760: Moria

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 23:39, 19 December 2012 by Jerodast (talk | contribs) (Explanation: Offered alternate interpretation of final line, as it is strikingly reminiscent of lines from the logbook in the original story)
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Someone should really bring them a ladder and remind them to build the Endless Stair *first* next time.
Title text: Someone should really bring them a ladder and remind them to build the Endless Stair *first* next time.


This is Randall's take on the story of Moria in the fantasy story Lord of the Rings. In the original the dwarves, hunting for the precious metal mithril dug so deep that they awoke a balrog - a fearful demonic creature. However, in this version, they simply got stuck down the mine. The title text suggests a mundane solution to their problem - a long ladder. The Endless stair was a very long stair case from the lowest dungeon up to the top of the mountain above Moria.

However, Gandalf's final line may be a hint that the comic's version is closer to the original than it appears - in the story, the adventuring party discovers a journal of the last dwarves to occupy Moria. The last page starts ominously: "We cannot get out. We cannot get out." That memorable sentence is used again near the end of the page as the impending final orcish attack is described by the now-dead dwarves, and repeated by Gimli as they reflect on the terrible news, lending a much darker tone to the comic's punchline.


[A far shot of Gandalf the Grey and the four hobbits standing in a dark, underground city.]
Gandalf: Behold, Khazad-Dum; the Dwarrowdelf; the mines of Moria -- once the greatest and mightiest city of the dwarves.
[Full body shot of Gandalf.]
Gandalf: But the dwarves delved too greedily.
[Close-up on Gandalf.]
Gandalf: And too deep.
[Full shot of the hobbits and Gandalf.]
Hobbit: ...and awoke a terror of shadow and flame?
Gandalf: No. They couldn't get out.

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Can someone who has read the Silmarillion clarify what balrogs actually are? I'm not sure how accurate this is but I seem to recall that they were the lieutenants of Morgoth, and were not monsters but actually minor gods (Maiar?) Athang (talk) 23:14, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

That's correct. Balrogs were both corrupted Maiar and servants of Morgoth. Gandalf, as with all the Istari (wizards), was also of the Maiar. Hence the close matched fight which took every last ounce of Gandalf's strength. Plm-qaz snr (talk) 12:34, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Just don't ask if the buggers have wings! 19:02, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

The bit about the Endless Stair could be a reference to Dwarf Fortress: one of the problems Dwarf Fortress players encounter is how the heck to get their miners back out of whatever moat/chute/spiky-pit/reservoir/pointless-doomsday-device-power-supply-tunnel they've just designed and built. And Randall plays Dwarf Fortress.