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114

Tolkien is not at all specific: 'Long time I fell,' he [Gandalf] said at last, slowly, as if thinking back with difficulty. 'Long I fell, and he [the Balrog] fell with me. His fire was about me. I was burned. Then we plunged into the deep water and all was dark. Cold it was as the tide of death: almost it froze my heart.' 'Deep is the abyss that is ...


83

Because using a sword was effective. (Keep in mind that Balrogs envisioned by Tolkien were not as big as what Peter Jackson depicts in the movies.) 'Do as I say!' said Gandalf fiercely. 'Swords are no more use here. Go!' The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm In the books, Gandalf says that particular line ...


77

Karen Wynn Fonstad's highly regarded The Atlas of Middle-earth includes a diagram showing a vertical cross section of Moria. In the diagram, the horizontal distance of 20 miles from the guardroom to the bridge appears that to be about 2.5 times the vertical drop from the "First Deep" to the bottom of the abyss. Accounting for the 7:1 exaggeration of height ...


72

In the novel, the events played out slightly differently. Gandalf was already at the rear of the pack. The Hobbits, Gimli and Legolas had already made it to the arch when the Balrog appeared. They stayed inside the arch (obeying Gandalf) whereas the humans, Aragorn and Boromir decided to stand with Gandalf. 'Over the bridge!' cried Gandalf, recalling his ...


69

Not until it's already upon them Emphasis mine: 'What happened away up there at the door?' [Gimli] asked. 'Did you meet the beater of the drums?' I do not know,' answered Gandalf. 'But I found myself suddenly faced by something that I have not met before. I could think of nothing to do but to try and put a shutting-spell on the door. I know many; ...


68

They almost definitely could talk, probably Melkian. Balrogs are corrupted Maiar. We know that other Maiar can speak (e.g. Gandalf, Sauron). If balrogs can't speak, it would mean they lost that ability in their transformation, which there would need to be evidence of. Durin's Bane not speaking can definitely be taken as circumstantial evidence, but it ...


65

We don't know There are no instances in any of Tolkien's writings of a Balrog speaking, so it's not clear whether they could, or what language they would have spoken. They were, however, definitely able to communicate verbally in some fashion; at the very least, they were capable of making sounds, as Durin's Bane does in the text: Gandalf lifted his ...


58

Balrog1 are Maiar2 that were "scourges of fire". They were seduced by the evil Vala Melkor(Morgoth)3, who corrupted them to his service in the days of his splendour before the making of Arda. "Is there any documentation of a specific number of Balrogs in existence at any one time or any details as to what they specifically are?" The specific number is ...


56

It was known that there was something dangerous in Moria. Glóin tells the Council of Elrond: Glóin sighed. ‘Moria! Moria! Wonder of the Northern world! Too deep we delved there, and woke the nameless fear. Long have its vast mansions lain empty since the children of Durin fled. But now we spoke of it again with longing, and yet with dread; for no dwarf ...


55

The size of Balrogs changed as Tolkien evolved his stories; in the Lost Tales they have a very specific size, but then when we next get a detailed description of the appearance of a Balrog, in the first draft of the Moria chapters, things are quite different: A figure strode to the fissure, no more than man-high yet terror seemed to go before it. They ...


54

Balrogs were a specific type of Maia - spirits of fire - whereas both Sauron and Saruman were mentioned as being not of that type. The only other Maia of this type mentioned in the texts is Arien, the guide of the Sun: ...and she was chosen because she had not feared the heats of Laurelin, and was unhurt by them, being from the beginning a spirit of fire,...


49

In the films, but perhaps not the book. It makes it clear that both Saruman and Gandalf know what lies in Moria. Saruman cuts off the other routes around the mountains to try and drive Gandalf before it. "The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dûm: Shadow and Flame!" -- Saruman It is Gimli who ...


48

No: they don't talk at all. From Tolkien's Letters, Letter #210: The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer. ... Z[immerman] may think that he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him.


47

Relevant quote from The Two Towers; Chapter 5, The White Rider: 'Then tell us what you will, and time allows!' said Gimli. 'Come, Gandalf, tell us how you fared with the Balrog!''Name him not!' said Gandalf, and for a moment it seemed that a cloud of pain passed over his face, and he sat silent, looking old as death. 'Long time I fell,' he said at ...


