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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Balrog(s)
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Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 8:18pm

Post #1 of 26 (1014 views)
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Balrog(s) Can't Post

I wasn't around when the flamewars of old about the (non)existance of wings happened, so Entmaiden and I thought, it might be a nice idea to go aaaaaalllll over that again :) We'll do this on Movie, because Entmaiden seems to need them for her (totally flawed ;-) arguments.

Actually, I don't really see the argument, since Tolkien introduces the Balrog (in LOTR) with the simile: Gandalf's 'enemy halted again, facing him, and the
shadow about it reached out *like* two vast wings.' Not: the shadow of its wings reached out.
Yay, I've won :)

P.S.: PJ chose to give *his* Balrog wings, and that's perfect for me.


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 8:18pm

Post #2 of 26 (801 views)
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Oh, and *glug*, of course /nt [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


Stapper
Lorien


Feb 26 2007, 8:21pm

Post #3 of 26 (845 views)
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Am I over-confident [In reply to] Can't Post

if I think this has anything to do with the poll I started in The Pollantir?

Belinda's law: The chance a computer crashes is proportional to the importance of the document you're working on

FOTR:50 links / Samwise's cookbook / TORn birthday calendar / 'Things you never (want to) hear people say' list


Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 8:28pm

Post #4 of 26 (804 views)
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It's a sign! [In reply to] Can't Post

Entmaiden and meself crossed blades haphazardly on Tolkien/Main, so I'm afraid you are over-confident. But it's a sign that the issue is still alive and burning :)


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


Stapper
Lorien


Feb 26 2007, 8:52pm

Post #5 of 26 (789 views)
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That puts me [In reply to] Can't Post

back in my place ;) But that's good - before you know it, I might actually start believing I actually have *influence* around here...

Thank goodness we haven't forgotten about the things that were talked about long ago. Dunno if it was discussed in the First Age, but I think it was when I joined in March 2002

Belinda's law: The chance a computer crashes is proportional to the importance of the document you're working on

FOTR:50 links / Samwise's cookbook / TORn birthday calendar / 'Things you never (want to) hear people say' list


Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 8:57pm

Post #6 of 26 (815 views)
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But your influence is immense! [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I'm cooncerned. Your cookbook has been on top of my recipe-list ever since you first called for input! Just to name this one small example :-)


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


priell3
Lorien

Feb 26 2007, 8:57pm

Post #7 of 26 (842 views)
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Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

"The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. 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,..."


(This post was edited by priell3 on Feb 26 2007, 8:59pm)


Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 9:01pm

Post #8 of 26 (799 views)
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Yes, but [In reply to] Can't Post

since Tolkien intruduced the wings as a simile a few lines before ('the
shadow about it reached out like two vast wings'), I think one should take this second mention as a metaphor.


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


priell3
Lorien

Feb 26 2007, 9:11pm

Post #9 of 26 (792 views)
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Shadow/Darkness [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the "shadow" is the darkness as in "The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew".
After all, shadows are dark. Wink


Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 9:28pm

Post #10 of 26 (811 views)
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Hm, good one [In reply to] Can't Post

in fact the best one I've heard so far.
Bloody 'ell, that *is* a good one. But the closeness of the two passages and the fact that he's using the same expression imho means that we're talking about the same thing, not a) the shadow and b) the wings. And in this case, my first post applies :)


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 26 2007, 9:29pm

Post #11 of 26 (799 views)
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I think you could argue [In reply to] Can't Post

that the balrog doesn't have any physical attributes at all. When it's first seen, it's described like this:

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.

so it "seems" like a shadow, like a man-shape "maybe", and it "seems" it's mainly a source of power and terror. Everything after that could be interpreted either as a metaphor, or as something "real" - the text is quite ambiguous, I find.

As movie-Gandalf says, this is a "demon of the ancient world", and I think it's quite possible to imagine that it's just a projection into "our" world. So whether or not it has wings is only part of the problem - it may not have a physical body at all. Maybe it just looks the way it wants to look to these particular creatures that it's confronting. And anyway maybe the narrator (Frodo and/or Sam, presumably) can't be sure what he saw - and so just tells us what it "seemed" like.

Of course, in the movie it's not so easy to be ambiguous, and there it's clear that the balrog does have a body, and horns, and yes, wings too.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Stapper
Lorien


Feb 26 2007, 9:40pm

Post #12 of 26 (763 views)
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*blushes* [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that! I didn't think someone'd remember that one...

Belinda's law: The chance a computer crashes is proportional to the importance of the document you're working on

FOTR:50 links / Samwise's cookbook / TORn birthday calendar / 'Things you never (want to) hear people say' list


SandWitch King
Rohan


Feb 26 2007, 9:40pm

Post #13 of 26 (777 views)
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Far far far from being just 'glugable' [In reply to] Can't Post

This is, I think without a doubt, the most discussed/argued point of detail in all of Tolkien's works.

The reach of this dispute stretches far beyond these boards and pretty much goes into the very roots of Tolkien fandom. Put 10 Tolkien readers in a room for a while and this will come up.

