Posts Tagged ‘Moria’

Some more goodbyes to come, but at least one hello.

That, and weird statuesque mind-reading thought conversations.

Learn from me.

Learn from me.

Now passing into the land just near the gate of Moria, it is time for Galadriel and Celeborn to cut off east and take the road over the mountains to Lothlórien. Before that, however, they sit with Elrond and Gandalf for another week and talk at night. They sit in the darkness and talk without speaking about the ages that have gone by. Remember, they’ve seen quite a lot.

After this week passes, and Galadriel and Celeborn make their farewells, the group journeys on to Rivendell. The four hobbits immediately set out to find Bilbo, and meet him in his little room, looking older and older.

So, what is it that Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, and Celeborn are doing? Well, there’s no doubt that they have a lot to talk about, and I would guess that they’ve reached some other plane in their time on this earth that allows them to commune together like this. The knowledge of all is unfathomable, and rumors have it that Elrond and Galadriel have some powers of the mind that few can grasp. The way I see it, it’s another way in which magic is nondescript in this world. We can’t understand it, and we’re not meant to.

It's not even an illusion.

It’s not even an illusion.

In the best ways, some things are meant to be unexplainable. Argue about that all you want with Tom Bombadil, but I think the mystery of the magic in Lord of the Rings adds an air of true magic, at least as it exists to me.

I’m getting a little weirdly philosophical in my endtimes. Maybe that’s the tired and loopy me at this hour, but what else can I do with conceptual ideas on pages like this? These are my feelings.

No one dies today.

“‘Do you know, I shall be one hundred and…'”

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Things are looking down, in the form of a dark, smelly cave. And I mean smelly.

Thanks Shelob!

Thanks Shelob!

The opening to the horrible lair of the spider that Frodo and Sam have no clue about stands in front of them. The smell is truly awful. Gollum laughs it off, saying that doesn’t mind. Clearly, he has some issues with his sense of smell.

Entering, the cave blots out all light. Very dark. This true darkness hasn’t been seen (or…not seen) since Moria, and that was a special kind of dark. Apparently, this is worse.

First Mentions:

-Shelob’s Lair/Torech Ungol: The name of the cave, further cementing that Shelob is commonly referred to by naming her mother.

-Shelob: Ah, the spider! We haven’t seen her, or much less heard of her yet. Am I spoiling things? Well, this isn’t the blog for people reading along with me for the first time.

Smell of death? Probably. Shelob’s been living here for years uncounted, and feasting on the passing orcs for that long. And I don’t think she’s keen on cleaning up shop. Generally speaking, monstrous creatures don’t smell too nice. Why bother, you know?

Today’s Gollum Meter: 33 – “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine? Sure…”

I had this brief moment of remembering, as I was naming Shelob “she” a few times, that this book really does lack female characters. Here’s one!

Oh…yeah. And Shelob’s not a very good example. No, not at all.

Now there's a strong role model!

Now there’s a strong role model!

Truly, we have the best parts of Éowyn still to come, so that should help that argument. And…yeah, I guess Galadriel’s pretty alright, but very absent in terms of the active plot.

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Rest easy, there’s a bit of action coming up that doesn’t involve walking! But…don’t rest easy, because it’s going to be terrifying.

No one dies today.

“Here the air was still, stagnant, heavy, and…”

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Time for riddles?

Gollum recites one of the riddles from The Hobbit: the one about fish. Of course, this reminds Sam that everyone has to eat. Did Frodo not think about this? Gollum will need to eat, too.

I have yet to learn if rabbits are actually this easy to break.

I have yet to learn if rabbits are actually this easy to break.

But…wait. How did Gollum survive in the wild by himself for so long? It’s not like he’s carrying around a pack. Sam resolves not to let Gollum eat either or him Frodo. Good call.

Day eventually breaks, to Gollum’s dismay. Frodo tries to argue that daylight is a good thing, but Gollum responds that the sunlight opens them up to be seen by orcs. Not a bad thing, darkness is.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 67 – “Hey! That’s pretty smart. Now you’re really being helpful.”

Yeah, Gollum knows a little bit more about hiding in the wilderness, since he did it for so long. Not only did he once run away and hide from his own people, and then live in the deep caves for generations, he’s been secretly following the ring for years, too. He sneaked out after it through Mirkwood, and had been following the Fellowship Company since at least through Moria. He’s basically the Bear Grylls of Middle-earth.

You've got a little something there.

You’ve got a little something there.

So, contrary to the movies, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum will travel only at night. What? Is that so hard to show? Gollum had no fear of the sun in the films. That’s just not true at all.

No one dies today.

“The three of them settled down to rest at the foot of the rocky…”

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I’m pretty sure this page is just about substance abuse. We start by talking about what it was that Merry and Pippin had to drink with Treebeard. All signs point to this being the reason why they look taller.

Look, a tall hobbit!

Look, a tall hobbit!

