of the Rings : Book 2, Chapter 4
A Journey in the Dark
A Discussion Led by Inferno
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Book II; Chapter 4: A Journey in the
Dark-- 1. Descent to the Underworld. - Inferno
It is a standard concept in the majority of mythological backgrounds, that the mythic hero takes a journey into the Underworld as part of his/her heroic quests. Hercules, Theseus, Osiris, and many others from ancient myths enter the Underworld at some point in their journeys. Even Luke Skywalker does this in The Empire Strikes Back, descending into a thematic equivalent of the Underworld, the Dark Side cave on Dagobah.
Moria also represents a thematic Underworld. For which member(s) of the Fellowship does the trip through Moria represent the Descent to the Underworld?
My personal vote goes to Boromir. He has no other chance to take a trip like this. Aragorn has been through Moria before; additionally, he enters the Paths of the Dead. Legolas and Gimli also enter the Paths of the Dead. Frodo and Sam go to Mordor, which is has a much stronger Underworld flavor than Moria. Of course, a hero may make more than one trip into the Underworld, so it can stand for the whole Fellowship.
Gandalf - Ophelia
The Moria passage has to be thought of in context with the rest of the series. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, for example, really do go through the Underworld before they reach Minas Tirith- Frodo and Sam go through the Dead Marches.
I don't think that Mordor should be counted as an underworld, but as the site of the final heroic confrontation.
Obviously the Moria passage is significant to Gandalf because of his fall and ressurrection, and Merry and Pippin should also be counted- it is their first real taste of the horrors of the world.
The transforming trip
through the underworld - Blue
As we've discussed before, the Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) have already made two trips through a symbolic underworld, even before reaching Rivendell: (1) the passage under the High Hay from Buckland into the Old Forest; and (2) being trapped in the Barrow Down. But, as Nenya points out, the rite of passage associated with this thematic journey involves a passing of a test, or a transformation.
It may be said that the passage through the Buckland Gate is more significant for Sam than any of the others; I imagine that he alone has never ventured outside the Shire. But, that passage for Sam cannot compare to the passage through Shelob's Lair at Cirith Ungol, where we see a true transformation of Sam, in more ways than one.
The Barrow Downs seems a major test for Frodo. He is not overcome by the wight; he saves himself and the others and then summons Bombadil's aid. He basically proves himself up to the task ahead. The hobbits lose their clothes - a symbolic transformation, more symbolic than actualized.
Moria is the next. As Nenya points out, it is Gandalf who truly travels to the depth of the underworld here, and is truly transformed here. Aragorn becomes the leader of the Fellowship by Gandalf's fall, so he is transformed as well. And, as a group, the assault on the Redhorn Pass and the trip through Moria seems to unite them as a group; all determine to go on - even Legolas and Gimli. When Elrond appointed the members of the Fellowship, Legolas and Gimli were committed no further than to crossing the mountains. It was always possible, and even probable, that they would then depart and return to their respective homelands. But, they all determine to go on - the passage is a galvanizing experience for all of them.
Hmmm - your list is
interesting as to whom is left off. - Nenya
Before I read your list of characters, my first reaction was that it was a trip to the Underworld for Gandalf much more so than any of the other characters. He literally travels to the depths of the world, and to the depths of his own life (in a way) during the trek through Moria. It is undeniable that he comes through far more profoundly changed than any of the other characters. He'd be my first choice for your list.
I agree, Nenya. - Kimi
My first thought was also Gandalf. His journey through Moria leads to his death and rescurrection; that's quite a potent transformation.
I'm with Nenya - HammerHead
Each of the other characters takes a very "uniqute" trip to the underworld, as you describe it, Inferno. Aragorn's journey through the Paths of the Dead is his individual choice and represents (to him) a more important part of his role in the War of the Ring and his ascent to King. Sam and Frodo's trip to Mordor is more symbolic of their individual purpose and goal, more or less from the beginning of the tale they are destined to face the greatest underworld. The perils they face there are greater than either of them faces in Moria and they come closer to the "Pluto" figure of ME than does any other character. As for Boromir and the other members of the Fellowship, I (personally) wouldn't consider their roles in the War of the Ring to be great enough (heroically) to 'require' a trip to the Underworld. Though, Boromir is great, he is not the greatest hero of this tale; more, he seems to me, a vehicle to illustrate the corruption of the Ring and its nature to control men.
Gandalf alone enters
Moria and does not come out (immediately). He alone is, as Nenya
said, greatly changed, for the better, after his trial there.
Likewise, he is the only member of the Fellowship who does, indeed,
face a trial in that particular underworld.
what about Moria made Legolas and Gimli determine to stay with
the Fellowship??? - Binky
I have often wondered about this..they were orginally on their way home...
perhaps before when they had thoughts of going home...they perhaps took for granted that even if they left the Fellowship the Hobbits would be in good hands with Gandalf, Aragorn and Boromir...but with Galdalf gone they perhaps decided the hobbits and the quest needed all of them??? They also knew Boromir had openly expressed the opinion that the ring should be used as a weapon against the Dark Lord. Perhaps they didn't quite trust him ..????
Did Legolas perhaps entertain notions of helping them on to Lorien???
Gandalf did mention going through 'the secret woods' before he 'died'...
or maybe they didn't relish a journey of several weeks in with only each other for company...remember this was before they bacame 'fast friends'....:)
I wondered about that. - Annael
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Book II; Chapter 4: 2. Options? - Inferno
After the failure on Caradhras, the Fellowship discusses various options. Return to Rivendell, travel via the Gap of Rohan, take a trip down the seacoast through Lebinin and up into Gondor, or enter Moria.
