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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Balrogs
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Ardamírë
Valinor


Mar 30 2013, 11:30pm

Post #51 of 58 (187 views)
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Thanks for digging that up [In reply to] Can't Post

I knew I was getting that from somewhere.

I've never thought of them actually flying like an eagle or a bat, but I do think of them with wings. I think John Howe's illustrations have influenced my picture of them a lot.

"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 Manwë; 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


Ardamírë
Valinor


Mar 30 2013, 11:32pm

Post #52 of 58 (178 views)
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Do not go to the Elves [In reply to] Can't Post

for they will say both 'yes' and 'no'.

I really think that's the answer to this question (at least for me). I don't like the idea of them being flightless like an emu or a penguin, but I also don't picture them as flying as an eagle or moth. I guess I think of them similarly to how I view angels (only of course made of fire and demonic).

"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 Manwë; 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


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 31 2013, 11:04am

Post #53 of 58 (210 views)
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Tolkien - inconsistent? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Elizabeth for pointing us towards "The Last Word on Balrog Wings"

I found this passage rather striking

Quote
"in this matter, as on almost every matter of dispute in Tolkien, the author changed his mind, changed it more than once, and made no effort to impose consistancy on his past writting. Early Balrogs definitely did not have wings and did not fly. Late Balrogs did have wings and definitely flew. This should not surprise us. Tolkien was willing to even change things already in print when it suited him, as when he altered the text of the Hobbit (as first published Gollum GAVE Bilbo the Ring for winning the Riddle Game, as he told the Dwarves), or when he revised Celeborn’s clan affiliation without notifying Galadriel."


"Striking" because my early impressions of Tolkien (still holding up despite all the affectionate peering into crannies we like to do here) is that the whole thing seems to hang together with few holes. Tolkien was much more consistent than one might expect, given Tolkien's "very organic" writing process (as Brethil, in another recent thread, aptly calls it).

I'd love to discuss further how Tolkien didn't end up with a universe littered with Balrog wings - started a thread for it over here

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Mar 31 2013, 11:06am)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 31 2013, 8:55pm

Post #54 of 58 (177 views)
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Asbestos socks with cushioned soles! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....


NZ Strider
Rivendell

Apr 7 2013, 2:56am

Post #55 of 58 (141 views)
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Ah, Balrog Wings! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just browsing a bit and enjoying the reprise of this discussion... Thank you, Elizabeth, for the link to Reverend's wonderful post on the matter. Since Reverend, God rest his soul, did me the favour back then of referring to the backwards "Antipodean" view of matters by mentioning my personal theory, that Balrogs had no wings, but could fly with them anyway; and since it brought back memories, I was inspired to dig out the doggerel which I put together back then in order to propound that view.

So here it is, under the title "Monday Morning Balrog Verses":

Monday Morning Balrog Verses

The Lord of the Rings is one of those things
Which inspires the greatest debates.
And the fiercest of all the debates this past Fall
Has shown not a sign it abates.

The one side maintains (and stoutly refrains
From yielding an inch of its ground)
That a Balrog’s two wings are functional things
In the view of all critics who’re sound.

Yet the sceptics refuse to countenance views
Which they deem so surely absurd,
Alleging the thing’s that Tolkien wrote ‘wings’
As a pure metaphorical word.

“And if not,” they’d say, “why on that grim day,
When the Balrog fell down the stair
Did the beast not spread those wings so dread
And glide away on the air?”

The believers then cried, “but the pit wasn’t wide
Enough for a Balrog’s proud wings
To spread out in glory! A different story
We’d otherwise tell of these things.”

So the two sides debated, their views firmly stated,
For those who desired to hear,
Yet no answer was found nor any new ground
For resolving the matter that year.

Yet some visions have taught me by night how we ought
To solve what has vexed not a little.
For me dreamt that I saw an assemblage at law
Convened for to answer the riddle.

As the lawyers debated and loudly orated,
In the dream I saw in May,
Lo a Balrog appeared and though they all feared
He menaced them not on that day.

Quite calmy he spake, and offered to shake
– a gesture of peace, as he said –
Each man by the hand that they’d all understand
He’d touch not a hair on their head.

“My body inspect, but do not expect,”
He stated in tones quite morose,
“To find e’en a trace of wings any place,”
Then bad them all to look close.

The believers then cried – for no Balrog e’er lied –,
But great was all sceptics’ glee,
As they chortled with joy, “my lovely dear boy,
We were right all along as you see!

“Our view categorical on words metaphorical
Was utterly justified;
This phantasmagorical beast allegorical
Could not fly if he tried!”

But their mirth soon abated as the Balrog constated,
They were telling a base pack of lies!
Their words he refuted – their views all confuted,
Soon the sceptics were rubbing their eyes.

Yea they all stared aghast and their jaws dropped at last,
As that beast from time prehistorical
Slowly rose up on high and then flew through the sky
On his stately two wings metaphorical.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 7 2013, 3:02am

Post #56 of 58 (127 views)
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*huge applause* [In reply to] Can't Post

What a delight! Your gift for rhyme is unmatched on TORN - who else could find a rhyme for phantasmagorical?

:D

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


sador
Half-elven


Apr 7 2013, 7:04am

Post #57 of 58 (111 views)
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As far as I know, you can. [In reply to] Can't Post


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

Perhaps a mod will correct me - but I've seen other fan-sites linked to pretty often over here. I think it's far better than just copying another's argument and taking credit for it yourself, or denying us some valuable resource. Wink


sador
Half-elven


Apr 7 2013, 7:15am

Post #58 of 58 (151 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Michael Martinez is a very interesting scholar, who actually posts here once in a blue moon. People who are interested in question of the "solidity" of Tolkien's creation (as in nowizardme's thread) will find in his website an invaluable resource (possibly, his books are even better - but I haven't read them Angelic).

I am also very grateful to you for linking to Dunkerson's summary: it is very clear and the closest thing I've ever seen to a fair, objective presentation. The appendix in which he states his own views is also quite important.

However, it seems that neither a couple of points which I consider relevant. Perhaps I also need some time to write down my ideas about this issue...

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