HASA Resources

Timeline Event

Battles of the Fellowship at Moria: Overview

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Dates: January 13, 3019 ~ January 25, 3019

Description:

An event in the Quest of the Ring; see that entry for an overview:

Table of Contents:
Summary
The Combatants
— Attacking Forces
— Defensive Forces
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Battles
The Aftermath
Notes


Summary
The repeated skirmishes fought by the Fellowship on their journey through Moria against assorted dark creatures — orcs, trolls, a prehensile pond-dweller, and an incendiary Maia 1:

The Combatants

The Combatants: Attacking Forces
Out from the water a long sinuous tentacle had crawled.... Its fingered end... was dragging [Frodo]....

Many coiling arms seized the doors... with horrible strength....

'The passage is blocked.... [Boulders] have been piled up, and the trees uprooted and thrown across the gate.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

'[There] is... [a] great cave-troll..., or more than one.'....

[The] door... began to grind slowly open.... A huge arm and shoulder... was thrust through the widening gap. Then a great, flat, toeless foot was forced through below....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

Two great trolls appeared; they bore great slabs of stone, and flung them down to serve as gangways over the fire.

Ibid.

'There are Orcs, very many of them,' [Gandalf] said. 'And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor.

Ibid.

[A] huge orc-chieftain, almost man-high, clad in black mail from head to foot, leaped into the chamber...; he wielded a great spear. With a thrust of his huge hide shield he turned Boromir's sword and bore him backwards, throwing him to the ground.... [He]... thrust with his spear straight at Frodo.... [who] was hurled against the wall and pinned....

Ibid.

[There] seemed to be hundreds of orcs. They brandished spears and scimitars which shone red as blood in the firelight.

Ibid.

Rams and hammers were beating against [the door]. It cracked..., and the opening grew suddenly wide. Arrows came whistling in....

Ibid.

[Gandalf:] Then something came into the chamber.... It... perceived me and my spell.

'What it was I cannot guess, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me.

Ibid.

Something was coming... and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it....

The flames... wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air.... In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs.

'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas.... 'A Balrog!'

Ibid.


The Combatants: Defensive Forces
The Fellowship had been forced to flee into Moria, weakened after nearly freezing in the snows of Caradhras. All Nine Walkers were armed; all but the Hobbits were experienced warriors. In addition, Gandalf had the powers of a Wizard to counter the might of the Balrog:
[The] Company drew their swords. Glamdring shone with a pale light, and Sting glinted at the edges. 2

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

Andúril came down upon [the orc's] helm.... [The] helm burst asunder. The orc fell with cloven head.

Ibid.

Boromir leaped forward and hewed at the [cave-troll's] arm with all his might; but his sword rang, glanced aside, and fell from his shaken hand. The blade was notched.

Frodo... [sprang] beside Boromir... and stabbed with Sting at the hideous foot. There was a bellow, and the foot jerked back....

Ibid.

Aragorn smote... the captain..., and the rest fled in terror....

Ibid.

Legolas shot two through the throat. Gimli hewed the legs from under another.... Boromir and Aragorn slew many.... Sam... had felled his orc: a sturdy thrust with his Barrow-blade.

Ibid.

With a quick movement Gandalf stepped before the narrow opening of the door and thrust forward his staff: There was a dazzling flash that lit the chamber and the passage outside.

Ibid.

At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and... smote the bridge before him.... The bridge cracked.

Ibid.

[Gandalf:] 'I... put a shutting-spell on the door....

'I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces....'

Ibid.


