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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
It is confirmed- Balrogs do have wings!
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Elthir
Grey Havens


Fri, 12:33am

Post #26 of 48 (208 views)
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I'm a shadow [In reply to] Can't Post

believer, in that it's an Unlight not a lack of light, and part of the Balrog. I just add that this shadow can be willed into shapes. In general, my guess is that it basically encompasses the Balrog in a somewhat vague and changing shape, as it moves, or mood, or whatever.

I can make my hair look like wings -- granted, not with my mind/will though (at least not yet) -- but more naturally, it doesn't look like wings.

Although if a good breeze hits me just right Wink


(This post was edited by Elthir on Fri, 12:35am)


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Fri, 12:36am

Post #27 of 48 (204 views)
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That is an excellent summation [In reply to] Can't Post

of what I meant Smile

And I have super curly hair- give me humidity and a breeze and I'll have wings that every ME balrog would be envious of Sly Though it's strawberry/red/blonde so not the right color Tongue

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


noWizardme
Valinor


Fri, 9:00am

Post #28 of 48 (159 views)
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That would certainly work! [In reply to] Can't Post

I’ll try that reading out some time and add it to my Balrog’s repertoire..
(and I’ll also try to stop the darn thing bursting into song every time I type a sentence ending in that rhythm!)

Nice to get beyond the silly”oh yes it does!” “Oh no it doesn’t!” argument, which is so often where “the Balrog discussion” seems to go. (Next up- if a warg wore pants, how would it wear them....?)

For what it’s worth, I’ll say what I often imagine (which doesn’t of course invalidate what anybody else’s imagination gets up to). My imaginary Balrog *generates* shadows which behave like flames leaping up from like a fire. Something like dark flames. They form wing shapes. So this would’ve a new sense of “shadow”, since we’re used to them appearing when light is blocked, not having something that can be a source of them. As elsewhere, I imagine our narrator is trying to use the available words as best they can, and precision is lost to vividness. What these shadows would be like if touched or otherwise examined, we don’t find out. Would they burn like flame? Would they be insubstantial? Would they turn out to be solid? Or even squamous and rugose? Nowiz has no data; Nowiz needs no data.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Fri, 9:10am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Fri, 11:32am

Post #29 of 48 (163 views)
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There was once one who could unite us... [In reply to] Can't Post

{New profile picture, same old contributor}

I remember once Elizabeth saying that her favourite thing on this subject was something by Reverend - and anything by Reverend must be a very old post:15 years ago, at least, I suppose? Well before my time here. Anyway, all those posts are now 'underneath the wave', but I did, on Elizabeth's recommendaton, read Reverend's idea and found his post extremely well-argued and impressive. While I can't now quote or cite Reverend's post accurately, I'll try to give an impression of it here*:

IfI remember correctly Reverend's idea was that the wings thing was in flux in Tolkien's mind as he was writing this passage. Previously-written balrogs, Reverend argued, (probably) didn't have wings, and perhaps this one didn't initially as it stepped forward. But then, the wings began to form in Tolkien's imagination as the creature came into view. Now I can't remember whether the next bit is mine or Reverend's, but one of us wondered whether the balrog seemed to go better if it were more diablocal in the JudeaoChristian tradition-- a winged demon-like creature that falls into the fire in combat with a sword-weilding creature of good: yes that seems to offer a few parallels. One can imagine that as either concious or unconcious on Tolkien's part. The LOTR creature is Tolkien's only published balrog, and (I think ) the last to be written, so there are no later, explicitly winged balrog accounts to help us out with this theory.

Whether I've done Reverend's idea justice or not, I'm sure nothing can be proven (not even if Reverend's post, with all its careful references and argument could be retrieved). As so often ' if you like it you do, if you don't then you boo.'But I've remained rather fond of that idea since I read it. It seems entirely plausible to me that Tolkien hadn't yet imagined balrogs in every visual detail and to an extent he was ...er...winging it.

It also seems feasible to me that, if Tolkien didn't have a very srong visual image of balrogs, he could write his draft and read a shadow-wrapped balrog (or whatever he'd somewhat vaguely imagined up to that point). And then he could review the passage later and read a winged balrog (seeing no contradition with what he was imagining more vividly now). As I say we will probably never know, but I enjoy the idea. And yes, that would mean that balrogs end up with wings.

