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Balrogs
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imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 1:51am

Post #1 of 58 (779 views)
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Balrogs Can't Post

I am guessing this has been asked before and is famous among fans of Tolkien's works but....Did Balrogs have wings?

Can be for any Balrog or more specifically Durin's Bane.


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 2:11am

Post #2 of 58 (392 views)
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This is a favorite debate here. [In reply to] Can't Post

I will take either side, depending on the day of the week. Or since it's the middle of the week, I'll take the middle view that Durin's Bane appeared to have short-flight wings, since he flew over the flaming chasm (or maybe he jumped). And maybe he had wings and they were merely ornamental, because Tolkien sure seemed to say he had wings.

If he had real, operational wings, he shouldn't have fallen all the way to bottom of Moria with Gandalf.

Also, when Glorfindel slew the Balrog at Gondolin, they also both fell over a cliff. I guess you could say the Balrog's wings were injured, so that doesn't count. But at no time do Balrogs launch an aerial assault, including in Morgoth's last battle with the Valar in Beleriand when dragons flew, but there's no mention of flying Balrogs.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Mar 28 2013, 2:13am)


Ardamr
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 2:14am

Post #3 of 58 (360 views)
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Yes and no [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the middle. I certainly think they can't have full physical wings that allow them to actually fly because then they wouldn't have fallen with Gandalf and Glorfindel. But they're also clearly described as wings.

I guess I would say that I always picture them with wings, but somehow or other those wings aren't used for flight.

"Now this babe was of greatest beauty; his skin of a shining white and his eyes of a blue surpassing that of the sky in southern lands - bluer than the sapphires of the raiment of Manw; and the envy of Meglin was deep at his birth, but the joy of Turgon and all the people very great indeed." -The Fall of Gondolin


Ardamr
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 2:16am

Post #4 of 58 (368 views)
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Flying [In reply to] Can't Post

I seem to recall somewhere in The Silmarillion where the balrogs are described as "flying" across the plains. Now, I've always taken that to mean that they traveled swiftly, not necessarily flying like a bird or a plane. Actually, I imagine them more like gliding, but that's probably just me.

"Now this babe was of greatest beauty; his skin of a shining white and his eyes of a blue surpassing that of the sky in southern lands - bluer than the sapphires of the raiment of Manw; and the envy of Meglin was deep at his birth, but the joy of Turgon and all the people very great indeed." -The Fall of Gondolin


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 2:17am

Post #5 of 58 (372 views)
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Now this takes me back :-D [In reply to] Can't Post

About ten years ago there was a virtual drinking game on TORn, and when someone brought up a frequent question, everyone would post *glug*. I suppose it wasn't very nice, but it was meant in good fun. The balrog wings question was one of the most popular :-D

I've always thought they had wings, but it doesn't really matter to me. The other question is, do they have furry slippers


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 2:34am

Post #6 of 58 (345 views)
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I am a wing-girl myself [In reply to] Can't Post

Always pictured them with wings. I think that the fall does not present a contradiction because once falling in a relatively narrow chasm it would be unable to achieve a glide and/or flap the size wings needed (quite long proportionally) to fly considering its mass.

What's your feeling Imin?

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 2:44am

Post #7 of 58 (346 views)
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I am more in the no wings camp [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it had wings but they weren't physical but more made from shadow from the line - "the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings"

I never pictured them with proper wings but more just a mass of cloud/shadow/smoke that could take on the form of wings or anything else it wanted to create intimidation.

Also i don't see any evidence where they have ever been said to fly - Unfinished Tales, when Voronwe says, "as yet no servant of the Enemy has dared to fly into the high airs" at this point there were no flying dragons but there were Balrogs.

Though i guess a balrog being a maiar could potentially just fly without the need for wings?

Ardamire points to the only reference of flight - Morgoth's Ring:

Far beneath the halls of Angband... the Balrogs lurked still.... Swiftly they arose, and they passed with winged speed over Hithlum, and they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire.

Winged speed - for myself i take this to mean they travelled extremely fast - as fast as something flying but of course others can make their own claims and lets see where we end up Tongue


(This post was edited by imin on Mar 28 2013, 2:44am)


imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 2:51am

Post #8 of 58 (349 views)
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*glug* haha [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't know that but it is funny!

I have known it's a favourite topic to people in Tolkien fandom but i had not seen any on here for a while so i thought - why not? Smile

It is not a serious question but i do find it interesting how people interpret the same sentences and come up with totally different visual images.

