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Balrog

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Balrogs

Biographical information

Other names
Demons of the Ancient World
Titles
Servants of Morgoth
Date of birth
Before the Creation of Arda
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Most perished in the First Age, some possibly still in existence
Spouse
Weapon
Fiery weapons (Swords, whips, axes, etc.)

Physical description

Race
Culture
Maiar of Evil (Servants of Morgoth), Valaraukar
Gender
Height
14' - 18' or larger
Hair color
Mane of flames
Eye color
Reddish-white
Actor
Voice
Character
"Then something came into the chamber - I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent. It laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell."
The Lord of the Rings, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"

Balrogs were the Valaraukar (Quenya; vala "power" + rauko "monster"), spirits of the Maiar that were seduced and corrupted by Melkor to his service.[1] There were never more than seven, according to Tolkien's son, but in earlier versions of Tolkien's writings there are references to entire armies of Balrogs, at least before the destruction of Utumno . Gothmog was their captain during the First Age.

(Note: Many pictures on this page are of Durin's Bane, the Balrog of Moria, the best-known example of a Balrog.)
Note: For theories about whether Balrogs had actual wings, go to the Did Balrogs have wings? page.

OriginsEdit

Balrogs were "scourges of fire, ... demons of terror."[1] They were Maiar, originally of the same order as Sauron and Gandalf, but they were seduced by Melkor, who corrupted them to his service in the days of his splendour before the creation of Arda. During the Music of the Ainur, the Ainulindalë, Melkor (Morgoth) began introducing themes of his own design into the Theme of Ilúvatar, causing great discord in the music. Balrogs were among those spirits near Melkor who attuned their own music to Melkor's theme rather than Ilúvatar's. Therefore, they not only existed before the creation of the world, they had a part in its creation.

HistoryEdit

During the First Age, Balrogs were among the most feared of Morgoth's forces. When his Fortress of Utumno was destroyed by the Valar, seven fled and lurked in the pits of Angband. If more existed before this time, they were slain by the Valar in Utumno. The Balrogs were first encountered by the Elves during the Dagor-nuin-Giliath (Battle-under-Stars) in the First Age. After the great victory of the Ñoldor over Morgoth's orcs, Fëanor pressed on towards Angband, but the Balrogs came against him. He was mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Though his sons fought off the demons with an army of elves at their side, Fëanor died of his wounds soon after, and his spirit departed for the Halls of Mandos. Another major encounter was in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears(Nirnaeth Arnoediad). Gothmog, High Captain of Angband, led the invasion. He threw aside Hurin and Turgon , turned upon Fingon and killed him with the help of another Balrog, winning the battle for Morgoth's forces. During the Fall of Gondolin, Ecthelion managed to kill Gothmog at the cost of his own life. Another Balrog is confronted when he attacks Tuor and those attempting to escape the siege. Glorfindel fought the Balrog to give his friends a chance to escape. The battle ended with Glorfindel casting down the Balrog from the mountain but being pulled down along with the demon. The last Balrogs fought in the War of Wrath but were either slain or forced to retreat.

Xtra09
The portrait in Saruman's book at Orthanc of Durin's Bane.
Silvered GirlAdded by Silvered Girl

Most of the Balrogs of Morgoth were destroyed during the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age, but some few "fled and hid themselves in caverns inaccessible at the roots of the earth."[2] During the Third Age, it was discovered that one of these had hidden deep beneath the Misty Mountains, near Moria. That was Durin's Bane, the best-documented of the Balrogs. The Dwarves of Khazad-dûm had accidentally awakened it while greedily mining too deep for Mithril. It was Durin's Bane that drove the dwarves from their homeland in Moria. Later, in his confrontation with the wizard Gandalf and the the Fellowship of the Ring, he pursued them to the bridge of Khazad-dûm. Gandalf fought the Balrog allowing the Fellowship to escape Moria.[3] Both were slain, but Gandalf was "sent back" by the Valar (or possibly by Iluvatar).[4]

AppearanceEdit

Balrog vs Gandalf
The Balrog's Whip.
HiddenValeAdded by HiddenVale
By G17RDY Creations and Hecubus114
The sword of hell by G17RDY Creations and Hecubus114.
DreamBrisdinAdded by DreamBrisdin

A Balrog generally took the form of a tall, menacing being roughly in the shape of a Man, having control of both fire and shadow and wielding a fiery whip with several thongs (Gothmog, the Lord of Balrogs in the First Age, used an axe as well). They induced great terror in friends and foes alike. Many who faced Balrogs referred to them as "creatures of fire and shadow" or simply "shadow and flame."

