Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Book Two, Chapter 5

In the fifth chapter of the second book of The Fellowship of the Ring, everyone is unprepared forever and ever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


J.R.R. Tolkien, you are a genius. I am so sorry I ever doubted you. I am sorry that I never gave this book a chance, that I avoided you for decades, and that I expected The Lord of the Rings to be a stuffy, boring fantasy.

I was so wrong. And in the worst way possible.

It’s easy to see just how influential this book and Tolkien has been to almost everything I’ve read before. Obviously, his contribution to fantasy is bar-none, but you can see the effect he’s had on science fiction and drama. (Of course, my mind immediately goes to George R.R. Martin for one particular detail, but we’ll get there in time.) This sets a benchmark for thrillers, for adventure epics, for so many things, and I thought it was going to be boring.

What a pretentious wanker I am.

The end of chapter four is just as depressing as I thought it was, as the surprise of finding Balin IN A GODDAMN TOMB is the worst possible thing the Company could discover. EXCEPT NO IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Truthfully, this is some somber shit to open this chapter with. Tolkien does a fine job of conveying the silent sadness that permeates the chamber they are in as the Company quietly begins to look for any sort of sign that might explain how Balin died. I actually really enjoyed that Tolkien didn’t try to replicate the book in the pages, and instead gave us the contents through Gandalf’s point of view. He’s got this fatherly way about him, and the method in which he reads out loud to the group is very matter-of-fact; the lack of any strong emotional tone makes the facts he picks out so much more real to me. I can sense the pain of Gimli, for instance, because the words plainly detail how the Mines of Moria were taken over by the orcs.

I think I’m going to have to wait to see the orcs in the film because I think that Tolkien might be relying on the reader knowing what they are. (Did I genuinely miss a description of them? You can answer that!) They were an established thing by that point, perhaps? Even when we get to them later in the chapter, Tolkien makes reference to their size and what they’re wearing, but he never outright explains THIS IS WHAT THEIR FACE LOOKS LIKE or THEIR ARMS LOOK LIKE THIS or anything.

Anyway, the record left behind (probably by Ori, it seems) was distressing enough on it’s own, especially describing the death of Balin. There’s references to the “Watcher in the Water,” which I imagine is that tentacled thing from the lake, but there was one particular thing that just fucking destroyed me:

‘The last thing is written is in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters: they are coming. There is nothing more.’

It is absolutely brilliant that it takes this for Gimli and Gandalf to realize that they are in a chamber that has greatly reduced their ability to escape. Like the dwarves of Moria, they cannot get out. At this moment, the drums of the orcs sound, and I was utterly blown away at how this chapter turned into one of the more thrilling passages I’ve had the pleasure of reading. The use of sound to not only announce the coming of the orcs, but to provide a narrative threat and sense of suspense, is a clever and frightening technique of Tolkiens. The fact that they are drums in an enclosed space is even better; the way they might reverberate off the walls is terrifying to me. But is Tolkien content with this? HELL NO.

‘There are Orcs, very many of them,’ he said. ‘And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor. For the moment they are hanging back, but there is something else there. A great cave-troll, I think, or more than one. There is no hope of escape that way.’

CAVE-TROLLS? CAVE-TROLLS EXIST????? Oh my god, this is a disaster. Wait, nope, not it’s not. Because the troll is the one to arrive first, sticking it’s huge, green, scaly arm and shoulder through the chamber door. Boromir’s sword does all of nothing to the arm, but Frodo, suddenly feeling “a hot wrath blaze up in his heart,” attacks the troll’s foot with Sting, actually drawing blood. But then battering rams burst the door down, and orcs come streaming into the room, and I just want to curl up in my blankie and never come out. But surprisingly, the Company gruesomely handles thirteen orcs, sending the rest running. I was shocked just how violent and gory this was. I don’t know why I expected this not to happen? It sort of makes no sense.

Then I find out there’s such thing as an orc-chieftain, and after he disarms both Boromir and Aragorn, he makes straight for Frodo, thrusting his spear into him and throwing him into the wall. Truthfully, though, I wasn’t surprised that the blow didn’t kill him; I remembered he was wearing the mithril mail under his clothes and knew it would protect him. Still, that doesn’t mean that this scene didn’t electrify me with excitement. It helps that Tolkien moves from one event to another with a contagious speed; there’s almost no time for reflection for the Company, which says a lot when you think about how many scenes in the past involve them stopping to talk about their current situation. That was a luxury, though, because they weren’t trapped in the Mines of Moria.

The group then heads down a narrow staircase in near-total darkness as Gandalf stays behind to assure that the door leading down does not open. It’s unexplained at first, but Frodo keeps looking back to see what’s going on, and after a flash of white light, Gandalf is thrown down the stairs a considerable distance, and then promptly gets up and is like, “YEAH, LET’S GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW.” He says he “met [his] match” up there, but….they’re orcs? How can orcs counter a wizard, and Gandalf at that?

‘What it was I cannot guess, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking out all the light inside, as I was thrown backwards down the stairs.’

Yeah, okay, what the fuck is that? Is it the darkness they saw floating by at night? Is it the thing that Frodo her pattering about the mines in the last chapter? HOW DOES IT KNOW SPELLS?

Again, as if every detail before this is not enough to satisfy Tolkien’s desire to make us all suffer, when the Company finally makes it to the lower level, it’s on fire. Like, some sort of EVIL FLAMES are ahead of them, just on the way to the exit. GREAT. HOW CONVENIENT. But as long as the cross the Bridge to the staircase on the other side, it’s a straight shot out of the mines. Did I have hope? Of course not! I am learning! IT WASN’T ENOUGH, THOUGH. Because the group reaches the chasm and the Bridge, and Gandalf waves them along to rush across it. However, two giant trolls appear, an entire wave of orcs, and then:

Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.


Legolas and Gandalf finally name it as it comes into view: a Balrog. It’s some demon-like creature made of fire and it carries a blade and a fiery whip.


It is here that the true glory and power of Gandalf the Grey just overwhelms me. It’s not that I ignored how powerful he was, but the wizard faces the most horrific demon beast I could imagine, and he stands on the other side of the Bridge, and he simply tells the Balrog that it cannot pass. Sure, Gandalf does command some sort of authority, but seriously. HOW AMAZING IS THIS? He just told a demon NO. He destroys the Balrog’s sword and tells him NO. YOU CANNOT PASS. Oh my god, Gandalf, you are so terrific.

The Balrog, furious at Gandalf’s resistance, jumps on to the Bridge itself, falling right into Gandalf’s trap: Gandalf smotes the bridge with his staff. FUCK YES.

With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and it’s shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.

I had to read this three times. It hadn’t happened. I read this wrong. He wasn’t really gone, right? But…but wait.

Along this they fled. Frodo heard Sam at his side weeping, and then he found that he himself was weeping as he ran.


They looked back. Dark yawned the archway of the Gates under the mountain-shadow. Faint and far beneath the earth rolled the slow drum-beats: doom. A think black smoke trailed out. Nothing else was to be seen; the dale all around was empty. Doom. Grief at last wholly overcame them, and they wept long: some standing and silent, some cast upon the ground. Doom, doom. The drum-beats faded.

Just fuck everything.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

508 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Book Two, Chapter 5

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    * A brief summary of this chapter, as told by Becky*

    What's worse than being in Moria? Being in Balin's tomb in Moria. What's worse than being in Balin's tomb in Moria? Finding a book that contains the most horrifying words EVER PUT TOGETHER: "We cannot get out. They are coming." What's worse than being in Balin's tomb in Moria and reading those words? HEARING DRUMS COMING AT YOU RIGHT AFTERWARDS. What's worse than hearing drums coming at you?? Finding out they belong to a whole host of Orcs that are going to kill you. What's worse than Orcs? A FREAKING CAVE TROLL. Yeah. What's worse than a cave troll? Frodo getting skewered to the wall like your favorite kebab meat. What's worse than Frodo getting skewered? Having to leave Gandalf behind to run in PURE DARKNESS down a set of stairs. What's worse than that? Getting to the end of said stairs and finding a GIANT CRACK OF DOOM in the center. What's worse than a giant crack of doom? YOU WOULD THINK THE ANSWER WOULD BE NOTHING BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG. The answer is a huge, bottomless depth, with your only escape on the other side, and the only way to get there is a tiny, rail-less bridge. What is worse than this? A BALROG. A FUCKING BALROG. which…. I don't know exactly what they look like, but there is fire and wings and a sword and a whip and LOOK I DON'T CARE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S FUCKING TERRIFYING. And finally, what's worse than all of this???

    GANDALF FUCKING FALLING INTO THE BLACK PIT OF DOOM WITH THE BALROG. what the fuck you guys . Also, when they get out, there are still more Orcs waiting for them!!! They don't prove a problem, but WHAT THE FUCK TOLKIEN. DID YOU HAVE TO. What, the Balrog and the Orcs and killing Gandalf and the giant pit of HELL wasn't enough??

    Now for some small moments of joy:
    1. The mithril stops Frodo from dying! yay!
    2. Sam being a BAMF. I mean, more than usual.
    3. Sunlight!
    4. THAT'S IT. THOSE ARE THE ONLY THREE GOOD THINGS IN THIS CHAPTER. And I had to stretch for the last one.

    Also…. you guys, Balrogs exist in real life, as proven by this picture of one being valiantly fought off by firefighters…. I wish them good luck
    <img src=""&gt;

  2. Sindragosa says:

    Is it a spoiler to say that orcs are nabgure anzr fbe tboyvaf?

    • I'd been wondering that, and I'm not sure if it is or not. Can't remember whether that's revealed in the books explicitly, but it's not exactly a major plot point, so I can't imagine it would be…

    • Mercury says:

      It's not strictly true though. Bepf ner pbeehcgrq ryirf, juvyr tboyvaf ner gurve bja enpr, eryngrq gb bepf va fbzr jnl, ohg gurl arire hfrq gb or nalguvat ryfr.

      • @flourish says:

        Wait, how is that possible? V gubhtug uboovgf jrer gur bayl perngherf gung jrera'g zragvbarq va gur byq gnyrf (juvpu vf jul Fnheba bireybbxrq gurz sbe fb ybat – ur yvgrenyyl qvqa'g xabj gurl rkvfgrq). Tboyvaf nera'g rire zragvbarq va gur Fvyznevyyvba rgp., ner gurl? Gurer ner bayl gur guerr enprf – ryirf, qjneirf, naq zra – naq gura bepf pbzr sebz ryirf ivn Zbetbgu'f ohyyfuvg, naq rirelguvat ryfr vf rvgure na navzny be n Znvn (rk: Onyebtf), evtug? Fb jurer qb tboyvaf pbzr vagb guvf?

        V nyjnlf gubhtug gung gurl jrer fbeg bs n fho-fcrpvrf bs bep, nyfb znqr sebz gbezragrq ryirf.

        • Geoffrey says:

          Ahem. To quote from the preface to The Hobbit: "Bep vf abg na Ratyvfu jbeq. Vg bpphef va bar be gjb cynprf ohg vf hfhnyyl genafyngrq tboyva (be ubotboyva sbe gur ynetre xvaqf)." I think this means that it's not a spoiler since it was in The Hobbit's preface, but I'll leave it to someone more experienced to decide for certain.

      • fourthage says:

        Ab, gung’f jebat. Gbyxvra vf rkcyvpvg nobhg gur snpg gung rivy pnaabg perngr nalguvat, vg pna bayl pbeehcg (naq yvsr vgfrys pna bayl or tenagrq ol Vyúingne (frr Nhyë naq gur perngvba bs gur qjneirf). Tboyvaf naq bepf ner gur fnzr guvat: pbeehcgrq ryirf.

        [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  3. iremo says:

    Nah, the orcs are never physically described in the books, and each adaptation of the books or use of the orc concept in other fantasy has done its own thing with them, but Tolkein did describe them in one of his letters, and, uh. . .
    "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes… …degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types".
    . . . yeah. Let's just go with "the orcs are never physically described," then.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • Shannon says:

        I guess the orc is the kind of thing it doesn't really matter what it looks like? One writing technique for describing extremes is, well, not to describe it. All that matters is that orcs are evil, humanoid monsters who dislike sunlight, are easily identifiable, and will kill you. Since they are supposed to be repulsive and frightening, not describing their specific details means that the reader, being told that they are repulsive and frightening, will subconsciously fill in characteristics that, to them, meet that criteria.

        I've seen it done the opposite way, though for the life of me I can't remember what story, in which someone was described as something along the lines of 'impossibly beautiful,' but never described, and when we went around the class after having read it, each person automatically imagined what he or she personally interpreted as beauty.

        Anyway, the only other descriptions I can give you are his various ideas on the origins of orcs, but that would probably qualify as Silm spoilers? Anyway, suffice it to say that he sometimes differentiates between goblins and orcs, but they're more or less the same thing or similar, and Uruks are bigger, stronger, faster, and are ok with sunlight. They're like an upgrade.

        • msw188 says:

          Tolkien does this in places. For example, we were told that Arwen is beautiful, but we haven't been given a very detailed description.

      • @LarrikJ says:

        From The Hobbit's Author's Note:

        "'Orc' is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated 'goblin' (or 'hobglobin' for the larger kinds). 'Orc' is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures, and it is not connected at all with our 'orc', 'ork', applied to sea-animals of dolphin-kind"

        I've read a lot of the additional Tolkien books (Lost Tales, Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, etc.) and I never saw an explanation on why he uses one vs. the other. I had to assume that if I grew up as an English kid at the turn of the century, it would be obvious they are the same.

        In this same note, he also explains how in English the plural of "dwarf" is "dwarfs", but in the story he uses "dwarves" when referring to the race of people (as opposed to the medical condition).

        • @LarrikJ says:

          Can I assume that since you read The Hobbit, this isn't a spoiler? I mean, it's super tame anyway, and can be very distracting while reading the book.

      • @flourish says:

        Yeah, Tolkien was not so good with the race politics. To put it mildly.

    • Goddammit, Tolkien, really?

      • eregyrn says:

        Yeaaahhhh. I love Tolkien, and always have. But loving him and the books doesn't mean denying that, as a product of their time, they contain some pretty dodgy racial stuff.

        It's really lucky that he DIDN'T describe some things explicitly, since it does allow later generations of readers to make their own interpretation.

        • Weston says:

          This. Things that aren't described leave the reader plenty of room to throw in all the terrifying details they want.

          Kinda like Bella in the Twilight books.

    • Mart says:

      Yeah, Tolkien always gets a lot of flak for the Mongol comparison. But do note that he very carefully points out that standards of beauty are culturally-centric, and that this is not an absolute judgment.

      • flootzavut says:

        THIS. Given the time he lived in, Tolkien thinking to nuance it in that way is interesting and quite progressive. My grandparents would have been of an age or maybe a bit younger than Tolkien, and much as I loved them I'm pretty certain they were not nearly so forward looking in this regard.

      • Tauriel_ says:


    • bugeye says:

      Yes, not too much description but enough. I always got the feeling that they are colony based, lots of drones/worker orcs, some sort of breeding center and a few chieftains. I don't know why I think of them more like ants /wasps rather than mice/rats. Rodents make more sense: clever, some independent thought. Wow, rethinking my own orc cannon.

    • vermillioncity says:

      Holy shit, I just looked up 'Mongol' in the dictionary and realised where the slang insult 'mong' (don't know if it's used in America, but I've heard it a fair bit in the UK) comes from. Never ever using that again.

      • JustMalyn says:

        It's sad how built-in terms like that are in our cultures. I've never heard "mong" (I'm from the midwestern US) but a few years back I had a similar realization with the word "gypped" (ripped off): It's derived from "Gypsy" and the derogatory belief that they're thieves. Before that, I used it like no big deal. Sad.

  4. Dreamflower says:

    Oh yes, this is the part where the reader KNOWS that everything has "gotten real"!

    I can so recall my own stunned disbelief when I read this the first time, decades ago. And even now after countless readings, my heart still catches in my throat when I get to this part, and my heart beats faster.

    You've seen Tolkien write horror. Now you see him writing pulse-pounding ACTION!!!

    • manybelldown says:

      I was eight when I read these the first time. This is the one scene I remember better than any other. The first time I locked myself in my room and cried. Then I had to read it about 6 more times just to make sure I comprehended every. last. moment. of pathos.

  5. Ryan Lohner says:

    The first time I read this, I felt like the kid from The Princess Bride. "That's not what happened. You're telling the story wrong!"

    Fb abj gur dhrfgvba orpbzrf, ubj jvyy Znex qrny jvgu Tnaqnys'f erghea? V gubhtug vg jnf n gbgny purng ba zl svefg ernq-guebhtu (znlor vs Gbyxvra unq vapyhqrq fbzrguvat nobhg gur cbffvovyvgl bs jvmneqf pbzvat onpx orsber guvf fprar, vg jbhyqa'g unir orra fb onq) ohg rabhtu tbbq fghss pbzrf sebz vg gung V jnf noyr gb tb nybat jvgu vg.

    Bu, naq Vna ZpXryyna vf fb tbqqnza onqnff va guvf fprar. Lbh jvyy oryvrir n thl va uvf 60f pna fubhg qbja n tvnag sver zbafgre.

    • plaidpants says:

      Gur fprar va gur zbivr tvirf zr puvyyf – V ybir gung gurl xrcg onfvpnyyl nyy gur qvnybthr, naq gur "LBH FUNYY ABG CNFF!" vf whfg tnu – NJRFBZR (V pyrneyl pnaabg or irel negvphyngr nobhg guvf).

      • flootzavut says:

        GUVF FB ZHPU!

      • Becky_J_ says:

        LRF. GUVF FPRAR VA GUR ZBIVR VF FBBBB TBBQ. Jura gurl ner ernqvat gur obbx naq evtug nsgre "Gurl ner pbzvat" gur qehzf fbhaq…. FUVIREF SBERIRE.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Lrf! Ybir guvf fprar va gur zbivr. Nyy gur jnl sebz Cvccva'f jvaprf ng gur rpubrf sebz gur jryy, gb gur fgneg bs gur qehz orngf, naq gura jura jr trg gb gur oevqtr naq rirelguvat tbrf gb uryy…Vna qvq fhpu n terng wbo fubjvat bss vf ONZS-varff. Gur jnl ur fnlf, "Lbh funyy abg cnff!" naq gura, "Syl lbh sbbyf!" vf whfg…tnuuuuuu… V srry yvxr fnlvat Sebqb'f yvar: ABBBBBBBBBBBBBBB!!!1!!

    • Your reaction: yes a thousand times.

      Your rot13: V qba'g xabj. V'z ubcvat ur jba'g ertneq vg nf n purng, rfcrpvnyyl fvapr, nf lbh fnvq, n ohapu bs tbbq guvatf pbzr bhg bs vg, naq fvapr vg npghnyyl qbrf znxr frafr sbe Tnaqnys'f gehr angher. Ohg fvapr ur'q unir gb ernq gur Fvyznevyyvba gb trg gur ynggre, V'z abg fher. Vg qvqa'g srry yvxr n purng gb zr, V jnf whfg fb unccl vg jnfa'g Fnehzna naq fvapr Tnaqnys jnf bar bs zl snibevgrf V jnf whfg fb unccl gb frr uvz pbzr onpx. Ohg Znex znl abg srry gur fnzr…

      • Jenny_M says:

        V zrna, vg'f abg yvxr ur pbzrf onpx jvgu ab rkcynangvba. Ur onggyrq gur Onyebt hagvy vg jnf qrnq naq gura ur qvq uvf jvmneql ervapneangvba guvat juvpu, jura lbh frr gur cbjre ur'f jvryqrq guebhtubhg gur obbxf naq nyfb gur uvagf ng uvf tenaqre angher, znxrf frafr.

