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Encyclopedia > Balrog
A Balrog fighting Gandalf, as depicted by Ted Nasmith. Nasmith prefers his Balrogs unwinged (see below)

A Balrog is a demon from J. R. R. Tolkien's Arda legendarium. A Balrog (Sindarin for "Demon of Might"; the Quenya form is Valarauko) is a tall, menacing being in the shape of a man, having control of both fire and shadow. One was noted to wield both a flaming sword and fiery whip of many thongs. The Balrog induces great terror in friends and foes alike and can shroud itself in darkness and shadow. It can only be defeated by some living person or thing of equal power, and amongst its own evil allies is rivalled only in its capacity for ferocity and destruction by the dragons, but the Balrogs are more powerful than dragons.[1] The Fellowship of the Ring encountered a Balrog in the mines of Moria, in The Lord of the Rings in the first volume, The Fellowship of the Ring. Image File history File links NasmithGandalfBalrog1. ... Image File history File links NasmithGandalfBalrog1. ... For other uses, see Gandalf (disambiguation). ... Ted Nasmith Ted Nasmith is a Canadian artist, illustrator and architectural renderer. ... “Fiend” redirects here. ... Tolkien redirects here. ... In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Arda is the name given to the Earth in a period of fictional prehistory, wherein the places mentioned in The Lord of the Rings and related material once existed. ... A legendarium is a book or series of books consisting of a collection of legends. ... Sindarin is an artificial language (or conlang) developed by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Quenya is one of the fictional languages spoken by the Elves (the Quendi) the ones who speak. The first-found children of Ilúvatar, in the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Delacroix painting of an angel expelling Adam and Eve with a flaming sword A flaming sword is a sword glowing with flame due to some supernatural power. ... A whip is a cord or strap, usually with a stiff handle, used for delivering blows to human beings or animals as a means of control or punishment or torture. ... J. R. R. Tolkiens universe of Middle-earth features dragons closely based on those of European legend. ... Spoiler warning: The Fellowship of the Ring, as described in the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, which bears the same name, is a union of 9 representatives from each of the free peoples in Middle-earth, the number chosen to match the 9 Ringwraiths. ... In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Moria was an ominous name given by the Eldar to what had once been an enormous underground complex in north-western Middle-earth, comprising a vast network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls or mansions, that ran under and ultimately through... This article is about the novel. ... The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three volumes of the epic novel The Lord of the Rings by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. ...

Contents

First Age

Gothmog at the Storming of Gondolin[2]
illustration by Tom Loback

According to The Silmarillion the Balrogs were originally Maiar, of the same order as Sauron, Saruman and Gandalf, but they became seduced by Morgoth, who corrupted them to his service in the days of his splendour before the making of Arda. During the First Age, they were among the most feared of Morgoth's forces. When the fortress of Utumno was destroyed by the Valar, many of them fled and hid in the pits of Angband and deep in the earth. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 449 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2299 × 3066 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 449 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2299 × 3066 pixel, file size: 2. ... The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkiens mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who would later become a noted fantasy fiction writer. ... The Maiar are a race from J. R. R. Tolkiens fantasy legendarium. ... For other uses, see Sauron (disambiguation). ... Saruman is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkiens Middle-earth legendarium. ... For other uses, see Gandalf (disambiguation). ... Morgoth Bauglir (originally known as Melkor) is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. ... In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the First Age began with the awakening of the Elves, and ended with the final overthrow of Morgoth by the combined armies of Valinor and Beleriand. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens Middle-earth, Utumno (also known as Udûn[1]) is the first fortress of Melkor in the far north of Middle-earth. ... The Valar (singular Vala) are characters in J.R.R. Tolkiens legendarium. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional world of Middle-earth, Angband (Sindarin for Hells of Iron, although the literal meaning is iron prison) is the name of the fortress of Melkor, constructed before the First Age, located in the Iron Mountains in the enemys realm Dor Daedeloth north...


