When Gandalf is forced to confront the Balrog in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, it seems especially mad (I am most familiar with the movie-version of events, having not read the books in ages).

Did the Balrog know the purpose of Gandalf's group and object or was it just a generally cantankerous fellow?

  • 5
    I think we was just PO'd. Notice how the goblins retreated from Durin's Bane as well. I think Moria was his domain, and didn't take kindly to anybody wandering about it; especially good guys.
    – Anthony
    Jan 24, 2012 at 1:36
  • 4
    The Balrogs are Maiar (similar to the wizards) from the time of Morgoth. Sauron was just a lieutenant of Morgoth, who was a badass fellow indeed. I don't know the answer to the second part of your question so I'm posting as a comment, but they do evil the same way that a fish swims. It's a part of their very nature.
    – JNK
    Jan 24, 2012 at 1:36
  • 3
    Wouldn't Balrog and Gandalf naturally be enemies, or at least on opposing sides of things? Plus, isn't the balrog always on fire? wouldn't you always be PO'd if you were constantly ablaze?
    – erdiede
    Jan 24, 2012 at 3:00
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    if you had spent thousands of years trapped under the misty mountains with only orcs for company wouldn't you be a bit 'cantankerous'?
    – phil
    Jul 9, 2012 at 18:34
  • 2
    the dwarves woke him up from one of those dreams.. you know the ones...
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 30, 2012 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


As noted in the quote below, Balrogs are Maiar that have "fallen", i.e. they were persuaded by Melkor/Morgoth to join him in his rebellion against the other Ainur. Sauron were also amongst these fallen Maiar and was accounted as one of Melkor's chief lieutenants, so it's possible there were communications between Sauron and the Balrog. However it's debatable whether Sauron knew about the fellowship's entry into Moria as to inform the Balrog.

"For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror. Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel."

Silmarillion, Valaquenta - Of the Enemies

It is most likely the Balrog not only resented the intrusion into its domain, but when you consider Gandalf was not only a fellow Maiar, but also an agent of the other Ainur that defeated Melkor, the Balrog could have especially hated and feared Gandalf's presence in "his" mines.

  • 40
    I guess when your full moniker includes "demons of terror" you can be classified as generally cantankerous.
    – DQdlM
    Jan 24, 2012 at 19:27

Gandalf knew that that the Balrog would "kill" him. It is why he tries to avoid going through Moria by crossing Caradhras. Even Sarumon was aware of this and forces the Fellowship to take the path through Moria. "Moria, you fear to go into those mines ... You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dûm." When Frodo decides to take the mines, Gandalf knows it will probably cost him his life.

Chances are Gandalf has a history with the Balrog. The Maiar were charged with fighting the corrupted Valar and Maiar. And they were on opposing sides of the War of the Jewels and the War of Wrath.

  • 2
    I think it should be pointed out that your Saruman quote is from the movie only, not in the book, although I don't think it contradicts the book - Gandalf was aware that there was a Balrog there, although he presumably thought they could get through without disturbing it. Gandalf was indeed reluctant to go into Moria, but I don't think it was a very specific fear - and in fact he had crossed through Moria before without coming to harm.
    – AAT
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:40
  • The storm had nothing to do with Saruman( in the book ). Apr 28, 2015 at 7:11
  • 2
    @AAT Gandalf did not know in the book. Nobody knew what 'Durin's Bane' was. May 3, 2015 at 14:05

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