        Vg'f jul V nyjnlf trg hcfrg jvgu crbcyr nfxvat jul gur rntyrf pbhyqa'g syl gurz gb Zbeqbe va gur svefg cynpr. Hz, orpnhfr gur rntyrf unir ntrapl naq qvqa'g JNAG gb tb gb Zbeqbe orpnhfr sevttva' FNHEBA jnf gurer. Sebqb qrfgeblrq gur evat naq qrsrngrq Fnheba, retb gur rntyrf pnzr gb tvir uvz naq Fnz n evqr ubzr. TRRM.

        • Crbcyr avgcvpx nobhg GUR RNTYRF abg orvat n gnkv freivpr? Sbe frevbhf? Qvq gubfr crbcyr fbzrubj zvff gur qrfpevcgvbaf bs Zbeqbe? (ybgf bs oneera naq anfgl ynaq, na nyy-frrvat rlr gung'f engure znyvpvbhf, cbvfbabhf shzrf, oynpx Evqref cngebyyvat gur fxvrf) Abobql va gurve evtug zvaqf jbhyq jnag gb tb gurer sbe jung fbzr bs gur jvfrfg crbcyr va nyy Zvqqyr Rnegu ner qrrzvat n sbby'f reenaq. Bs pbhefr gur rntyrf jba'g jnag nalguvat gb qb jvgu gung! Naq Gbyxvra znxrf n cbvag bs fnlvat gurl nera'g xvaqyl oveqf gb ortva jvgu.

          • Jenny_M says:

            Bu zl tbfu gurer vf UHTR bhgpel nobhg gur rntyrf, pnyyvat gurz n Qrhk Rk Znpuvan naq rirelguvat ryfr, naq gung Sebqb naq Fnz fubhyq unir qvrq naq oynu oynu oynu.

          • shortstuff says:

            Bu wrrm, lrf! Rirelbar jub qrpvqrf gb cnebql gur obbxf/zbivrf, rfcrpvnyyl ba lbhghor, nyjnlf znxrf n cbvag bs fnlvat gung jubyr obbx pbhyqa'g orra nibvqrq vs gurl Rntyrf jrer whfg hfrq. Yvxr, ernyyl?? Gurl ner gur ovttrfg naq zbfg onqnff oveqf va Zvqqyr Rnegu, lbh pna'g beqre gurz nebhaq! Vs lbh unir n srj ubhef gb xvyy, ernq gur frpgvba bs GI Gebcrf gung qrnyf jvgu dhrfgvbaf naq qvfphffvbaf nobhg gur zngrevnyf, gurer vf n UHTR nethzrag ba gurer.

          • Ryan Lohner says:

            Naq gur jbefg cneg vf gung rirelbar jub oevatf gur Rntyr guvat hc frrzf pbaivaprq gurl'er gur svefg crefba gb unir rire gubhtug bs vg va 50+ lrnef.

          • eregyrn says:

            Gb or snve, gur rntyrf dhrfgvba bppheerq gb zr jura V svefg ernq gur obbx va gur 70f, fb vg'f abg zreryl n cebqhpg bs gur zbivrf. Gubhtu, erzrzore — va gur zbivrf, gur rntyr guvat vf xvaq bs bhg bs abjurer, vs lbhe ivrjvat nhqvrapr qvqa'g ernq Gur Uboovg.

            Vs Gbyxvra fnlf fbzrjurer gung gur rntyrf nera'g xvaqyl, be gung trggvat gurz gb pner naq gb uryc vf vaperqvoyl qvssvphyg… jryy, gb or ubarfg, V'z abg fher jurer gung vf, naq vg'f abg fbzrguvat gung rire fgehpx zr cebzvaragyl. Gur rntyrf ner urycshy (gb Tnaqnys, zvaq lbh, naq uvf pbzcnavbaf ol rkgerafvba) va Gur Uboovg. Fb V qba'g guvax vg'f hasnve sbe crbcyr gb jbaqre nobhg gur rntyrf nf n tebhc.

            Gb fnl gung "gurl unir ntrapl naq gurl qba'g jnag gb syl gb Zbeqbe" vf bar guvat. Ohg… V thrff V pbhyq unir hfrq n ovg zber rkcyvpvg rkcybengvba bs gur rntyrf nf "crbcyr", gb haqrefgnaq jul gurl jba'g uryc. "Orpnhfr vg'f qnatrebhf", jryy, svar. Ohg yrnivat gur Evat haqrfgeblrq vf qnatrebhf gb rirel tbbq orvat va Zvqqyr Rnegu. Vs gur rntyrf qvqa'g guvax gung gur jbefg pnfr fpranevb pbhyq uheg gurz (Fnheba trggvat gur Evat onpx), gung jbhyq or bar guvat. V jbhyq unir gubhtug gung jbhyq or vapbeerpg, fvapr V'q guvax gung Fnheba trggvat gur Evat onpx jbhyq vapernfr gur vapvqrapr bs guvatf yvxr sryy ornfgf naq bgure guvatf ovt rabhtu gb vagresrer jvgu gur rntyrf' yvsrfglyr.

            Ohg fgvyy – zl cbvag, V fhccbfr, vf gung vs Gbyxvra'f vqrn jnf gung gur rntyrf jbhyqa'g uryc orpnhfr gurl ner fubeg-fvtugrq naq nyy AVZOL, V'z abg fher vs gung pbzrf guebhtu pyrneyl va gur obbxf, naq vg qrsvavgryl qbrfa'g pbzr guebhtu pyrneyl va gur zbivrf. Nofrag n terng qrny bs rzcunfvf ba gur vqrn gung gur rntyrf nera'g npghnyyl nyy gung sevraqyl be urycshy (qrfcvgr bhe bayl frrvat gurz jura gurl NER urycshy), V guvax vg'f abg haernfbanoyr sbe fbzr ernqref/ivrjre gb nffhzr, onfrq ba terngre phygheny sbyxyber, gung rntyrf ner aboyr. Jbhyq sylvat gur Evat gb Zbeqbe gb qrfgebl vg or vaperqvoyl qnatrebhf? Bs pbhefr. Jbhyq znal rntyrf qvr va gur haqregnxvat? Haqbhogrqyl. Ohg gura, gung'f gehr bs nalbar znxvat gur nggrzcg — gur Sryybjfuvc vgfrys qbrfa'g nffhzr gurl'er nyy tbvat gb fheivir, ohg gurl'er jvyyvat gb cbffvoyl fnpevsvpr gurve bja yvirf gb frr vg qbar, orpnhfr vg'f whfg gung vzcbegnag.

            Fb V guvax gur rffragvny ceboyrz vf gung vs jr npprcg gung abovyvgl bs checbfr bs uboovgf naq zra, ryirf naq qjneirf, vg'f abg arprffnevyl haernfbanoyr gb nfx jul gur rntyrf qba'g unir gung, rira gubhtu gurl'er pyrneyl abg whfg ornfgf. Ohg V qba'g guvax gur grkg tvirf hf nf zhpu bs na rkcynangvba sbe gurve fgnlvat bhg bs gurfr nssnvef, nf vg tvirf hf sbe gur Ragf be Gbz Obzonqvy.

            V zrna, V fnl nyy guvf, naq lrg V'z abg rira fbzrbar jub guvaxf guvf vf n uhtr qrny. Gb zr guvf vf whfg na vagrerfgvat dhrfgvba nobhg fbzr orvatf va Gbyxvra'f jbeyq gung ner cerggl zlfgrevbhf, jura lbh trg qbja gb vg. Ohg V pna frr ubj crbcyr qb jbaqre, rfcrpvnyyl zbivr ivrjref, tvira gur jnl gur rntyrf ner hfrq ohg ernyyl abg rkcynvarq. V pna'g fnl V'z abg ybbxvat sbejneq gb trggvat gb fcraq n ovg zber gvzr jvgu gura jura Gur Uboovg zbivrf pbzr bhg!

            • Vg'f va gur Uboovg gung gurl fnl gur rntyrf nera'g xvaqyl oveqf, fb gung vf n snve cbvag. Ohg V guvax gung rira va gur obbxf gurer ner uvagf gung gur rntyrf pna'g or hfrq nyy gur gvzr sbe guvatf yvxr oevatvat crbcyr vagb Zbeqbe; Tjnvuve fnlf ur jnf zrnag gb pneel gvqvatf, abg oheqraf naq V jbhyq vzntvar gung tbvat vagb Zbeqbe unf vgf bja crevyf sbe nal oveq gung syvrf va, fvapr gur Oynpx Evqref unir gurve bja sylvat fgrrqf. Lbh nyfb unir gb xrrc va zvaq gung vs gurl tbg fubg qbja be xvyyrq, gura gur Evat jbhyq or gnxra nyzbfg vafgnagyl naq gung jbhyq or vg sbe Zvqqyr-Rnegu… tbvat nobhg vg gur ybat jnl jnf rabhtu gb sbby Fnheba, jurernf oveqf sylvat qverpgyl vagb uvf irel haqrfvenoyr fgebatubyq jbhyq nyzbfg pregnvayl trg uvf nggragvba.

              So yeah… that's kind of my take on it.

          • jaccairn says:

            gur rntyrf ner uneqyl tbvat gb or noyr gb farnx va jvgubhg Fnheba abgvpvat gurz.

            • notemily says:

              Lrnu, gurve fgeratgu vf va fgrnygu naq va ubcvat gung Fnheba jba'g guvax nalbar jbhyq gel gb qrfgebl gur evat. Tvnag rntyrf sylvat vagb Zbeqbe jbhyq xvaq bs ehva obgu bs gubfr guvatf.

    • flootzavut says:

      Orfg Fprar Rire. Naq V xabj V xrrc fnlvat gung nobhg fprarf va gur zbivr, ohg qnza, Vna ZpXryyra oyrj guvf bhg bs gur cneg. LBH FUNYY ABG CNFF!

    • Zoli says:

      V qba'g erzrzore jurgure V gubhtug vg jnf n purng be abg. V QB erzrzore orvat ernyyl natel gung nyy gur genvyref sbe gur frpbaq zbivr fcbvyrq gur uryy bhg bs Tnaqnys pbzvat onpx, orpnhfr FREVBHFYL JGS, JUL JBHYQ LBH QB GUNG.

      Ohg lrnu, V guvax fbzrubj V tbg fcbvyrq gung Tnaqnys jnf pbzvat onpx fb V sryg jnl yrff hcfrg nobhg gur jubyr guvat. V'z cerggl fher fbzrbar nyfb vasbezrq zr (be V ernq fbzrjurer) nobhg Tnaqnys naq gur bgure jvmneqf orvat rffragvnyyl qrzvtbqf fb gur jubyr guvat znqr zhpu zber frafr.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Lrnu, V pna'g oryvrir gurl qvq gung! V orpnzr n sna nsgre gur svefg gjb zbivrf jrer bhg, fb V whfg jngpurq gur zbivrf fgenvtug bhg, V qvqa'g jngpu gur genvyref. V zrna, JGS? V'q yvxr gb xabj jub znqr gung qrpvfvba gb chg gung va, orpnhfr gurl rnearq gurzfryirf n genvyre-znxvat SNVY. V'z fb tynq V jnfa'g fcbvyrq sbe gung, orpnhfr Tnaqnys'f erghea jnf n trahvar fhecevfr sbe zr!

    • shortstuff says:

      V qba'g guvax vg'f n purng, ng nyy. Va gur erfg bs gur obbx, yvxr jura gurl tb gb Ybevra, gurl fcrpvsvpnyyl fnl Tnaqnys sryy va Zbevn, be unf snyyra vagb qnexarff. Gurl arire fnl bhgevtug gung ur qvrq. Gurer'f whfg fbzr oruvaq gur fprarf npgvbaf tbvat ba, hagvy ur fubjf hc jvgu nabgure njrfbzr fgbel yby

      • flootzavut says:

        Naq va snvearff, ur qbrf qvr – ur'f whfg erfheerpgrq naq frag onpx orpnhfr uvf wbo vf abg lrg qbar.

    • Dreamflower says:

      V qvqa'g guvax bs vg nf n purng. Ohg gura V unq ortha gb fhfcrpg ur unq fheivirq ng gur oernxvat bs gur Sryybjfuvc jura Sebqb jnf ba Nzba Ura, naq urneq n ibvpr fnlvat "Gnxr vg bss! Gnxr vg bss! Sbby, gnxr vg bss!" Zl urneg whfg yrncg hc gura, orpnhfr jub orfvqrf TNAQNYS jbhyq pnyy Sebqb "Sbby"? Naq gung jnf ba gur svefg gvzr V ernq gur fgbel. V'z abg fher jul zbfg crbcyr qba'g cvpx hc ba gung uvag.

      Ubjrire, vg qvq chg pregnva rkcrpgngvbaf va zl urnq jura vg pnzr gb shgher snagnfl. V jnf dhvgr qvfnccbvagrq va Fgne Jnef jura Bov-jna bayl pnzr onpx nf n tubfg, naq jnf hggreyl qvfnccbvagrq va UC jura Qhzoyrqber qvq abg ernyyl pbzr onpx rvgure. Qnea vg, qrnq jvmneqf bhtug gb pbzr onpx!! V'z nsenvq gung Tnaqnys ernyyl frg gur one uvtu sbe jvmneqf, YBY!

      • flootzavut says:

        Qnea vg, qrnq jvmneqf bhtug gb pbzr onpx!! V'z nsenvq gung Tnaqnys ernyyl frg gur one uvtu sbe jvmneqf, YBY!

        LOL so true!!

  6. Tauriel_ says:

    I'll break my pattern with the art here, and post some John Howe goodies this time (he's just so fantastic with these dramatic moments):

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Saphling says:

      Oh those are wonderful!

      Though the first one made me think for a moment that Gandalf was battling a Behemoth from Final Fantasy. ^_^

    • knut_knut says:

      ASDKFJA;SJF; the Balrog is SO COOL!

    • flootzavut says:

      JOHN HOWE <3

    • shortstuff says:

      Nuuu, fb UR'F gur bar erfcbafvoyr sbe gur qrongr ba jurgure Onyebtf unir erny jvatf be abg. YBY Uneq gb oryvrir, ohg guvf vf n uhtr guvat ba gur vagrearg. Yvxr, pna jr nyy nterr gung gur ovt, fpnel, znqr-bhg-bs-sver qrzba sebz uryy vf onq rabhtu?

    • Dreamflower says:

      Truly awesome! I see that John Howe falls on the "wings" side of the famous controversy! LOL!

    • hpfish13 says:

      Yikes! These are terrifying! And awesome. I absolutely could not picture the Balrog until I saw it in the movie.

      • Skyweir says:

        I still maintain that the Balrog is more man-shaped (but greater) and it does not have wings (but the shadow looks like wings). So not a huge fan of this version. Still looks cool though.

        • rubyjoo says:

          Great pictures. BUT, no representation of this scene has ever struck more terror into me than Tolkien's words when I first read the book. The mind, prompted by an amazing description, is far more adept at recreating horror and anguish. This really is a top moment in the book.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Ahh…you beat me to it! These are the exact three John Howe pieces that I was going to post… Love all of these!! <3 He really does have a talent for these very epic moments! One of my favorites of his is the one with Frodo and the Ringwraiths from the Flight to the Ford chapter.

  7. Tauriel_ says:

    Tauriel's Linguistic Corner

    There's not much Elvish in this chapter (Tolkien was clearly busy with NIGHTMARE FUEL and suspense and action), so just a couple of words:

    Balrog – "Demon of Might". Sindarin of a Quenya name: raug (in compounds -rog) – "demon"; bâl – "divine power". The original Quenya name is Valarauco.
    Anor – "Sun"
    Udûn – proper name, Sindarin translation of (rot13'd for Silmarillion spoilers) Hghzab, Zryxbe'f fgebatubyq va gur Abegu. Basically, for all intents and purposes here, it means "hell".

  8. Saphling says:

    *offers Mark hugs* We've been waiting for you to arrive here, to be honest.

  9. I remember when you posted your review of A Storm of Swords people were talking about how they could all remember exactly where they were when they first read Gur Erq Jrqqvat (rot13'd in case anyone's reading that series).

    This chapter is that one for me.

    When I read this chapter, I was sitting on my sister's bunk (normally I read on mine, which was the top, but couldn't bring myself to move) and I was strung like piano wire as I turned the pages. I remember barely breathing when the Balrog appeared and I was ready to scream and cheer when Gandalf cast him into the pit.
    Then Gandalf went down himself.
    My reaction was pretty much the same as yours. I re-read that paragraph at least five times, convinced I'd missed something and that he was coming back. He had to be. Tolkien couldn't just kill off one of my favorite characters of all time… could he?
    He could. And I have to admit it took me a while to keep going. Not because I hated what's coming, but because I kept flipping back, looking for a loophole or something, anything that might have given a hint that Gandalf survived. And it wasn't until it finally hit me that I wouldn't find one that I finished Fellowship.

    The Orcs are goblins. (I actually think of them as Goblins 2.0, since Tolkien seems to imply in The Hobbit that the goblins are smaller.)

    And movie stuff: V ybir guvf cneg bs gur fbhaqgenpx va gur svyz; V cenpgvpnyyl unq vg ba ybbc lrfgreqnl. Vg jnf cresrpg- tbvat sebz onggyr zhfvp naq nqeranyvar-vaqhpvat fgenvaf gb whfg… tevrs. Frrvat rirelbar pelvat qvqa'g uryc. :'(

  10. Tauriel_ says:

    Oh God, this chapter. :'( :'( :'(

    It's so incredibly tense, all the way through. I love how Gandalf is trying to decipher and read the writing in the book in the Chamber of Mazarbul. It's very tense, and the many missing and illegible bits only enhance that, but the ending is pure nightmare fuel:

    ‘I fear their end was cruel. Listen! "We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there." Then there are four lines smeared so that I can only read went 5 days ago. The last lines run "the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Óin. We cannot get out. The end comes," and then "drums, drums in the deep." I wonder what that means. The last thing written is in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters: "they are coming." There is nothing more.’


    I am now firmly convinced that Tolkien and Moffat share ancestors. This is just… ugh, I can't even.

    And when you thought things can't get even worse…

    ‘They are coming! ‘ cried Legolas.
    ‘We cannot get out,’ said Gimli.
    ‘Trapped!‘ cried Gandalf. ‘Why did I delay? Here we are, caught, just as they were before. But I was not here then. We will see what –––-’
    Doom, doom came the drum-beat and the walls shook.

    Just to hear the Fellowship repeat the same words that the dying Dwarves used in their record so many years ago is utterly terrifying.

    But the Orcs are coming and the Fellowship must defend themselves.

    I love how courage and will to fight awakens in Frodo and he makes himself useful in the fight. And also how appreciative and encouraging Aragorn is:

    ‘One for the Shire! ‘ cried Aragorn. ‘The hobbit’s bite is deep! You have a good blade, Frodo son of Drogo! ‘


    (con'd below)

    • Tauriel_ says:

      And especially everyone's favourite hobbit, who's now taking several A-levels in badassery:

      When thirteen had fallen the rest fled shrieking. leaving the defenders unharmed, except for Sam who had a scratch along the scalp. A quick duck had saved him; and he had felled his orc: a sturdy thrust with his Barrowblade. A fire was smouldering in his brown eyes that would have made Ted Sandyman step backwards, if he had seen it.

