Key

In the Dungeons of the Necromancer

A small seemingly insignificant creature leaps up on top of Gandalf provoking a fight between the two of them that leads Gandalf through the undiscovered hallways through Dol Guldur. Since every wall is decorated with iron spikes, there is no way to hide from danger. When Gandalf finally overcomes the creature, he places his hand on his forehead and recites a Quenyan spell. 

Thráin

Gandalf: “Thráin? Son of Thrór? My old friend.”

Thráin: “Gandalf? A lifetime. I have been here a lifetime.”

Gandalf: “I am so sorry I gave you up for dead.” 

It surprises Gandalf to realize who the person behind the creature actually is. Though the disappearance of Thráin was a mystery, especially because of the ring he was wearing when he went missing, to find him alive after all these years is as incredible and unbelievable as something can be. Thorin had never given up hope of finding his father alive, but Gandalf had reasoned logically that he was lost to the world of the living. 

As he encounters him now after so long a time, he is able to apologize to the Dwarf himself. He might have gone in search of him had his reasoning of his death not overwhelmed his instincts. But all the same he had finally found him and would be happy to take him to see his son. 

What this disenchantment must feel like to Thráin we cannot know, but in his words, he feels as if he had been there for a lifetime, which in a way he was. It had been more than 60 years that the dragon had overtaken Erebor and forced the Dwarves to fight for their lost kingdom of Moria. 

Reembering Thorin

Thráin: “I had a son.”

Thorin: “I will fight with you” 

Thráin: “Thorin.” 

Gandalf: “And you will see him again. Come we must leave.” 

In a flashback Thráin remembers his son Thorin and their struggle at the Gates of Moria. The spell that had been cast over him by the Necromancer made his own memories fade and almost disappear. Now that Gandalf had taken the spell from his enchanted mind he is free to remember his son, and the feelings he had for him.

A sudden yearning, sadness, and love pour out of his eyes as he remembers Thorin. With all within his power, Gandalf will try and bring the family together. 

Thráin’s ring

Thráin: “The Orcs had taken Moria. War. We were at war. I was surrounded. The Defiler. Azog the Defiler had come. They took it.”

Gandalf: “The last of the seven. Come on, let’s get you out of here.”

And there Gandalf is given the information he had long wished to know, Azog had cut off the finger wearing the last of the seven rings given to the Dwarves and took it with him. The only connection missing still is to find with whom exactly Azog is in league and who this Necromancer really is. 

To the horror and his worst predictions, the ring has fallen into the hands of the enemy. Had the Council taken his suspicions seriously at their meeting in Rivendell, they could have collectively come to a conclusion that might have helped Gandalf in his present situation. 

Serpents on the wall

Thráin: “There is no way out. They will stop you. The serpents will stop you.” 

Gandalf: “It’s an illusion. Just an illusion. What have they done to you?”

It is a testament to the way the enemy had bent the mind of Thráin into believing that everything that surrounds him will hurt him in the most excruciating way if he were to try to escape his fate. He is completely convinced that the vines along the walls that the enemy had decorated with iron spikes have come to life.

For the many years that he had spent in this imprisonment he had taken the reality of his eyes and mind as the reality of the world when in fact, his mind had been altered to believe the illusion that had been implemented in him by the enemy. 

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Map and key

Thráin: “I never told them. They tried to make me, but I never said a word. Have you kept them safe, Gandalf? The map and the key?”

Gandalf: “I gave them to Thorin. You’d be proud of him. He’s taken up the quest to reclaim Erebor.” 

Thráin: “Erebor.” 

Gandalf: “He will retrieve the Arkenstone. The seven armies of the Dwarves will answer to a new king.” 

Thráin: “No. No. Thorin must not go near Erebor. No one must enter that mountain.” 

For all their torture and spells, Thráin had kept one secret hidden from the enemy. It was his strong belief to not reveal the map and key to the hidden door into the Lonely Mountain. It was imperative that Gandalf keep the map and key safe from any prying eyes.

Thráin had not expected Gandalf to give them to his son so that he would reclaim Erebor. That never crossed his mind apparently. Just the thought of his son entering that dangerous cavernous space throws him into a fit of panic and foreboding. 

There is a sense that Thráin knows more about the mountain than he is prepared to say. Gandalf certainly takes his reaction very suspiciously. It may very well be that Thráin knows more than Gandalf himself about the dangers of entering the mountain. It may not be just the presence of a dragon in the mountain, but rather a connection between the dragon and whatever is residing in the dungeons of Dol Guldur. 

Still, Gandalf’s only thought is to escape Dol Guldur with Thráin thereby saving him from a grim fate and reuniting him with his son.

The hidden door

Thorin: “This must be it. The hidden door. Let all those who doubted us rue this day!” 

Meanwhile, the Dwarf company climb the stairs to the hidden door. With still a little daylight to spare they reach the plateau of the hidden door. Thorin’s elation is palpable. They celebrate finding the door without seeing it. But this is a more personal victory for the Dwarves.

This quest was thought to be foolish, dangerous, and ultimately taken in vain. Now, for all those who have had these thoughts about it, even the White Council who officially forbade them to continue it can rest easy. Through every danger they have all gone through in the last year, it finally paid off. They have reached their destination in time. 

The last light of Durin’s day…

Dwalin: “Right, then. We have a key. Which means that somewhere there is a key-hole.” 

Thorin: ““The last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.” Nori. We’re losing the light. Come on.”

Nori: “Be quiet! I can’t hear when you’re thumping.” 

Dwalin: “I can’t find it. It’s not here. It’s not here!”

Thorin: “Break it down.”

Dwalin: “Aye.”

Thorin: “Come on.”

Dwalin: “Break!” 

Thorin: “It has to break.”

The Dwarves try their best to open the door by force, figuring that somewhere there must be a hollow space that represents the key-hole. Nori, the thief of the group, has finally come into his own by using his skills to essentially break into Erebor. Dwalin takes the pure muscle approach to the discovering of the key-hole.

He is trying to break down the door itself, leaving no room for the key at all. But even his incredible strength cannot penetrate the spell that has been cast to keep the door hidden. 

Dwarven secrecy

It is interesting to know that Dwarves, in case of emergency like this, are their own worst enemies. Similar to the doors of Moria the spells they cast assure that not even their own people enter them without a “password” or certain elements coming into perfect alignment. These are secrets whose solutions haven’t been passed down to generations of Dwarves but have rather been buried into cryptic messages that Dwarves who come across them should be able to figure out themselves.

But as has been proven in the Fellowship of the Ring and now Desolation of Smaug, the company always need a helping hand in deciphering the messages. So the secrets become part of the knowledge of other races, most disturbingly to the Dwarves, the Elven race. However, without their help, the finality of the quest would not have been possible. 

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Featured image by Joshua Woroniecki on Pixabay

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