Archive for the ‘4 – A Journey in the Dark’ Category

Oh, it’s real short today.

It’s a tomb! It’s Balin’s tomb! He’s dead!

Gimli is sad.

This is about as sad a picture as I can find.

First Mentions:

-Daeron: An elf, and an emo one at that. He was in love with Lúthien, and thus jealous of Beren. He did, however, invent his own form of writing.

-Daeron’s Runes: The script pioneered by Daeron and adopted by the dwarves. I guess it’s like cursive or something.

Alright! So…Balin’s dead. And that’s that.

Fellowship of the LATE: 45 pages

I just realized that there might be more text in the features today than in the general block of text. I don’t know if I’m okay with that.

General Text!

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Awesomesauce. See you tomorrow for the next chapter.

“Gimli cast his hood over his face.”

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Gandalf uses a method that I commonly love: leave no stone unturned! You’re in a cave/dungeon/mysterious place? EXPLORE EVERYTHING!


Though Gandalf thinks that the correct way out of this great hall will be through the eastern arch, he wants to be sure by trying to find a window out onto the mountain by which he can orient himself. The band treks north towards a light. It’s coming out of a room, which is dimly lit enough to make their light-starved eyes blind. The light falls onto a short stone table, which Frodo notices looks suspiciously like a tomb. Some runes are engraved upon it.

Fellowship of the LATE: 44 pages

These runes are shown in an image at the bottom of the page. Another? That’s two so far, and both in this chapter!

Once you pop, you can’t stop.

Yes, it’s a language. We get the translation tomorrow. But suffice it to say now that it’s just as fully realized as Tolkien would lead you to expect.

Note that as the Fellowship enters this room, they stumble over “things lying in the doorway whose shapes they could not at first make out”. Knowing what happened in this room, which we’re about to find out…um, this isn’t going to be pleasant.

ROCKS. They stumbled over some oddly placed rocks. Definitely. Don’t think too much about it.

The room is also covered in a thick dust, which I can’t explain. Why would this room be covered, but not the rest of Moria? Is this not equal-opportunity dust?

Oh, and the chapter ends tomorrow. Get ready for that quick and easy jaunt to the exit!

“On the slab runes were deeply graven:…”

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Had he? HAD HE?!


Thinking of Bilbo makes Frodo think of Rivendell. And Bag End. And happier times. Frodo is sad now. To make matters worse, it’s his turn to be the watch tonight. He sits, quietly, putting all his mind towards listening in the darkness. Somewhere far off, he thinks he sees two bright lights like eyes appear…

Snap back to reality, oh – there goes gravity.

Frodo snaps up, having dozed for a moment. Legolas takes his place, and Frodo falls asleep at once, though the dream continues.

He wakes, the last of the company to do so, and light is just barely streaming through the cuts in the mountainside. Gandalf intends to get started on the march soon, as they may be able to make it out of the mines today.

First Mentions:

-the Great Gates: The eastern doors of Moria. They open onto the Dimrill Dale. Though they probably don’t, I really wish they had grates on them. Then they could be the Great Grated Gates. That would be great.

So…those bright eyes are just part of a dream, right? Totally not real. That would be ridiculous.

And Tolkien was British. He knew ridiculous.

Nonetheless, we can pass it off as a dream. For now.

Fellowship of the LATE: 43 pages

It’s worth noting that even Gimli is ready to get out of Moria. He’s certain that no dwarves have been here in a long time. And that’s a letdown for someone who was expecting such great things from this route. Everyone else had…realistic expectations. It’s too bad, but when Gimli’s backing down, you know he’s finally accepted it.

Sounds like it’ll be an easy day. A short jaunt out to the exit, and we’ll be on our way down out of the mountains in no time!


“‘Unless I am quite astray, I guess that we are above and to the…'”

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Have you ever had that moment when you realize that something you possess is worth more than you ever imagined? Of course, if it means anything to you, you would never sell it, but it’s still crazy to think about how much money you could get for it if you wanted.

Never gonna give you up.

Well, after Gimli finishes his song, Gandalf tells the hobbits a thing or two about mithril. Dwarves found the material under Caradhras, and fell in love with it. Easy to work with, and beautiful beyond comparison, mithril is incredibly hard, and never wears down. However, the dwarves in Moria dug too deep, awakening an ancient terror. The mines lay empty today, and orcs have stolen all the mithril that was left there.

Of course, that means that any mithril existing above ground is horribly precious. The mail shirt that Bilbo was given is easily worth more than the entire Shire! Although no one knows what he did with that thing…

Except Frodo, who’s WEARING IT.

