Summary — Chapter 5: The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

Inside the chamber containing Balin’s tomb, Gandalf finds a half-burned book among bones and broken shields. The tome is the record of Balin’s people in Moria; it tells of their last days, when they were besieged both by hordes of Orcs and by a mysterious force much more ominous than Orcs. The final page of the record, hastily scrawled, is terrifying in its vagueness: “We cannot get out . . . drums in the deep . . . They are coming.”

The Company, scared and saddened, is about to leave the chamber when they suddenly hear the booming of a drum deep below them, along with the noise of many running feet. They bar the west door of the chamber just as a troop of Orcs arrives, along with a great cave-troll. The cave-troll forces its way through the door, but Frodo stabs its foot with Sting and the monster withdraws. Then the Orcs break through the door, but many are slain by the Company and the rest retreat. Gandalf sees a chance to escape, so he leads the Company out through the unguarded east door—but not before an Orc-chieftain stabs Frodo in the side. The rest of the Company is amazed to see Frodo still alive.

Gandalf holds the door shut with a closing spell while the others flee, but he feels a powerful counter-spell from the other side. The ensuing battle of spells collapses the doorway, and then the entire room. The wearied wizard rejoins the Company and leads them down toward the lower halls. Finally, they come to the Second Hall, just opposite the gate that leads out of Moria. The Company runs across the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, a slender arch of rock over a seemingly bottomless chasm. As they turn to look back, though, Legolas cries out in horror and Gimli covers his eyes.

Out of a band of Orcs leaps a great shadowy form, wreathed in flame and yet surrounded by shadow and darkness. It is a Balrog. Gandalf commands the others to flee while he holds the bridge. The Balrog swings a flaming sword and leaps forward, but the wizard stands firm. With a mighty spell, Gandalf breaks the bridge in two. The Balrog tumbles down, but in falling, casts its whip around Gandalf’s ankles and pulls him down into the depths of the cavern. As Gandalf falls, he shouts to the Company, “Fly, you fools!” Aragorn hurriedly leads the Company out of the Great Gates of Moria. They stumble a mile or so away from the mountain and then all collapse in grief.

Summary — Chapter 6: Lothlórien

With Gandalf lost, Aragorn assumes command of the Company. Hopeless though they all feel, the Ranger leads them away from the Misty Mountains and toward the Elvish forest of Lothlórien (often simply called Lórien). Stopping briefly to tend to Frodo’s injury, Aragorn is amazed to find Bilbo’s coat of mithril, which saved Frodo from his spear wound in Moria. Moving on, the Company comes to a deep well of crystal-clear water. Legolas and Aragorn are relieved to arrive at Lórien, but Boromir is wary; among Men, the name of the forest is surrounded by strange rumors.

Legolas tells the others of the history of Lothlórien: sorrow came in the Dark Days, when the Dwarves awakened the evil in Moria that then spread out into the hills and threatened Lórien. Gimli bristles at this mention. The Company enters the woods as night falls but is suddenly stopped by a group of Elves, led by one named Haldir, who have been watching from the trees. Luckily, the elves recognize Legolas as kindred and have also heard something of Frodo’s quest, so they bring the strangers up to their tree-platforms. After night falls, a company of Orcs passes under them, chasing after the Fellowship, but the creatures are waylaid by the Elves. Frodo and the others then see another strange creature—a small, crouching shape with pale eyes—but it slips away into the night.