Are there any other paths the Fellowship could take on their journeys? What are the advantages/disadvantages of their options? Is Moria really the only choice?
think it was... - leo
they had no chance of crossing the Cradhras, returning back to Rivendell or taking the road through the gap of Rohan , or even the road to Lebinin would cost way too much time, as Gandalf explained. The road through the Gap of Rohan was even more dangerous because of the presence of Saruman and the Rohirrim, of wich the Fellowship at this time did not know for sure if they would aid them.
The attack of the camp and the howling of the Wargs did away with any other options - Ron Austin
It seems to be the only
realistic choice - Kimi
Other ways are either too slow or have known dangers. Moria is an unknown quantity. I think Blue's right, too: Gandalf wanted to go to Lorien. He may well have like the idea of disappearing for a time; I suspect he also wanted to confer with Galadriel.
I suppose you're right,
there is no other option. I just question... - Patty
whether they shouldn't have attempted the Gap of Rohan. They were basing their refusal to attempt that route on a rumor, a possiblity that the Rohirrim were in league with Sauron, it had just as much chance of being untrue (and it was) as of there being real and more serious danger in Moria (and there was). What do you think?
I'm with Malbeth on
this - Kimi
It wasn't the rumours of Rohan, it was the grim reality of Saruman's treachery.
I don't think it was
rumors about Rohan - Malbeth
I think the main problem with a Gap of Rohan route was proximity to Saruman - Gandalf didn't want the Ring anywhere near Saruman's sphere of influence. I also wonder if Gandalf liked the Moria to Lothlorien route as a way of effectively disappearing for a significant period of time. If they had made it through Moria undetected, and weren't spotted by Sauron's spies on the short journey to Lothlorien, he wouldn't know where to look for them.
The Options - Blue
I think that that pretty much exhausts the options.
The reason that they didn't take the Old Forest Road in the first place is that there are too many orcs on the Eastern side of the Misty Mountains between there and Lorien, and a much greater likelihood of being discovered. Either that route, waiting for better weather in the spring, or finding a ship to take them from the Havens to Lebinnin would be the point of going back to Rivendell.
They want to avoid the Gap of Rohan because of Saruman in Isengard. I suppose they could try to build canoes and sail down the Greyflood to the sea from where they are, but this would take them through Dunland, which is populated by hostile people, and there is no way to proceed to Gondor from there.
One would think that there
are other mountain passes besides the Redhorn, but there is the
possibility of orcs inhabiting them. So, I guess that Moria is the only
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Book II; Chapter 4: 3. Power of the
Ringwraiths. - Inferno
At the start of this chapter, Gandalf tells Frodo, "The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would posess if the Ruling Ring was on their master's hand again."
The power of the Nazgul seems tied to either the power of Sauron, or the power of the One Ring. Do they gain in power because Sauron's power is now greater? Or is it because the Nine Rings gain strength when a Master is using the One? If this is the case, do the Three and the Seven also gain in power when Sauron has the One?
of the Ring - Kimi
is part of the power of Sauron. The Nazgul are subject to Sauron, via the part of his power that he put into the One Ring, and any strength they have comes from him.
If Sauron and the One Ring were reunited, the combined power would be so much greater that the Nazgul would also have more power of terror (which is their main strength).
Whether or not the Nine and
the Seven would be more powerful if the One Ring were back on Sauron's
hand is hard to say. I'd accept arguments from either side :-) I don't
think the power of the Three would be augmented, though.
Supposition only here. - Nenya
Sauron had a hand in creating the nine and the seven, so I would guess that their natures would change when he regained possession of the One Ring. Since so much of Sauron was invested in the One Ring, his own power would be restored/enhanced with its return. He would then be able to reach out and tap into the nine and the seven, and perhaps lend some of his power to those rings.
I'm not so sure what would
happen to the three elven rings, though. Sauron never touched them, so
it seems like all he could do is interfere with them rather than bend
them to his will. My guess is that they would be reduced in power, or
perhaps their power wrested from them. I doubt Sauron would have been
able to augment them.
Some Help Here... - HammerHead
This is an excellent question! One that I've pondered long and hard. The one problem I always seem to encounter is this:
Who forged the Nine for Mortal men? Much of the text with which I'm familiar, states that Sauron gave the nine rings to men who were thereby corrupted through the power of the One. First, I've always been curious, who did Sauron give the rings to? Were they living men when they received them? Were they all sorcerors (like the Witch King)? Were they kings? Were they just the Witch King and nine schmoes Sauron picked at random? Were they already evil and corrupted? Were they already spirits when they were given the rings?
If I can clarify some of that, I think I can participate better in this dicussion. Unfortunately, all I can find (so far, after two days) on Encyclopedia of Arda, is the fact that there were nine bearers.
My understanding had been that Sauron learned the forging himself and came to the elves, men and dwarves in a fair form and taught them ring forging. Elves forged all the rings and gave them to the greatest of each people. Sauron then, knowing the secret of each ring, returned to Orodruin and forged the one to take power of each race.
Perhaps someone can help me
clarify all this.
Great Rings - Blue
The Great Rings were all made by the elves, and originally for the elves, using both their own craft (Celebrimbor was, after all, the Grandson of Feanor) and knowledge from Sauron. He had a hand in making the Seven and the Nine, but never touched the Three. The One he made himself, for the purpose (among others) of controlling the others.
It is my understanding
that the Elves gave the Seven to the Kings of each of the Seven
Houses of the Dwarves, but that Sauron himself gave the Nine to
various men. Sauron took the Nine, and apparently some of the lesser
rings as well, but could not find the Three or the Seven. Under
torture Celebrimbor revealed where the sever were bestowed, but
would not tell Sauron who held the three. We do not know the
backgrounds of the men to whom Sauron gave the Nine. Only Kahmul the
Easterling is ever named. (The Witch King of Angmar would already
have possessed his ring at the point in time that he was fighting
with the Northern Kingdoms, and had a reputation as a great
Hmmm... - HammerHead Who was the
'Mouth of Sauron?' - Binky Binky
Ok, I just checked Arda. Khamul was the Lord of the Nazgul's second, correct? But there's no background on him either.
