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Old June 27, 2022, 16:34   #1
Join Date: Jul 2019
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emar is on a distinguished road
On Durin's Bane or: The time has come to talk of many things...

Was Durin's Bane the malevolent force the Fellowship encountered that prevented their passage across the Redhorn Pass? Was Durin's Bane in charge of Moria?

Durin's Bane clearly not only knew how to access Durin's Tower on the top of Zirakzigil (as he's the one that leads Gandalf to it) but also the deepest depths of Moria's unknown. Hollin and the Redhorn Pass (if Karen Wynn Fonstad is to be believed) have a direct line of sight from Durin's Tower upon Zirakzigil. What if Durin's Bane was in total command of Moria?

Reading the post-Rivendell chapters with this in mind and a few longstanding mysteries resolve themselves of their own accord (Namely: What flew overhead in the night? Does Durin's Bane have wings? Can Durin's Bane fly? Why did Gandalf die *after* killing Durin's Bane? Why was he naked and exposed for days that seemed like ages upon the mountaintop after being resurrected?)

That morning they lit a fire in a deep hollow shrouded by great bushes of holly, and their supper-breakfast was merrier than it had been since they set out. They did not hurry to bed afterwards, for they expected to have all the night to sleep in, and they did not mean to go on again until the evening of the next day. Only Aragorn was silent and restless. After a while he left the Company and wandered on to the ridge; there he stood in the shadow of a tree, looking out southwards and westwards, with his head posed as if he was listening. Then he returned to the brink of the dell and looked down at the others laughing and talking.
β€?What is the matter, Strider?’ Merry called up. β€?What are you looking for? Do you miss the East Wind?’
β€?No indeed,’ he answered. β€?But I miss something. I have been in the country of Hollin in many seasons. No folk dwell here now, but many other creatures live here at all times, especially birds. Yet now all things but you are silent. I can feel it. There is no sound for miles about us, and your voices seem to make the ground echo. I do not understand it.’
Gandalf looked up with sudden interest. β€?But what do you guess is the reason?’ he asked. β€?Is there more in it than surprise at seeing four hobbits, not to mention the rest of us, where people are so seldom seen or heard?’
β€?I hope that is it,’ answered Aragorn. β€?But I have a sense of watchfulness, and of fear, that I have never had here before.’
β€?Then we must be more careful,’ said Gandalf. β€?If you bring a Ranger with you, it is well to pay attention to him, especially if the Ranger is Aragorn. We must stop talking aloud, rest quietly, and set the watch.’
Shortly after this, the crebain arrive and disappear. Later on, in the night...

It was the cold chill hour before the first stir of dawn, and the moon was low. Frodo looked up at the sky. Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for a moment they faded and then flashed out again. He shivered.
β€?Did you see anything pass over?’ he whispered to Gandalf, who was just ahead.
β€?No, but I felt it, whatever it was,’ he answered. β€?It may be nothing, only a wisp of thin cloud.’
β€?It was moving fast then,’ muttered Aragorn, β€?and not with the wind.’
The Nazgul had not yet passed the borders of Mordor again, but Sauron knows the Ring was near the Misty Mountains. So what is so evil and powerful near Moria that could do the following: cause all life to fall silent, cause or request the summoning of crebain to investigate the area during the day, pass overhead near the break of dawn after the crebain fail to find anything, and cause or request ground surveillance by wargs. All of this suggests a being that is either in direct contact with Mordor or a being nigh as powerful as Sauron. It could be Saruman, but Gandalf implies that the Gap alone is being watched. There are explicitly Mordor orcs in Moria and have been for years. I think the answer is Durin's Bane is involved prior to the Chamber of Mazarbul. I think he's directly in command.

And after the Fellowship encounters the blizzard that begins and lessens with their visibility from the peak of Zirakzigil:

β€?I wonder if this is a contrivance of the Enemy,’ said Boromir. β€?They say in my land that he can govern the storms in the Mountains of Shadow that stand upon the borders of Mordor. He has strange powers and many allies.’
β€?His arm has grown long indeed,’ said Gimli, β€?if he can draw snow down from the North to trouble us here three hundred leagues away.’
β€?His arm has grown long,’ said Gandalf.
The Company halted suddenly, as if they had come to an agreement without any words being spoken. They heard eerie noises in the darkness round them. It may have been only a trick of the wind in the cracks and gullies of the rocky wall, but the sounds were those of shrill cries, and wild howls of laughter. Stones began to fall from the mountain-side, whistling over their heads, or crashing on the path beside them. Every now and again they heard a dull rumble, as a great boulder rolled down from hidden heights above.
We cannot go further tonight,’ said Boromir. β€?Let those call it the wind who will; there are fell voices on the air; and these stones are aimed at us.’
β€?I do call it the wind,’ said Aragorn. β€?But that does not make what you say untrue. There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he.’
β€?Caradhras was called the Cruel, and had an ill name,’ said Gimli, β€?long years ago, when rumour of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.’
β€?It matters little who is the enemy, if we cannot beat off his attack,’ said Gandalf.
β€?But what can we do?’ cried Pippin miserably. He was leaning on Merry and Frodo, and he was shivering.
β€?Either stop where we are, or go back,’ said Gandalf.
Caradhras isn't the enemy; Zirakzigil is.

