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The True Nature of A Balrog: Dread Sentience and Sorcery

AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Apr 8 2008, 2:34pm

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The True Nature of A Balrog: Dread Sentience and Sorcery Can't Post

It has been a while since I did a thread like this, but with Hobbit slowly moving forward again, and prospects of a sequel film which may (pure speculation, but it seems logical) involve at least a brief scenario involving Balin, Moria and Durin's Bane, The Balrog and his depiction have been much on my mind of late.

Of the prior filmed Balrog. . . there were things I really liked, and some things I didn't. Areas I found wonderful, and a few missed opportunities. If he is revisited, I hope to see an array of his sorcerous power and sentient command.

Which raises the matter of his sentience and sorcery. In a much older post and thread (the one involving the Ring and Lorien), Elizabeth, whose posts I generally find informative and accurate, voiced the opinion that The Balrog was merely a brute beast in intellect, lacking any notable intelligence. One of my concerns with his film depiction, in its brevity, was that viewers might have come away with that notion. But it is a false notion, and the books give vast testament to this, which I wish to touch on here.

Even in our initial encounter with The Balrog, we are shown that he is a sorcerer of incredible skill and power. I reffer all readers to the Chamber of Marzabul. As the Fellowship flees, Gandalf seeks to place a shutting spell upon the door. Then something ( we soon learn that it was The Balrog) enters the chamber, and as the orcs fall silent in their dread, The Balrog lays hold of the door handle. . ."And then it perceived me and my spell. The Counter Spell was terrible. . . I have never felt such a challange!" The end result was that the conflicting magic of The Wizard and The Demon destroyed the door and half the chamber. Christopher Tolkien in later notes assures us that the chamber was indeed broken by the struggle between the powers of the two opposing Maiar.

So what does this mean? Well, on the surface, we know that The Balrog was certainly cognizant enough to recognize the enchantment of an enemy, and to oppose it with witchcraft of his own. It also suggests (as Gandalf declares it his greatest challange ever encountered, and we know he did battle with all Nine of the Wraith Lords of the Ring, The Witch-King included, atop Amon Sul) that the Balrog was a mightier foe than even the Chief of the Nazgul, and other side writings and refference texts plainly support that as fact, that indeed, next to Sauron himself, The Balrog was the most powerful known force of Evil remaining in Middle-Earth during the Third age. The Fear in which the High Elves held Balrogs, as opposed to their lack of fear where the Nazgul were concerned, highlights this further, as does Legolas' comment, "A Balrog of Morgoth. Of All Elf Banes MOST deadly, save the ONE who sits in The Dark Tower."

I have seen many comment on The Balrog without seeming to truly give thought to what he was. According to all the lore, The Balrogs were the first aids, attendants and servants of Melkor the Morgoth, and next to Sauron himself, they were also the mightiest. Valaraukar, The High-Elves Noldorin and Vanyarin called them, The Demons of Might, or literally translated the Power Demons. The very name distinguishes them as more dire and perilous than any of the other varied and terrible demons in Melkor's service. The Lays of Belariand name them as "Proud Thanes of Morgoth" emphasizing the fact that they were nobility within his Hellish court. In that same lay, one of them is mentioned independantly (without any order) smiting Hurin across the mouth for making a disrespectful comment to Melkor. It is interesting and telling that in the finalized versions of Tolkiens writings, they are only seen to serve Melkor himself, and never Sauron. The are the captains of Melkor alone.

They are the captains of Melkor's legions, and their lord Gothmog was High-Captain of Angband upon Melkor's return to that realm, and had his own bodygaurd of trolls. Battle captains, unlike berserker shock soilders, are required to have some level of intellect for command purposes. Also, the idea that The Balrog couldn't think with human or greater intelligence, when Eagles, Ents and spiders could, is a siginificent oversight.