However it is, I think the balrog encounter is a great piece of Tolkien - perhaps because it so quicky and completely conjours up something vivid from each reader's imagination. (And, therefore, something different for each of us according to how our imaginations are already stocked.) In some ways it's a shame that the wings/no wings thing seems to dominate any discusion of the passage: it'a almost as if people forget this is fiction and not Frodo's account in a court of law (or some other context where the use of imagination is frowned upon). I do appreciaet (in both senses) that the current discussion is doing something more interesting than that.

--
*Hmmm - Does that make me a post-impressionist? Or do I have to hold up two fence panels for that? Wink

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Fri, 11:34am)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Fri, 12:12pm

Post #30 of 48 (144 views)
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*geeky hand clapping* Brilliant!!! :D // [In reply to] Can't Post

 




sample

We have been there and back again.


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Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Fri, 6:20pm

Post #31 of 48 (146 views)
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First Prize! I'll be singing this [In reply to] Can't Post

all day. I may even teach this to my music students. Cool



Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Fri, 7:00pm

Post #32 of 48 (157 views)
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The Lately Absent Great DanielLB: V. Hungry Balrog [In reply to] Can't Post

Hope Daniel doesn't mind this repost, as the original here http://newboards.theonering.net/...orum.cgi?post=854021 seems to have his pictures unavailable.

(Edited to add: another post with the story and pictures can be found here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...orum.cgi?post=834559)

The Very Hungry Balrog
by Eric "DanielLB" Carle




In the last light of Durin's Day a little egg lay on a leaf. One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and - raaaawwwr (like the sound of scraping cinder blocks) - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry Balrog.

He started to look for some food.

On Monday he ate through one Lonely Ranger ... but he was still very hungry.

On Trewsday he ate through The Two Towers ... but he was still very hungry.

On Hevensday he ate through three strands of Galadriel's hair ... but he was still very hungry.

On Mersday he ate through four farthings of the Shire ... but he was still very hungry.

On Highday he ate through the tipsy-cat's five-stringed fiddle ... but he was still very hungry.

On Sterday he ate through one piece of cram, one half of a Modar, one Ringwraith, one version of Glorfindel, one Stone Troll, one book purist, one piece of pi, one pink bikini, one Viking, and one starling.

That night he had a stomach-ache!

The next day was Sunday again. The Balrog ate through one nice mallorn leaf, and after that felt much better.

Now he wasn't hungry any more - and he wasn't a little Balrog any more. He was a big, fat Balrog.

He built a small house, under Barazinbar, around himself.

He stayed inside for more than 5000 years. Then he nibbled a hole in his house, pushed his way out and




Do Balrogs have wings?

Was he a beautiful butterfly?.................... Or was he a creepy, levitating thing?




(This post was edited by dernwyn on Sat, 3:39am)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sat, 12:06am

Post #33 of 48 (127 views)
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This...is a classic. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Sat, 12:09am

Post #34 of 48 (134 views)
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Yes, I couldn't resist. :) Oh, and, could you help [In reply to] Can't Post

with a little snippet of code that somehow stayed stuck here, if you get a chance? "He started to look for some food.;/size]"
Merci!



(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Sat, 12:10am)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sat, 3:46am

Post #35 of 48 (118 views)
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Ack! [In reply to] Can't Post

I went into the editor, and found more than just that little snippet.

Mainly, a lot of redundant code - that happens when cutting and pasting - which I've cleaned out of there. Also found another of DanielLB's posts with the story, which can be seen in full, so I've added that link! Smile

I wonder when he'll come out with "The Very Busy Shelob"?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Sat, 3:53am

Post #36 of 48 (116 views)
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Ooh, wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much! I looked, but I couldn't find an intact version except on my desktop, and it didn't translate very well.

Yes, we'll have to draw him back in and see if he'll add to his collection..Cool



Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Sun, 11:32pm

Post #37 of 48 (68 views)
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Perhaps Balrogs are like some insects like ants [In reply to] Can't Post

And only have fragile temporary wings which are little used, but are there technically speaking.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Mon, 12:17am

Post #38 of 48 (66 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

possibly, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the wings were formed out of shadow itself- the shadow that was a literal part of the Balrog's being, if not actual bone and sinew of his body.

In other words, the shadow is part of the balrog itself, and the wings were made out of that self-same shadow. Still wings, but unable to be used for flight as they are made out of shadow.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Mon, 12:27am

Post #39 of 48 (63 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad this balrog wing discussion has more adult evidence-based discussion to it, rather than the "three year old" debate form Wink
I like your idea of "generating shadow". I think it encompasses what the Balrog's shadow is- not the mere absence of light illuminating one's form onto the wall or whatever behind it, but an actual shadow embodiment (because, as we've now seen, shadow is a literal manifestation in Tolkien's work, not just the "oh I'm standing in the sun and see my shadow on the ground" type entity). There's no reason to think that the Balrog's "shadow and flame" aren't literal parts of the balrog itself, even if they are not made out of flesh and bone.

