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in sil. i think it says the balrogs are maiar. if they are, are they inferior or equal to saouron???
We can't say exactly because i don't think that all the maiar were of equal status or power. Maybe some such as Gothmog were as powerful while others were weaker. But i think the sil said they were demons/spirit of fire and maybe they were lesser because they were tied to the fire element.
I dont think that they were maiar... but i suspect that im mistaken...
Balrogs are Maiar, and I think that they were classed just as servants of Morgoth and therefore all allies in the same cause... Though Sauron was Morgoth's most trusted Lieutenant, he may have been one "rank" higher than anyone else... but only when they were servants of Morgoth in the First Age, in the Third Age they aren't "allies" as Sauron didn't use them, though there was probably only one left, Durin's Bane. But before they allied themselves with Melkor, they were of the same order as Sauron/ Gandalf/ Saruman, so equal I say, until Melkor went all nasty.
The Balrog (which are both Maiar) may have outmatched Sauron in combat but are inferior in terms of inner strength (but only slightly). The only possible equal to Sauron may have been Gothmog Lord of Balrogs, High Captain of Angband.
O maybe Luthien and Huan. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
And apparently Frodo, Sam, and Gollum...in a manner of speaking! Wink Smilie
I was talking about Sauron and Balrogs.

Other possible equals in regards to inner strength include Melian, Eonwe, perhaps Feanor. Sauron was a powerful Maiar and was superior to Olorin and the other Istari. The characters you have mentioned I do not believe could have outmatched him. Big Laugh Smilie
All Sauron has to do is hide a bucket of water under his armour and when Gothmog isnt't looking.... well you can guess Orc Smiling Smilie
That better be a PRETTY BIG bucket!! Wink Smilie

Well, all things considered, if you were to have Sauron vs. a Balrog, I think I would have to put my money on Sauron -- especially if he has The One Ring, or if it was before he created the Ring and put most of his strength into it. Something Thorin said earlier convinced me -- the part about the Balrogs being basically tied to the element of fire. Meanwhile Sauron is like pure "black magic" (for lack of a better term), and he probably has some measure of control over ALL the elements. And who knows WHAT other tricks & spells he might have up his sleeve.

Unfortunately we never really get to see much of Sauron "in action", except when he turns into a werewolf and fights Huan, so we don't really know all that he may be capable of. But think about this: when he occupies Dol Guldur, a shadow falls over half of Mirkwood! That's some pretty intense evil. And this is AFTER losing the Ring! If a Balrog was that strong, then I would think the Balrog of Moria's presence would easily be felt in Eregion.

Of course, I'm equating "evil presence" with "possible power" which might not be a valid comparison...but like I said we don't really have much to go on, as far as combat abilities. I'm assuming that someone like Sauron, whose evil can be felt hundreds of miles away, would be a pretty terrible foe to face in battle.
So terrible as to be thrown down by Gil-Galad and Elendil? Or by Huan? Or almost defeated by Fingon in there song game?

In TTT it says that Isengard was starting to have a darkness of it own spreading over the surrounding area. If Saruman was given as long as Sauron had in Mirkwood who knows how far that shadow could have spread?

The Balrog was content in his underground caverns, whereas Sauron wanted dominion over Middle-earth. If the Balrog wanted the same he probabaly could have filled all Moria with a dark reek that would spread out of the gates over the lands.

Remember also that the Balrog manged to destroy Durin and many other Dwarves besides and claim dominion over what was an extremely fortified Dwarven Realm. I doubt Sauron by himself could have done the same in simliar circumstances.
Well, Gil-galad, Elendil, Huan, and Finrod were all very special individuals, I guess you could say they were "fated" to defeat (or nearly defeat) Sauron. (And I'll bet Túrin would've kicked Sauron's butt from Tol Sirion all the way to the Orocarni and back, LOL!) But from the Balrog side, it just seems like they're able to be defeated somewhat easier. Let's assume that Gothmog was the strongest of the Balrogs, but he didn't defeat either Fëanor or Fingon alone -- in both cases there were other Balrogs helping him. And Gothmog was eventually slain by a single Elf, Ecthelion. Same with the battle between Glorfindel and the Balrog coming over the mountain. So I still think Sauron would be more powerful than a Balrog, even Gothmog...