The Timeline
January [3019]...
13
... The Company reaches the West-gate of Moria at nightfall....
[See: Fellowship reaches the West-door of Moria]
[See: Fellowship attacked by the Watcher in the Water]
[See: Fellowship trapped inside Moria]

[See: Fellowship rests in a guardroom in Moria]

14
Night in Hall Twenty-one.
[See: Fellowship rests in Hall Twenty-one]

15
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, and fall of Gandalf....
[See: Fellowship discovers the tomb of Balin]
[See: Gandalf reads from the Book of Mazarbul]

[See: Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul]
[See: Gandalf obstructs the Balrog in the Chamber of Mazarbul]

[See: Gandalf falls from the Bridge of Khazad-dûm]
[See: Battle of the Uttermost Foundations of Stone]

[See: Aragorn leads the Fellowship from Moria]
[See: Aragorn heals Frodo and Sam on the way to Lórien]

23
Gandalf pursues the Balrog to the peak of Zirakzigil.
[See: Battle of the Peak]

25
He casts down the Balrog, and passes away. His body lies on the peak.
[See: Balrog of Moria slain by Gandalf]
[See: Gandalf dies]

February
14
... Gandalf returns to life, and lies in a trance....
[See: Gandalf resurrected on the peak of Zirakzigil]

17
Gwaihir bears Gandalf to Lórien.
[See: Gwaihir bears Gandalf to Lórien]

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age


The Prelude
[The] snow did not relent. It whirled about them thicker than ever, and the wind blew louder.

'What do you say to fire?' asked Boromir suddenly. 'The choice seems near now between fire and death, Gandalf.'....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

A cold wind flowed down behind them, as they turned their backs on the Redhorn Gate, and stumbled wearily down the slope. Caradhras had defeated them.

Ibid.

'There is a way that we may attempt,' said Gandalf.... 'But it is not a pleasant way....'....

'The road that I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria,' said Gandalf.... [A] dread fell at the mention of that name....

'But the question is: who will follow me, if I lead you there?'....

'I will,' said Aragorn heavily... 'I will follow your lead now — if this last warning does not move you. It is not of the Ring, nor of us others that I am thinking now, but of you, Gandalf. And I say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!'

'I will not go,' said Boromir....

'I do not wish to go,' [Frodo] said; 'but neither do I wish to refuse the advice of Gandalf. I beg that there should be no vote, until we have slept on it. Gandalf will get votes easier in... the morning.... How the wind howls!'....

Suddenly Aragorn leapt to his feet.... 'It is howling with wolf-voices. The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!'

'Need we wait until morning then?' said Gandalf.... 'The hunt is up! Even if we live to see the dawn, who now will wish to journey south by night with the wild wolves on his trail?'....

'Then let us start as soon as it is light tomorrow, if we can,' said Boromir.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

The night was old, and westward the waning moon was setting.... Without warning a storm of howls broke out fierce and wild all about the camp. A great host of Wargs had gathered silently and was now attacking them from every side at once....

In the wavering firelight Gandalf... lifted a burning branch and strode to meet the wolves.... High in the air he tossed the blazing brand. It flared with a sudden white radiance like lightning....

There was a roar and a crackle, and the tree above him burst into... blinding flame.... The last arrow of Legolas kindled in the air as it flew, and plunged burning into the heart of a great wolf-chieftain. All the others fled....

'These were no ordinary wolves hunting for food in the wilderness. Let us eat quickly and go!'....

'We must reach the doors before sunset..., or I fear we shall not reach them at all.'

Ibid.


The Battles
Then silently a great doorway... divided in the middle and swung outwards inch by inch....

[Gandalf] strode forward.... But... Frodo felt something seize him by the ankle, and he fell with a cry.... The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end.

Out from the water a long sinuous tentacle had crawled.... Its fingered end had hold of Frodo's foot and was dragging him into the water....

The arm let go of Frodo, and Sam pulled him away, crying out for help. Twenty others arms came rippling out. The dark water boiled....

'Into the gateway! Up the stairs! Quick!' shouted Gandalf....

They were just in time.... Many coiling arms seized the doors on either side, and with horrible strength, swung them round. With a shattering echo they slammed, and all light was lost....

'Well, well!' said the wizard. 'The passage is blocked behind us now and there is only one way out — on the other side of the mountains.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

[Gandalf:] 'But I do not know yet exactly where we are.... [We] ought to look about us. Let us go towards that light in the north door....

