Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A Journey in the Dark squared and Open Discussion

SirDennisC
Half-elven


Nov 6 2010, 5:47am

Post #1 of 16 (326 views)
Shortcut
A Journey in the Dark squared and Open Discussion Can't Post

Random questions from the last part of the chapter:
  1. Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?
  2. Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?
  3. What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?
  4. How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?
  5. When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?

Open discussion: have at it.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Nov 6 2010, 5:49am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Nov 6 2010, 5:49pm

Post #2 of 16 (139 views)
Shortcut
Some random answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was led into a one way trap?

I suppose it depends whether you think the Watcher in the Water was under orders, or just behaving in its own instinctively evil way. We are never told one way or the other - so perhaps your word "suggest" says it all. A suggestion is set up in our minds that this may all be a complex, intelligent plan. But there's no proof either way.

Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?

Maybe because of the "older and fouler things than orcs" that live down there where the water has its source?

What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?

Well, they're only getting small sips of Miruvor, and it won't last much longer anyway. Isn't it just like Elves to be so stingy with the good stuff! A good dose of orc grog might be just what the doctor ordered...

How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?

The stone goes right down to the depths of the mine where those older and fouler things hang out, and makes a nice, echoing splash... The staff only makes a "faint glow" so the Company can see where they're stepping - not the kind of bright light that's provided for the benefit of movie viewers. If Gandalf really is banging that staff around, then I can see how you'd think that he's being a bit unfair to Pippin, but I think Gandalf's probably holding up his staff and not banging it on the ground at all.

When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?

Maybe in Many Meetings, when he saw the worry in Glóin's face:
"And what has become of Balin and Ori and Óin?" asked Frodo. A shadow passed over Glóin’s face. "We do not know,’ he answered."
Or if not then, perhaps when he heard Glóin's account at the Council of Elrond, and learned that Balin had sent no news from Moria for many years - and that Sauron was taking an interest in Moria himself.

Thanks for leading us this week, Sir Dennis!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Nov 6 2010, 5:49pm)


xy
Rohan

Nov 6 2010, 6:19pm

Post #3 of 16 (145 views)
Shortcut
a good chapter [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Good one ! I never thought of it that way, maybe Sauron and/or Saruman cooked it all up: block the Caradhras, make sure they go down the mountain, send wargs and make them enter Moria. I for one don't think it's a coincidence the Watcher goes after Frodo. Or that Balrog follows the Orcs closely at the bridge.
2. It contains the Watcher.
3. Both, but miruvor is what is at hand.
4. It will announce their presence a lot more than a little dim light.
5. Maybe after they entered Moria and no Dwarves were seen ?


(This post was edited by xy on Nov 6 2010, 6:20pm)


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Nov 6 2010, 8:34pm

Post #4 of 16 (128 views)
Shortcut
Balin's tomb [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember the first time on reading Lotr and coming to this part, thinking, Ouch, poor Balin. He was one of the major Dwarves in the Hobbit, and unlike Thorin who always was a little bit grumpy so his death perhaps wasn't so much of a shock, he was one of the nicer ones and friendly to Bilbo. After all the stuff with the Black Riders and the Ring we seem now to come back to the Hobbit and have the knowledge that one of its good characters have had an unhappy ending! Maybe this is a hint that in some of his other legends, things do not always end happily!


(This post was edited by Hamfast Gamgee on Nov 6 2010, 8:39pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Nov 7 2010, 12:21am

Post #5 of 16 (113 views)
Shortcut
You are most welcome [In reply to] Can't Post

And thank you for putting up with the inconsistent formats across the three threads. I am interested in discerning what balance between supplemental material and questions (and how both elements are presented) leads to the most fruitful discussions.

Super-long, detailed lead posts seem to be no guarantee of stimulating discussion; while a sparse, straight forward approach that assumes familiarity with the text seems like a bit of a cheat... Either way, the best part of these threads are the discussions themselves.

