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Quote:
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Now to give you more information than you ever wanted to know: 'Balrog' is Sindarin elvish and corresponds to 'Valarauko' in Quenya elvish and means 'Demon of Might'. They are demons of fire and known as tanar'ri in some non-Tolkien fantasy novels. In Tolkien's Silmarillion, one of the Balrogs was given a name. It was Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs and he was High-Captain of Angband, the dungeon-fortress of Morgoth, the enemy back when Sauron was just his servant.


Is there a reason there is that much detail abailable about the belrog? Where the heck did you drudge that information from and why the heck does anyone need to know that?

I know as a writer, you think up backgrounds for your characters and such, but to share every last detail with them would be tiresome and even anoying. This is one of the things I can't stand about Tolkiens writing... TOO MANY DETAILS!! Just tell me he's smoking, don't tell me where the pipeweed comes from and how long it's been there!!
Welcome to the forum Hugbunni.

Yes the Balrog was d*mned scary, Peter Jackson's rendition of it met my every expectation. And the one in the book wasn't given a unique name, it was just called the Balrog, or 'Durin's Bane' by Gimli.

Now to give you more information than you ever wanted to know: 'Balrog' is Sindarin elvish and corresponds to 'Valarauko' in Quenya elvish and means 'Demon of Might'. They are demons of fire and known as tanar'ri in some non-Tolkien fantasy novels. In Tolkien's Silmarillion, one of the Balrogs was given a name. It was Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs and he was High-Captain of Angband, the dungeon-fortress of Morgoth, the enemy back when Sauron was just his servant.
It took me a half-hour to glean that extra info from the Silrarillion while looking for any Balrog common names like Big Jack, Hairy Bill, or Scarlett Red. Plus my knowlege of Icewind Dale which is non-Tolkien.

Right and no wings on that Balrog, it was
Quote:
...the shadow about it that reached out like two vast wings
not actual wings.
Oh Faye, you've done it again! That information is all integral to the stories in the Silmarillion, where the Balrogs play a huge part. It only made it to the Lotr, cos Tolkien liked them so much, and had no intention of ever publishing his work on the Silmarillion at the time.
And I think you'll find that the majority of Tolk fans are like Trekkers and love having too much information. You can ignore it if you want nobody's forcing you to read every last paragraph.

Oh and Hi there hugbunni, we used to have a hunnibunni round here, wasn't you was it? Don't worry, I'll tell you if you do anything wrong Wink Smilie

BALROGS DO NOT HAVE WINGS!!!!
I always found Tolkien's work to have insufficient information myself. Very frustrating, when you want to know if elves really did have pointy ears (I was never really sure, but some people insist that they did) or whether there was such a thing as dwarf women or why the elves were leaving middle earth or how Aragorn and Arwen fall in love and so on. It is however, fun to speculate on some things (see "Rivendel").

I agree that Balrogs don't have wings. Did the movie Balrog have them? I wasn't sure. It was difficult to see with all that flame and stuff. Awsome.

No offence Swampfaye, but if you don't like Tolkien's details, why are you here? Big Smile Smilie
I said it was a great story.... and I always did love the Hobbit. Are you telling me Planet Tolkien is only for Tolkien fanatics, and anyone who doesn't drool over his books is not welcome? I'll leave if you say it's so...

I think it takes away from "my* imagination... all those details. But when I watch the movie, I'm not expecting to use any of my imagination at all.
Okay, on the subject of Balrogs and wings, read this. It's a bit long, but worthwhile, and ripped off from the Encyclopedia of Arda (an invaluable resource) http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/

Quote:


...And Whether Balrogs Have Wings

Do Balrogs have wings? It might seem a simple question, but (as so often with Tolkien's work) the more we examine it, the harder it is to answer. It's a question, too, that divides Tolkien's followers into two distinct camps - those who believe in Balrog wings, and those who deny their existence.

It's also a question that generates a lot of interest: we get more e-mail on this single topic than from any other article on the site. Accordingly, we've revised and expanded this section to cover the vexed 'Balrog wing' question in a fair amount of detail. If you're a casual browser, or you're not particularly interested in Balrog wings, you'll probably find far more information here than you need! Feel free to 'bail out' whenever you feel like it - this article is really written for those with a determined interest in the debate.

