View Full Version : One hand tied behind their backs

12-28-2000, 11:34 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 405</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
The Istari, Gandalf, et al. operate at a disadvantage in Middle Earth. Not only do they have a body to lug around, they also have limitations imposed by the Valar. They are not allowed to match power with power, force with force, etc. Unless they lay down their responsibilities as Istari, there can never be a direct fight between Sauron and Gandalf or any other Istari.

Which leads to my point. As a companion to the Balrog thread (wings!), consider this. Although Gandalf, et al. have accepted restrictions on their powers/abilities, Sauron and his buddies have not. Sauron and the Balrog, who most will agree are similar in nature, have assumed bodies, but their powers are uncontrolled except as limited by their native strength (or, in the case of Sauron, by what strength they've given away). Because they have not accepted limitations on their powers, who is to say that Sauron, the Balrog, or any other Vala/Maia couldn't fly, tumble a mountain down, etc. even with a body? Hee, hee, devil's advocate (how appropriate).

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000004>Mithadan</A> at: 12/28/00 12:39:17 pm

The Barrow-Wight
12-28-2000, 11:39 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wraith of Angmar
Posts: 1663</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

This echoes my remark in the Balrog Wing topic.... Why would a balrog need wings to fly?? Especially when you consider Mithadan's good point about their not being under any restraint. But (slipping into the devil's advocate chair beside Mithadan) who said the wings were for flying??

The Barrow-Wight (RKittle)
<font size="2">I usually haunt http://www.barrowdowns.comThe Barrow-Downs</a> and The Barrow-Downs http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgiMiddle-Earth Discussion Board</a>.</p>

12-28-2000, 01:08 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 406</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

True. The wings were very pretty.

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

Mister Underhill
12-28-2000, 03:24 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
Posts: 235</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> who is to say that Sauron, the Balrog, or any other Vala/Maia couldn't fly, tumble a mountain down, etc. even with a body?<hr></blockquote>If Sauron or a Balrog or even Morgoth in his later years had this kind of power, then why spend time dinking around with breeding Orcs and trolls and dragons and other nasty beasties, scheming to create or split alliances, and otherwise wasting time? Why not just lift a finger and have the earth swallow up their enemies or drop a mountain on their heads? Why wouldn’t Sauron just personally come and rip Minas Tirith off its foundations? The question contains its own answer.

Also, this whole idea of “restraints” and such still doesn’t answer the question of why Gandalf needs a helping hand to fly. Would his flying really tip the balance of power that the Valar had decreed? Was this one of the supposed rules imposed on the Istari when they got their briefing before heading out for ME? “No flying!” I don’t think so. And anyway, if being a being of pure energy is somehow more powerful than a “limited” physical manifestation, then why did any of the great powers assume physical form? Why does Sauron bother to rebuild himself if he’s stronger as a disembodied flaming red ball of energy?

I think the limitations imposed on Gandalf et al, were more like they couldn’t come to ME and set themselves up as kings of the west and oppose Sauron that way. I don’t think it’s really about taking Sauron on head-to-head (a fight which Gandalf seems to think he would lose, anyway).


12-28-2000, 04:07 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 409</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

Sauron gave his power to the Ring, and probably lacked the native strength to tumble down a mountain (bad example, a degree of power available only to some of the Valar or maiar working in concert). The balrog was probably never that strong to begin with.

The precise nature of the restraints on the power of the Istari is not clear. I think that all would agree that Gandalf came back rather supercharged after Moria. Nonetheless, they were subject to constraints.

The evil ones were not. Whether the bodies they assumed necessarily constrained their abilities is unknown but likely. Whether they were strong enough to fly with their bodies to begin with is unknown. I would hazard a guess that the Valar could probably fly if they wanted to, assuming that flight is within the panoply of their skills. Morgoth probably couldn't because he had given too much of himself to the corruption of earth.

In my view, Sauron (during the Third Age, we know he could fly in the First Age) and the Balrog probably couldn't fly unassisted (Wings!), at least while residing in bodies.

Why inhabit bodies? The Sil. implies this was done so they could interact with elves, men and perhaps at a more basic level with the physical stuff from which Arda was made. Disembodied, the Nazgul had no ability to affect the physical world.

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

Mister Underhill
12-28-2000, 04:35 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
Posts: 236</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> The precise nature of the restraints on the power of the Istari is not clear. I think that all would agree that Gandalf came back rather supercharged after Moria.<hr></blockquote>I’ve never really bought into this. He doesn’t seem all that different from before. What does he really do with this supercharge? Shatter Saruman’s staff? Big whoop. In an earlier thread, most Downers seemed to agree that this was really more of a symbolic act. Saruman already had his butt kicked by Treebeard &amp; Co. I guess he mouths off some to the Lord of the Nazgul and to the Mouth of Sauron, but good old G always did have a sharp tongue, before and after Moria. Anyway, if he was so powerful, then the Ring wouldn’t be that big of a temptation. The real temptation would be to use this mad power he was holding in check because of constraints placed on him, etc.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Why inhabit bodies? The Sil. implies this was done so they could interact with elves, men and perhaps at a more basic level with the physical stuff from which Arda was made. Disembodied, the Nazgul had no ability to affect the physical world.<hr></blockquote>Rhetorical question, sorry. This is my point. If pure energy Maiar really can’t affect the physical world, then how can they be deemed more powerful than corporeal Maiar? I don’t believe the hype on the non-corporeal Maiar. Just blow them away with a stiff breeze.

I don’t really see anyone playing as though they have one armed tied behind their back. Everyone seems to be going pretty much all out. I think the constraints put on the Istari were more of a moral/ethical nature.