The rest of the stuff you mentioned is good point that I hadn't considered -- AMBITION. Or I guess you could call it an "Evil Arch-Villain Trying To Take Over The World" complex. Wink Smilie Sure that makes perfect sense -- Saruman and Sauron both eventually wanted dominion over the whole world, and so they spread their evil influence out little by little, mile by mile, to "darken" the surrounding area. Yeah I can't logically see the Balrog having that kind of ambition, based on what we see of them they just don't seem like the type. I agree, the Balrog of Moria was probably perfectly happy just lording over the caves, he apparently didn't want/need to take over the entire Misty Mountains, or extend his influence towards Lorien or whatever.

What I think it boils down to is, Balrogs were superior in terms of physical strength and prowess, while Sauron was a master of sorcery and deception. Maybe I just like magic-users, but I'll put my money on sorcery over swords any day.
But remember Glorfindel and Ecthelion were exceptionally gifted Elves ranked amoung the greatest of there kindred. Both died in there fights with the Balrogs. Gothmog did kill Fingon as well (it was probably a single comabat one on one as is usual when two great warriors combat together). Plus Durin's Bane did kill Gandalf a Maiar.
Sauron fell after a fight with Elendil (a great man but not ranked amoung the great warriors of Men in terms of fighting prowess) and Gil Galad who also is not compared to the like of the Noldor Kings of old.
Sauron's fortress of Minas Tirith was taken just by Luthien and Huan alone.
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What I think it boils down to is, Balrogs were superior in terms of physical strength and prowess, while Sauron was a master of sorcery and deception. Maybe I just like magic-users, but I'll put my money on sorcery over swords any day.

Exactly. Sauron just wasn't a warrior, that's all. He was the archetypal Mastermind who lets minions do all the work and who keeps resurfacing after being defeated like a comic-book villain. He only came out of his tower when there was no other choice.

Still, Sauron was still far terrible. JRRT wrote in one of his Letters that no one in LOTR would stand a chance against him one-on-one, not even Aragorn.
My friend durins bane did not kill gandalf! I think he used far too much magic in the battle and drained his own lifeforce. Because the balrog died first.
Gandalf died becuase of his fight with the Balrog. Therefore the Balrog was the direct cause of his death. The Balrog killed Gandalf. Wink Smilie
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My friend durins bane did not kill gandalf! I think he used far too much magic in the battle and drained his own lifeforce. Because the balrog died first.

He was not directly killed by the Balrog, no, but he did die due to fighting the Balrog. After all, he had to throw several kitchen sinks to the Balrog.
If a dog kills another dog but sustains fatal injuries to himself shortly after, then he was killed by the other dog. It just took him longer to succumb to his injuries.
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Sauron fell after a fight with Elendil (a great man but not ranked amoung the great warriors of Men in terms of fighting prowess) and Gil Galad who also is not compared to the like of the Noldor Kings of old.

Sauron did not fall because of fighting thsse two, he fell when our hero, Prince Isildur in his rage, after the death of his father, accidentally pricked Sauron's 'Achilles heel'.

"Lossst itsss fin-ger hassss it? Isildur's got the Precious, Isildur's got the Precious, Isildur's got the Precious. Yeeeeeesssssss!" - Isildur's paraphrase: of Gollum's last speech in the BBC Radio production of The Lord of the Rings as satirically remembered by Grondy.
LOA,
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Gothmog did kill Fingon as well (it was probably a single combat one on one as is usual when two great warriors combat together).

From the Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle":
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Then he turned upon Fingon. That was a grim meeting. At last Fingon stood alone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog, until another Balrog came behind and cast a thong of fire about him.

So in other words Gothmog cheated. Wink Smilie But anyway, yes I do not doubt that Glorfindel and Ecthelion were superior warriors, indeed that's exactly why they defeated the Balrogs.

As for Luthien and Huan capturing Tol Sirion, well really it was Huan who did all the work. Remember Luthien just came along singing...it was Huan who killed all the wolf sentries, then beat up Draugluin, and finally made Sauron cry uncle when the latter came out in his Wolfman Jack guise. I think we all agree, Sauron definitely was NOT a warrior. In fact, I kinda wonder...since his primary power was sorcery, why didn't he use magic to defeat Luthien and Huan? Why go mano-à-mano and end up with a bloody throat??? Maybe intelligence wasn't his strong suit after all...

But then again, we're talking about a guy who was too stupid to close up Sammath Naur. In fact I'm surprised he didn't build rest-stops along the way, with lembas and lemonade to help out our dear little hobbitses. Wink Smilie
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Remember Luthien just came along singing...it was Huan who killed all the wolf sentries, then beat up Draugluin, and finally made Sauron cry uncle when the latter came out in his Wolfman Jack guise.

Not exactly, it was Lúthien who sent Sauron quaking back to Morgoth, and even motivated him to flee to Taur-nu-Fuin lest he'd feel Morgoth's wrath.

