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War of the Ring

Prelude: Attack on the Woodland RealmSauron's assault on OsgiliathSkirmish at WeathertopSkirmish in Balin's TombBattle of the PeakSkirmish at Amon HenWar Commences:First Battle of the Fords of IsenAmbush of the RohirrimSecond Battle of the Fords of IsenBattle of the HornburgDestruction of IsengardBattle of IthilienBattle of OsgiliathSiege of GondorBattle of the Pelennor FieldsBattle of DaleBattles of Lórien and invasion of eastern RohanBattle Under the TreesBattle of Cirith UngolAmbush in IthilienBattle of the Black GateBattle of Dol GuldurBattle of Bywater

"We cannot get out. The end comes. Drums, drums in the deep. They are coming..."
from the Book of Mazarbul, read by Gandalf before they are attacked

The Skirmish in Balin's Tomb, also known as the Battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul, was a battle between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Goblins of Moria. The goblins had discovered the presence of the Fellowship, and while Gandalf was reading the harrowing tale of the fall of Balin and his Dwarves from the Book of Mazarbul, the goblins mobilized.



After the Watcher in the Water trapped the Fellowship in Moria, they then had no choice but to move forward deep into Moria to exit via the East-gate, a three day journey. While en route to the exit they camped for a time in a guardroom near a crossroads of three passages that has a deep well in it. Pippin foolishly threw a stone down the well out of pure curiosity, angering Gandalf and alerting the Goblins to their presence. After some deliberation, Gandalf chose the passage to the right. Slowly, they made their way through the mines until they come to the Twenty-first Hall, and through that, the Chamber of Mazarbul that held Balin's Tomb. As Gandalf read the Book of Mazarbul, drums began to sound and the Goblins moved towards the Fellowship.


The Fellowship barred the doors, however, the goblins and a Cave-troll were still able to break through and rush inside to attack. Eventually, the troll was wounded and retreated, along with many Goblins, and the Fellowship attempted to escape through the Eastern exit, but a goblin chieftain breaks in, stabbing Frodo in the chest with a long spear. Aragorn deals with the chieftain and then picks up Frodo and flees with the rest of the Fellowship. They are amazed when Frodo tells them that he is unharmed, and reveals his mithril shirt to them. Soon after, the Fellowship leaves Balin's tomb and heads towards the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

The goblins managed to surround the Fellowship but when they were about to attack, the sounds of a great noise made them flee the scene. Gandalf realized that the goblins fled because they were frightened of the Balrog, an ancient evil servant of Morgoth that had been roused and was now aware of them all. Gandalf tried to seal the door to the chamber against the Balrog but the latter proved too strong. After moving down the path they came into the Second Hall with a fiery chasm, meant to impede them but which they have luckily bypassed. Then, the goblins and the Balrog pursued the Fellowship again, signified by the drums starting again. The Fellowship turned and fled to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

As they reached and crossed the bridge, several goblin archers shot at them. When the Balrog reached their heels, Gandalf commanded the rest of the group to cross the bridge. He then turned to confront the Balrog. Gandalf revealed his title to the Balrog, causing him to shrink away. Then he drew a fiery sword and struck the Wizard, but Gandalf put up a shield of his power, breaking the Balrog's sword. Then as the Balrog stepped forward, Gandalf smote the bridge with his staff, causing it and the bridge to break. The Balrog fell, but used its whip to take Gandalf with him, and both fell into the abyss. The rest of the Fellowship mourned and were in terror, but Boromir and Aragorn led them out of the mines and towards Lothlórien.[citation needed]

Portrayal in adaptations

Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring

"Let them come! There is one dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath!"

In the film The Fellowship of the Ring, after Gandalf finishes reading the Book of Mazarbul Pippin foolishly knocks a body into a well, causing much racket. Drums sound below. Goblin shrieks follow, the Fellowship bar the door with ancient axes, and Boromir announces the attackers have a cave-troll with them. The goblins hammer and hew at the door, while Legolas and Aragorn attempt to shoot them through the cracks they make. Then the door is destroyed and numerous goblins pour in. The Fellowship battles the goblins until the troll smashes down the door and enters the tomb. The troll immediately destroys part of the sarcophagus after it is shot at multiple times by Legolas, including a shot at the top of its head. The troll soon turns its attention to Frodo, while the rest of the Fellowship is busy with the goblins. Aragorn, seeing the cave-troll about to attack Frodo, comes to his aid and stabs the troll with a large spear. The troll batters Aragorn away and stabs Frodo with the spear. Thinking Frodo is dead, Merry and Pippin leap onto the animal's back. This distraction allows Legolas to score a perfect shot through the roof of the monster's mouth, killing it. Frodo survives the troll attack, thanks to the Mithril vest he was wearing, and Gandalf leads the Fellowship out of Balin's Tomb and toward the Bridge of Khazad-dûm before more dangers arrived.


Foreign Language Translated name
Danish Kampen ved Balins grav
Italian Scontro sulla Tomba di Balin