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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why it is to be hoped that the fire in Moria was a Balrog allusion (however vague), and why more mention should be made of him in the course of these films.
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AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 7:14am

Post #1 of 39 (956 views)
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Why it is to be hoped that the fire in Moria was a Balrog allusion (however vague), and why more mention should be made of him in the course of these films. Can't Post

I had posted a very similar piece a while back, I know. . . but I made the mistake of doing so right before the Holiday Box Office week and numbers began hitting, and before many here had seen the film. . . needless to say the other thread has vanished in the the annals of archives long passed. lol. Anyway, the crux:

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at least a little bit, for three reasons. A) A more proper understanding of the tragic and horrifying history of The Dwarves, Durin's folk in particular. B )To better underline (especially for the purpose of prompting an idle, cautious Council to war) of the threat Sauron poses, and of the catostrophic allainces he might form (it must be remembered that, in the movie timeline, The Council already know EXACTLY what dwells in Moria, having drowned it in fear, and this bears some attention) and C) For continuity with Fellowship. I will get into further detail on all three of these points later. But first, let us review what has been seen of Moria in AUJ.

I know, I have been making a rather big deal of proper Dwarven history, of Khazad-Dum/Moria, Balrog and all. . . but not without reasons and most of them good.

And any talk of Moria in The Third Age is utterly incomplete (eggregiously so, really) if it is absent mention of The Demon who caused it to become Moria (The Dark Pit) in the first place. Having seen An Unexpected Journey 3 times thus far. More shall follow. What I am certain of, beyond all doubt, is that there is a very peculiar and significant Fire burning, in a relatively concentrated area, in the hall behind The East Gate as we see Azog being dragged in (eye roll at him still being alive to be dragged in Frown ). Extremely vague Balrog allusion, I wondered? That, or else Peter has taken a notion that orcs set bonfires in the halls of "their own" fortress/lair before going out into battle. Last night, while awaiting Winter Solstice and trying to finish tree decorations, I watched Fellowship. And there,at the outskirts of the halls beneath the tumbling stairs being traversed by The Fellowship, was a very similar erection of flame, heralding the coming of The Balrog of Moria. I was more certain than before, after seeing this, that in An Unexpected Journey I had indeed seen an almost ridiculously and clandestinely vague nod to Moria's Demon of Might. So vague an allusion almost demands further explication. So we have the initial what. . . now to answer why the need, or at least strong rationale, for just a little more (and by more, I mean only, a more obvious allusion than that last "maybe" one, and perhaps a bit of commentary concerning this particular Dark Power). Let us follow the previously mentioned points, in order.

A) Even without all the larger, looming, tying evils to Sauron who is tying evils and Evils together business Peter et al seem intent upon doing, The Balrog merits a mention and or STRONG visual hinting if you are going to show such things as Moria and/or Azanulbizar, or get into the history of the dwarves beyond the events of Erebor itself. He it is who expelled them from Khazad-Dum and set Elves fleeing Lothlorien in the process, he is the reason The Dwarves could not reclaim Moria, he is the slayer of the reincarnation of the Dwarves Eldest king and forefather (whose name we here so often) hence his title of Durin's Bane, and he is the single greatest terror and nightmare nemesis of in the latter half of The Third Age. This Evil Maia is the cause of the curse of fear that came to prevade Moria and the reason the Elves renamed it thus. Sans the Balrog, Khazad-Dum would not have been ruined. It would not have become Moria, nor would orcs have ever managed to settle there, nor would there have been a need to found a new kingdom in Erebor. . . and, had it been founded anyway, when Erebor fell to Smaug, the dwarves would have had a real chance of actually reclaiming Khazad-Dum.

B) The larger potential threat of a Balrog (any Balrog really, but this one imparticular because 1) known to still exist in Middle-Earth and 2) Location, location, location. . . more on that location soon), in Sauron's coming war on Middle-Earth, especially The Elves. Now, some will say "Whatever threat he may have posed, and the dreadful danger that he was is entirely tangential to the tale of The Hobbit." To that I would say, of course you are correct. HOWEVER Peter et al have not only made it very clear that they will be dealing in quite a substantial amount of information, personalaties and events that are entirely tangential to The Hobbit, they have already put a great deal of such tangential material into the first installment of their adaptation, which has now been seen by millions of people worldwide and grossed over 100 million dollars in profits. In for a penny, in for a pound. They are already working on making clear the threat Sauron could pose, the connection to The Dragon that Gandalf feared etc. They have even dared, in some places, to explicitly defy the actual story in order to further dramatize the threat, with talk of "Witch-Kings buried with their Morgul blades long ages ago!" ShockedShocked. . .Unsure. . .Crazy. Now, in The Balrog of Moria we have three key aspects of intrest. 1FIRST, He is a foe who, unlike The Witch-King and his fellow Nazgul, had a very direct and extremely impactful role in the lives and fortunes of The Dwarves, Durin's folk, line and heirs in particular (indeed, crass as it may be to say it plainly, he made a very forceful and direct impact on the reincarnate being of Durin himself). In the greater scope of history, he did more to directly wrong the Dwarves of Durin's House than either Azog (even including the newly not dead Azog 2.0) or Smaug, or even both combined, though (unlike with Azog and even more, in some ways, than with Smaug) the dwarves had no hope of ever achieving any form of unaided, personal vengeance against him. He is relevant, in a way that The Witch-King and The Nazgul are not, never were, and never became, to the ancient history of the people whose quest is the central focus of these movies. It is worth noting that the official Visual Companion to An Unexpected Journey explicitly mentions The Balrog and his driving of The Dwarves from Khazad-Dum in its section on The Dwarvs.