      FUCK YEAH, SAM GAMGEE!!! B-) <3

      Then there's a brief bout of horror and panic when Frodo is hit by the Orc chieftain's spear, but it thankfully turns out okay, because he's wearing his mithril shirt.

      They escape and race to the exit, but Gandalf catches the Orcs talking about ghâsh, "fire", and THAT JUST DOESN'T BODE WELL. The feeling of unease and suspense grows, until they reach the Bridge and…

      ‘Ai! ai! ‘ wailed Legolas. ‘A Balrog! A Balrog is come! ‘


      The stand-off between Gandalf and the Balrog on the Bridge is one of the most dramatic, suspenseful, epic and iconic scenes in fantasy literature (or indeed in literature as a whole). For a moment, it seems that Gandalf's power can defeat the Balrog – he breaks the bridge beneath him, and the Balrog falls into the abyss, but…

      But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools! ‘ he cried, and was gone.

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(

      Sbe gur erpbeq, gubhtu, V cersre gur svyz irefvba bs guvf ovg – gur jnl Tnaqnys vf unatvat qrfcrengryl ng gur raq bs gur oebxra oevqtr, gura juvfcref, "Syl, lbh sbbyf!" naq yrgf tb, vf FB VAPERQVOYL CBVTANAG naq cbjreshy. V zrna, V qvfyvxr n ybg bs punatrf va gurfr svyzf – ohg jura gurl trg vg evtug, GURL TRG VG EVTUG FB ZHPU VG UHEGF.

      And so the Fellowship escapes from Moria.

      And Gandalf is lost.

      🙁 🙁 🙁

    • flootzavut says:

      <3 Aragorn's appreciation of the hobbits <3

      This is all soooooo scary. And yeah, the repetition of what was written before the obvious disaster that befell the dwarves. Bar bs gur guvatf V ybir nobhg ubj guvf cynlf bhg va gur zbivr, vf gung vg arrqf ab ercrgvgvba… nf Tnaqnys ernqf, vg orpbzrf boivbhf gung gubfr qrfcrengr jbeqf ner nyzbfg cebcurgvp sbe gur Sryybjfuvc. Fpnel!

    • DFM Marlink says:

      "You have a good blade, Frodo son of Drogo!‘

      My first thgoughts upon reading this:

      Frodo's dad was a DOTHRAKI?! No wonder Frodo's such a badass!

  11. Zoli says:

    Actually I don't think that Tolkien was expecting readers to know what orcs look like; I'm pretty sure he invented them– or more precisely, he adapted them from existing mythology. Just as he took the idea of "elves" and changed them from tiny, Santa-helper sprites into ancient, ethereal and impossibly wise beings, I think he's taking the idea of goblins and simply adapting them. (Apparently goblin and orc are different words for the same monster here; Orc is the Elvish word.) "Orc" does have a specific fantasy connotation now, but it's adapted from Tolkien, not the other way 'round.

    Anyway, if you've seen any other form of goblin, Tolkien seems to make them bigger and a bit nastier, but not too far off the general idea.

    • Darth_Ember says:

      Tolkien didn't so much change elves from Santa's helpers as he took them back to a stage before that. The Fair Folk, the forest people, the beautiful and perilous folk from some ancient and forgotten land.
      Tolkien's version is more civilised, though. Which, to be honest, works for me; I like his Elves. I like their histories, their cultures, their languages – which were designed by Tolkien to sound as aesthetically pleasing to him as he could – and their overall presence.

      If one really wants to see elves taken back to the old style, though, Terry Pratchett's take on it is scarily effective.

      • Geolojazz says:

        There was a stage version of The Hobbit in my city which I saw, and although for the most part it was super awesome, the director clearly never read Lord of the Rings (!!@!@) and the elves became some twisted version of Keebler elves crossed with pigeons/owls who hooted constantly and bobbed their heads like lizards.

      • flootzavut says:

        Oh yes! Much as I love Tolkien's Elves, pTerry's are fantastic, too 😀

      • Zoli says:

        It's interesting because somehow I never connect elves with the fae/fairies even though I know that the original myths had them all tangled together. Maybe because Tolkien's elves have the grace and glamor and magic of the fae… but not any of the trickery or malice. I mean, the whole point of calling them the 'Fair Folk' was because they were vicious bastards who would gleefully screw you over, and you didn't want to call attention to them by insulting them or mentioning them by name.

        • tigerpetals says:

          The 'real' Fair Folk are meaner, but maybe Tolkien was reshaping them because of his tree thing. They were associated with nature, which was also asscoiated sometimes with evil and otherworldliness. Tolkien keeps the otherworldiness and the haughtiness, but their association with nature is why he makes them good in his works and he really likes them. He's very pro-trees and would come down on the side of the shrubs in his high school career test.

      • Noybusiness says:

        They're pretty much like the Norse alfar or light elves.

      • notemily says:

        I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman's Fair Folk as well.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I remember reading somewhere that he took the idea of goblins from Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, only without the soft feet. And orcs are bigger, yes.

      • flootzavut says:

        Curdie is my favourite 🙂 must re-read those!

      • Steve Morrison says:

        I’ve found the quote; it’s from a letter to Naomi Mitchison:

        Orcs (the word is as far as I am concerned actually derived from Old English orc ‘demon’, but only because of its phonetic suitability) are nowhere clearly stated to be of any particular origin. But since they are servants of the Dark Power, and later of Sauron, neither of whom could, or would, produce living things, they must be ‘corruptions’. They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet which I never believed in. The name has the form orch (pl. yrch) in Sindarin and uruk in the Black Speech.

        Actually, Tolkien was wrong; he use the word orc twice in The Hobbit. Chapter 5 had the line about how “even the big ones, the orcs of the mountains, go along at a great speed stooping low with their hands almost on the ground
        ”, and chapter 7 had Gandalf say “Before you could get round Mirkwood in the North you would be right among the slopes of the Grey Mountains, and they are simply stiff with goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs of the worst description.”

  12. knut_knut says:

    Grief at last wholly overcame them, and they wept long: some standing and silent, some cast upon the ground. Doom, doom. The drum-beats faded.

    yup, they’re doomed. Might as well pack up, head home and hope for the best

    edit: AGH WHY WON'T MY GIF WORK IT WAS SAD kind of…maybe it was mourning Gandalf and refused to work 🙁 I understand

  13. plaidpants says:

    It's like, ok Tolkien, we know that the grandfatherly old wizard mentor needs to die for the young hero to complete his/her journey, but that's NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN TIL LIKE THE MIDDLE OF THE FINAL BOOK! After he's passed on just about all his knowledge! Not midway through the first book when they still have like half the journey to complete!

  14. shortstuffs says:

    !First, I am amused that you called yourself a pretentious wanker. It’s ok Mark, you weren’t prepared.

    Did I miss the GRR Martin comparison somewhere in there? Because like Harry Potter v Twilight, I wouldn’t mind seeing some LotR v Games of Thrones. You could do a great job of picking out things I have missed.

    Third, I knew this chapter would inspire a keysmash or GIFs of sadness! Gandalf is really awesome standing up to this Balrog. Even the name and the creature’s distant presence is enough for Legolas to lose all hope.

    And don’t you just love tghe Took-ish side of Frodo that comes out every so often? Attacking a cave trolls foot has GOT to be badass! And you can see fine Elvish craftsmanship at work with Stingg being able to cut through the trolls’ hide. Yes the fighting was fierce, aren’t you glad they have such big warriors?

    • atheistsisters says:

      Yes, I totally love whenever Tookishness comes out in the hobbits. It makes me so proud of them, which is ridiculous!

    • Zoli says:

      I always get the impression with GRRM that he read all the Tolkien-derivative fantasy, then read some history, went 'lol guyz ur doin it wrong' and proceeded to write his own books.

  15. cait0716 says:

    The balrog was one of the things I was most excited to see in the movie because I just couldn't wrap my mind around what "shadow and flame" might look like. It was a contradiction my brain just couldn't handle.

    Poor Gandalf 🙁

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Naq gur Onyebt jnf hggreyl NJRFBZR. N tvnag zvabgnhe znqr bs ynin fheebhaqrq ol n urng unmr! Gubhtu nccneragyl gurl tbg fbzr synpx sbe tvivat vg jvatf, qrfcvgr gurz orvat va gur obbx. Gurer'f ab cyrnfvat fbzr crbcyr.

      • Gur juvc naq gur fzbxr jrer curabzranyyl qbar.V qvqa'g zvaq gur jvatf, V npghnyl dhvgr yvxrq gurz… V qvq trg naablrq ol gur Qbqtr Enz ubeaf vg unq (nf V fnj gurz). Ohg bgure guna gung avgcvpx vg jnf terng.

      • knut_knut says:

        Jvat ungref ner wrnybhf orpnhfr gurl unir abar 😛

        V qvqa’g zvaq gur jvatf ng nyy, ohg V qb nterr jvgu VagebiregrqNanylfg n ovg. V gubhtug gur pheyl enz ubeaf jrer cerggl jrveq ng svefg, ohg V’z hfrq gb gurz abj.

    • knut_knut says:

      V gubhtug vg jnf CRESRPG. V ybir ubj vg ybbxrq yvxr vg jnf znqr bhg bs ynin, naq jura vg ebnerq naq lbh pbhyq frr gur urng <3 V jnf npghnyyl xvaq bs fnq jura vg qvrq

      • flootzavut says:

        Gurer jnf fbzrguvat xvaq bs zbheashy nobhg vg, V gubhtug. V pna gbgnyyl vqragvsl, rira gubhtu, lbh xabj, orggre vg guna gur Sryybjfuvc!

        • Dreamflower says:

          UnUnUn! V xarj gur "jvatf" pbagebirefl jnf obhaq gb fubj hc, YBY!

          V nyjnlf gubhtug gurl unq jvatf, ohg gur jvatf qvqa'g jbex orpnhfr gurl jrer ba sver!

          • Skyweir says:

            Vg unf n funqbj gung ybbxf yvxr jvatf, abg npghny jvatf. Vg fnlf fb evtug va gur grkg! Urur, gung vf na byq qrongr, naq V nz fgnhapuyl ba gur fvqr bs "ab-jvatf".
            V yvxr zl Onyebt zber zna-funcrq (yvxr n zna, ohg terngre) naq fuebhqrq va qnexrarff. Whfg n qnexre funcr jvguva gur fzbxr naq sver, jvgu erq rlrf naq erq abfgevyf.
            Gur pbagenfg gb gur jvmneq vf zber ivivq gura, nf vf gur vqrn gung gurl ner bs gur fnzr xvaq. Gur ohyy/enz guvat znxrf sbe n tbbq qrzba-ivfhny, ohg vg ybbxf gb ornfgvny naq qbrf abg pbairl gung vg vf na napvrag naq greevoyr "snyyra natry" jvgu n xrra vagryyrpg, arneyl ba cne jvgu Fnheba.

            • notemily says:

              Lrnu guvf vf zl bar pbzcynvag jvgu gur zbivr Onyebt–vg'f FB UHTR naq gbjref bire Tnaqnys, fb vg'f uneq gb oryvrir vg jnf bapr gur fnzr xvaq bs orvat nf Tnaqnys. (Nygubhtu vg pbhyq or nethrq gung Tnaqnys vf frag gb Zvqqyr-rnegu va n uhzna funcr orpnhfr ur'f gurer gb uryc gur Serr Crbcyrf bs ZVqqyr-rnegu, juvyr gur Onyebt jrag va n qvssrerag qverpgvba.)

      • threerings13 says:

        Naq gur FBHAQ RSSRPGF. Ubj vg fbhaqf yvxr sver naq ebpxf nyy ng bapr. Gung'f jung fgvpxf jvgu zr.

    • Patrick721 says:

      Is it a spoiler to say gung V ybir urnevat Puevfgbcure Yrr fnl, "Lbh xabj jung gur qjneirf njbxr va gur qnex. Funqbj…naq synzr." Orpnhfr Puevfgbcure Yrr'f ibvpr vf nznmvat naq cresrpg.

      I'll Rot13 just in case.

  16. ljrTR says:

    Gandalf has some great lines in this chapter. One of my very favorites. "Swords are no more use here…I am a servant of the seccret fire…Go back to the shawow.. You Shall Not Pass!!"
    Tollkien sure rewards the folks who slog through the slow parts, doesn't he?
    I love these books. Yeah, I don't think so many would have loved them for so long if they were really dull.

    • bugeye says:

      nitpick: If you do not have the book handy at least read Mark's review again. The line (repeated three times in the book) is: "you cannot pass". Tolkien was very clear which word he wanted there.

      All of us need to be careful with our "quotations"

  17. MsSméagol says:

    "FLY, YOU FOOLS!!! " Best line ever, or best line ever?

    • plaidpants says:

      Gurer'f fbzr wbxr gung V'ir frra gung Tnaqnys vf npghnyyl gryyvat gurz gb syl ba gur tvnag Rntyrf gb Zbeqbe jvgu guvf yvar. Boivbhfyl abg gehr, ohg nzhfvat abarguryrff.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Sassy to the end! Bless you, Gandalf.

    • JustMalyn says:

      And this is why Gandalf is awesome. It reminded me briefly of a line from Macbeth, when Banquo's dying: "Fly, good Fleance! Fly, fly, fly!" that my friends and I thought was hilarious, so that added a spark of humor to these ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING pages.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Vg jnf gung irel yvar gung tnir zr ubcr gung ur fgvyy yvirq ng gur oernxvat bs gur Sryybjfuvc, jura Sebqb urneq n ibvpr gryyvat uvz: "Sbby! Gnxr vg bss!" naq V vzzrqvngryl gubhtug LNL! Tnaqnys yvirf! (Orpnhfr jub ryfr hfrq gung jbeq fb serryl?)

      • MsSméagol says:

        (sorry 'bout the caps lock…)

  18. BetB says:

    Movie spoiler: V ybir gur jnl gur Onyebt jnf qbar. Vg ybbxf whfg nf fpnel nf V vzntvarq vg nf n puvyq.

    I spent years talking about the balrog with my friends. It was an obsession with the evil demon-like creature with great power. If not for Gandalf, all would have been lost. A balrog with the ring? Sauron wouldn't have a chance.

    Mark does a good job of capturing the overwhelming sense of dread being trapped and fleeing a battle only to come to even worse. It's not until this time we actually see Gandalf show all of his power, although had glimpses and heard of some great deeds of his through others. Tolkien does not go for wise characters that boast of their prowess. If they brag, they are most likely vain (useless in a pinch) or evil.

    • shortstuff says:

      "If they brag, they are most likely vain (useless in a pinch) or evil. "

      Hmmmm, Gilderoy Lockhart, anyone?

      Obviously, I think you have a great point there, and that other authors carry it on in their works.

    • flootzavut says:

      Fheryl gur Onyebt naq Fnheba jbhyq or snveyl rirayl zngpurq – gurl ner obgu Znvne, whfg nf Tnaqnys vf Znvne. Naq Fnheba znqr gur evat naq vf vgf bar Znfgre… whfg nf Tnaqnys gryyf Sebqb gung ur, Tnaqnys, jbhyq jvryq gur evat sbe tbbq naq raq hc qrfgeblvat, orpnhfr gung vf gur angher bs gur evat naq bs Fnheba.

      V qner fnl Zvqqyr Rnegu jbhyq unir orra va frevbhf gebhoyr, gubhtu. Rfcrpvnyyl vs gur Onyebt naq Fnheba wbvarq sbeprf, ohg cebonoyl rira vs gurl jrer whfg svtugvat rnpu bgure.

      • BetB says:

        V jbhyq guvax gung Fnheba naq gur Onyebt jbhyq or rirayl zngpurq jvgubhg gur evat. Erzrzore gung Fnheba chg zhpu bs uvf cbjre vagb gur evat gb or noyr gb pbzznaq gur bgure evatf. Gurersber, Onyebt jvgu evat >> Fnheba jvgubhg evat.

        V thrff gur obggbz yvar vf gur Onyebt vf zber fpnel gb zr guna na rivy rlr. :Q

        • flootzavut says:

          YBY V pna haqrefgnaq gung – gur rivy rlr vf nyy n ovg inthr!

          Gung fnvq, Fnheba jnf (V oryvrir) bar bs gur zbfg cbjreshy Znvne, nyfb gur Evat unf orra fubja gb or ba uvf fvqr, vr vg'f gelvat gb trg onpx gb uvz. Fb lrnu. Vg'f abg fbzrguvat V'q or xrra gb frr grfgrq, gung'f sbe fher!

    • Shannon says:

      "A balrog with the ring? Sauron wouldn't have a chance. "

      Ehh, I don't know if I would go quite that far, especially given that [cut for silm spoilers] onyebtf ner eroryyvbhf Znvne, jub bayl gbbx gur sbez naq funcr bs n onyebt sbe gurve cyrnfher. Fnheba uvzfrys vf abg bayl n Znvn, ohg jnf bar bs gur zbfg cbjreshy naq uvturfg bs gurz. (Npghnyyl, orsber ur eroryyrq jvgu Zryxbe, ur bevtvanyyl freirq Nhyr, gur fzvgu, juvpu znxrf FB ZHPU FRAFR vs lbh guvax nobhg vg abj). Naljnl, tvira gung gurl ner ng gur irel yrnfg rdhvinyrag, naq gung Fnheba jnf snzbhf naq xabja nf bar bs gur zbfg cbjreshy bs nyy Znvne, naq gung gur evat vgfrys vf n cnegvpvcnag va uvf bja jvyy, V qbhog n Onyebt jbhyq ernyyl or noyr gb fgnaq hc gb uvz, evat be ab evat.

      • Skyweir says:

        Anu, Fnheba srnef rira Nentbea fubhyq ur gnxr hc gur Evat, naq Tnynqevry/Tnaqnys/Fnehzna jbhyq or n frevbhf gerng gb Fnheba (vaqrrq, gurl ner nyy cerggl pregnva gurl pbhyq orng uvz vs gurl unq vg). Zhpu bs Fnheba'f bja cbjre bs byq vf va gur Evat, naq ur nyfb hfr gur 9 naq gur 7 serryl (naq gurl jbhyq orgenl uvz vs fbzrbar ryfr hfrq gur Bar ntnvafg uvz). Nyy gur Anmthy jbhyq freir gur Bar, abg Fnheba.
        N Onyebt jbhyq or na rdhnyyl qnatrebhf sbr jvgu gur Evat, ng yrnfg ba cne jvgu Tnaqnys be Fnehzna (juvpu ner bs gur fnzr beqre). Jvgubhg gur Evat, vg vf abg Fnheba'f rdhny bs pbhefr (abguvat va Zvqqyr Rnegu vf), ohg jvgu vg V guvax Fnheba jbhyq fbba fhozvg.
        Vaqrrq, guvf vf gur zbfg qnatrbehf zbzrag sbe Fnheba lrg, sbe gur Onyebt vf creuncf gur bayl orvat orfvqr Fnheba uvzfrys jub unir gur Evat jvguva uvf tenfc naq unf ab zbeny pbafgenvaf ntnvafg hfvat vg gb orpbzr n arj Qnex Ybeq.

