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Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul

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Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul
The Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul as depicted in Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring
Conflict: Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul
Date: January 15, 3019 T.A.
Place: The Chamber of Mazarbul in Khazad-dûm
Outcome: no victory for either side

The Fellowship of the Ring

The hordes of Moria, the Balrog of Moria



The Balrog of Moria


9 combatants

Unknown total strength, over 14 Moria orcs and Uruks, but probably not many more, at least one Cave-troll, the Balrog of Moria


A skirmish between the Fellowship of the Ring and the hordes of Moria in the Chamber of Mazarbul.


The Books


The Fellowship, having just read fragments of the Book of Mazarbul inside the Mazarbul chamber, hear the sounds of an approaching band of orcs. This group includes both Moria orcs and large, black Uruks of Mordor. The Fellowship tries to shut the doors to the chamber, but the orcs are already trying to force their way in. A large Cave-troll beats on the door and forces its foot thru. Frodo stabs the foot with Sting, causing the troll to withdraw. Orcs shoot arrows through the door, but they bounce uselessly off the walls of the chamber. At last, the orcs manage to burst their way through the chamber door. A fierce skirmish ensues.

Legolas shoots two orcs through the throat. Gimli hews the legs from under one. Aragorn and Boromir slay "many" (no exact number is given). During the fight, Sam is receives a small head injury but kills an orc himself. When the Fellowship has killed 13 orcs, the rest of the orcs flee shrieking. But just as the Fellowship is about to leave the chamber, a large orc-chieftain jumps in and pins Frodo to the wall with a spear. Thinking him dead, the Fellowship carries Frodo away, after Aragorn kills the orc. It is later revealed that Frodo receives a mere bruise, having been protected by his shirt of mithril mail.

Gandalf remains in the chamber while the rest of the Fellowship flee and faces the Balrog of Moria for the first time. Gandalf sets a shutting spell on the chamber door but cannot hold it. The spell is broken and Gandalf follows the Fellowship out of the chamber, down the Stairs of Khazad-dûm.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Book II: Chapter 5: The Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

The Films



  • The Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul is expanded a great deal in the films, to aid the movie's dramatic flow and pacing, and to make the battle something more meaningful for the Fellowship on screen. The entire Fellowship takes part in the skirmish.

The battle begins when a large group of Moria orcs breaks through the chamber door. A furious, fairly prolonged battle ensues. The cave-troll enters the scene early on, breaking into the chamber and nearly killing Sam, who ducks under the troll's legs just in time. The fighting continues, with Legolas, Aragorn, Boromir and Gimli killing many orcs. Sam is able to kill (or at least knock out) a few with one of his iron pans and kills at least one with his sword. Frodo, Merry and Pippin seem to be participating in the fight as well. Peter Jackson likely wanted to involve the entire Fellowship in the battle to make it something meaningful to each member, as well as to the group as a whole, it being the Fellowship's first real battle together (in the book, the Fellowship doesn't really fight together like this).

  • It is source of common debate as to whether or not the "black Uruks of Mordor" described by Tolkien are present in the film.

There are a few orcs that physically look slightly different from the rest, though they wear the same armor. Some have argued that perhaps the Mordor Uruks sent to Moria by Sauron had taken up the Moria orcs' way of life, adopting their armor and weaponry.

  • In the film, it is the Cave-troll that chases after Frodo and hits him with a spear, rather than an orc-chieftain.

Jackson likely wanted to bring the Cave-troll into the center of the action, adding greater interest to the battle.

Following a momentary victory, when most of the orcs have been killed or fled the chamber, the Fellowship hear the sound of more orcs approaching and flee through a break in the eastern wall of the chamber back to Twenty-first Hall (see Chamber of Mazarbul for notes on geographical changes). The action is extended further in the film, as the Fellowship are soon surrounded by hundreds of Moria orcs, before the Balrog enters the hall.

  • Gandalf never has his encounter with the Balrog in the Mazarbul chamber in the movie.

Jackson likely wanted to reserve the revelation of the Balrog for a more dramatic moment on film.

Behind the Scenes

Coming soon....


Coming soon....

Related Links

Site of Battle: Khazad-dûm | Seventh Level | North End | Twenty-first Hall | Chamber of Mazarbul