In his published works, Tolkien depicts the Balrog as being barely a shape wreathed in shadow and flame - possibly man-shape, yet greater. Balrogs seemed to encapsulate and project power and terror.

Additionally, they were probably able to alter their body structures on occasions as being seen in the battle between Durin's Bane and Gandalf, when the Balrog fell into a water he could shift himself into somewhat gelatinous.

MiscellaneousEdit

In one of Tolkien's pre-Middle-earth stories, Lay of the Children of Húrin, "Lungothrin, Lord of Balrogs," is mentioned. It is not certain whether this was another name for Gothmog, or whether it simply meant "a Balrog lord." According to Christopher Tolkien, the latter is more probable, as the name Gothmog was mentioned in the earliest Middle-earth writings, as well as in the final versions of Tolkien's mythology.

The early conception of Balrogs makes them less terrible, and certainly more destructible, than they afterwards became: they existed in 'hundreds' (p. 170), and were slain by Tuor and the Gondothlim in large numbers: "thus five fell before Tuor's great axe Dramborleg, three before Ecthelion's sword, and two score were slain by the warriors of the king's house." —The Book of Lost Tales 2, commentary by Christopher Tolkien on The Fall of Gondolin.

"There came wolves and serpents and there came Balrogs one thousand, and there came Glomund the Father of Dragons." The Lost Road, Chapter 16. (Glomund's name became Glaurung when Tolkien wrote the Silmarillion.

When Tolkien developed Middle-earth as the backdrop for The Lord of the Rings, Balrogs became more formidable and terrible, and their number was much reduced. In the end Christopher Tolkien stated that there were "at most" seven Balrogs:

"In the margin my father wrote: 'There should not be supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed.'"
Morgoth's Ring, Section 2 (AAm*): Note 50

And yet, in The Silmarillion, which is considered canon, Tolkien wrote that duringn meant that those "few that fled and hid themselves" numbered only three or at most seven.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

Video gamesEdit

  • It is also a Boss character in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Video Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Game Boy Advance and The Lord of the Rings: The Third AgeIn the latter, the Balrog is fought by Gandalf on the Player's side and becomes a usable hero for the duration of the battle. Though it is referenced in the video games based on the Films.
  • Two Balrogs also appear in The Lord of the Rings Online: Thaurlach, located deep within the Rift of Nurz Ghashu in Angmar, and Durin's Bane, encountered several times during introductive "quests" to Moria. An illusion of Durin's Bane is encountered in the Ost Dunhoth Instance Raid.

Card gamesEdit

  • Balrog (named Firelord Balrog) appears in the game The Legend of the Cryptids as a playable card.

EtymologyEdit

The Quenya form is Valarauko or Valarauco (IPA: [valaˈraʊko]), and the plural is Valaraukar or Valaraucar ([valaˈraʊkar]). The Sindarin form was "Demon of Might"; IPA: [ˈbalroɡ]; Sindarin plural Belryg; [ˈbelryɡ] or later [ˈbelriɡ])

GalleryEdit

Gothmog the Balrog
Gothmog, the king of Balrogs
GandalfVSBalrog
Ted Nasmith - The Dwarves Delve Too Deep
The awakening of Durin's Bane
The balrogs of morgoth by thylacinee-d5pl60x
All seven Balrogs before the throne of Morgoth. Gothmog is in the center, and Durin's Bane is just to the left.
LEGO Balrog
LEGO Balrog
Dragon, balrog2
A Balrog from The Battle for Middle-earth attacks
Screen Shot 2012-06-19 at 4.50.44 PM
Three demons of Melkor in BFME2

