In the most epic of battles, Gandalf defeats the balrog. They climb a stairway all the way to the highest peak of the Misty Mountains, engaging in battle at the tower on top. Fighting wildly, the balrog falls, destroying the tower and leaving Gandalf with no way to get back down. The wizard passes out, and his soul travels in wide and various spaces.
Ultimately, he gets “sent back”. He lies naked in the snow on the mountain, with nowhere to go. He does so for days, staring into the sky. Eventually, Gwaihir, lord of the eagles, comes for him, sent by Galadriel. He bears Gandalf away.
-the Endless Stair: The biggest stair of all time. OF ALL TIME. Thought to be legend, it reaches from the lowest depths of Moria to the highest peak.
-Durin’s Tower: Upon that peak, a tower stands. Those dwarves built and built and built. That’s what they do!
There are some First Mentions! I knew they’d come back eventually. And they do come back to us now, at the turn of the tide.
Coolest part: Gandalf wonders if his battle will be told of for ages to come. Thinking again, he decides that it won’t, because if anyone saw it, high up in the mountains above the clouds, it would appear to be thunder and lightning striking the peak repeatedly. Between the fire of the balrog (which is re-lit in the sun outside) and Gandalf’s power, the light is everywhere.
And Gwaihir, picking up Gandalf like the best cabbie ever, denies that the wizard is a burden. In fact, he’s lighter than ever! That partial death thing must have burned off some fat from the waistline. If only that worked for everyone else…
Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 33
“‘ “That indeed is the command of the Lady Galadriel who sent me to look for you,” he answered.'”