Again, we have to keep in mind what the Balrogs were. Maiar, of the race of The Valar, kindred to Arien. They were among that Holy Host which sang the world into being, and their thoughts had a place in the form and nature of The World. Just because they took on forms of dread did not negate their intellect of fell spiritual power. Manwe sometimes became an Eagle, Yvannah a tree. Sauron often shifted shape, but even as a dire werewolf and a monster serpent in battle with Huan, he was still Sauron The Maia. Ungoliant took the shape of a Spider, but she remained "an evil thing in spider form" not an actual spider with the intelligence of a Spider, she still had the intelligence of a Spirit. . . and was not deceived by Melkor in the end, though the Balrogs saved him from that strait. Thus, the same must be figured for the Balrogs. Gothmog the Balrog was also Gothmog the Maia, and no different with the other members of his kin. That the Demon captains of Melkor, "who first adhered to him in the days of his splendor and became most like him in his corruption" were mightier than the wraith captains of Sauron seems without question.

I will comment more on this later, have to run. Please lend your thoughtsSmile

"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."


Padster
Bree


Apr 8 2008, 4:37pm

Post #2 of 8 (233 views)
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I think you raise a very good point indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

Given what we know about Durinís Bane from the book, which you highlighted nicely, then with respect, I canít see how anyone could see Balrogs as JUST brutal beings and/or lacking in intelligence.

They may well (and I think they WERE) brutal, but they were also cunning and intelligent, as all Maiar MUST have been, and also potent users of magic/sub-creation in their own right. It is never specified, but maybe they were the equal of Arien in power, but maybe she had more wisdom, which gave her the insight to spurn Melkorís advances in the early days.

One of the key reasons for this misperception of Balrogs just being brutal could well be the fact that in LOTR Durinís Bane is only seen as a huge fiery beast, bent on killing of the Fellowship, or Gandalf at least.

Mr T says in one of his letters that:

The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer. .... Z may think that he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him.

By this I think Mr T is taking exception to the manner it is suggested that the Balrog speaks rather than suggesting the Balrog is incapable of speech. If the Balrog DID speak in LOTR, then I think people wouldnít be so quick to assume it was just a brutal beast.

Certainly if there is anything covered about Balinís visit to Moria in any further movie, possibly including flash backs to the FALL of Moria, it would be a wonderful opportunity to beef up the perception of the Balrog as a cunning, intelligent and powerful lieutenant of Morogth and only a step down from Sauron in authority and usefulness to Morogoth, as they were.

Cheers


Padster


orcbane
Gondor


Apr 8 2008, 6:45pm

Post #3 of 8 (221 views)
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Intelligence Yes, Usuable wings no [In reply to] Can't Post

Pretty much agree with what you are saying. I don't think the movie elliminated the possibility of Balrogs being intelligent powers, it just did not show it. Balrogs as you say are Maiar, specifically 'Spirits of Fire'. The Spirit that became the sun was one also, but one that remained true to Eru and the other Valar. Maiar and Valar do not seem to ever be unintelligent spirits in any of Tolkien's works that I am familiar with. They also seem always to be at least on a level, or superior then the later Children of Iluvatar. As far as sorcery goes, they would possess certain superior powers, somewhat equivalent to Gandalf.

Now I will contradict myself. Tolkien has written (in drafts at least) that Trolls are made of stone inhabited by spirits. Trolls have intelligence, but of very rudimentary kinds. Wargs as well are inhabited by evil spirits. Wargs don't seem particularly bright either.

So either there are spirits lower then Maiar (but not of the other known races) or subdivisions of Maiar with dull-witted lower levels. Or Tolkien really has knotted himself up in a spiritual pretzel.

If the Balrogs had wings, or at least usable wings, why did the one at Khazad-Dum have to use the bridge ? You would have seen some use of their wings over the ages either in combatting eagles or flying over the mountains at Gondolin (instead of using the passes), etc. If they do in fact have them they must therefore be for decoration only, or a Melkor experiment gone wrong, or just some illusion to make themselves look scarier.



An Ent juggling spikey things ?


sador
Half-elven

Apr 8 2008, 8:50pm

Post #4 of 8 (230 views)
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You're back! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's been a while. And what's more, you're still intersted in our old subject!