As Maiar, Balrogs originally had the ability to change their shape at will, and to move "unclad in the raiment of the world" meaning invisible and without form. However, it seems that Melkor, Sauron, and their assorted Ainur servants could lose this ability to change shape. Melkor became locked into the "tyrant of Utumno" shape, gigantic and terrible, but was unable to heal his burnt hands and forehead from the Silmarils and his injured face and feet from his single combat with Fingolfin. However, Sauron only lost his ability to assume a fair-seeming form after his physical body was destroyed in the downfall of Númenor. Morgoth Bauglir (Morgoth means The Dark Enemy, Bauglir is The Constrainer), originally named Melkor (He Who Arises in Might), is a fictional character of Middle-earth, created by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... The Ainur (from Valarin Ayanûz; singular Ainu) are a fictional race from J. R. R. Tolkiens universe, Eä. Spoiler warning: The Ainur are the spirits emanated by Ilúvatar to help him to create the Universe, Eä, through the Music of the Ainur. ... The Silmarils are fictional artifacts from J. R. R. Tolkiens universe of Middle-earth. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, Fingolfin was a High King of the Noldor in Beleriand, second eldest son of Finwë, full brother of Finarfin, and half-brother of Fëanor, who was the eldest of Finwës sons. ...


While not specifically stated by Tolkien, it seems that Balrogs were partially fixed in their fiery demonic forms in the same way. Tolkien describes them as "spirits" of fire and "great shadows." As a result, it is uncertain whether the Balrogs were somewhat ethereal.


The Balrogs were first encountered by the Elves during the Dagor-nuin-Giliath in the First Age. After the great victory of the Noldor over Morgoth's Orcs, Fëanor pressed on towards Angband, but the Balrogs came against him. He was mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Though his sons arrived shortly thereafter and fought off the demonic Balrogs, Fëanor died of his wounds, and his spirit departed for the Halls of Mandos. In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, an Elf is an individual member of one of the races that inhabit the lands of Arda. ... Combatants Angband Fëanorian Noldor Commanders Several Orc-captains, Gothmog Fëanor†, Celegorm Strength 60,000–75,000[1] 15,000–20,000 including some 5,000 cavalry Casualties 20,000–35,000[2] Light In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional Middle-earth, the Dagor-nuin-Giliath (Battle-under... In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Noldor (meaning those with knowledge) are of the second clan of the Elves who came to Aman, the Tatyar. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fantasy writings, Orcs or Orks are a race of creatures who are used as soldiers and henchmen by both the greater and lesser villains of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings — Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, Fëanor is a fictional character who is central to Tolkiens mythology as told in The Silmarillion. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, Gothmog was the Lord of the Balrogs and the High-Captain of Angband, one of the chief servants of the Dark Lord Morgoth with a rank equal to that of Sauron. ... Mandos is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkiens universe, Middle-earth. ...


Later, during and after the fall of Gondolin, two specific instances of Balrogs being slain at the hands of Elves occurred. During the assault on the city, Ecthelion of the Fountain fought Gothmog in the square of the king where they "each slew the other." Later Glorfindel fought a Balrog who waylaid an escape party from the fallen city; both perished in the struggle after falling off a mountainside. This is according to the published Silmarillion. In an early version of the stories, The Book of Lost Tales, more Balrogs were killed, but then they were "less terrible and ... more destructible"[3] than later conceptions. In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, Gondolin is a hidden city of the Elves founded by Turgon in the First Age. ... Ecthelion of the Fountain is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkiens Middle-earth legendarium. ... In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Glorfindel is an Elf, a Noldor who appears in the tales of Middle-earth. ... The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkiens mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who would later become a noted fantasy fiction writer. ... The Book of Lost Tales is the title of the first two volumes of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ...