Was he one of the nine? Khamul...or another..'schmoe'....?
Who was the
'Mouth of Sauron?' - Binky
He was not a ringwraith - Blue
Tolkien says so explicitly in "The Black Gate Opens".
He was a man, one of the Black Numenorians who, though not "immortal" like the Nazgul, had through sorcery extended his life to an extraordinary term (maybe using one of the lesser rings that Sauron had also taken from the Elves?), and in the many years had forgotten his own name.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 4. The Watcher in the
Water. - Inferno
While we don't get the 'name' of the creature until the next chapter (in the Book of Mazarbul), we see the watcher in this chapter. What is it exactly?
There is mention of dark things in the deeps of the earth, of which the watcher is one. Is the watcher a servant of Sauron? Melkor/Morgoth raised the Misty Mountains to block the Valar's movements. Is the Watcher a creation of Morgoth? Is it the result of some part of the discord of Melkor in the Song of the Ainur? Is it completely unrelated to Morgoth as Ungoliant was, and came out of the Void to Ea?
Also, who dammed the river, and for what purpose? Sauron wouldn't have expected the Fellowship to travel through Moria, so he wouldn't have set the watcher there to dissuade them. Was it set there in response to the returning of the Dwarves to Moria? The lake had to be a fairly recent addition, as both Aragorn and Gandalf had passed through Moria (and Aragorn, while old by human standards, isn't really THAT old) and neither one expected it to be there.
Also, the valley is described as 'shallow'. If the Fellowship were in a hurry, wouldn't it have made sense to break the dam and cross on the old Road? A shallow valley wouldn't have taken long to drain, and the water could have helped take the wargs off of their trail. They didn't know about the watcher at this point, and it seems like a plausible course of action to take. Resting while the lake drained would have given them energy for the trek ahead as well.
One last comment about the watcher. Boromir throws a stone into the water moments before Gandalf opens the door. Did the watcher come to life due to Gandalf's opening of the door, or because of Boromir's throwing of the stone?
A couple of
comments . . . - Annael
It would be a major effort to breach the dam enough to drain the valley; beyond the ability of the Fellowship I think. It was evening already and they were in a hurry to get to the Door; going along the lakeshore wouldn't have seemed like a detour, just the most direct route available.
As for Boromir and Pippin
throwing stones: I'm reminded of a statement made by a friend of mine
once. "If you want to know the sex of a small child, put it next to a
body of water. If it picks up a stone or stick and throws it in the
water, it's male."
I think the Watcher was... - Cat
of Queen Berúthiel
in front of the doors some time before Balin's folk were finally defeated. As the book tells the fellowship 'The Watcher in the Water took Oin' (using memory here, I don't have the books with me), so I get the impression he turned up in cahoots with the Orcs. This does suggest some sort of organisation, so I am guessing Sauron was involved. Maybe it went something like this:
1) Dwarves dig up Balrog.
2)Sauron (or perhaps Saurman, though the Orcs there were not described as carrying any of his tokens) decides it is an excellent opportunity to dislodge the Dwarves with minimal manpower. They already have trouble INSIDE. So he plonks the watcher on the western gate (I am sure there are lots of creatures under the mountains he could discover) and sends Orcs to the Eastern gate. Then it would simply be a matter of time, without a lot of outside help coming to the Dwarves' aid.
I would also agree that though draining the lake could be a possibility, it is not a practical one. It is actually surprising how long it takes to drain even an inch of water spread over a decent sized area (I am amazed at this every time my balcony floods and I always have to wait a lot longer than I expect for it to drain away), so I think with time pressing, and definitely wanting to be inside before dark (c.f. Wargs etc), draining is probably not an option. And the less you interfere with things, the less trouble you are likely to find.
I think the Watcher made
the Dam ... - Ron
The Watcher is strong enough to rip the door trees out and pile rocks to block the door so it was probably a pretty substantial dam.
Rocks are heavy - Kimi
That's my profound statement of the day :-)
Seriously, a dam big enough to hold that amount of water ("shallow" is a relative term) is pretty substantial; water has a way of getting back into a course of its own choosing if it's not thoroughly dammed. So breaking the dam would be quite a big job, and would probably take more time than their small detour.
I think Boromir's stone
roused the Watcher, but the combination of Gandalf's "magic" and the
proximity of the One Ring would have roused it, too; perhaps more
My Humble Thoughts (I'm
not humble...) - HammerHead
I would think that by the name "Watcher in the Water", Tolkien is implying that the creature was put there by some force to guard the gates of Moria. The problem is WHO. Sauron and Saruman are possibilities. It could even be an ancient agent of Melkor/Morgoth. However, we mustn't overlook the possibility of Dwarves or some other "good guy" (for lack of a better term). Do you think it possible some dwarves put it there (however, how to explain Gimli's ignorance of this is a different matter) to guard the gate, not from preventing ENTRY but preventing EXIT? Someone who knew about Durin's Bain and didn't want it loose on the world? Or perhaps someone other thand dwarves. The filth of the water discounts this fact, for by the nature of "good versus evil" in LOTR, a more intelligent force would have been used to this purpose. Therefore...
Taking into consideration Gandalf and Aragorn's ignorance of the creature and Aragorn's 50-60'odd year age, I'd say Sauron put it there by some means or measure (too recent for the other Dark Lord). More than likely to prevent the dwarves from returning. Their works in Khazad Dum presented a serious threat to some of his labors; mithril itself is just cause for preventing an enemy from gaining access to the mines.
