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Just wondering if Durin's Bane was under orders from Sauron when he fought Gandalf and if Sauron would have the power to control a Balrog?
Sauron did have servants in Moria but if the Balrog served him why keep such a powerful force in there? Wouldn't it make more sense to have him leading his armies?

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    The balrog wasn't a servant so much as an ally. I believe both the Balrogs a and Sauron served Morgoth/Melkor but I'll leave the answer to someone much more familiar with Tolkien lore!
    – Liath
    Aug 4, 2014 at 6:04
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    related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33631/…
    – DQdlM
    Aug 5, 2014 at 2:34
  • Cool thanks KennyPeanuts
    – turinsbane
    Sep 6, 2014 at 19:55
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    Sauron no more controls the Balrog than I control the lion sleeping on the other side of my house. It's more of an understanding that if I leave him alone, he'll do the same. I basically just keep the adjoining door closed and try not to wake him up.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 8, 2014 at 13:58

9 Answers 9

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The only indication that Sauron had anything to do with the Balrog is given in a footnote to Appendix A in Return of the King:

Or released from prison; it may well be that it had already been awakened by the malice of Sauron.

However, this doesn't imply any service or even awareness (and as both were Maiar in origin it's hard to imagine either serving the other), and it's difficult to reconcile with the Balrog's inactivity during the destruction of Eregion in the Second Age, when surely it would have been more useful:

The power of Moria endured throughout the Dark Years and the dominion of Sauron, for though Eregion was destroyed and the gates of Moria were shut, the halls of Khazad-dûm were too deep and strong and filled with a people too numerous and valiant for Sauron to conquer from without.

A Balrog would certainly have been useful during the battles at the end of the Third Age, but you're forgetting that Sauron's policy was one of secrecy for a long time, and it was only quite late that he went to open war: by which time the Balrog had already been destroyed.

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    All this is true but im pretty sure that the orcs in Moria were sent there by Sauron & the balrog allowed them to stay unlike the dwarves plus in the simarillion it says in the second age he united all Morgoths remaining servants on & under the ground under his government
    – turinsbane
    Aug 4, 2014 at 8:30
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    @turinsbane - "in the second age he united all Morgoths remaining servants" - the Balrog didn't awake until Third Age 1980.
    – user8719
    Aug 4, 2014 at 8:45
  • @turinsbane Are you sure that Sauron sent those Orcs? Orcs tend to obey the strongest force they can find. Who's to say those weren't the beginnings of the Balrog's own army?
    – Zibbobz
    Aug 15, 2014 at 14:47
  • @Zibbobz in unfinished tales the hunt for the ring it notes that Gollum was in great peril of discovery by the servants of Sauron that lurked in Moria
    – turinsbane
    Sep 6, 2014 at 18:24
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    @JerrySchirmer - no, it didn't. Read your Tale of Years and Durins Folk - the Balrog was inactive between the Breaking of Thangorodrim and TA 1980 (and the Dwarves of Moria were certainly not wiped out in the Second Age).
    – user8719
    Sep 6, 2014 at 23:58
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I was browsing through Appendix B in The Return of the King and I came across some interesting points from the Third Age calendar:

1980: A balrog appears in Moria and slays Durin VI.
2480: Orcs begin to make secret strongholds in the Misty Mountains. Sauron begins to people Moria with his creatures.

There's no doubt in my mind that Sauron knew of Durin's Bane's existence by (and probably far earlier than) the time the War of the Ring started.

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Some servant, hiding underground doing nothing. Nah, he was Melkor's servant, just as Sauron was. That's why he ended up in Moria. With Melkor gone, that whole army kind of crept off and hid away. Smaug pillaged a bit and fell asleep inside a mountain. Balrogs crept underground and stayed there. Shelob too, found some cave and led pretty much a normal spider lifestyle (well, people instead of flies, but hey, she's big). Sauron's army, on the other hand - orcs, trolls, Nazgûl - was pretty active, since it had its commander. Although when Sauron bit the dust they basically did what Melkor's gang did. Seems the standard operation for these dark guys is lose it and scatter when their leader goes.

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    Shelob never served Melkor she was her own master & i don't think Smaug had even been born when Melkor was conquered.
    – turinsbane
    Sep 6, 2014 at 18:48
  • Yep. I meant the kinds of creatures that served him, rather than individuals. Shelob was a descendant of Ungoliant (although Ungoliant was also arguably working WITH Melkor rather than FOR him). As for Smaug, he was a dragon - and even though he himself didn't work for Melkor, dragons were part of Melkor's horde.
    – Misha R
    Sep 9, 2014 at 3:45
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No, the balrog was unrelated to Sauron.
Sauron no doubt knew about balrogs, having been a servant of Melkor, who created them. But from all that's shown in the LOTR there's no evidence he controlled the one in Moria, or even was in communication with it (the orcs seemed to hold the balrog as some sort of demi-god more than another asset of Sauron, it's not even sure whether the orcs of Moria were under control of Sauron or an independent group, left over from the distant past).