This article does its best to take an objective view, but it does reach a fairly definite conclusion (at least, as definite as the evidence allows). If you're one of those with strongly-held views on this question, then, there's a fair chance that you'll disagree. That's fine, of course - we're not looking to 'convert' anyone! - but at least we hope you'll find something of interest here.



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A Quick Digression: What is Shadow?
Before starting out, it will be helpful to clear up a common misconception. Within this debate, a number of references to 'shadow' crop up, and a lot of readers seem to take this in its modern sense - that is, a region of darkness caused by light being blocked. This isn't quite the sense Tolkien intends.

Where Balrogs are concerned, their 'shadow' isn't just a lack of light, but a region of darkness that they carry around with them. Exactly what its qualities are is a debatable point, but it can certainly flow into different shapes. These shadow-shapes, in fact, form the beginning of the whole debate.



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The Nature of the Argument
The heart of the debate lies in The Fellowship of the Ring II 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dm. This chapter is built around the Fellowship's disastrous encounter with the Balrog known only as Durin's Bane, the same creature that had driven the Dwarves from their ancient home centuries before. In particular, two references give rise to the discussion. The first describes the Balrog from Gandalf's point of view:

[1] "His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


On its own, this isn't particularly contentious. The Balrog's dark 'shadow' has assumed a form that appears at least somewhat winglike. The fact that it is explicitly 'like wings' means that this can't literally describe real wings. The problems start, though, with another reference that appears two paragraphs later:

[2] "...suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall..."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


These are quite probably the most hotly debated words Tolkien ever wrote. This seems strange at first, because in fact most people agree that the meaning isn't particularly ambiguous, and that it's fairly obvious what the statement means. The dispute begins, though, with a curious fact: like an optical illusion, this quotation has two obvious interpretations. Whatever you think it means, and however sure you are, there are plenty of people who see it quite differently.

To one group of readers, 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) relates to the immediately preceding 'the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings' (1). To them, it just reinforces the preceding statement, and says nothing about any other kind of wings. On the opposite side of the debate, 'its wings were spread' (2) is not related to the preceding statement at all. Instead, it's a definite reference to the Balrog's real, physical wings.

The debate normally focuses on arguments about which of these two obvious interpretations is the correct one. It's probable, though, that neither is explicitly correct: how you read the passage depends on what you already presume a Balrog to look like. We're not trying to prove anything at this point, just to show that the structure of the sentence will bear either interpretation. One way of doing this is to replace the disputed 'wings' with terms that have a more certain status.

Let's start with 'arms'. There's absolutely no question that Balrogs had arms - it's so obvious that it seems odd to even mention it. Now, imagine that Tolkien had written 'the shadow about it reached out like two vast arms'. That's still obviously a simile, just like the real text (1). If that's followed shortly afterwards by 'its arms were spread', it seems natural to read this second reference as referring to its real arms, not its shadow-arms, even though we've just been told that it had 'arms' of shadow. This is how the pro-wings faction sees the text, because they assume that Balrogs have real wings, just as unquestionably as real arms.

We can simulate the alternative view with 'tentacles'. There's absolutely no evidence for Balrog tentacles, and its safe to presume that they didn't form any part of a Balrog's anatomy. Once again, 'the shadow about it reached out like two vast tentacles' reads without a problem as a simile. Now, though, when it's followed by 'its tentacles were spread', the natural interpretation is slightly different. We know for sure that there are no 'real' Balrog tentacles, so the statement reads much more easily as referring back to the preceding simile: it must mean 'tentacles of shadow'. This is the anti-wings position: because they assume that Balrogs have no real wings, they naturally see 'its wings' as an extension of the earlier passage.

You might not agree with both of these interpretations, but its fair bet that the one you do agree with is the one you already presume is correct. That's all we're arguing here - that the interpretation depends on an underlying presumption about Balrog wings, whether for or against.

Since there doesn't seem to be anything decisive in the sentence structure itself, it follows that arguments based on this passage alone must be circular. On the one side: 'Assuming Balrogs have real wings, then the passage must be meant literally, therefore Balrogs have real wings'. On the other: 'Assuming Balrogs have no real wings, then the passage must be meant figuratively, therefore Balrogs have no real wings'. As far as this passage is concerned, whatever you assume about Balrog wings inevitably turns out to be true.