  19. Suzannezibar says:

    Oh this chapter…. it's been nearly ten years since I read it for the first time and it still never fails to leave me an emotional mess. GANDALF D: D: D:

    Qrne Arj Yvar Pvarzn, be jubrire jnf va punetr bs chggvat gbtrgure gur genvyre sbe Gur Gjb Gbjref,

    SHPX LBH SBERIRE. V unq *bayl whfg fgnegrq ernqvat* SBGE jura gur genvyre pnzr bhg, naq lbh *fcbvyrq zr fb pbzcyrgryl* sbe uvf erghea gung guvf puncgre unq zhpu yrff bs na rssrpg ba zr guna vg fubhyq unir (V zrna, vg'f n grfgnzrag gb Gbyxvra'f jevgvat gung V jnf fgvyy cerggl qnza rzbgvbany ol gur raq bs vg, ohg ernyyl). V xabj lbh rkcrpgrq rirelbar gb xabj gur gjvfg, ohg…PYRNEYL ABG GUR PNFR!

  20. Jenny_M says:

    So, I know this is a sad, sad chapter, and I made something based on what Aragorn said that might cheer people up, even a little bit! It made me laugh, anyway.

    <img src=""&gt;

  21. Clamarnicale says:

    All right, there's one thing that haven't been mentioned yet that we need to debate. The Balrog – does it have wings? ^^

    • Katie says:

      Hee :). Opening a can of internet worms right there 🙂

    • Gonna let the text speak for me on this one: "The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly onto the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall…"
      Now I know its shadow's been described as 'like wings' earlier, but notice that in that passage, it's stepping onto the bridge. The only reason I can give to its spreading the wings like that ONLY WHEN IT GOES ONTO THE BRIDGE is for balance,and that would imply that it has corporeal wings.
      Although to be honest, I never knew that this was a huge debate 🙂 Shows what I know.

      • Skyweir says:

        I have already argued this, but my reading is that the wings here refered are the shadow that was "like wings" earlier. Instead of again writing "it's shadow that was like wings were spread from wall to wall" Tolkien uses a shorthand to refer to the already establisehed fact (it has a shadow like wings).

        Remember, it is manshaped, yet greater. Not bull-headed, winged and horned. Why whould Tolkien describe something as manshaped if it had huge wings and horns?

        • Tolkien's phrase: "it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe yet greater…" It's also later described as having a mane, which isn't exactly human… and I feel like if Tolkien was going to say its shadow spread, he would have just said that. But I can't prove it, of course 🙂

        • eregyrn says:

          I don't quite get the contradiction between "man-shaped" and the rest of the accoutrements, though. Man-shaped can merely mean bipedal, walking upright, as opposed to beast-shaped or bird-shaped (or lizard-shaped). I don't see it as a limiting description for the rest of the details of its appearance.

          • flootzavut says:

            ^ This.

          • Skyweir says:

            Good point. Still, I feel like the details are left vauge preciscly because they cannot be seen. It is shrouded in darkness and smoke, and I for one feel that "man-shaped" is not the first thing that comes into my head when I see the version of the Balrog in John Howe's pictures, for instance.

            Bs pbhefr, tvira gurve bevtva, gur Onyebt znl gnxr nal funcr vg qnza jryy cyrnfrf. Rira gubhtu vg yvxryl ybfg gur funcr-fuvsgvat novyvgrf va snibhe bs rneguyl cbjre ybat ntb (yvxr nyy gur bgure znvne gung ner vaibyirq va Zvqqyr Rnegu sbe rkgraqrq crevbqf bs gvzr).

        • flootzavut says:

          I don't think "man-shaped" =/= having wings and horns. A minotaur is man-shaped, and it has a bull's head! To me the text seems pretty clear, and it doesn't, to me, read as if Tolkien is saying the wings that spread out are mere shadows. And as someone else has mentions, it makes absolute sense that a creature with wings would use those wings for balance as it stepped out onto the narrow bridge. But hey, each to their own.

          • flootzavut says:

            Also… Pegasus is horse shaped… but has wings. A giant is human shaped… but is huge. I think that "shaped" is a clue here, no an outright description.

        • flootzavut says:

          Also, don't forget that Tolkien describes is as "man-shaped" – not man-LIKE. There's a lot of leeway in that description.

          Also, I'm using also a lot here…!

    • Darth_Ember says:

      A monster of shadow and flame carrying a fiery whip has whatever features it damn well wants.

      Well, I'm not going to argue with the thing.xD

    • Dreamflower says:

      Of course it does. However, seeing as how those wings are made of flame, they are pretty much useless for flying– which accounts for the crankiness of Balrogs…

      • flootzavut says:

        <3 LOL<3 excellent 😀

      • tanbarkie says:

        Balrog Diary Entry #199824

        Oh man, today Morgoth gave me the coolest present ever. I now have kickass giant WINGS of FLAME. I'm gonna go test 'em out.

        Balrog Diary Entry #199825

        Turns out wings of flame don't catch the air very well. Bernoulli Principle failed to kick in when I jumped into that precipice. Will be spending next few decades in the Ethereal Medical Ward.

        Ow. 🙁

    • Shay_Guy says:

      I was wondering why I hadn't seen that asked yet!

    • tardis_stowaway says:

      I was wondering whether anyone was going to bring up this longstanding shadow and flamewar. 🙂

      My vote is for real wings, as corporeal as the rest of the Balrog. I do see the arguments for the wings as metaphor, but real wings are just a little bit more badass. Anything that can take out Gandalf exists at MAXIMUM POSSIBLE badassness. Therefore, the Balrog has wings.

  22. Ryan Lohner says:

    Another movie bit: V nyjnlf puhpxyr n ovg ng Frna Orna'f qryvirel bs "Gurl unir n pnir gebyy." Ur whfg fbhaqf veevgngrq zber guna nalguvat ryfr, yvxr guvf vf whfg bar zber cnva va Obebzve'f nff.

    • Jenny_M says:

      V ybir CW'f qrfpevcgvba bs gur pnir gebyy nf univat snyyra va jvgu n onq pebjq. Njj, cbbe pnir gebyy!

      • plaidpants says:

        Naq ur nyfb zragvbaf ubj ur vzntvarq gur Pnir Gebyy'f Zbz unq uvf orq znqr hc naq n tynff bs jnez zvyx sbe uvz naq ur arire pbzrf ubzr… 🙁 🙁 CW'f zvaq vf n ovg gjvfgrq.

      • knut_knut says:

        V xabj! Gung nyjnlf znqr zr ernyyl fnq. Gur sryybjfuvc pbhyq unir gnxra uvz nybat naq urycrq uvz trg uvf yvsr va beqre! Ohg abbbbbbb, Yrtbynf unq gb whzc gur tha naq whfg xvyy uvz. Qnza rys.

    • flootzavut says:

      YES, THIS SO MUCH! Gung nyjnlf gbgnyyl penpxrq zr hc, vg'f abg yvxr ur'f jbeevrq be nsenvq be rira natel, ur'f whfg yvxr "rlrebyy" bu sbe cvgl'f fnxr, V'z oberq bs guvf abj. Znxrf zr puhpxyr gbb :Q

    • Juliana Moreli says:

      Frna Orna qvq uvf ebyr ba na nznmvat jnl! Ur’f fhpu n tbbq fcbeg!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Lrnu, V ybir gur fnepnfz va uvf ibvpr. "Terng, bepf ner abg rabhtu, jr arrq n oybbql gebyy ba gbc bs rirelguvat! V qvqa'g fvta hc sbe guvf fuvg!"

      Naq nyfb uvf "Jung vf guvf arj qrivyel?" <3

  23. Anzel89 says:

    Ok a few things.

    “We cannot get out.
    They are coming.”

    – That is some creepy shit Tolkien. Just…wow.
    Guvf jubyr frpgvba bs gur zbivr sernxrq zr gur uryy bhg jura V jnf lbhatre. Vna’f ernqvat bs gubfr yvarf vf… *fuhqqre* Nyfb. Cvccva. KQ

    – This whole chapter is just one big clusterfuck, in a good way.



    I loved Gandalf. 🙁

    Nnnnnnaq Tnaqnys Gur Xvpxnff Juvgr jvyy erghea va gur Gjb Gbjref!… *Glare* No clicking Mark!!!

    V jbaqre vs Znex jvyy svther bhg ur pbzrf onpx, V pregnvayl qvqa’g.

    • flootzavut says:

      V fbbbb nterr nobhg Vna'f ernqvat bs gubfr yvarf, vg'f cresrpg. V "urne" uvz jura V ernq guvf cneg bs gur obbx, naq vg'f fb qnza fcbg ba.

      Nyfb: Cvccva <3 sbby bs n Gbbx.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Lbh zrna lbh qvqa'g abgvpr jura Sebqb jnf ba Nzba Ura jrnevat gur Evat, naq urneq n ibvpr fnlvat "Sbby! Gnxr vg bss!"? Jub ryfr pbhyq vg unir orra?

      V jvyy or phevbhf gb frr vs Znex pngpurf gung!

      • Anzel89 says:

        Abcr, V qba'g xabj jul ohg vg arire pyvpxrq sbe zr. ^_^' Ernqvat onpx V xabj vg fubhyq unir ohg V jnf fb pbaivaprq ur ernyyl jnf qrnq, gung V nffhzrq vg jnf fbzrbar ryfr.

  24. JustMalyn says:

    Ack. The Balrog. It's NIGHTMARE FUEL FOREVER. Also, where does it come from and what the hell really is it? I haven't read The Silmarillion yet, so I don't know if it's explained there, but I'm curious. Are there more oh God I hope not.

    • MasterGhandalf says:

      Gur Onyebtf ner rivy Znvne (guvax snyyra natryf) jub freirq Fnheba'f cerqrprffbe, Zbetbgu- onfvpnyyl, gurl jrer gb uvz jung gur Evatjenvguf ner sbe Fnheba. Gbyxvra arire dhvgr znqr hc uvf zvaq ba ubj znal gurer jrer, gubhtu ur jnf yrnavat gbjneqf frira arne gur raq bs uvf yvsr (gur Fvy qbrfa'g tvir na rknpg ahzore). Zbfg bs gurz jrer xvyyrq qhevat Zbetbgu'f qbjasnyy, ohg bar be gjb rfpncrq naq uvq gurzfryirf qrrc haqretebhaq. Gur Onyebt bs Zbevn, boivbhfyl, vf bar bs gubfr. Bayl guerr Onyebt-fynlvatf ner qrfpevorq va qrgnvy ol Gbyxvra, naq va nyy guerr pnfrf gur Onyebt gnxrf vgf fynlre jvgu vg.

      • JustMalyn says:

        Thank you! That is seriously scary.

        • msw188 says:

          I'll add to that and give some basis for comparison.

          Znvne ner yvxr natryf be cbjreshy fcvevgf. Gur jvmneqf (Tnaqnys, Fnehzna, Enqntunfg) ner Znvne. Fb vf Fnheba. V guvax fbzr crbcyr pbafvqre Gbz Obzonqvy bar nf jryy. Fb Tnaqnys vf svanyyl svtugvat fbzrguvat zber be yrff ba uvf yriry bs onqnffrel. Naq lrf, guvf guvat vf ebhtuyl ba gur fnzr yriry nf Fnheba uvzfrys, nygubhtu Fnheba vf pbafvqrerq bar bs gur zbfg cbjreshy naq phaavat Znvne rire, naq jvgu uvf Evat jbhyq or rira zber cbjreshy.

          And last but not least, your little picture thing with your name is AWESOME.

          • JustMalyn says:

            Okay, this is explaining so much. MIND = BLOWN. I don't understand why I haven't made time for The Silmarillion before. And thanks ^.^ Luna is my idol for life 😀

      • Tilly says:

        Naq qvqa'g nyy guerr fynlvatf vaibyir nf gurve svany oybj snyyf sebz terng urvtugf? Pyrneyl gung'f gur bayl jnl gb oernx n Onyebt. :-/

        • MasterGhandalf says:

          Tnaqnys naq Tybesvaqry'f Onyebt-fynlvatf obgu vaibyirq fynlre naq Onyebt snyyvat sebz n terng urvtug. V guvax gung jura Rpguryvba xvyyrq Tbguzbt gur Ybeq bs Onyebtf, gubhtu, ur whfg fubirq uvz vagb n sbhagnva. Ohg fgvyy, gjb tvnag snyyf bhg bs guerr Onyebt qhryf unf gb zrna fbzrguvat…

    • JustMalyn says:

      It's touched on, but barely, in this chapter. I WANT TO KNOW MORE…except for the inevitable nightmares.

  25. render says:

    what i love is how the saying 'doom,doom' is like two last drumbeats as the chapter ends. drumbeats of finality.

  26. flootzavut says:

    I think we've all basically been waiting for you to reach this chapter with a kind of evil glee…

    "‘The last thing is written is in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters: they are coming. There is nothing more.’"

    That never fails to give me the shivers. They are coming, and the words are trailing off…

    Bar bs zl snibhevgr fprarf va gur zbivrf, vg'f fuvire-vaqhpvat. "Jr pnaabg trg bhg…" naq gura gubfr qehzf.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Lrnu, gung jubyr fprar sernxrq zr bhg jura V fnj gur zbivr. V ybir jngpuvat vg ng zl cneragf' ubhfr juvyr vg'f qnex bhg. Vg ernyyl tvirf gur shyy rssrpg, jura vg'f fb dhvrg ohg gura gur qehz orngf fgneg, gura trg ybhqre naq snfgre. *fuviref* Tbbq wbo, CW, tbbq wbo!

      • flootzavut says:

        Yeah! And in my head, V pna whfg URER Vna ZpXryyra fnvat gubfr jbeqf naq ur vf FB tbbq, vg'f yvxr… rira erzrzorevat uvz fcrnxvat gubfr jbeqf ernyyl tvirf zr n fuvire. Fv Vna = NJRFBZR!

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          LRF! Vna ZpXryyra jnf, naq vf, gur cresrpg svg sbe Tnaqnys. Uvf qryvirel bs uvf yvarf, naq uvf haqrefgnaqvat bs gur punenpgre ner ernyyl dhvgr cresrpg. Ur svgf fb jryy va gur ebyr, juvpu V pna vzntvar jbhyqa'g or rnfl, orpnhfr gur punenpgre vf fb rcvp naq cbjreshy, naq ng gur fnzr gvzr, ur'f jvfr naq tenaqsngureyl. Ur pna gbgnyyl chyy bss gur shyy fcrpgehz bs gur punenpgre, sebz gur ONZSl zbzragf bs "LBH FUNYY ABG CNFF!" gb gur zber urnegsryg zbzragf, yvxr uvf jvmrarq nqivpr ur tvirf gb Sebqb va Ont Raq (Zbevn va gur zbivrf) "Qb abg or fb dhvpx gb qrny bhg qrngu naq whqtrzrag. Rira gur irel jvfr pnaabg frr nyy raqf…" (dhbgvat sebz zrzbel). Bar bs gur orfg pnfgvat qrpvfvbaf bhg bs znal ba YbGE.

          • flootzavut says:

            Fbzrbar bapr gbyq zr vg fubhyq unir orra tvira gb Frna Pbaarel orpnhfr (trg guvf) ur'f fb boivbhfyl n orggre npgbe. Hz. Ab bssrafr Ze Pbaarel, ohg orggre guna Vna ZpXryyra?!?!?! Cyrnfr!

            Snagnfgvp pnfgvat pubvpr – gurl qvq fb svaqvat gur evtug crbcyr. Guvax Znex jvyy YBIR Vna ZpX va guvf ebyr :Q

            V nz RKPVGR sbe Znex gb frr gur zbivrf…

            • AmandaNekesa says:

              JUNNNNNG??? Ernyyl, V zrna… ERNYYL? Lrnu V qba'g frr gur jubyr Frna Pbaarel guvat rvgure. Whfg, ab. Vna vf n zhpu zhpu orggre npgbe, va zl bcvavba.

              V nz fbbbbbbbb rkpvgrq sbe Znex gb frr gur zbivrf nf jryy!!! V'z ernyyl phevbhf gubhtu vs Znex'f orra gnxvat abgvpr bs gur cyrnqvatf bs grnz bar abiry, juvpu V shyyl fhccbeg (qrfcvgr frysvfuyl jnagvat uvz gb jngpu gurz yvxr bevtvanyyl cynaarq, bhg bs cher rkpvgrzrag gb frr uvf ernpgvba). Juvyr V ernyyl jnag gb frr uvf ernpgvba gb gur nznmvat ornhgl bs gur zbivrf, V guvax vg jbhyq or orfg sbe uvz gb jnvg. V'ir fnvq nyy guvf orsber, fb V'yy fgbc urer orsber V pneel ba gbb sne… Fb RKPVGR gubhtu sbe gur zbivrf, jurarire Znex qrpvqrf gb jngpu gurz.

  27. stellaaaaakris says:

    I think my entire reaction to this chapter can be summed up pretty neatly: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    But just to cheer myself up, I searched "Fly you, fools!" in Google image (don't do it if you don't want FOTR movie spoilers – they're everywhere, including actors you may not know about yet), but most of them are of adorable animals, so to make you possibly feel better by sheer cuteness, take a look at this (this is a very long, run on sentence – forgive me):
    <img src=""&gt;
    This kitty wants to be Gandalf for Halloween. So do all the others.

  28. Mirima says:

    Gandalf is one of my favourite characters in Tolkien's works. He may be one of my favourite characters in all of fiction ever. I love this chapter for giving Gandalf such badass moments, but in the end it completely breaks my heart ;_;

    Oh, Gandalf! You were magnificent to the last.

    I have to admit that one of the things I'm most excited about in the Hobbit movies is seeing Gandalf again. Gandalf the Grey with his blue hat in the Shire luring a Hobbit into an adventure!

  29. Katie says:

    V jbaqre vs Znex vf trggvat n frafr sebz gurfr pbzzragf gung crbcyr jub unir ernq gur obbx ner abg arneyl nf zbheashy nobhg Tnaqnys'f qrngu guna crbcyr jub ner ernqvat nybat jvgu uvz… Pnhfr gurer'f qrsvavgryl n qvssrerapr vs lbh xabj jung gb ybbx sbe…Zhpu yrff jnvyvat naq fbeebj guna bar jbhyq rkcrpg…

    • SteelMagnolia80 says:

      You're probably right…ohg pregnvayl ur'f frra zbivr cbfgref sbe gur bgure zbivrf jvgu Tnaqnys ba gurz. V'z fher ur unf FBZR vqrn.

      • blossomingpeach says:

        V'z ubcvat gung, fvapr ur jnfa'g snzvyvne jvgu gur fgbel be punenpgref ng nyy, vs ur rire fnj nal Tnaqnys gur Juvgr ur arire pbzchgrq naq jba'g erzrzore. *svatref pebffrq*

    • arctic_hare says:

      Gung'f cerpvfryl jul V ybnqrq hc ba fnq tvsf va zl pbzzrag!

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        V whfg svavfurq zl pbzzrag gb Znex'f erivrj, naq vapyhqrq znal fnq & uhtf tvsf, ubcrshyyl vg urycf! 🙂 V'ir nyfb abgvprq n ybg bs cbfgf jvgu gur zbivr'f irefvba bs gur yvar, "Lbh funyy abg cnff!" vafgrnq bs gur obbxf, "Lbh pnaabg cnff". Zvabe qrgnvy, V thrff, ohg fgvyy abg dhvgr jung'f va gur obbx.

        • flootzavut says:

          🙁 :'( 🙁 vf vg onq gung gur vqrn bs enaqbzyl fcevaxyvat fnqsnprf vagb pbzzragf sbe ab tbbq ernfba rkprcg gb ybbx fnq znxrf zr puhpxyr…??