12-28-2000, 05:22 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 411</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

Before Moria, Gandalf gives good advise, lights fires with his staff and uses it as a lightbulb. After Moria, he cures Theoden and beams of light issue from his hands to drive off the Nazgul. I suppose that we don't truly know the extent of his powers pre-Moria (what did happen that night on Weathertop?) but the visceral impression is that he came back more powerful. This position is supported in Letters, p202 (#156)

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> &quot;The 'wizards, as such, had failed; or if you like: the crisis had become too grave and needed an enhancement of power. So Gandalf sacrificed himself, was accepted, and enhanced, and returned. 'Yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf.' Of course he remains similar in personality and idiosyncrasy, but both his wisdom and power are much greater.&quot; <hr></blockquote>

Re: limitations on the power of the Istari by embodying them in limited physical forms, same page:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> &quot;the purpose was to limit and hinder their power on the physical plane...&quot; <hr></blockquote>

The above also implies that without physical form their raw power is greater.

Finally, on the issue of unassisted flight or incorporeal travel,

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> &quot;The angelic immortals (incarnate only at their own will), the Valar or regents under God, and others of the same order but less power and majesty (such as Olorin = Gandalf) needed no transport, unless they for a time remained incarnate...&quot; <hr></blockquote>
Letters, p.411 (#325) (discussing ability to travel from the West to ME)

The last suggests (strongly) that the Balrog couldn't fly without wings unless it abandoned its body. Establishes the same for Gandalf, et al. So, I have to abandon my &quot;devil's advocate&quot; position. To fly, Gandalf or Sauron needed an eagle or some other device or animal and the Balrog needed wings. Which is not to say this proves the beastie had wings. Only LoTR does that (couldn't resist).

I should have just looked it up (not easy in the old edition of Letters, lousy index) and stuck it in under the Balrog thread. Sorry guys. On various points all of us were wrong (unless Letters isn't 'Canon' [groan]).

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

Mister Underhill
12-28-2000, 06:16 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
Posts: 238</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

Yeah, this letter stuff seems vaguely familiar. I guess I have to accept that Gandalf the White is more powerful if the prof says so, but I still don't see it. As you mentioned, he holds off multiple Nazgûl at Weathertop (including their leader) for a whole night. He goes toe to toe with a Balrog and allows his companions to escape. And don't forget that he took a lead role in confronting Sauron at Dol Guldur and sending him packing back to Mordor.

Ditto that &quot;don't see it&quot; with the implication that the raw power of a discorporeal Maia is superior to that of a corporeal one on the physical plane. If this is so, why would unrestrained Maiar like Balrogs and Sauron take a limiting physical form (we're not even going to discuss the ones who likely took the lowly form of Orc captains of old)?

I'm not sure where we're at anymore... except that Balrogs have wings!


12-29-2000, 12:19 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
Posts: 144</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

It all comes done to the business boys. Money=Power. Liquidation, net worth, You can invest all your money into a company or you can keep it. Let's use Morgoth for an example. He was the &quot;richest&quot; of all the beings of Arda. What does he do with his money? he invests it into the company that he creates let's call it Evil. He tried to get others to invest in his company, but he was the main contributor anyway. He uses his money in obvious ways, and becomes very famous, but he is losing money because he is putting all of his time and money into his company; paying his new employees, doing extensive research, etc., and not getting a return on it. So he is weakened. And then later on his company goes bankrupt. So some of his executives start up smaller companies of their own.

If he wouldn't have started his &quot;company&quot; then he wouldn't have been able to do as much evil. It is like being rich and just sitting on your *** all day or being rich and doing something with your wealth.

Do you understand my analogy. The only way for the Valar and the Maiar to get anywhere in life was to take a form and maybe persuade a few humans and elves to join there cause. Maybe some of the Ainur had more power than peoplee realized but didn't invest it into their form. Was it wise for them to not invest everything, depends on what they wanted with their life.

Just imagine how stupid a Balrog would look with wings, and why would a Balrog need them? Silly rabbit, wings are for angels.


12-29-2000, 07:22 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 415</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

&quot;Silly Rabbit, wings are for angels&quot;

Indeed? Well, some of those &quot;angels&quot; chose a different path (downward in theological terms; though I avoid that subject
the analogy is apt).

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

12-29-2000, 03:42 PM
Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 265

Excellent, Durelen [Orald's former screenname, -- H-I], I vote for your analogy!

I think I'll add some stuff of my own though:

Understanding he turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame. He began with the desire of Light, but when he could not posses it for himslef alone, he descended through fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness

You see the point? Any creature, howewer powerful it may have been in the beginning, not serving it's Creator but itself degenerates step by step and loses the power instead of accumulating it, as the creatures of the good will are always supported (even if they themselves may know it not) by higher power - Eru himself (remember Gandalf talking about that Frodo was meant to be a ring-bearer? Meant by whom?) That's why balrogs, spirits of the higher level (at least in power) are so often killed by elves, that's why Isildur is capable to cut off the finger off Sauron himself and so on. Morgoth was most powerful of the Valar, still he alone knew fear.

As for the corporeal Maiar - haven't you noticed that JRRT is always fighting fire with fire? - ring found by halfling (at least one who once have been a halfling) is re-found by another halfling and is carried on by the third one, and the weakness of that third (Frodo incapable of throwing the Ring in) is, if not intendedly, but actually, rectified by the first one - Gollum.

Sauron the Maia is opposed (generally, as their main task) by some other Maiar, and the Valar are only slightly meddling in the affair, and, on the contrary, having Morgoth still in the game, them are acting much more.

