LOTR question: the Orc who speared Frodo in Moria

I’ve been browsing through the Fellowship, and either my mind’s playing tricks on me (a possibility that can’t be ruled out), or I’m just not looking in the right place (also not to be ruled out). But now it’s bugging me, so I come to the Wise for help.

In the battle in Moria, towards the end an Orc-chieftain bursts into the room, goes straight for Frodo, and spears him. Everyone thinks he’s dead etc.

What’s bugging me is that I seem to recall that Gandalf or Aragorn comments afterwards on the fact that the Orc went straight to Frodo, skipping the other hobbits, which they take to mean that the Enemy’s minions can detect the Ring in some cases. But darned if I can find the passage.

Does this ring a bell with anyone, or is it just one more sign that the Piper grey cells are starting to fade? :eek:

I don’t remember in the books or films an Orc spearing Frodo. I know a troll did.

It was a Troll in the films, an Orc captain in the books.


Answer : in the book someone - Gandalf, I think - comments on how The Watcher in the Water (the monster outside the gate to Moria) went straight for Frodo.

Okay, I just skimmed that chapter up to where Gandalf bites it and I didn’t see anything like that, so it wasn’t he who said it. It was definately an orc-captain, not a troll though.

Upon preview: What well he’s back said.

Gandalf:… the arms were all guided by one purpose. Something has crept, or has been driven out of the dark waters under the mountains. There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.

Does that sound right, Piper?

It was a huge orc-chieftain, nearly man-high. He cut thru the Fellowship, knocking Boromir over, and evading a thrust by Aragorn, to spear at Frodo. Then Aragorn opened up his head.

No comment was made as to whether he was targeting Frodo or not. But the description alone makes it sound like he was.

No cave trolls were encountered in Moria!. Gandalf senses a looming presence behind the orcs and speculates it might be a cave troll. It turns out to be the Valaraukar (or balrog if you must).

Qadgop beat me to it. On p. 316 of my omnibus edition:

“…there is something else there. A cave-troll, I think, or more than one.”

They do not encounter any actual cave-trolls in the book, just a Zerg rush of orcs, followed by the Balrog.

Not that I minded the one in the movie.


There was a troll in Moria in the book. It gets as far as putting an arm and a leg into the chamber of Marzarbul before Frodo stabs it in the foot.

[pendantic Tolkien uber-geek] From FOTR, “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum”: “A huge arm and shoulder, with a dark skin of greenish scales, was thrust through the widening gap. Then a great, flat, toeless foot was forced through below.”

That’s the end of the description. When the forces burst in on our heroes moments later, only orcs are mentioned. Nothing in the text about trolls other than the mention of them earlier by Gandalf.

Gandalf had also mentioned the presence of Uruks of Mordor earlier. I don’t see any reason that the arm and foot described couldn’t be a Uruk.

And I know that “encyclopedia of Arda” claims that they did encounter a cave troll, and that’s the foot that Frodo stabbed. But I don’t buy it. There’s plenty of description about the battle, and if trolls had fought in the Chamber of Mazarbul I think JRRT would have mentioned it.

But I must amend my earlier statement. Two trolls were seen in Moria. They appeared at the bridge, and put down slabs over the fire.
[/pedantic Tolkien uber-geek}

I’m currently re-reading “The Treason of Isengard” (CJRT’s commentary on JRRT’s earlier versions of LOTR). Once I get thru the Moria part, I’ll try to shed some light on what JRRT might have been thinking about regarding trolls in Moria.

I’m currently coping with the section about how Gandalf was under siege by the black riders in one of the elvish towers near the havens while Frodo was trying to get to Bree. Also how Gandalf rescued Hamilcar Bolger from the hands of the black riders, and took him along to Rivendell.

Apologies for the slight hijack, but that’s part of the Histories of Middle-Earth set, right? What are your thoughts on them and would you recommend them at all? I’m halfway through the Silmarillion right now, and plan to re-read the LotR books soon.

“A huge arm and shoulder, with a dark skin of greenish scales, was thrust through the widening gap. Then a great, flat, toeless foot was forced through below.”

This chap’s skin turns Boromir’s sword. :eek:
But when Frodo, wielding Sting, gives it some welly, black blood leaks out of the wound. :cool: So is the magic of the elf-blade needed somehow?

Gandalf thinks there’s a Cave Troll behind the orcs originally. But the Balrog doesn’t turn up till a little later ((when the orcs promptly fall silent).