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Unun…lrnu gurer jrer n srj gvzrf jurer V jnf guvaxvat: "V'yy whfg nqq n fnq snpr urer…naq urer…nnnnaq. lrc znlor urer gbb… yby! Vg znl or nzbat ebg-13'q pbzzragf, ohg vg fgvyy nqqf gb gur rssrpg! Gur Tnaqnys erirny vf bar gung V guvax jr nyy jnag gb xrrc Znex pbzcyrgryl hafcbvyrq sbe, fb vs V unir gb chg va n srj gbb znal fnq snprf gb yrnq uvz gb oryvrir Tnaqnys vf sbe fher qrnq, gura fb or vg! ururur… 😀

            • flootzavut says:


              Lrnu, V guvax gur 🙁 naq :'( va ebg13 ner npghnyyl rira zber rssrpgvir (… cbffvoyl …) orpnhfr nf sne nf Znex vf pbaprearq jr ner gnyxvat nobhg guvatf ur qbrfa'g xabj nobhg va beqre abg gb fcbvy uvz. Fb jr pna yby naq unun naq gura chg 🙁 :'( naq url cerfgb, Znex guvaxf V nz fnq, cebonoyl nobhg Tnaqnys, rira gubhtu zl cbfg vf bayl gnatragvbnyyl pbaarpgrq.

              Lrf, V unir gubhtug gbb zhpu nobhg guvf…

              Bar pna bayl ubcr ur unfa'g ernq rabhtu rapbqrq grkg gung ur fgnegf gb erpbtavfr gur vapbatehbhf guvatf, yvxr frrvat n cbfg jvgu fnqsnprf naq gura yby ununun…

              🙁 :'(

              Frevbhfyl, vg nzhfrf zr jnl zber guna vg fubhyq gung va ebg13 guvf ybbxf yvxr n ernyyl fnq cbfg. V arrq gb tb gb orq….!

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                Tbbq cbvag, V guvax V'yy unir gb jngpu ubj znal ovgf bs ynhtugre V glcr bhg naq nibvq vg. Nqq fnq snpr urer: :'(

                V unir gb fnl, lbhe ragver pbzzrag znqr zr ynhtu gur jubyr gvzr. Whfg gur vqrn bs hf fnqvfgvpnyyl nqqvat va :'( gb gbegher Znex. Guvf znxrf zr jnag gb fcrpvsvpnyyl cbfg aba-fnq pbzzragf gung vapyhqr gurfr fnq snprf. :'( 🙁 Jr fubhyq gbgnyyl whfg xrrc pbzzragvat, znlor jvgu gur jrngure, be ubj rnpu bs bhe qnlf jrer, vapyhqvat znal boyvtngbel fnq snprf, gb znxr n ybat ybat guernq bs jung nccrnef gb or bhe tevrivat bire Tnaqnys. V jbhyq fhccbeg guvf! (gubhtu, va ab jnl nz V nfxvat lbh abg gb tb gb orq…vg'f tbg gb or yvxr, 1 be 2 nz gurer, evtug?) Jr pna pbagvahr gbzbeebj, vs lbh'q yvxr! :'( 🙁

      • flootzavut says:

        V'ir orra hfvat 🙁 naq :'( nf zhpu nf cbffvoyr ba zl EBG pbzzragf, V svther gung gur zber 🙁 ur frrf gur zber tevrs ur jvyy guvax vf orvat fubja sbe Tnaqnys, pbf nsgre nyy ur qbrfa'g xabj gung guvf pbzzrag vf nyy nobhg bhe rssbegf gb chg uvz bss gur genvy ybybyby 🙁 🙁 🙁 vg'f tbggn uryc evtug??

        V'z abg fher vs gung ynfg fragrapr znxrf frafr pbf V nz glcvat va pbqr fb vg'f n ovg uneq gb xrrc genpx – V'z BX nf ybat nf V whfg xrrc glcvat, ohg vs V trg fvqrgenpxrq naq sbetrg jurer V tbg gb gura vg trgf n ovg jvooyl.

        Fbzr zber fnqsnprf sbe tbbq zrnfher 🙁 🙁 :'( yby

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          hehe…yeah that's why I don't use the automatic typing in code function of the Leet Key add on anymore…it had me way to confused! I probably do it a slightly more time consuming way, typing things out normal then changing it in the text box using Leet Key, but it works for me, I guess!

    • bugeye says:

      Gunax lbh, guvf vf rknpgyl gur frafr V trg ernqvat nyy gur pbzzragf. Jr arrq zber jnvyvat, zbnavat, naq qrinfgngvba tvsf.

  30. Darth_Ember says:

    The dwarven book's last lines are so chilling.

    And it's at this point we reach a kind of dividing line, I think.
    In-story, those who know what a Balrog is are far, far more afraid. Those who do not, while they find that fear infectious, do not make the same kind of outcry, and only truly discover the full threat of the thing when they see it.

    Beyond the story… we are in the same boat as the hobbits. We have not heard of a Balrog before. But there is in my opinion a divide between those who are willing to accept that a creature they've never heard of is scaring the protagonists, and those who are not.

    Which is a roundabout way of saying: People wanting to laugh at Legolas for reacting to the news of a Balrog? TO THE LEFT. Straight into the water occupied by the Watcher from last chapter. Oh yeah.
    Yes I am defending the honour of a fictional character, dwi.

    • Saphling says:


      Actually, I find the idea more terrifying that the strongest people in the fellowship are the ones who are the most frightened. It's a great use of role reversal, because usually they are the ones who are more calmly capable and more familiar with battle.

    • eregyrn says:

      There are people who laugh at Legolas for expressing fear of THE BALROG?

      Seriously, who are these people? Even if it weren't for the argument that Aragorn and Gandalf are ALSO scared of it… it's not like there should be anyone left by the end of the chapter who doesn't agree that the fear is EXTREMELY WELL-FOUNDED.

  31. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    Movie talk…. Fb onpx frireny lrnef, V tbg gb frr gur Ybeq bs gur Evatf fpber cresbezrq ol gur flzcubal ng gur Ubyyljbbq Objy. Zbfg bs gur avtug, V jnf pbirerq va tbbfrohzcf, ohg vg jnf qhevat guvf fbat, jvgu gur oblf pubve cvrepvat gur avtug nve, gung V rnearfgyl ortna gb pel. Yhpxvyl gur rys arkg gb zr qvqa'g zvaq. Ur jnf pelvat gbb. ; )

  32. rabidsamfan says:

    This chapter is one of the shortest ones in the book, but oh, the power in those few pages.

    And I like it that Tolkien doesn't describe orcs. I can imagine them the way I want to. (Or don't want to, in the middle of the night…)

  33. guest_age says:

    True story: I was reading this for the first time back during the winter of 2001, and I was struggling really hard to get through it because of how dense it is. (I was 14, so I think we can forgive that, yes?) So I thought that if I saw the film, it might help me picture things better in my head, which turned out to be true. However, I was halfway through this chapter when I went. I stuck my bookmark in the book, walked into the theatre, and sat down.

    And then the Balrog came. And Gandalf fell.


    Needless to say, I rushed back out to the car after it was over, grabbed the book, rushed through the rest of the chapter (thus confirming that yes, actually, it did happen!) and wept all the tears forever.

    I had absolutely no problems with getting through the books after that.


  34. settledforhistory says:

    A quick comment, because I'm still at work and need to be really sneaky: WHAT THE HECK!

    Moira is a scary place we've learned that the previous chapter.
    Then it gets even more horrible when the company finds a book about the last years of Balin, with pages missing and unreadable words, made worse by the words Gandalf can read.
    "They are coming. They are coming" Oh I get it, shit is getting real isn't it?
    And then…DOOM! DOOM! Thanks, how wonderful when drums spell out your fate.
    Sunddenly there is chaos and everyone has to fight and Frodo gets almost killed and there are monsters and there are Orcs everywhere (just what are they?) and then there is .. I've actually no idea what it is.
    It is man shaped, made out of fire, has wings and a whip and I would most likly have died of fear already.
    I mean, even Legolas and Aragorn and Gandalf are freaked out. So no, I would love to meet all of these characters, but this trip really is too much.

    • settledforhistory says:

      And before I continue to prentent to actually work:


      How are they supposed to go on now? Will he get better? Can someone please console Sam?
      Can I please console Sam?
      Oh, this is coing to end badly, I will need a new book soon because this one is going to end up soaked in tears and ripped to pices. Damn, why can't I read something happy for once?

      • flootzavut says:

        They all need consoling. Film (just FotR) spoilers: Gur Uboovgf va zbheavat sbe Tnaqnys = bar bs gur fprarf gung nyjnlf znxrf zr pel :'(

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        "Can someone please console Sam?
        Can I please console Sam?"

        I know! The part that Tolkien writes about Frodo seeing Sam weeping, and then realizing he's weeping himself. ugh, it just. kills. me. No, hobbits, don't cry, please don't cry… :'( :'( :'(

        • flootzavut says:

          Also the fprarf va gur zbivr jvgu gur uboovgf pelvat… qba'g qb gung!!!!! 🙁 :'(

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            V xabj – gung fprar whfg thgf zr rirel gvzr. Cnegvphyneyl Fnz naq Cvccva, naq bs pbhefr Sebqb…bx jryy nyy bs gurz!! V'z n cerggl ovt Fnz sna, gubhtu, fb bhg bs nyy gurz, Fnz'f grnef ner gur jbefg sbe zr. Frna qbrf fhpu n terng wbo jvgu qrne Fnzjvfr va gur zbivrf, naq ur'f cnegvphyneyl tvsgrq ng gur fprarf gung oernx zl urneg sberire…

  35. Zoli says:

    This isn't really related to today's post, but I wanted to put up some other art. In rereading this, I grabbed a friend's copy of the 50th anniversary edition set. The covers are quite different from the usual designs so I thought they were worth sharing.

    This is the cover for Fellowship:
    <img src=""&gt;

  36. TheFormerAstronomer says:


    From the films: Gur Onyebt vf bar bs zl snibhevgr rire pvarzngvp zbzragf. Zbevn vf cresrpg, naq gur Onyebt vf cresrpgyl cresrpg.

    From the films also, too: ABOBQL GBFFRF N QJNES!

    • Dreamflower says:

      Re: the Moria sequence in the movies: Bayl guerr guvatf zneerq gur cresrpgvba bs gur Zbevn fprarf VZUB. Gjb jrer nqqvgvbaf– Nentbea naq Sebqb ba gur nznmvat fjnlvat oevqtr naq gur Qjnes gbffvat wbxr. Bar jnf na bzvffvba– V jvfu gurl unq unq gvzr va gur zbivr sbe Tnaqnys gb znxr guvatf evtug jvgu Cvccva nf ur qvq va gur obbx. V xabj gurer jbhyqa'g unir orra gvzr sbe gur jubyr fprar, ohg whfg Tnaqnys'f unaq ba uvf fubhyqre naq n ybbx, gb yrg uvz xabj ur jnf sbetvira jbhyq unir orra avpr.

      Ohg bgure guna gubfr guvatf, V guvax gur jubyr guvat jnf gehyl cresrpg– sebz gur njrfbzrarff bs gur Qjneebjqrys gb gur ernpgvbaf gb Tvzyv'f gbzo gb Tnaqnys snpvat gur Onyebt ba gur oevqtr. Naq bire nyy bs vg, Ubjneq Fuber'f NZNMVAT fpber!

      • Tilly says:

        V jvfu gurl unq unq gvzr va gur zbivr sbe Tnaqnys gb znxr guvatf evtug jvgu Cvccva nf ur qvq va gur obbx.

        Lrnu. Vg'f bar bs gur ernfbaf V'z fb tynq gurl unir nyy gubfr avpr zbzragf va gur guveq zbivr! (Vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V erernq gung obbx fb V'z abg fher juvpu ner sebz gurer be abg…)

  37. Geolojazz says:

    My circle of friends reading this the first time…we all spazzed at Gandalf's last words. He's plummeting down into an abyss, and the last thing he says is: "Fly, you fools!"

    I guess it really does suit Gandalf's cranky old-man-ness. But…but…heartbreak!

    Gandalf. 🙁

  38. Atrus says:

    Gandalf is the biggest badass in the history of badassery. I think there's an unwritten rule between me and my friends that we must shout a "Fly, you fool(s)" or "You cannot pass" at least once a week.

    I don't think the orcs are ever described with precision. Actually very few people and characters are, at least not with the level of detail that Tolkien reserves for nature and architecture. It is not uncommon to find (pre-movie) illustrations where Legolas vf qnex-unverq, fvapr Gbyxvra arire rkcyvpvgyl fgngrf uvf unve pbybhe naq trargvpf nyybj sbe vg.

    • @MeagenImage says:

      Yeah, it's always "he looked young, but old at the same time, tall and statuesque with a face etched with worry, in his hands were healing and on his brow sat wisdom", but he never gets around to mentioning a freakin' hair color. Or whether the ears were pointy.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Not in any of the LotR books. But he did write a letter to an illustrator, and in a kind of round-about way confirmed Elven pointy-ears: he said hobbits' ears were slightly less pointy than Elf ears.

    • ljrTR says:

      I like imagining their looks for myself.

    • @flourish says:

      I was SO going to bring that Legolas point up.

      (Gb or snve: vs Guenaqhvy jrera'g rkcyvpvgyl qrfpevorq nf univat oybaq unve gurer jbhyq or AB rkphfr sbe n oybaq Yrtbynf.)

  39. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    Looking back, I completely felt the same way about Dumbledore's death. Complete denial. No, just no. You can't do that to us. We NEED him!

    I know there've been a lot of comparisons of Gandalf and Dumbledore…but Snape is NO Balrog (at least IMHO…*waves her Snape Banner).

    • Katie says:

      To be honest, when I learned that Mark had been spoiled for Dumbledore's death, that was my first thought: "Maybe he'll read LOTR without being spoiled. Gandalf's death is even worse than Dumbledore's, so he'll get to experience what he missed out on for HP".

      • flootzavut says:

        ^^^^ yes.

      • stefb4 says:

        Well, he was still unprepared for Dumbledore's death, in a way. If I remember correctly, he was completely shocked it happened in the 6th book rather than the 7th. So he wasn't TOTALLY prepared.

        But yeah, there's no way he was prepared for Gandalf's death *sobs* (but yet I am filled with glee at this unpreparedness…)

    • Laurelluin says:

      No, Snape is Smeagol! *waves her Snater banner*

      Please don't take me too seriously, it's just a laugh.

      • Katarina says:

        V jnf tbvat gb fnl gung Fancr vf Obebzve, ohg V qba'g guvax "unatvat bhg jvgu gur Qnex Ybeq" naq "pbirgvat gur evat naq orvat xvaq bs unhtugl" vf ba gur fnzr cntr, fb ab. Cbffvoyl Fancr vf Jbezgbathr? Gubhtu Jbezgbathr arire erqrrzrq uvzfrys. Bu, arire zvaq…

        • Tilly says:

          Jryy, hayrff lbh pbhag xvyyvat Funexrl nf 'erqrrzvat'. Ercragvat, znlor.

        • sporkaganza93 says:

          V npghnyyl guvax gung va n ybg bs jnlf, Fzrntby npghnyyl VF xvaq bs gur zbfg yvxr Fancr. Naq V nz fnlvat gung orpnhfr V ybir obgu punenpgref. Boivbhfyl Fancr jnf arire arneyl nf onq nf Tbyyhz ohg gurl fgvyy obgu xvaqn unir n ovg bs n "gentvp ureb" fbeg bs ryrzrag gb gurve punenpgref vs lbh guvax nobhg vg.

    • arithmancer says:

      Certainly not!! *is indignant* I was very upset when I read "The Lightning-Struck Tower" myself, but not because of who died. Snape did it, everyone hated him for it, but it was totally the right thing to do. *sigh* Poor Severus, indeed…

  40. Literateknits says:

    I remember reading, somewhere in my Tolkien-obsessed teenage years, that WWII hit right as he was writing about Balin’s tomb. I’ve always felt that you could read Tolkien the WWI vet’s reaction to another world war in this chapter and the darker turn it takes.

    Okay. Enough being a history nerd for now.

    • Literateknits says:

      Another remnant of my Tolkien-obsessed youth: I do, in fact, yell “YOU CANNOT PASS” nearly ever time I see a “No Passing” road sign. That includes the one on the street where I grew up. I was such a delightful teenager.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Particularly since his sons were going off to fight in it, and Tolkien knew well what they were going into. One line from his letters is particularly tearjerking: "Oh my dear John Ronald, what ever are we going to do?"

      • arctic_hare says:

        Oh geez. :'(

      • JustMalyn says:

        All the tears :'(

        • Dreamflower says:

          His letters to his sons during that time are very affecting, especially those to Christopher, who was to be a fighter pilot in a very dangerous area. You can just tell from those letters that his heart is breaking that his sons have to be in a war ( after he fought in the war that would supposedly "end all war" ) and yet he tries his best to give them encouragement.

      • stefb4 says:

        From IMDB: "John often had difficulty falling asleep. When he was lying awake his father would come and sit on his bed and tell him tales of Carrots, a boy with red hair who climbed into a cuckoo clock and went off on a series of strange adventures. This was the premise for the character of Tom Bombadil in J.R.R. Tolkien's novel 'The Lord of the Rings'."

        I've never read any of the letters, but I want to.

  41. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    Mark, if you go back to your copy of The Hobbit and read the author's note at the beginning, there's an explanation of Orcs:

    "Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated as goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kind). Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures and it is not connected at all with our orc, ork, applied to sea-animals of dolphin-kind."

    Tolkien doesn't get more specific than that very often, but most people have an idea of what a goblin would look like. Still, given that the word orc is all over The Lord of the Rings and hardly in The Hobbit, Tolkien should probably have included the same note in this book (and, ideally incorporated an explanation into the text).

    This is the chapter that blew me away as a 10 year old.

    I wouldn't say that Tolkien is a particularly great prose stylist and the book spends a long time on the detail of a world he'd been imagining for years. So the criticisms of long-windedness and lack of pace have something to them. However, I don't think the books would have captured the public imagination in the way they did without the narrative being structured around some pretty well executed adventure story plotting.

    As I said yesterday, it's likely that Tolkien's model for this would have been the popular adventure fiction of his youth (H Rider Haggard and John Buchan as well as possibly HG Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle). It's likely that he understood he needed an exciting story will lots of peril to pull the reader through the details of the world. So it's not a surprise that you, Mark, find it exciting rather than dull. It's wordy compared to its imitators (which rather streamline the form, to a lesser effect, in my view) but, in terms of literature as a whole, it's a least as much based in populist storytelling as anything else.

    Another big factor in the popularity of the books was the fact that they were published cheaply in the US in the 60s by a company who thought the copyright hadn't been registered there. However, I can't help but think that it's Tolkien's combination of an immensely detailed world and a driving storyline that meant it remained in peoples minds while other, broadly similar, works faded away. Also, I suppose, it chimed with a lot of hippy ideas (Tolkien, inspired by Wiliam Morris probably, creates an anarchist pre-industrial idyll in The Shire).

    • ljrTR says:

      big yes to your post. Tolkien put lots of elements together to make a story that still moves or is enjoyed by many people years later.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Tolkien basically wrote what he wanted to write the way he wanted to write it, and told the sort of story he would have liked to read. He was often befuddled at the popularity of his stories, and had no understanding of his fans or of what we nowadays call "fandom"– it was a foreign concept to him. And he did not at all understand his American hippy fans!

      I often think we owe as much to Stanley and Rayner Unwin as we do to Tolkien for the book that LotR became. I can't think of very many publishers who would have been so patient with an author's taking so much time, or with his quibbles over seemingly small matters (such as the spelling of Dwarves).