So is with the body - if you want to rule over the physical world, you must yourself be embodied. And, as Morgoth's main desire was to be a lord over other wills, and he was not able to control neither elves (their fëar going to Mandos) nor men (theirs leaving the circles of the world at all) after their death - i e in a spiritual world, he had to be embodied. And another general rule with JRRT - one pretending to be somebody, is becoming somebody (Bilbo as an example - starting to pretend being a bold and experienced burglar, just to become one in the end)

Wings re: having a physical body you are subject to physical laws and you got to have wings to fly, that's fact. Yet, heavier you are, stronger (physically) you must be to use your wings. To get your jet fly only twice faster, you have apply 8 times more power. (Just imagine how strong dragons must have been!). And a creature dying in a duel with a mere elf is not obviously so strong to lift its also obviously massive body into the air, wings or no wings. And if someone dares to say that Balrogs were always (poor thingies) in so narrow places that were not able to use their wings properly, there is another answer:

Then Thorondor bore up Glorfindel's body out of the abyss

the same abyss, mind you where:

both [Glorfindel and balrog - HI] fell to ruin in the

(both quotes from S77)

Was not an abyss a narrow place for a greatest of the eagles? Or was he a size of, say, chickenhawk and Glorfindel that of a chicken? Does anyone imply that Thorondor was mountainclimber in disguise who climbed down the abyss with a rope, put the rest of poor Glorfindel into some sort of bag and climbed back? they are wrong wrong wrong! :D

...but what they are really like, and what lies beyond them, only those can say who have climbed them.

01-02-2001, 06:50 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 429</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

See my post under Balrog Wings.

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

06-25-2001, 10:56 AM
Deadnight Chanter
Posts: 1278

There is a noticeable tendency of growing revival of interest towards winged/not winged balrogs and restrained/not rastrained maiar topics on the Downs nowadays. And putting some additional spices into the pot may make the soup more tasteful. So here it comes

PS I like poking among the old threads ;)

06-25-2001, 01:19 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Spirit of Mist
Posts: 906</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

OK. I'm in. Let's summarize. The Valar and Maiar have the apparent choice of either clothing themselves in a body or actually incarnating themselves. If they merely &quot;clothe&quot; themselves, they can take off or change their &quot;clothes&quot;. Thus Yavanna can appear as a &quot;woman&quot; or as a tree. If the Valar/Maiar are unclothed, they can excercise greater power and can move about with little restriction. However, to better interact with the stuff of the earth or the Peoples of Arda, they must at least be clothed. If clothed or incarnated, they can exercise less power and must use their bodies to move about. With a body Gandalf needs an eagle or Shadowfax to move quickly and a Balrog needs wings to fly (if it can fly). Further complicating matters, the Istari are not permitted to match their evil brethren with equal power. Thus the Balrog can use its fires against Gandalf but Gandalf cannot use matching strength. Whether this limitation is actual or &quot;self-imposed&quot; is not clear. Thus the title of this thead, &quot;One hand tied behind their backs.&quot;

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

Mister Underhill
06-25-2001, 01:22 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Dread Horseman
Posts: 684</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

Either I missed it before or else it didn't strike me then as it does now -- can you point me to where I can get more info on the distinction between &quot;clothed&quot; and &quot;incarnated&quot;?


GandaIf The White
06-25-2001, 03:13 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Shade of Carn Dûm
Posts: 253</TD><TD><img src=http://www.herr-der-ringe-film.de/HdR/crewmckel.JPG WIDTH=60 HEIGHT=60></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

As always, I agree with Mithadan. But, raising a question, didn't Gandalf have Glamdring after he was carried into Lorien, or not? If he had still had it after waking again on the top of Zirak Zhugul (or however you spell it) do you think that he would have grabbed it before flying off with Gwaihir? If he did have it, that would tell you that he did use it to fight with the Balrog at the bottom of the Abyss, and in there battle at the top of the Stairs. But, if he didn't have it, that could either mean that he abandoned it at the bottom of the Abyss, which would mean that he had used his Maiaric powers to fight the Balrog at the top of the stairs, or he had used it in the battle and it was lost after slaying the Balrog. I remember reading that it had looked liked there was a storm at the peaks of the Misty Mountains when he fought with the Balrog, so I think that would mean he had used his Maiaric powers against the Balrog in either case.

I only am talking about this because he was not allowed to use his power against Sauron. Or was he allowed to do so when the people of the ME werent there to see it and/or it was an extreme situation?

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."</p>

06-26-2001, 01:35 AM
Deadnight Chanter
Posts: 1280

Gandalf was especially appointed to oppose Sauron, whilst encounter with the Balrog was purely accidental.

06-26-2001, 11:30 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Spirit of Mist
Posts: 909</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: One hand tied behind their back

I'll try to find the references for you later today, Mr. Underhill.

"The Silmarils with living light
were kindled clear, and waxing bright
shone like stars that in the North
above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>

Mister Underhill
06-26-2001, 02:57 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Dread Horseman
Posts: 686</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: One hand tied behind their back

Underhill wipes his brow, weary from a hard day of battle in the Balrog Wars.