As for your other questions...
I think Patty is right about releasing the water. If it's nasty water, I don't think I'd want to turn it loose on the innocent inhabitants of the nearby land.
As for what it is, probably some sorcery of Sauron's (assuming my earlier conclusions are accurate). A freak of nature, stolen from creature born of the Song of the Ainur (like Orcs).
I've never understood the fascination with Boromir (perhaps Jackson will take literary freedom with the character to make him more likable). Patty said, aside from Pippin, Boromir is the most thoughtless of all the Fellowship and I agree. He's sloppy and wreckless. Both he and Pippin have the excuse of "youth" on their side I suppose. But Pippin's cause is furthered by his sheltered past; he doesn't have experience in the real world, much less with "bad things". Boromir on the other hand just keeps causing problems. But, I digress. I'd say throwing the stone probably alerted the creature, but it was likely the activity at the gates that awakened it; again turning to my logic about Tolkien's name for the creature.
This is a lot of conjecture.
I've been reading a lot of the information on the Encyclopedia of Arda
the last few days, and I feel this is very much a situation they
describe frequently. Is the matter to be interpreted by means of what
the author as an omniscient being (in terms of writing and creating the
story) intended, or is it to be interpreted from the point of view of
the characters as they progress through the story unaware of their
future? Either presents an interesting analysis.
Until I re-read this
chapter I had forgotten about.. - Patty
Boromir casting that stone. That and sounding his horn back at Rivendell put him, IMHO in league with Pippin for doing thoughtless things on this journey.
I expect they didn't undam (is that a word?) the water, as they all thought it looked "unwholesome" and didn't want to walk in, or I suppose touch it. Was the point at which it was dammed close to them?
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Book II; Chapter 4: 5. The Wargs. - Inferno
After the warg attack on the Fellowship, there are no bodies the next morning. What happened to them?
Additionally, what were the wolves doing on the west side of the Misty Mountains? Were they specifically searching for the Fellowship, or just keeping an eye out in general for any activity on the part of Rivendell? Did the wargs work for Saruman or for Sauron?
Warg Power - Steve
What happened to them anyway? In the Hobbit they were one of the Five Armies, equal to Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Orcs. In LOTR they have almost no role.
I think the wargs in this chapter must have been magical beings since their bodies disappeared.
A pretty dance, but rather
What happened to them? - GaladrielTX
I always thought that it turned out that the wargs were just an illusion and that's why there was nothing there in the morning (vs. eating their dead or being dragged off).
My guess is Saruman - Kimi
For the reasons given by others. Saruman certainly had Wargs in Isengard. (As well as Frodo seeing them from Amon He, and Gandalf reporting having seen them, Eomer refers to Wolf-Riders issuing from Isengard.)
I think they worked for... - leo
Saruman, we know he must have kept an eye in the direction of Rivendell, possibly assuming that the ring would be there. We know Saruman had wargs in his army, because Gandalf mentions hearing them when he was held captive in Orthanc.
As for the dragging away of
the bodies, maybe these wargs had a patrol of Orcs with them, who first
wanted to test the strenght of the Fellowship. Seeing that they were
strong, they layed back and removed all dead wargs after the battle. I
can't guess as to why they would do this however...
inasmuch as these wargs had no spirits... - Patty
Saruman or Sauron reincarnated their bodies to fight again. A la Gandalf.
I think.... - Eomund's
....that they ate the remains of the dead, killed in battle, as it were (as is mentioned later on in LOTR, after the Battle of Helm's Deep, etc.)...also proving that they weren't just hunting....
IMHO, these particular wargs were probably working for Saruman, like the crebain...
'I stand in Minas Anor, the
Tower of the Sun', she said; 'And behold! The Shadow has departed!'....
On Amon Hen - Blue
Frodo sees wolves issuing forth from Isengard; there is no other mention of wolves in the movement of the vast armies that he witnesses, so it is entirely possible that the Wargs which attack in this chapter are associated with Sauruman, not Sauron. This would also fit with the repeated sightings of crebain from Dunland and Fangorn, who are obviously in league with Saruman.
Aha. - Bullroarer
Good call, Blue. So the wargs could quite possibly have been Saruman's. I think my argument about Sauron below applies equally well to Saruman -- yes he was looking for the Ring, but the wargs found the Fellowship on their own. They may have been sent to patrol the west side of the Mountains and look for people heading south. If Saruman knew the Fellowship had entered Moria, it could explain how he knew to ambush them at Amon Hen.
I don't recall any - Stumpy
instances of wargs associating with Uruk Hai. I have to beleive they were only used by Sauron. They were probably on the lookout for Frodo.
As for what they do with the
In my view, the wargs
worked for Sauron... - Patty
I just base this on that having tortured Gollum later being hot on Frodo's tail into Rivendell thru his spies, Sauron knew where the Ring was and sent his wargs over to the west side to try to stop them. Also, weren't there wargs (wolves) in The Hobbit that had the hobbits up a tree long before Saurman was active? Even though they weren't seeking the ring I wonder if Sauron wasn't already running them.
It doesn't make much
sense to me... - Inferno
to have a small force of wargs as your only presence if you're trying to stop someone from getting anywhere with the Ring. Everything Sauron does points towards his belief that one of the Great will try to use the Ring. A small force of Wargs wouldn't be much use against a Ringwielder with an Army out of Rivendell.
