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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
SCOD: Gandalf faces the Balrog

zarabia
Grey Havens


Jul 10 2012, 6:22am

Post #1 of 8 (728 views)
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SCOD: Gandalf faces the Balrog Can't Post

   



Hello all! Welcome to the first of this week's screen caps, this time featuring the Balrog.

Please feel free to answer however works best for you.Smile

What do you think of the look of Mr. Balrog? If you read the book first, is it anything like what you had pictured while reading?

In the book, Gandalf sences the (magical?) power of the Balrog before he knows what he is dealing with - though he probably had his suspicions. Do you think PJ did enough to establish the fact that the Balrog was more than "just" a big scary looking monster? If so, how?

What do you think was going on between the Balrog and Gandalf? Were they just trying to stare each other down - get their bluff in on the other ("headology" as Terry Pratchett might say)? Or do you think they are battling magical will against magical will and the battle is just invisible to us?

What do you think of Gandalf's stance? Do you think the crossing of staff and sword is significant?

Any other thoughts welcome!Smile



Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Jul 10 2012, 12:47pm

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Re: Gandalf vs the Balrog [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you think of the look of Mr. Balrog? If you read the book first, is it anything like what you had pictured while reading?

I imagined much more of a shadowy being who varied between being a creature of darkness and/or fire depending on the situation at hand. PJ appears to have mixed this, and it works quite well. The head is certainly not as I would have imagined it. If not for the fiery eyes and mouth, the head would look relatively tame. However it works given the rest of the balrog: the wings, for example, are much better than I imagined them to be.

In the book, Gandalf sences the (magical?) power of the Balrog before he knows what he is dealing with - though he probably had his suspicions. Do you think PJ did enough to establish the fact that the Balrog was more than "just" a big scary looking monster? If so, how?

PJ had Gandalf talk briefly about the Balrog ("A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!"), which emphasised its power. Also, its dramatic entrance indicated that the creature was not merely a lesser monster. I particularly liked the red glow that appeared in the hallway as it began to approach, it reminded me of a description from the book ("A power and terror seemed to be in it and go before it.") The pre-Moria scene on Caradharas with Saruman's words echoing in Gandalf's mind also emphasised the power of the creature. My favourite touch was Gandalf's expression as the Balrog begins to approach (closing his eyes, as if fortifying his strength, and opening them as the sound draws nearer, his face full of dismay).

What do you think was going on between the Balrog and Gandalf? Were they just trying to stare each other down - get their bluff in on the other ("headology" as Terry Pratchett might say)? Or do you think they are battling magical will against magical will and the battle is just invisible to us?

I think there is much more going on than the eye sees on the surface. As Gandalf is warning the Balrog back ("I am a servant of the secret fire..etc") the Balrog seems to be weighing up the power of the individual he is facing (both of course being Maiar), and looking for weaknesses, before he strikes at Gandalf's more feeble frame with his weapon. I think that there is indeed a battle of wills taking place, ending when Gandalf, realizing that he will have the dispatch the demon directly if he is to defeat it, breaks the bridge with his staff.

What do you think of Gandalf's stance? Do you think the crossing of staff and sword is significant?

It is significant, as it mirrors a sentence from the book ("Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white.") Note that Gandalf is also bent slightly forward, also mirroring a book sentence ("Still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone, grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.")

"A Wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early: he arrives precisely when he means to!"-Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring.

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 10 2012, 12:53pm)


Xanaseb
Tol Eressea


Jul 10 2012, 12:55pm

Post #3 of 8 (371 views)
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I absolutely love this picture :) [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you think of the look of Mr. Balrog? If you read the book first, is it anything like what you had pictured while reading?

It is rather similar to what I pictured, but I think I had imagined its head to be more elongated, and it wreathed more in shadow and flame (so the body being less visible)

In the book, Gandalf sences the (magical?) power of the Balrog before he knows what he is dealing with - though he probably had his suspicions. Do you think PJ did enough to establish the fact that the Balrog was more than "just" a big scary looking monster? If so, how?

