Login | Register
 
Message Board | Latest Posts | Your Recent Posts | Rules

Thread: Balrogs

Is this discussion interesting? Share it on Twitter!

Bottom of Page    Message Board > Characters > Balrogs   
Yes I think they were, corrupted by Melkor, just in the same way that Orcs were corrupted Eldar.
I am presently unable to check this, but my belief is that Balrogs were corrupted Maiar. If they were Ainur, they would be more powerful than Morgoth himself.
Quote:
I am presently unable to check this, but my belief is that Balrogs were corrupted Maiar. If they were Ainur, they would be more powerful than Morgoth himself.
Maiar were Ainur, just of a lesser degree to the Valar. I doubt, even if they were Valar, that they would be more powerful the Morgoth/Melkor, because, in the beginning, he was the most powerful Vala.
Quote:
I am presently unable to check this, but my belief is that Balrogs were corrupted Maiar. If they were Ainur, they would be more powerful than Morgoth himself.


I don't believe that; I thought Ainur were comprised of Valar and Maiar. Valar were more powerful than Maiar, and they were simply Ainur who came to Middle-Earth. (?) Maiar were also Ainur who came 2 ME, but were less powerful spirits. If Melkor (Morgoth) was the most powerful of the Valar, and the Valar were more powerful than the Maiar, there is no way that the Valaraukar could be more powerful than Morgoth Bauglir... He was the 2nd most powerful, only humbled by Eru Ilúvatar. Right? Or were the Ainur who stayed outside M.E. more powerful than the Valar who went? This gets confusing. Very Sad Smilie
Btw, good points Peredhil and Allyssa; you've helped (though I'm still confused) :angry:
Peredhil is right, the Ainur (holy ones) are composed of both Valar and Maiar. The Maiar are the lesser of the Ainur. The Balrogs (Valaraukar) were originally Maiar spirits of fire that were corrupted by Melkor (Morgoth).
Elf Smilie
I tried to post an answer here earlier but the site went down before I was able to post my reply. Anyway, here it is now...

From the Silmarillion - Valaquenta... page 35
Quote:
Yet so great was the power of his uprising that in ages forgotten he contended with Manwe and all the Valar, and through long years in Arda held dominion over most of the lands of the Earth. But he was not alone. For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and trecherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle Earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.

From Morgoth's Ring
Quote:
And in Utumno he wrought the race of Demons whom the Elves after named the Balrogs.
Quote:
And in the North Melkor built his strength, and gathered his demons about him.These were the first made of his creatures: their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them; they had whips of flame. Balrogs they were named by the Noldor in later days.
Here, Tolkien is working along the lines that the Balrogs were beings of Melkor's own making. These, however, are early scripts which were later superceeded by a later script in which the Balrogs are spirits which followed him.
Quote:
And in Utumno he multiplied the race of evil spirits that followed him, the Umaiar, of whom the chief were those demons whom the Elves afterwards named the Balrogath.
Also
Quote:
These were the the spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendour, and became most like him in his corruption: their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them; they had whips of flame. Balrogs they were named by the Noldor in later days.
Finally
Quote:
It will be seen that the wills of Orcs and Balrogs etc are part of Melkor's power dispersed. Their spirit is one of hate. But hate is non-cooperative (except under direct fear). Hence the rebellions, mutinies, etc when Morgoth seems far off. Orcs were beasts and Balrogs corrupted Maiar.
In answer to your question then, Arcormacolindóva, I would say the balrogs were indeed corrupted Maiar spirits. As Maiar were lesser Ainur, they were Ainur too. It would seem that in the beginning Tolkien envisaged Melkor creating them himself, but as his writing evolved into its present form, Melkor lost this ability to create as only Eru could do so. His later writings, therefore, which became the basis of the Silmarillion had Melkor corrupting existing spirits rather than creating new ones.

I hope this is of some help to you.
Quote:
Morgoth Bauglir... He was the 2nd most powerful, only humbled by Eru Ilúvatar. Right?
Eru wasn't an Ainu, he was (and still is) something else. Melkor was, at one point, the most powerful being ever to walk the Earth.
Quote:
Or were the Ainur who stayed outside M.E. more powerful than the Valar who went?
All themost powerful Ainur went to Arda, I think.
Just a thought: I know there were must have been many Maiar who stayed outside Arda and don't figure in the stories, but what about th Valar? All the Aratar and other most powerful ones went, but were there others who stayed. Were these mainly ones of lesser power? Does that mean, then, that the most powerful of the Maiar (Olorin, Curunir, Eonwë etc.) could have been more powerful than some of the lesser Valar?
I
Quote:
Does that mean, then, that the most powerful of the Maiar (Olorin, Curunir, Eonwë etc.) could have been more powerful than some of the lesser Valar?
Eonwe would have been a formidable warrior, perhaps only bettered in combat by a few of the more powerful Valar. Skill at arms, however, was not just what marked the Valar as being powerful. I think the distinction between Valar and Maiar is that strength of power. I don't think the strongest of the Maiar could ever be more powerful than even the weakest of the Valar purely by definition. If they were, they would have been Valar themselves and not Maiar. The Valar were greater spirits and the Maiar lesser. I don't believe there was anything other than this strength of power which defined whether an Ainur would be a Valar or a Maiar.
Quote:
Hi enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings.
The Bridge of Khazad-Dum page 322 paragraph 2
Quote:
it stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall;
The Bridge of Khazad-Dum page 322 paragraph 4