First Mentions:

-Durin’s Bane: The only name by which the balrog of Moria is known. Awoken beneath Moria. It’s big. It’s bad. It’s not a wolf.

-Michel Delving Mathom-house: Presumably a place in Michel Delving where Bilbo kept some of his oddments. Sounds exciting, right? Gandalf thinks that the mithril shirt may be there.

First of all, Gimli finishes the song. So shall we.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

Just four more lines!

“But still the sunken stars appear

In dark and windless Mirrormere;

There lies his crown in water deep,

Till Durin wakes again from sleep.”

Ready to move on, I present:

Durin’s Day pt.3

(New Year’s Day – U2)

So that’s that. Moria’s all in shambles now. Bollocks.

Fellowship of the LATE: 42 pages

A total side-note thing we learn today is that ithildin (remember that invisible ink stuff?) is actually made with mithril! I don’t recall saying that before, did I? Anyway, it’s like if you infused your lemon juice with gold leaf or something.

Well…you might still be able to see that, so it wouldn’t work very well as invisible ink, but you get the idea.

Thus making my invisible ink way better than yours.

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So…yeah. Too bad that Moria is totally ruined now. It would have been nice to hang out in these great halls.

BUT NO. We’re roughing it now!

“He staggered to think that he had been walking about with the price of the Shire under his jacket.”

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Alright, so this page is another one that’s completely song. We’ll get that out of the way, but I have so many other things to talk about!

Including Zelda.

And by “get that out of the way”, I mean let’s do it. Now.

Newsflash! Durin built Moria! It was big and awesome and pretty and awesome. All sorts of stuff was mined and made there. But that was a long time ago. Now, it sucks. Like, the really, really evil kind of suck.

First Mentions:

Nargothrond: An old dwarven stronghold, though built to be the hiding place of an elf, Finrod. He lived there for a while, then eventually it was taken over by a dragon. Like all great halls of ancient times, it has fallen into darkness.

Okay, great.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

Yeah, so it’s the whole page again.

“He named the nameless hills and dells;

He drank from yet untasted wells;

He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,

And saw a crown of stars appear,

As gems upon a silver thread,

Above the shadow of his head.

The world was fair, the mountains tall,

In Elder Days before the fall

Of mighty kings in Nargothrond

And Gondolin, who now beyond

The Western Seas have passed away:

The world was fair in Durin’s Day.

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 for ever 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.

There beryl, pearl, and opal pale,

And metal wrought like fishes’ mail,

Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,

And shining spears were laid in hoard.

Unwearied then were Durin’s folk;

Beneath the mountains music woke:

The harpers harped, the minstrels sang,

And at the gates the trumpets rang.

The world is grey, the mountains old,

The forge’s fire is ashen-cold;

No harp is wrung, no hammer falls:

The darkness dwells in Durin’s halls;

The shadow lies upon his tomb

In Moria, in Khazad-dûm.”

Weary as a dwarf-mason, I present:

Durin’s Day pt.2

(New Year’s Day – U2)

Rare is it that the name I give to the song is actually in the song. Way to go, me. Also, in looking at other cool things about the song, you can see its architecture now. There are three “sections”, each beginning with a statement about the age and state of the world and mountains. The first one is in the first line (which was yesterday), and the other two can be seen here today. Things are degrading. Uh oh.

Oh by the way…

Fellowship of the LATE: 41 pages

I’m beginning to know by heart what day it is in that count without having to check back in on yesterday’s post. And that scares me a little bit.

Okay, right. We’ve gotten through that, and there isn’t much else to say. But I noticed some really cool things today!

First of all, the promised Zelda. I don’t think I’ve brought up that I’m an unabashed fan of How I Met Your Mother, have I? Well, tonight was the season finale. Amid the crazy things happening, we were treated to a screenshot from the original NES Legend of Zelda. Sure, it was during the scene of a drunken ATM fiasco, but it was there. Those writers are huge nerds, but they try hide it as much as they can, which isn’t very much.

The episode also had a running fourth-wall joke. As a theatre academic, I chortled at that.

BUT WAIT! I also found…

Game of Thrones-inspired cake pops!

Character name omitted for the sake of spoilers.

Now if those don’t look delicious, I don’t know what does.

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Yeah, we had to fit almost all the features in here today! Well, except that one about Gollum.

Oh wait, I mentioned Gollum, did I?