That picture is great btw! Smile


imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 2:52am

Post #9 of 58 (339 views)
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Maybe clipped wings? lol. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 2:52am

Post #10 of 58 (337 views)
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Hmmm - I suppose potentailly flight could be less of a wing device than a power [In reply to] Can't Post

but I like the winged picture though. Smile I remember it was very debated quite a few years ago. I also like "winged speed" in the literal sense; I read it that way and it has formed that image in my mind ever since. The Film version felt very fitting to me. What did you think of it?
From all the discussion through the years it is an area with much room for exploration.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 3:03am

Post #11 of 58 (325 views)
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I quite like it - film depiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Though it is not how i feel Balrogs are, lol. To me they look more creepy when the 'wings' are made of shadow. Still it is impressive and looks good on the screen and i think i would have gone for the same if in his position as it looks 'cooler'.

To me the winged speed just doesn't work in the literal sense if taking all the other factors/quotes into consideration, but as you say there is much room for exploration and many different views can all be right as there isn't quite enough to go on. I was swayed by one post i saw on another forum though to go from - i dunno to more firmly in the no wings/shadow wings camp - which seems to have only me in it at the mo! I don't think i would be able to post it though as it's from another forum. I was just curious to know what people on this forum thought and how they took certain lines - such as you take the line as literal where as i don't.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 3:13am

Post #12 of 58 (319 views)
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Actually I am delighted at the swap in approaches... [In reply to] Can't Post

we finally have flip-flopped on interpretive versus literal! Wink Haha!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 3:24am

Post #13 of 58 (313 views)
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That is true :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Though i view the Eye as interpretive rather than literal so i have two including that, lol.

Probably my only two that are none literal! Tongue


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 3:28am

Post #14 of 58 (312 views)
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Two indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Though i view the Eye as interpretive rather than literal so i have two including that, lol.

Probably my only two that are none literal! Tongue




Write this day down ! Wink

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 3:31am

Post #15 of 58 (311 views)
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A red letter day [In reply to] Can't Post

In more ways than one Smile

Nothing else to think of metaphorically is there? Tongue


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 3:42am

Post #16 of 58 (306 views)
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Think we are covered on metaphors! [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile But certainly an excellent day!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 4:09am

Post #17 of 58 (330 views)
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The picture is from Bakshi's LotR. [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't come up with the "fuzzy slippers", but I always thought it was funny.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 7:57am

Post #18 of 58 (331 views)
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A beloved/dreaded topic! [In reply to] Can't Post

A Google search on "balrog wings" yields about 271,000 results.

Here are a few links:

An analysis by Tolkien scholar Martin Martines, author of 3 books on Tolkien.

"The Truth about Balrogs"

My all-time favorite

I leave you to follow up the rest.








imin
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 8:38am

Post #19 of 58 (294 views)
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So do you think they have wings or not? :p [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for the links btw i read tolkien.slimy quite a bit and out of the three feel it gives the best analysis without having an opinion from the start.

I just came across this link which illustrates how i visualize the wings.

http://balrogwings.webs.com/

My all time fav is on another Tolkien fan site so don't think i can link it, lol.

Would be interesting to know where you stand on the wings debate - i am gonna guess that you.........do think they have physical wings, just to make it more interesting, lol.


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 28 2013, 9:52am

Post #20 of 58 (310 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

I am in the yes and no camp too.

I don't fully think they had actual physical wings, like an eagle or a moth. They clearly have wings. The wonderful thing about Tolkien is that many things are left unanswered and open. You can read the Balrog passage both literally and metaphorically.

Since I tend to read things literally, I tend to think they did have wings.

Even if they did have wings though, they might not have been able to fly (like an Emu or Dodo).


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 28 2013, 10:44am

Post #21 of 58 (309 views)
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It's those aerial topics that haunt us [In reply to] Can't Post

The other is: "Why didn't the Eagles fly the Ring to Mt Doom?"

Winged creatures and unanswered questions. Phooey.


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Mar 28 2013, 12:27pm

Post #22 of 58 (280 views)
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Yep! Fer Sher!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think they had wings.

But I think getting airborne required considerable effort/the aid of wind, updrafts/elevation. When traveling distances above Middle Earth's surface they could use them to fly, but they weren't going to be flitting about a cave like a bat, alighting hither and yon.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 2:13pm

Post #23 of 58 (286 views)
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It is a very funny picture.... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I didn't come up with the "fuzzy slippers", but I always thought it was funny.




especially since I sort of picture them igniting *poooofff** every few seconds and the Balrog irritably roaring for a new pair....!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Mar 28 2013, 2:25pm

Post #24 of 58 (269 views)
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Thank you so much for preserving Reverend's post. <3 // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



telain
Rohan

Mar 28 2013, 4:14pm

Post #25 of 58 (270 views)
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Wings? A good question to be sure. But did they roar? [In reply to] Can't Post

Between Bakshi's version (thank you Aunt Dora, that image is great!) and Jackson's, I'm pretty sure they did roar. But what did it sound like? Bakshi makes me think "lion", but Jackson makes me think "volcano"... Wink

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