I look forward to receiving it.... tomorrow.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000005>Mister Underhill</A> at: 6/26/01 4:59:16 pm

09-03-2001, 12:31 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Moderator
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: One hand tied behind their back

Early concepts

From The Book of Unfinished Tales 1 (HoME 1), &quot;The Coming of the Valar, about Manwë and Varda:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> These twain gathered now wings of power to themselves and fared swiftly through the three airs. ...
****With them came many of those lesser Vali who loved them and had played nigh them and attuned their music to theirs, and these were the Mánir and the Súruli, the sylphs of the airs and of the winds.
****Now swiftly as they fared Melko was there before them, having rushed headlong flaming through the airs in the impetuosity of his speed, and there was a tumult of the sea where he had dived and the mountains above him spouted flames and the earth gaped and rocked; but Manwë beholding this was wroth.<hr></blockquote>How the other of the Ainur who are entering Arda travel is not precisely said, other than:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ... and Vilna was in uproar in their passing, ...<hr></blockquote>Are they flying or are they diving?

Whatever the case in following events in BoLT 1 and BolT 2 of the Ainur in the world only Manwë, Varda, and their followers, the Mánir and the Súruli are ever seen possibly flying again.

From &quot;The Tale of the Sun and Moon&quot;:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ****Now it is said (quoth Lindo) that, whereas certain of the Gods of their divine being might, an they wished, fare with a great suddenness of speed through Vilna and the low airs, yet might none even of the Valar, not Melko himself, nor any other save Manwë and Varda and their folk alone avail to pass beyond: .... Yet more, to Manwë alone, knowing the purity and glory of his heart, did Ilúvatar grant the power of visiting the uttermost heights; and breathing the great clear Serene which lies so far above the world that no finest dust of it, nor thinnest odour of its lives, nor faintest echo of its song or sorrow comes there; ....<hr></blockquote>So not even all of the Valar may fly, and of those that can all but two may fly only through the low airs.

Even Nornorë is not definitely said to fly in the air in &quot;The Coming of the Elves&quot;:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ****Then does Nornorë, whose feet flash invisibly for the greatness of their speed, hurtle from Valinor bearing the embassy of Manwë, and he goes unstaying over both land and sea to Palisor.<hr></blockquote>Maybe he is flying in the air, maybe he is running over the sea and the land.

As to Melko, again from BoLT 1, &quot;The Tale of the Sun and Moon&quot;:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ****But this has ever been and is yet the greatest bitterness of Melko, for in no wise of himself could he now forsake the bosom of the Earth, ....<hr></blockquote>The word &quot;now&quot; suggests that he could once fly, but he we have never seen him do so. He and his following steal horses and ride on them, and he later walks or runs, but does not fly.

I believe the only other reference to wings on any of these spirits, other than that in my first quotation above, is also in &quot;The Tale of the Sun and Moon&quot;:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Now winged spirits of the utmost purity and beauty*** even the most ethereal of those bright choirs of Mánir and the Súruli who fare about the halls of Manwë on Taniquetil or traverse all the airs that move upon the world*** sate in those starry boats and guided them on mazy courses high above the Earth, and Varda gave them names, but few of these are known.<hr></blockquote>

For completion, &quot;The Coming of the Valar&quot; speaks concerning Manwë's dwelling:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Thence did he speed his darting hawks and receive them on his return, and thither fared often in later days Sorontur King of Eagles whom Manwë gave much might and wisdom.<hr></blockquote>Of the origin of these hawks and Eagles nothing is said in the early writings.

What impresses in these early accounts is the physicality of these beings. They walk and run and ride horses, and it takes time for them to travel from one place to another. To appear before Huor the Vala Ulmo travels physically in his car to the Land of Willows.

One last quotation from the earliest works, from BolT 2, &quot;The Fall of Gondolin&quot;:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Then arose Thorndor, King of Eagles, and he loved not Melko, for Melko had caught many of his kindred and chained them against sharp rocks to squeeze from them the magic words whereby he might learn to fly); and when they would not tell he cut off their wings and sought to fashion therefrom a mighty pair for his use, but it availed not.<hr></blockquote>

Of course no Balrog is shown flying in these early works or described as having wings of any kind. In &quot;The Fall of Gondolin&quot; the Balrogs ride on fire-drakes, and some attack Gondolin with darts of fire from arrows and slings from outside the walls. Only after a breach is made in the wall by some of the dragons do they enter Gondolin through that breach.

Late Concepts

From The Peoples of Middle-earth (HoME 12), &quot;Last Writings&quot;, Glorfindel, Note 2, on the meaning of Maiar:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> That angelic order to which Gandalf originally belonged: lesser in power and authority than the Valar, but of the same nature: members of the first order of created rational beings, who if they appeared in visible forms ('humane' or of other kind) were self-incarnated, or given forms by the Valar [ added later: and who could move/travel simply by an act of will when not arrayed in a body*** which they could assume when they reached the places that ... (illegible).]<hr></blockquote>Now Valar and Maiar when not embodied can teleport by an act of will, and then re-embody themselves when reaching their destination. Whether this teleportation is instantaneous and whether the creation and assumption of a new body is in some way tiring to the spirit is not stated.