Today’s Gollum Meter: 15 – “STOP FOLLOWING US, BRO! We all know it’s you. Creeper.”

Golly. That became a long post really fast.

In Moria, in Khazad-dûm.

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Cue the epic music.


Zoom out. Behold the enormous hall.

Gandalf sends out a flash of light, and the hall before them all is beyond imagination. With a high roof held by pillars, the darkness extends further and further away. Supposedly this is the hall where windows are cut into the mountain face, but it’s night outside again. That light will reach them in the morning. So it might as well be time for sleep! Everyone huddles in a corner, getting ready for bed. Sam is in awe, and wonders why the dwarves built so great, yet dark, a hall. Gimli retorts, saying that it was once full of glory. He has a song to prove it.

Fellowship of the LATE: 40 pages

Well, the movie got this scene right. A high ceiling with pillars? Check and check. There isn’t much you can do wrong with that description.

In fact, the size of this hall dwarfs (pun possibly intended) the wildest visions that the four hobbits had of the halls of Moria. We noticed earlier that there are terrible tales of Moria told by hobbits, but I don’t think that they saw this coming. I can assume that it’s like seeing one of the ancient wonders of the world. It’s amazing in scale, but then you also are dumbfounded that it was built by hand. That just doesn’t seem possible, but it happened.

Or you can always claim that aliens did it.

But let us not forget: Gimli begins a song!

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

It’s been a while! Take a look:

“The world was young, the mountains green,

No stain yet on the Moon was seen,

No words were laid on stream or stone

When Durin woke and walked alone.”

Reminiscing, I present:

Durin’s Day pt.1

(New Year’s Day – U2)

We’ve got more of this for the next two days, and it should go interesting places as we learn about the history of Moria. It’s the epitome of lost glory. Perhaps like the Kurt Cobain of Middle-earth.

Maybe? I don’t know. Moria had such great potential to be amazing, but it fell into darkness. Drugs/Balrogs will do that to you.

Granted, Kurt Cobain has nothing to do with U2. He just seemed like a good connection to the life of Moria. Perhaps I should have chosen a Nirvana song. Too late. Also, too angry. I needed epic. U2 is solid for epic.

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It’s the past participle of “delve”, if you’re feeling archaic. I always feel archaic.

When Durin woke and walked alone.”

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There’s sort of an anti-PSA on this page. You know all those anti-smoking campaigns?

Most are terrifying.

Okay, this was all written before those came about, so Pippin anxiously needing a smoke can be forgiven. As he takes the watch, Pippin muses that he must be feeling odd (and thus why he’s fascinated by the hole in the ground) because he hasn’t smoked since before they were attacked by the snowstorm. Gandalf, lying awake, decides to relieve Pippin. As Pippin falls asleep, he sees Gandalf light up his pipe. Jealousy!

The next day, the march continues. Gandalf chooses to take the right passageway, which appears to be the proper decision. The way winds upward, becoming wider and in better repair. It must have once been an important road in Moria. The way is much easier going, though Frodo still feels uneasy. Are those footsteps still following them? After walking all day, and making wonderful progress, the search is on for a place to rest when the walls open up around them. They are now in some enormous, black room.

Fellowship of the LATE: 39 pages

All in all, that’s a way of saying this day’s march was uneventful. The most notable development was that the going was easy. And the only change so far has been that the cracks and holes have vanished from the walls. Oh boy.

That’s about as exciting as an LSU-Alabama game.

The question is: when does Frodo say something about these footsteps he keeps hearing? Keeping quiet doesn’t do anyone any good. He’s feeling “oppressed”, which isn’t healthy. Although, feeling oppression at the hands of quiet footsteps is kind of strange. I wouldn’t normally call footsteps oppressing. Unless they’re the footsteps of a dictator.

Well, in any rate, get ready for the grandeur of Moria. We’re in a big room now, so we don’t have to feel so claustrophobic.

“They halted and crowded anxiously together.”

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“Fool of a Took!”

Pippin is a frequent recipient of Mr. T’s pity.

There is a huge hole in the middle of the floor in the room, which clearly was once a guardroom off of the three-passageway intersection. While everyone is setting up for bed, Pippin is drawn to said hole. He drops a stone. It’s a long time before he hears it hit bottom, and the sound makes Gandalf jump. Beats echo up as well, seeming like a signal. Gimli passes it off as a hammer, but Gandalf scolds Pippin, giving him first watch.

Pippin sits up alone, now afraid of the hole, while Gandalf lays awake, trying to think of which way they need to go.