From the books, Moria was a dark and evil place all of its own, its hatred for the company the result of an ingrained hatred of everything else (and probably especially of dwarves), rather than aimed specifically at them.

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  • Somewhat off-topic, but was Moria already lost (that is, inhabited by a Balrog and thousands of orcs/goblins) during the events of the Hobbit (and if so, was it known to anyone)? And, whether yes or no, why wasn't Gimli (a dwarf of royal blood) not aware of the loss of Moria to the forces of darkness?
    – TylerH
    Aug 4, 2014 at 17:13
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    @TylerH Prior to, and during the events of the Hobbit, Moria was lost to orcs. Following the events of the Hobbit, Balin journeyed back to Moria in an attempt to reclaim it. His new colony lasted approximately five years before being once again overcome by orcs. It seems it was unknown to Gimli that Moria was again lost prior to the Fellowship entering the city. Also, this may be worthy of it's own question.
    – ssell
    Aug 4, 2014 at 19:45
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    Melkor did not create the Balrogs, which were Maiar like Sauron.
    – Andres F.
    Aug 12, 2014 at 1:40
  • @AndresF.: but he made them into what they were, corrupting them and taking their ability to take an arbitrary form. Sep 6, 2014 at 20:29
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    Moria wasn't a dark and evil place, nor did it have "a hatred" for the Fellowship, even figuratively. Are you confusing Moria with the mountain Caradhras? It is that peak that, allegedly, hates all living creatures.
    – Andres F.
    Apr 25, 2015 at 1:32
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No. The Balrog may have been an ally though because, like Sauron, Durin's Bane once served Morgoth. So undoubtedly they knew each other, as Sauron was Morgoth's top lieutenant, and in The Silmarillion Sauron once led a group of Balrogs in an attack against the Noldor in Beleriand during the First Age.

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No. Durin's Bane and Sauron are both servants of Morgoth, but Durin's Bane doesn't serve Sauron.

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Not so much an answer, rather to highlight a possible tactic in Sauron placing the Balrog in Moria, and thus supporting the hypothesis of Sauron having influence over the Balrog:

Sauron certainly didn't rush his rebuilding after any defeats in the first two ages. I propose that, in a long calculated stratagem for victory in the Third Age, he would seek all potential retreats and strongholds for his enemies, be eradicated or controlled.

He warped Saruman to his service via the palantír, having him build an army and, amongst other things, destroy Helm's Deep. What other stronghold, (ignoring Gondor) would have remained, but for the Balrog and the Goblins? Moria would have clearly been capable of hosting an extremely large number of refugees and retreated armies. Tens of thousands easily. Sauron would surely have considered this. I discount the Realms of the Elves as realistic similar retreats for various reasons, chiefly the difficulty of accepting Dwarves.

With regard to why the Balrog got there after the War Of Wrath, and so long before the Third Age, is probably the main issue with this theory. Issued there by a clever and far sighted Sauron, guessing the future inevitability of Moria and the dwarves?

Anyway, yea. There you go. Conjecture I know, but from the strategic mind of Sauron the Great?! Surely a certainty... or not.

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Gandalf the Grey defeated Durin's Bane although he did die but Gandalf the White was easily overpowered by the Witch-king who is not really as strong as Sauron so the possibility that Durin's Bane could be a servant of Sauron is there in terms of power but in the story there was no clear evidence that Durin's Bane was a servant of Sauron.

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    "gandalf the white was easily overpowered by the witch king" - this only happens in the movies; in the books there is no contest between them; the Witch-king rides in, meets Gandalf, and before they can even get to fight the Rohirrim arrive and the Witch-king departs. By the way - capitals, punctuation, sentences!!!
    – user8719
    Jan 26, 2015 at 13:22
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Personally I think Durin's Bane was not a servant of Sauron. I also believe that the orcs in Moria didn't come across the Balrog a lot. I say this because, when it emerges, the orcs say "gash" which means fire in more of a surprised way, IMO. If the orcs were servants of the Balrog I think they'd refer to him in a better way. Just my opinion. Like you said, if Durin's Bane was a servant, why would he keep him in a mountain which has no strategical value to him?

People tend to bring up the fact as well that there were black Uruks of Mordor in Moria, so Durin's Bane and Sauron must have an understanding. I fully disagree; if I remember rightly Gollum had recently entered Moria to avoid the Nazgûl who were trying to capture him after Sauron realized Gollum could be of use to the good guys. I think the black Uruks we see in Moria may have simply been hunting Gollum. Also Durin's Bane doesn't really seem to care about anything going on in Middle-earth unless unwanted travelers entered his realm.

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