TriviaEdit

  • At over 20 feet high, the Balrog is one of the largest characters in the Lord of the Rings franchise. Along with Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, Radagast, Treebeard and possibly Tom Bombadil, he may very well be the oldest.
  • Balrogs were indeed very fearsome and powerful creatures. Not only with their whips and swords of hell, their entire being were associated with flames as their simple breaths were extremely hot fire.
  • For what extent Balrogs' capabilities in terms of special abilities and magic could reach is basically unknown. For example, Istari at least could cause changes in the weathers at will, thus Balrogs could or could not do the same art. Furthermore, as when Morgoth was attacked by the Ungoliant, Balrogs could reach to rescue their master quite immediately. This was possibly due to their using of magic or supernatural power of Maiar in case if they cannot fly extremely fast.
  • It seems likely that they cannot hurt with normal weapons as Gandalf said. Gandalf could fight against the demon because Gandalf himself is a Maia as well and the blade used by him was the Glamdring, a sword of Gondolin.
  • Some fans of the Doom series claim that the Balrog of the movies looks similar to a cross between a D3 Cyberdemon and a D3 Maledict (Cyberdemon with Maledict Wings).
  • A demonic monster in the popular 2D side-scrolling game Maplestory, bears many similar qualities and characteristics, and thus many believe the monster was represented on behalf of the fictitious one depicted in the Tolkien series.
  • A certain red-skinned antagonist in the MMO-RPG Wartune is identical exactly to a Balrog but for his 4 black horns.
  • A demon in Dungeon Hunter: Alliance called the "Cremator "has the same head and fiery presence as a Balrog, without wings.
  • A demonic monster in another popular 3D game is called "Mabinogi."
  • Many fans claim that the Balrog inspired Games Workshop's Bloodthirster in Warhammer, which is known as the Greater Daemon of Khorne (the Chaos God of Blood, Battle, War and Rage.)
  • The main antagonist of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the Dahaka, strongly resembles the Balrog, but has one horn bent downward, and it does NOT have wings.
  • The Balor from Dungeons and Dragons is clearly based on the Balrog.
    • In early editions of the game, it was actually referred to as the Balrog. The name was changed due to copyright claims made by Tolkien Estate.
  • The hero named Hellbringer from Heroes of Newerth (A game that is based on a popular Warcraft III mod known as Defense of the Ancients.) can summon Malphas which is clearly based on the Balrogs.
  • War, the first horseman and main playable character from the game Darksiders has a chaos form that looks very similar to Durin's Bane.
  • Balrog was the name of a boxer from USA who made his debut as the second boss in Street Fighter II. Although he cannot kick, he made up for it with pummeling punches. This name was originally part of a triangle of replacement; the original Japanese game credited him as M. Bison (after boxer Mike Tyson), leaving the character Vega named Balrog.
  • In the manga and anime series Saint Seiya, Balrog Rune (or Balron Lune) is a servant of Hades clad in armor modeled after Tolkien's monster.
  • The Juggernaut and its upgrade the Ravager in Heroes VI, also resembles the Balrog's looks. Especially the head region. Whether this is on purpose or just a coincidence is not known.
Ainur of Arda
Ainulindalë (Music of the Ainur)
Lords of the Valar Manwë | Aulë | Oromë | Irmo (Lórien) | Námo (Mandos) | Tulkas | Ulmo
Queens of the Valar (The Valier): 
Varda | Yavanna | Vána | Estë | Vairë | Nessa | Nienna
Lord of the Valar (The Enemy): 
Morgoth (a.k.a. Melkor)
Maiar
Eönwë | Ilmarë | Ossë | Uinen | Salmar | Melian | Arien | Tilion | Curumo (Saruman) | Olórin (Gandalf) | Aiwendil (Radagast) | Alatar (Morinehtar) | Pallando (Rómestámo)
Maiar (Enemies):  Sauron | Gothmog | Durin's Bane | Ungoliant | Curumo (Saruman)

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Silmarillion, Valaquenta: "Of the Maiar"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter V: "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter V: "The White Rider"

External linksEdit

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