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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

 

Having not yet argued about Balrogs and their wings on the PT forums yet, I have a great desire to, a desire encouraged by recently arguing about Balrogs on the chat. So instead of creating another Balrog thread, I picked the thread that seemed to have the most balance between relevance and recentness.
Recently I came across an essay about Balrog wings which can be found here
http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/b/balrogs.html
This essay cites that if the Balrog had wings "...from wall to wall" as is stated in the Fellowship, the Balrog itself would be enormous, at least 30ft tall. However, the essay goes on to say that the Balrog could not possibly be that big, because it could fit into the chamber of Mazarbul. The doorway to this chamber was rather restrictive,
"orcs one after another leaped into the chamber...clustered in the doorway"
Further, the cave troll never actually manages to get through the door, though whether or not it was still trying to after Frodo stabbed its foot is up for debate.
At this point I began wondering about Balrogs a little bit more. Being mair they would have control over their corporeal forms, right? Sauron transformed into a werewolf when he fought with Huan, and Melian was able to take the form of an elf and then proceed to have children with an actual elf. Further, to the Valar (who are really just more powerful mair), corporeal form was as raiment, under their complete control. Relating specifically to Balrogs, if one already believes Balrogs have wings then the Balrog going through the chamber of Mazarbul is evidence that Balrogs have control over their coporeal forms and can shape-shift. There is also the description of the fight between Gandalf and Durin's Bane from the Two Towers,
"Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone. He was with me still. His fire was quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake"
Which seems to show that they have at least some control over their corporeal forms. Which, of course, raises the question; if Balrogs can control their corporeal forms, can they not give themselves wings?

For myself, I never thought the 'thing of slime' quote was a reference to shape-shifting. I just think the formerly fiery Balrog became slimy in the water.

Anyway, I imagine the 'wings' in the Moria description as shapes of shadow -- not regular shadow [mere lack of light], but something similar to the Unlight of Ungoliant, and something that the Balrog could manipulate.

And if at one point this shadow stretches out like vast wings, then 'wings' they can be called in the description.

If a Balrog is made of shadow and flame, then its legs are shadow and yet it can walk on them, and its arms are shadow yet it can use them as a human uses its arms. So if it has wings, even wings just made of shadow, couldn't it fly on them?

Supposing a Balrog cannot shape shift, it would probably be only about 10ft tall so as to fit through doors and tunnels in Moria. From the two Towers

 

Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels

If the Balrog is 10ft tall then clutched would refer not to it holding Gandalf with its hands but with its arms, since its hands would not be nearly big enough to hold Gandalf. However, if  it's holding Gandalf with it's arms then Gandalf would not be able to hew him, since he would be too close. However, if the Balrog were 30ft tall (because it changed to that form while falling) it would be large enough to clutch Gandalf with his hands, in which case Gandalf would be able to hew at him. So it seems to me like Gandalf fought an enormous Balrog, not one that could fit into the chamber of Mazarbul, which suggests that the Balrog could change its shape

Galin it seems some of your post has gone, which is unfortunate because the part that left had evidence that objectively fell on your end of the spectrum. 

Valarauker, demons of Terror. I think that they were very powerful but also very intelligent.(not just big fiery brutes). The Balrog of moria proved this by being a equal power to Gandalf the Grey. The door shattered, the chamber fell to ruins. The balrog was a beast of equal power.

I don't imagine that the Balrogs were made of only shadow and fire, but that they had a shadow about them. I think they were cloaked in shadow and could wield both shadow and fire.

With respect to clutching, I don't think one has to be huge for what Tolkien described in the book: a man can clutch another man by the wrist, arm, neck, or clothes for example, or leg (while trying to bring an opponent down), while the other man tries to whack him with a sword.

It could sometimes mean something similar to a bear hug, yes, but my take is that this is a general and brief way to describe a fight in which the Balrog tried various ways to get the best of Gandalf with its great strength, and perhaps like Beowulf with Grendel it may have even sought to rip a limb off.

Interestingly, in a draft of this explanation, Gandalf clutches at the Balrog...

'The form of Gandalf's story in TT is almost reached in the 'fair copy' manuscript, but there remain some differences. He tells that clutching at the Balrog's heel 'I set my teeth in it like a hunting hound, and tested venom.'

Christopher Tolkien, The Treason of Isengard

Hmm... tasty?

Anyway, this clutching seems to have come after the fall, and at one point Gandalf pursued the creature, the wizard 'clutching at his heel' Again I think the sentence in question is a brief way to describe a long struggle in which the Balrog was using its strength of arm and grip, while Gandalf used a sword.

I'm not saying anyone has to imagine this a given way, but merely that I don't think we necessarily have to imagine it in such a way that the Balrog shape-shifted with respect to size.

The only references to Balrog size that I can recall at the moment, outside of any in the Moria passage which I think are vague enough, occur in two arguably 'questionable' texts...

... one is the early Fall of Gondolin, which is not only very early but deals with early Balrogs (early in the external sense), and even twice Glorfindel's stature is really dealing with the arguably lesser height of the 'Noldoli' as they were imagined in this phase of Tolkien's imagination.

The other is a draft passage for the Moria encounter, in which the Balrog is said to be no more than man-high -- obviously revised (not just once) for the final text, but again, the ultimate description of man-shape but 'greater' is not really that precise. 

Anyway my guess is: large but not gigantic.