say what they like about Tolkien's love of description, but I think it more often than not really really works, and this is a magnificent example of why. He really creates not only images in your head of Moria, but a feeling in your heart, of what it must be like inside. It's dark and eerie, and a bit mournful too; like I said, you can feel the heavy weight of history upon you as they advance through the halls and tunnels. This was once a great city filled to the brim with dwarves, back in the early days of the world, when all was young and friendship still thrived between dwarves and elves (I love that the password is so simple; it really is a stark difference between then and now). Before all fell to ruin. As many of you know, I'm a sucker for old ruins and places like this, and it's why I responded to a certain line of Sally Sparrow's in Blink. The history fascinates me, even when it's sad, whether it's real or not, and Moria is no different. Tolkien created so many amazing places in Middle Earth, and Moria is one of my favorites because of its dark and sad history as a place that once was beautiful and wonderful, but now has fallen into darkness and is a treacherous place of dread, that even hobbits have heard of and fear to go into its halls. I love Gimli's song, because it succeeds at capturing that feel, giving you a picture of what it was like in the early days, and ending on that mournful note. Definitely a favorite song of mine in the book.

    Fcrnxvat bs fbatf, gur bar ba gur Sryybjfuvc fbhaqgenpx gvgyrq N Wbhearl va gur Qnex vf bar bs zl snibevgrf ba gurer, naq bar bs gur ernfbaf V ybir Ubjneq Fuber'f jbex fb zhpu. Ur pncgherq rirelguvat V'z gnyxvat nobhg cresrpgyl va gur gurzr sbe gurve gevc guebhtu Zbevn. V nyjnlf trg rzbgvbany ng gur cbegvba lbh urne jura Tnaqnys fnlf "Yrg zr evfx n yvggyr zber yvtug" naq fubjf gurz zber bs gur ehvarq pvgl nebhaq gurz. Vg'f gur cresrpg pbairlnapr bs nyy gung napvrag znwrfgl naq gur fnqarff gung pbzrf bs frrvat vg va fhpu n fgngr, va zhfvp.

    Also, how fucking scary is that THING in the water? NO THANK YOU. PLEASE TO NOT BE THROWING STONES INTO DARK AND CREEPY POOLS OF WATER IN FUTURE, BOROMIR. And this after the terrifying as hell wolf attack, which – also no thank you. I see we are starting out this chapter with fun and games.

    PIPPIN NO WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING. NOOOO. The hammering is really unsettling. As is the footsteps Frodo hears and the eyes he thinks he sees in the dark while on watch. Geez, as if this place isn't creepy enough without that.

    I hope poor Bill is okay out there. 🙁

    Noooooooooooo!!! BALIN! :'( :'( :'( This makes me so sad, I can't even. Balin was so nice in The Hobbit, he was like the first one to start getting fond of Bilbo and befriending me. He was my favorite dwarf in that book. This hurts. 🙁 What a way to end the chapter.

    • Starsea28 says:

      The state of Moria… it breaks your heart. But in a good way?

      "I love old things, they make me feel sad… it's happy for deep people."

    • monkeybutter says:

      The moral of this chapter: don't throw rocks into unfathomable depths.

    • Caravelle says:

      Maybe it's from having read the Silmarillion (where everything goes bad on the long term and every bit of joy exists only to be snuffed out and rendered horribly ironic by what happens later) (IIRC) but maybe look at it this way ? Everyone dies at some point (well… dwarfs do at least), and before he died Balin had lots of cool adventures and was Lord of Moria ! That's pretty awesome. So things didn't work out that badly for him, really…

      MASSIVE SPOILER : qbrfa'g Ovyy znxr uvf jnl onpx gb Eviraqryy naq yvir unccvyl rire nsgre ?

      These reviews are really reminding me how much Tolkien is a master of atmosphere. Especially the creepy. And the bleak. Must… re-read… the books…

  41. Starsea28 says:

    I was totally blown away by the reveal that Frodo’s mail was made of mithril.