This isn't much help, but fortunately 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) isn't the only evidence to consider. Let's move on to look at the rest of the cases for, and against, real Balrog wings.



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The Case For Balrog Wings
Having established that 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) can't realistically be used as an argument for (or against) real wings, we can proceed to see what evidence actually can be produced.

Argument One: Its Wings Were Spread From Wall to Wall

It's a characteristic of the debate that this resilient passage reappears very regularly in pro-wing arguments, whatever counterarguments are put up against it. It's only fair, then, to allow it another quick airing before moving on. Those who propose it as proof consider that it is unambiguously literal, and cannot be interpreted otherwise.

This position doesn't seem to stand up to detailed scrutiny. It isn't clear, for example, how a passage that has been subject to years of debate can realistically be described as unambiguous. Much more interesting, though, is the claim that it must be intended literally. This presumably means that Tolkien would have written 'its wings of shadow were spread...', or something of the kind, if that is what he had meant. Consider the following, though:

[3] "Gandalf came flying down the steps and fell to the ground in the midst of the Company"
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


This occurs just a few pages before Gandalf's encounter with the Balrog, and of course its meaning is obvious: Gandalf has been thrown down the steps by a force from above. This is a metaphor: nobody would claim that Gandalf literally 'flew'. The text, though, doesn't say 'Gandalf seemed to come flying', it says unequivocally that he 'came flying'. Those who insist on a literal reading of one passage, must logically insist on a literal reading of this passage too. The only consistent conclusion is that, if 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) proves that Balrogs have real wings, then 'Gandalf came flying down the steps' (3) proves that Gandalf not only could fly, but chose that moment to show off his talent.

Addendum
Since this article was originally created, a reference has come to light that has very clear relevance to the discussion. The text in question appears in Malbeth's prophecy about the Paths of the Dead, in which he foresees the great darkness that Mount Doom spews across the western lands in the days before the Battle of the Pelennor.


"Over the land there lies a long shadow,
westward reaching wings of darkness."
The Return of the King V 2 The Passing of the Grey Company

Of course, there's no question of this being intended literally (if it were, we would have to imagine Mount Doom with gigantic wings hundreds of miles long!) We can see, then, that not only was Tolkien happy to use 'wings' in metaphorical way, but also that he expressly associated that metaphor with the idea of shadow. This establishes beyond doubt that the idea of 'wings of shadow' need not be taken literally.

Thanks are due to sharp-eyed reader Darren Brewer for pointing out this reference.



Argument Two: With Winged Speed

Given the depth of debate on the issue, it may come as a surprise that 'Its wings were spread...' (2) is the only definite canonical evidence for Balrog wings. There is, though, a passage in The History of Middle-earth that is often produced as supporting evidence. Here it is:

[4] "Swiftly they arose, and they passed with winged speed over Hithlum, and they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire."
The History of Middle-earth Volume X (Morgoth's Ring), The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Rape of the Silmarils


'They' are the Balrogs who rushed to save Melkor from Ungoliant immediately after his return to Middle-earth. This text does not appear in the published Silmarillion: it belongs to an unpublished variant, often claimed to have canonical priority over the published edition. To avoid interminable debate about canon and priority, we'll assume it does have priority the purposes of this argument.

Regardless of its canonical status, though, it isn't certain how this represents 'proof' of any kind: 'with winged speed' is unavoidably just a metaphor for 'very quickly'. There does seem to be some doubt about this - here's what the dictionary has to say:

[5] "metaphor n. application of name or descriptive term or phrase to an object or action to which it is imaginatively but not literally applicable"
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English


In other words, unless 'speed' can literally have wings (which it clearly can't), 'with winged speed' is a metaphor.

Just as before, we can clarify the structure of the sentence by extracting the Balrogs (whose nature is under question), and replacing them with more definite terms. First, imagine that the paragraph is about Eagles (which we know have wings and can fly), rather than Balrogs: there's no question that '[the Eagles] passed with winged speed over Hithlum' makes perfect sense. To try the opposite argument, we'll replace the Eagles with something that definitely doesn't have wings and can't fly: horsemen, say. This results in '[the horsemen] passed with winged speed over Hithlum'. Maybe it's a little more poetic, but it clearly isn't nonsense.