SECOND, The Balrog is a more natural ally to Sauron than the Dragon or practically any other known, powerful, evil being in Middle-Earth, save The Nazgul who are Sauron's bound slaves. Tolkien suggests the possibility of such a fearful Alliance between these Dark Maia in his notes, even though it is only talk of the Smaug/Sauron potential coalition that is ever mentioned in the published texts (as though such a thing as it not being clearly stated in cannon. . . or even of a thing being clearly CONTRADICTED in cannon has ever stopped Jackson and the gang lol). Still, it must be remembered that, in the established film history, The Wise know the exact nature of The Terror that reigns in Moria. They know that it is none other than a Balrog of Morgoth. WIth that in mind, it would be negligence tantamount to foolishness for a Gandalf, aware of these facts, to be concerned about Sauron forming a union with Smaug but NOT be concerned about Sauron forming an alliance with The Balrog. Smaug mostly desires little more than a peerlessly costly bed to rest on, and to wreak a bit of destruction and mass consumption from time to time (and never far away from his jealously treasured hoard). The Balrog, by contrast, was a fellow captain, alongside Sauron, in the service of Melkor The Morgoth. Malice, the infliction of suffering, and the domination by fear and force of all free peoples WAS his interest, being one of "those Spirits who first hearkened to Melkor in the days of his splendour, and who became most like him in his fall." He is also (aside from the possible exception of the dragons for sheer destructive capacity) the most powerful known ally Sauron could hope to find. Here was one of the mightiest of the evil and corrupted Maia: a Demon of might; a Being that came before The World and had a part in the making of The World, a Terror even unto the mighty High-Elves of The First Age, a lieutenant of Melkor The Morgoth in all his wars against the other Ainur and against the Elves, Men and Dwarves of The First Age. Even The Witch-King of Angmar could never begin to boast such dreadfully astonishing credentials. Hell, his history in alliance with Sauron (under the dominion of Melkor) in and BEFORE The First Age spans a time longer than the existence of The Nazgul, and longer than the Second and Third Ages combined. Experience as a Dark Power. . . mmm, yeah, check. Recall also what I mentioned about LOCATION and logistics. Recall that Gandalf knows Sauron meant to assail The Elves first and foremost, as the opening declaration of his Great War, assaulting Lothorien and Rivendell as soon as he felt strong enough. The Balrog reigned in Moria, the East Gate of which lays just to the west of Lothlorien. Indeed, The Golden Wood lay all but sandwhiched between the dread realm of Moria and the dread fortress/realm of Dol Guldur. Sauron had long ago begun populating Moria with his foul people, goblin-orcs and trolls (their numbers there were nearly exterminated in Azanulbizar, but they had repopulated quite heavily, especially by the movie's account, by the time of Fellowship), and even though these minor monsters held The Balrog in so much awe and terror that they did not particularly like to enter his direct presence, it is certain that Sauron was well aware of him, psychic bonds or no. What is more, The Balrog is the one known Force of Evil left in all Middle-Earth, aside from Sauron himself, who would not have been cowed by the presence of a High-Elf in Lothlorien, even such a mighy Elf Queen as Galadriel. The magical barriers of Galadriel were mighty, but she was NOT Melain The Maia. And The Balrog was indeed a Maia. The Nazgul, even The Witch-King, had an aversion to High Elves. But what fear had any Balrog ever shown for any Elves, including the Calaquendi High-Elves, Noldor or Vanyar? Elves, High and otherwise, feared them. What terror would even Galadriel have held for a Being far older than herself, and who had been present (and likely even involved in) battles against great kinsmen Feanor and High-King Fingon, and who had surely felled many others of The Noldor, even in the days of their prime and peak in The First Age?

Third and finally ( I know you're relieved, right? I am too. It took a minute to write this thing. Wink) there is the matter of continuity with the rest of The Movies. The tie in books to this movie speak of The Balrog as having driven the Dwarves from Khazad-Dum even before they came to Erebor (true enough). Saruman speaks (and shows illustrations!) in the Fellowship movie, of The Balrog being The Menace of Moria, and of course the encounter of The Fellowship with The Balrog is easily one of most famous and iconic both of that movie and of the entire trilogy. Thus, in looking at the East Gate of Moria in The Hobbit ( visibly the same one a traumatized Fellohwship comes stumbling out of in LOTR), even film-only fans will be prone to wonder how a massive, bombastic war failed to at least get the attention of The Demon whose ire was roused in Fellowship by a bucket and bones falling down a well. That Balin did not mention him in his tale is not deal breaking. The Fire is seen in The East Gate hall, and Balin doesn't really complete the tail in specific detail. What is more, it is written and said that the Dwarves did not tell extensive tales concerning Durin's Bane, aside from the most basic form of the legend, for the fear they had of him was enduring and terrible.

http://www.facebook.com/...p;type=3&theater

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Dec 30 2012, 7:16am)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 7:15am

Post #2 of 39 (503 views)
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Also of importance: The Continuity Factor. [In reply to] Can't Post

About the issue of continuity layering, it is worth the effort to give at least a glimpse of back legend to The Balrog and Moria here. Otherwise, when we get to Fellowship, the risk is run of having him look like a convenient add on. A random, uber badass, terrible baddie, blatantly inserted for the sole purpose of providing a challange for Gandalf. If they mention and allude visually, even subtley (though not so vaguely as the fire glow in The East hall that even we learned loremasters are less than entirely sure it was what we suspect it might have been), then it sets Moria up as a proper place of dread and terrible legend, and we appreciate Gandalf fearing to go there, and we are apprehensive and nervous at the mention of the place, even as we wait with bated breath for the cataclysmic confrontation that might occur should the Great Wizard come into direct contact with the dreadful demon whom we glimpsed and/or heard rumour of a film or two ago.

Peter has shown himself happy to make all sorts of tie ins to the earlier filmed trilogy, some of them comic, clever or poingnant (the chandellier in Bag End, "it is your's now", etc.), and some of them bordering on the gimmicky. This is one tie in that would serve a great purpose and provide a valuable layering effect and aspect of depth to the films as a whole.

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"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Dec 30 2012, 7:17am)


Elessar
Valinor


Dec 30 2012, 7:25am

Post #3 of 39 (475 views)
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Bravo [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm with you 110% on the Balrog getting his due.



The Mitch King
Rohan


Dec 30 2012, 7:36am

Post #4 of 39 (459 views)
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And... [In reply to] Can't Post

in the movie they say how they went to try and reclaim Moria after losing Erebor and they win the battle and never explain why they didn't just stay in Moria then....they were successful in getting rid of the orcs but they still didn't keep Moria! No mention of the Balrog at all which could have been a good place for it! It seemed like they didn't bother explaining what happened after the battle and just used it to introduce Thorin and Azog Mad


Mahtion
Rivendell

Dec 30 2012, 7:36am

Post #5 of 39 (481 views)
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Sauron is not Morgoth [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron never could command Balrogs or other Maia. Shelob would never bow to Sauron's dominating will and neither would Durin's Bane. The Balrogs are servants of Morgoth and just below Sauron in rank. These dark Maia are like independent agents.

I agree that Durin's bane is not absolutely essential to be shown or implied any more so than was seen in the Battle of Azanulbizar.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 7:41am

Post #6 of 39 (448 views)
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I really hope so. Despite the short time he appears on screen [In reply to] Can't Post

and in the books, he remains one of the most iconic and easily recognized characters, and the scene from the movies is easily one of the best known and most recognizable.