    Remember back in the "The Hobbit" when Bilbo was given that and you were like "Oh, a coat of mail? Um, that's nice, I guess." We LOL'd hard and long. XD


    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    You're still not prepared. NOT EVEN A BIT.

  42. AnnaEstel says:

    I saw a spoof skit of a bit of this chapter a few months ago. Picking up the actor that played Pippin and banging his head on the doors is how they got in, it was a riot!

    I’m sure this is answered elsewhere but I can’t find it. How is rot13 used? I’ve been an avid fan for 20 years and would love to see the spoiler comments but can’t figure out how!

    • hpfish13 says:

      You can encode it and decode it at There is also a plugin you can install, which someone else might have a link to.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Leet Key for Firefox, and d3coder for chrome. I don't use either of them, but other people on here seem to like 'em.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Yeah, I have Leet Key and it's extremely helpful! I just have to highlight the text to be decoded and press shift + Z and it decodes it right on the page. You have to set up the shortcut though first in the Leet Key settings, that's something I couldn't figure out for the longest time. Not sure if you're using Firefox, AnnaEstel, but if you are and need any help, let me know!

        • rabidsamfan says:

          Thank you for linking those. I got d3coder for chrome and it made reading along so much faster.

  43. Hotaru_hime says:

    Yeah. Shit gets real dark. Does it ever get light again? Is there hope in the world? Because these crazy bastiches are walking to Mordor.
    I always forget about the giant squid/octopus/whatever in the lake. I don't know that there are any freshwater squids or octopi, but maybe they can manage in brackish water. But then, really, considering the size of that creature, the lake must be similarly large which brings into question what water feeds into it and how a creature of that size maintains itself… presumably on goblins or orcs. *shrug* Why I think about a squid we will probably never see again I don't know. But see, my Cthulhu theory has some merit.
    Of course Frodo's mail is mithril! It was recently Bilbo's mail and as you recently finished The Hobbit I would have thought you'd remember he got on as a reward!
    Poor Balin. I guess this means Ori and Oin are gone too.

  44. Sinnive says:

    This is completely unrelated to the chapter, but: Since Mark started reading LotR, I see, hear and notive references to the book virtually everywhere. You too? Like, I recently got into the habit of listening to the radio while I prepare my supper, and mostly to an internet broadcast that plays only movie scores. I listen to this for half an hour a day at most, and on every single day of this week so far, there was a piece from LotR among those four or five I heard. Every day when I turn the radio on, it's something from LotR! Isn't that amazing? But I bet I wouldn't have noticed if I weren't reading the reviews and everything.
    Something similar happening to anyone else?

  45. Katie says:

    Fb, jura ner jr nyybjrq gb fgneg fraqvat uhtf gb Znex sbe gbavtug'f puncgre? Bayl nsgre gur erivrj tbrf hc? Frrzf gbb pehry…

    • wahlee says:

      Ur'f nyernql ernq vg– ur cbfgrq ba uvf Gjvggre nobhg vg. Vg jnf uvynevbhf naq ernyyl fnq ng gur fnzr gvzr. :C

  46. roguebelle says:

    Can someone with a better memory than mine/someone who's re-read more recently than I have help me out with this?

    V pna'g erzrzore — qb jr npghnyyl svaq bhg ng fbzr cbvag yngre ba gung Ovyy gur Cbal vf cresrpgyl svar, be qvq V urnq!pnaba gung orpnhfr V pbhyqa'g gnxr gur genhzn? 😉

    • Laurelluin says:

      Lrf, Ovyy qbrf znxr vg onpx gb Eviraqryy. Fnz rira trgf gb gnxr uvz onpx gb gur Fuver ng gur raq.

    • Icarus says:

      Ovyy gur Cbal znxrf vg onpx gb Eviraqryy, ohg jr qba'g yrnea bs vg hagvy gur svany puncgref bs gur guveq obbx, vvep.

      Gbyxvra gbbx gur gvzr gb fubj hf gur cbavrf va Oerr jrer bxnl gubhtu, fb nf n ernqre gur svefg gvzr guebhtu V sryg ernfbanoyl pbzsbegnoyr Ovyy jbhyq fheivir qhr gb Tnaqnys'f cebgrpgvir jbeqf.