Let's start by defending Elizabeth. I don't remember the exact post you are talking about, but (as Squire pointed out) the Ainur varied greatly in knowledge and power, and I see no reason to assume Balrog's didn't. I think those who belittle Durin's Bane are influenced by the words "a thing of terror that, flying from the ruin of Thangorodrim..." in which it's pretty clear that 'flying' comes from 'to flee' (even assuming he did have wings, which some doubt or even deny), and from his long oblivious sleep - which made them feel he is a coward, and has lost his ancient powers (even if he originally was Gothmog's right-hand Balrog - Saruman was originally a worthy adversary of Sauron, but Sharkey ended up as a pathetic leader of thugs).

Nevertheless, I do not agree with this reading. And not just because of the evidence you've brought. I was mostly concerned with Gandalf words: "A Balrog. Now I understand."
What does he understand? On the first reading, I guessed it was the identity of the caster of the counterspell, but it could be more - the flight of the dwarves from Khazad-dum long ago, who drove the Watcher to where he was (and dammed the Sirannon), Thrain's not returning to Moria after the battle of Azanulbizar (I personally don't think Dain saw the Balrog there, but the possibility exists, and Gandalf might guess at it), or something unknown to us from his previous experiences - his first journey to Moria, something he overheard at Dol Guldur, something he read (but not out loud) in the book of Mazarbul (from what we know, there is absolutely nothing to hint at a Balin-Balrog encounter, unless we assume the Balrog was also the Beater of the Drums). I have actually speculated that Caradhras being known as 'the Cruel' (in Gimli's words) was the Balrog's work - in which case he hadn't been exactly sleeping all the long years between the War of Wrath and Sauron's appearing in Eregion - and he might have delibarately driven the Fellowship into the mines (Beren IV hinted at the same possibility). So you see, I can hardly be accused of belittling the Balrog!

But I still disagree with your conclusion about the respective powers of the Witch-king and the Balrog. Two passages support me in my opinion. Gandalf's response to Denethor's taunt, about his avoiding combat with the Witch-king out of fear, answers: "It might be so. But the trial of our strength is not yet come" (remember, this is Gandalf the White - supposedly more powerful than the Grey Pilgrim); and in 'Many Meetings', Gandalf says to Frodo: "There are many powers in the world... Against some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming. The Morgul-lord and his Black Riders have come forth"
What do these passages prove? Not that the Witch-king was more powerful than Gandalf. The question is open, although their encounter at the Gates of Minas Tirith seem to imply Gandalf was the underdog (aside, I disagree with those who assume that since Gandalf was not a Man, he could have slayed the Witch-king without disproving the old prophecies - the Istari came as Men to Middle-Earth, and Gandalf cites the prophecy as including him [as does Glorfindel in the appendices], in the abovementioned conversation with Denethor).
What it does prove is that Gandalf didn't see the encounter on Amon Sul as the ultimate trial of strength. In a previous thread, we have argued about how to evaluate the outcome of it; but Gandalf clearly didn't see it as a proof that he can take on all the Nine single-handed, and therefore Angmar alone. The Balrog was the greatest challange Gandalf encountered to that point, not because he was more powerful than the Witch-king, but because the Gandalf-Wiki comfrontation hasn't occured yet (and when it did, it didn't come to a decisive conclusion).

What did happen on Amon Sul? We don't know, of course; but the Nazgul had no interest to attack Gandalf then and there. It was the wrong place to do so: he knew the ground and they didn't (after 1040 years, the Witch-king even forgot the Shire, or assumed it was deserted since the war in which Angmar was overthrown), and they had a mission which they shouldn't get sidetracked by. When we discussed 'Flight to the Ford' in the Reading Room, I suggested that after the 6th of October, the Nazgul's strategy was to prevent help from reaching Frodo, while making sure they close upon him before he reaches any safe haven (in this part of the world, only Rivendell); as far as Gandalf was concerned, they succeded quite admirably.
But on the 3rd, they had two options: either to keep Gandalf away from the Ringbearer, or to try and follow him to Frodo. As he explained in the Council of Elrond, Gandalf saw the second possibility as worse (even though he knew Aragorn was with Frodo, and the Nazgul didn't) - so he went North.

