Follow-up question to Why couldn't the dwarves beat/kill the Balrog?

From the answers to that question, the dwarves apparently couldn't kill the Balrog because the Balrog is very powerful, so powerful that by the Third Age very few people could actually beat it one-on-one. But that's one-on-one. There's no rule that the dwarves have to fight the Balrog one-on-one. Why couldn't the dwarves assemble a legion of crossbowmen and kill the Balrog 1000-on-1?

A first guess is that the Balrog is impervious to weapons, but this implies the Balrog is vulnerable to swords, and by extension arrows. Another possibility is that the Balrog travels with a retinue of Orcs that makes it 1000-on-1000, but since the Balrog leads from the front (it confronted the Fellowship personally) the dwarves could still presumably kill it with ranged weapons - if not with arrows (because it's out of range), then with ballista bolts or something.

  • 5
    This question seems to suffer from an idea introduced by D&D, and that is that any being has a finite ability to absorb damage. There is no evidence that the dwarves can hurt the Balrog at all and a million times zero is still zero.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 3:47
  • @DavidW if the Balrog is vulnerable to weapons, why would the dwarves not be able to hurt the Balrog?
    – Allure
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 3:49
  • 4
    Evidence that the Balrog is vulnerable to weapons? (Note that you're pointing to a movie scene, and even it doesn't say that Balrog is vulnerable to a sword, just that the Balrog can be fought with a sword wielded by a Maia.)
    – DavidW
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 3:53
  • 1
    I fail to see why this is a duplicate and there's no explanation above either, so voting to reopen.
    – Allure
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 5:12
  • 1
    I can't see how this question is sufficiently different from the linked dupe to vote to reopen. The questions are essentially the same: an answer to this question would immediately apply to the linked Q, so imo they are dupes.
    – fez
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 8:17

1 Answer 1


Very little is known of how the first fighting between the balrog and the dwarves of Moria went. In fact, it appears that the only information may be what is given in Appendix B ("The Tale of Years") of The Lord of the Rings:

1980 ... A balrog appears in Moria and slays Durin VI.
1981 Náin I slain. The Dwarves flee from Moria....

Clearly, there was not one single battle in which Durin's Bane earned his name by killing the king and driving the other dwarves away. The dwarves remained, presumably struggling with the balrog, for at least a matter of months, until they lost another king. Only after that did Thráin the Old lead them away from Khazad-dûm. However, what went on during this period of conflict was never revealed, and we do not know what tactics were used by either side in the conflict.

We do get one further glimpse of the balrog's power of the dwarves, almost nine hundred years later, however. According to Appendix A, at the Battle of Azanulbizar:

Up the steps after him leaped a Dwarf with a red axe. It was Dáin Ironfoot, Náin’s son. Right before the doors he caught Azog, and there he slew him, and hewed off his head. That was held a great feat, for Dáin was then only a stripling in the reckoning of the Dwarves. But long life and many battles lay before him, until old but unbowed he fell at last in the War of the Ring. Yet hardy and full of wrath as he was, it is said that when he came down from the Gate he looked grey in the face, as one who has felt great fear.


Then Thráin turned to Dáin, and said: ‘But surely my own kin will not desert me?’ ‘No,’ said Dáin. ‘You are the father of our Folk, and we have bled for you, and will again. But we will not enter Khazad-dûm. You will not enter Khazad-dûm. Only I have looked through the shadow of the Gate. Beyond the shadow it waits for you still: Durin’s Bane. The world must change and some other power than ours must come before Durin’s Folk walk again in Moria.’

So even Dáin Ironfoot, one of the greatest dwarf warriors and kings of the Third Age, was so terrified by the mere presence of the balrog inside Moria that he could not enter, and it seems that he knew that no other dwarves would be able to enter either—at least, not at that time. When the Company meet Durin's Bane, the witness that

a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it,

and it seems that was an exceedingly powerful weapon in itself.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.