Naturally, the hobbits digress into talking about ents in general, and how they sent word to Isengard that Théoden was on his way. Gimli is unsatisfied, wanting a full account of Merry and Pippin’s journeys since the last day they were all together. Okay, fine. Merry and Pippin consent, but not until after they smoke for a little bit. They offer some authentic Shire pipe-weed from a barrel they found floating in the floodwater. Sadly, Gimli has lost his pipe. Pippin, however, pulls out a spare from his pocket. You never know when you might find surprise pipe-weed.

First Mentions:

-Longbottom Leaf: The finest weed in the Southfarthing! This would be what Old Toby Hornblower cultivated, now thought very highly of.

If we’re going to talk distribution, the presence of Longbottom Leaf at Isengard is very surprising. I don’t gather that the Shire has a very large export market, with their Monroe-Doctrine-like nature of keeping to themselves. Somehow or another, there was a trade route set up with Isengard. Aided by magic? Saruman would totally be into that sort of thing.

He could just illusion himself some pipe-weed.

He could just illusion himself some pipe-weed.

Meanwhile, I don’t know which is more confusing, that Gimli absentmindedly misplaced his pipe somewhere in Moria, or that Pippin has had a pipe in his breast pocket this whole time. Wouldn’t that get uncomfortable, especially when you’re being carried by orcs for long periods of time? Apparently not.

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These guys are talking about this stuff like I would talk about beer. And I know a lot about beer right now. It makes so much more sense, that way.

“‘I keep a treasure or two near my skin, as precious as Rings to me. Here’s one:…'”

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Quick, we need a messenger speech!

And every actor just winced.

And every actor just winced.

The column rides for a second day while the shadows continue to gather in the distance. At sunset a lone rider appears on the horizon. He meets the riders, looking haggard and tired, and tells of the defeat of Rohan’s army. After Théoden’s son, their commanding officer, was killed, everything went downhill. A leader has taken the remaining men to the fortress of Helm’s Deep. This man wants to see Éomer, but Théoden steps out and reveals himself. This brings strength to the man, Ceorl, and Théoden vows to ride to the aid of his men.

First Mentions:

-Thrihyrne: Tall peaks of the White Mountains. You know those three tall peaks of Moria in the Misty Mountains? I think it’s like that.

-Erkenbrand: An old commander of Rohan, now in charge due to Théodred’s death.

-the Westfold: The western part of Rohan, just east of the Gap of Rohan.

-Helm’s Deep: A mountain stronghold in the Westfold. Very strong. Very…holdy.

-Ceorl: The lone rider who has appeared. Where he is from, nobody knows.

So many new things! A while back I thought that we might be slowly running out of First Mentions. Well, seeing that we’re in a new kingdom, there are tons of new things to find. This will probably happen every time we’re exploring a new region. Well…a new region with people, anyway. Those barren lands earlier didn’t give us much.

So exciting.

So exciting.

Note that every man in Rohan thinks that Théoden is an aging man stuck in a chair. Ceorl doesn’t realize that he’s gained the strength to be out riding to war. Every time a man sees him out and riding for the first time, there’s going to be a moment of realization, and a burst of inspiration. He’s a very powerful force right now, just existing out in the field.

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A week from now, I may or may not be lined up at a movie theater. We’ll see.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 8

“‘Let us ride to the help of Erkenbrand!'”

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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.

First Mentions:

-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.

You know, like that.

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.'”

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Aragorn basically anoints Gandalf the spiritual leader of the good guys, which is pretty true. He’s the White Rider against the nine Black Riders. Okay, cool.

Aw yeah.

But Legolas isn’t cool with just packing up and going to Edoras until he gets an explanation for what happened to Gandalf in Moria. Gandalf doesn’t want to tell the tale, saying it would take too long, but he caves. I mean, come on, you can’t set that awesome story up and then not deliver.

He fell for a long time. A long time. Then, splashing down in a far underground lake, the balrog’s fire was extinguished, and he ran into the deep tunnels of the earth. Gandalf chased him.

Yep, those deep tunnels, where nameless and ageless scary things have been burrowing since the beginning of time. If you’re from Middle-earth, those things can’t even haunt your nightmares, because no one actually knows what they are. I’m gonna go with badger-moles.

Teach me, ye god of the earth.

Chalk that up to another mystery of this world. This whole underground system of lakes and tunnels is like that, totally unknown. Gandalf, somehow without being killed on impact with the water, gets to walk in this place where few none have tread. And we get to hear about it now! Hooray!

It’s kind of a lame move to say that there isn’t enough time to tell the story, but then go about telling it anyway. Let’s be honest, we’re going to be alright with time. I think we can take a few extra minutes to hear about the coolest thing to happen to one of our favorite characters so far.

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When’s the next time we’re going to have a First Mention, anyway? Most things have been brought up so far…

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 34

“‘Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report…'”

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Oh, we’re going to keep running. As if that was in doubt.

Basset. Hounds. Running.