The motivations of Sauron don't make sense to me at this point. Of course, from the standpoint of a writer, it makes sense. The Wargs are a device to get the Fellowship into Moria, and to provide trouble along the way.
much control does Sauron really have at this point? - Bullroarer I agree with
the Dispatch consept - Nugelfin
Maybe he just sent out a general APB: "Everyone look out for a bunch of losers heading south from Rivendell." and the wargs picked up the scent and gave chase. I never thought of this encounter as a deliberate attempt on Sauron's part to stop the Ring. If he knew where it was he'd spend every bit of energy he had to get at it. I think he was still dealing with the defeat at Rivendell, getting his Nazgul rehabilitated, recruiting down in Harad, eyeing Saruman, Eyeing Denethor, massing his forces and getting ready to drop the boom on Gondor. It probably wasn't for some time that he realised what his little wargies had found.
I think Sauron was taken aback after the defeat at Rivendell. His reaction might have been to dispatch quick movers who could cover a lot of ground and follow a sent. Wargs fit that bill nicely. I don't think his intention was to actually capture the ring at this point but to locate it as soon as possible. This would give him an opportunity to re-group and prepare for another capture attempt.
I agree with
the Dispatch consept - Nugelfin
Did Saruman's forces
include wargs later on? - Bullroarer
I don't recall any wargs at Helm's Deep and I think that if he'd had them he would have used them.
I always assumed that
wargs were grouped together with the Misty Mountain orcs, and most
of those were under Sauron, I believe.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 6.
Friendship between Elf and Dwarf - Inferno
We are told at the gates of Moria that the Friendship between Elf and Dwarf was greater in the days of Hollin. What incidents would have caused that friendship to wane? This is far after the slaying of Thingol by Dwarves, and the War of Wrath where, it is said, Dwarves fought on both sides. What happened during the Second Age or early Third Age to cause the gulf between Dwarf and Elf?
a Silvan Elf - Idril
What's remarkable about the friendship between Gimli and Legolas is that Legolas is a Silvan Elf. Thranduil's folk apparently were not involved in the Sindarin conflict with the Dwarves in Doriath, but they are not particularly friendly to Dwarves. There was little friendship between the Dwarves of Erebor and the Elves of Mirkwood. As recently as the events in The Hobbit, Legolas's father Thranduil imprisoned Thorin and company and fought against the Dwarves briefly in the Battle of the Five Armies (before the coming of the orc army forced the Elves, Men and Dwarves to unite against a common foe). Yet Legolas and Gimli managed to overcome this history (particularly difficult since Gimli's father, Gloin, was involved in both these events, and dwarves revere their parents) and form a relationship of mutual respect and trust.
If Legolas had been a Noldor,
his friendship with Gimli might not have been such a surprise. Some of
the Noldor had working relationships with the Dwarves as far back as the
First Age. For instance, Caranthir and his followers had a great deal
of contact and trade with the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost. Now,
there was not a great deal of affection between the two groups -- the
Dwarves being secretive and Caranthir being arrogant -- but their
dealings were mutually profitable. The Dwarves were also allied with the
Noldor in their fight against Morgoth. Celebrimbor was the grandson of
Feanor, and the friendship between the Noldor of Hollin and the Dwarves
of Khazad-dum could be partially based on this earlier arrangement.
Many of the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains moved to Khazad-dum after the
War of Wrath laid waste to Beleriand. Remembering their earlier
relationship with the Noldor of Beleriand, they might have influenced
Durin's folk to be more willing to deal with the Noldor of Eregion.
Durin's Bane - Malbeth
I agree with hollowTree that the Hollin/Moria friendship was a special case. In addition to that, in Lorien they blame the Dwarves for releasing the Balrog in the Third Age.
yup, that's what I thought too. - leo
Hollin was a special case. - hollowTree
The friendship, as I take it, was specific to Moria and Hollin rather than generally between dwarf and elf.
Since the first age, all of the races seem to drift away from each other. Between elf and dwarf, there were several significant incidents (as mentioned by Inferno) that would further the hard feelings between these races. I don't think relations between elf and dwarf were very good in general even during the days when Hollin existed.
That is, except in Hollin. Hollin was an exception, perhaps, because of its Noldorin founders. The Noldor had good relations with the dwarves of Ered Luin in the first age. They may not have taken Thingol's murder as personally as the sylvan elves (Thingol wasn't their king after all). And, on several cases at least, the Noldor seem willing to accept profitable relationships over ethical considerations (their dealings with Sauron in the making of the rings as a case in point).
With the end of the realm of Hollin, I think, came the end of any special relationship between dwarves and elves.
"There is unrest in the
There is trouble with the trees.
For the Maples want more sunlight
And the Oaks ignore their pleas."
- Rush, "The
Dwarves and the Noldor - Blue
especially Celebrimbor's people, were especially close because of the reverence with which they held Aule (who, of course, made the Dwarves). Tolkien specifically says that this is the reason for their closeness in the Silmarillion.
There are many, many
reasons for emnity to have arisen between the Elves and Dwarves in
the First Age, as recounted there. What it is about the Second and
Third Ages, other than the repeated references to releasing or
awakening the Balrog under Moria, that gave rise to a further
estrangement during that period, is something more of a mystery. It
is repeatedly said that the estrangement of the various peoples of
Middle Earth: Elves, Men and Dwarves, is the result of Sauron's
work. Perhaps the core of the estrangement of Elves and Dwarves lies
in the Seven Rings which Celebrimbor gave to the heads of the Seven
Houses of the Dwarves - he revealed to Sauron who he had given them
Seven Rings of the Dwarf Lords - Ron
Exagerated the Tendency of suspicious and covetness in the Dwarf Lords.
Also Sauron had a long agenda of working to sunder the various races.