      Fb vagrerfgvat gung rira n punapr pbzzrag bs tbbqjvyy sebz Tnaqnys perngrf na rapunagzrag. Ur gbyq Oneyvzna Ohggreohe znl uvf orre bs fhecnffvat rkpryyrapr sbe ubjrire ybat — naq gura jr svaq bhg gung vg npghnyyl unccraf.

  47. Caravelle says:

    You think this passage is nightmare fuel ??? Not that it isn't, but oh Mark you poor thing.

    If you think you're confused about Orcs, when I first read those I'm pretty sure I thought they were killer whales, aka orcas. Because I was reading it in French and that's what "Orque" means in French.
    Now I'm sure I realized pretty quickly there weren't actual cetaceans involved but you can imagine my confusion.

    • baruchan says:

      Now I'm imagining that orcs are an unholy version of this and I CAN'T UNSEE IT ARGH.

      • JustMalyn says:

        Oh my God nightmares forever. YIKES.

      • Geolojazz says:

        Dude, that is so cool!! We need a fantasy novel with EVIL CETACEANS!!! :D:D:D

        Party's all like, we'll get away from you in a boat, and EVIL CETACEANS are like, lol no, WE CAN SWIM!!

        …anyways, I should get back from work.

        • Caravelle says:

          I CANNOT URGE YOU STRONGLY ENOUGH to watch the Frozen Planet BBC documentary series with David Attenborough. I bought the DVDs for my parents for Christmas and got to see the first two episodes.

          Those orcas will fuck you up. And they laugh SO HARD at your pathetic little boat. Or the pathetic little ice floe you're chilling out on, as the case might be.

          (and so incredibly smart too. I want to be an orca when I grow up)
          (this was not the direction I was expecting this conversation to go in but I'm fine with it)
          (oh God, you just KNOW that in one of those battles for Middle Earth that happened in the ocean there were killer whales involved. On Sauron's side.)

  48. etharei says:

    Every time I reread LOTR I always get so excited when I hit this point. I mean, I like the walking through Hollin bit, and in fanfic that's usually where the team-bonding for the Company starts, but that always felt like the pause before SHIT GETS REAL, and this chapter is where you really start feeling just how dangerous this 'adventure' is and how much the odds are stacked against them. And they haven't even gotten very far yet!

    Also the illustration of the Moria doors and the inscription on them is amazing.

    I just really, really love all the Moria bits.

  49. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    Be warned that Haggard is pretty racist (as is Buchan) – they're very much products of colonialism. However, if you can deal with the racism in Lovecraft, you'll be able to cope with those. And, unpleasant as it is, it is of some historical interest – those were common attitudes of the time.

    There's a specific book, Tales Before Tolkien, which is probably worth a look.

    Interestingly, that includes a story by Lord Dunsany, who was an influence on Lovecraft.

    For a polemical overview of fantasy fiction (by the author Michael Moorcock, who really doesn't like Tolkien) there's this:

    And Amazon suggests a more straightforward history:

    There's also some Wikipedia stuff:

    Is that enough to trigger the spam filter?

  50. bugeye says:

    Moria. Tolkien really likes his dark deep places. In the Hobbit, goblins and Gollum were down inside mountains, then the dragon was in the Lonely Mountain, now we are once again back in a deep dark mountain caverns. I have been in a couple of caves with a regular flashlight and you could not see more that a foot in front of your shoe. You had to flick the light from the roof to the floor every step to not run into the walls or low ceiling. Creepy, scary fun.

    It is so sad that all the great works of the dwarves are now in ruin, that so much was done in the past that on one seems to be able create again. So much lost. Heart breaking.

    I am prostrate with exhaustion, fleeing wolves, fighting a water monster then they have to climb 200 stairs without any rest. Maybe Mark, the vegan cyclist could do 200 stairs, but not me.

  51. flootzavut says:

    FWIW, "Are you shitting me?" is an expression I have NEVER understood.

    Also, Moria = scary shit, man.