What is more, he really is the Dark Power who singularly has the most effect on the fortunes of Durin's Folk in the Third Age. The Dwarves swear by Durin. And this is The Demon who slew him (reincarnation though it was). He drove the dwarves From Khazad-Dum. His presence caused mass numbers of Elves to flee Lorien, and also led the Elves to rename Khazd-Dum Moria. He is the reason the Dwarves fled and founded Erebor. He is the reason they remained in Exile from Moria. This is a film largely about Durin's heirs, and a lead in to the films where Durin's Bane is at last vanquished.

The more one reads the lore, the more significant one realizes he is. It really would be a shame to overlook him entirely. And it would be pure folly for The Council to overlook him when they consider the threat of Sauron arising again, since in the film account they know a Balrog dwells in Moria. If Sauron's allegiance with a dragon has crossed the mind of a certain Wizard, surely the more likely allaince between Sauron and another of the lieutenants of Melkor/Morgoth would be on his mind, if he knew such a being still walked in the region between Eregion and Rhovanion.

In Reply To
I'm with you 110% on the Balrog getting his due.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 7:51am

Post #7 of 39 (464 views)
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It isn't a matter of commanding. It is a matter of alliance. It is dubious that he could command Smaug. [In reply to] Can't Post

And shelob had no interest in Sauron's interests. As with Ungoliant in relation with Melkor, Shelob is an entirely self involved entity, interested only in devouring life, not in wars, or rings, or dominion.

The Balrogs are another matter. More closely allied by their very nature and history to Sauron than dragons or wicked, giant abominations like Shelob. They served the same master, in much the same capacity. They furthered Melkor's vision, and were chief amongst those responsible for carrying out his designs. They were allies, before the destruction of The Lamps, before the growing of The Trees, before the delving of Angband and Utumno, and before the raising of Thangorodrim. . . and they had the same enemies. And The Balrogs, who were most akin to Melkor in their natures, it is said, even more than Sauron, shared the burning hatred and malice of Melkor. It is almost certain that, had the opportunity availed, Sauron would have harnessed that hatred and power against, most likely, the Elves of Lothlorien. If any other Dark Power could prevail against the fences of Galadriel, it would have been a Balrog, a being older and stronger than Nazgul, than High-Elves, and at least older than any of the Magic Rings.

Certainly he allowed Sauron to populate his realm with servants, orcs/goblins and trolls. He could have driven them out as easily as he had the dwarves. More easily, for Moria was not their home, and they neither knew it well, nor had the same patriotic cause to defend it.

Durin's Bane is essential to any proper understanding of why the Dwarves could not reclaim Moria. He is also essential to any notions on how it became Moria in the first place. And he is also a greater factor in the history of Durin's Folk (on whom this movie is largely focused) than even Sauron was. He is, really, more essential to understanding the fates of The Dwarves in The Third Age than Sauron is.

In Reply To
Sauron never could command Balrogs or other Maia. Shelob would never bow to Sauron's dominating will and neither would Durin's Bane. The Balrogs are servants of Morgoth and just below Sauron in rank. These dark Maia are like independent agents.

I agree that Durin's bane is not absolutely essential to be shown or implied any more so than was seen in the Battle of Azanulbizar.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Dec 30 2012, 7:57am)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 8:04am

Post #8 of 39 (436 views)
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This is my hope as to why they might have failed to do so (yet) and may be saving it for a latter scene [In reply to] Can't Post

in one of the next films. (From an earlier post) "There is the matter of the strange, unexplained fire seen blazing in the hall behind Moria's East Gate as Azog is dragged within. . . and the red light that reaches all the way to the gate itself. It is said that the Dwarves tell few tales of The Demon's arising in Moria. . . if they sing no song of The Battle of Azanulbizar, which they won, it is not surprising that they do not often expound on the fall of Moria, where Durin was slain and their folk routed by an unfathomable Terror. It is not surprising that Balin would not mention anything about The Balrog while telling a campfire tale in the middle of a forest, with no walls or roof save the surrounding trees. He is the single most horrifying, nightmare figure in all the legends of The Dwarves in The Third Age, and it is more than strongly suggested that they do not speak of him lightly. Even Gandalf The White does not wish to name him. He is a thing of fundemental dread. More terrifying than any of the Nazgul, being mightier, far older, and far more fundementally evil: A primordial Dark Power from before the World's beginning, still walking the Earth in a latter age, a relic of earliest Evil, predating even the founding of Mordor, or of Arda itself.

I think it is quite possible that in one of the remaing pair of films, we may see that the reason the Dwarves didn't rush in to claim Azog's body and be assured of his fate, after they had dispatched the rest of The Orc Horde, was indeed the presence of The Terror of Moria.

It may even be possible that the fall, beyond hope, of Smaug, may prove the foundation of Balin's erroneous hope that a similar miracle may be possible in Khazad-Dum if any should dare attempt it."

In Reply To
in the movie they say how they went to try and reclaim Moria after losing Erebor and they win the battle and never explain why they didn't just stay in Moria then....they were successful in getting rid of the orcs but they still didn't keep Moria! No mention of the Balrog at all which could have been a good place for it! It seemed like they didn't bother explaining what happened after the battle and just used it to introduce Thorin and Azog Mad


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Mahtion
Rivendell

Dec 30 2012, 8:13am

Post #9 of 39 (435 views)
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Great Points [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent reasoning, I will have to address them in some detail. Yes Durin's bane is much more significant to the Dwarves decline than Sauron. If one looks at the timeline Sauron has very little presence in the Third age. The Second age was his apex since previously he was a lackey of Morgoth and in an age of heroes and gods he seemed quite insignificant. One could argue that the Witch-king of Angmar was a worse threat than Sauron in the third age due to the collapse of the northern kingdom of Arnor.

Next point about nature of the Balrogs are spot on. Sauron always wanted dominion and he would have ruled the elves and free peoples but they resisted them and responded with revisiting his old methods and took a page from his old master. On the other hand Morgoth and the Balrogs were intent on destruction, they cared nothing about ruling, they wanted to destroy Arda and all the children of illuvatar.