From the Ósanwe-Kenta, Note 5:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Here Pengolodh adds a long note on the use of hröar by the Valar. In brief he says that though in origin a &quot;self-arraying&quot;, it may tend to approach the state of &quot;incarnation&quot;, especially with the lesser members of that order (the Maiar). &quot;It is said that the longer and the more the same hröa is used, the greater is the bond of habit, and the less do the 'self-arrayed' desire to leave it. As raiment may soon cease to be adornment, and becomes (as is said in the tongues of both Elves and Men) a 'habit', a customary garb. Or if among Elves and Men it be worn to mitigate heat or cold, it soon makes the clad body less able to endure these things when naked&quot;. Pengolodh also cites the opinion that if a &quot;spirit&quot; (that is, one of those not embodied by creation) uses a hröa for the furtherance of its personal purposes, or (still more) for the enjoyment of bodily faculties, it finds it increasingly difficult to operate without the hröa. The things that are most binding are those that in the Incarnate have to do with the life of the hröa itself, its sustenance and its propagation. Thus eating and drinking are binding, but not the delight in beauty of sound or form. Most binding is begetting or conceiving.
****&quot;We do not know the axani (laws, rules, as primarily proceeding from Eru) that were laid down upon the Valar with particular reference to their state, but it seems clear that there was no axan against these things. Nonetheless it appears to be an axan, or maybe necessary consequence, that if they are done, then the spirit must dwell in the body that it used, and be under the same necessities as the Incarnate. The only case that is known in the histories of the Eldar is that of Melian who became the spouse of King Elu-thingol. This certainly was not evil or against the will of Eru, and though it led to sorrow, both Elves and Men were enriched.
****'The great Valar do not do these things: they beget not, neither do they eat and drink, save at the high asari, in token of their lordship and indwelling of Arda, and for the blessing of the sustenance of the Children. Melkor alone of the Great became at last bound to a bodily form; but that was because of the use that he made of this in his purpose to become Lord of the Incarnate, and of the great evils that he did in the visible body. Also he had dissipated his native powers in the control of his agents and servants, so that he became in the end, in himself and without their support, a weakened thing, consumed by hate and unable to restore himself from the state into which he had fallen. Even his visible form he could no longer master, so that its hideousness could not any longer be masked, and it showed forth the evil of his mind. So it was also with even some of his greatest servants, as in these later days we see: they became wedded to the forms of their evil deeds, and if these bodies were taken from them or destroyed, they were nullified, until they had rebuilt a semblance of their former habitations, with which they could continue the evil courses in which they had become fixed&quot;. (Pengolodh here evidently refers to Sauron in particular, from whose arising he fled at last from Middle-earth. But the first destruction of the bodily form of Sauron was recorded in the histories of the Elder Days, in the Lay of Leithian.)<hr></blockquote>Here then is one way in which a Maia might become incarnate permanently, at least for the life of the that body. Upon the death of the body it seems the Maia might be rather helpless, having lost the ability to exercise its spiritual power.

In Morgoth's Ring (HoME 10), &quot;Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth&quot;, in the Appendix, Tolkien discusses resurrected Elvish bodies:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Memory by a fëa of experience is evidently powerful, vivid, and complete. So the underlying conception is that &quot;matter&quot; will be taken up into &quot;spirit&quot;, by becoming part of its knowledge*** and so rendered timeless and under the spirit's command. As the Elves remaining in Middle-earth slowly &quot;consumed&quot; their bodies*** or made them into raiments of memory? The resurrection of the body (at least as far as Elves were concerned) was in a sense incorporeal. But while it could pass physical barriers at will, it could at will oppose a barrier to matter. If you touched a resurrected body you felt it. Or if it willed it could simply elude you*** disappear. Its position in space was at will.<hr></blockquote>It would seem here that the resurrected body of an Elf is something like the fana, the assumed form, of a Vala (or Maia), one difference being that it was, at least normally, the only such form in which the fëa could clothe itself in.

We have then explanations as to how Morgoth and some of his followers became permanently incarnate, in seeking to gain power over the physical world they increasingly clothed themselves in physical forms and eventually became dependant on those forms, unable to function without them.

But could these bodies also be to some extent the bodies such as ascribed to resurrected Elves, real bodies, but ones that could become incorporal? The appearance of Durin's Bane might suggest it was to some extent incorporal and wraith-like, yet in the depths of the earth, its flame kindled, it is felt by Gandalf as a solid &quot;thing of slime&quot;.

As to Gandalf resurrected, there is this passage in &quot;The White Rider&quot;:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Before him stooped the old figure, white, shining now as if with some light kindled within, bent, laden with years, but holding a power beyond the strength of kings.<hr></blockquote>
****'Do I not say truly, Gandalf,' said Aragorn at last, 'that you could go whithersoever you wished quicker than I? And this I also say: you are our captain and our banner. The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads.[/quote]Gandalf's body nows glows with light and Aragorn ascribes to him the power to move with great speed, as would a Maiar wearing a fana, not one truly incarnate as Gandalf and the other Istari had been. Gandalf had been a true incarnate, even his memories of his former life as a Maia vague; now he is possibly again a true Maia wearing a fana in likeness of his former form?

Aragorn's words would suggest this, yet when awakened to his new life Gandalf lay in a trance for two days, had to be carried by Gwaihir to Lothlórien where he was &quot;healed&quot;. Was Aragorn wrong then?

Perhaps Gandalf has such powers as a resurrected Elf would have, but stronger because he is a Maia. This would perhaps be likely.

Tolkien's last recorded throughts on re-embodiment of Elves before he wrote The Lord of the Rings appears in The Lost Road, &quot;Quenta Silmarillion&quot;, §85, on Elves in Mandos:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Thence they are recalled at length to freedom, either as spirits, taking form according to their own thought, as the lesser folk of the divine race; or else, it is said, they are at times re-born into their own children, and the ancient wisdom of their race does not perish or grow less.<hr></blockquote>Here re-embodied Elves appear as spirits who can take forms, rather than the later account in which the become incarnate again, but in a more subtle body.

We never do see Gandalf the White (or Glorfindel) use any powers to evade touch or show any ability to teleport. Gandalf is in a great hurry to get to Gondor, but travels on Shadowfax. And of course Glorfindel was probably not considered to be a resurrected Elf when Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings. Tom Bombadil may be able to teleport, explaining his quickness in reaching the barrow when summoned.