Fellowship of the LATE: 38 pages

Wait…Gimli can assume that these distant beats are from a hammer, even though there probably haven’t been any dwarves in Moria for a long time? Okay, sure, maybe we can assume that they’re down there, somewhere, hammering away. But what about the clear signs that the mines are in disrepair? This passageway is falling apart, with cracks everywhere. Not to mention this “guardhouse” is decrepit. No sane being leaves an enormous hole in the floor if they’re using that room regularly. Face it: dwarves aren’t here, so that “hammering” must be from something sinister.

Like Captain Hammer.

Gandalf seems to know what’s going on, but I don’t think he wants everyone to start panicking. It’s like when you find a cockroach at, say, work. You don’t want to tell anyone that doesn’t have to know. As long as it’s dead, problem solved. Ignorance is bliss. But if you let it run around unchecked, that problem is only going to get worse, and people are going to find out. Right now, the Fellowship have a cockroach running around. And by “cockroach”, I mean horde of orcs.

No cockroaches were harmed in the making of this blog. Sorry.

“He was deep in thought, trying to recall every memory of his former journey…”

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And then there was the night that I made meatball curry. Because I felt like it.

And it was good!

Now I guess I should do the blog for today.

Frodo feels something bad coming on. It’s a combination of his new found super darkness powers and the weight of the ring on his neck. He can also hear something that sounds like footsteps, far behind them. It’s not an echo, nor anyone in their group. Curiouser and curiouser…

Gandalf comes to a three-way fork in the path, and is unsure of which way to go. Everyone is dead tired, so they might as well get some sleep while he thinks/sleeps on it. They find a room off the main path, and decide to use it to rest in. Merry and Pippin forge ahead, but Gandalf stops them before they fall into any unseen holes.

Fellowship of the LATE: 37 pages

Hm…eerie footsteps? Has our Fellowship found a stalker? I mean, yes, but what else can I do but build suspense?

I shall build a suspension bridge!

This scene should be familiar enough to anyone who knows the movie. It’s a highlighted moment in Moria. Considering the entire journey is taken in close to total darkness, you can’t exactly show every bit of it. That would be impossible! It’s a moment of confusion for Gandalf, and we know he doesn’t have too many of those. Better focus on it.

Of course, the reason he’s having trouble with this spot is because he was originally traveling the other direction. Going west, he would not have noticed the other passageways joining with his path. Now traveling east, he can see all three where once he didn’t even know more than one existed. It’s sort of a common reason how people can get lost in caves when they try to retrace their steps to go back out.

Perhaps Gandalf should have dropped breadcrumbs the first time?

If children can do it…

But okay, our heroes are going to rest now. Finally. They’ve basically been marching all through the night. It’s time.

And the first season of Game of Thrones on DVD came today. I’m gonna go do that now.

“‘There!’ he said, pointing with his staff to the middle of the floor. Before his feet…”

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Aww… Good effort Gimli!

But Gandalf is the better “G” man here.

Even though Gimli has been enlisted to help Gandalf find his way through Moria, Gandalf seems to be doing fine on his own. Even when he needs “help”, he realizes that he knows which is the proper way to go anyway. Aragorn comforts everyone else, saying that Gandalf is known by many to be able to find his way wherever it needs to go.

This is all very good, because the path is occasionally broken by bottomless cracks. By the light of Gandalf’s staff alone they must find their way around or jump across. Sam bemoans forgetting rope. Frodo, meanwhile, is tiring as the journey gets harder. However, his senses feel heightened as a result of the stab wound he took so long ago.

First Mentions:

-Queen Berúthiel: Queen of Gondor, known for being a total shrew. Had no children, but many cats. Because every story needs a cat lady.

Wait, why bring up this cat lady, you ask? Aragorn compares Gandalf’s blind guiding abilities to that of one of her cats. Which…actually makes sense. Gandalf can see well in the dark like a cat!

Youz shall not pass!

Fellowship of the LATE: 36 pages

In other news, Frodo has super powers? Spidey senses? I think it might go more into this tomorrow, but the poison of the Ringwraith’s knife did have the intended effect of turning Frodo into a wraith himself, so now he has a stronger connection to the dark. His ability to see and sense things in the dark is better. Hey, thanks for the pleasant side effect! I totally didn’t see that coming.

I just hope he remembers that with great power comes great responsibility. And that includes the responsibility to stay away from Broadway musicals.

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But actually, could someone turn off the dark? It’s really dark in here.

“One sign of change that he soon had noticed was that he could see more…”

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