This is another case where the argument only serves to highlight the presumptions of its reader. If you already believe in Balrog wings, then 'with winged speed' might well seem to refer to them, but in fact there's nothing here that demands them.

Summing Up

The positive argument in favour of real Balrog wings at least has the merit of brevity. Essentially, it is that 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) and 'with winged speed' (4) can only possibly be interpreted as literal references to actual wings. As we've tried to show, though, there's no objective reason for drawing this conclusion. The pro-wings interpretation works if, and only if, you already assume that Balrog wings exist.



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The Case Against Balrog Wings
If there's no undeniable case for Balrog wings, its important to realize that neither is there any undeniable evidence against them. Instead, the contrary argument is based on a range of objections: references that apparently contradict the idea of Balrog wings. Of these, there are two particularly strong examples.

Objection One: Balrogs Don't Fly

There is no point anywhere in Tolkien's work where he describes a Balrog as flying. Even in situations where it would be a huge advantage to take to the air, the Balrogs remain earthbound. To illustrate, consider Gandalf's encounter with Durin's Bane. This Balrog faces two obstacles, a fiery fissure, and then a chasm crossed by a narrow bridge. These should present no problem to a winged creature, but its reaction is instructive.

[6] "Then with a rush it leaped across the fissure."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


...and then...

"It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge..."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


Later, that same Balrog finds itself on a mountain-top, fighting for its life. According to Gandalf's later report of the incident:

[7] "I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place, and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin."
The Two Towers III 5 The White Rider


If he could fly, the Balrog could easily have saved itself. Instead, he crashes through the air to his doom. Durin's Bane isn't the only non-flying Balrog, either:

[8] "Many are the songs that have been sung of the duel of Glorfindel with the Balrog upon a pinnacle of rock in that high place; and both fell to ruin in the abyss."
Quenta Silmarillion 23 Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin


The obvious question is: if Balrogs have real wings, why don't they use them?

There are two counterarguments. First, it is often suggested that 'with winged speed' (4) is a unique case where Balrogs are described as flying. We've already considered this point - it needn't detain us here.

The more common counterargument is that, in each case, the Balrogs were somehow prevented from using their wings. According to this position, Durin's Bane leaps the fissure and steps onto the bridge not because he has no wings, but because his wings were so vast that they were cramped and unusable. Against the two cases of Balrogs falling from mountains, it's suggested that they were exhausted from fighting, or their wings were somehow damaged or unusable. It's also sometimes put forward that Balrogs had real wings, but couldn't use them, or could only glide short distances rather than actually fly. This counterargument takes many forms, but all have one feature in common - once again, it presumes that the wings must exist.

There is, of course, a much simpler explanation for the Balrogs' apparent inability to fly. If we take the position that they just didn't have wings, the entire problem vanishes.

Objection Two: The Question of Scale

How big is a Balrog? If we follow the pro-wings side of the debate, and assume that it had real wings, its possible to come up at least some minimum figures. This is because of the classic 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2), which means that its wingspan must be at least the width of the hall in which it was standing. What do we know about the hall itself?

[9] "Before them was another cavernous hall. It was loftier and far longer than the one in which they had slept."
[10] "He turned left and sped across the smooth floor of the hall. The distance was greater than it had looked."
[11] "...a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail, that spanned the chasm with one curving spring of fifty feet."
All from The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


The hall is gigantic. If the chasm is fifty feet wide (11), then the entire hall must be at least several hundred feet long. A 'chasm' is by definition longer than it is wide, and the chasm's length defines the width of the hall. So, we can derive a fairly reliable minimum width somewhere in the region of seventy-five to one hundred feet. This is supported by the text, which tells us that the hall was so wide that it needed pillars down the centre to support the roof:

[12] "Down the centre stalked a double line of towering pillars. They were carved like boles of mighty trees whose boughs upheld the roof..."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


If the Balrog's wings were real, and literally spread 'from wall to wall' (2), its minimum wingspan is also somewhere approaching one hundred feet. This gives us a Balrog the size of a house, and remember that these are minimum values - it might be even bigger. Many would accept this without a problem - the idea of a gigantic Balrog is quite common, and it's often depicted as being thirty feet high or more, which is consistent with these estimates.

