Tolkien Gateway

A Journey in the Dark

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Crayon drawing of the West Gate of Moria by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Fellowship of the Ring chapters
Book I
  1. A Long-expected Party
  2. The Shadow of the Past
  3. Three is Company
  4. A Short Cut to Mushrooms
  5. A Conspiracy Unmasked
  6. The Old Forest
  7. In the House of Tom Bombadil
  8. Fog on the Barrow-downs
  9. At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
  10. Strider
  11. A Knife in the Dark
  12. Flight to the Ford
Book II
  1. Many Meetings
  2. The Council of Elrond
  3. The Ring goes South
  4. A Journey in the Dark
  5. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
  6. Lothlórien
  7. The Mirror of Galadriel
  8. Farewell to Lórien
  9. The Great River
  10. The Breaking of the Fellowship

A Journey in the Dark is the fourth chapter of the second book in The Fellowship of the Ring.


Gandalf tells the group that the only way under the mountain is through the Mines of Moria, underground tunnels in which a group of Dwarves led by Balin disappeared many years ago.

When they reach Moria, the river has been dammed and the entrance is flooded. Gandalf sets the pony free and sends it back to Rivendell. Gandalf uses a secret password to gain them entrance. Before they can go in, they are attacked by a tentacled water creature, the Watcher in the Water, that particularly targets Frodo. To escape, they all go into the Mines, but the Watcher destroys the entrance behind them. They have no choice but to go forward through the Mines.

Fissures and chasms make their path treacherous and at one point they enter a stone door and find a deep well inside it. Pippin throws a stone into it and they hear tapping, as if someone is using a hammer. They walk on for as long as they can, coming to many paths and crossroads, resting little and eating even less. The Mines of Moria are famous for silver (mithril) and it was in search of this that Balin and his Dwarves came to Moria. Gandalf tells them that Bilbo had a coat of mail armor made of mithril and Frodo staggers when he realizes that Bilbo has gifted him with a suit of armor whose value can buy the whole Shire.

When they continue on their journey the next day, they come upon a tomb and Gandalf reads what is written on it. They realize that the tomb belongs to Balin and the Dwarves. Frodo is upset as he realizes that Bilbo's good friend is dead.