  42. amyalices says:



    I'm getting this vigil started. *Lights candle*

    Truly, you were the sassiest of them all.

  43. roguebelle says:

    Movie comment: ATY, bar bs zl snibhevgr zbzragf va gur SbgE zbivr vf gur ybbx ba Obebzve'f snpr jura ur fnlf, "Gurl unir n pnir-gebyy", yvxr nyy, "Terng. Ernyyl. Whfg njrfbzr. Guvf jnf whfg jung jr arrqrq."

    • Anzel89 says:

      XD LRF! Whfg gung jubyr frpgvba va gur gbzo, sebz Cvccva gb Obebzve, vf pbzrqvp tbyq. Vg ernyyl vf n grfgnzrag gb gur zbivrf jevgvat gubhtu gung gur pbzrql arire qrfgeblf gur grafvba bs gur fprar.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Definitely! That was so perfect for the situation.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Lrnu, gurl ernyyl qb jbex va gur zber pbzrqvp yvarf ng gur orfg zbzragf, naq vg qbrfa'g srry bhg bs cynpr, be gbb zhpu. Gurer jrer fbzr zbzragf va gur ynfg pbhcyr UC zbivrf gung V sryg gur uhzbe jnf n ovg zvfcynprq jvguva gur fgbelyvar, be ng yrnfg gur fprar. V sbhaq vg engure qvfgenpgvat ng gvzrf. Ohg va YbgE zbfg bs gur pbzrqvp yvarf ner jryy qryvirerq naq jryy cynprq.

      • flootzavut says:

        Pippin <3

    • flootzavut says:

      YES! Someone mentioned that further up the comments. Gur gbar, gur snpvny rkcerffvba, vg'f snagnfgvp! Naq fb shaal, jvgubhg ehavat gur qenzn!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Agreed so hard.

  44. samyouare says:

    I really like how you can kinda feel Gimli’s sorrow in the beginning. Poor guy. He was so excited to see Balin…

    I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but this scene was perfect in the movie. Bah.

  45. VoldieBeth says:

    This chapter has all the amazing one liners!!

    "We cannot get out."

    "They are coming."

    "You cannot pass!" Movie spoiler: Bs pbhefr rirelbar vf snzvyvne jvgu Vna ZpXryyra'f snzbhf yvar: 'LBH…. FUNYY…. ABG…. CNFF!!!1!1!'

    "Fly, you fools!"

    After the movies, I can only hear the actor's voices in my head when I read these lines. But they are so perfect that I don't care! 😀

    I can't wait for more!

  46. Danielle says:

    Bad: Traumatic chapter, bad things happen Gandalf dies, etc….

    Good: Through perhaps the most quoted chapter and those quotes are no longer spoilery. Including:

    They are coming. There is no more.


    Fly you fools!

  47. Hotaru_hime says:

    I remember reading the end of this chapter with amazement and fear and turned to my older brother, jub fpbeashyyl gbyq zr gung Tnaqnys qvq abg qvr naq jbhyq or onpx va gur Gjb Gbjref, gur fcbvyreyl onfgneq, who provided no comfort and, if memory serves right, simply walked away as I was awash in grief.
    Poor Hobbits. Gandalf was such a large, looming creature in their life and now he is gone! Gone! Taken by some fell beast in Moria.

  48. Juliana Moreli says:

    I think that the chapter that I've been most anticipating for was this one…
    So much despair and sorrow in a few pages…
    You lose faith, hope and a friend…and know that what was hard will be even more hard now…the strongest of them all failed, how long untill all of them fail too?

    Crbcyr, ubj ybat cnffrq orgjrra gur qrngu bs gur qjnesf va zbevn naq gur sryybjfuvc trggvat gurer?…va gur zbivrf nyy lbh pnda frr vf gurve fxryrgbaf.

    Nyfb, gur uboovgf pelvat…gur fnq fbhaqgenpx…gur ybfg ybbx bs Sebqb, naq gur ybbx bs qvforyvrs bs Nentbea jura Tnyqnys sryy…V erzrzore pelvat fb uneq ng gur zbivrf…V pbhyqa’g oryvrir…ubj pna guvf unccra? Gurl’yy nyy qvr abj…naq gura gurl neevivat va Ybevra, naq gur fbeebjarff va gung cynpr gbb…rirelguvat vf fb tybbzl sebz abj ba…

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Naq gur ybbx bs fnqarff zvkrq jvgu pbashfvba sbe Yrtbynf, jub vf rkcrevrapvat gur pbaprcg bs qrngu sbe gur svefg gvzr.

      • Saphling says:

        Yes, AUGH. That always makes me cry. I want to hug him.

      • baruchan says:

        Yrtbynf, jub vf rkcrevrapvat gur pbaprcg bs qrngu sbe gur svefg gvzr.

        Fb fbeel sbe gur avgcvpx, ohg V ERNYYL ungrq Beynaqb'f gnxr ba Yrtbynf' "rkcrevrapvat gur pbaprcg bs qrngu sbe gur svefg gvzr". Ur terj hc (be ng yrnfg fcrag gur znwbevgl bs uvf nqhyg yvsr) va Zvexjbbq! Jurer gur Arpebznapre (Fnheba) pbeehcgrq gur sberfg fb zhpu gung vg ybfg vgf bevtvany anzr "Terrajbbq gur Terng" naq qebir Guenaqhvy'f crbcyr abegu hagvy gurl rfgnoyvfurq gurve fgebatubyq va gur zbhagnva! Fheebhaqrq ba nyy fvqrf ol TVNAG FCVQREF naq bepf naq bgure sbhy orvatf! Vg jbhyq or jrveqre vs ur JNFA'G snzvyvne jvgu gur pbaprcg bs qrngu.

        V jvyy nqzvg gung gur cbfg-Zbevn fprar jnf urnegoernxvat va gur svyz, ohg jura V urneq Beynaqb Oybbz gnyxvat nobhg Yrtbynf abg orvat snzvyvne jvgu gur pbaprcg bs qrngu va gur pbzzragnevrf, V jnf whfg…AB. AB AB AB. Vg'f boivbhf ur jnfa'g nf snzvyvne jvgu uvf punenpgre'f onpxfgbel nf ur guvaxf ur vf.

      • Dreamflower says:

        V gubhtug vg abg fb zhpu rkcrevrapvat qrngu sbe gur svefg gvzr– nsgre nyy, ur'f n jneevbe naq unf sbhtug va Zvexjbbq (naq cbffvoyl va gur Onggyr bs Svir Nezvrf sbe nyy jr xabj)– ohg gur qrngu bs Tnaqnys! V nz fher gung nf na Rys ur unq na vaxyvat bs Tnaqnys'f gehr angher. Ur jbhyq or fubpxrq gung fhpu n crefba *pbhyq* qvr.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Lrnu V guvax gung'f zber nybat gur yvarf bs ubj V fnj Yrtbynf' ernpgvba. Vg'f engure yvxr rirelbar ryfr'f fubpx: bhg bs nyy bs gurz, ab bar rkcrpgrq Tnaqnys gb snyy. Gubhtu, jura V guvax nobhg vg, jvgu Obebzve'f qrngu ur nyfb qbrf xvaq bs unir n fvzvyne ernpgvba…

          • flootzavut says:

            V thrff lbh pbhyq nyfb nethr gung ur unf unq srjre bs uvf pybfr sevraqf qvr, naq univat tbg pybfr gb Tnaqnys, naq univat zber vqrn guna zbfg bs ubj cbjreshy rgp Tnaqnys vf, ur vf tbaan unir gung zhpu zber fubpx?

            Naq univat gjb bs gurz qvr va fhpu n fubeg fcnpr bs gvzr… 🙁

            • AmandaNekesa says:

              Good point. Gung'f tbg gb or vaperqvoyl fubpxvat naq whfg…havzntvanoyr gb ybfr gjb crbcyr va fhpu n fubeg gvzr senzr, rfcrpvnyyl jura lbh'er pybfr naq lbhe yvirf qrcraq hcba bar nabgure.

    • flootzavut says:



    • Saphling says:

      Qba'g gurl zragvba va gur obbxf gung vg'f orra gjraglvfu lrnef fvapr nal bs gur bgure qjneirf unq urneq nal arjf sebz Onyva'f tebhc va Zbevn?

  49. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    Mark, I like how you just pointed out to me that Galdalf basically just told the Balrog to go sit in a corner and think about what he did wrong.

    He just told a demon NO.

    I've never thought about it like that. I'm always so caught up in being terrified of it.

    • Patrick721 says:

      Well…Tnaqnys vf npghnyyl n Znvne, juvpu vf n fcvevg ebhtuyl rdhvinyrag gb na natry va grezf bs cbjre naq birenyy fgnghf va gur pbfzvp uvrenepul. Gur Onyebt vf nyfb n znvne, ohg Tnaqnys unf gur qvfnqinagntr bs orvat pbasvarq gb gur obql bs na byq zna. Gur Onyebt unf ab fhpu qvfnqinagntr.

      • SteelMagnolia80 says:

        Can I just say that you guys make me squirm with glee that you know so much about this world. I LOVE IT. I did NOT remember that. THANK YOU!!!!

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          I know, I'm always finding out new things on here. I've never read the Silmarillion before, so the fact that Tnaqnys naq gur Onyebt ner obgu Znvnef naq fhpu – V unq ab pyhr nobhg gung hagvy abj. V'z yrneavat jvgu rirel erivrj! 😀

    • flootzavut says:


  50. Ryan Lohner says:

    Gubhtu, vg'f n ovg uneqre gb ernyyl srry fnq ernqvat guvf n frpbaq gvzr, xabjvat gung ng gur irel zbzrag gur Sryybjfuvc vf tevrivat, Tnaqnys vf fgvyy svtugvat gur Onyebt nf gurl'er obgu snyyvat, gura svtugvat vg nyy gur jnl onpx hc gb gur tbqqnza gbc bs gur zbhagnva, naq xvyyvat vg orsber svanyyl nyybjvat uvzfrys gb fhpphzo gb uvf jbhaqf. Nf fbzr travhf ba GI Gebcrf chg vg, "Syl, lbh sbbyf" vf yrff "Fnir lbhefryirf" guna "Qba'g jbeel, V tbg guvf."

    • Anzel89 says:

      Nf fbzr travhf ba GI Gebcrf chg vg, "Syl, lbh sbbyf" vf yrff "Fnir lbhefryirf" guna "Qba'g jbeel, V tbg guvf."


      Gurer arrqf gb or fbzr xvaq bs navzngvba be cvpgher bs guvf vqrn perngrq. Vs gurer vf bar, cyrnfr fraq vg gubfr jnl.

    • flootzavut says:

      Unun V ybir gung! Nyy gur fnzr, tynq gurer vf n ovt bhgcbhevat bs tevrs, abg yrnfg orpnhfr V qba'g jnag Znex gb trg fcbvyrq ol crbcyr abg frrzvat gb pner.

      Nyfb, V fgvyy trg pubxrq hc ol gur uboovgf' tevrs :'(

      • arctic_hare says:

        All of this.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Lrnu V jnf trggvat xvaq bs jbeevrq ol guvf, fb V nqqrq ybgf bs pelvat tvsf gb zl pbzzrag gb gbqnl'f erivrj.

        Nyfb, er: uboovgf – lrf, vg whfg oernxf zl urneg rirel gvzr. V jnf jngpuvat n lbhghor ivqrb gur bgure qnl gung whfg unf gur fbhaqgenpx naq abguvat ryfr, cynlrq qhevat gung fprar, naq vg nyzbfg znxrf vg rira zber unhagvat naq ornhgvshyyl fnq. Rfcrpvnyyl Fnz pelvat va <a href"">guvf fprar, vg'f gur jbefg sbe zr. :'(

        • flootzavut says:


          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Oh, shoot, I didn't realize I'd messed up the link. Well for anyone else, I'll link it again… please work, video clip hyperlink… **Beware movie spoilers**


            I know…vg jnf yvxr V jnf gelvat gb gbegher zlfrys be fbzrguvat jvgu pbagvahny fnqarff. V xrcg tbvat onpx gb gung ivqrb bapr va njuvyr jura V jnf ercylvat gb pbzzragf lrfgreqnl. Fhpu n fnq fprar, fhpu na vaperqvoyr fprar…gunax lbh, Crgre Wnpxfba, sbe gur ornhgl lbh'ir tvira hf jvgu YbgE.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Naq bs pbhefr gurer vf gur snpg gung Tnaqnys qvq abg arprffnevyl RKCRPG gb fheivir gur onggyr– ab bar rire qvq fheivir n onggyr jvgu n Onyebt, rira jura gurl znantrq gb gnxr bar bhg.

      Arvgure qvq Tnaqnys nf n znggre bs snpg. Ur xvyyrq gur Onyebt, naq uvf obql jnf xvyyrq nf jryy. Ur pnzr onpx nf Tnaqnys 2.0 orpnhfr ur jnf jvyyvat gb znxr gur fnpevsvpr.

  51. clodia_risa says:

    On the one hand, it’s amazing that eight of the nine members managed to survive that death-trap. On the other hand, GANDALF! The smart one! The one who knew things! The only one who kept his presence of mind to tell the others to use his distraction as an escape even as he was about to fall into a bottomless pit!

    When I first read this, I really had no idea how they were going to survive. I mean, it was not like everything had been going smoothly up until that point anyway.

  52. redheadedgirl says:

    One of my best friends in the world calls me Balrog. I'll just leave that there.

    At the battle of Verdun, during World War I, the rallying cry for the French was, "On ne passe pas." ("They Shall Not Pass"). There's a statue that's at the cemetary or the battlegroudn- I'm not sure which- which will never fail to freak me out- Death, with a French flag and on the base of statue it says "Ils N'ont Pas Passe." That phrase has been used many times since to indicate a willingness to hold fast, no matter what the cost. Which makes Gandalf's sacrifice even more chilling.

    • ljrTR says:

      wow. I didn't know that (re the French at Verdun). thanks.

    • flootzavut says:

      Chilling indeed. Did not know that. Thanks.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Thanks for posting this, I didn't know but now I will always remember.

    • atheistsisters says:

      If you read Rilla of Ingleside, by L.M. Montgomery, there is a truly eerie series of dreams that one character has about Verdun and that phrase. It always gives me shivers. Of course, even without that the book is worth reading for many reasons, one of which is Dog Monday. One of my top three "cry like a baby every single time!' scenes in literature.

    • threerings13 says:

      That's fantastic. Didn't know that. FYI, for anyone who doesn't speak French "Ils N'ont Pas Passe" means They Did Not Pass.

    • Katarina says:

      In all the years since I first read LotR I've never made this connection before, but your tale reminded me that in Johan Ludvig Runeberg's The Tales of Ensign Stål, a very famous phrase is "Släpp ingen djävul över bron" = "Let none of those devils across the bridge."

      Also, while I love this chapter to pieces and it's so gloriously awful and scary and saddening, the badass phrase "You cannot pass" has been somewhat ruined for me by the list of "things you're not allowed to do while watching LotR", which had, "Stand in front of the theater entrance and yell YOU CANNOT PASS!" (Lrf, V xabj vg'f "funyy abg" va gur zbivr, ohg ab ernfba gb fcbvy gung!)

    • Dreamflower says:

      Oh man! With JRRT's own experiences in France in WWI, I can't believe that was not in the back of his own mind! Wow!

      I never knew that, but it really makes the scene resonate even more!

  53. atheistsisters says:

    The drums give me nightmares so bad, more than the rest of this chapter. Once the things are "visible" I'm able to move, but the drums petrify me like a stalagmite or something. My mother read these books to us when I was about 8 and I remember being quite shocked and sad when Gandalf got pulled down at the last minute. So sad – but at least he gave us the inspiring "You shall not pass!" to remember him by!

    Oh, from Mark's review:
    "That was a luxury, though, because they weren’t trapped in the Mines of Moria."

    Hmm, I think I shall have to start referring to things being a luxury because I'm not trapped in Moria.

  54. hpfish13 says:

    GANDALF NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unfortunately, there is no art for this chapter, probably because Alan Lee was too busy being utterly terrified and then utterly devastated.

  55. @_Weaver says:

    V unir gb fnl, guvf puncgre vf onfvpnyyl gur bayl nethzrag V pna guvax bs NTNVAFG Znex ernqvat nyy guerr obbxf orsber jngpuvat gur svyzf. Guvf fprar vf zhpu, zhpu zber cbjreshy vs lbh unir ab vqrn gung Tnaqnys jvyy or onpx. Ohg V qba'g guvax gung qrinfgngvba vf rabhtu gb pbhagrenpg nyy gur guvatf ur jbhyq fcbvy uvzfrys sbe (rfcrpvnyyl va gur nccraqvprf) vs ur jngpurq gur svyzf orgjrra. Uzzzz.

    • flootzavut says:

      The only ideal really is sbe hf gb zvaqjvcr Znex fb jr pna jngpu gur svyzf gbgnyyl serfu naq unir ab vqrn nobhg nalguvat. Ohg gung vf abg srnfvoyr *fnq* gubhtu vg jbhyq or pbby.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Yeah if that were possible, I think I'd like to do that to myself, at least so I could have read the books, if not before, maybe in the same order with the movies. I would mainly like this because, while I love the movies, I do wish they didn't affect my mind's visualization of the story and characters as I'm reading the books. I wish I could have developed that visualization for myself first, then watched the movies.

        • flootzavut says:


          V frrz gb erpnyy Crgre Wnpxfba onfvpnyyl fnlvat guvf nobhg gur zbivrf, gung ur jvfurq ur pbhyq jngpu gurz jvgubhg univat orra gur thl jub znqr gurz!

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Oh yeah, I remember that part too! It's such an interesting idea, and qrsvavgryl jbhyq or urycshy gb n qverpgbe, gung'f sbe fher, rfcrpvnyyl jvgu fhpu n znffvir cebwrpg nf YbgE! It would be such a powerful ability to do that! We should invent this.

    • SteelMagnolia80 says:

      So true…and yet, V fgvyy pevrq yvxr n onol qhevat gung fprar RIRA XABJVAT ur jbhyq pbzr onpx. Vg jnf Ryvwnu Jbbq'f cresbeznapr gung frnyrq vg sbe zr…gur bar grne nf ur ybbxrq onpx bire uvf fubhyqre (fbo). Bu naq Ivttb. Gung zbzrag bs qvforyvrs orsber ur chyyrq vg gbtrgure. V'z ernyyl svtugvat uneq abg gb jngpu gur svyz hagvy Znex jngpurf vg, ohg vg'f ernyyl qvssvphyg!

      • arctic_hare says:

        Lrnu, V trg grnel-rlrq rirel gvzr V jngpu gur fprar, naq V'ir frra gur zbivrf n YBG, whfg orpnhfr bs gur ernpgvbaf bs gur bgure zrzoref bs gur Sryybjfuvc, uboovgf rfcrpvnyyl. V qba'g guvax vg'yy uheg Znex'f ernpgvba gb xabj gung Tnaqnys vf pbzvat onpx.

      • flootzavut says:

        GUVF – naq nyfb Cvccva/Ovyyl Oblq – jura gur pnzren cnaf ebhaq gb uvz ur'f whfg pelvat fb haerfreirqyl, yvxr n puvyq, naq vg'f guvf erzvaqre gung Cvccva vf gur lbhatrfg. Naq V YBIR Ivttb'f qvforyvrs. Naq V guvax Ryvwnu whfg unf gur cresrpg rlrf sbe fnqarff orpnhfr gurl ner fb ovt naq oyhr.


