Final page of the Book of Mazarbul
J.R.R. Tolkien


As the Fellowship journeyed through the Mines of Moria they reached the Chamber of Mazarbul (the 'Chamber of Records') where they found the tomb of Balin and the remains of a book which recorded the fate of his Dwarf kingdom. The book 'had been slashed and stabbed and partly burned, and it was so stained with black and other dark marks like old blood that little of it could be read.' Nevertheless Gandalf was able to decipher some of the text including the ominous final entry, 'We cannot get out. The end comes'drums, drums in the deep'they are coming'.

Tolkien used his knowledge of medieval manuscripts to create three facsimile pages from the Book of Mazarbul. He burnt the edges with his pipe, pierced holes along the left-hand side where the pages would have been stitched to the binding, and washed the paper with red and brown paint to resemble dried bloodstains. The final page was written mostly in runes apart from the final scrawled line ('they are coming') which was written in the Elvish script, presumably easier to use when writing at speed. Tolkien hoped that these facsimile documents would be reproduced in the text but the cost of including colour pages was a step too far for his publisher, who was already taking a significant gamble by publishing this enormous three volume fantasy work for adults. The three pages were first included in an English language edition in 2004, fifty years after the book was first published. MS. Tolkien Drawings 75. Reproduced with kind permission of The Tolkien Estate Limited for the Bodleian Libraries exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.

© The Tolkien Estate Limited 1976.

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Image total size 19.7 x 25.0 cm
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