I am firmly in the 'no wings' camp and the evidence goes beyond LOTR and deep into the lore of balrogs mentioned else-where. Not that I can site a thing, but I have been convinced.

If I was PJ I would have made a DVD version of the film where the creature didn't have wings, just to be funny (and to be correct).

Where is Christopher Tolkien when you need him?!?!?!



Once upon a time I was MrCere. I still am but this name is for posting and being part of the community while that one is for official business. 8-)


Timbo_mbadil
Rivendell


Feb 26 2007, 9:41pm

Post #14 of 26 (782 views)
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And it [In reply to] Can't Post

does change into a snakelike whatever (at least in the book, they didn't shoot it for the film although they originally had intended to).
But could it be really bodyless? It's a Maia-spirit as Gandalf and others, who seems to need a body.
Need to think about that :)


Otherness represents that which bourgeois ideology cannot recognize or accept but must deal with (…)
Robin Wood 2003, p. 49. "Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and beyond". Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex.


Darkstone
Immortal


Feb 26 2007, 9:48pm

Post #15 of 26 (835 views)
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The Balrog itself is the metaphor! [In reply to] Can't Post

Like the Watcher in the Water is merely a metaphor for the multinational octopus of the life squeezing corporations that are taking over the world and preventing the public establishment of a good old fashioned self sufficient and self sustaining mom-and-pop barter economy. Likewise the Balrog is a metaphor for the secret underground shadow government of the conglomerate of privatized power utilities that introduces deadly pollution into the environment at will and shamelessly manipulates the whip of energy prices to drain the lifeblood of the hardworking proletariat that it is simultaneously poisoning with the deadly output of poorly regulated smokestacks and ubiquitous exhaust pipes.

Of course it is infuriatingly ironic that people argue over whether or not the wings of a metaphor are themselves metaphorical. But then again that's exactly what THEY want us to do!!

The poster formally known as Darkstone.


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Feb 26 2007, 9:51pm

Post #16 of 26 (745 views)
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*mods up* /nt [In reply to] Can't Post

 



My LiveJournal

My Costuming Site


SandWitch King
Rohan


Feb 26 2007, 9:54pm

Post #17 of 26 (781 views)
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So....................Wal-Mart is a..........hmnmmmmmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

Wal-Mart is a Watcher in the Water! They badly need to change the logo to a tentacled monster. Great idea!



Once upon a time I was MrCere. I still am but this name is for posting and being part of the community while that one is for official business. 8-)


FingonOfPittsburgh
Lorien


Feb 27 2007, 12:14am

Post #18 of 26 (750 views)
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re [In reply to] Can't Post

"Swiftly they arose and passed with winged speed over Hithlum..."

From HOME vol. X: Morgoths Ring


Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


Feb 27 2007, 12:30am

Post #19 of 26 (745 views)
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It scares me when my imaginary friends go on rants. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~~~

I used to be GaladrielTX, but I lost TX in a poker game.



Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 27 2007, 2:25am

Post #20 of 26 (762 views)
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For anyone who seriously wants to investigate this... [In reply to] Can't Post

the Encyclopedia of Arda has a long and detailed article that takes a critical look at the arguments of both sides. It's worth a read.

http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/b/balrogs.html

I myself am in the "no wings" camp as well.

What I really want to know about Balrogs is where does one get a whip of fire? Do all Balrogs have them? Are they made? Are they an extension of the Balrog itself? How long do they last? No one ever adresses the really important questions.

Silverlode

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The genius and the plan thus inspired
Depart me and I, entering a room,
Find myself on the threshold, stand still
And wonder what I came to do there.


Darkstone
Immortal


Feb 27 2007, 4:17am

Post #21 of 26 (774 views)
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The whip is metaphorical. [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The poster formally known as Darkstone.


Lossefalme
Gondor


Feb 27 2007, 4:40am

Post #22 of 26 (734 views)
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Thanks! Now my head hurts. ;P (NT) [In reply to] Can't Post

 

(Formerly Lossefalme3, just in case you're wondering...)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 27 2007, 6:29am

Post #23 of 26 (732 views)
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Winged thinged [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I am firmly in the 'no wings' camp and the evidence goes beyond LOTR and deep into the lore of balrogs mentioned else-where. Not that I can site a thing, but I have been convinced.

This would be the same lore that has both non-flaming and flaming dragons?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 27 2007, 6:40am

Post #24 of 26 (739 views)
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Poor Gandalf! [In reply to] Can't Post

Dragged to his demise at the last moment by a metaphor.

Silverlode

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The genius and the plan thus inspired
Depart me and I, entering a room,
Find myself on the threshold, stand still
And wonder what I came to do there.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 27 2007, 12:02pm

Post #25 of 26 (749 views)
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That's not a metaphor... [In reply to] Can't Post

that's an allegory. Another beast entirely... Wink

But considering that Tolkien believed in the 'applicability' of the story, maybe you're still right!

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.

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