FOTR - A Journey in the Dark: BK II, Chapter IV

A chapter by chapter as well as general discussion of Tolkien's masterpiece
Post Reply
Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

FOTR - A Journey in the Dark: BK II, Chapter IV

Post by Philipa » Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:20 pm

A Journey in the Dark



Image

© Steve Young



Mellon! Such an inviting word to welcome the Company in to the heavy darkness of Moria. With little chance of crossing the Red Gate and the Southernly route being to slow, Gandalf takes the reluctant companions into the Mines of Moria. It would be faster to go through the Mountain then over it. Thus far the journey through the Mines have been uncomfortable at worse but will Durin's Bane be just words left on Galdalf's lips?

House Rules
Last edited by Philipa on Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:34 am

When I first read LOTR (when I was ten years old!), I really disliked this chapter--couldn't wait for our friends to get out of Moria! But I've read that some critics think it is the best writing in LOTR, and I must admit it has grown on me through the years. As we have said many times before, what an imagination Tolkien had! Who could have thought up a place like Moria?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:30 pm

This chapter really gripped me when I first read it. I thought it was terrifying. Who likes to be deep in the earth in the dark, trailed by some unknown creature and unable to make any noise for fear of awakening heaven knows what? It's claustrophobic, full of dark passageways, and very easy to get lost and never find your way out again. Brilliant! And just when we learn something of Gandalf's true powers he 'dies' and leaves the Fellowship rudderless.

I love all the suggestions of a great Dwarf culture lost, that there is so much more to the place that is gone forever. It could be any old passage through the mountains but Tolkien turns it into something far greater, far sadder.

The confrontation with the Balrog was the one moment that stuck with me most after I finished the book.
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:11 pm

Merry wrote:But I've read that some critics think it is the best writing in LOTR,


Well perhaps they were saying this because to hold a readers attention in the darkness has got to count for something right? We have sound and an occasional glimpse of a wall or a bottom-less holes lit by Gandalf's staff. That's it really..and thoughts of course. It's Frodo's thoughts that are the narrative.

Iolanthe wrote:I love all the suggestions of a great Dwarf culture lost, that there is so much more to the place that is gone forever. It could be any old passage through the mountains but Tolkien turns it into something far greater, far sadder.


Yes, the ancient past we have not read before this chapter. Even in Lothlorien we don't see the 'lost past' and the passage of time so plainly revealed. I like the chapter because of both the reasons you both have brought up in your posts.

Where you as concerned about Bill the Pony as Sam was? :D
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Lindariel
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: The Hall of Fire, Imladris (otherwise known as Northern Virginia)

Post by Lindariel » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:21 pm

For me, this chapter marks the point at which Gimli begins to "open up" as a character. We are entering the domain of his forefathers, the heart of his civilization, and the home of his cousin Balin, who we learn to our great distress at the end of the chapter has died with the rest of his colony. In this Moria chapter, Gimli takes a leadership role alongside Gandalf, exhibits his deep, glowing pride in the culture and accomplishments of his ancestors, and displays grief, nobility, and vulnerability at the tomb of Balin. In the next chapter, we get to witness his hardiness and courage as a warrior, his faithfulness to the Fellowship and the Ringbearer during a time of great danger, and his eagerness to share the beauty and magnificence and history of Kheled-zaram with Frodo and Sam. And then in Lothlorien, Gimli begins his journey towards rapproachment with the elves, his adoration of Galadriel, and the birth of his abiding friendship with Legolas.

Moria is a BIG turning point for Gimli.
Lindariel Image

“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

bruce rerek
Posts: 309
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:16 pm
Location: Brooklyn
Contact:

Post by bruce rerek » Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:24 pm

Being the big softie that I am, yes I was equally as effected by Bill as was Sam. The professor's knack for details, even that of a character such as a horse leaves one with lasting impressions. Gandalf's benediction was indeed welcomed.
The point of a long ago past is well taken, and I think that to have entered into the mines of Moria through Durin's gate is a very apt choice. The motif is utter darkness with footfalls and foul creatures at every step. Celebrimbor was he that fashioned not only the runes to the portal to Moria, but also the rings of power. After many eons have past the want of Mithril and of Power binded them all to darkness. Our nine walkers have to pass through both natural and corrupted forms of nature to see their quest finished.
Does one also notice how JRR uses themes and motifs much like that of a music score? Notice how he treads Gollum in between all the chapters and uses the history of the past to color the present.
Bruce
Mornie utlie
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie
a promise lives within you now

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:00 pm

Lindariel good point regarding Gimli and his opening to reveal himself as a viable character. He is anxious to venture in the dark though not from fear but from the drive to find what has happened in this familiar but strange place.

bruce wrote:The point of a long ago past is well taken, and I think that to have entered into the mines of Moria through Durin's gate is a very apt choice. The motif is utter darkness with footfalls and foul creatures at every step. Celebrimbor was he that fashioned not only the runes to the portal to Moria, but also the rings of power. After many eons have past the want of Mithril and of Power binded them all to darkness. Our nine walkers have to pass through both natural and corrupted forms of nature to see their quest finished.


Well said Bruce. There is that circle of things from the past becoming an integral part of the world's future. :D
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Post Reply