As to what they'd feel like- I am going to guess that it is the most cold, bone-chilling manifestation of pure evil- the kind that makes the blood drain from your face and captures you in the most intense, paralyzing fear you've ever felt, all the while feeling like it is engulfing you and you are unable to escape from its prying, searching fingers that delve deep down into your very soul. That absence of all that is good, the flood of evil that you cannot escape from, that pure essence of pure evil that no being of the light can survive on their own (I was going to say mortal, but that would be excluding elves and their terror of balrogs as well).

I've only felt that type of fear twice in my life, and it was without a doubt the most terrifying moments in my life. I would not want to feel that sort of fear ever again for sure.

But yeah- in the context of ME, that's what I believe a balrog's shadow would feel like. Which makes Glorfindel's sacrifice and any other elf or wizard that ever took on a balrog (or Morgoth himself, as Fingolfin did-right elf, right?) as well that much more poignant, as I truly believe that even elves cannot survive such overwhelming evil and darkness for long.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Mon, 12:46am

Post #40 of 48 (62 views)
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That's an excellent thought! [In reply to] Can't Post

As an author myself (fan fiction and original published novel), I can definitely attest to ideas coming as one is writing, and stories taking shape under one's fingertips or pen Smile I swear, half the stuff that comes into my stories happens to take shape as I'm writing that part of the story out! And the other half comes about in daydreams or dreams that happen on the verge of waking. Sure, I have the skeleton of my stories in my head already (I was never fond of paper outlines, just character descriptions as a guide to remember who's who and possibly timelines, since I'm a historical fiction author), but the meat often comes as I'm writing and even I've been astonished at what my fingers have typed out when I wasn't looking! Wink

*Snert* Does that court swear on the Book of Mazarbul as they raise their right hand? Tongue Yes, I agree- Tolkien mastered the art of creating a vision within the reader's mind in this scene, and one finds oneself standing there on the bridge of Khazad-dum eyes wide in both terror of the balrog, worry for Gandalf, and the shock that they are no longer in their cozy living rooms (or in my case, on my bed as, being very short, it's the most comfortable place to sit for long periods of time and read), but in Middle-earth staring at one of the most bone-chilling manifestations of evil that Tolkien ever conjured, and literally watching a battle of darkness and light.

Also, aside from the Music of the Ainur, I believe (though feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) isn't this the only time in all of ME writings that we have (novel-wise) that the "Secret Fire" of Illuvatar is referred to by one of the characters? Gandalf all but says that he's a servant of Eru/God Himself (not even the Valar, but the Creator), and that the balrog is a "flame of Udun" aka a flame of hell (Udun being "hell" in Sindarin or Quenya can't remember which one) aka a servant of Morgoth, the ME equivalent of Satan.

This is quite astonishing, as here we see Gandalf's true form and purpose revealed- an angelic being, a Maiar (subcategory Istari) sent on a mission not by the Valar, not by Manwe, but by God Himself, with all the authority he bears bestowed on him by the Creator- wrapped in the guise of an old man with a wooden staff and a pointy hat.

From the perspective of the company, that must have been quite a shock, especially since four of them believed Gandalf to be not a whole heck of a lot more than a guy with a knack for fireworks and kicking people's butts out onto a journey they quite unexpectedly did not expect to be on. Rarely do we ever see Gandalf's true nature or purpose, and here is the only time we see him reveal who actually sent him to ME- and no, it's not the crazy Vala who happens to have a fondness for giant birds of prey, but the Creator Himself.

Which no doubt was the reason why they were so stunned and shocked to see him fall. If Eru sent him to do His work, and he "fell" in doing said work, if the very Creator's handpicked servant of His secret fire fell to the Balrog, not even Sauron or Morgoth but the Balrog, how the heck were they going to have any chance of surviving this whole destruction of ME?

One wonders if they were so grieved not just by his fall, but also by the prospect that nothing, not even the Creator Himself, could hold back the evil that was befalling ME if His own hand-picked servant failed in his task.

