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A Journey in the Dark

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A Journey in the Dark is the fourth chapter of the second book in The Fellowship of the Ring.


Summary

Gandalf tells the group that the only way under the mountain is through the Mines of Moria, underground tunnels in which a group of Dwarves led by Balin disappeared many years ago.

When the reach Moria, the river has been dammed and the entrance is flooded. Gandalf sets the pony free and sends it back to Rivendell. Gandalf uses a secret password to gain them entrance, and they proceed into the mines. Once they enter, there is no choice but to make their way through the mountain and emerge on the other side.

Fissures and chasms make their path treacherous and at one point they enter a stone door and find a deep well inside it. Pippin throws a stone into it and they hear tapping, as if someone is using a hammer. They walk on for as long as they can, coming to many paths and crossroads, resting little and eating even less. The Mines of Moria are famous for silver (mithril) and it was in search of this that Balin and his Dwarves came to Moria. Gandalf tells them that Bilbo had a coat of mail armor made of mithril and Frodo staggers when he realizes that Bilbo has gifted him with a suit of armor whose value can buy the whole Shire.

When they continue on their journey the next day, they come upon a tomb and Gandalf reads what is written on it. They realize that the tomb belongs to Balin and the elves. Frodo is upset as he realizes that Bilbo's good friend is dead.