This is an important point, so we'll emphasise it. If the Balrog's wings are real, it follows necessarily that it must have been a monstrous creature with the wingspan of a small airliner.

The objection this raises is quite significant: it's very hard to explain how this behemoth had lived for more than a thousand years in an underground city designed for Dwarves. As a specific example, consider the Chamber of Mazarbul, which appears just before the Company's encounter with the Balrog. There's plenty of textual evidence about the entrance to this room. For example:

[13] "...orcs one after another leaped into the chamber."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm
(our italics)


...and, a moment later, they...

[14] "...clustered in the doorway."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


This is obviously a fairly narrow opening. Somehow, though, the Balrog manages to follow the orcs into the Chamber through this entrance. If a Balrog is built on the huge scale we've just discussed, it could not possibly have used this narrow entrance.

The logic of this seems inescapable: we have to scale down the Balrog to get him through the door. He can still be of 'a great height' (2) - say ten feet tall or so - but he can't realistically be much larger than this. This idea is supported to an extent by this description from the The History of Middle-earth:

[15] "[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
(our italics)


This is a rejected draft, so it can't be put forward as any kind of proof. It does give some insight, though, into the kind of scale that Tolkien had in mind for the Balrog. It's also borne out by the fact that he had to 'leap' (6) across a the fissure, and that he stepped onto a bridge (7) so narrow that Dwarves could only cross it in single file. These are the actions of a more-or-less man-sized creature, not a giant.

The question of scale is a serious objection to real Balrog wings. If 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) literally refers to real wings, then the Balrog must have been gigantic. For it to get into the Chamber of Mazarbul, though, it can't have been gigantic. If the Balrog isn't gigantic, then 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) can't refer to real wings.

For the anti-wings faction, this is probably as close to a 'proof' as it's possible to get.

Summing Up

These are by no means the only objections to real Balrog wings, but they're probably the strongest. Most others are circumstantial in nature and don't really advance the argument far (for example, 'imagine a creature with huge wings, spread wide, trying to handle a whirling whip of flame').

The two major objections, though, are very significant. Why don't Balrogs use their wings, if they have them? How does a house-sized Balrog get through an orc-sized doorway? These awkward questions only arise if Balrogs have real wings - if we assume that they don't, it's easy to escape these inconsistencies.

It's probably fair to say that there is no incontrovertible evidence for real wings, and that there at least two strong objections to their existence. Given the current state of the argument, then, the weight of evidence seems to come down pretty heavily on the 'no wings' side of the debate. 'Weight of evidence', though, isn't proof: there's always room for research and reinterpretation.

Wherever the evidence lies, its a fact that nobody knows for sure what the answer is. Only Tolkien himself could have told us, and he never made a definite statement on the topic. It seems appropriate, then, to finish with the most definite description of a Balrog he did provide:

[16] "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 Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm



Holy Sugar! Skwrl, that's more info than even I wanted to know. Big Smile Smilie

And no Swampfare, The Planet-Tolkien Forum is for all comers, even the 'Tolkien fanatics' are welcome. And don't leave! If you find too much detailed information, skip a paragraph or post or two. I myself find absolutely no social redeeming value in the current Legolas topic under characters, but haven't the heart to tell the young ladies to take their swooning to a movie star forum. I'll let them have their fun and edit it at a latter date, leaving any germane discussion about the character or the way he has been portrayed. Smile Smilie

And I guess that about wraps it up for Balrog wings or lack there of. One can be logically convinced that Balrogs don't have wings, unless one is totally convinced otherwise, in which case, logic is purely academic. Cool Smilie
Plastic Squirrel, That is the longest posting I've ever seen. *impressed*

