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The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

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Crayon drawing by J.R.R. Tolkien of the steps leading up to the Great Gates of Moria.
The Fellowship of the Ring chapters
Book I
  1. A Long-expected Party
  2. The Shadow of the Past
  3. Three is Company
  4. A Short Cut to Mushrooms
  5. A Conspiracy Unmasked
  6. The Old Forest
  7. In the House of Tom Bombadil
  8. Fog on the Barrow-downs
  9. At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
  10. Strider
  11. A Knife in the Dark
  12. Flight to the Ford
Book II
  1. Many Meetings
  2. The Council of Elrond
  3. The Ring goes South
  4. A Journey in the Dark
  5. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
  6. Lothlórien
  7. The Mirror of Galadriel
  8. Farewell to Lórien
  9. The Great River
  10. The Breaking of the Fellowship

The Bridge of Khazad-dûm is the fifth chapter of the second book in The Fellowship of the Ring.


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 down as well.