All the said above, does not mean the Witch-king was wiser, cleverer or a greater spirit than either Gandalf or the Balrog. His power came from his master; he was "a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron". And anyway, being more deadly in mortal combat is not the only measure of spiritual power. Tulkas was far far under Melkor, yet he beat him in wrestling (and arguably, so did Ungoliant, and Thorondir while recovering the body of Fingolfin).

And anyway, I think our major disagreement about the bridge-film was whether it should focus on character developement or military encounters. But that's a matter of taste. I have noticed on these boards that some people do agree with me, but by no means do I expect everyone to do so.
And since we're not arguing about absolute truth, but trying to think together about books we all love - your different prespective increases my enjoyment. Thank you!

"I am sorry. I have paid" - Boromir


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Apr 9 2008, 12:44am

Post #5 of 8 (228 views)
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Balrog's Back Too - Of Course [In reply to] Can't Post

AinurOlorin's Back & so is the Balrog, lol......

Welcome back. You missed the Reading Room discussion on the Bridge of Khazad-Dum. I'm sure you would've enjoyed it.

One interesting thing was the discussion about the spell/counter-spell. I got into it with everyone over the semantics of whether Gandalf actually fell down the stairs after the door & half the chamber 'collapse' The word Tolkien uses is 'Gandalf flew down the stairs' & 'fell' among the Fellowship. Later, Gandalf actually confirms to Gimli that he did indeed fall backwards down the stairs:

Gimli: "What happened away up there at the door. Did you meet the beater of the drums?"

Gandalf: "I do not know.....The door BURST into pieces....I was THROWN BACKWARDS DOWN THE STAIRS."

Despite this, nobody would admit that Gandalf was actually blown backwards down the stairs - there's so many opinions here & so little submission to what the text actually says......

Also, note BURST. The door burst, not collapsed. I believe that as the spell & counter-spell were cast simultanenously, the door literally blew up, throwing Gandalf back like any explosion would.

Then there's the wings issue....

Nevermind. Wink

Onto Sador's post:

It's been a while. And what's more, you're still intersted in our old subject!

Let's start by defending Elizabeth. I don't remember the exact post you are talking about, but (as Squire pointed out) the Ainur varied greatly in knowledge and power, and I see no reason to assume Balrog's didn't. I think those who belittle Durin's Bane are influenced by the words "a thing of terror that, flying from the ruin of Thangorodrim..." in which it's pretty clear that 'flying' comes from 'to flee' (even assuming he did have wings, which some doubt or even deny), and from his long oblivious sleep - which made them feel he is a coward, and has lost his ancient powers (even if he originally was Gothmog's right-hand Balrog - Saruman was originally a worthy adversary of Sauron, but Sharkey ended up as a pathetic leader of thugs).

Why would this scaredy-cat (or highly sensible) Balrog lose his powers by fleeing from The War of Wrath?
I see no case of a Maia or Vala losing power from anything other than pouring themselves out in lust for power......

Nevertheless, I do not agree with this reading. And not just because of the evidence you've brought. I was mostly concerned with Gandalf words: "A Balrog. Now I understand."
What does he understand? On the first reading, I guessed it was the identity of the caster of the counterspell, but it could be more - the flight of the dwarves from Khazad-dum long ago, who drove the Watcher to where he was (and dammed the Sirannon), Thrain's not returning to Moria after the battle of Azanulbizar (I personally don't think Dain saw the Balrog there, but the possibility exists, and Gandalf might guess at it), or something unknown to us from his previous experiences - his first journey to Moria, something he overheard at Dol Guldur, something he read (but not out loud) in the book of Mazarbul (from what we know, there is absolutely nothing to hint at a Balin-Balrog encounter, unless we assume the Balrog was also the Beater of the Drums). I have actually speculated that Caradhras being known as 'the Cruel' (in Gimli's words) was the Balrog's work - in which case he hadn't been exactly sleeping all the long years between the War of Wrath and Sauron's appearing in Eregion - and he might have delibarately driven the Fellowship into the mines (Beren IV hinted at the same possibility). So you see, I can hardly be accused of belittling the Balrog!


"Now I understand" must be a referrence to the spell/counter-spell. Gandalf hardly has the time to analyze all the things you mention......