My argument about Balrog wings is much simpler. If it had wings, big wings, why did it fall off the bridge? Birds don't fall out of trees, so why didn't it just fly to save itself? Either that, or Tolkien made an oversight.
It's not like I wrote it or anything, only took 5 seconds with a copy and paste Big Smile Smilie Thought it might help, cos I liked it. And gandalf could have been holding the wings down Wink Smilie
I also have been busy on this hunt and found the skeletal remains of a Balrog in today's, 19 JAN 2002, 'Fox Trot' comic strip. http://www.ucomics.com/foxtrot/viewft.htm Cool Smilie
The Balrog looked fantastic! Amazing really. Awesome. I can't find the right words to describe it. Beyond my imagination, and yet everything I always pictured it to be like. And no: it did not have wings, otherwise it would just have flown away. Or maybe Gandalf burned his wings? Big Smile Smilie

Plastic: sorry, but I really didn't read that post. Too long for me. Smile Smilie *applauds*
Plastic, how could he have been holding the wings down if the only reason he fell with it was because it wrapped its whip around his knees? Gandalf wasn't close enough to touch its wings.
Errr. I suppose Pman was only joking, Alyssa... Wink Smilie
Yeah, but it wasn't very funny. Wink Smilie *waits for the foxtrot comic to load*
Gandalf is a wizard...he could probably find a way to hold down the balrogs wings without actually touching them...

Foxtrot is one of the greatest things ever, by the way...

And Allyssa, I have acutally seen a bird fall out of a tree...it was pretty funny actually (it didn't get hurt or anything, just looked stupid).
Maybe the Balrog had been stuck in the mines for so long that its wings were too weak to hold it up.
It also may not have had wings in the movie-it might have just appeared to have wings as said in the book :P
That is the avion form of "sink or swim", one of Mom Nature's methods of natural selection. If the baby bird gets a second chance and eludes the cats, well and good, otherwise their offspring don't. Poor little things. Sad Smilie
That was one of the things I liked so much about the movie, the fact that the wings were so ambiguous. They were so drenched in shadow and fire and smoke you couldn't say for certain whether or not it had wings. Thus allowing the arguments to continue!!! Big Smile Smilie
the belrog was awsome thats all i got to say............very awsome Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie
I agree ShadowLurker, and welcome to the forum. Smile Smilie
I thought the balrog was pretty cool! It was also pretty d*mn scary! My cousin, who was with us, actually jumped a little and she's fourteen! It was pretty funny when she jumped. Big Smile Smilie
And a big Welcome to you too Fangorn. Cool name, by the way. Smile Smilie
the Balrog? he was a woes Gandalf could have easily taken him Big Smile Smilie If it wasn't for his whimp... i mean whip
Just checked. Balrog does not have wings.
For those of you needing your Balrog fix, here is a pirated image

http://www.jimcalagon.supanet.com/rpt31.htm
LOL Big Smile Smilie
Now *that* really *would* have been scary! Big Smile Smilie
What you mean "*would* have been", Plastic Squirrel? That was so scary I'm still cowering under my mousepad.

Only thing I can think of as being more scary would be the the Telle-Tubbies cast as the four hobbits. Well then again, were I to suddenly look up and see thousands of their monstrous little siblings pouring over Helm's Dike towards me with their eyes blazing, that might be more scary. Big Smile Smilie
If anyone has a camera and crew to lend me, I have to remake the movie with all these toys. I nominate Basil Brush as Gandalf. And bagpuss for Shelob.
Think the Phantom Editor has beaten you to it. Read someone that he/she/it is planning to edit out Arwen's scenes, and some others. 'course, it may just be another net rumour. Smile Smilie
oh I hope they do kick out Arwen...
I wish they did, but they probably won't. Sad Smilie
The Balrog thingie is fantastic!! Big Smile Smilie Rofl
And he was pretty scary in the movie. I didn't jump, cos I knew that he was coming. Big Smile Smilie
It's already been said but I have to say it again Balrogs do not have wings
Those defending the wings make up tens of thousands of reasons why balrogs have wings but don't use 'em... it's kinda like when the church said the earth was flat, people pointed out phenomenas that would only occur in a round world and the church always made up rules and special nature-laws to get round those points...