β€?What do you say to fire?’ asked Boromir suddenly. β€?The choice seems near now between fire and death, Gandalf. Doubtless we shall be hidden from all unfriendly eyes when the snow has covered us, but that will not help us.’
β€?You may make a fire, if you can,’ answered Gandalf. β€?If there are any watchers that can endure this storm, then they can see us, fire or no.’
But though they had brought wood and kindlings by the advice of Boromir, it passed the skill of Elf or even Dwarf to strike a flame that would hold amid the swirling wind or catch in the wet fuel. At last reluctantly Gandalf himself took a hand. Picking up a faggot he held it aloft for a moment, and then with a word of command, naur an edraith ammen! he thrust the end of his staff into the midst of it. At once a great spout of green and blue flame sprang out, and the wood flared and sputtered.
β€?If there are any to see, then I at least am revealed to them,’ he said. β€?I have written Gandalf is here in signs that all can read from Rivendell to the mouths of Anduin.’
"So at least one is still alive. Send wargs to investigate. Block off their escape."

After a while Boromir returned carrying Sam. Behind in the narrow but now well-trodden track came Gandalf, leading Bill with Gimli perched among the baggage. Last came Aragorn carrying Frodo. They passed through the lane; but hardly had Frodo touched the ground when with a deep rumble there rolled down a fall of stones and slithering snow. The spray of it half blinded the Company as they crouched against the cliff, and when the air cleared again they saw that the path was blocked behind them.
β€?Enough, enough!’ cried Gimli. β€?We are departing as quickly as we may!’ And indeed with that last stroke the malice of the mountain seemed to be expended, as if Caradhras was satisfied that the invaders had been beaten off and would not dare to return. The threat of snow lifted; the clouds began to break and the light grew broader.
"You *will* come to the Doors of Durin and be eaten by the Nameless One."

A few paragraphs later:

β€?We do not know what he expects,’ said Boromir. β€?He may watch all roads, likely and unlikely. In that case to enter Moria would be to walk into a trap, hardly better than knocking at the gates of the Dark Tower itself. The name of Moria is black.’
Tolkien (through Aragorn) warns Gandalf of his danger:

I will,’ said Aragorn heavily. β€?You followed my lead almost to disaster in the snow, and have said no word of blame. I will follow your lead now – if this last warning does not move you. It is not of the Ring, nor of us others that I am thinking now, but of you, Gandalf. And I say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!’
That day the weather changed again, almost as if it was at the command of some power that had no longer any use for snow, since they had retreated from the pass, a power that wished now to have a clear light in which things that moved in the wild could be seen from far away. The wnd had been turning through north to north-west during the night, and now it failed. The clouds vanished southwards and the sky was opened, high and blue. As they stood upon the hillside, ready to depart, a pale sunlight gleamed over the mountain-tops.
Command of power? That seems too linguistically close to Gandalf's words of Command referred a few pages later for it to be unintentional. Tolkien was not an arbitrary man. Hollin is visible from Zirakzigil, not Caradhras.

Then later, right before the Fellowship attempts to escape the Chamber of Mazarbul:

"Wait a moment! Do not close it yet!’ said Gandalf. He sprang forward to Boromir’s side and drew himself up to his full height.
β€?Who comes hither to disturb the rest of Balin Lord of Moria?’ he cried in a loud voice.
There was a rush of hoarse laughter, like the fall of sliding stones into a pit; amid the clamour a deep voice was raised in command. Doom, boom, doom went the drums in the deep.

With a quick movement Gandalf stepped before the narrow opening of the door and thrust forward his staff. There was a dazzling flash that lit the chamber and the passage outside. For an instant the wizard looked out. Arrows whined and whistled down the corridor as he sprang back.
β€?There are Orcs, very many of them,’ he said. β€?And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor. For the moment they are hanging back, but there is something else there. A great cave-troll, I think, or more than one. There is no hope of escape that way.’
Can you imagine the Balrog's thoughts? "Who comes to this chamber of the dead dwarf, whom I had killed, and calling him Lord of Moria (literally "the Black Chasm" but more poetically "the Infernal Darkness")? I know these walls, I know the deepest recesses unfathomable by lesser beings. I am Moria."