  56. tigerpetals says:

    Gandalf is more EPIC than anyone else, of course. Couldn't wait to get to this part. Onyebt vf fb rcvp va gur zbivr! V ybir guvf cneg, naq gur vpbavp 'Lbh pnaabg cnff!'

    I wish someone had been there to grab Gandalf and drag him along right when the Balrog fell, but I guess that would have been stupid if Gandalf hadn't defeated it.

    Well, I don't have a lot to say, unfortunately. Poor Balin and Bilbo and Gimli.

    Mark, I think the orcs were mentioned in the Hobbit in a way that made them synonymous with goblins. So they're goblins. Also, there was a part at the beginning of this book describing hobbits, but I didn't read it so I don't know if orcs are described in it. It was before the first chapter and before the foreword.

  57. threerings13 says:

    So, I've mentioned that Gandalf is my favorite character, right? *sigh* But I can't hate this chapter because it is SO AWESOME. This is my favorite chapter of Fellowship. The journal of the dwarves, ending with "they are coming," the drums, the orcs and trolls and then Gandalf is DEFEATED by SOMETHING and then the Balrog….

    And Gandalf is so incredibly awesome on the bridge. *sigh* I think this just totally stunned my 11 year old self (whose favorite character was already Gandalf). This part in the movie KILLS me. I wept like a little girl at this point, like, the first five times I watched the movie. To the point where my husband was like, "You're crying AGAIN?"

    Movie talk: Fb, npghnyyl ernqvat guvf, V zvffrq Vna ZpXryyraf'f qryvirel bs gur fcrrpu ba gur oevqtr. Pnhfr ur qbrf vg FB JRYY gung whfg ernqvat gur jbeqf jnf xvaqn qvfnccbvagvat. Naq gura gur fprar jura gurl trg bhg naq gurl'er nyy jrrcvat…:'(

    • flootzavut says:

      Ur qbrf qb gur zbfg njrfbzr wbo urer. Naq gur uboovgf pelvat xvyyf zr. V trg grnel rlrq whfg guvaxvat nobhg vg.

  58. bookworm67 says:

    "that Tolkien didn’t try to replicate the book in the pages"

    Though actually my version of the book does have reproductions, complete with holes and smudged ink. Anyone else have those?

    • fantasy_fan says:

      Tolkien did draw that 1940-41, but for his own amusement. It wasn't originally in the books and was sent to Marquette University with his other literary papers in 1956. There is an e-publication of Tolkien's drawings by Marquette University at….


      • Atrus says:

        I seem to remember Carpenter's biography saying that Tolkien actually pushed to include the pages of the Book of Mazarbul in publication, but the same problems that resulted in LotR being split in three (shortage of paper, etc.) made it impossible in the first editions.

        • fantasy_fan says:

          That could be. I haven't read Carpenter in a long time. Might explain why the drawing looks so "finished," with color and all.

      • bookworm67 says:

        Wow, those are so cool! The one in my book looks like Tolkien's drawings, but enhanced, almost like photographs of a real manuscript, or a digital image or something.

      • Mirima says:

        Oh, wow! There's even a gbcbtencuvpny ivrj bs Zvanf Gvevgu!

  59. Juliana Moreli says:

    For those who love the soundtrack I'll leave a link for the Lord of The Rings in Concert from the very moment of The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

    MARK DO NOT WATCH IT…it contains bits of the movie


    • bookworm67 says:

      They had a Lord of the Rings in Concert somewhere near me a while ago! I really wanted to go, but found out too late…

  60. Bumblebea says:

    Gandalf 🙁 No one is ever prepared for this, Mark, no matter how many times they've read the books or seen the movies. Each time it's just as heartbreaking. How are the Company going to carry on without him? He seemed to be the only one who knew where they were going.

    The book which Gandalf (:() reads from is so delightfully creepy. "We cannot get out…..drums, drums in the deep….they are coming." Ooooh it sends shudders down my spine. You just know that shit is about to get real.

    I do just love (if you can love anything about this chapter) that Gandalf's last words are "Fly, you fools." At least he got to use his favourite word one last time. I expect he was looking directly at Pippin when he said it. Jura V svefg fnj gur zbivrf, V pbhyq arire jbex bhg jung ur fnvq gura. Vg frrzf boivbhf abj, ohg V zhfg unir erjbhaq naq jngpurq gung zbzrag nobhg svsgl gvzrf, gelvat gb jbex vg bhg. Sbe fbzr ernfba, V jnf pbaivaprq vg jnf "Syvgure, lbh sbbyf." naq gung syvgure jnf fbzr Zvqqyr-rnegu jbeq gung unq fbzr vzcbegnag zrnavat.

    It always made me laugh that Frodo never told the others about his mithril vest. When Aragorn is all "You hobbits are made of a stuff so tough (ha! rhyme) that I have never seen the like of it." Frodo's just like "Yeah, I've been working out. It totally just bounced off my rock-hard abs."

    As to the orcs, if you just imagine them as goblins you'll get the basic picture. They're very close relatives, I believe.

    In conclusion, GANDALF 🙁

    • flootzavut says:

      "Frodo's just like "Yeah, I've been working out. It totally just bounced off my rock-hard abs." "


      And I love the idea he's looking at Pippin as he says it.

  61. Sakura says:

    When my mom read this to me as a kid, I started sobbing as soon as the whip curled around Gandalf's legs. I cried for a long time. This is an amazing chapter, and I thought the movie did it quite well.

  62. Starsea28 says:


    You thought the last chapter was depressing and all we could think was HE HASN'T EVEN REACHED THE BALROG YET. :'(

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Does that book remind you of something?

    "Message follows: Run. For God's sake, run. Nowhere is safe… We can't—Oh, they're here. Argh. Slargh. Snick. Message ends."

    Nice little tribute from Moffat to Tolkien there.

    Also, I don't know if this is spoilery, but when in doubt rot13!

    Gurer'f na vagrerfgvat ovg va gur pbzzragnel sbe gur svefg zbivr jura Beynaqb Oybbz gnyxf nobhg guvf orvat gur svefg gvzr Yrtbynf unf rire frra fbzrbar qvr. Pna lbh VZNTVAR? Ur unf arire frra fbzrbar qvr orsber, naq abj ur unf gb jvgarff gur qrngu bs TNAQNYS. Naq ur xvaq bs xabjf jub naq jung Tnaqnys vf! Jryy, uvz naq Nentbea. Rirelobql ryfr vf whfg qrinfgngrq orpnhfr Tnaqnys'f tbar ohg Nentbea naq Yrtbynf obgu xabj gung gurl'er nyy pbzcyrgryl fperjrq.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Regarding your rot13: Vg'f guvatf yvxr gung juvpu znxr zr guvax gung Beynaqb Oybbz vf ernyyl haqreengrq nf na npgbe. Ur tbg glcrpnfg vagb nyy gurfr ureb urnegguebo ebyrf, naq gura ur fbeg bs snqrq, ohg ur'f tbg tbbq genvavat naq V guvax jvgu gur evtug ebyr ur pbhyq qb ernyyl tbbq guvatf. Uvf snpr jura gurl'er zbheavat Tnaqnys trgf npebff RKNPGYL jung ur jnagrq vg gb naq, fvtu. V rawbl uvz.

      • Starsea28 says:

        Nterrq. V guvax uvf ybbxf npghnyyl jbexrq ntnvafg uvz naq ur pbhyq cebonoyl qb fbzr terng fghss va cebfgurgvpf, vs lbh xabj jung V zrna. Fbzrguvat gung zrnag crbcyr jrera'g whqtvat uvz ol uvf snpr. Vg zhfg or uneq gb tb sebz na nznmvat rkcrevrapr yvxr gurfr svyzf naq trg qebccrq va Ubyyljbbq.

        • Jenny_M says:

          V fnj zbfg bs uvf ovt fghqvb cebwrpgf jura gurl pnzr bhg, naq gura V yngre fnj gur qverpgbe'f phg bs "Xvatqbz bs Urnira". Vg jnf fb fnq, orpnhfr gung jnf n TBBQ zbivrf gung jnf ehvarq ol fghqvb cerffher. V guvax vg pbhyq unir orra n ernyyl tbbq guvat sbe uvf pnerre, ohg vg whfg tbg unpxrq gb ovgf. Fvtu, cbbe Beynaqb! Ur arrqf gb qb fbzr vaqvrf naq ABG nalzber fghss yvxr gur Guerr Zhfxrgrref. Whfg gur cebzbgvbany fghss sbe gung bar znqr zr pevatr.

          • wahlee says:

            Qvq lbh jngpu uvz va Ryvmnorgugbja? Vg'f abg rirelbar'f xvaq bs zbivr– vg'f dhvexl naq xabjf vg– ohg V gubhtug ur qvq na rkpryyrag wbo va vg.

            • Jenny_M says:

              Lrf, V ernyyl rawblrq vg! V'z sebz gung nern naq vg pregnvayl jnfa'g cresrpg, ohg gurer jrer fbzr terng zbzragf va vg, naq V gubhtug ur naq Xvefgra unq n avpr purzvfgel (rira vs fur qvq fhssre sebz n ovg bs Znavp Cvkvr Qernz Tvey flaqebzr). Vg jnf avpr frrvat uvz cynlvat n zbqrea punenpgre nf jryy!

        • flootzavut says:

          V srry yvxr Beynaqb vf gur bgure fvqr bs gur pbva bs Wbuaal Qrcc – Wbuaal qrpvqrq ur jnf abg tbaan tb gung ebhgr, Beynaqb xvaq bs tbg fghpx vagb gur bccbfvgr ebyr. V qba'g guvax Beynaqb'f nf tbbq na npgbe nf Wbuaal, ohg V qb guvax ur'f orra glcrpnfg pbf ur'f cerggl… ur'f orggre guna fbzr jbhyq nffhzr univat bayl frra uvz va gubfr cerggl obl zbivrf. V'z xvaq bs ybfg orpnhfr V nz va ebg13 ohg V jvyy fgbc gurer!

      • arctic_hare says:

        V pbzcyrgryl nterr, V guvax crbcyr whfg ybbx ng gur cerggl naq nffhzr ur'f abg ernyyl gung terng na npgbe. JEBAT, ur qvq snagnfgvp va gurfr zbivrf, rfcrpvnyyl va gung cneg.

      • roguebelle says:

        Ubarfgyl, V guvax gur ynpxyhfgre phyzvangvba bs CbgP, rfcrpvnyyl jvgu ertneqf gb uvf punenpgre, cebonoyl uheg uvz zber guna nalguvat. V ubyq bhg ubcr gung ur'yy tb guebhtu n genafsbezngvba nf n zber zngher npgbe yvxr Yrbaneqb Qvpncevb qvq, gubhtu. Vg'f cbffvoyr, ur whfg zvtug arrq gb qebc bss gur enqne sbe n yvggyr juvyr naq gura er-rzretr guebhtu fbzr penml zvaqshpx vaqvr syvpx. 😉

        • Starsea28 says:

          Ohg gung jnfa'g rira uvf snhyg, vg jnf cbbe jevgvat! Bbu, gunaxf sbe oevatvat hc QvPncevb, tbbq rknzcyr. V erzrzore jura ur jnf whfg 'gur yngrfg grrantr urneguebo' naq ybbx ng uvz abj. Ubcrshyyl Beynaqb pna znxr n terng pbzronpx.

        • notemily says:

          Please don't use "crazy" on this site.

    • arctic_hare says:

      HAHA YES. I didn't want to say so at the time for obvious reasons, but that message in the Library definitely reminded me of the Book of Mazarbul.

      • Starsea28 says:

        It bugged me for a long time why that felt so familiar. Then I was doing a review of the two episodes and how they're imbued with the love of literature and have so many literary offices and a light went on in my head and I went "OHHHHH!" XD

    • baruchan says:

      Re: the rot-13 part —

      Vg'f terng gung Beynaqb Oybbz ernyyl pna npg qrfcvgr uvf orvat glcrpnfg gurfr qnlf nf gur urnegguebo thl, ohg jura V urneq uvz fnl gung ur svyzrq guvf fprar nf vs guvf jrer gur svefg gvzr Yrtbynf unq rire frra fbzrbar qvr, V whfg syrj vagb n areqentr. Yrtbynf yvirf va Zvexjbbq! Gur fnzr Zvexjbbq jvgu gur tvnag fcvqref naq gur bepf naq Fnheba (nf gur Arpebznapre) rkregvat uvf rivy vasyhrapr ba gur sberfg fb creinfviryl gung jung bapr jnf xabja nf "Terrajbbq gur Terng" jnf qbjatenqrq gb "Zvexjbbq". Juvyr V znl nterr gung vg jbhyq or qrinfgngvat sbe na rys gb frr bar bs gur Znvne qvr, V qba'g guvax gung jnf gur svefg gvzr ur'q frra NALBAR qvr.

      V ernyyl jvfu Beynaqb ernq zber bs gur fbhepr zngrevny juvyr cercnevat sbe guvf ebyr, orpnhfr — nf rirelbar ryfr cbvagrq bhg nobir — ur'f na npgbe jub pna qb terng guvatf nf ybat nf ur'f qverpgrq cebcreyl.

      • Starsea28 says:

        V gnxr lbhe cbvag, ohg frrvat fbzrbar lbh ybir naq terngyl erfcrpg qvr vf n terng qrny qvssrerag sebz frrvat bepf naq tvnag fcvqref qvr.

        Maybe he could work with Ridley Scott or someone like that?

        • baruchan says:

          Znlor ur pbhyq jbex jvgu Evqyrl Fpbgg be fbzrbar yvxr gung?

          Jryy, ur nyernql qvq, va Xvatqbz bs Urnira. V qvqa'g yvxr gur gurngevpny irefvba, ohg vg'f abg ernyyl uvf snhyg, nf gung irefvba bs gur svyz jnf ehvarq ol Rkrphgvir Zrqqyvat, ohg V yvxrq uvf cresbeznapr jryy rabhtu va gur Qverpgbe'f Phg. (ebg13'q orpnhfr V qba'g xabj vs Znex vf njner gung Beynaqb Oybbz jnf pnfg nf Yrtbynf va gur YBGE svyzf)

          • stefb4 says:

            He's aware 🙂 He mentions it in his first FotR review but anybody besides Elijah Wood and Ian McKellan would be a spoiler

    • Katie says:

      I also just realized: the message towards the end of Serenity, the movie. Also sounds very similar. "They are coming",

    • flootzavut says:

      Ahhhhh so true, that must be a tribute! Wonderful.

      And NO FAIR, David Tennant gifs make me cry :((((((((((((((((((((((((((

  63. Patrick721 says:

    I think it's a true sign of the power of this chapter, the overwhelming dread, that no-one's made a Doctor Who joke yet, not even Mark. I mean…"Drums. Drums in the deep."

  64. Laura says:

    I was waiting a long time for you to get here. And I just have one word to say.


  65. Starsea28 says:

    V npghnyyl grnerq hc ng guvf fprar naq gur nsgrezngu va gur zbivr naq gura gubhtug "Sbe Tbq'f fnxr, lbh xabj ur pbzrf onpx!"

  66. teaspooncapacity says:

    I've seen the movies, so I know what goes down, but reading this chapter still had me creeped out like no other and shouting "NOOOOOOOO!!!" multiple times.

    Let's start things off in the tomb of Balin. Cue two lines that I never, ever want to hear together in real life: "We cannot get out" and "They are coming." Basically you're stuck there to be meet an untimely death by orc blade or arrow or CAVE TROLL. Um, no thanks! I also forgot that Frodo was wearing mithril, so when he gets skewered I was like "HOLY CRAP FRODO!" But of course he fine. Thank goodness.

    Second, the Balrog. It's scary as fuck. That thing's made of fire, has a whip, and is an incredibly strong evil being. AND YOU HAVE TO ESCAPE IT. With little hobbit legs! And crossing this tiny excuse for a bridge with no kind of rails whatsoever and a very long fall to your death if you slip! I mean, talk about bleak!

    And then Gandalf show just how much of a TOTAL BADASS HE IS to fight against the Balrog, and he sends it falling into the darkest depths by tricking it onto the bridge, but then IT BRINGS HIM WITH IT?! You think he'd be safe because he's a badass and an IMPORTANT badass, but no, Tolkien is very good at making you exclaim WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?! And then the Fellowship just has to deal with the fact that they just lost Gandalf, the wise guy who how they would get to where they're going and was a wizard and THEIR FRIEND! What a chapter!

    Movie things: Jura Sebqb lryyf bhg uvf ovt "Ab!" naq gur zhfvp fgnegf fjryyvat hc, gung'f jura gur grnef fgneg cbhevat. Thnenagrrq. Rirel fvatyr gvzr. Fher, vg'f abg jung unccrarq va gur obbxf, ohg vg cynlf bhg gb vgf shyy qenzngvp rssrpg. Naq gura vg tbrf ba gb unir n jubyr fcernq bs crbcyr pelvat, naq V PNA'G QRNY JVGU GUNG XVAQ BS GUVAT!! Hetuu!! NYY ZL PERLF.

    And, to lighten the mood a bit, have a picture.
    <img src=" – Needless To Say – He Didn't Let Me Pass.jpg">

    • SteelMagnolia80 says:

      That's made of awesome.

    • JustMalyn says:

      THAT PICTURE. I'm doing that. Even though I'm far too polite when driving.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Ryvwnu Jbbq vf bar bs gur srj crbcyr jub pna ernyyl chyy bss n ovt "Ab!" va zl bcvavba. Vg jbexf fb jryy gurer. Orgjrra gung, gur zhfvp, naq gur vzntrf bs rirelbar pelvat, V'z nyjnlf n jerpx ng gung cneg, rira xabjvat gung Tnaqnys pbzrf onpx.

    • flootzavut says:

      I wish you could hear how much that made me laugh, I am still laughing as I type and I have tears in my eyes. Which is pretty impressive considering that gur ebg13 fghss jnf znxvat zr favss naq 🙁 ng gur zrzbel bs gur uboovgf pelvat juvpu xvyyf zr rirel gvzr!

  67. arctic_hare says:

    First, artses – John Howe's amazing rendition of Galdalf vs. the Balrog.

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


    <img src=""/&gt;

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Other thoughts:

    – Vg znl fbhaq jrveq pbzvat sebz fbzrbar yvxr jub fb qrrcyl naq cnffvbangryl ybirf gur fbhaqgenpxf, ohg bar bs zl snibevgr guvatf nobhg gur svtug va gur zbivr vf npghnyyl gung gurer VFA'G nal zhfvp sbe zbfg bs vg. Vg chgf nyy gur sbphf ba gur onggyr vgfrys; V guvax gb qb bgurejvfr jbhyq'ir znqr vg gbb punbgvp naq qvfgenpgvat, nhenyyl.

    – Fb cnffrf Tnaqnys gur Terl. Fvtu. V xabj V'yy frr uvz ntnva nf Tnaqnys gur Juvgr, ohg vg'f fgvyy n ubeevoyl fnq zbzrag naq V qb yvxr Tnaqnys gur Terl n fzvqtr zber guna gur Juvgr.

    – Vg'f nyfb qbhoyl qrinfgngvat va gur zbivr jura lbh unir gb frr gurz nyy hcfrg. Nf V'ir fnvq orsber, uboovgf pelvat whfg qrfgeblf zr. V pnaabg rira cvpx juvpu bar vf gur jbefg, nzbat Ryvwnu Jbbq, Frna Nfgva, Ovyyl Oblq, naq Qbzvavp Zbantuna, orpnhfr gurl nyy jerpx zr. JNNNNNNNNNU.