But I still disagree with your conclusion about the respective powers of the Witch-king and the Balrog. Two passages support me in my opinion. Gandalf's response to Denethor's taunt, about his avoiding combat with the Witch-king out of fear, answers: "It might be so. But the trial of our strength is not yet come"

Actually, this statement contadicts itself: "BUT the trial of our strength is not yet come."
I think Gandalf is not in the mood to have another confrontation with cranky Denethor right now, plus Tolkien is building tension (but let us stay with the story here).

(remember, this is Gandalf the White - supposedly more powerful than the Grey Pilgrim);

Let us not forget that the Lord of the Nazgul has grown in power too.

and in 'Many Meetings', Gandalf says to Frodo: "There are many powers in the world... Against some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming. The Morgul-lord and his Black Riders have come forth"

Well, he isn't going to say "Against the Balrog in Moria I have not yet been measured" since the Wise do not know what the heck 'Durin's Bane' is & can safely assume all Balrogs were destroyed in the Fall of Thangorodrim & that 'Durin's Bane' is one of the 'nameless things' that are deep in the bowels of the Misty Mountains, dug up when the Dwarves 'delved too deep' for mithril.



What do these passages prove? Not that the Witch-king was more powerful than Gandalf. The question is open, although their encounter at the Gates of Minas Tirith seem to imply Gandalf was the underdog

I just read it & don't see anything there that's makes Gandalf seem like the underdog...........

(aside, I disagree with those who assume that since Gandalf was not a Man, he could have slayed the Witch-king without disproving the old prophecies - the Istari came as Men to Middle-Earth, and Gandalf cites the prophecy as including him [as does Glorfindel in the appendices], in the abovementioned conversation with Denethor).

That depends if the prophecy means man like the race of Men or man like 'male'.......
Which is open to debate.

And if you ask me - this is semantics here - but the prophecy doesn't give 'immunity', it just states how something will come about.


What it does prove is that Gandalf didn't see the encounter on Amon Sul as the ultimate trial of strength.
In a previous thread, we have argued about how to evaluate the outcome of it; but Gandalf clearly didn't see it as a proof that he can take on all the Nine single-handed, and therefore Angmar alone. The Balrog was the greatest challange Gandalf encountered to that point, not because he was more powerful than the Witch-king, but because the Gandalf-Wiki comfrontation hasn't occured yet (and when it did, it didn't come to a decisive conclusion).

What did happen on Amon Sul? We don't know, of course; but the Nazgul had no interest to attack Gandalf then and there. It was the wrong place to do so: he knew the ground and they didn't (after 1040 years, the Witch-king even forgot the Shire, or assumed it was deserted since the war in which Angmar was overthrown), and they had a mission which they shouldn't get sidetracked by. When we discussed 'Flight to the Ford' in the Reading Room, I suggested that after the 6th of October, the Nazgul's strategy was to prevent help from reaching Frodo, while making sure they close upon him before he reaches any safe haven (in this part of the world, only Rivendell); as far as Gandalf was concerned, they succeded quite admirably.
But on the 3rd, they had two options: either to keep Gandalf away from the Ringbearer, or to try and follow him to Frodo. As he explained in the Council of Elrond, Gandalf saw the second possibility as worse (even though he knew Aragorn was with Frodo, and the Nazgul didn't) - so he went North.

That's a good point. In fact, Gandalf does say "In the morning, I escaped...."
But, let us not forget that the Witch-king was also less powerful then.

All the said above, does not mean the Witch-king was wiser, cleverer or a greater spirit than either Gandalf or the Balrog. His power came from his master; he was "a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron". And anyway, being more deadly in mortal combat is not the only measure of spiritual power. Tulkas was far far under Melkor, yet he beat him in wrestling (and arguably, so did Ungoliant, and Thorondir while recovering the body of Fingolfin).

Still, thinking that a man, with power subject to Sauron minus the Ring is more powerful than a Maia, granted a 'lesser spirit' than Sauron (Tolkien says it in 'Myths Transformed - sorry Balrog freaks), is a bit much.

And anyway, I think our major disagreement about the bridge-film was whether it should focus on character developement or military encounters. But that's a matter of taste. I have noticed on these boards that some people do agree with me, but by no means do I expect everyone to do so.