She also lifted the curse of the island and turned it into a lovely fairy island full of daisies and butterflies.

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Sauron did not fall because of fighting thsse two, he fell when our hero, Prince Isildur in his rage, after the death of his father, accidentally pricked Sauron's 'Achilles heel'.

Sauron did literally fall down, though. Isildúr merely delivered the coup de grâce.

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In fact, I kinda wonder...since his primary power was sorcery, why didn't he use magic to defeat Luthien and Huan? Why go mano-à-mano and end up with a bloody throat??? Maybe intelligence wasn't his strong suit after all...

There was magic involved; Sauron shapeshifted quite a lot during that fight.

And, apart from this, in Tolkien's universe 'magic' is not equal to the D&D's level 40 lightning & fire spells. It's more a spiritual quality.
To the question of Sauron's power compared to that of a Balrog, I must agree with Meneldur in that Sauron was simply no warrior. Think of it this way: Sauron (and Morgoth before him) were the masterminds, and the Balrogs were their grunts (although even grunts can be VERY hard to take down).

Sauron's battle of magic with Finrod Felagund was an eye-opener for me. .It made me see just how powerful the Elves were in their glory. In the Third Age, the only slightly impressive magic you see from the Elves is Galadriel's mirror, which in my opinion is impressive, but not as powerful as Finrod's duel with Sauron.

As for Luthien and Beren escaping from Sauron's tower, that was with a lot of help from Huan, for in the Lay of Leithian, it does describe Luthien as a frightened maiden in distress, what with all the swooning and everything, and Beren is just stupified, mourning beside Felagund. So, the credit for defeating Sauron goes to Huan the hound who is fated to be beaten by none other than the "greatest" of wolves. And it was just too bad that Sauron was actually arrogant enough to think himself the mightiest of wolves.

But back to the topic. Here are some factors to consider when determining whether Balrog or Sauron is inferior.

First, Sauron was educated by none other than Aule, and I suppose he learned a lot from Morgoth too. And both these were Valar.

Second, Balrogs have never really shown much intelligence. They were always just the nightmarish killing machine of Middle-earth.

Third, while Sauron is not known as a warrior, he did put up a formidable fight at the Last Alliance. I mean, did a single Balrog ever require whole legions of Men and Elves and Dwarves to subdue it? A Balrog weighs so much less (figuratively) because well, it's really just a grunt, a minion, a better soldier than Orcs.

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Third, while Sauron is not known as a warrior, he did put up a formidable fight at the Last Alliance. I mean, did a single Balrog ever require whole legions of Men and Elves and Dwarves to subdue it?

It's mentioned nowhere by Tolkien that Sauron needed be subdued by 'legions'. That's movie material, only.

Tis only mentioned that Sauron finally came out in the very end, when he had no minions left and was completely surrounded, like a queen bee appearing from a burned hive.

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As for Luthien and Beren escaping from Sauron's tower, that was with a lot of help from Huan, for in the Lay of Leithian, it does describe Luthien as a frightened maiden in distress, what with all the swooning and everything, and Beren is just stupified, mourning beside Felagund.

The Lay of Leithian has no bearing on what's written in the Sil. The version of the Lay was probably tampered with by chauvinist Elven men, anyway, wishing to diminish Lúthien's capital achievements in acquiring a Silmaril.

I doubt a swooning damsel in distress (read: Arwen) would so valiantly and effortlessly subdue the Dark Enemy of the World.

Indeed, maybe Queen Evenstar herself ordered her scribes to edit the Lay of Leithian, since although she was called the likeness of Lúthien, her achievements were infinitesimally small in comparison.

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Second, Balrogs have never really shown much intelligence. They were always just the nightmarish killing machine of Middle-earth.

Durin's Bane knew 'magic', did he not? He blew the exit door of the Chamber of Mazarbûl in Gandalf's face using the word ghâsh.
I think we can all conclude that in terms of combat, Balrogs were superior. However in terms of 'Greatness' it is clear Sauron has the superiority. However it is unclear what is meant by 'Sauron was his greatest servant'. It could mean he was the most powerful but it could also mean greatest in terms of Importance in the Ranks.

By the Way: The Balrog uses magic to brake the door but he doesn't say 'Ghash' - that was the word the Orcs used signifying 'fire'. The Balrogs never speak or make any sounds.
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She also lifted the curse of the island and turned it into a lovely fairy island full of daisies and butterflies.

Only for said island to end up drowned a little later in the War of Wrath anyway. Wink Smilie (daisies & butterflies, LOL!!!)

