Barliman's Chat Standing beside the tomb of Balin, the Fellowship read in mounting horror of the demise of the son of Fundin’s attempt to retake Moria.

The final page of the record, hastily scrawled, is terrifying in its vagueness.

“We cannot get out . . . drums in the deep . . . They are coming.”

This weekend, Hall of Fire resumes its Fellowship of the Ring read-through and we’ll delve into one of the most dramatic chapters of Book II.

FoTR Book II Chapter V: The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

A drum suddenly booms in the darkness. Footsteps approach. The company has lingered overlong in the Chamber of Marzabul. After repelling a small horde of orcs in a fierce battle, they barely escape with their lives.

Flame fills Moria’s lower levels, and as the company flees the Second Hall across the narrow bridge that leads to the East Gate, a spectre of fire and darkness emerges from the shadows to challenge them. It is a Balrog, a captain of the original Dark Lord and a powerful demon of the ancient world.

For many, this is a favourite chapter. How does the uncertainty of the previous chapter, Journey in the Dark, figure in this tension? What devices does Tolkien deploy that keep the reader on edge? And how does the chapter’s climax affect us as readers?

At a different level, how does this change the Quest? What is it that really draws the attention of the orcs on the Company? Is it Pippin, Gollum, or just bad luck?

Plus, of course, there’s always those pesky, ambiguously worded “wings” to discuss.

Join us this Saturday, November 10 at 5pm EST (New York time), in the Hall of Fire as we chat about all these questions and much more as we continue our Fellowship of the Ring read-through!

Time zone conversions

Not sure what time the chat will be where you are? Check this little conversion table out for some help. Alternatively, look it up on our event time announcer on Time and Date.

5.00pm EST (New York)
4.00pm CST (Chicago)
2.00pm MST (Denver)
2.00pm PST (Los Angeles)

10.00pm GMT (London)
11.00pm CET (Paris)
Midnight EET (Helsinki)

8.00am AEST (Sunday) Brisbane
9.00am AEDT (Sunday) Sydney, Melbourne
11.00am NZDT (Sunday) Wellington

How long do your topic chats go for?

Our chats usually last an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation! However, our main room, is open 24 hours a day. We don’t always talk Tolkien there, but if you have a burning question, you’ll usually find one or two of “the regulars” up for a chat!

Where — connection details

Chat happens on #thehalloffire on — the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our embedded Mibbit client that works inside your web browser.

Alternatively, you can install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer and just plug in the following connection details.

Port: 6667
Channel: #thehalloffire