Now I would like to mention my question. Did Sauron in fact know about Durin's bane? I would imagine he would know almost all that transpires in middle earth through his spies, servants and the palantiri. I think Durins bane was much like Shelob and Ungoliant in the sense that they all were self consuming and desired destruction. I feel that Sauron knew that Durin's bane wouldn't be under his control and letting it loose upon his playground would be not only a threat to himself but to his realm. He cannot rule over a destroyed and lifeless Middle earth. The balrog is leaderless without Morgoth and has probably no restraint or much sapience at this point. It is relying on satisfying its own whims and will continue to revel in wonton decimation.


herzogian
Bree

Dec 30 2012, 8:39am

Post #10 of 39 (441 views)
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You shall not pass to the hobbit trilogy! [In reply to] Can't Post

The balrog is the most epic creature in cinema but i dont want him to return to the hobbit. There are several reasons. First of all the balrog scene in FOTR, and in a lesser degree TTT, is just perfect. From the moment the Fellowship hears that terrifiying noise and his flames come closer in Khazad-dum till his fall with Gandalf, its just spot on. All the respect for PJ but he cant surpass this scene. By stretching the balrog to the other movies, it gives him more chance to spoil it a bit. Maybe they can show a little glimpse of him in Moria but please not a whole scene.

Secondly, the balrog works best in the movies as some uncontrolled, irrational, force of darkness who doesnt have a clear agenda. I dont want to see him sitting on a desk in Sauron's office making plans for an alliance (by matter of speak). It would break some of the magic. I know he has some shared history with Sauron regarding Morgoth. But you'll have to explain this in the movie. You cant do this without referring to the Silmarillion otherwise people wont understand why these two evils are teaming up. Just because they're evil? A bit to easy. You need the Silmarillion. And although its Tolkiens work i love the most, it just wouldnt work for me. And for the owners, cause WB doesnt have the rights.

Regarding Smaug. He's a more rational creature then the balrog. Beginning with the fact that it speaks and makes plans. He also has a clear agenda, he wants gold and lots of it. An there's also a threat from the people from middle earth who want to reclaim the mountain or take the gold. By this its easier to link him with Sauron. The balrog has no threat from these people. (Except from the wizard but he doesnt know that)


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Dec 30 2012, 10:46am

Post #11 of 39 (397 views)
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I've nothing particular to add (you've said it all) but I'd love to see this and agree with you 100% that he should have some more backstory/screen time to develop Dwarf history// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Reliable Radagast rides his sled of Rhosgobel Rabbits round and round Rhovanion.

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xxxyyy
Rohan

Dec 30 2012, 6:02pm

Post #12 of 39 (334 views)
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Not sure about that AT ALL... Balin should return to Moria and establish a "known" realm. [In reply to] Can't Post

As Gimli said, Moria seems to be a safe place where dwarves live. Gandalf and Saruman know there's a Barog down there, but it seems to be a legend of old, and I'd like it to remain that way.
Having the Balrog free to roam in Moria would incredibly lessen its appearance in FOTR.
Balin establishing a realm down there? Impossible.
Gandalf letting Frodo choose the path in FOTR? Unrealistic to say the least.
So, yes, I hope they won't say anything about the Balrog.

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AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 7:13pm

Post #13 of 39 (335 views)
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problems with that reasoning [In reply to] Can't Post

First, it is an enormous assumption, and almost certainly erroneous, to think Smaug more rationale, at least in terms of sentience, than a Balrog. Dragons can talk because Morgoth put evil spirits into them, same with Wargs etc. Balrogs ARE evil sprits who have manifested themselves in physical forms, wielding sorcery and sorcerous weapons of their own creation. What is more they are, aside from Sauron, the mightiest of the spirits who followed in allegiance to Melkor. The Balrog doesn't speak when we encounter him, but that is not an indication that he cannot speak (though much of his communication would likely have been of a psychic manner). Gothmog, the foremost Balrog, is said to have mocked Hurin as he dragged him from The Nirniath Arnodiead as a captive for Melkor. Left from the films is the Moria Balrog's contest of sorcery vs. wizardry with Gandalf for control of the door to the chamber where Balin's tomb is. "Something dark as a cloud came into the room, and the orcs themselves grew silent as if they were afraid. . . it laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell. . . I have never felt such a challenge. THE COUNTER-SPELL WAS TERRIBLE!" It is an unfortunate mistake, one amplified rather than diminished by the roaring of The Balrog in the movies (he never roars in the book), that people make, thinking of The Balrog as a mere elemental beast. This was a Demon. A being who played a part in the creation of the World. A lieutentant and a captain under Morgoth. Whatever else he was, a rampaging idiot he was NOT. To suggest otherwise is a severe underestimation and misunderstanding of what Balrogs were. Smaug has less cause to unite with Sauron than a Balrog would. Smaug is not interested in strategic assaults on the people of Middle-Earth. He is interested in gold, and the occassional rampage and feast on a few dozen villagers and their livestock. Whereas The Balrog is a compatriot of Sauron's in the ancient wars against Elves and Men. Bear in mind, The Balrogs were the captains and lieutenants of Melkor's armies. Gothmog, their chief, was the High Captain of Angband. And, in The Lay of Luthien (the full version) they are reffered to as "The Thanes of Morgoth." They were not just more magical variants on the cave troll from the Fellowship movie.



As to the "meetings at the brotherhood of Darkness headquarters." I have never suggested such a thing. That would look silly, and would potentially diminish the menace and dark majesty of both. I wouldn't even suggest any scene of communication between them. What might work best is simply something like a vision, shared amongst the Council, of what MIGHT be (akin to Frodo's vision in Galadriel's mirror), of Smaug attacking Rivendell, and the Balrog leading an assault on Lothlorien. . . or it could merely be mentioned, and both of these side villains alluded to.