Final Word on Flight

There is no indication in either the early or late writings that any beings could fly or levitate in physical form unless arrayed in a body capable of flight, e.g. the great Eagles or Lúthien arrayed as Thuringwethel. Of course the Eagles are probably too large to be capable of flight in our primary world. In the world of Tolkien's legendarium it is possible some magic is still to be accepted in the late writings similar to the BoLT account where secret words give these creatures the ability to fly.


09-03-2001, 12:42 PM
Deadnight Chanter
Posts: 1588

I am awestruck

09-04-2001, 05:26 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hobbitus Emeritus
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: One hand tied behind their back

great golly whoppers! <img src=smile.gif ALT=":)">

Dag nabbit! I was trying NOT to learn anything today! What a great post! It oughta be an article somewhere!

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Reginald Hill
10-07-2002, 04:22 PM
This post got me wondering: If Gandalf changed his name to Gandalf the White when he was reincarnated then the elves could no longer call him Mithrindir because that means Grey Pilgrim. Did they still call him Mithrindir even though he was no longer Gandalf the Grey?

Arwen Imladris
10-07-2002, 05:45 PM
I don't think that they would change his name. He still sometimes probebly chose to ware grey. Also, he was not on ME very long after he changed to Gandalf the White. People would not have started changing his name right away, it would happen gradually. Perhaps it would have changed eventually if he had stayed around, but names like that I would think tend to stick.

10-07-2002, 05:48 PM

Well, when Legolas first clocks that the old man is Gandalf, he cries "Mithrandir! Mithrandir!". But I guess Legolas doesn't know about Gandalf's new appointment, even though it should be painfully obvious, given Tolkien's description of how white and blinding he was when he tore open his rags. Nevertheless, I guess with Legolas' shock, he didn't take time in his head to call Gandalf 'The White Pilgrim' instead, I expect the observation and thus change weren't so prevalent upon his mind, given the surprise.

I can't recall any Elves calling him that after that, but that's simply because I can't remember.

10-07-2002, 09:37 PM
Not an exact quote, but Gandalf said something like, "Gandalf...yes that was my name. But you can still call me by that name." If this is so, then Gandalf was willing to let people comtinue to call him by his former title Gandalf the Gray. So I think that the elves need not change their name for Gandalf because he was still answering to his old name.

10-07-2002, 11:49 PM
that's the reason of pulling oldies up - the discussion often takes unexpected and interesting new turns.

well. Etymologies:

MITH- N mith white fog, wet mist; cf. Mithrim [RINGI]. [Later addition: mith = grey

Mithrandir may still apply to White Gandalf as well, I believe

possible substitutes:

NIK-W- Q niqe snow; ninqe white (*ninkwi); nieninqe ‘white tear’ = snowdrop [NEI]; ninqita- shine white; ninqitá- whiten; ninqisse whiteness,


GOLÓS- Q olosse snow, fallen snow; N gloss snow. Cf. Uilos.N gloss also adj. snow-white.


PHAY- radiate, send out rays of light. Q faina- emit light; faire radiance; ON phaire. Cf. Phay-anāro ‘radiant sun’ > Q Feanáro, ON Phayanō΄r, N Feanoúr, Féanor. Cf. N foen radiant, white.


SIL- variant of THIL; ‘shine silver’. These in Q cannot be distinguished normally, but Q Isil Moon, N †Ithil has th.s- appears in *silimē ‘light of Silpion’, †silver, Q silme (cf. Silmerosse, N Silivros), N *silif. *silimā silver, shining white (adj.): Q .silma, N *silef, cf. Silevril, Q Silmaril (see RIL). In N Belthil (see BAL) s or th may be present. The Q name of the Elder Tree is Silpion (see below).
Cf. Dor istel, istil silver light, applied by the Ilkorins to starlight, probably a Q form learned from Melian. For *silif N has silith, by assimilation to or from influence of †Ithil.


SPAN- white. Q fanya, fána cloud. N fein white, faun cloud (*spāna); T spania; Dan. spenna. Cf. Fanyamar upper air; Spanturo ‘lord of cloud’, Q Fantur surname of Mandos (Nurufantur, N Gurfannor ‘lord of Death-cloud’ ) and of his brother Lórien (Olofantur, N Olfannor ‘lord of Dream-cloud’ ): N pl. i-Fennyr or Fennir = Lórien and Mandos [see ÑGUR, OLOS]. (Confused in N with PHAY, q.v.) [The beginning of this entry was first written ‘fanya cloud’; ‘cloud’ was struck through, and fána added, with meanings ‘white’ and ‘cloud’, but it is not clear how they are to be applied.


[ October 08, 2002: Message edited by: HerenIstarion ]

10-08-2002, 10:49 AM
I quite agree that jallanite's post should be enshrined as an article

[possibly with the title]

On the Incarnation and 'clothing ' of the Ainur - with reference to Gandalf and the hroa of ressurected Elves.

It is a true masterpeice. I have been going through his many posts on the Silm forum and they show an equal depth and breadth if not size.

What say you Admins? can we make an article of Jallanite's post?

perhaps use it as a centerpeice for a BD theme on incarnating Maia?

and does anyone know where he is or how to contact him?

as for the matching power w/ power proscription of the Istari, I agree w/ whoever pointed out that that was meant to aplly to Sauron; not incedental balrogs.
By the account gandalf gave and of what we see on the bridge, Gandalf most certainly matched him power to power.