The Lord of the Rings

The Balrogs were nearly all destroyed at the end of the First Age. It was stated in The Silmarillion that all the Balrogs were destroyed in the War of Wrath save some few that fled and hid themselves in the bowels of the earth. Years later, in the year 1980 of the Third Age, the dwarf miners of Khazad-dûm delved so deeply that they disturbed or released one of these, which became known as Durin's Bane after it killed Durin VI. In the year 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring also ventured through the mines of Moria and were attacked in Balin's tomb-chamber by a company of Goblins. The Fellowship was forced to flee the chamber, and when Gandalf tried to place a lock-spell on their exit door, the Balrog appeared and cast a counterspell. Gandalf was forced to speak a word of command, but the door could not stand the strain. Gandalf was severely weakened in the encounter. Gandalf and company fled, followed by the Balrog. It caught up with them on the bridge of Khazad-dûm. Gandalf stayed back to hold off the Balrog, and they both fell into the abyss. Both survived the fall, and continued their fight all the way to the peak of the mountain, where Gandalf slew the Balrog and perished himself at the same time. Gandalf was sent back as the more powerful Gandalf The White; it is explicitly said in the text that this revivification was due to the direct intervention of Ilúvatar. The degree to which this bodily death was permanent to the Moria Balrog is unclear from the text, but given the themes of mankind's liberation from the supernatural, it was probably permanent, lasting until the Last Battle and the Second Prophecy of Mandos. In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the First Age began with the awakening of the Elves, and ended with the final overthrow of Morgoth by the combined armies of Valinor and Beleriand. ... The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkiens mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who would later become a noted fantasy fiction writer. ... Combatants Host of the Valar, Edain Servants of Morgoth Commanders Eönwë, Eärendil Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black† Casualties Unknown Most balrogs, uncounted legions of Orcs In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the War of Wrath, or the Great Battle was the final war against Morgoth at the... For other uses, see The Third Age. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional world, Middle-earth, Moria (also known as Khazad-dûm, The Black Chasm, The Black Pit, Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond, and Phurunargian) is the name given to the underground city, mines, and connected tunnels that run through the central Misty Mountains. ... Durins Bane from Peter Jacksons The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. ... In Norse mythology, Durin was the first of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. ... Spoiler warning: The Fellowship of the Ring, as described in the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, which bears the same name, is a union of 9 representatives from each of the free peoples in Middle-earth, the number chosen to match the 9 Ringwraiths. ... Eru (the One), also called Ilúvatar (the Father of All), is the name in the legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien for the supreme God. ... Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details about The Silmarillion follow. ...


Weaponry

The Balrog of Moria used a sword ("From out of the shadow a red sword leapt flaming") and many-thonged whip of flame in its battle with Gandalf. In the First Age, they also used black axes and maces, as described in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad (Battle of Unnumbered Tears). Combatants Angband, later Easterlings of Ulfang Union of Maedhros: Himring, Amon Ereb, Easterlings, Belegost, Hithlum, Falas, Brethil, Nargothrond, Gondolin Participants Gothmog, Glaurung, Sons of Ulfang† Sons of Fëanor, Fingon†, Turgon, Gwindor, Húrin, Huor†, Haldir†, Hundar†, Bór with sons†, Azaghâl† In J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium...


Appearance

Tolkien's writings are unclear as to the exact appearance of Balrogs. Whether Balrogs were winged or not, or indeed had retained the Maia ability to change shape is unknown.


Winged or wingless

The debate on its wings mainly comes from The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, a chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring. There are two references in this chapter. The first states:

"His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings."

While this reference clearly uses the term "wings" as a simile, the controversy comes from a reference later in the same chapter:

"...suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall..."

In brief, Tolkien's use of the phrase "like two vast wings" thus leads some to believe that the Balrog had no physical wings, arguing that the "wings" described in the second reference are really the shadow simile, now used as a metaphor. However, others interpret the use of the words "wings" and "winged" to describe Balrogs as referring to actual winged creatures.


Taken by itself, it is unclear whether this second reference to wings remains metaphorical or is to be taken literally — whether the wings were actually physical, distinct from the shadow (and following this, whether they can actually support the creature in flight), or, as suggested by the first reference, rather that the shadow of the Balrog just looked like wings.


Proponents of physical wings believe the Balrog was simply not fully visible at first, but when it drew itself up it fully revealed its wings. If it did have wings capable of flight, it probably need not have fallen all the way down the void, depending on its size.


There are other mentions of Balrogs travelling with "winged speed", but this term is also used for other characters throughout Tolkien's work[citation needed], and is a common expression in other literary works, such as William Shakespeare's [4]. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Earlier drafts of the Bridge chapter, as described by Christopher Tolkien in The Treason of Isengard seem to point to Balrogs as being non-winged: Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born November 21, 1924) is best known as the third son of author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973), and as the editor of much of his fathers posthumously published work. ... The History of The Lord of the Rings is a 4-volume work by Christopher Tolkien that documents the process of J. R. R. Tolkiens writing of his masterwork The Lord of the Rings (LotR). ...