The light... fell directly on a table in the middle of the room....

On the slab runes were deeply graven:...

Text of Balin's tomb inscription

Ibid.

The Company stood silent beside the tomb of Balin....

At length they... began to search for anything that would give them tidings of Balin's fate.... By both the doors they could now see that many bones were lying....

[Beside] the shattered lid of one [chest] there lay the remains of a book.... Gandalf... pored over it for some time....

'It is grim reading,' he said. 'I fear their end was cruel. Listen! We cannot get out.... They have taken the Bridge and second hall.... The end comes, and then drums, drums in the deep. I wonder what that means.'....

'They seem to have made a last stand by both doors,' he said.... 'So ended the attempt to retake Moria!'....

'I now know where we are. This must be... the Chamber of Mazarbul; and the hall must be the twenty-first of the North-end. Therefore we should... bear right and south, and go downwards.... Come now! Back to the hall!'

Gandalf had hardly spoken these words, when there came a great noise: a rolling Boom that seemed to come from depths far below.... There was a hurrying sound of many feet....

'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.

'Slam the doors and wedge them!' shouted Aragorn....

'No!' said Gandalf. 'We must not get shut in. Keep the east door ajar!'....

With a quick movement Gandalf stepped before the narrow opening of the door and thrust forward his staff: There was a dazzling flash that lit... the passage outside. For an instant the wizard looked out....

'There are Orcs, very many of them,' he said.... '[But] there is something else there. A great cave-troll, I think.... There is no hope of escape that way.'....

Boromir flung himself against the door and heaved it to.... There was a blow on the door...; and then it began to grind slowly open.... A huge arm and shoulder..., was thrust through the widening gap. Then a great, flat, toeless foot was forced through below....

Boromir... hewed at the arm with all his might; but his sword rang, glanced aside, and fell....

Suddenly..., Frodo felt a hot wrath blaze up in his heart.... [He] stooped, and stabbed with Sting at the hideous foot. There was a bellow, and the foot jerked back.... Boromir hurled himself against the door and slammed it again....

There was a crash on the door, followed by crash after crash.... It cracked.... Arrows came whistling in.... [Orcs] one after another leaped into the chamber....

The affray was sharp, but the orcs were dismayed by the fierceness of the defence.... When thirteen had fallen the rest fled shrieking....

'Now is the time!' cried Gandalf. 'Let us go, before the troll returns!'

But even as they retreated..., a huge orc-chieftain... leaped into the chamber.... Diving under Aragorn's blow... he charged into the Company and thrust with his spear straight at Frodo. The blow caught him on the right side, and Frodo was hurled against the wall and pinned..... But even as the orc flung down the truncheon and swept out his scimitar, Andúril came down upon his helm.... The orc fell with cloven head. His followers fled howling, as Boromir and Aragorn sprang at them....

'Now!' shouted Gandalf. 'Now is the last chance. Run for it!'....

'Off you go..., down the stairs! Wait a few minutes for me at the bottom, but if I do not come soon, go on!....

'We cannot leave you to hold the door alone!' said Aragorn.

'Do as I say!' said Gandalf fiercely. 'Swords are no more use here. Go!'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

They groped their way down a long flight of steps... [The wizard] seemed to be still standing on guard by the closed door..., muttering words....

Suddenly at the top of the stair there was a... dull rumble and a heavy thud.... Gandalf came flying down the steps....

'I have done all that I could. But I have met my match, and have nearly been destroyed. But don't stand here! Go on! You will have to do without light for a while: I am rather shaken....'

They stumbled after him....

At the bottom of the seventh flight [of stairs] Gandalf halted....

'We ought to be down at least to the level of the Gates now.... I hope it is not far.... I must rest here a moment....'

'What happened away up there at the door?' [Gimli] asked....

'I found myself suddenly faced by something that I have not met before. I could think of nothing to do but to try and put a shutting-spell on the door....

'Then something came into the chamber — I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent....