    V ybir gung ng guvf cbvag Znex unf lrg gb gjvt nobhg Tbyyhz. Naq nyfb, V xabj gurl punatrq fbzr bs gur zbgvingvbaf naq jub fhttrfgrq jung va gur zbivrf, ohg ubyl penc qvq gurl rire oevat vg jvgu gur ngzbfcurer bs gur cynpr – rfcrpvnyyl jura gur qehzf fgneg, naq Tnaqnys vf ernqvat gur vaperfvatyl seramvrq qvnel bs fbzrbar jub vf nobhg gb QVR. V zrna, tbbq tevrs. Pnaabg jnvg sbe gbzbeebj!

  52. Mauve_Avenger says:

    The morning the Company sets out for Moria, after the snowstorm and the cloudy, windy, Wargy night:

    "That day the weather changed again, almost as if it was at the command of some power that had no longer any use for snow, since they had retreated from the pass, a power that wished now to have a clear light in which things that moved in the wild could be seen from far away. The wind had been turning through north to north-west during the night, and now it failed. The clouds vanished southwards and the sky was opened, high and blue. As they stood upon the hillside, ready to depart, a pale sunlight gleamed over the mountaintops."

    I really love this. Even aside from being a subversion of the weather-as-mood trope, it's a reminder of the type of power they're up against ("his arm has grown long"), and it's a reminder that there really aren't any good choices or circumstances for them. Instead there's just bad and a hell of a lot worse.

  53. Leah-san says:

    Njjj, ur qvqa'g cvpx hc ba Tvzyvf naq Yrtbynf ovpxrevat. Ohg V qba'g oynzr uvz, guvf puncgre jnf frevbhfyl fpnel. Naq n obbx yvxr guvf erdhverf frireny ernqvatf. V ubcr Znex vf abg gbb fubpxrq gung Tnaqnys vf… lbh xabj.

    • bugeye says:

      Love the little tensions between the nine walkers. It is so real. There is so much history, rivalry, tension among all the Walkers. Just rings so true.

  54. nanceoir says:

    THAT IS TOTALLY ENOUGH FOR ME TO RETREAT WITH MY TAIL BETWEEN MY LEGS. Wait, that is also just an expression. I don’t literally have a tail. BUT WHAT IF I DID. Oh god, I would love to use it to freak people out by wagging it while I was furious just to fuck with their heads. “I think Mark’s angry,” they’d say, “but he’s wagging his tail and it looks kind of cute???”

    I don't know if this was an intentional reference or not, but my head immediately jumped to Jay Mohr's story about Christopher Walken (which can be found here through around 3:30-ish).

    [youtube TcrYQtb3OzM YouTube]


    This is one of those routines that my sister and I watched a lot and is the source of some of our pop culture shorthand references, which is something we do a lot, actually.

    Anyway, I could read that and not share this. 🙂

  55. JustMalyn says:

    MOAR TOLKIEN PONY HATRED. This isn't okay. At all.

  56. Anzel89 says:

    I haven’t been on this site in forever only to find that Mark is half way through Fellowship of the Rings!!!

    *dances around in circles*

    So, yea, yesterday was spend reading through all of the past reviews to this point. 😛 Personally I can say that I’ve read these books at least once a year since the age of 10 and can basically quote the movies word for word. Am I a huge Tolkien fangirl? Y/Y So I am ecstatic to find this! ^_^

    Ok so thought on Book 2 Chapter 4

    O this chapter. I love this chapter it’s just so tense!

    Every time I read the beginning all I can think is “now you’re just being mean Tolkien! There’s no need to kick them, repeatedly, when there already feeling awful.”

    Also Gandalf is a badass.

    A slightly idiotic badass as he just created a giant fire/smoke signal torch out of that tree. Essentially, saying “Hey hey, Enemy you know that group you’re looking for well bam! Here we are!!!” ^_^…. -_-;;; But a badass none the less.