But even as they retreated, and before Pippin and Merry had reached the stair outside, a huge orc-chieftain, almost man-high, clad in black mail from head to foot, leaped into the chamber; behind him his followers clustered in the doorway. His broad flat face was swart, his eyes were like coals, and his tongue was red; he wielded a great spear. With a thrust of his huge hide shield he turned Boromir’s sword and bore him backwards, throwing him to the ground. Diving under Aragorn’s blow with the speed of a striking snake he charged into the Company and thrust with his spear straight at Frodo. The blow caught him on the right side, and Frodo was hurled against the wall and pinned. Sam, with a cry, hacked at the spear-shaft, and it broke. But even as the orc flung down the truncheon and swept out his scimitar, Andϊril came down upon his helm. There was a flash like flame and the helm burst asunder. The orc fell with cloven head. His followers fled howling, as Boromir and Aragorn sprang at them.
Doom, doom went the drums in the deep. The great voice rolled out again.
The Orc-Chieftain isn't in command. We know from elsewhere that Orcs are a contentious people that find following orders from other Orcs intolerable. Who can inspire blind obedience? Who's the real Lord of the Black Chasm? "Your company--Go sieize the halfling." The company returns without their leader. "So be it. Destroy them all."

The Fellowship flees through the eastern door, where Gandalf uses a locking spell, not a Command (yet).

β€?As I stood there I could hear orc-voices on the other side: at any moment I thought they would burst it open. I could not hear what was said; they seemed to be talking in their own hideous language. All I caught was ghβsh: that is β€œfire”. Then something came into the chamber – I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent. It laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell.
β€?What it was I cannot guess, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking out all the light inside, and I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well, I think.
The Orcs: "The door won't open. Whatever. We don't need to open the roor. The fire will get them. Yes! The fire will get them!" Management has to step in. "It's just a door, you insufferable fools." Durin's Bane lays hold of the ring and senses True Resistance. "Try to confound the Command of the Living Shadow, Lord of Moria!" Gandalf counter-Commands and, like a house divided, is destroyed being unable to serve two Masters.

The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.
β€?You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. β€?I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of UdΓ»n. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’
The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.
Glamdring glittered white in answer.
"I am the instrument of Eru, creator of the Divine Spark, wielder of the love of the Sun. Sauron, maker alone, cannot restore you, accursèd wanderer. Return to your Infernal Dark, or be made formless lacuna like your brethren. You cannot pass from Arda."

The passion in the Balrog dies, yet Pride urges him onward. Gandalf defends himself and shows himself immediately more powerful. Gandalf then makes the merciful decision to banish him, yet the Balrog refuses the gift and takes Gandalf with him to the abyss.

Gandalf then fights the Balrog down to the Pit, at which point he pursues the Balrog through the deep to the top of Durin's Tower. I imagine Durin's Bane is fleeing to Durin's Tower for one of two reasons:
The first is to warn Sauron of the unfolding of events: "I've removed the Wizard from the equation. Last known position of the Ring is at the Eastern Gate." The second is to try to find what remains of the group on the eastern side of Zirakzigil and the Dimrill Dale.

Later when Gandalf recounts the battle:

I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin. Then darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell.
β€?Naked I was sent back – for a brief time, until my task is done.
And naked I lay upon the mountain-top. The tower behind was crumbled into dust, the window gone; the ruined stair was choked with burned and broken stone. I was alone, forgotten, without escape upon the hard horn of the world. There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over, and each day was as long as a life-age of the earth. Faint to my ears came the gathered rumour of all lands: the springing and the dying, the song and the weeping, and the slow everlasting groan of over-burdened stone. And so at the last Gwaihir the Windlord found me again, and he took me up and bore me away.
But the Balrog is then destroyed by Gandalf. I think Gandalf dies here because he violated his mission, destroying the Balrog contrary to the wishes of Eru and accordingly passes outside of time and thought. Eru forgives, but gives Gandalf a penance after reincarnating him: he is forced to experience the pain of Durin's Bane.

So to recap, Durin's Bane is a winged being of pure shadow, and like most of Morgoth's machinations, *cannot* bear the light of Anor, i.e. the Sun. He can at least briefly tolerate moonlight. He's has been effectively trapped under the Misty Mountains since the fall of Morgoth. He goes to the deepest parts to hide for all time. The Dwarves come to him and remind him that the Inner Flame exists. He becomes the true Lord of Moria after killing Durin VI. Sauron returns and promises him his freedom--likely through the use of the shadow that pours forth from Mordor--if he uses his command from Moria to advance his plans. The Fellowship is detected near the Misty Mountains, so Sauron tells Durin's Bane to keep a close lookout. Durin's Bane forces the Fellowship from passing overland by hindering their passage over the Redhorn Pass. The Fellowship is supposed to die by the Watcher, but they pass inside alive.

Inside Moria, Pippin messes with the well and alerts the Moria forces that the first trap failed. Durin's Bane goes for plan two which involves trapping the bottleneck of the Bridge of Khazad-dΓ»m in hopes of capturing the Ring. This fails, too. Gandalf warns Durin's Bane that Sauron can't help him--a darkened sky is not the open air. Durin's Bane goes for broke and fights Gandalf anyway. Gandalf kills Durin's Bane and is punished by Eru to experience the same fate, but is allowed back on a short leash to complete his mission. Durin's Bane becomes "a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape.”


Last edited by emar; June 27, 2022 at 16:40.
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