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The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring


by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring Book 2, Chapter 5 Summary

The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

  • The Company searches the room for more clues to Balin's fate.
  • Gandalf finds a chronicle of Balin's expedition, but it's tattered and difficult to make out.
  • It definitely contains the nasty news that Balin, Óin, and Ori died in battle in the mines.
  • Worst of all are the last words of Ori: "We cannot get out. We cannot get out [...] The end comes [...] drums, drums in the deep [...] they are coming" (2.5.11).
  • Once Gandalf has finished his reading, they hear a loud booming noise echoing through the Mines.
  • It is the drums in the deep: the Enemy is coming.
  • Gandalf insists that they not block the eastern door – they cannot risk getting trapped like Ori and his friends.
  • Coming toward the Company, Gandalf sees huge numbers of Orcs, including some Uruks from Mordor, and at least one cave troll.
  • Boromir tries to barricade the door shut, but it opens slowly under the force of a "great, flat, toeless foot" (2.5.31).
  • To everyone's surprise, Frodo leaps forward and stabs the foot.
  • It jerks back, and Boromir gets the door shut.
  • Still, the Orcs outside break it down, and the battle begins.

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  • A "huge Orc-chieftain, almost man-high" (2.5.38) stabs at Frodo with a spear that leaves him pinned to the wall.
  • Aragorn picks Frodo up and they run for the eastern door.
  • Frodo tells Aragorn to put him down; he can walk. Aragorn is stunned: he thought Frodo was dead.
  • They find a dark passage where they crouch in wait for Gandalf.
  • Gandalf stays behind to guard the door; they can hear him muttering something.
  • Soon, Gandalf rejoins them to say that he has done all he can, but he has met his match.
  • They have to run as fast as they can, seven flights of stairs down into the Mines.
  • Gandalf thinks they have reached the level of the Gates. Now, they must head east.
  • Still confused, Gandalf asks how Frodo survived the spear stabbing.
  • Frodo says he's fine – just bruised.
  • They press on.
  • But Gandalf notices something wrong: there is a mysterious glow ahead, and it's not daylight. It's fire.
  • Fortunately for the Company, they are on the right side of the fire: they are facing the way out, and the Orcs trying to kill them are on the other side of whatever is burning.
  • They reach a narrow bridge across a fifty-foot-wide chasm. They begin to cross.
  • Legolas turns back to fire his arrows at the Orcs when he sees something that frightens him: a Balrog.
  • Gandalf sends the Company ahead and stands in the middle of the Bridge of Khazad-dûm to face the Balrog.
  • He breaks the bridge with a sheet of flame, sending the Balrog into a deep pit, but the Balrog catches Gandalf's foot with his whip and Gandalf falls, too.
  • His last words are: "Fly, you fools!" (2.5.95). And just like that, he's gone.
  • Aragorn shouts, "I will lead you now! [...] We must obey his last command" (2.5.96).
  • The Company follows Aragorn in a daze. They emerge under the sky, looking out over Dimrill Dale. It is 1:00 in the afternoon, and the sun is high.
  • The drum-beats fade and the Company falls into grief.

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