    Guvf vf bar bs gur punatrf gung V ernyyl yvxrq va gur zbivr. Tnaqnys jnf fpnerq bs guvf cynpr. V qba’g xabj, tvira jung jr xabj naq yrnea nobhg Zbevn, lbh jbhyq guvax Tnaqnys bs nyy crbcyr jbhyq or n yvggyr nccerurafvir. Ohg abcr ur nyy; “Yrg’f tb gb Zbevn! Vg jvyy or sha!!” *snprcnyz*

    The description of the area outside of Moria fills me with, well, not good feelings. Seriously all it need is a sign that says “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here!” I’m feeling worse and worse about going to the place that ARAGORN is afraid of.

    Well, Legolas and Gimli are going to have and interesting relationship.

    Nabgure punatr V yvxr vf gung vg’f Zreel naq Cvccva gung guebj gur ebpxf va gur cbby abg Obebzve. JUB FUBHYQ XABJ SHPXVAT ORGGRE!!

    They left Bill…alone…with Wargs around. -_- I hate you right now Tolkien. I just hope whatever Gandalf did to him works and he gets back to Rivendell. Poor Sam. 🙁

    “Merry, of all people, was on the right track.” HEY! Don’t insult my Merry he’s awesome!

    So I have one gripe, if you want to call it that, with this whole thing. Being a geology major, I’ve been in many different caves and one thing I can tell you is that they look different going in and coming out. Gandalf came East to West, the route West to East is going to look different the turns will be different, even if it is the same way. However he is Gandalf so….I guess it works….?

    It seems Frodo has evil radar now, well that could be, useful I guess.

    I love Pippin I really do, but he needs to never do something that stupid again!

    Long poem is long. Interesting, but long.

    Hey uh…Gandalf mithril is interesting and all but can we go back to talking about Durin’s Bane…It sounds kinda important and slightly life threatening. You know just saying.

    BALIN!!!NO!!! *cries in a corner*

    I have no hope that this will end well. 🙁

    • flootzavut says:

      V'z fb jvgu lbh ba obgu gubfr punatrf. Naq Vna ZpXryyra nyjnlf fryyf vg fbbbbb jryy… ur trgf gung qrgrezvarq ohg fgvyy oybbql fpnerq guvat fcbg ba.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Va gbgny nterrzrag ba obgu punatrf.

    • msw188 says:

      Jryy, V'yy or gur ibvpr bs qvffrag urer. V xvaq bs yvxr vg orvat Tnaqnys jub hetrf gur Zvarf. Gur zbivr jbexf jryy gbb, ohg gurer vf zber gb gur punatr; va gur zbivr, gur Zvarf ner rkcrpgrq gb or svar orpnhfr gurl nyy guvax Onyva vf fgvyy nyvir naq jryy gurer. Bayl Tnaqnys (naq Fnehzna) unir gur sberfvtug gb orjner Qheva'f Onar, xabjvat jung vg vf. Va gur obbxf, gur fvghngvba vf gur bccbfvgr. Gur zvarf ner srnerq ol nyy, naq bayl Tnaqnys unf gur sberfvtug gb erpbtavmr gung nal bgure bcgvba, juvyr yrff guerngravat va gur fubeg-grez, jvyy hygvzngryl yrnq gb snvyher va gur ybat-grez. Shegurezber, jura gur Onyebt qbrf fubj hc, ur vf pyrneyl fhecevfrq.

      V nyfb cersre gb guvax bs Tnaqnys'f snyy va Zbevn nf orvat, gb fbzr qrterr, bs uvf bja znxvat. Ur xarj gur zbfg nobhg gur evfxf, ur gbbx gurz, naq ur sryy gb gurz, nyy qrfcvgr Nentbea'f jneavat. Va gur zbivrf, gur snyy vgfrys pneevrf zber rzbgvbany jrvtug gunaxf gb gur ivfhny naq zhfvpny rkcrevrapr, ohg srryf n ovg bss jura lbh ernyvmr vg jnf Sebqb'f qrpvfvba gb gel gur Zvarf. Gunaxshyyl gurl qb abg gel gb chfu fbzr xvaq bs thvygl pbafpvrapr ba Sebqb zbivat sbejneq.