Yes PJ did it very well IMO. Starting off with Gandalf's original heavy reluctance to go through Moria, then the scene where Saruman explains his fear. Then later in Moria "there are older, fouler things than orcs.." and his very sombre immediate reaction to the Balrog's presence

What do you think was going on between the Balrog and Gandalf? Were they just trying to stare each other down - get their bluff in on the other ("headology" as Terry Pratchett might say)? Or do you think they are battling magical will against magical will and the battle is just invisible to us?

I think there is certainly an element of power play. The balrog obviously recognises Gandalf's high origins too, and thus it is no ordinary battle in both their minds. Tension is between them for sure.

What do you think of Gandalf's stance? Do you think the crossing of staff and sword is significant?

Well in a primal way it is just a matter of defence and protection, however I think you are right, it has got some significance... though it maybe because we are subconciously interpreting it to be similar to warding off daemons and foul spirits in Christian tradition, or even further back possibly. etc. It has practical significance probably too.

Any other thoughts welcome!Smile

Can you notice the slight blue sheen to the smoke around Gandalf (caused by his crystal-light)? I love that touch: Gandalf a beacon in the darkness. Or more symbolically, the clear blue light vs the raging yellow-red light of the Balrog. Wonderful wonderful contrast.

Thanks thanks thanks zarabia :D


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Xanaseb
Tol Eressea


Jul 10 2012, 12:58pm

Post #4 of 8 (421 views)
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oh lovely to see the parallels in film-book imagery 'like a wizened tree'. . I agree, it's encaptured well// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Join us over at Barliman's chat all day, any day!

________________________________________________

Laketown guy: What have the dwarves -ever- done for us?

Bard: The aqueduct!

Laketown guy: Piss off! We're not from Dale


HappyHobbitess
Rohan


Jul 11 2012, 8:59pm

Post #5 of 8 (335 views)
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Hard to tell what I'm seeing, actually... [In reply to] Can't Post

This particular image is actually slightly hard for me to interpret. I can't tell what I'm seeing with the Balrog and the flame. When I first looked at this, I thought, "oh my gosh! the Balrog has a TAIL! How have I never noticed?!"

But now I'm wondering--is that thing that looks like it's coming out his backside actually the bridge?!

Kind of a silly question, and not particularly important for the scene. But now I'm curious.

"Yes, but what about SECOND breakfast?"


zarabia
Grey Havens


Jul 12 2012, 1:00am

Post #6 of 8 (297 views)
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Sorry, here's a link to larger image [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.framecaplib.com/...es/fotr/fotr1212.htm

To me, this particular screen cap shows the Balrog the most clearly, but his anatomy is still hard to determine. It looks like he has two sets of arms plus the wings. Maybe it was meant to be vague.


BallyWhooo
Bree

Jul 12 2012, 2:44am

Post #7 of 8 (339 views)
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He could be... [In reply to] Can't Post

touching the sword to his staff in order to imbue the elven blade (book cannon) with the power of staff. I believe it is immediately after this that the balrog brings out his sword of fire spell, which Gandalf quickly dispatches forcing the balrog to resort to a using his whip spelll, which he snaps in an attempt to shake Gandalf's confidence. Of course Gandalf's response to that is to become even more defiant and use his staff to damage the bridge.


(This post was edited by BallyWhooo on Jul 12 2012, 2:45am)


Jeremy
Rivendell

Jul 14 2012, 4:38pm

Post #8 of 8 (328 views)
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Tail or wing? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This particular image is actually slightly hard for me to interpret. I can't tell what I'm seeing with the Balrog and the flame. When I first looked at this, I thought, "oh my gosh! the Balrog has a TAIL! How have I never noticed?!"

But now I'm wondering--is that thing that looks like it's coming out his backside actually the bridge?!


Kind of a silly question, and not particularly important for the scene. But now I'm curious.


I thought those were wings, not a tail.

Although, apparently it can't use its wings? That would be more accurate to what Tolkien wrote, too. I don't think Balrogs can fly, but I also don't think that rules out the possibility that they have wings like Corey Olsen claims.

 
 

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