do Balrongs have wings?

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Νinerl
Posts: 307

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#1 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:14 am

Hi everybody!I've recently read a couple of essays on balrongs and Iam trying to find out if they had wings or not.In the books it is not made clear!(sorry for asking all the time but i need help) I think that if they had wings the balrong Gandalf fought with could have flown away if it had enough strengh.What's your opinion?Thanks!!!

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gandalf-olorin
Posts: 481

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#2 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:24 am

I think Tolkien gave the Balrog a shadow which appeared to be a wingspan. But I don't think it was supposed to have wings, despite what the movie shows.

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Lord Of All
Posts: 633

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#3 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:42 am

There is an argument for and against wings:

"The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm."
(The Lord of the Rings)

This shows that the Balrog only had things which looked like wings, not actually having wings itself.

Here is something saying the opposite:

"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; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm."
(Lord of the Rings)

You will notice it doesn't say LIKE in this quote, therefore it does imly that it had wings. However this is becuase Tolkien has already said 'LIKE wings' in the previous quote so there was no need to do it again.

In my view Balrogs may have had things which looked like wings, but were made out of the shadow surrounding the body of the balrog, not the actual body itself. Therefore it could not use the Wings to fly.
Even if it did have wings it is highly unlikely that they could fly becuase all the known Balrogs were [u]killed by falling from a height[/u]. If they could fly they could stabalise themselves.

(Ecthelion killed and got killed by Gothmog, Glorfindel killed and got killed by another balrog, Gandalf killed and got killed by Durins bane).

Plus a small point even if the could fly (which they couldn't) it is doubtful they were ever fly away from the enemies.

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Lord Of All
Posts: 633

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#4 » Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:44 am

Just a correction Grondmaster - Glaurung not Gurthang was the wingless breed of worms.

Morambar
Posts: 1022

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#5 » Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:27 am

Or would; they were pretty big bad a-ses. Gothmogs death had less to do with falling from a great height than with having Ecthelions spiked helm through it's gut and that worthy wrapping him up and pushing him into the greatest fountain in Gondolin though. You'll recall from Mr. Martinezs essay there's considerable question over whether a winged Balrog had room to unfurl his wings in the battle with Gandalf, while in the similar battle with Glorfindel following the Fall of Gondolin we find the combatants in a similarly cramped mountain pass and chasm. For completeness, yes the first instance is a simile but it's unclear whether the second mention of "wings" is a continuation of it (the language does not encourage this position; an established simile doesn't become a physical reference, but remains a simile) and the Silmarillion has Balrogs "flying" to the aid of Morgoth in his encounter with Ungoliant. There's also the issue of Balrog most likely being Maiar and not being so much contained but manifested physically, in which case any one Balrog could have or lack wings at its discretion. Decide for yourself, because it's unclear from canon, though arguments can be made both ways. I lean towards "yes." One more hit for the search "Do Balrogs...?"

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#6 » Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:34 pm

For more discussion on the topic of Balrog wings, please see: Balrogs, the balrogs wings, and the belrog. Especially take note of Plastic Squirrel's lengthy post 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:

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 Glaurung who was a great non-flying worm type of Dragon.

(I copied most of this from one of my previous posts in one of those other threads I've linked to above.)

Before you write anymore here, read those other threads and then decide the best thread under which to add your comments. Thanks.
'Share and enjoy'

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#7 » Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:40 pm

Of course you are correct LoA, Gurthang was the malicious reforged sword Anglachel used by Túrin to the detriment of many. I have edited my above post with the Dragon's correct name.
'Share and enjoy'

Morambar
Posts: 1022

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#8 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:24 am

But all of this is evading the more fundamental and important questions: did Gurthang have wings, and is it more powerful than Morcrist? :tongueelf:

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Lord Of All
Posts: 633

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#9 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:30 am

I doubt it had wings and I doubt that Orcrist (if thats what you meant) was more powerful then Gurthang, even if it was held by an Elf in Gondolin.

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virumor
Posts: 3567

do Balrongs have wings?

Post#10 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:56 pm

Two Balrongs don't make a wight.
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

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