46

According to the timeline of events, the Balrog was trapped until 1980 Third Age (TA): The Moria dwarves awaken Durin's Bane, a Balrog, which kills Durin VI, king of Khazad-dûm The events of the Lord of the Rings occur primarily in 3018-3019 TA (including the fight and demise of the Balrog). So we have 1,038 years for the Balrog to struggle for power. ...


46

The best argument for a wingless Balrog does not depend on puzzling metaphors, poetic license or literary interpretation. Consider the two known examples of someone felling a Balrog. Gandalf and a Balrog battle it out at Durin's tower, high atop Zirak-zigil: I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he ...


46

Magic in Middle-earth is rather different to "conventional" magic. One must first remember that what one often thinks of as magic as used in other systems (like Harry Potter or D&D) was not prevalent in Tolkien's Middle-earth. As Tolkien himself says in Letter 155, it is a complex matter, and that his works used it far too casually. Stating that it's "...


39

There's no hint that the Balrog is any kind of wider threat. It has been resident in Moria for over a thousand years by this point, but no-one outside is even aware of its presence. Gandalf certainly never mentions addressing the threat as part or his reasoning for going through Moria. This is contrary to Smaug, who was specifically called out as such in ...


38

This has been discussed many times on the old Tolkien newsgroups, and the conclusive write-up of both sides of the debate is available in this essay by Conrad Dunkerson. I think the essay will provide a more complete answer than any response to this question. To summarise the essay for the TL;DR crowd the answer, as expected for something still not settled,...


38

It is significant that the word "Shadow" is capitalized. There are 224 occurrances of the word "shadow" in the Fellowship of the Ring (including preface and prologues), and Tolkien is very specific with those he capitalizes and those he does not. I'm (obviously) not going to list all of them, but here is (I hope) a representative sampling: In the Land of ...


36

In Short The Balrogs had their wills tied to Morgoth who, unlike Sauron, was more focused on destruction than he was on domination. This meant that while the Balrog did chase the Fellowship through Moria, it was more likely he was drawn by the power (and therefore threat) Gandalf posed going through Moria rather than desiring the Ring (as the Ring only ...


36

Balrogs were in the service of Morgoth before Time Mairon was a servant of Aule, not Melkor Although VoC claims Balrogs were a "spirit of fire" only two characters in Tolkien's writings are ever described as such. However from The Complete Tolkien Companion we get the following “In their origins, as a part of the Thought of Ilúvatar, these were MAIAR of ...


35

Because Gandalf told them not to. When they first encountered the creature, Gandalf tells them This is a foe beyond any of you. Run! And then, when he is hanging on the bridge Fly, you fools! Remember, the orcs were still coming. Time was of the essence.


34

About twice the height of an Elf Depending on you views of the canonicity of the Book of Lost Tales - they are basically the draft notes for the Silmarillion.(Personally, if they are not contradicted by later canon I tend to take them at face value) Assuming that Balrogs are the same size the Balrogs at the Fall of Gondolin appeared to be of a consistent ...


25

Unclear, but probably They're never described as talking in any of Tolkien's writings that I could find. However, they can certainly make noises. Some actions can be interpreted as being spoken and some events would be unlikely to have happened without speech, but most of it is circumstantial. That being said, these are stories born out of a love of ...


21

It's unclear but probably not until he saw it The balrog of Moria was awakened in TA 1980, that is, more than 1,000 years before the fellowship entered Moria in TA 3019. It killed King Durin VI and earned its nickname: Durin's Bane. It also killed King Nain I the following year and many other dwarves before they fled. The existence of Durin's Bane ...


21

We know for a fact that swords are effective, though perhaps not ordinary swords. During the battle of Gondolin, one of the more epic battles of the First Age, many balrogs were slain with weapons, wielded by various high elf heroes who used no magic of any kind. We don't know in great detail how the battle between Gandalf and the balrog went on; the book ...


20

There may be hints of an answer in the way Tolkien fitted the balrog into the story. At one point, he had the Moria balrog under Sauron's direct control; sent from Orodruin to Moria specifically. The way this changed - and the description of the balrog as being a terror of the first age (i.e .ancient times) - serves to distance it from the current tide of ...


18

I like to think the Balrog was something akin to the Dragon in the Hobbit. A very powerful creature, but if you left it alone, generally speaking it left you alone. I haven't seen any evidence that the Balrog was intelligent, which is a requirement for trying to take over the world. Studying the Wikipedia article, there is evidence to indicate that the ...


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