Thank you for your participation through the week!


sador
Half-elven


Nov 7 2010, 4:09pm

Post #6 of 16 (99 views)
Shortcut
Late Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?
Yes. It is a bit less subtle than the click of the lock as Pippin get inside the Willow, but it does suggest it.
And Boromir actually says so - both before entering Moria, and after they did!

Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?
Anywhere else? Nah. They just haven't gotten to Imlad Morgul yet.

What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?

Quote
'Fool of a Took!' he growled. 'This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance.'


I suspect Gandalf for one is sorry he didn't bring that Orc grog. Tongue

How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?
Oh, I'm sure Gandalf was quiet. He was very careful - at least until he lit that pipe... even Bilbo realised (in Riddles in the Dark) that it wasn't a great idea!

When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?
As soon as Gimli said he doubts that Balin ever came to Moria (in contradiction to his father's report at rhw Council).

Open discussion: have at it.
I will, but I'll be a bit late.



"Welcome, and well met!" - Gloin.

The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back! Please join us in the Reading Room.

"What does the Watcher eat when he can't get hobbit?"
- Finding Frodo.



dormouse
Half-elven

Nov 7 2010, 6:16pm

Post #7 of 16 (91 views)
Shortcut
Even later answers.... [In reply to] Can't Post

  • Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?
  • Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?

  • My answer to both of these is the same vague, muddled idea that I've just tried to articulate in your last thread (I'm sorry, my timing's rubbish). In that case of the blocking of the gate, if that had a specific purpose then I'd guess that it was part of the crushing of the dwarves attempt to retake Moria and had already happened long before the Fellowship was formed, but it seems to me that in Middle Earth the whole of nature has a consciousness and plays some part, for good or ill. So the water is bad for the same reason that Caradhras is cruel - earth and stone and water in this part of Middle Earth seem to have been corrupted by the forces that inhabit them and they will react against anything that belongs to a different part of the music.

    What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?
    Miruvor for sure - more wholesome (and I suspect it tastes better!)

    How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?

    Nasty things lurk in deep holes.

  • When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?
  • First inkling at the Council of Elrond, perhaps, confirmed by the generally ominous approach to Moria.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking questions and sorry for the feeble (and late) answers


    CuriousG
    Valinor


    Nov 7 2010, 10:30pm

    Post #8 of 16 (88 views)
    Shortcut
    More answers [In reply to] Can't Post

     
    Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?
    Yes, and it's spooky how Sauron seemed to coordinate all this from afar.

    Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?
    Corrupted by the long presence of the Balrog and all the orcs. But also, in real, modern terms, the water in mines is often polluted by the various wastes that mines produce or release. I'm not sure if Tolkien was referring to that instead. Maybe if there were dwarves around to maintain things, the water wouldn't be poisoned, but they were long gone. Still, I think the fact that Moria is like a giant haunted house means that it's dangerous in every way. And there is that foul air in the passage down below--there's pollution of many kinds in Moria: spiritual, industrial, and the excretions of vile beasts.

    What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?
    Miruvor for healing, orc grog for rowdy parties. I could be wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that miruvor was made from flowers in Valinor, hence it's somehow survived a couple Ages and would be in very, very short supply and couldn't be replenished. Or maybe Elrond made it from his backyard garden if I'm wrong.

    How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?
    I used to wonder this too, until I reread several times to convince myself that Gandalf's staff was on the lowest possible dimmer switch setting, so no one would see them unless they were right nearby anyway.

    When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?
    This has never made sense to me. I always think that Gimli or Gandalf should have this line. Bilbo was close to Balin, but it's hard to see that Frodo inherited that connection. And not to be too callous, but why should Frodo worry about Balin, or even think about the dwarf colonists, about whom not much is said? He had a lot of other more important things on his mind. But what this short little line does is establish Frodo as someone with empathy, one of the highest honors Tolkien can bestow on a character. So though it doesn't seem to fit, I let it pass for that reason.