In B it is said only that the Balrog 'stood facing him': in C 'the Balrog halted facing him, and the shadow about him reached out like great wings'.(17) Immediately afterwards, where in F[ellowship of the Ring] the Balrog drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall', neither B nor C has the words 'to a great height' nor speaks of the 'wings'.

Elsewhere, Tolkien states that Morgoth was unable to develop winged creatures prior to the winged dragons led by Ancalagon due to Manwë's dominion over the air. As Balrogs existed long before the dragons this would argue against wings. However, the original Balrogs were members of the Maiar and their servants; they assumed the form but were so evil they were unable to change to anything else again[citation needed]. Balrogs also do a lot of falling when they could be flying. Comparing Tolkien's descriptions of Balrogs with those of winged Dragons in flight gives a much clearer idea of how Tolkien writes about flying creatures. The description of the flight of Smaug in The Hobbit is indicative. Smaug in his lair: an illustration for the fantasy The Hobbit Smaug is a fictional character in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... This article is about the book. ...


As discussed further in the text, it appears that throughout the drafts of the chapter the Balrog description was dramatically increased with first the addition of an ominous shadow, then a Balrog with a shadow that seemed to wrap itself around Gandalf, and, finally, a Balrog wrapped in shadows which seemed to look like wings.


As the Balrog is a "demon", some may think Tolkien pictured it with wings based on winged demons.[citation needed]


The Tolkien fan community is divided on its interpretation of Balrogs as winged or wingless. Notable Tolkien artist John Howe typically depicts his Balrogs as possessing physical wings, a notion which was carried across to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, for which Howe was a conceptual artist. Other artists like Ted Nasmith prefer to depict the Balrogs as wingless. John Howe 2003 John Howe (born August 21, 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is a book illustrator, living in Neuchatel, Switzerland. ... For other persons named Peter Jackson, see Peter Jackson (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Peter Jackson films. ... Ted Nasmith Ted Nasmith is a Canadian artist, illustrator and architectural renderer. ...


Size

The size of Balrogs is also a matter of dispute. For example, in his notes, Tolkien states:

"[the Balrog] strode to the fissure, no more than man-high yet terror seemed to go before it."'
The History of Middle-earth Volume VII (The Treason of Isengard), X The Mines of Moria II: The Bridge

However, this draft was rejected, and such a statement does not appear in the published version of The Lord of the Rings. The published version actually states:

"What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape, maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it."
The Lord of the Rings Book II, Chapter 5 "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm".

Additionally, Tolkien states that:

"suddenly it [the Balrog] drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall..."
The Lord of the Rings Book II, Chapter 5 "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm".

These two statements made in the actual works suggest that they were greater in size than men.


However, in The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien also notes that the entrance to the Chamber of Mazarbul was sized so that

"...orcs one after another leaped into the chamber." and "...clustered in the doorway."
The Lord of the Rings Book II, Chapter 5 "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm".

While some contend that such a doorway seems unlikely to be passable for a creature much larger than man-sized without destroying the passage, others interpret this as a large number of orcs passing through a particularly large passageway, through which a Balrog could fit.[citation needed]


Also, some assume that Balrogs, as "spirits of fire" "swathed in shadows", were ethereal in having no definitive solid matter at any given time. This and a similar view is surely in support of the idea that Balrogs could possibly retain some of their shapeshifting abilities as Maiar, or at least could walk the earth without raiment as shadow, flame, or otherwise. As a result, it is quite possible that an ethereal spirit made of fire and shadow could pass through even a narrow opening, regardless of whether the ethereal spirit was immense.


There is nothing in the works of Tolkien to dispute the possible ethereal make-up of Balrogs or that they at least had the power to become so. Rather, Tolkien often refers to them as "spirits" or "great shadows"; both of which, if taken literally, would have no trouble passing through openings be they large or small. Furthermore, there is nothing to wholly dispute the Balrogs' initial shapeshifting abilities which they would have had as Maiar. Sauron, also a Maia, often assumed multiple physical forms through the Ages, including that of a great wolf, a vampire, a dragon, [5] a handsome man, and finally a large terrible warrior (at which point he had lost the ability to change his shape). Similarly, the Balrogs could also have retained some of their ability to walk without raiment in assuming the form of both shadow and flame.