From a purely film based perspective, the MOST important factor is that of continuity. It goes right to Peter's old standard about "clean lifts". Basically, don't hint at material you aren't going to do anything with. Now it was TOTAL Bull Maneur in refference to the likes of Glorfindel. There was no reason he could not have had the same nominal, nod of an homage that Bret McKenzie and Lindir, Farmer Maggot and Butterbur get. Then a glimpse with Elrond in Minas Tirith and all ends are tied. No casual fan would make an issue out of, "where did he go", any more than they did about Celeborn not showing up outside of Lorien to aid the Fellowship. No casual movie viewer asks "hey, but what happened to Galadriel's boyfriend?, husband? brother???. . . whatever he was to her." Yet with The Balrog, here is the problem of being silent and not alluding to him more strongly. He is built up by Saruman and spoken of in the official Movie guide to The Hobbit. His scenes IN Moria are amongst the most Iconic in the entire film series. He is the one who drove the dwarves out of Moria to begin with (even a film goer who has not looked into the backhistory, and was ignoring Saruman when he touched upon the history and fate of The Dwarves, may stop to ask why the dwarves would have to "re-claim" Moria unless they had lost it). Now, if Moria had been entirely left out of this film, and the entire business of Azanulbizar and Azog never touched upon, that would be one thing. The Balrog is, indeed, no more essential to the CORE Hobbit story than are Sauron, Dol Guldur, Galadriel, Ringwraiths and The Council of The Wise, even if he is more relevant than most of them in the history of Durin's Folk in The Third Age. However, that ship hath sailed. Not only are all of those things in The Hobbit, but Moria is featured, and The Battle before its East Gate (the same gate we see the Fellowship come running out of after having been saved from The Balrog through the sacrifice of Gandalf). Balin, the most prominently displayed dwarf in this first movie, aside from Sauron himself, is going to meet his end in Moria, where "the ground shakes" and "a Shadow moves in the dark.", as will be learned in the Fellowship movie. With all the allusion to Moria, if nothing of The Balrog is mentioned all the way up until Fellowship, and then he just pops up out of the black shadows. . . well even some of the most casual viewers are going to stop to wonder where the hell he was up until this point. It will come across as (and be) rather sloppy story telling. They will have seen Moria, with a war being waged at its gates, and they'll haveheard it mentioned more than once, yet all of a sudden, seemingly just in time to be a problem for Gandalf (one that the Wizard and his kinsMaia have long known about evidently. . . there is even a nice portrait in one of Saruman's ancient tomes of lore), a dreadful and powerful Demon, never mentioned before when Moria was focused on, is going to be revealed as its primary, badass resident. That is a problem. And it is one easily solved by a little insertion of history, via a brief, but definitive glimpse and/or mentioning of The Demon, most reasonably in his role of having kept the Dwarves from returning to Moria after the orcs/goblins had been utterly routed.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 7:33pm

Post #14 of 39 (308 views)
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It becomes a continuity problem. [In reply to] Can't Post

You already have Gandalf knowing about him, and Saruman as well. So there is no such thing as, "wouldn't have let Frodo choose the path." They show you right there in Fellowship EXACTLY why Gandalf DOESN'T want to take that path, and does everything he can, short of marching past Isengard; to avoid it. From the start he tells Gimli, he would not take Moria as a path unless there were no other choice. From the first time Moria is mentioned, from a film only perspective even, we are given the notion that Moria is a bad and very dangerous place, and that Gimli is simply hopeful and ignorant. Would Gandalf put the "unless I had no other choice" caveat on Moria if he had any real hope of that Balin had tamed and re-ordered the place? It would have been an obvious choice for safe passage, if he really thought his old friend had sucessfully established a kingdom there. He knew Balin going back was a fool's mission. And, if there is to be reasonable continuity in the story, we should probably see him warning a, perhaps, over enthusiastic Balin (all hopped up after the victory over Smaug. . . note how Balin, for all his misgivings about going to Erebor, perks up mightily once the instructions for the revealation of the secret door are discovered) of the dangers of venturing into Moria.

What you are suggesting doesn't work. Better to have Balin take the defeat of Smaug as some manner of great sign that fortune once again favours The House of Durin, and that, if the Dragon can be defeated, perhaps there is hope for Moria. Othewise none of it makes any sense. The Dwarves not re-entering Moria once they rout the orcs doesn't, them not checking within Moria to make sure Azog is dead doesn't, Gandalf knowing about the presence of an ancient Demon in Moria (all but directly overlooking Lothlorien) and yet not considering that as he considers the potential allies The Necromancer might gather doesn't, his fears concerning Moria don't. . .. it looks unimaginably sloppy if there is absolutely no mention of this massively significant Demon, and then he just emerges in Fellowship, with some side commentary about how he'd always been there.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Dec 30 2012, 7:35pm)


FrogmortonJustice65
Rivendell


Dec 30 2012, 7:51pm

Post #15 of 39 (294 views)
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Alot of good points on both sides... [In reply to] Can't Post

But any reference to the Balrog in the coming Hobbit movies would have to be very subtle --- I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with the Balrog physically appearing, though I do understand your frustration at the inclusion of numerous tangential plot elements/characters but not the Balrog. Perhaps if Balin or Thorin or somebody explained why they were unable to resettle in Moria (I'm not sure how they would work a conversation such as this into the plot, though...) and mentioned "Durin's bane" or a "demon of Morgoth", perhaps even using the term "Balrog" itself, I might not be too *annoyed* (I'm not sure if annoyed is the right word...but I do think PJ and co. should be cautious about overloading the Hobbit with any further tangential material).

Perhaps if Thrain is appearing in these next two films, him and Gandalf could discuss it.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 8:04pm

Post #16 of 39 (298 views)
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It isn't so much an issue of "they brought up other tangentials, why not him" as, they have brought Moria, his dwelling, and a battle [In reply to] Can't Post

, which in the film was entirely for territory, which the dwarves win, and yet after which they do not bother with the territory they came for. And the reason, the lore followers know, is The Balrog. But the film audience has to be informed. Otherwise it is a sloppy scattershot. "Hey, there was an even more ancient dwarven kingdom called Moria, which the dwarves abandoned cause. . . oh, we cannot tell you why, though we DO tell you in the Visual Companion to this movie. . . and Saruman tells you again in Fellowship . .. and so The Dwarves tried to go back to abandoned Moria after they lost Erebor, but the orcs were there. . . but they defeated the orcs, and killed most of them. . . but then they decided they didn't really want Moria anyway??? Oh, yeah, and as most of you who have already seen Fellowship will know, there is a hell of mighty Demon reigning there, and he is the REAL reason they couldn't go back. . . umm, the rest of you will meet The Demon when you see Fellowship. . . and wonder, 'where the hell did HE come from?"

It is a continuity MESS, if they don't address him at least in brief.

And I think a brief visual is needed. Something more than the fire that maybe is a cue of his presence, but obviously less than the sort of full reveal we get in fellowship. I think the way he is shown in Saruman's book is best. A glimpse of the sillohette of his face, shrouded in complete shadow behind swirling fire beyond the gate.