    Thanks for all your posts! Prepping mine for the coming week leaves me in no doubt how much work is required.





    Elizabeth
    Valinor


    Nov 8 2010, 1:41am

    Post #9 of 16 (139 views)
    Shortcut
    The sound of one stone dropping [In reply to] Can't Post

    How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?

    The light didn't have to be very bright: it doesn't take many lumens to be able to see in total darkness. And the tunnels are small, and seem to turn a lot, so unless an orc was in fairly close proximity to the party it wouldn't be seen.

    A stone dropping in a well, however, makes a sound that can reverberate and be heard fairly widely.






    Sign up now in the Reading Room to lead a chapter discussion of LotR Book II!

    Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


    dernwyn
    Forum Admin / Moderator


    Nov 8 2010, 3:49am

    Post #10 of 16 (138 views)
    Shortcut
    That pipe! [In reply to] Can't Post

    That's been my gripe, also: Why is Gandalf lighting up a pipe, and smoking, in the midst of "enemy territory"?

    One would think that the smell of the smoke would signal intruders; I doubt that burning pipe-weed has the same aroma as "feu de Balrog"!


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    "I desired dragons with a profound desire"

    "It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
    -Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




    dormouse
    Half-elven

    Nov 8 2010, 8:58am

    Post #11 of 16 (79 views)
    Shortcut
    I suppose that depends how near they are... [In reply to] Can't Post

    I was being a bit flippant when I answered 'nasty things lurk in deep holes' but there is a serious point to it. Moria seems to be unfathomably vast and it exists on many levels. The orcs - and certainly the Balrog - appear to inhabit the deeper levels. That would explain how Balin's company managed to move in and establish a foothold; if the upper level had been full of orcs they wouldn't have stood a chance, and I don't suppose they were going round on tiptoe or living on salad. Lights, smells, sounds in the upper levels must have passed unnoticed. The problem in Moria seems to be 'delving too deep' - either by mining or by a simple stone, dropped down a well, which sends sound waves reverberating round the deeper levels. A bit like ringing the doorbell....


    CuriousG
    Valinor


    Nov 8 2010, 12:28pm

    Post #12 of 16 (120 views)
    Shortcut
    Speaking of doorbells [In reply to] Can't Post

    I wonder why there were no orc guards in the vicinity of the Hollin gate, or just any Moria residents around (besides Gollum) to hear the destruction of the gates by the Watcher. That should have made a lot of noise to echo through the halls. Though as you say, the place is incredibly vast and not inhabited throughout. And maybe the orcs thought the Watcher was enough to keep the gates guarded without any effort by them. We do see later that orcs are pretty lazy by nature and dodge duties when they can.


    Curious
    Half-elven


    Nov 8 2010, 7:18pm

    Post #13 of 16 (90 views)
    Shortcut
    Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

    Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?

    I don't think so, no. It doesn't seem that organized. The inhabitants of Moria are not immediately aware of the Fellowship, or else they wouldn't have let them get so far through the mine. Rather, I like dormouse's idea that Sauron's aura of evil, his Shadow, has awoken evil throughout the land, but the individual agents of evil are not all communicating with each other, and often work at cross purposes.

    If anything, the blocking of the Gate may save the Fellowship from the evil creatures who forced them to take refuge in Moria. If the Gate had been kept open instead, perhaps the Fellowship would have been pursued.

    Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?

    In Middle-earth, it seems as if the forces of evil habitually poison or taint water, or create deserts, perhaps to deny Ulmo and his minions access to evil lands and evil plans. The element of water seems resistant to evil influences, and so the spirits associated with such water must be "killed" or driven away.

    What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?

    Miruvor. Why do you ask?

    How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?

    I don't recall much banging around. But the well is deep, and the deepest parts of Moria are the worst.

    When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?