Well, since I never threw in my $.02 on AO's post, the Balrog in PJ's movie is a bit off......

It's too big of course as Tolkien says Sauron was of man size but greater (something like that) & 25-30 feet certainly isn't that. And, a being encased in stone for 5460 years that can break through stone at will, that makes no sense as well.
There was some fire, but no shadow.

And, about the wings, I've rethought the wings after The Reading Room discussion, but let's not go there now.... Crazy

And since we're not arguing about absolute truth, but trying to think together about books we all love - your different prespective increases my enjoyment. Thank you!



AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Apr 9 2008, 1:31pm

Post #6 of 8 (204 views)
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Soooo much to respond to. As usual. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Sadly I am not as back as I would like to be. My computer is still on the outs, but I do what I can.

Well, where to begin. . . even the wargs and trolls had some language and understanding of conversation. The ents and eagles had much more. And the spirits in orcs and many of the wargs and werewolves (hope we see werewolves as Dol Guldur) rank nearer to that tier of "least" spirits, no doubt, much like the most fell orcs of the first age, whom Tolkien speculated might have been Maia of the lowest order, yet far more deadly, strong and intelligent than any normal orc. The Balrogs were Moroth's lieutenants and captains, second only to Sauron in their might as Spirits in the servise of The Great Enemy, so I think it a far cry to assume there was any possibility of them being as dim as trolls or even orcs. And the flight of this Balrog may suggest cowardice. . . then again, it may also suggest greater intelligence. lol. Refusal to stay through a loosing cause. Certainly Sauron fled before the final outcome of every one of The Holy Ainur's attacks on Melkor.

Now as to The Witch King. . . first, I think we may safely assume that if the Nine, their lord included, could have taken Gandalf The Gray down without sacrificing themselves then and there upon Amon Sul, they certainly would have done so. And what is to be made of ,"They felt the coming of my anger, and dared not face it while the sun was in the sky," One may inferr that he escaped at dawn because, with the coming of day, they lacked sufficient power to hold him.

Tolkien Forever has spoken well enough in my stead on most of these points. In comparing The Balrog to The Witch-King I will only add further support to both our positions. Tolkien Scholars, based on side comments and writings of The Proffesor, of stated in authorized refference texts that The Balrog was the most powerful force of evil, next to Sauron himself, remaining in the World at the time of the War of the Ring. And again, recall the words of Legolas "Of ALL ELF-BANES MOST DEADLY, SAVE THE ONE WHO SITS IN THE DARK TOWER." What else is to be said? The Witch-King had a history of steering away from High-Elves. . . The Balrogs certainly did not. Can you imagine Feanor or Fingon waivering in the face of The Nazgul Lord? And Gandalf had already proclaimed himself mightier than the Nine and been proclaimed as such by Aragorn in The Two Towers. "And so am I. Very Dangerous. More dangerous than anything you will ever meet unless you are brought alive before the throne of the Dark Lord."

The business in The Two Towers is, as T. Forever states, for dramatic effect. It is part of the reason the Witch King and Gandalf do not battle. Tolkien could have done what Jackson tragically forced into Extended ROTK (thankfully its only in the extended and thus can be ignored for the purpose of related Theatrical films) and had The Witch King almost ruin Gandalf. . . but he knew that would have contradicted things that he had already written, as well as elevating the power of The Witch Kign above that of The Balrog which would have been illogical. Melkor was superior to Sauron in every way (save perhaps subtlety). And the Balrogs became his chief servants in the days before his majesty was dimmed, when he towered above all others, even of the Valar. The Balrogs and Sauron were to Melkor what the Nazgul were to Sauron. It seems beyond implausible to even begin the suggestion that the mightiest servants of Melkor would be anything other than superior in every detail to the mightiest servants of Sauron.

The Nazgul were phantoms of men, enhanced by the power of Sauron's rings, eventually animated entirely by the extension of his malicious will. They were extensions of Saurons power, divided by 9, and then divided further by whatever power he held to himself, and the power he exerted in dominating and enhancing whole armies of Trolls and the Like.