  57. flootzavut says:

    Yes, it has regular elevators; I was just there as a visitor, I would either have used them or I guess got used to the paternoster if I had been at uni there, but I was just visiting so I did what I was told! I think with the building being comparatively tall, waiting for the regular lifts is generally not feasible a lot of the time. I imagine that some very tall buildings have comparatively fast lifts (like, doesn't the Empire State have lifts dedicated for the top floors?) but lifts that have to service 20 floors and thousands of students are just normal, but overused!

    But yeah: one of my least favourite lifts ever!

  58. Okay I have a question- how does someone who looks like this:

    <img src="; border="0">

    come up with the unending nightmare sequence that is this chapter? "The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end." Seven feet gaps in the floor they have to jump without knowing what's at the bottom? The knocking hammer in the guard-room? Luminous eyes? I honestly believe that my debilitating fear of the dark came in part from reading these books as young as I did.

    Anyhow onto something that I actually liked of the non-terrifying variety- I loved Gimli's song. Even though it's long, it lets you know that once upon a time, Moria was actually a beautiful place to be, which is so hard to imagine, given how Tolkien describes it here. But the song was a nice way of letting us know that this place, like all the others in Middle-Earth have a long history that's so much more layered and complicated than what we see here, and I love getting the sense of that.

    Naq vs Znex vf hcfrg ng gur raqvat bs guvf puncgre, V pna'g vzntvar jung uvf ernpgvba jvyy or gb gur arkg bar…

    • JustMalyn says:

      He looks so sweet and grandfatherly…

    • msw188 says:

      It's so weird seeing that image, because it's the picture on the back of my copies of the books, but my copies are so battered that you can't even really tell what the background is at all. I really should try to scan a copy of my Fellowship front and back cover; I think the pictures themselves have already been posted, but the sheer amount of scotch tape on these is pretty impressive. I wonder how many people still have these editions. I've become so familiar with them, even the typos warm my heart when I reach them.

      • It was the image on the first copies I had of the books, but they were old ten- eleven years ago. But I remember really loving them. Did they have the image of fields and things that had an almost stained glass look to them? And mine had quite a few strips of scotch tape on them as well… I think the book fell in half before I caved and bought another copy 🙂

      • JustMalyn says:

        I'm pretty sure those are the same old editions my father still has, and the ones I read the first few times around 🙂 They're his most prized possessions and I was never allowed to take them out of the house haha.

    • Icarus says:

      Trench warfare. He was in WWI, and in one of the worst stalemates of that war: The Battle of the Somme. Tolkien is a rare survivor.

      The first day of battle, the British lost 60,000 men. The first day. And it never got better. After four months there were over a million casualties, making it the largest loss of life in a single military operation in history (it was surpassed only by the siege of Leningrad in WWII).

      Worse: the battalions were grouped by regions at that time, so made up of friends and neighbors at that time. When you lost someone, it was someone you'd known all your life.

      No doubt Tolkien had more nightmare fuel than all of us put together.

  59. rabidsamfan says:

    I think the only time Sam really sulks anywhere in the story is when he has to leave Bill behind. He undoes the straps, but he doesn't really help rearrange the packs. On other occasions he complains, but he's already doing whatever needs doing. Poor Sam, choosing really does break his heart, doesn't it?

  60. Becky_J_ says:

    Ah, thank you!! That is SO much better…. I hated having to copy/paste into a new window. You are literally my favorite person right now!!

  61. AmandaNekesa says:

    "HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DEAL WITH THIS? HOW? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?" —- Haha, this is almost exactly the reaction I thought Mark would have to this chapter. Whfg lbh jnvg Znex, WHFG. LBH. JNVG.