    Wouldn't he fear it beginning in Rivendell, at the Council of Elrond, when he learned that the dwarves had heard nothing from him?


    Darkstone
    Immortal


    Nov 8 2010, 8:47pm

    Post #14 of 16 (69 views)
    Shortcut
    Well [In reply to] Can't Post

    Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?

    It suggests more that the Watcher went "Dang! Third party to escape this week!! Well, that's the last time!! I'm stopping this hole up!!"

    If only Smaug had been a bit less procrastinating none of this might have even happened: "There was a breath of strange air in his cave. Could there be a draught from that little hole? He had never felt quite happy about it, though was so small, and now he glared at it in suspicion an wondered why he had never blocked it up."


    Why should the water in Moria be any worse than water anywhere else in Middle-earth?

    All the rotting trunks and shrubs. And, oh, man, the fruit of the holly trees. They drop into the water and ferment with the rest of the rotting stuff. I know when pecans fall into puddles and ferment under a hot sun it stinks worse than just about anything. Plus it's stagnant. If you fish in a still stagnant pool with no outlet (such as a stock pond) cook the fish really good cause you can be just about sure they're all full of parasites.

    Not to mention it's full of Watcher poo.


    What would be more useful to the Fellowship now, Miruvor or Orc grog?

    The Hollin Hotel and Celebrimbor's Cocktail Lounge
    ("Visit the gift shop and see our selection of fine jewelry!!")


    How is dropping a stone in a Moria well worse than banging around with a lighted staff?

    Or tooting a horn, or rhapsodizing about one's new sword, or singing ancient Elvish songs, or keeping up a running patter about various points of interest, or (loudest of all) the growling stomachs of four hobbits.


    When and why did Frodo begin to fear that Balin was dead?

    He's starting to blame himself. He will blame himself for Gandalf's death and Boromir's madness. Some of it is just a typical irrational reaction to constant pressure and hardship, but some of it might be the ring.

    ******************************************
    NARFOT since 1967.

    NARFOP since 2001.

    I'm NARFOB and I'm proud!!


    FarFromHome
    Valinor


    Nov 9 2010, 11:55am

    Post #15 of 16 (93 views)
    Shortcut
    Gandalf and Legolas agree with you, I think. [In reply to] Can't Post


    Quote
    ...in Middle Earth the whole of nature has a consciousness...earth and stone and water in this part of Middle Earth seem to have been corrupted by the forces that inhabit them...


    When the Company first reaches Hollin, Gandalf himself implies that the land has its own "consciousness", and that Hollin still "remembers" its previous inhabitants:
    "There is a wholesome air about Hollin. Much evil must befall a country before it wholly forgets the Elves..."
    To which Legolas replies:
    "But...the trees and the grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone."
    So there's still a faint and faded memory of wholesomeness, at least in this one area, left in the ruined stones of the Elves' settlements. But new forces have moved in since, and as you say, have brought corruption with them.

    They went in, and Sam shut the door.
    But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
    deep and unstilled,
    the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
    From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



    noWizardme
    Tol Eressea

    Dec 5 2012, 4:35pm

    Post #16 of 16 (80 views)
    Shortcut
    If it's a trap, someone forgot the spring [In reply to] Can't Post


    In Reply To
    Random questions from the last part of the chapter:
    1. Does the blocking of the Gate suggest the Company was lead into a one way trap?


    I'm going to vote "no" because I think any trap would have been sprung sooner. As it is, the Fellowship nearly makes it across Moria before they are pursued by anything other than Gollum. I think the Watcher was either a predator just after food (nothing to do with the Ring at al), or being evil it was drawn to the Ring for itself. The latter is what they go for in the film - I think I remember from the documentaries on the DVD that they see it as after the Ring for itself and show it holding Frodo up to search his pocketses. One of those "Oft evil will shall evil mar" moments, to quote Theoden's proverb .


     
     

    Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

    home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

    This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

    Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.