Uglúk orders Grishnákh and his folk to get a move on, and they do, while Merry and Pippin get scooped up once more. It’s another awful and pointless day, but by afternoon they start to pass the struggling northern orcs, who clearly had no business running off in the first place. The Uruk-hai jeer at them as they go by, unfazed by the sunlight.

This is just continuing to prove that orcs are dumb. If you’re going to run away, why would you run in the direction that you’re sure to be overtaken by the stronger orcs who aren’t worried about running through the daylight hours? The orcs from Moria are dead tired, while the Uruks just shoot right on by. If this were a race, the northern orcs are the tortoise to the Uruks’ hare. But this time the tortoise is dumb.

To be fair, the tortoise’s intelligence is never mentioned. Just the hare’s laziness.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing much more to say about just another day of running. At this point, I’m getting sick of that. We just heard about Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli running all this way, and now we have to do it again?! And Pippin’s perspective isn’t even that interesting – he’s mostly unconscious or forgetful about these events. Soooo exciting…

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Even the “new” words are boring. Although, to be honest, the first sentence of this page (where “savoured” comes from), is really awesome: “‘Nazgûl, Nazgûl,’ said Grishnákh, shivering and licking his lips, as if the world had a foul taste that he savoured painfully.” You have to admit that that’s kind of sickeningly cool.

Now let’s hear the last line!

“The soldiers of Mordor lifted their…”

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I’ve mentioned before how one of the biggest differences between good and evil characters is their ability (or lack thereof) to work together. Please view this page as an example of how evil characters are the worst at it.

It’s really just one big argument.

…no more beer?

Uglúk, who identifies himself here as the leader of the orcs under orders from Saruman, pushes his point that they have been told not to “spoil” the prisoners. They are of some worth to Saruman. Many orcs take issue with this, calling Saruman a fraud, nowhere equal to the power of Sauron. Other orcs have come down from Moria, and only want to go back home. One of Sauron’s orcs, Grishnákh, wants to fall back across the river and return to Mordor. His argument with Uglúk heats up, and leads to all sides drawing their weapons.

Pippin, meanwhile, strains to try and watch the melee.

First Mentions:

-Grishnákh: The seeming leader of Sauron’s orcs in this group. Pippin hears him at first as an “evil voice”. That should say enough.

So, you can probably add up the three tribes of orcs here. One is from Isengard, bred to the service of Saruman. Another is Sauron’s lot. The third group comes from Moria, and is actively seeking revenge for their fallen comrades. I’m actually going to jump way back here and quote from earlier in the text: “Orcs will often pursue foes for many leagues into the plain,” says Gimli on page 337, “if they have a fallen captain to avenge.” Clearly, he was very right.

If you’ve been made into a Lego minifig, you’re usually right.

And, that’s totally the reason why I’m keeping a digital copy of this text. Have a question? I can find the answer, with a quote, in seconds.

Anyway, this conversation quickly turned into an argument, which has now become a fight. Orcs stink at working together, and even the two guarding Pippin have run off, so he’s getting as much information as he possibly can, while having a bit of a opportunity for escape.

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While I thought it was a completely new and exciting place, Lugbúrz is actually just the name in Black Speech of Barad-dûr, Sauron’s tower stronghold. Perhaps it’s another one of those things that he doesn’t allow his servants to speak of by name. That’s horribly cruel and confusing of him.

“His guards had gone to join in the fray. In…”

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Quick! What’s the best way to bury Boromir?

Abandon the body? No. Burial in the ground? No tools. Build a cairn? No time. On a boat? Aw, yeah.

As long as T-Pain can come.

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli decide to do just that, and give Boromir to the river. They will lay him in a boat with all his weapons, alongside the weapons of the orcs he slew in battle. They go about collecting everything, and Aragorn finds the daggers belonging to Merry and Pippin. Meanwhile, Legolas searches for arrows. They discover that these orcs are of various kinds. Some come from the Misty Mountains, others from the north. Others are strange, large, and bear unfamiliar heraldry.

You know what’s a great word? Heraldry.

What? These weren’t the orcs you were looking for?

Oh! I guess not.

I can’t believe it, but the idea of different races (if you could call them that) of orcs was made clear to me by LEGO. As you may recall, I got a new Lord of the Rings LEGO set the other day, and it contained two Moria orcs. These differ from Mordor orcs, or, of course, Uruk-hai. In the simplest terms, the Moria orcs are green, while Mordor orcs (in other sets) are brown, and Uruk-hai red.

While these orcs here probably have greater differentiation than skin tone (plastic tone?), they come from different places nonetheless. Now you know.

Now, in giving Boromir a boat-burial, the three companions are sort of showing how deadly he was. There are quite a few orcs lying dead about, so that’s a lot of weapons to load down the boat with. Maybe that’s partially the point: the more weapons, the more likely the boat will sink instead of drifting listlessly about. There’s no honor in that. Best let it sink down to Davy Jones.

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I find it dishonorable to dishonor “dishonor” by spelling it dishonorably.


“Upon their shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal.”

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