In Reply To
But any reference to the Balrog in the coming Hobbit movies would have to be very subtle --- I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with the Balrog physically appearing, though I do understand your frustration at the inclusion of numerous tangential plot elements/characters but not the Balrog. Perhaps if Balin or Thorin or somebody explained why they were unable to resettle in Moria (I'm not sure how they would work a conversation such as this into the plot, though...) and mentioned "Durin's bane" or a "demon of Morgoth", perhaps even using the term "Balrog" itself, I might not be too *annoyed* (I'm not sure if annoyed is the right word...but I do think PJ and co. should be cautious about overloading the Hobbit with any further tangential material).

Perhaps if Thrain is appearing in these next two films, him and Gandalf could discuss it.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


herzogian
Bree

Dec 30 2012, 8:44pm

Post #17 of 39 (289 views)
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Balrogging [In reply to] Can't Post

   

I know the balrog is no mere elemental beast. But 90% of the things you say to build up your argument, refering to Gotmog, Morgoth and his war against the high elves etc. come from the Silmarilion. If they want to explain the Balrog as a partner of Sauron they would have to refer to this material and they cant.

Also, they allready have set an image of the Balrog in FOTR. And in this image the balrog is a lonely wolf, an irrational force of darkness from another world. Most people see him that way and it would be difficult to alter this. It would harm the movies in my view. I like this image by the way, it works on film. I also dont agree with the fact that the most important factor is continuity. Continuity for the sake of continuity does not make a good film. Thats one of the problems I had with AUJ, PJ overdid it a bit, just a bit.

Also, is the balrog realy that rational? What is it doing at Khazad-dum all this time? Watching Friends on DvD? If it realy wants to destroy all good in the world, why doesnt it just come out and do this? Maybe it just doesnt care. No, the balrog is an old flame, a relic from the ancient world who mentaly also lives in that world. The only remains are his dark evil force which doesnt have an agency and only wants to dwell in the darkness, the darkness of Moria. Maybe the White council knew this. I mean, the Istari and the balrog are both maia, maybe its some sort of spiritual thing. But they arent quite that sure of the dragon. Sauron just has to promise the lizard lots of gold and it will turn. Its much more controllable

On the other hand I agree with you that Durins Bane is at the base of the Dwarves misery. In this sense it wouldnt hurt to show the balrog. It would be cool to see the dwarves digging up the demon. But I hope they dont overdo it if they do.The Hobbit has enough villain figures as it is. Also the main epic, dark creature in this films must be the dragon. If Smaug has to stand up to the balrog in the same movie he will have a hard time to fullfill this role.


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Dec 30 2012, 10:14pm

Post #18 of 39 (268 views)
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Sauron: the most prominently displayed dwarf in AUJ [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Balin, the most prominently displayed dwarf in this first movie, aside from Sauron himself,


Wink

Sorry! I do agree with you re the Balrog, though I also feel we shouldn't have a "full reveal" of him, if these films are being designed to be watched before LOTR by future generations. I like the idea of bigging up his story, and the terror he induces - while also hinting that he may well now be in hiding, back in the very deeps below the mountains, hence Balin's eventual decision to go back (therefore meaning that, by the time of FOTR, when Balin has supposedly been in Moria for some time, and Gandalf has also been through it before, Gandalf doesn't think they will come across the balrog when the fellowship go through Moria.)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 11:03pm

Post #19 of 39 (256 views)
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As to what they can use/deduce. [In reply to] Can't Post

If you look at the Weapon's and Warfare LOTR companion book, which was an official movie tie in book, there is a whole chapter on The Balrog, identifying him as a Maia, going into his weaponry, his allegiance to Morgoth etc.

It really says it all in LOTR, even though you don't get as many backround details. You still the essentials. The Appendices tell you that Sauron, sevrant of Morgoth, was again putting forth his power in the world, and that all evil things were stirring in repsonse to it. Two or three lines later it tells you that a Terror awoke in Moria, A Balrog of Morgoth. All right, so from that we know one thing at least, that both Sauron and The Balrog were the servants of this Morgoth cat. lol. We also read that he fled the ruin of Thangorodrim. . . which we learn fell in The First Age. . . so we know, even with out Silmarillion, that he is very ancient. And the films have already established that he is a Demon, not a mere monster, with all that being a Demon entails. And then there is what we know from the actual encounter. Gandalf, who understood better what he was than any of the others, bothers to speak with him, which we can assume would be a waste if he didn't think he would be understood. And The Balrog stops to listen, which isn't really the way of a rampaging lunatic, or a thunderstorm, or a rabid dog. And of course there is the matter of The Demon's sorcery. This actually gives us more insight into the abilities of Balrogs than anything in The Silmarillion. From that text we know that they are hell of tough, and that The Elves fear them above all things save Melkor The Morgoth and Sauron, and that they were the first Maia to follow Melkor and the most like him in demeanour, and that they killed alot of High Elves, and they used not only flaming swords and flaming whips but also shadow/black maces and battle-axes, and that they chased Ungoliant away when she was vexing Melkor, etc.etc. etc., and the foremost of them was named Gothmog, and he was a co-captain with Sauron and The High Captain of Angband. Okay. What we don't learn, even if we can intuit it, is how competent they are as spell casters. It is in Fellowship that we get a definitive answer: VERY. We know that Gandalf, earlier in that same novel, did battle with ALL 9 of the Nazgul Wraiths/sorcerer-kings. . . and yet, of the sorcery of The Balrog, he states that he has NEVER (after more than two-thousand years holding vigil, combating evil, and even venturing into Dol Guldur) felt such a challenge. "The Counter Spell was terrible." That is to say, the spell cast BY the Demon to break past the spell which the Wizard had placed upon the chamber door.

As to his being rational. . . well. . . as rational as one can expect of a being so akin to Melkor The Morgoth. Vicous, malevolent, hateful. . . but yes, still rational. I think that, just as Tolkien asks "who has explored the dark counsels of Melkor," the same might be said of a mortal attempting to understand the innerworkings of the thoughts of a Demon who played a part in the creation of the World. As Galadriel said concerning Gandalf, we "do not know his mind, and cannot report his full purpose." But that is no reason to assume that his sentience is somehow less than our own. There are good reasons for The Balrog not roving merrily in malice all across Middle-Earth. Let us remember why he entered the darkness under the mountains to begin with. . . a fear of The Valar. The breaking of Thangordrim shook Sauron and whatever Balrogs may have remained as well. I don't think Smaug would appreciate being called a lizard. And as he is, if nothing else, quite warm blooded, I don't think the term applies. lol. But as to the lure. . . well there is the thing. The Dragon would need a lure. The Balrog would already be sympathetic to Sauron's cause. . . he might merely require assurances of relative safety from, say, a second war of wrath. But there can be no denying that The Balrog, as Sauron would surely have recognized, would have been the single most viable and significant threat to The Lady of Lorien. No servant of Sauron would assail her realm, unless he accompanied them himself. But Might the Nine Follow in the company of a Balrog? For it is certain that he, at least, would not fear her. What Elf had the Balrogs ever feared? Not Finrod, their King, nor even Feanor. And with the Valar and most of the other Ainur so distant, he would not have feared her either, mighty among The Noldor though she was. The Council, knowing of his presence, would be foolish to overlook him.