Compare that to the Balrogs. . . Mighty Spirits in their own right, beings who had taken part in the worlds creation, chiefs among the many demons of darkness that served Melkor, mightier even than those who assaulted Tilion at the first rising of The Moon, and mightier than those who stalked the young Elves through the woods in slanderous mockery of Orome. "A power and a terror was in them and went before them." A power and a terror unto High-Elves, and unto other lesser Maiar before the coming of Elves! That in and of itself speaks volumes. The Balrog in Moria was doubtless among those who aided Melkor in his first great war and the overthrow of The Lamps. . . a survivor of those first wars of Utumno, and later Angband. That High-Elves fell to his whip, and sorcery and burning blade is a certainty. Anyway, I could go on, but I won't in this vein for now.

I will say that, within the film lexicon, The Wise know it is a Balrog in Moria, and Jackson implies that he was involved in the ruin of Balin's colony "A Shadow moves in The Dark." So if we get Balin in Moria, I think we will get the Balrog. . . to exciting to pass up, really. . . and much more approriate than Arwen at the ford, or that garbage with The Witch King in EEROTK.

"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."


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Apr 10 2008, 1:27pm

Post #7 of 8 (163 views)
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Nice Post [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, there is not much I can add to that post by AinurOlorin as it covers everything quite well (mutual admiation society here, lol)......

I will add one thing: AO refers to the essay in 'Myths Transformed' (Morgoth's Ring, HoME; Volume 10), where Tolkien talks about the power of the various spirits of the Ainur in the service of Melkor: Quite fascinating & revealing:

'Melkor had corrupted many spirits - some great, as Sauron, or less so, as Balrogs, The least could have been primitive (and much more powerful and perilous) Orcs'

Tolkien goes onto say that these Orcs were 'Super Orc' captains that would reappear & not die a natural death like other Orcs in the First Age (but seem to have disappeared at the Breaking of Thangorodrim).

I think we can assume that these 'lesser spirits' were the spirits that inhabited the werewolves (not wargs as AinurOlorin calls them - there is a difference), vampires, & greater spirits in (some) dragons, yet not on a level with Balrogs.

However, as far as dragons are concerned, there is the issue of reproduction - why was there an evil 'angelic spirit' always waiting to inhabit one, even into the Third Age?
Why were these spirits just waiting around for thousands of years yet always available when a baby dragon was born?
Yet, we see plainly in The Silmarilliom & The Children of Hurin, ' Glaurung spoke by the evil spirit that was in him'.

Is it possible that only certain dragons could speak?
Like Glarung & Smaug & not all dragons?
Even furthur is it possible that only those dragons with 'evil spirits had fire in them as opposed to 'cold drakes'?
Could these be the only dragons with 'evil spirits' in them?

Otherwise, if not, & all dragons have these 'evil spirits in them, then basically dragons are Maia of a type & are the only ones that reproduce & this is in disaccord with Tolkien's other Maiar & Valar & another boo-boo in Middle-earth.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Apr 15 2008, 5:51pm

Post #8 of 8 (287 views)
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A good question [In reply to] Can't Post

Dragons could breed, likely, because like orcs and trolls, they were warped specimens of a natural creature. Perhaps of Eagles, more likely of some creature of Valinor unammed, for it is said that there were such mythic beasts, that were unknown in Middle Earth, but would surely have been known to Melkor.

Also, it does seem likely that wandering Spirits (perhaps eventhose of bodily destroyed Balrogs) would seek homes of great strength (consider barrow wights, werewolves etc.) and might certainly flock to the breeding grounds of dragons where the mightiest of bodies might be procured.

I do wander if the Balrog had a hand in freeing itself. As it awoke and the dwarves mined ever nearer. . . did it set its will upon the long beards and turn their mithril seeking picks in the direction of the very mountain slabs that had sealed him away?

It seems very likely as well, that he commanded the Trolls and Orcs/goblins of Moria (when he chose to) through sheer spiritual will, much as Sauron did with the Olag Hai.

When you think about what The Balrog was. . . an unbroken demonic Maia, and one of the mightiest of that sort, it is hard to assume that both the evil will of Caradhras and the shifting of The Watchers position probably had a great deal to do with him.

"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."

 
 

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