'I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door... began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst.... I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well....

'But at least the passage behind us was completely blocked. Ah! I have never felt so spent, but it is passing.'

Ibid.

'Look ahead!' called Gandalf. 'The Bridge is near....

The outer door could only be reached by a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail, that spanned the chasm.... They could only pass across it in single file. At the brink Gandalf halted....

'Lead the way, Gimli!' he said.... Straight on and up the stair beyond the door! '

Arrows fell among them.... Beyond the fire [Frodo] saw swarming black figures:... hundreds of orcs....

Legolas... gave a cry of dismay.... The ranks of the orcs had opened, and they crowded away, as if they themselves were afraid. Something was coming up behind them... like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form....

It came to the edge of the fire and... leaped across the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it.... Its streaming mane... blazed.... In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs....

'Durin's Bane!' Gimli cried....

'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered.... 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'

The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them....

'Over the bridge!' cried Gandalf, recalling his strength. 'Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!'....

Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff..., but in his [right] hand Glamdring gleamed.... His enemy... raised the whip, and the thongs... cracked.... But Gandalf stood firm.

'You cannot pass,' he said.... 'I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.... The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow!'....

The Balrog... stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height....

From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.

Glamdring glittered white in answer....

The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge....

With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed....

At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him.... Right at the Balrog's feet [the bridge] broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf....

With a terrible cry the Balrog... plunged down and vanished. But... it swung its whip, and the thongs... curled about the wizard's knees.... He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. 'Fly, you fools!' he cried, and was gone.

Ibid.

'Long I fell, and [the Balrog] fell with me. His fire was about me. I was burned. Then we plunged into the deep water and all was dark. Cold it was...: almost it froze my heart.'....

'Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone.... His fire was quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake.

'We fought far under the living earth.... Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels.... Far, far below the deepest delving of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things.... Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day. In that despair... I pursued [my enemy], clutching at his heel. Thus he brought me back at last to the secret ways of Khazad-dûm.... Ever up now we went, until we came to the Endless Stair.'....

'From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak it climbed... until it issued at last... [on] Zirakzigil, the pinnacle of the Silvertine.'....

'There upon Celebdil was... a narrow space, a dizzy eyrie above the mists of the world.... Out he sprang, and... burst into new flame. There was none to see, or perhaps in after ages songs would still be sung of the Battle of the Peak.... Those that looked up from afar thought that the mountain was crowned with storm. Thunder they heard, and lightning.... I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountainside.... Then darkness took me; and I strayed out of thought and time....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 5, The White Rider


The Aftermath
The Company stood rooted with horror... With a cry Aragorn roused them.

'Come! I will lead you now!' he called. 'We must obey his last command. Follow me!'

They stumbled wildly up the great stairs beyond the door....

They passed into a hall, bright with daylight.... Through its huge broken doors they passed, and suddenly before them the Great Gates opened, an arch of blazing light.

There was a guard of orcs crouching in the shadows behind the great door posts towering on either side, but the gates were shattered and cast down. Aragorn smote to the ground the captain that stood in his path, and the rest fled in terror of his wrath. The Company swept past them.... Out of the Gates they ran and sprang down the huge and age-worn steps, the threshold of Moria.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

[Gandalf:] 'Naked I was sent back — for a brief time, until my task is done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top.... And so at the last Gwaihir the Windlord found me again, and he took me up and bore me away.'....

'Thus it was that I came to Caras Galadhon.... Healing I found, and I was clothed in white.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 5, The White Rider


Notes
The dates are set arbitrarily to include the events Fellowship attacked by the Watcher in the Water through Gandalf dies after the Battle of the Peak.
1For of the Maiar many were drawn to [Melkor's] splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness.... Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.

The Silmarillion, Valaquenta: Of the Enemies

2[Being] the work of Elvish smiths in the Elder Days these swords shone with a cold light, if any Orcs were near at hand.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 7Jul04, 22Jan10, 9Apr10

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