And yes, Sauron would HAVE to know he was there. Even if there was no strong psychic communication between the two corrupted Maia, Sauron would have heard reports. He knew that The Dwarves had abandoned Moria (and that many terrified Elves fled Lothlorien in the same year). And, half a millinium later, when he began peopling Moria with his minions, it is very hard to believe that word of the Terror within would not have come to him. Azog and his folk lived in the Shadow of The Balrog, and it may well be to the relative (if fearful) safety of that Shadow that Azog was attempting to flee (in the books) when he was caught in slain. He fled for the gate, though he did not make it, and soon after The Balrog came near enough to the gate for Dain to see him and be absolutely terror striken.

As to the movie's image. . . it doesn't really deal with The Demon's intellect or agenda much, one way or the other. People assume. He pulls a magic sword and a magic whip out of the ether, which isn't exactly child's play. And, as with the book, he does stop to hear most of what his enemy has to say. It doesn't mean anything that he himself doesn't say much. Darth Maul and Mike Tyson never said much prior to their fights either, but they could both speak if they wanted to (sometimes hilariously so in Iron Mike's case). By leaving out the battle of sorcery versus wizardry between the Balrog and the Wizard, I do think the movies did some disservice to the Demon. And while I would love to see that rectified, it isn't something I expect, and it really isn't necessary in any showing of or allusion to him. They don't need to show him communicating with Sauron. They merely need to acknoweldge that he might become allied with him. And, for the purpose of continuity, they need do no more (but also no less), than acknowledge that he dwells in Moria, and played a major role in The Dwarves not seizing it after their victory.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 30 2012, 11:15pm

Post #20 of 39 (251 views)
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Damn. See what too much typing can do? Or course I meant THORIN. [In reply to] Can't Post

aside from THORIN himself. lol

Agreed. . . though I would say Gandalf HOPES they won't. From Saruman's commentary and his expression, it is very clear that he worries it is a very real possibility.

But, agreed, a full reveal is not needed. But some people want to save him as a "big surprise", without realizing that, surprising as it might be to that rare person who will only have seen Fellowship after watching all three Hobbit movies, the suprise also would come with a "WTF (w = where here rather than what) did he come from?" problem. Better to subtly build up the fact that there is a Great Evil in Moria, more fell than any orc or troll (or even Wraith), which would not require a full reveal, just comments and a glimpse. . . a definitive glimpse, but not a largely exposing one (the shadow version we get of Smaug behind the flames is a good example). Then the story and the legend is firmly in place, while the wow factor of the full reveal is still reserved for LOTR.

But to not allude to him makes the series seem less layered. It makes his appearance seem far more haphazard: something thrown together at the last minute and tossed in as a boss battle for old Gandalf. The even mildly discerning viewer would be inclined to say, "so we saw and talked about Moria several times in The Hobbit Movies. . . and now you are telling us there is a dreadful Demon Overlord, and he is responsible for most of the bad crap that went down there, and evidently Gandalf and Saruman know all about him, cause supposedly he has been there all along, only we never heard of him, because you what??? Didn't think we'd be interested at the time????? Real damned convenient." lol

See also "So you're telling me, 5534345.jpg this BAMF has been here all along, terrifying the hell out of everybody, and he is the reason The Dwarves left and couldn't go back, and The Wizards all know about him and don't want to go anywhere near this place because he lives there. . . but you forgot he lived there when you showed me this place in those other movies? Or you just wouldn't tell me about it because you wanted it to be a surprise????"

In Reply To

In Reply To
Balin, the most prominently displayed dwarf in this first movie, aside from Sauron himself,


Wink

Sorry! I do agree with you re the Balrog, though I also feel we shouldn't have a "full reveal" of him, if these films are being designed to be watched before LOTR by future generations. I like the idea of bigging up his story, and the terror he induces - while also hinting that he may well now be in hiding, back in the very deeps below the mountains, hence Balin's eventual decision to go back (therefore meaning that, by the time of FOTR, when Balin has supposedly been in Moria for some time, and Gandalf has also been through it before, Gandalf doesn't think they will come across the balrog when the fellowship go through Moria.)


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Dec 30 2012, 11:20pm)


Mahtion
Rivendell

Dec 31 2012, 1:43am

Post #21 of 39 (215 views)
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Underestimating the Feanorians [In reply to] Can't Post

Agree with much of what you say AinurOlorin, however the Balrogs did fear some of the Noldor. If you recall Feanor had to be surrounded by several of Balrogs and Gothmog himself before meeting defeat. When Feanor fell his sons chased off the Balrogs. Now imagine the sight of maybe a hundred elves if you include their company and not one but several are forced to flee. Durin's bane did not flee from Gandalf and part of that stems from the limitations of his innate power as deemed by the Valar.

Fingolfin famously wounded Morgoth, a Vala much stronger than Sauron or any of the Maia. I do not doubt that Fingolfin, Finrod, Feanor or any of his sons would not slay a Balrog with effort but still accomplish the feat. During the Fall of Gondolin Ecthelion and Glorfindel each slew a Balrog, as you know Ecthelion slew and was slain by Gothmog. It is debatable but Tolkien says Ecthelion drowned after Gothmog was undone.

If any of the great Eldar of the First Age lived I would imagine that Durins bane would fear or at least be undone by them as was done to his kindred. If Gondolin stood in the Second or Third age it would not have fallen like Eregion, Arnor, Mina's Ithil or Osgiliath. It took far more than Olog-hai or Nazgul to destroy Ondolinde. The great hidden realm of Turgon was destroyed only by many Balrogs and a many dragons. Minas Tirith or any kingdom of the Third age would never have survived dragons and Balrogs simultaneously. Only Smaug was required to bring Erebor low and deprive the line of Durin of their adopted homeland.