I agree that the
success of the Dwarf/Elf relationship - GaladrielTX
in the Second Age was that the Elves concerned were Noldor who had much in common with the dwarves and relatively few grudges. I get the impression that, by the end of the Third Age, there aren't too many Noldor left in Middle-earth. So by then, good relationships between Dwarves and the remaining Elves would be rare, in contrast.
Plus, I don't think
there were as many opportunities for improvement of Dwarf/Elf
relations in the late Second and Third Ages. Both races seemed
to have become isolated and more concerned for their own
existence, and meetings seem to be rare.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 7. Borrowing from
oneself. - Inferno
Gimli quotes a section of a poem about Khazad-Dum while the Fellowship travels in Moria. Part of it:
"A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shone forever fair and bright.
There hammer on the anvil smote,
There chisel clove and graver wrote;
There forged was blade and bound was hilt;
The delver mined, the mason built."
And then this part specifically:
"There beryl, pearl, and opal
And metal wrought like fishes' mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard."
The second segment is a direct lift from the Lay of Leithian, the epic poem version of the tale of Beren and Luthien. The preceding segment could easily describe Menegroth and the realm of Thingol in Doriath.
What ties do you see between Menegroth and Khazad-Dum to allow such comparisons to be made? Also, what do you think of the idea of a writer 'plagiarizing' from himself? I've seen other writers do this, and Arthur C. Clarke once said, "If you can't plagiarize from yourself, who can you plagiarize from?"
I personally have felt that Tolkien loved some of his First Age material so much, that he wanted to leave a tribute to that in the Lord of the Rings, and this is one way he did that. The Beren-Luthien tale is one of his most powerful, and is woven into LotR many times. This is just a more subtle bit.
"loan" mean something? - Ophelia
Tolkien borrows from himself mainly to draw connections between characters/situations- one example is the Aragorn/Arwen romance which is obviously meant to recall Beren/ Luthien, i think a large amount of the repetitions are on purpose.
I'm reminded of the saying that Shakespeare only wrote seven plays. Shakespeare used a lot of stock plots and characters- Tolkien, however, doesn't. The re-use of that stanza could easily have been quite intentional.
Well, THAT explains it! - GaladrielTX
While reading the Khazad-dûm poem, I got to the part about pearls and thought to myself this time, "how Elvish!" How clever of you to catch this. I think he just liked those lines so much he used them twice, and circumstances were similar enough that they work both times.
Funny that you should bring
up this topic because I came across something in The Sil last night
that's sort of in a similar vein. It was in the story of the Fall of
Gondolin, when Tuor and Voronwë are traveling from Vinyamar to Gondolin.
At the Pools of Ivrin, they come across "a tall Man, clad in black, and
bearing a black sword. But they knew not who he was, nor anything of
what had befallen in the south; and he passed them by, and they said no
word." This is, of course, Túrin, whose story was told two chapters
earlier. I just think it's neat that he throws that in there. So much
of the Silmarillion is just one tale after another with few connections
to the others, and it's a nice surprise. (I always forget it's
coming.) It also helps give the reader a sense of chronology.
Menegroth and Khazad-dûm - Kimi
are each the greatest dwelling of their respective kindreds upon Middle-earth.
From The Silmarillion:
"Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazad-dûm."
"That [Menegroth] was the fairest of any king that has ever been east of the Sea."
Both were also in caves.
Tolkien "borrows" from himself for two main reasons, IMHO:
1. As you said, he loved these words, and wanted to use them. At the time that LOTR was published, he didn't know if he would ever get The Silmarillion published.
2. It's part of the
back-story that gives LOTR such depth.
parallels - Idril
Menegroth and Khazad-dum were built around the same time (early in the First Age). Both were constructed by Dwarves. Thingol's Elves worked in partnership with the Dwarves to build Menegroth, and it's possible that the Dwarves of Khazad-dum were also influenced by Elvish aesthetics. (The early partnership between Elves and Dwarves greatly improved the Dwarves' design sense and the Elves' engineering ability.) Finally, both Menegroth and Khazad-dum were eventually abandoned by their inhabitants under duress -- Khazad-dum after the balrog awoke, and Menegroth after the sons of Feanor attacked it and killed Dior, Nimloth, their sons, and many others.
Tom Bombadil is the prime
example. - Annael
He came into being separately from the story of LOTR, but Tolkien liked him so much (and felt he stood for something important - the capacity of detachment, of observing without "owning" - very Zen come to think of it) that he plopped him in to LOTR regardless. Also, I suspect, to please his children.
I think the artist has the
right to put whatever they want into their work from other works.
Michael Ondaatje does this too - a major character from one story may
show up on the periphery in another. It's fun - I feel like I've met an
old friend, it gives a certain richness to the tale. You have to KNOW
who it is, of course. Otherwise it's like not getting an "in" joke.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 8. Illustrations? - Inferno
In this chapter, we are given two 'illustrations'; one of the doors of Moria, and the other of Balin's tombstone. Why include these items? In the Fellowship, these are the only two such illustrations, the only other incident even resembling this is when the elven script on the One Ring is shown in Shadows of the Past. What is gained from having these illustrations in the text? Or, if you'd rather, what would be lost if these illustrations were missing?
this question in context - Blue
Why are these illustrations (and no others) contained in the LOTR Chapters of The Red Book of Westmarch? There are, of course other illustrations in the Hobbit, particularly Thorin's map.
There are, of course, other things that Frodo or Bilbo might have included as a illustrations in the book. For example, the exact design of Aragorn's standard. That's one of the things that might easily have been included in the book, but was not. And while it is carefully described, there is sufficient room for interpretation that an exact drawing would have been helpful.
