There are plenty of noteworthy quotes in The Lord of the Rings. There are deep, philosophical musings and motivational monologues. Even some song and poem lyrics are pretty popular. However, there’s a particular quote that LOTR fans will say among themselves whenever they are put out with someone. That quote is: “Fool of a Took.”
The quote comes from The Fellowship of the Ring when Pippin made a bunch of noise in Moria. Gandalf (who might be in The Rings of Power) wanted to keep a minimal presence while they traversed through the ancient Dwarven kingdom. However, Pippin’s curiosity got the better of him, and it wasn’t long before he sent a bucket (and skeleton in the movies) hurtling down a well shaft, clamoring and banging all the way. Gandalf’s annoyance with Pippin caused the wizard to exclaim, “Fool of a Took!” While that interaction is well-known amongst Tolkien fans, there was another event that proved Pippin wasn’t the biggest fool in Middle-earth. That title belonged to Dáin II Ironfoot.
One of the biggest conflicts that happened before the LOTR films was the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. Azog the Defiler had killed King Thrór as he explored the ruins of Khazad-dûm. That sparked a massive conflict as Thráin II (Thrór’s heir) sought to avenge his father. After six years of fighting, it all came to a head at the Battle of Azanulbizar. Coincidentally, that battle took place on the steps of Moria’s East-gate, not far from where Thrór had been killed.
During the fight, it wasn’t Thráin II who squared off against Azog, though. It was Nain, Lord of the Iron Hills. The fighting that day was fierce, so Nain was fatigued by the time he made it to Azog. In his rage, he took a mighty swing at Azog, but the Orc chieftain easily dodged the lumbering blow and instantly responded with a violent hack of his own, which broke Nain’s neck. Seeing his father die, Dáin II Ironfoot (whose name came from kicking off an Orc’s head) charged Azog and beheaded the Pale Orc with a single swing of his axe.
With Azog dead, the few remaining Orcs saw their inevitable defeat and fled back into Moria. Thus, the Dwarves had their victory, but it was far from triumphant. With over 50 percent of the Dwarves dead, there was only one Dwarf who tried to pursue the Orcs back into the mountain. That Dwarf was Thráin II, but luckily, Dáin II stopped him. As he slew Azog, Dáin II had peered into Moria and caught a glimpse of Durin’s Bane, which viewers briefly saw in The Rings of Power. Dáin II knew that as long as the ancient demon still lingered in the dark, there was no need for the Dwarves to try and retake Moria. Granted the movie continuity was a bit different, but in the books, the point was clear — Dáin II knew about the fiery demon in Moria, even if Gandalf didn’t know that the Balrog was there.
Flash-forward a few years, and Dáin II became King Under the Mountain after the Battle of the Five Armies. Flash-forward a few more years, and Dáin II let Balin try to repopulate Moria. Now, there are always some characters that aren’t the sharpest axes in the armory, but Dáin II’s decision might be one of the worst decisions in all of LOTR. If he knew about the Balrog, why would he let Balin go there? Did he forget about the fiery demon? The whole thing seems a bit odd, and maybe it was more of a continuity error than anything. Regardless, it was still a bad look for Dáin II because, as LOTR fans know, Balin’s company died for their efforts in the Chamber of Mazarbul.