(This post was edited by Mahtion on Dec 31 2012, 1:49am)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 31 2012, 2:41am

Post #22 of 39 (207 views)
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When I say they didn't fear them, I do not mean to say that even in the face of [In reply to] Can't Post

50 to one odds (there were at the very most only ever 12 Balrogs, to Tolkien's understanding, by the time he refines the legendarium to the essentially finished and polished state it is in by the time Christopher publishes The Silmarillion, and it is unlikely that all of those were at the gate), with the 50, or even 10 to one all being amongst the most powerful captains and Princes of The Noldor. And consider that The Wizards, though limited, are limited from excercising their true power as Ainur. They were allowed to be as powerful as, and likely slightly more powerful than the mightiest beings OF the World, including The High Elves.

Fingolfin and Feanor were Fey, Fated, amongst the greatest of their race and also filled with Fated wrath, and thus made exponentially more dangerous than they would normally be, for they were possessed by madness. And yet Feanor was still slain by The Balrogs, as was Fingon. Nor is it said that any of The Balrogs surrounding Feanor were wounded. Certainly none of them fell. Merely that he fought on against them undismayed. Fingon, The High King of The Noldo, also was slain by Gothmog.

As to the feats of Glorfindel and Ecthellion. . . well they were exactly that. Great Feats. Legendary feats, such as songs are made of. Something akin to fated great feats, in which they sacrificed their lives (and they were already amongst the mightiest of The Noldo, being High Captains of the chief city of The Noldor). In their own way, those feats were doubtless comprable to Eowyn and Merry slaying the Witch-King, the slaying of Smaug by Bard, and the slaying of Glaurung by Turin. Id Est, they were not feats that any random High Elf warrior could accomplish, and they were feats that even the greatest High Elf would be hard pressed to achieve. A matter, ultimately, not only of great skill and power, but also of willing sacrifice, enormous valour and some measure of fate/divine favour, overcoming superior Evil might. In all the history of the wars of The Noldor and Morgoth, and in all the battles in which Balrogs are known to have led Melkor's armies, The High Elves, even the mightiest among them, only EVER managed to vanquish two Balrogs, in the finished/revised tales (not counting notes and rough drafts from before the legendarium was clear in Tolkien's mind i.e. when the High Elves were still being called gnomes, and he didn't yet realize that The Balrogs were actually evil Maia, far stronger than he had at first thought, and far fewer in number), and NO Elf ever managed such a feat without being destroyed themselves in the process. And, it must be remembered, that the Elves of The First Age were mightier than they became in latter ages.

As to Gothmog and Ecthellion. . . I had heard it the other way. That the water aided in hindering Gothmog rather than being the cause of Ecthellion's death. Though, again, the most official version does not say one way or the other. In the matter of Turgon's realm. . . there never were "many" Balrogs, in the revised and, if you will, corrected versions of the tales. And Fingon, the elder brother of Turgon, was slain by a Balrog.

All that said, I return to the original point. When I say The Balrogs didn't fear The High Elves, I don't mean they could never be daunted even by overwhelming droves of them. I mean, they did not have any aversion to them. No Balrog was afraid to pick a fight, if you will, with a High-Elf, or several, in the way that The Nazgul were. The Nazgul, even all 9 together, "dared not face" the anger of Gandalf while the Sun was in the sky. And they feared to assail Lothlorien and the defences Galadriel had set in place. The Balrogs did not fear to assail Gondolin or Nargothrond. The Balrogs did not fear to come against Fingon or even Feanor. The Witch-King's laughter caught in his undead throat, and he turned and fled the field when Glorfindel approached him. We don't need to ask if a Balrog would have done the same, sense we already have an historical answer to that question. The Noldor named The Balrogs "The Demons of Might." Literally, the "Power Demons." And they feared them mightily (though, on rare occassion, a valiant king, prince or captain of The Noldor might stand against them, as Earnur, Aragorn and Eowyn stood against Nazgul). It is fair to say that The Balrogs were to The High-Elves akin to what The Nazgul would later become for mortal men: naturally more powerful, naturally terrifying, and certainly not afraid to chase and face (as in Balrogs did not fear to face The High-Elves, who feared them immensely), but capable, in rare circumstances, of being challanged by rare and valiant individuals of The High-Elven breed.


In Reply To
Agree with much of what you say AinurOlorin, however the Balrogs did fear some of the Noldor. If you recall Feanor had to be surrounded by several of Balrogs and Gothmog himself before meeting defeat. When Feanor fell his sons chased off the Balrogs. Now imagine the sight of maybe a hundred elves if you include their company and not one but several are forced to flee. Durin's bane did not flee from Gandalf and part of that stems from the limitations of his innate power as deemed by the Valar.

Fingolfin famously wounded Morgoth, a Vala much stronger than Sauron or any of the Maia. I do not doubt that Fingolfin, Finrod, Feanor or any of his sons would not slay a Balrog with effort but still accomplish the feat. During the Fall of Gondolin Ecthelion and Glorfindel each slew a Balrog, as you know Ecthelion slew and was slain by Gothmog. It is debatable but Tolkien says Ecthelion drowned after Gothmog was undone.

If any of the great Eldar of the First Age lived I would imagine that Durins bane would fear or at least be undone by them as was done to his kindred. If Gondolin stood in the Second or Third age it would not have fallen like Eregion, Arnor, Mina's Ithil or Osgiliath. It took far more than Olog-hai or Nazgul to destroy Ondolinde. The great hidden realm of Turgon was destroyed only by many Balrogs and a many dragons. Minas Tirith or any kingdom of the Third age would never have survived dragons and Balrogs simultaneously. Only Smaug was required to bring Erebor low and deprive the line of Durin of their adopted homeland.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Dec 31 2012, 2:45am)


sharku
Rivendell

Dec 31 2012, 11:42am

Post #23 of 39 (178 views)
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Great treatise. Loving this thread! [In reply to] Can't Post

... and what then, are we to make of Old Tom in terms of relative power? Simple river spirit or Eru himself?

/me runs and ducks for cover


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Dec 31 2012, 11:18pm

Post #24 of 39 (161 views)
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Lol. There is a fine question. Not Eru, surely. Nor a Valar. Clearly Ainur. [In reply to] Can't Post

More a Forest Spirit and Guardian. Goldberry is the River's Daughter. . . and that of some other Maia one would suppose. Suffice that Old Tom is Master of the part of the world he lives in. . . maybe because it is a part he sang up?

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Ave Moria
Rivendell


Jan 1 2013, 1:52am

Post #25 of 39 (152 views)
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This thread [In reply to] Can't Post

Is like watching two Jedi Masters play chess. Smile

-In the Darkness, a torch we hold-

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