And then on to the movie balrog, it as kinda nice, not at all like I'd made it had I directed the movie-work but anyway... the one think I greatly dissliked however was the fact that all the orcs were affraid of it (in the book they don't flee when the balrog comes, they simply show their respect and give way to him...)
[Edited on 15/3/2002 by iago]
Dude, I thought we had all determined that the Balrog DID have wings. Didn't someone point that out in the other thread, actually pointing to the text?
An exerpt from the text Plastic posted:

Objection Two: The Question of Scale

How big is a Balrog? If we follow the pro-wings side of the debate, and assume that it had real wings, its possible to come up at least some minimum figures. This is because of the classic 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2), which means that its wingspan must be at least the width of the hall in which it was standing. What do we know about the hall itself?

[9] "Before them was another cavernous hall. It was loftier and far longer than the one in which they had slept."
[10] "He turned left and sped across the smooth floor of the hall. The distance was greater than it had looked."
[11] "...a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail, that spanned the chasm with one curving spring of fifty feet."
All from The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


The hall is gigantic. If the chasm is fifty feet wide (11), then the entire hall must be at least several hundred feet long. A 'chasm' is by definition longer than it is wide, and the chasm's length defines the width of the hall. So, we can derive a fairly reliable minimum width somewhere in the region of seventy-five to one hundred feet. This is supported by the text, which tells us that the hall was so wide that it needed pillars down the centre to support the roof:

[12] "Down the centre stalked a double line of towering pillars. They were carved like boles of mighty trees whose boughs upheld the roof..."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


If the Balrog's wings were real, and literally spread 'from wall to wall' (2), its minimum wingspan is also somewhere approaching one hundred feet. This gives us a Balrog the size of a house, and remember that these are minimum values - it might be even bigger. Many would accept this without a problem - the idea of a gigantic Balrog is quite common, and it's often depicted as being thirty feet high or more, which is consistent with these estimates.

This is an important point, so we'll emphasise it. If the Balrog's wings are real, it follows necessarily that it must have been a monstrous creature with the wingspan of a small airliner.

The objection this raises is quite significant: it's very hard to explain how this behemoth had lived for more than a thousand years in an underground city designed for Dwarves. As a specific example, consider the Chamber of Mazarbul, which appears just before the Company's encounter with the Balrog. There's plenty of textual evidence about the entrance to this room. For example:

[13] "...orcs one after another leaped into the chamber."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm
(our italics)


...and, a moment later, they...

[14] "...clustered in the doorway."
The Fellowship of the Ring II 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dm


This is obviously a fairly narrow opening. Somehow, though, the Balrog manages to follow the orcs into the Chamber through this entrance. If a Balrog is built on the huge scale we've just discussed, it could not possibly have used this narrow entrance.

The logic of this seems inescapable: we have to scale down the Balrog to get him through the door. He can still be of 'a great height' (2) - say ten feet tall or so - but he can't realistically be much larger than this. This idea is supported to an extent by this description from the The History of Middle-earth:

[15] "[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
(our italics)


This is a rejected draft, so it can't be put forward as any kind of proof. It does give some insight, though, into the kind of scale that Tolkien had in mind for the Balrog. It's also borne out by the fact that he had to 'leap' (6) across a the fissure, and that he stepped onto a bridge (7) so narrow that Dwarves could only cross it in single file. These are the actions of a more-or-less man-sized creature, not a giant.

The question of scale is a serious objection to real Balrog wings. If 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) literally refers to real wings, then the Balrog must have been gigantic. For it to get into the Chamber of Mazarbul, though, it can't have been gigantic. If the Balrog isn't gigantic, then 'its wings were spread from wall to wall' (2) can't refer to real wings.

For the anti-wings faction, this is probably as close to a 'proof' as it's possible to get.
The answer is: 'not that I noted' Smile Smilie
Yummy and Iago: go back and read all of Plastic Squirrel's 18 January 2002 posting; and as I said after reading it:
Quote:
And I guess that about wraps it up for Balrog wings or lack there of. One can be logically convinced that Balrogs don't have wings, unless one is totally convinced otherwise, in which case, logic is purely academic.
Unless someone knows a good (and honestly impartial) medium we will never know for certain. Big Smile Smilie
Well, I take exception to the idea that just because his wings could spread from wall to wall, he couldn't get out of a small opening. I mean do we know what he's made of? Flesh and bone? Have you guys ever observed a cat get through a small crack that's more narrow than the cat? They can do it because of the way they are made. So, I take exception to the idea that just because the Balrog had to get through a small opening, he must be Orc or man sized and therefore cannot have large wings. Further, I think the fact that the postAuthorID himself mentioned "wings" refutes Plastic's faulty argument outright. No offense Plastic, but even though it sounds convincing it doesn't cut the mustard.