But, it occurs to me that for
the intended audience of the Red Book, something like Aragorn's standard
is something that they could simply go and see. If they weren't up to
the task of going to Minas Tirith, the King's messengers would visit the
vicinity of the Shire from time-to-time, there would be official
documents with the royal seal, etc.... And this would be true for nearly
everything that is described in the book. If one were willing to make
the trip, one could go to see nearly everything described in the book.
Moria, and Mordor are just about the only exceptions. No one would want
to visit Mordor. But Moria, especially with the Balrog destroyed, might
be something of great beauty if reinhabited, with a connection to the
hobbits themselves because of Bilbo's friendship with Balin and other
members of the dwarf company who went there with him, that someone might
want to visit, but they simply can't. The doors are buried in rubble
(and guarded by the Watcher!); Balin's tomb is buried in rubble. The
dwarves might return to Moria, and uncover them, but not in the
forseeable future. The only way to "see" them is by the drawings
included in the Red Book. Same thing with the One Ring - the only way
to "see" the inscription is with the illustration.
brilliant reasoning, Blue. - Kimi
Not that I'm surprised or anything...
Dwarf runes & sundry - Idril
The runes on Balin's tomb and the Feanorian script on the door fascinated me when I first read LOTR. I spent some time flipping between the appendices and the illustrations trying to figure out what each said.
I do wish that there were more of Tolkien's own drawings in LOTR, though. A few more illustrations like the one of the doors would have been wonderful.
Also, this chapter was
originally supposed to contain colored illustrations of two pages from
the Book of Mazarbul, but IIRC cost prohibited their publication. The
Treason of Isengard (Histories
of Middle Earth) has sketches of the missing pages.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 9. Pippin and the
Stone. - Inferno
When Pippin throws the rock into the well and the drums start, Gandalf says that the two events may not be related. Since the caves have been abandoned and in disrepair for quite some time, I would imagine that rocks occasionally fall, and that Pippin's stone would not have caused the drums to start. What other events could have triggered the drums in the deep?
I would imagine that the events surrounding the Watcher in the Water could have triggered it, as could the voices of the Fellowship carrying down the well. Any other possibilites? Do either of the opitions I suggested seem viable?
suggestions by everyone else here. - Kimi
Given all those, it would've been a miracle if the orcs hadn't noticed the Fellowship. :-)
Gandalf's snappy reaction to
Pippin reflects his own tension, IMHO, as much as genuine fear of what
Pippin might have roused.
Gandalf could also be the
culprit.... - Jester_rm
Before the episode with the stone, he sits alone on watch for 6 hours, smoking his pipe, deciding which way to go.
The smell of pipe (and
cigarette) smoke travels quite a ways, and lasts a long time. I'm
pretty sure that smell would not be common at all in the mines, and if
orcs have a good sense of smell (as they seem to), then that could also
have given them away.
good point, Jester. - Patty
Minor correction? - Idril
The Fellowship heard the distinctive sound of a hammer striking stone (identified by Gimli, who presumably is very familiar with that noise) after Pippin dropped the pebble down the well. But the point is the same: that by dropping the stone, Pippin alerted the orcs to the Fellowship's presence.
Still, I suspect that the
orcs would have figured out that there were intruders in Moria
regardless of whether Pippin dropped the stone. The Watcher in the
water was agitated and had buried the west gate -- something the orcs
would surely have observed. Although they were not particularly noisy,
the Fellowship wasn't trying to be inconspicuous (as Gollum was when he
picked up their trail in Moria). It's certainly possible that an orc
sentry saw them and slipped away without being spotted by anyone. Orc
night vision is very good and a sentry might have been able to spot
Gandalf's light from a fair distance away (depending on how the tunnels
ran, of course).
Also, Gollum was trapped
in Moria - Blue
having entered throught the Eastern Gate, and being unable to find the way to the Hollin Gate. His padding about made some small measure of noise, which you might expect the Orcs to have investigated from time to time. So, one would expect that the mere dropping of a stone would set the attack in motion. It should have paled in comparison to the noise that the Watcher made.
It seems as likely that the
presence of two rings of power - Frodo's and Gandalf's both, might have
alerted or roused the Balrog and the Orcs.
Yes. I imagine the
Watcher 's activities... - Patty
pulling down all the rocks,uprooting the two trees, etc. started things. It's not too much to say that I bet the orcs were aware of them almost immediately, even if not aware exactly where they were. But I still wanted to thrash Pippin for doing it. "Fool of a Took" was not to strong to call him at that time.
Perhaps it was a
signal... - Binky
if there was any communication between the watcher and the orcs...'when they come I'll baricade the gates so they can't get out this way....perhaps the sound of the trees being uprooted etc was what the orcs were waiting for...
think that's a bit too much planning.... - Jester_rm
That would imply that the orcs in Moria a) knew that they were coming through Moria, b) would be able to open the door, c) could communicate with or had control over the watcher, d) were willing to wait to spring the trap until the party had basically passed through all of the mines.
I think it's more likely that a combination of events (the watcher, Pippens rock, pipe smoke, etc.) alerted the orcs (who likely had regular patrols), and possibly the presence of the Ring alerted the Balrog to the presence of intruders in the caverns, and the search was on.
If the orcs knew
before hand, then the party would have been met with
overwhelming force at the door and would have been slaughtered
between the watcher and the mines.
I wonder, too, how much intelligence the - Kimi
Watcher had, and whether it would've been possible for the orcs to communicate with it. It does just seem like a nasty monster. But the noise it made may well have helped alert the orcs.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 10. Frodo's Senses. - Inferno
Frodo notices an increased ability in night-vision and hearing. He also is more aware of the weight of the Ring while in Moria-- 'at whiles'. This implies to me that the weight of the Ring comes and goes. Is this in reaction to the presence of the Balrog, Gollum, or some other 'evil' that lies in Moria?
