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During the battle after he sends Pippin back up to the Citadel, three lard rams and trolls push the battering ram known as Grond toward the gate of Minas Tirith and Orcs are shouting Grond, there is a moment where Gandalf has a look of shear terror and panic on his face as if he'd seen it before.

Why is he afraid of it?

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Is this from the book? From the movie? – ibid Jan 15 at 8:39
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@ibid the film. Gandalf comes down after the gate is broken in the books – ATB Jan 15 at 8:46
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Because it's really scary. – OrangeDog Jan 15 at 17:18
    
Maybe a screenshot would be helpful? It took me a bit to figure out what Grond is – Azor-Ahai Jan 15 at 17:32
up vote 36 down vote accepted

From the LOTR wikia entry on Grond:

Grond was an immense battering ram said to be 60 feet high, 150 feet long, and as thick around as an enormous tree. Fire burned in its great maw. It was operated by a team of great beasts and several trolls were needed to utilize it. The ram contained so much innate evil, that it is said the creatures pulling it would occasionally go mad and run through the battlefield, trampling anything and anyone underfoot. Aided by the "spells of ruin" laid on it during its forging in Mordor, and by the Witch-king of Angmar during the Siege, Grond smashed open the formidable gate of Minas Tirith with just three blows.

Gandalf was terrified because he knew the gates would be breached as soon as Grond reached them.

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30  
It should be added that in-book, Grond is actually the hammerhead of Morgoth's personal weapon. It cannot be reshaped, so Sauron merely had it hung from an immense frame to serve as a battering ram. A weapon of the supreme evil of Arda, in the books it did not take until night to break the gates of Minas Tirith: three strikes and the gates are out. – thegreatjedi Jan 15 at 11:01
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@thegreatjedi that deserves to be an answer if you can reference it. – Jeremy French Jan 15 at 11:04
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@thegreatjedi What I read in the wiki says that it's named after the hammer, not that it's build from the hammer. So any references for your interpretation would be helpful. – CodesInChaos Jan 15 at 11:36
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Oh, then I might have recalled wrong then. I read from there. Nonetheless, it had a reputation. It was specifically built for the gates of Minas Tirith. Sauron fought so hard to secure all the lands en route to Minas Tirith just to provide safe passage for it. It was Sauron's Death Star. Gandalf would have good reason to fear its coming to fulfil its sole function. – thegreatjedi Jan 15 at 11:47
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It was definitely only named for the hammer of the underworld, not made from it. The original Grond is presumably buried in the sunken ruins of Angband. – Buzz Jan 15 at 11:48

The only answer implied by Tolkien is that Gandalf sensed, when the gates were breached, that he would face an old foe of terrifying power -- one that he believed could be his match. He would face the Lord of the Nazgul.

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Obviously, because in the book it is the Lord of the Nazgul that does in fact breach the gates. Grond isn't strong enough to break through. The question however is about the movie. – BMWurm Jan 15 at 17:50
    
The Lord of the Nazgul can ride his fell-beast over the walls of Minas Tirith to face Gandalf, which he does later in the movie anyway -- so I don't think this explanation makes sense. – Gaurav Jan 15 at 21:43
    
@Gaurav: Surely a fell beast rather than a beast of the fells? – PJTraill May 4 at 23:29

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