I am further unconvinced that because the Balrog was a big guy he couldn't have survived below ground for so long. The watcher at the gates was also an enormous creature, but he didn't have that much to munch on around where he lived. I think you're demanding way too much from your postAuthorID that he should determine the logical food source of his great big monsters before introducing them to the plot.

Besides, what the heck do demons eat? Chicken? Beef? Orcs? (Remember, the orcs cleared out when the ole Balrog appeared, at least they did in the movie).

I think it's clear that the Balrog had wings and was an enormous creature. So there.
If it was clear then we wouldn't be having this argument would we? :P
I would like to point out something obvious about Balrog wings. If it had wings, why did it fall into the chasm? If it could fly, why didn't it save itself? Unless of course, its wings that spread from wall to wall were not operational and decorative only. I cannot see why a rebel Maia, transformed into a demon would have non-working wings. Also, wouldn't a mane of flame be at odds with wings and wing movement? If the Balrog wasn't careful, it just might set itself on fire! Not to mention anything else in the immediate vacinity. But that is a minor detail.

Can anyone explain why the thing fell?

.

[Edited on 22/4/2002 by Allyssa]
Retraction of earlier posted comment:

I have just seen a clearer version of FOTR. The Balrog did have wings, or at least wing bone-structure. Couln't make out any membranes. PJ apparently allied himself with the wings faction.

*runs and hides.
Okay, after much thought on the subject, here are some thoughts off the top of my tiny pointed head:

The Balrog's wings were made of shadow. Their only function was to intimidate; thus, they could expand or retract as the situation demanded, and unlike the bumblebee's, could not support the Balrog's weight in flight, as the air would flow right through the shadow's ethereal substance. Smile Smilie

Your average Balrog was one tough son-of-a-whatever, and as such, could usually walk away from contact with the bottom of a bottomless pit into which it had been summarily precipitated, with little more damage than a nose-bleed. Big Smile Smilie

Also, as the Balrog was a demon of fire, all its bodily parts were fireproof; thus, the vestige of its wings would not even be singed. Wink Smilie

Question: What would be the outcome of a battle between a Balrog and an Ancient Frost Dragon (whose high-speed frigid breath freezes objects on contact)? Cool Smilie
Water
Flood - hey maybe that is how the lower levels of Moria became flooded? Did the elves let one of those Ice-dragons loose in there?Big Smile Smilie Big Smile SmilieWink Smilie

[Edited on 2/4/2002 by Allyssa]
If I'm allowed, I would like to say sth about these wings too:

Quote:
His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out LIKE two vast wings.

From FOTR, The bridge of Khazad-dm, p. 348

If you read this extract only, you'd say he doesn't have wings, cos it says "a shadow LIKE two vast wings".
But if you read on, you'll find this:

Quote:
...suddenly it DREW ITSELF UP to a great height, and its WINGS WERE SPREAD from wall to wall.


From this extract you would say the thing has wings. But it also says: it drew itself up to a great height, so the balrog must be able to make itself smaller again too. But in the book, Tolkien always speaks of "the shadow of the Balrog", instead of just saying "the Balrog", so I think Grondy is right: the wings are not for use, just to intimidate. Otherwise, the Balrog would have used them to save himself.
They weren't solid enough to prove anything in any manner at all, as PJ didn't have the guts to ally himself with any faction, and had to keep it fairly vague so as not to upset either faction.
Uhuh. They definetely weren't solid enough to fly. And not very clear unless you looked for them. Let's say they were there, but not clearly. Big Smile Smilie
Do you think it's possible that PJ, who didn't have the guts to align himself with any side of the wings debate, is regretting his cowardice and losing nights of rest over the issue?

Gotta say I doubt it. He probably never even thought there would be a debate about it at all. Wary Smilie
I don't think he's regretting anything...and I don't really think it was cowardice that kept him from making a decision...more self-preservation than anything else - I think he just didn't want to be skinned alive by whatever faction he contradicted...
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