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Sauron did literally fall down, though. Isildúr merely delivered the coup de grâce.

If there had been any Balrogs at that battle, I would have to wonder if one of them tripped him on purpose. "OOPS! Sorry Master, oh I guess I'll be the new Dark Lord now." Orc Grinning Smilie

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There was magic involved; Sauron shapeshifted quite a lot during that fight.

Well no, that's not the kind of magic I meant. But you knew what I was thinking of, you said it in the next sentence. Fire & lightning storms, clouds of death, etc, yeah that's more like what I had in mind. You made a good point, I sometimes forget that Tolkien's world didn't have very much of THAT kind of magic. What little you see of it usually leaves the caster severely weakened (like Gandalf's "Wizard Lock" spell on the door in Moria, he was totally drained after that.)

And what Cloveress said,
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Sauron's battle of magic with Finrod Felagund was an eye-opener for me.

YES!!! Me too the very first time I read it! The story doesn't really describe what kinds of spells/songs they were chanting at each other, but it was definitely cool. Hey maybe they were casting "shape change spells" back and forth at each other. *POOF* you're a frog. Oh yeah, well then *POOF* you're a fly and I'm going to eat you! LOL!!!!!

Back to Virumor:
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maybe Queen Evenstar herself ordered her scribes to edit the Lay of Leithian ... her achievements were infinitesimally small in comparison.

You mean she actually HAD any? Wink Smilie Yeah in the movie they gave her the rescue at the fords, but in the book the only thing I remember her doing was sewing a stupid flag for Aragorn. I mean he could've just as easily picked that up at a souvenir shop in Minas Tirith or Pelargir...
Aragorn shopping for a battle banner at the mall's Banners-R-Us. ROFL

Arwen gave Aragorn a sense of purpose: In order to possess the pointy-eared china statuette he had to become King of both Gandor* and Arnor. And remember this was written back in the pre-sixties when men were truly Chavenistic* Oink Smilies because their mothers hadn't taught them any better and they only had their fathers for example.

edited:
*Gandor = a misspelling of Gondor due to the pressure of working the forum on Fathers' Day while thinking of Father Goose—of course that is spelled 'Gander'.

*Chauvinistic = the characteristic of unreasonably being devoted to his own race, sex, etc, and contemptuous of the other races , the opposite sex, etc.

That's what the militant feminists called the men of the my generation and those preceding mine. Some of us were on their side and didn't accept that epitaph.

Yes I had previously misspelled that word too, but I knew what I meant
GANDOR?????What's Gandor? And whats a Chavenistic? Elf Confused Smilie
You know, "Gandor"...like when someone speaks the honest truth about something. "The gandor of the speech impressed the audience."

"Chavenistic" is what I am right now, since I "chaved" my head earlier today.

(Oops, wrong thread. I guess these would belong in "The Name Game", ROTFLOL!!!) Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
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It's mentioned nowhere by Tolkien that Sauron needed be subdued by 'legions'. That's movie material, only.


I was thinking of the Last Alliance, which included the armies of Men and Elves, which I thought would have been organized into units resembling legions. Anyways, I think you get my drift: there were lots of fighters out there in the Battle.
Oh yeah, it was HUGE! That's why it took so long for the Alliance to organize and get moving. But I think the army was so large, more because of Sauron's endless supply of orcs & trolls & other nasties, than because of Sauron himself. In the end, they probably could've spared a lot of bloodshed by skipping the main battle and the siege, and going right to the "final showdown" between the bosses.
The Last Alliance was MASSIVE!!!!! Thousands and thousands of Men and Elves vesed whole battalions of orcs, trolls and other nasty, not to appeling creatures. You know, I've just sorted out who's who. The royals are eay to reconize with there helms and looks. You could spot Elendil, Gil-Galad, Isildur, Elrond, Glorfindel, Elladan, Elrohir, Cirdan and many others in the movie Lord of the Rings. Now I want to watch it again. Mad Smilie
Those thousands in the movie were computer generated graphics; there weren't all that many actual people there. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
At any rate, it's very hard to spot Elladan & Elrohir in the Last Alliance. They weren't even born then.
Score another point for Vir. Wiggle Smilie

Yeah I don't even think you could say they were the infamous "gleam in their father's eye" quite yet. If so, that would be one hell of a long gleam, 130 years. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Well, you're right, hey weren't even born then. DOHP!!!! I got relly embarresed bout Elladan and Elrohir.. I watched it again and I saw that those two eople that looked like them weren't them but two random Noldor that do not come into these tales.

The End Wiggle Smilie