Frodo's increased senses seem to be related to his wounding with the Morgul-knife. Are there any other side effects we've seen at this point in the story?
HERE - Strife
I don't think the ring has anything to do with the 'evil' in Moria. I don't think the ring wants 'evil' to bear it, just a powerful being. It just so happens that the 'evil' power seems to be more prominent in most situations. Most of the 'good' powers (ie. Gandalf, Elrond, Aragorn) reject the temptation of the One Ring therefor nullifying its attraction towards them. Also, in my opinion when the ring in this situation (and a few others) senses the weakness of Frodo/bilbo/any other bearer, it tries to escape to be found by another more powerful being.....just think of the Balrog with the ring....think it would work?
I would say . . . - Soothfast
The Ring tends to feel heavier and place a greater burden on its bearer when being carried through any place of great evil such as Moria and Mordor. It could also be psychological. The ring-bearer may simply be more likely to notice the Ring weighing down on his person when surrounded by darkness and bale. The darkness leaves little to see, so other senses are heightened and the mind dwells on more tactile matters.
We know... - Pteppic
...that the Ring can adjust its size and it also gets heavier the closer to Mordor it gets. I think the Ring senses the evil in its surroundings and is naturally attracted to it. Moria is filled with evil, and so the Ring tries to escape to the evil that exists there. I don't think it is searching for anybody special, just reacting to the evil in the surroundings. I think of the Ring as a sort of homing device, which seeks out evil, by becoming larger and heavier, so that it's current owner will be inclined to lose it (if he's wearing it on his finger) and then transmitting some sort of signal to the preferred owner (the more evil one). I think the Ring senses the good in Frodo (or rather doesn't sense the evil), and is trying to get away. As I said I don't think where to is very important to it other than it should be more evil than Frodo.
I agree about the Morgul
knife sharpening his senses, but I also think the Ring is affecting him.
The only other side effect I can think of now, is that Gandalf noticed
that Frodo became more transparent after the attack on Weathertop.
I had interpretted that
slightly differently. - Nenya
I read it to mean that while in Moria, the One Ring was somehow closer to or more attuned to Sauron. The ring's powers were therefore enhanced, and so Frodo, as Ringbearer, experienced more acute senses.
Being somehow closer to it's
maker, the Ring was also seeking to find it's way to Sauron. The
increase weight of the Ring would have been the ring's way of wearing
Frodo down, making it easier for Frodo to get captured or simply become
careless and allow the Ring to slip away, as it had slipped from Gollum
morgul-knives - Ophelia
there are indications of frodo's senses becoming more acute before the entrance to moria, though- particularly on the last leg of the journey to rivendell. frodo seems to think that being wounded by the morgul-blade causes this new ability. Moria is just a chance for him to notice it- when else was he in such complete darkness?
the ring is known to vary in weight and size- i think that the presence of the orcs and the balrog are what caused the ring to weigh more.
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Book II; Chapter 4: 11. Summing Up
(A Writer's Perspective.) - Inferno
Looking at this chapter from the standpoint of writing it, I want to point out a few things.
First, Moria is the oldest structure/city/habitation that we encounter in LotR. It's been around since the First Age. Tolkien had established a huge backstory before he ever wrote LotR. We see glimpses of it throughout the tale, such as the references to Beren and Luthien, Gondolin, Turin, etc. But with Moria we are provided an extra sense of depth. Not only do we get the some of the verses associated with Khazad-Dum, we are given an eye-witness view of the lost glory of the Elder Days.
As LotR is, as Frodo and Sam later discuss, a continuation of the same heroic tale of the preceding ages, this sense of depth is important to the tale Tolkien tells.
Additionally, we're given the mythological concept of the descent into the Underworld. The failure at Caradhras coupled with the attack by the Wargs forces them into a path they would have prefered to avoid. Yet this path leads them to a stronger Fellowship, fulfilling the purpose of the Underworld theme.
We also are given hints of some future events. Aragorn's warning to Gandalf, Gollum's trailing of the company, the awareness of the orcs to the company's presence are all evident, if subtley, in this chapter. While not entirely foreshadowing events, Tolkien does lead us to notice what is going to occur next.
The chapter ends with two simultaneous discoveries: Dwarves _did_ return to Moria and Balin is dead. We are left at the end of the chapter wondering where the dwarves are, and how exactly did Balin die? The hammer noise that Gimli hears, could have come from dwarven hammers. Tolkien doesn't specify that this comes from orcs at this point. It is only after the reading of the book of Mazarbul in the next chapter that the Fellowship is faced with the forces of evil directly.
All told, this chapter is well written, lending a great air of history, as well as setting up the reader for what is to come next. Tolkien ties past and future together well in the events of the present.
Thanks, Inferno. Good job. - Bullroarer
Thanks, Inferno. Nice summary. - Kimi
Great work, Inferno. - GaladrielTX
You mention two things here that I had forgotten. The first is that Moria's origins went back to the First Age. (Actually, I'm not sure that I ever knew that. I guess I thought it was founded shortly before the Rings were forged in the Second Age.) Second, the suspense I felt during my first reading of FOTR, wondering what happened to Balin and his followers and getting worried about those hammering sounds and the flapping feet.
Well done - Ophelia
One of the things i notice about this chapter is the detail of Moria's fallen grandeur. Of course, Arnor used to be a great realm, but finding a few artifacts is quite different than being inside an immense, beautiful hall that has been hidden by darkness. Tolkien makes the fall of Numenor, for instance, intangible in LOTR- but he gives us great detail so the reader can feel the height of Moria's fall.
Thanks, Inferno. Good job. - Patty
Excellent summary - Blue
And thank you for a great discussion this week.
Nice summary, Inferno - Idril
Thanks for leading the discussion this week!
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