My son asked me this very tricky question and I'd be interested to hear opinions: Who would win in a fight between the Balrog from Moria and Smaug the dragon?

Things to consider; Smaug, despite being very powerful, is nevetheless a creature of flesh and blood and is susceptible to physical damage. The Balrog is a spiritual creature, but can be killed (although Gandalf presumably had to use magic to achieve this). So it's a tough call but it would be some fight...

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    I don't think there will be any canon answers to this, so any answers will be opinion-based rather than evidence-based. This doesn't fit with the site's rules.
    – Moogle
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 12:56
  • Yup; this might be a bit too Gorilla vs. Sharkish, unless there are descriptions of these two characters in the canon that can support answers. Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:16
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    Balrogs can also be killed by Elves; even a good spiked-helmet will do the job (and yes, even the later Tuor has a Chekhov's Gun for this, even though the story was never completed).
    – user8719
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:25
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    Sorry, my bad. I think I see now that the forum is more for questions about plot and characters within the literature (which has the serious effect of enabling someone to understand more of the story) - rather than random speculation... Thanks for the answers anyway! Commented May 20, 2014 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


Given that the Balrog cannot be hurt by fire, which is the main weapon of Smaug, I would say that in this case Balrog 1 - Smaug 0.

The Balrog is an immortal Maia while Smaug is a mortal dragon: Balrog 2 - Smaug 0.

I think the match shall end with this score.

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    In the War of Wrath, Melkor's winged dragons are held in reserve until after the balrogs are defeated. The implication certainly being that they are the more dangerous of the two.
    – Sconibulus
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:35
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    Yes, they were more dangerous to Melkor's enemy, in good part because they were unseen before.
    – Envite
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 7:29
  • On the other hand, a dragon need not fight a Balrog if they felt they'd lose while the dragon can force the Balrog to fight if it chooses. Higher mobility gives the dragon the option of engaging or not. Also Maia immortality does not mean the vessel can't die, it means the spirit is bound to Middle Earth. Some Maia are resurrected and returned to Middle Earth (ala Gandalf) but I don't think the Valar would choose to resurrect a killed Balrog. Additionally other Balrog were defeated, killed, and did not return.
    – Jim2B
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 15:22

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