In this case, it was, to put it bluntly, a Godsend that they ended up in Lorien right afterward, as they managed to rest and recuperate both physically and mentally/spiritually in a land unspoiled by the evils of the world. The renewed hope they had may have been fueled by the realization that there was still somewhere that evil hadn't been able to touch and maybe, just maybe, victory against evil would be possible (even if it was a one in a million chance of it).

They had literally seen evil defeat good. But in Lorien, they saw that the world hadn't completely grown dark and that some good still existed. I can imagine that, mentally, this gave them the push they needed right then to keep going, instead of giving up and allowing evil to win.

And perhaps that makes ME an impressionist! Tongue Don't get the fence reference though...


My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


squire
Half-elven


Mon, 12:58am

Post #41 of 48 (67 views)
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The Reverend's legacy is fading into the deeps of time... [In reply to] Can't Post

I just searched now for some copy of a copy of his legendary post on Balrog wings, that might have been saved from the Wave that took down the Old Boards. No such luck, for now.

However, Elizabeth did preserve the key conclusion in one of her available posts. I remember reading this in reprint form, several times in later debates on the issue (I arrived on TORn after the Rev's passing), and being engaged by the wit of the gentleman. He ends his essay, which you've summarized correctly, with this:

"The transition between the early Balrog and the late Balrog is preserved for us in ink; the Balrog came into the room without wings and left with them."



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
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noWizardme
Valinor


Mon, 11:16am

Post #42 of 48 (45 views)
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...you mean: even the smoke and mirrrors are fake??? ;) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
As an author myself (fan fiction and original published novel), I can definitely attest to ideas coming as one is writing, and stories taking shape under one's fingertips or pen Smile I swear, half the stuff that comes into my stories happens to take shape as I'm writing that part of the story out! And the other half comes about in daydreams or dreams that happen on the verge of waking. Sure, I have the skeleton of my stories in my head already (I was never fond of paper outlines, just character descriptions as a guide to remember who's who and possibly timelines, since I'm a historical fiction author), but the meat often comes as I'm writing and even I've been astonished at what my fingers have typed out when I wasn't looking!


Reading the books of HoME that cover Tolkien's LOTR drafts, it looked to me like he did something similar. It certainly didn't look to me like he had every detail documented before he started writing (for all that the finished work often creates that illusion). Rather, my impression is that many of the details we've got came out of Tolkien's writing process itself, or were adapted - sometimes quite fuzzily, or in part, or with contradictions - from earlier ideas that the story bumped into. And other details are not really explicitly there in the writing at all: they are generated by the reading, because the writing is skilful enough to recruit its readers into using their imagination.

Of the HoME volumes detailing LOTR I enjoyed 'Return Of The Shadow' most. It covers Tolkien's attempts to get LOTR started, including a lot of writing that is very different from the published book. For example, how could it not be interesting to learn that Tolkien considered the idea of Gandalf meeting Saruman (rather than the balrog) on the bridge? I also found it a very encouraging insight into an author's writing practice: that he often didn't know where the story was going, and so had to make progress on it in any way available. In the other volumes of HoME the story seemed to be mostly iunder way, and the amount of material I found interesting went down. Studying subtle differences between drafts is of course the business of real Tolkien Scholars, but hey - I'm NARSIL (Not A Real Scholar, I'm Lazy) Smile

'Return Of The Shadow': Your local library might say 'It's an old book, but it checks out'. https://www.worldcat.org/...hadow+&qt=owc_search Wink

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Mon, 2:24pm

Post #43 of 48 (40 views)
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Oh phew - for a moment I thought 'The Lately Absent Great DanielLB: V. Hungry Balrog' was an Arena post! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Mon, 2:53pm

Post #44 of 48 (42 views)
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It's all in the colon. :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Which could also give rise to some interesting misunderstandings . . .



CuriousG
Half-elven


Mon, 2:59pm

Post #45 of 48 (33 views)
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Excellent pun! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mon, 6:52pm

Post #46 of 48 (34 views)
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Disappointed to find I didn't save it either. [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I didn't join the forums until late December of 2003, I did copy some of Reverend's discussion of "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm" from January of that year to my files--but unfortunately not that famous post.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Mon, 9:37pm

Post #47 of 48 (18 views)
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I've always believed this [In reply to] Can't Post

The wings are made of shadow, but the Balrog is clearly in control of that shadow, thus the wings are the Balrog's wings, thus the Balrog has wings. Case closed.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Mon, 9:49pm

Post #48 of 48 (16 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

you summed my theory up in far fewer words than I did! Sly

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!

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