    – Sam really brings out his inner badass during that battle. Go Sam! ILU. <3

    – Gandaaaaaaaaaaaalf. 🙁

    • knut_knut says:

      Gur bar guvat gung xvaq bs “ehvaf” gung fprar sbe zr vf Ryvwnu’f rlrf! Gurl’er gbb oyhr! Rirel gvzr V trg gb gung fprar vg’f favssyrf naq pelvat naq gura “uaaaatu uvf rlrf ner fbbbbb ornhgvshy” -_-

    • fantasy_fan says:

      V qb yvxr Tnaqnys gur Terl n fzvqtr zber guna gur Juvgr.
      Zr gbb. Gurl fnl va EBGX gung Tnaqnys (gur juvgr) vf abg nf pybfr nf ur hfrq gb or, naq ynhtuf zber, ohg V qba'g frr vg. Tnaqnys gur Terl vf fb nihaphyne, ng yrnfg gb gur uboovgf, naq V ybir uvz.

      V pnaabg rira cvpx juvpu bar vf gur jbefg, nzbat Ryvwnu Jbbq, Frna Nfgva, Ovyyl Oblq, naq Qbzvavp Zbantuna, orpnhfr gurl nyy jerpx zr. JNNNNNNNNNU
      Sbe zr vg vf Ovyyl. Cbbe yvggyr Cvccva, Tnaqnys lryyrq ng uvz sbe qebccvat gur fgbar, naq abj ur'f qrnq. Cvccva unf gb or pneelvat fbzr thvyg sbe xvyyvat Tnaqnys (nf haernfbanoyr nf npghnyyl jbhyq or), naq Ovyyl anvyf gur vapbafbynoyr fboovat.

  68. knut_knut says:

    YES! gur fbhaq rssrpgf/zvkvat thlf qvq na rkpryyrag wbo ba nyy 3 svyzf

    • flootzavut says:

      yes so much this|!

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Yeah – V nyjnlf svaq gung cneg va gur RR rkgenf vagrerfgvat jura gurl'er gnyxvat nobhg gur qvssrerag fbhaqf gurl hfrq gb perngr fbzr bs gur ornfgf naq bgure rssrpgf va gur zbivrf. Ernyyl snfpvangvat!

  69. redheadedgirl says:

    OH. Okay, more movie spoilers.

    Fb gurer gurl ner, fheebhaqrq ol bepf, naq gura gurer'f n OBBZ naq sver va gur cnffntrjnl naq gur bepf eha njnl. Naq rirelbar'f yvxr "jung vf guvf arj serfu shpxrel?" naq Tnaqnys cbaqref sbe n ybat gvzr, vqragvsvrf vg nf n Onyebt (naq jr trg n TERNG fubg bs Yrtbynf fuvggvat uvf cnagf- frevbhfyl, gur nzbhag Beynaqb Oybbz pbairlf va gung ybbx vf nznmvat), naq gurl guvax nobhg ubj onq guvf vf, naq frevbhfyl, yvxr, SBEGL FVK FRPBAQF tb ol orsber gurl eha. SBEGL FVK FRPBAQF sebz gur gvzr gur tboyvaf gnxr bss gb jura gurl npghnyyl eha. Gung'f n YBAT yrnq gvzr gurl jnfgrq.

  70. Geolojazz says:

    One last note before I get back to work.


    Really likes fuzzy slippers. *facepalm*

    • jaccairn says:

      Is that from New Zealand?

    • notemily says:

      Dammit! I was going to post a whole thread full of silly images but then everyone posted all of them before I had a chance 😀 damn morning shift!

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Yeah, I just replied to Tauriel that she's posted almost all of the pictures I'd wanted to post! That's what happens when I work 7-4, the reviews post at 8, and I'm not always able to read or comment on my lunch, so I have to wait until I get home, and sometimes I finish late, too! Why must I be an adult and have bills and such? :p

    • Alice says:

      OMG…I love yaa!! I thought that I will have to post this… 😉

      On another note…Mark,you have all the hugs in the world.It's so nice to see that this book is growing on you.Also,it's not a spoiler,because it does not show anything in particular,just some orcs sitting on a cliff,but maybe this image by John Howe will help you more visualising the orcs.

      I have to say that I had the same problem,when reading the books,because in my country's mythology we do not have Elfs or Orcs,or Goblins so I did not know how was I supposed to imagine them.
      Here is another picture by John Howe of the Fellowship fighting the orcs in Balin's Tomb Chamber.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      And yet again, Tauriel, here's another picture I was thinking of posting for this chapter! That's what happens when work gets in the way…I wasn't able to get on here during lunch break and so I had to frantically get home and rush up to my computer to read Mark's review. Of course, too, the weather had to be all crappy and snowy, causing it to take twice as long to get to work, not to mention the fact that I finished work about 1 hour late! Sigh. I'm definitely looking forward to having a week off coming up soon. Can't wait!

  71. Geolojazz says:

    Thanks for pointing that out, my sincere apologies… …I learnt something new today.

  72. rslinton says:

    Guvf vf gur svefg gvzr V'ir pbzzragrq ba guvf, znvayl orpnhfr gur 'Bep' vffhr jnf anttvat ng zl oenva, orpnhfr V jnf FHER V'q ernq fbzrguvat va YBGE nobhg gurz. Onfvpnyyl, vg'f va gur Gjb Gbjref, puncgre VI: Gerrorneq. Vg'f nsgre Gerrorneq unf zhfgrerq gur Ragf naq gurl'er znepuvat gbjneqf Vfratneq. Ur fnlf:

    "Znlor lbh unir urneq bs Gebyyf? Gurl ner zvtugl fgebat. Ohg Gebyyf ner bayl pbhagresrvgf, znqr ol gur Rarzl va gur Terng Qnexarff, va zbpxrel bs Ragf, nf Bepf jrer bs Ryirf."

    V thrff gung gryyf lbh jung gurl NER/jrer znqr sbe, ohg abg ernyyl jung gurl ybbx yvxr – nygubhtu gur snpg gung gurl jrer znqr va zbpxrel bs Ryirf cebonoyl gryyf hf gung gurl'er uhznabvq, rgp. Gur puncgre orsber gung, Gur Hehx-unv tvirf hf n ovg zber qrgnvy nobhg gurve nccrnenapr, ohg gurer ner pyrneyl inevngvbaf orgjrra gurz – gevorf, rgp.

    Nyfb, va ertneqf gb fcrpvsvpnyyl gur Bepf gung ner va Vfratneq… Gerrorneq fnlf:

    "Ur [Fnehzna] unf gnxra hc jvgu sbhy sbyx, jvgu gur Bepf… Jbefr guna gung: ur unf orra qbvat fbzrguvat gb gurz; fbzrguvat qnatrebhf. Sbe gurfr Vfratneqref ner zber yvxr jvpxrq Zra. Vg vf n znex bs rivy guvatf gung pnzr va gur Terng Qnexarff gung gurl pnaabg novqr gur Fha; ohg Fnehzna'f Bepf pna raqher vg, rira vs gurl ungr vg… Ner gurl Zra ur unf ehvarq, be unf ur oyraqrq gur enprf bs Bepf naq Zra?"

    Qhaab vs gung urycf gb pyrne hc nal nzovthvgl(naq V thrff vg jvyy gnxr n ybat gvzr orsber Znex trgf gb gung frpgvba, fb ur'yy whfg unir gb fhssre va vtabenapr sbe n juvyr).

  73. @LizatLAX says:

    In the midst of the sadness and horror, there 's this thing I find really funny. How can you not have railings on bridges high above impossibly deep chasms? I mean, really? don't dwarves drink alcohol? IS THIS SAFE??? (small movie spoilers): naq gur zbivrf znxr vg rira jbefr, jura gurl'er ba gung gjvfgl fgnve/oevqtr frpgvba (jvgu gur tnc) naq gurer ner ab envyvatf naljurer. Guvf vf abg hc gb pbqr!

    also, sberire ynhtuvat ng Frna Orna'f qryvirel bs "gurl unir n pnir gebyy." OF COURSE THEY DO. lol

    • arithmancer says:

      As a young reader, I somehow got the idea that this was set up as part of the defenses of Moria by the dwarves, the narrow bridge with no railing that couldonly be crossed in single-file.

    • sudden_eyes says:

      'sberire ynhtuvat ng Frna Orna'f qryvirel bs "gurl unir n pnir gebyy."'

      GBGNYYL. V unir nyjnlf orra snfpvangrq ol Obebzve, naq V YBIR Frna Orna'f cresbeznapr – gubhtu Crgre Wnpxfba (haqrefgnaqnoyl, orpnhfr bs yratgu) vapyhqrq fb zhpu sberfunqbjvat gung gur punenpgre frrzf fdhveeryl gbb dhvpxyl. Rira gur obbx ernqre erzrzoref Obebzve jvgu ovggrearff – haqrefgnaqnoyl, ohg ur nppbzcyvfurf n ahzore bs tbbq naq inyvnag guvatf orsber uvf snyy. Gur ceboyrz vf gung ur qbrfa'g ernyyl haqrefgnaq gur Evat hagvy vg'f gbb yngr.

      • eregyrn says:

        Pbzcyrgryl nterrq. V arire, rire yvxrq Obebzve, guebhtu lrnef bs ernqvat. V pehfurq ba Nentbea rneyl, naq gurernsgre jnf veevgngrq ng Obebzve qvffvat uvz, naq Obebzve orvat n Ovt Wrex nobhg fghss, naq gur Evat, naq fb V whfg arire pnerq nobhg uvz irel zhpu.

        Ohg V jnf nyernql n Frna Orna sna orsber gur zbivrf pnzr bhg. Fb nsgre V tbg qbar ynhtuvat nobhg gur pubvpr, V jnf cerqvfcbfrq gb yvxr uvf Obebzve orggre guna V'q orra rkcrpgvat. Rira fb, ur, naq gur fpevcg, naq Wnpxfba nf qverpgbe qvq guvatf jvgu gur punenpgre gung V arire fnj pbzvat, naq qnzarq vs gurl qvqa'g znxr zr ybir uvz. Sebz gur qryvirel bs gur "…pnir gebyy" yvar, gb tvivat gur uboovgf svtugvat yrffbaf (naq yrggvat gurz gnpxyr uvz), gb orvat gur bar jub cynprf n pbzsbegvat unaq ba Tvzyv'f nez nf ur xarryf ol Onyva'f gbzo, gb npgvat nf n pbzsbegre bs gur uboovgf jura gurl trg bhg bs Zbevn, abg gb zragvba uvf gnyx jvgu Nentbea va Ybevra, be uvf zbzrag jvgu Snenzve orsber uvf qrcnegher. Fb znal jbaqreshy qrgnvyf.

        (Guvf vf abg gb fnl gung V qvqa'g nccerpvngr Ivttb'f Nentbea n terng qrny, gbb! V gbgnyyl qvq. Jryy, V nccerpvngr gurz nyy. Ohg ntnva, nf fbzrbar jub unq frevbhfyl pehfurq ba Nentbea sebz fhpu n lbhat ntr, Ivttb jnfa'g zhpu nf V'q cvpgherq uvz, lrg V nqberq gung cbegenlny nf jryy.)

  74. Guest says:

    I feel your pain. When I first read that, I was in complete shock.

    On a lighter note, should you ever find yourself on a LotR fan-forum, NEVER say whether you think Balrogs have wings or not. You WILL start a flame war. It's inevitable.

  75. sudden_eyes says:

    Oh, God, this chapter! I've been dreading it on your behalf, Mark. Like many others who've posted, I still remember the first time I read it, and when I got to the end I just … couldn't believe it. This is Tolkien at his best, making the reader feel the complete shock, denial, and sorrow of the remaining members of the Fellowship.

    As for the Balrog itself, all the shudders … By this point we've gotten familiar with Legolas, who in the previous chapter spent a whole night fighting off horrifying supernatural wolves and didn't seem all that fussed about it. But when he figures out the answer to "Dear God, what is that thing?!" he briefly but totally loses it. Just in case we weren't all scared enough already.

  76. notemily says:


    Even though most of the images I was going to post have been posted, I AM STILL DOING THIS THREAD AND YOU CAN'T STOP ME

    <img src=""&gt;

  77. kartikeya200 says:

    It's funny, because I read Fellowship ages before Mass Effect came out, but now I can't help but think of a scene from that when reading that last passage from the book they find, and vice versa when I see that scene.

    Avoiding plot spoilers, at one point you find a transmission from an alien race that was wiped out millenia ago, that only your character can understand, in an underground room on a planet so old and forgotten that the little info blurb on it mentions that all respirating life has died out (there are still plants). And as your character turns away from it, the last lines you hear are a rather desperate:

    "–Cannot be stopped. Cannot be STOPPED…"

    Never fails to give me the shivers.

  78. Icarus says:

    What I love:

    The orcs started the fire in the wrong place.

    They managed to cut themselves off, giving Frodo et al a clear path of escape. The orcs expected the company to take the main stair out of the hall rather than the back way.

    That means the orcs had known they were there for a while — long enough to create a battle plan. Did the Watcher in the Water slamming the door and ripping up the giant holly trees call attention to the group, perhaps? Did it just take time to figure out where they'd gone? Did Pippin when he threw that rock in the well? Or did the orcs never know exactly where they were, but figure they'd have to come out some time, and the main stair was the most likely route.

    • Anzel89 says:

      I think it's most likely the last one. They knew the Fellowship was there, how could they not after that entrance! Though once they started walking, the Orc's probably lost track of them. They just figured the fellowship would be coming that way because it was the main way to the only other exit in the mines…which is still interesting to me. You would think that something the size of Moria would have more than two exits.

    • lsq says:

      Is there any good drawing or map of this? I just CAN'T imagine this scene. I've no idea where that fire is 🙁

  79. Lauren says:

    When I read this chapter at the age of 10, it was recess at school. My teacher came up to me and saw that I was reading it. She said she was currently reading the book for the 3rd time. Then she looked at the page I was on, and said, “Oh, this is the part where they lose Gandalf”.

    The spoilers, they hurt so much ><

  80. stefb4 says:

    Oh this chapter…and that's all that really needs to be said.

  81. AmandaNekesa says:

    Hahaha. Yeah, I really don't think it makes a whole lot of sense, tbh. Gurve frperpl, cnffvat guebhtu haabgvprq va gur funqbjf, vf gur orfg fgengrtl gb trg vagb Zbeqbe. Abg gb zragvba gur sryy ornfgf gur Avar evqr nebhaq ba, cngebyyvat Zbeqbe zvtug, whfg cbffvoyl, lbh xabj…FRR GURZ! Rntyrf jbhyq abg rknpgyl or n fgrnygul fgengrtl.

    • msw188 says:

      It's really not so different from asking why Elrond didn't send people like Glorfindel with them. And both Elrond and Gandalf explain this quite clearly.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Bu lrnu, naq V pna haqrefgnaq ubj crbcyr jbhyq nfx gung nobhg Tybesvaqry, be dhrfgvba vs gurer'f abg n orggre cyna gb qrfgebl gur Evat. V crefbanyyl qvqa'g guvax nobhg hfvat gur Rntyrf jura V svefg orpnzr n sna, gubhtu V pna frr jul crbcyr zvtug fcrphyngr nobhg vg, nf jryy. V guvax V'ir zbfgyl frra guvf Rntyrf vqrn hfrq gb qrzbafgengr vg nf n znwbe cybg ubyr, ohg V qba'g guvax gung'f gehr be snve, fvapr nal cngu va Zvqqyr Rnegu vf tbvat gb or svyyrq jvgu crevy, naq vf qrsvavgryl abg tbvat gb or nf rnfl be fvzcyr nf vg fbhaqf. That's the fun & interesting thing about fandoms, is seeing other peoples' ideas and theories. I might not agree with them, but they're still interesting!

  82. sporkaganza93 says:

    The first time I read this chapter was when I was a lot younger, since the first attempt at reading LOTR got me through pretty much all of Fellowship before I gave up. And the bit with Gandalf reading the log scared the SHIT OUTTA ME when I was a kid. I mean, seriously? "We cannot get out. The end comes. Drums, drums in the deep. They are coming." Excuse me while I LOSE MY SHIT FOREVER! That is legitimately one of the scariest passages of any writing ever that I think I've ever read.

  83. AmandaNekesa says:

    Oh man, this chapter is just….tears and sadness and complete despair by the end. To lose such a beloved character so early on in this story is just baffling. I mean, it's Gandalf…GANDALF, I say! It's just not possible… there must be a mistake…somewhere.

    I have to say I love Frodo's sudden re-awakening of BAMF-iness: "Frodo felt a hot wrath blaze up in his heart. 'The Shire' he cried…" I love that Frodo is doing this whole journey for the Shire, too. He's doing this for all he loves & holds dear in his life, and the Shire is obviously what he wants to protect. V guvax ur erpbtavmrf rneyl ba gung gur cbjre bs gur Evat pbhyq riraghnyyl erfhyg va gur Fuver orvat ehyrq ol Fnheba nybat jvgu gur erfg bs Zvqqyr-Rnegu. Gur Fuver vf abg hagbhpunoyr, naq gung'f n sernxvat fpnel gubhtug; bar gung jr frr ernyvmrq va EbgX. Naq nyy gur juvyr gur uboovgf bs gur Fuver unir ab xabjyrqtr bs uvf cneg va gur sngr bs Zvqqyr-Rnegu, naq gura nsgre vg nyy, gurl fgvyy qba'g erpbtavmr uvf ebyr va gurve serrqbz. Htu V guvax guvf vf gur cneg nobhg Sebqb'f wbhearl gung ernyyl trgf gb zr. Sebqb'f fb oenir naq fnpevsvprf uvzfrys va fb znal jnlf, ohg vg'f ynetryl haabgvprq ol uvf bja crbcyr, fnir Zreel, Cvccva, naq Fnz. Vg'f fb aboyr, naq V ybir gung nobhg Sebqb.

    Sam's inner-BAMF also shows up in this chapter, and I just love it when Sam gets all fired up like this! Fnzjvfr gur Oenir! V jnag gb urne zber nobhg Fnz! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    It seems all but one picture I'd wanted to post has already been included in other comments, so here you go! This is Ted Nasmith's "The Balrog" and is definitely on the side of no wings, for the great Balrog wings debate (though I think I fall more on the side of yes to the wings):

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

    At this point I think the only appropriate thing is to cry myself to sleep because Gandalf….is gone… :'( :'( :'(

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


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

    Not Gandalf….

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


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

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

    We're here for you, Mark…I think you know now how truly unprepared you are for Tolkien.

  84. stefb4 says:

    Um I honestly really don't think this is a spoiler but I am so paranoid that I'm going to rot13 it anyway. It basically describes how Gimli is related to these dwarves (particularly the ones we met in The Hobbit). So Mark if you are interested in that you can look, I spoil nothing else.

    V srry qbhoyl fbeel sbe Tvzyv, orpnhfr Onyva jnf fbzr fbeg bs pbhfva (V npghnyyl oryvrir gurl ner svefg pbhfvaf bapr erzbirq–huuu ubjrire gung jbexf bhg, V znl or jebat) juvyr Bva jnf npghnyyl uvf hapyr. Gung'f npghny snzvyl ur'f ybfg, abg gb zragvba ur zhfg'ir xabja jub gur bgure qjneirf jrer naq znl unir orra sevraqf jvgu gurz.

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