In The Fall of Gondolin Tolkien says about Glorfindel's duel with the Balrog: "...it pierced the Balrog's belly nigh his own face (for that demon was double his stature)..."[6]


In Turambar and the Foalókë a comparison between dragon and Balrog of power, not size, is made, "yet of all are they (dragons) the most powerful, save it be the Balrogs only."[7]


Name

The term Balrog is defined as Demon of Might in the published Silmarillion. No further information on the name is given.


Etymology

The name, but not the meaning, is relatively early: it appears in the Fall of Gondolin, one of the earliest texts Tolkien wrote (ca. 1918). At the time the name is described as "an Orc-word with no pure Quenya equivalent: 'borrowed Malaroko-'". Its meaning at the time was Cruel demon. In the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, the Fall of Gondolin is the name of one of the original Lost Tales which formed the basis for a section in his later work, The Silmarillion. ...


In the Gnomish (=early Sindarin) wordlist from the same period Balrog is given as balc 'cruel' + graug 'demon', with a Quenya equivalent Malkarauke. Variant forms of the latter include Nalkarauke and Valkarauke.


By the 1940s, when the writing of The Lord of the Rings had begun, Tolkien had come to think of Balrog as Noldorin (Sindarin) balch (cruel) + rhaug (demon), with a Quenya equivalent Malarauko (from nwalya- (to torture) + rauko (demon).


The last etymology given for Balrog, written as part of Quendi and Eldar, gives the Quenya form Valarauko (Demon of Might), defining Balrog as the Sindarin translation. This etymology was adopted in the published The Silmarillion. The War of the Jewels is the 11th volume of Christopher Tolkiens series The History of Middle-earth, analysing the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ...


Plural form

The Sindarin plural form for Balrog is not clear. Tolkien consistently used Balrogs, but this is generally considered an anglicization because Sindarin does not form plurals in that way. In one case Tolkien used Balrogath,[8] similar to Periannath for 'Halflings', Dagorath for 'battles'. However, the '-ath' suffix was often used as a 'class plural' (cf. giliath for 'all stars of the firmament'), and thus 'Balrogath' might mean 'Balrogkind' rather than simply 'Balrogs'. Linguists disagree on how a simple Sindarin plural would be formed, but most often suggest either *Balroeg or *Belryg. Anglicisation is a process of making something English. ... For other uses, see Hobbit (disambiguation). ...


The plural form for Quenya Valarauko is attested as Valaraukar.


Other names

In one of Tolkien's early Middle-earth writings, Lay of the Children of Húrin, "Lungorthin, Lord of Balrogs" is mentioned. It is not, however, certain if this was another name for Gothmog, or whether it simply meant "a Balrog lord". According to Christopher Tolkien, the latter is more probable since the name Gothmog was mentioned in the earliest Middle-earth writings, as well as the final version of Tolkien's legendarium. Also important to note is the fact that Gothmog is mentioned as a "son of Melko," a concept later dropped by Tolkien along with every other "children of the Valar" concept; instead, Tolkien replaces these children with Maiar, as the balrogs are later shown to be. In addition, during Gandalf's battle with the balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm Gandalf refers to the balrog as "flame of Udûn" meaning hell fire and that an other word for Utumno, the first stronghold of Morgoth was also named Udûn and so it was a flame of Utumno, maybe referring to the balrog's principle weapon, a whip of many throngs shrouded in fire. The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1985, is the third volume of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, Gothmog was the Lord of the Balrogs and the High-Captain of Angband, one of the chief servants of the Dark Lord Morgoth with a rank equal to that of Sauron. ... Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born November 21, 1924) is best known as the third son of author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973), and as the editor of much of his fathers posthumously published work. ... For other uses, see Gandalf (disambiguation). ...


Number

The Balrogs were originally envisioned as being immense in number:

"The early conception of Balrogs makes them less terrible, and certainly more destructible, than they afterwards became: they existed in 'hundreds' (p. 170), and were slain by Tuor and the Gondothlim in large numbers: "thus five fell before Tuor's great axe Dramborleg, three before Ecthelion's sword, and two score were slain by the warriors of the king's house."
The Book of Lost Tales 2, commentary by Christopher Tolkien on The Fall of Gondolin.
"There came wolves and serpents and there came Balrogs one thousand, and there came Glaurung the Father of Dragons."
The Lost Road, Quenta Silmarillion chapter 16, §15.

As the legendarium became more formidable and internally consistent, and the Balrogs more terrible, this number was much reduced. In the end Tolkien stated that there were "at most" seven Balrogs: Tuor is a fictional character of J.R.R. Tolkiens Middle-earth. ... This is a list of noted weapons from J. R. R. Tolkiens Middle-earth legendarium. ... 20 (twenty) is the natural number following 19 and preceding 21. ... The Book of Lost Tales is the title of the first two volumes of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Known as The Deceiver,The Golden, and the Worm of Greed, Glaurung was the first and greatest of the land-bound fire-breathing Dragon, in J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional Middle-earth legendarium. ... ... The Lost Road and Other Writings is the fifth volume of The History of Middle-earth, a series of compilations of drafts and essays written by J. R. R. Tolkien. ...

"In the margin my father wrote: 'There should not be supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed.'"
Morgoth's Ring, Section 2 (AAm*): note 50 (just before section 3).

The note to change the number of Balrogs to at most 7 comes from roughly the same time they "became" Maiar in Tolkien's mind. Morgoths Ring is the 10th volume of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ...


Adaptations

The Balrog from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

For movie adaptations of the book, the issues regarding Balrog wings and size needed to be resolved. The Balrog in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version resembled a winged lion complete with a mane, who walked upright, not much larger than man-sized but considerably heavier, and it did fly. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 339 pixelsFull resolution (849 × 360 pixel, file size: 22 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring directed by Peter Jackson, released by New Line Cinema. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 339 pixelsFull resolution (849 × 360 pixel, file size: 22 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring directed by Peter Jackson, released by New Line Cinema. ... Ralph Bakshi (October 29, 1938) is an American director of animated and occasionally live-action films. ...


Peter Jackson's film versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, released in 2001 and 2002 respectively, ultimately decided on a very large winged monster made that resembled lava covered with a dark crust. However, during the fight with Gandalf, the Balrog could not fly. This may have been because the physical characteristics of the wing did not permit flight (they did not have any sort of flesh on them, but like the rest of the Balrog's body appeared to be made out of shadow and fire), or (being a demon, the Balrog's wings may not have needed sustanance to be capable of flight) it may have been too injured and busy fighting Gandalf to fly. It was also killed only when Glamdring was struck by lightning, temporarily infusing the energy into the sword. John Howe designed this version of the creature, explaining in The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring book; "It doesn't say they don't have wings, so why not? That was Peter's tongue-in-cheek approach, too!" The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a film, released on Wednesday, December 19, 2001, directed by Peter Jackson with a runtime of 178 minutes (2 hours, 58 minutes). ... The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a film released on Wednesday, December 18, 2002, directed by Peter Jackson with a runtime of 179 minutes (2 hours, 59 minutes). ... An artists impression of Glamdring, the sword of Gandalf Glamdring is a sword in J. R. R. Tolkiens fantasy universe of Middle-earth. ...


Concept art was drawn up for a "slime balrog"; the balrog fell into the lake and its fires were extinguished, and the "shadow" aspect of it emphasized, a "thing of slime" (as described in the book) and pure darkness. The concept was not used in the film for budgetary reasons.


In the computer game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, and its sequel, both based on Jackson's movies, the Balrog can use its wings, although only in short leaps. The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth Categories: Computer and video game stubs | Real-time strategy computer games | 2004 computer and video games | Multiplayer online games | Windows games ...


Though the Balrog of Moria was never named by Tolkien himself, Iron Crown Enterprises later dubbed him Muar for their Middle-earth role playing (MERP) products. Iron Crown Enterprises has produced role playing, board, miniature, and collectible card games for over 20 years. ... Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) was a subset of the Rolemaster role-playing game rules set in Tolkiens Middle-earth and published by Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E.). The system was somewhat like Dungeons & Dragons with character classes and levels. ...


In the game, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, the Balrog uses its wings to fly into the air, and comes crashing down, sending a tremendously damaging shockwave of flames at the player. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age Categories: Computer and video game stubs | 2004 computer and video games | GameCube games | PlayStation 2 games | Xbox games ...


In the game, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, a Balrog named Thaurlach was included in the second major update to the game, Book 11. It appeared as a final encounter in the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu, the new 12-player instance located at the far northeast corner of Angmar. The balrog has been imprisoned, and thus, has lost so much of its power that a party of 12 players, along with an elf-lord, are capable of killing it. As of the time of the update, the Balrog has the second-highest amount of health of any creature that can be fought.


References

  1. ^ History of Middle-earth, Vol. II, p.85. In Turambar and the Foalókë a comparison between dragon and Balrog of power is made, "yet of all are they (dragons) the most powerful, save it be the Balrogs only."
  2. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1984). in Christopher Tolkien (ed.): The Book of Lost Tales II. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, "The Fall of Gondolin". "...seven dragons of fire are come with Orcs about them and Balrogs upon them...". ISBN 0-395-36614-3. 
  3. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1984). in Christopher Tolkien (ed.): The Book of Lost Tales II. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, "The Fall of Gondolin". ISBN 0-395-36614-3. 
  4. ^ "In winged speed no motion shall I know:" - Sonnet 51, Last accessed December 2, 2006
  5. ^ History of Middle-earth, Vol. III, p.253, "From shape to shape, from wolf to worm...". Tolkien uses worm as a synonym for dragon
  6. ^ History of Middle-earth, Vol. II, p.194
  7. ^ History of Middle-earth, Vol. II, p.85
  8. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1993). in Christopher Tolkien (ed.): Morgoth's Ring. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, Annals of Aman - Section 2. ISBN 0-395-68092-1. 

Tolkien redirects here. ... Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born November 21, 1924) is best known as the third son of author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973), and as the editor of much of his fathers posthumously published work. ... The Book of Lost Tales is the title of the first two volumes of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Houghton Mifflin Company is a leading educational publisher in the United States. ... In the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, the Fall of Gondolin is the name of one of the original Lost Tales which formed the basis for a section in his later work, The Silmarillion. ... Tolkien redirects here. ... Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born November 21, 1924) is best known as the third son of author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973), and as the editor of much of his fathers posthumously published work. ... The Book of Lost Tales is the title of the first two volumes of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Houghton Mifflin Company is a leading educational publisher in the United States. ... In the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, the Fall of Gondolin is the name of one of the original Lost Tales which formed the basis for a section in his later work, The Silmarillion. ... is the 336th day of the year (337th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The History of Middle-earth is a 12-volume series of books that collect and analyse material relating to the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, compiled and edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. ... The History of Middle-earth is a 12-volume series of books that collect and analyse material relating to the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, compiled and edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. ... Tolkien redirects here. ... Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born November 21, 1924) is best known as the third son of author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973), and as the editor of much of his fathers posthumously published work. ... Morgoths Ring is the 10th volume of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Houghton Mifflin Company is a leading educational publisher in the United States. ...

See also

  • Maiar

The Maiar are a race from J. R. R. Tolkiens fantasy legendarium. ...

External links

  • The Truth About Balrogs essay series by Conrad Dunkerson.
  • Encyclopedia of Arda article on Balrogs
  • Do Balrogs have wings? Do Balrogs fly? Pro-wings argument by Michael Martinez

  Results from FactBites:
 
ANDRE NORTON ORG: Balrog Award (1979) (1041 words)
The Balrogs were regarded as the greatest of Elf-banes in the First Age, and of all Morgoth's servants, the Balrogs were the most feared creatures.
The Balrog of Khazad-dum remained in the mines even when a great Dwarven army destroyed the last army of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs at the Battle of Azanulbizar.
The Balrog's last act in the confrontation was to lash out at Gandalf and so drag him down into the depths with it, but the wizard's sacrifice purchased time for the rest of the Fellowship to escape from Khazad-dum before the Orcs could replace the bridge.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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