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Thread: nirnaeth and the braggollach

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1. in nirnaeth arnoediad battle the book says that angband was emptied, and there came balrogs, dragons, and wolves. does anyone know how many balrogs, dragons, and wolves there were???

2. in the dagor bragollach it says thhat glaurang came, and in his train were balrogs... how many balrogs? did hey come in tens hundreds or waht???
Firstly about Balrogs:

In Tolkien's earlier writings that you can find in HOME Balrogs were in the hundreds, even thousands. They were less powerful and were not Maiar spirits:

"Some were all of iron so cunningly linked that they might flow like slow rivers of metal or coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them, ... and upon them rode the Balrogs in hundreds; and these were the most dire of all those monsters which Melko devised against Gondolin."
BoLT2

"Melko sent his host of Balrogs after them, and Mablon the Ilkorin died to save them when pursued."
BoLT1

"There came wolves and serpents and there came Balrogs one thousand, and there came Glomund the Father of Dragons."
LROW, Quenta Silmarillion

And many more quotes besides. Also note how old they are - Gluarung was known as Glomund.

But in Tolkien's later idear he made Balrogs Maiar, far more terrible and hard to destroy and he said:

"* The idea that Morgoth disposed of a 'host' of Balrogs endured long, but in a late note my father said that only very few ever existed - 'at most seven'."
BoLT2

By this quote alone we accept that at most 7 Balrogs ever existed. One was slain by Glorfindel, One by Ecthelion, at LEAST two in the War of Wrath becuase it says "The Balrogs were destroyed etc" and the one that escaped and was later killed by Gandalf. So I would say between 5 - 7.

We have no idear how many Wolfs or Dragons there might have been. Wolfs Morgoth would have had in the thousands and dragons (the land-bound types) in the dozens or maybe hundreds.
It wasn't until the War of Wrath that Morgoth revealed the flighted type of Dragons that he had long devised. These were enough to even dismay the host of the Valar.
Tolkien never significantly updated the description of the War of Wrath. With respect to Balrog numbers the description from the constructed Silmarillion is quite early really, and is anterior to the note that drastically reduced the numbers.

Tolkien changed some wording 'a host of Balrogs' to 'his Balrogs' and jotted a note in the margin 'There should not be supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed' Annals of Aman

In 1954 (Letters) Tolkien still imagined that: 'They were supposed to have been all destroyed in the overthrow of Thangorodrim...' (and etc. about the Moria Balrog), but this note (3 or at most 7) is later however, and appears on a text dated about 1958.

One wonders what Tolkien would have ultimately written concerning the War of Wrath had he chosen 3 (since we know at least one had to survive for Moria), but my point is, in any case, with respect to the texts, the plural mention of the demons in the War of Wrath was written well before this note, and the former description was used in the constructed Silmarillion, in part, for want of an updated version.