This finally puts to rest the argument of if Balrogs have wings. The new arguement is if they are working wings or just added for the fear visage!
Quote:
Hi enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings.
Note the word "LIKE two vast wings" describing the shadow.
Quote:
it stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall;
The wings there could also be assumed to be a metaphor for the dark shadow.
Rubbish, like wings. He does have wings, it's just wether they are for show or not.
If the balrog had wings, why didn't it just fly back up when Gandalf broke the bridge? If the wings were non-functional, as is apparent from the lack of flight, they would be utterly pointless. It seems highly unlikely that balrog, having had thousands of years to evolve, would still have pointless wings. The wings must therefore be seen as a metaphor, as I mentioned in my last post.
First of all who says the Balrogs evolve. Second I belive they are non fuctional, Bat shaped wings to inspire dread into their oponents. Even if they are functional a inverted falling flying creature will have trouble starting flight, especially if they are toppleing through the air. This is why you find dead pidgeons under railway bridges. they are disturbed in their sleep jump forward and start spinning throught the air only to end with the sound thud. Also watch any flying animal they need either a run up or to begin glidding wings outstreached to create lift in order for them to fly. The only exception to this are insects who work more in principle with the helicopter, but are far more advanced than that method of flight dynamics.
For more discussion on the topic of Balrog wings, please see:

the balrogs wings and the belrog under Fellowship of the Rings and especially take note of Plastic Squirrel's post of 18/1/2002 at 15:04 under the latter topic. It contains a long winded article lifted from The Encyclopedia of Arda and basically says you can't get there from here. Meaning after all is said and done, neither side can come up with the definitive answer. So the argument goes on. Teacher Smilie

I personally lean towards the wings of ephemerous smoke and shadow school; believing that their wings were for intimidation rather than flying: Morgoth had Dragons for that, except Gurthang who was a great non-flying worm type of Dragon.
Quote:
Meaning after all is said and done, neither side can come up with the definitive answer. So the argument goes on.
How about this:

Wing - Each of the limbs or organs by which an animal is able to fly. OED.

With this in mind, if Balrogs couldn't fly, then their wings were not technically wings.
so does that mean, Kiwi's, Osterich's and penguin's don't have wings? Cool Smilie
Yes.
Hang on Peredhil I'll pass you a shovel, you'll be able to dig your hole quicker!
Penguins do not have wings, they have flippers. Kiwis do not have wings, they have little pointless tufts of feathers. Ostriches do not have wings. they have excessive plumage. Aww heck I'll just use the shovel. *Digs furiously*
http://www.xenite.org/tolkien/do-balrogs-have-wings.html

That's about as close as we're going to get to a definitive answer. I always though Balrogs had wings anyway; I was just arguing for argument's sake here.
Well that's ok then. As long as we agree I'm right. Here I'll help you out of your hole. Big Smile Smilie
So, do Tolkien's letters back-up postAuthorID Michael Martinez's
conclusions?
Interesting article, thanks for the link Peredhil! I'm going to have to comb through Letters... later tonight to see if there is anything in there, but it seems that Martinez has definitely researched this pretty extensively. It seems to me also that Martinez has gone about breaking it down the right way; one really needs to examine the evolution of Tolkien’s writings on the matter to fully understand the answers.
Elf Smilie

Were Balrogs able to speak, or did they communicate in some other way?
I think they basically roared their displeasure with life in general. Those beings that were around them made way for them and let them do their thing. If you got on the bad side of a Balrog—there was no good side—they dispached you and the problem was solved. In other words, they are like the 500 pound gorilla: Q: Where does the 500 Pound gorilla sit on the bus? A: Anywhere it wants.

Morgoth undoubtably had some means of communicating with them, but probably was the type of employer who didn't want to hear about their private lives or receive any feedback about how they were or weren't enjoying their job. Thus the conversations were mostly one-way. He would not have countanenced failure, so would not have needed to hear their excuses. Also they wouldn't have been sent to do investigative work because they weren't built for clandistine operations, thus no reports would have been necessary. There job was just heavy enforcement: Morgoth would say I want a hit on so-and-so, and the Balrog would painfully turn so-and-so into an ember and nod when asked if the mission was complete.

Other like questions are: Did they lay down to sleep? Of what did their diet consist? Did they have mates? What was the political bent of their morning newspaper and how did they read it?
Quote:
Were Balrogs able to speak, or did they communicate in some other way?


While looking over The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien to see what was in there pertaining to Balrogs, I came across something very interesting that specifically answers this question. The following quote is from page 274 of Letters, and it's taken from a letter to Forrest J. Ackerman (letter #210) dated June 1958, and interestingly enough pertains to Tolkien's comments on the film 'treatment' of TLOTR;
Quote:
The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer…


So there you have it, straight from the man himself, Balrogs do not speak! It is not stated anywhere in Letters how they communicated. Also, there is nothing in Letters that addresses the subject of whether or not Balrogs had wings. In fact, given the treasure trove of information in Letters, there is surprisingly little on Balrogs.

However, going back to the Martinez essay, again I’m inclined to believe his findings. I don’t have HOME of TBOLT, but it seems to me that he’s done his homework, and I’ll take his word for it. So here now are the two things I believe to be essential, and true in regards to the Balrog wings issue (from the Martinez essay);
Quote:
To learn about the nature and abilities of the Balrog of Moria one must dissect the various texts of THE HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH, and the stories from THE BOOK OF LOST TALES and other pre-LOTR materials cannot be used to analyze the Balrog of Moria. Many people try to do so, but because Tolkien substantially changed the Balrogs while writing "Ainulindale" and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the Balrogs of THE BOOK OF LOST TALES and the early "Quenta Silmarillion" are completely different creatures.


and;
Quote:
Yes, Balrogs had wings...from about 1940 onward. Yes, Balrogs flew...from at least 1940 onward, maybe from 1948 onward, or possibly from 1952 or thereabouts onward.

Elf Smilie



I dont know much about balrogs, but they're demons and they look really cool! i drew one