Oh, and Gandalf doesn’t say the Watcher was going for the Ringbearer. He thinks it!
(His remark about ‘all guided by one purpose’ is in reply to Frodo asking if there was more than one creature in the water.)

Given that Saruman, Gollum and the Ringwraiths were aware of the Ring being carried by someone, perhaps the orcs of Moria were simply told to concentrate on halflings?

On a related note, how does Gollum get out of Moria to pursue the Fellowship down Anduin?
The bridge of Khazad-dum has been destroyed…

You’d best be very well versed in the Hobbit, LOTR, Sil, and Unfinished Tales before taking on the HOMES books. Otherwise it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of contradictory information and minutia. HOMES has a lot of nuggest of pure gold in them, but there’s a lot of ordinary gravel in the way. One must be able to recognize both the gravel and the gold.


Good luck. My advice? Read LOTR at least 3 or 4 times, and the same for Sil. Read Sil with the “Atlas of Middle-Earth” on your lap, to better understand visually via maps what is going on. Read UT at least twice, with the Atlas in front of you.

If you just wish to explore LOTR, then stick with the HOMES books devoted to them" The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard, The War of the Ring, and Sauron Defeated.

I expect during their long occupation, the orcs found other ways out, or created their own exits. They’d had quite a few centuries to refurbish, after all.

Possibly. Or the Uruk was the orcish version of Achilles. :cool:

I’ll have to explore JRRT’s notes. He probably did write trollish encounters into the original scenario, then when he got the idea of putting a Balrog in, didn’t eliminate or alter all traces of his earlier versions. That’s been a common theme in HOMES.

OK, I reviewed JRRT’s earliest notes on the trip thru Moria in “The Return of the Shadow” and subsequent notes in “The Treason of Isengard” and in all scenarios Gandalf stated he thought there was at least one troll leading the attack party. In the 1st draft of the attack in the Chamber of Mazarbul, the passage reads “An enormous arm and shouder with dark green scaly skin (or clad in some horrible mesh) thrust through the widening gap. Then a great three-toed foot was thrust in also.”

Boromir’s sword gets notched as before, and Frodo wounds the foot, and his sword drips something that smokes when it hits the stone. Battle continues, mentioning only orcs, of which, 13 are slain and the rest flee. Then, (quoting from the book) “‘Now is the time, if ever’ said [Trotter >] Gandalf, ‘before that Troll-Chief or more of them return. Let us go!’” But then Frodo gets skewered by an “orc-chief”.

It appears that this sentence, said by Trotter in the 1st case, changed to Gandalf, implies that a troll was there. And on page 201 of “Treason” CJRT comments on the evolution of the story: “…the troll becomes ‘a great cave-troll’ as in FR, and its three-toed foot was changed in the manuscript to a toeless foot.”

So CJRT himself believes that the foot that Frodo stabbed belonged to a cave troll. I am so not going to try to argue that he was mistaken.

Otherwise, two trolls appear later as described in FR, in some drafts carrying orcs over the flames, in others throwing slabs over the flames.

Also, interestingly, Gandalf at first faced a Black Rider on the Bridge at Khazad Dum. But this was crossed out and changed to ‘Balrog’ in the earliest draft (Return of the Shadow, pg. 462.

So having reviewed the author’s initial notes on the subject, along with commentary by his son, I now officially recant and say that Yes, the fellowship faced a cave troll in Moria.

BTW, it was originally Sam who threw a rock down the well in Moria, and got chewed out by Gandalf, not Faramond.

[sub]if you have to ask who Faramond is, be prepared for a 4 page essay on how Peregrin Took got to be who he is. With diagrams![/sub]

So, who’s Faramond? :stuck_out_tongue:

But in all seriousness, Qadgop, I am awed once again by your LOTR knowledge. It’s very hard not to picture you in a Gandalf-esque cloak and hat, poring over ancient manuscripts in a candlelit room in a tower somewhere, while puffing on your pipe-weed.

Short answer: Faramond Took, companion to and relative of Frodo Baggins. When fused with Odo Took, Odo Bolger, Olo Bolger, Frodo Took, Folco Took, Folco Boffin, Peregrin Boffin, and Hamilcar Bolger (with perhaps a hint of Fredegar Bolger), he emerges midway thru Moria as Peregrin Took. JRRT went thru hobbit companion characters like Hef went thru playmates, it seems.

I’m in my basement, but it’s nice and cavern-y and lined with books. And I gave up the pipe years and years ago. But the rest is spot-on! :smiley: