Khazad-Dum and the Effectiveness of Gandalf’s Fall

Gandalf and the Balrog © John Howe

One of the most frequently referenced ‘shocks’ I’ve seen amongst fantasy readers is Gandalf’s fall in Moria to the Balrog. In many ways it's easy to understand why: Gandalf is the most powerful figure we have consistently seen in Fellowship of the Ring, with the second chapter of the book ‘A Shadow to the Past’ informing the reader that the quirky wizard introduced in The Hobbit is a more ancient and…