The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

The fully-formed fellows finally begin their journey towards the fires of Mount Doom but must first cross a formidable mountain known as Caradhras. The company believes it can cross without much trouble but Gandalf suggests traveling through it by going through Moria, a series of underground tunnels formerly used as mines. Aragorn adamantly refuses due to the evil reputation that surrounds moria and specifically calls out Gandalf, saying that is too dangerous for him to be in Moria. However, after an attack from the wolves, the group decides that Moria is their best bet of survival to enter, however, they have to say the passcode to open the door.

After figuring out a relatively simple riddle, they enter with the door shut behind them moria is described as dark and hot, and whilst traveling, Frodo keeps seeing two pale eyes and hearing a feet behind them as if a creature were following the company.

Soon, they reach a library of sorts and encounter a book called the tome which contains the last records of Moria.

In it, they discover that some large creature killed them off and compared the sound to drum beats. Upon reading, a group of orcs attack them and Gandalf is thrown off a bridge and it is assumed that he is deceased the group then travels to Lothlorien which is a heavenly place created by the Elves. Here, they find temporary respite before they continue on their journey. One of the most prevalent themes so far is the difference between tamed and untamed nature.

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In tamed nature, such as that of the Shire and Tom Bombadil’s land, we see pleasant and peaceful creatures while in the untamed nature, such as the Caradhras, we see vicious wolves who attack the company, a lot is revealed about Gandalf during the journey through moria.

We see that Gandalf, despite being so wise, still faces problems that he cannot solve, such as the riddle to the door of moria, a problem that took him hours to solve. We also see him as a human for the first time in the story when he is unable to sleep during the first night in moria and takes a smoke to calm his nerves. Here, we see a different side to Gandalf who is usually viewed as mighty and above all other races. The drumbeats that are described in the tome are a source of mystery because until then, Tolkien displays music and songs as a form of peace and natural goodness but here, the drumbeats signify evil and malevolence. Finally, the trip to Lothlorien adheres to the pattern seen in this novel since after each scene of action, respite and peace at a certain location is found. In this case, after the chaos in moria, the company finds peace at Lothlorien.

When Gandalf volunteers to lead the company through moria, he raises his “staff aloft, and from its tip came a faint radiance” (Tolkien 302). The “faint radiance” points to the recurrent symbol of light in the novel, Until now, light has served as a symbol for goodness and as an opposite to evil, the darkness. However, now the light is seen as a symbol of knowledge. Due to the fact that Gandalf did not really know what to expect in moria, the light from his staff was dim but later on, when he realizes where they were and knew what to expect next, his staff glows brighter, indicating an increase in knowledge.

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The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien. (2023, Jan 12). Retrieved from

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