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MonkeyNotes-The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Bridge of Khazad-dum

Summary

From a book of records found in the tomb, Gandalf learns that Balin and the dwarves were attacked by Orcs and also by a strange beast with no form or body. Gandalf gives the book of Mazarbul to Gimli; all pay their respects to Balin’s tomb and leave.

Suddenly, the Orcs appear. After a fierce battle in which Frodo is wounded, Gandalf stops the Orcs with a spell. As if in warning of what is to come, however, a very strong presence nearly makes it impossible for Gandalf to use his power.

The further they go the hotter it gets and they realize that the lower levels are on fire. They come across a deep chasm that can only be crossed by a narrow bridge. Gimli leads the way and just as Legolas draws his bow, he sees a sight that fills him with terror. A great shadow, shaped like a man but having far greater power, is pursuing them. It is Balrog, the beast that attacked Balin and the dwarves. Balrog has a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire in one hand and a throng of whips in the other. He leaps across the chasm and races toward them.

Boromir draws out his horn and blows it. Gandalf stands on the bridge and commands the Balrog to go back. But it comes at him with its sword. Gandalf counters it with his own sword and before it can attack a second time he cuts the bridge right out from under Balrog. With a cry the Balrog falls, but he entwines his whip around Gandalf’s knees and drags him to his death as well.


Notes

In this chapter Frodo earns the respect and admiration of his crew, especially for the way he has fought off the Orcs and was wounded. Just as Bilbo did in The Hobbit, Frodo grows braver.

The company has lost a great friend and guide in Gandalf, but though they are devastated they manage to keep their wits. When they exit Moria, they realize that the dark night of the caverns has been an illusion. Now, in the daylight, they are full of grief and mourning for their lost leader.

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