    "OH, AND THAT’S STILL NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? GANDALF CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO OPEN THE DOOR???? JUST GREAT. JUST FANTASTIC. IT’S NOT LIKE I WANTED TO GET THROUGH CHAPTER FOUR WITHOUT HAVING A HEART ATTACK OR ANYTHING. NO, I TOTALLY PLANNED THIS INTO MY DAY." —- Znex unf fb zhpu gb yrnea nobhg Gbyxvra. Ur znl ybbx yvxr n xvaqyl byq tenaqcn-glcr svther va cvpgherf, ohg gung zna chg fbzr vaperqvoyl qnex & greevslvat vzntrf va gurfr obbxf. Naq ba gbc bs gung, juvyr lbh'er pbzcyrgryl greevsvrq nobhg jungrire hafcrpvsvrq perngher vf yhexvat nebhaq gur arkg pbeare, ur gura cebprrqf gb uvg lbh jvgu n frzv gehpx SHYY BS FNQARFF NAQ QRFCNVE. Vs Znex guvaxf guvf puncgre vf greevslvat, jurj, V pna'g vzntvar ubj ur'f tbvat gb gnxr gur arkg. :p

    "Yet Frodo began to hear, or to imagine that he heard, something else: like the faint fall of soft bare feet. It was never loud enough, or near enough, for him to feel certain that he heard it; but once it had started it never stopped, while the Company was moving.

    Sorry, this is like…legitimate nightmare fuel for me???? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS??" —- Znex vf tbvat gb syvc bhg jura ur svaqf bhg gung guvf vf Tbyyhz. V guvax gur er-ragel bs Tbyyhz vagb gur fgbel vf bar bs gur cnegf gung V'z zbfg ybbxvat sbejneq gb – V pna'g jnvg sbe Znex'f ernpgvba gb guvf!!!!

    V arire orsber ernyvmrq ubj zhpu sberfunqbjvat gurer vf bs Tnaqnys'f snyy naq/be gur Onyebt: "Gurer ner byqre naq sbhyre guvatf guna Bepf va gur qrrc cynprf bs gur jbeyq" —- Guvf yvar jvyy sberire znxr zr fuhqqre, vg'f fhpu na rrevr yvar. Gbb gehr, Tnaqnys…. :'(

    Also: Nentbea fnlf gb gur Pbzcnal, "Qb abg or nsenvq! V unir orra jvgu uvz ba znal n wbhearl, vs arire ba bar fb qnex; naq gurer ner gnyrf va Eviraqryy bs terngre qrrqf bs uvf guna nal gung V unir frra. Ur jvyy abg tb nfgenl – vs gurer vf nal cngu gb svaq. Ur unf yrq hf urer ntnvafg bhe srnef, ohg ur jvyy yrnq hf bhg ntnva, ng jungrire pbfg gb uvzfrys."

    To end, some lovely art by John Howe and Ted Nasmith:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  62. Laura says:


    And by love you, I mean fear you. Because though shit has been real before now, this is where shit gets DOWNRIGHT TERRIFYING. Just… all the things that a few days in a dark maze can do to your head. Creepy.

  63. Alice says:


  64. Cakemage says:

    Pippin is totally the best hobbit. I love him so much that I named one of my puppies after him. He, too, is a dumbass, and I frequently call him a "Tomfool of a Took!" Here's a picture of him from mid-summer, when he and his brother Jig (named after Jig the Goblin) were a bit tinier. Pip's ears now stand straight up, and he honestly looks a like a puny dingo.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    From left to right, Sokka, Pippin and Jig.

  65. Dreamflower says:

    If anyone is interested, I found someone else who blogged her first reading of LotR.

    It's from several years ago, just before the first movie came out. Her reviews are not nearly as insightful or amusing as Marks, but it's fun to see her reactions. Her commenters were not very good at avoiding spoilers, either. I have just read as far as this chapter. From here on out, I'll read hers after I read Mark's each day– I think it will be fun to compare them.

    She also did the webcomic "Waiting for Frodo" and is currently doing "Waiting for Bilbo"– tales of fans waiting in line to see the movies long before they come out, LOL!

  66. Icarus says:

    Tolkien took care to tell us what happened with the hobbits' ponies at Bree. I have confidence he will tell us what happened to Bill. And I've learned a valuable lesson here: on a dark and dangerous journey to Mordor, you don't take a beloved animal.

  67. Noybusiness says:

    "I think he’s the oldest member of the Company."

    Should be. Legolas' exact age isn't given, but one would expect him to be younger than Gandalf and older than Gimli and Aragorn. The Appendices say that Gimli is 139 and Aragorn is 87.

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