10-08-2002, 01:31 PM
In speaking of the power of the istari and its restrictions of use, I usually don't think of it in physical terms. I mean, I think that Gandalf has (always had, grey or white) the physical power to vie with a balrog, or even Sauron for that matter (not to say he'd WIN a physical battle w/ Sauron, but he could hold his own). In the instance of the fight with the balrog, I would also say that he was not restricted from using it. In my mind, the type of power that Gandalf had, but was not permitted to use, was the power to bend the will of men or elves. He was not to take on a position as a leader or ruler of these or any races, even in an effort to do good. Sauron had this power to set himself up as a tyrant, therefore, I believe Gandalf had it too, but this was the "hand tied behind his back". Gandalf, instead, offered wisdom and guidance, and kept his nose (and therefore an influence) in all that was important. He also performed feats that changed the course of unfortunate events, such as bringing the sun up early to turn the trolls to stone. But he was not the one who slayed the dragon. You see, he was sent to "aide" in the victory of good over evil, not to be the victor. So it is more of a moral/ethical restriction of power, as mentioned above by Mr. Underhill.

Just a little note on disembodied vs. incarnate regarding Gandalf & Sauron: Remember, in the Fall of Numenor Sauron escaped only by relinquishing his physical form, at that point he lost the ability to take a shape which would allow him to "walk among humans or elves" again. So, although I haven't made up my mind as to whether a maia is more powerful with or without a physical body, Sauron (even in his non-physical form) would not have been MORE powerful than Gandalf (in a physical form) just because of this.

10-08-2002, 01:42 PM
jallanite, i applaud you. bleedin well said!

the balrogs were formed at about the same time as dragons werent they? And by the same master? So maybe he was just going on the theme of fire and WINGS. The wings dont have to work, just keep up with the theme. Wings of flame are striking but not exactly practical.

Im sorry ive completely circled of the origonal topic now. *sigh*

10-08-2002, 11:40 PM
Balrogs were of the same origin as Sauron himself, and corrupted even before Awakening of Children. Dragons (physical forms, whatever inhabiting spirit) were formed in FA.

on the wings topic see HERE (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=14&t=000655)

[ October 16, 2002: Message edited by: HerenIstarion ]

02-13-2004, 02:49 AM
Balrog threads are to be found in plenty on the Downs, so there is no point in starting new one. Yet my choice of putting the following piece in here may seem a bit dubious, but is carried out for the following reason(s) – (1) among other things, this thread deals with balrogs too, (2) I quite liked it in its time, so would be glad to see it resurrected.

The text to follow was intended as an article, and even is placed at my own site, but since (due to lack of time and abilities to run it properly) I have almost no traffic there, and, consequently no feed back on it, I assume it will not be such a bad idea to post in on the forum. (still more, among other sources, some inspiration was drawn from New Silmarillion discussions, and, also, I owe much to Saulotus in the case)

Short summary of what precisely is to appear below (or 4 balrog statements):

1. Origin – Some of the Balrogs are of the same order as Ainur (Valar, Maiar), seduced by Melkor to his service before the actual creation of Arda. They are his most trusted servants (beside Sauron). Others are otehrwise

2. Number - There is uncertain number of Balrogs. Different reports vary from 3-7 to thousands. Yours truly assumes there must be two different types of a balrog – one of the abovementioned kind (e.g of the same order as Ainur) numbered 3 to 7, and another one introduced by Melkor/Morgoth. The former kind is not reproducible, the latter can be supplied with new species at will (at Morgoth’s will, to be precise, and up to a point – whils there is enough will left in Morgoth). (The difference is further indicated by using capital B for the first kind)

3. Wings - Balrogs either have or do not have wings. Arguments for and against can be supplied in equal quantities

4. Will – Are balrogs free in their choice? for, if they were summoned and answered summons, they must be.On the other hand, Melkor consumes and absorbs everyone and anything in hi service.


Origin (or whence do you come, ye fiery spirit?)

Concept of balrogs developed as early as the first sketches of legendarium began to emerge under Tolkien’s pen. The first balrog ever in history is probably one Kosomot, who at the time was considered to be the son of Melko, and was later to become notorious Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs

But before proceeding to the history of balrogs, I feel it appropriate to undergo a bit of philological analysis of the word itself. After all, the whole history was primarily based on languages. Therefore let us consider what etymological research can bring forward:

ÑGWAL- torment. Q ungwale torture; nwalya- to pain, torment; nwalka cruel. N balch cruel; baul torment, cf. Bal- in Balrog or Bolrog [RUK], and Orc-name Boldog = Orc-warrior ‘Torment-slayer’ (cf. NDAK).

RUK- demon. Q ranko demon, malarauko (*ñgwalaraukō, cf. ÑGWAL); N rhaug, Balrog.

So, the name itself is composite and may be literally translated as Tormenting Demon (thrilling topic to be discussed, eh?). As a result we have a conclusion that balrogs were remembered under they Sindarin name, but name itself is not personal
Another speculative conclusion, derived from the fact that elves, being quite observant people, usually named things after their main qualities, so, whatever about balrogs fire (to be discussed below), I have an inclination to state balrogs were distinguished by their cruelty, not external attributes as fire and whips
And cruelty is expression of the sin which caused to ruin of Melkor/Morgoth himself, i.e. pride. So balrogs, on the moral plain, may be somehow equaled with morgoth himself

So far with speculations, let us go back to what are balrogs and where do they come form

Published Silmarillion (referred to below as S77) gives such a description:

Yet so great was the power of his uprising that in ages forgotten he contended with Manwë and all the Valar, and through long years in Arda held dominion over most of the lands of the Earth. But he was not alone. 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.


And in Utumno he gathered his demons about him, those spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendour, and became most like him in his corruption: their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them; they had whips of flame. Balrogs they were named in Middle-earth in later days. And in that dark time Melkor bred many other monsters of divers shapes and kinds that long troubled the world; and his realm spread now ever southward over Middle-earth.

The highlight shows the most important line of the passage. So, as a result, it is confirmed that Balrogs are summoned (Balrogs, but not balrogs, see below), not made or bred by Morgoth (this is even more stressed by stating in the same passage that other monsters were bred, thus even more distinguishing balrogs). Moral equality stated above is matched with equality of origin. Balrogs, as well as Morgoth himlesf, are before Ea, if lesser in power and/of will.

Number (or many many balrogs)

The number of balrogs always was dubious thing. Passages like:

…and upon them rode the Balrogs in hundreds…
…and the number of Balrogs that perished was a marvel and dread to
the hosts of Melko…
…and they mingle with the Balrogs that pour about the breach…
(The Fall of Gondolin)

…a host of Balrogs, the last of his servants
that remained, and they assailed the standard of Manwe…
(Annals of Aman)

strongly imply the great number of those, at least several thousand. Yet these lines were written when Tolkien started to create his mythology, in 10s and 20s of XX century. In the same period balrogs were not summoned, but ‘wrought’ by Melko after the fall of the Lamps. Yet, since the conception that Melkor/Morgoth was unable to create anything but to mock the doings of others was introduced, the idea of ‘wrought’ balrogs was abandoned. Consequently and gradually, their number in Tolkien’s imagination diminishes, until it reaches the mark of ‘at least three, at most seven’. The last quote given above is mostly interesting in the view, for it was there, that in a marginal note Tolkien added:

'There should not he supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed

It may sound like contradiction in terms. Hosts of balrogs consisted of 3 persons? As a solution - there (I assume) must have been two different types of balrog. Philological analysis above does not contradict such a statement (i.e. Thunderbird may be applied to a bird proper, yet first thing one remembers upon hearing may be a Ford’s motorvehicle. Or, on the other hand, whales where though to be fish before closer examination had proved they are mammals). So in this case balrog as general term is applied to anything that looks like one. And looks presumably may be altered by Morgoth (up to a point, for he disperses his power gradually, and, also presumable, must lose and ability after some point. So no more balrogs after certain time, but plenty before the point of no return is reached), who is Master of the Fates of Arda, had put important portion of himself into the matter of it and therefore has partial power over anything consisting of the matter. But Balrogs in essentia, corrupted spirits, e.g. Umaiar, are up to seven only. It would have been logical for Morgoth to conform the looks of the new adepts (if balrogs formed from captive elves and men) or strongest orks to the most terrible looks (wings or no wings) of the Balrog

I suggest to distinguish those two types in writing with capital letter. Thus Umaiar whose number was determined as 3 to 7 will be marked as Balrogs, and the rest as balrogs (referred thus below)

The last two paragraphs are more or less speculative of course (that’s opinion articles for you), yet sound true to my ear, so I will stick to the theory and suggest it to your attention

Wings (or fly away little bird)

How do they look like, I wonder? The most full description is given in the Lord of The Rings:

What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.

The most that can be said from other sources is:

their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them

Which is rather vague and is not adding much to the also vague description above. The general conclusion is that more or less the physical form of Balrogs/balrogs was reminiscent of a human.

Yet, the main issue usually question whilst discussing balrog looks is not their body, but wings. As long as I remember myself frequenting online boards and fora, the unceasing debate is going on the subject of those notorious wings. Two armies – those believing Balrogs/balrogs were winged and those not are breaking virtual swords at each others backs. Both parties are drawing their inspiration from the same source (or to be precise) two sources:

His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings
From the same chapter (Bridge of Khazad Dum) of LoTR


and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire.
of S77

I, being inveterate no-winger, do believe both passages prove absence of wings with balrogs, yet other side also uses both as a proof. So I will leave ii at that, just informing you once again that I personally believe balrogs to have no wings, but believe it to be not essential issue whatsoever

Will (or I do how I would)

Wings or no wings, there is another interesting topic left to discuss. Are Balrogs/balrogs free in their choice once they are under Morgoth? In theory, three kind of balrog free will may be distinguished in this view:

Balrogs-corrupted Umaiar (similar in origin to Morgoth and Sauron). Those must have free will. The proof of similarity – Sauron almost repents after the War of Wrath in the end of the First Age
balrogs – altered hroar of orks. Must have not (due to reasons given in ‘All About Orks (http://www.barrowdowns.com/articles_orcs.asp?Size=)”
balrogs – altered hroar of Eruhini. Must have free will. Morgoth, being able to alter hroa, is unable to meddle with fëar

Whatever theory though, no Balrog/balrog in recorded history of Middle-Earth ever repented. The more they serve under Morgoth, the more dependent upon him they become, and though he disperses and spends his power in increasing their numbers, they are less free as time goes

02-13-2004, 01:41 PM
this contributes nothing to this thread, but i must pay homage to all contributers! Thanks guys! This is the reason I log into this discussion group! Refences aplenty - helps us people who login occasionally while we are supposed to be working hehe - and dont have our books handy...

02-25-2004, 05:24 AM
BTW, I've just noticed my previous post eliminates the statement in one preceeding it: so, yes, balrogs could have been formed at the same time as dragons (but not Balrogs, of course)

05-08-2004, 02:20 AM
I'm bringing this up for several reasons:

I would like to have a bit more of feedback (though I believe (now) the post has no flaws, there is nothing better to check it than good discussion). The post is also placed at my own web page as an article, I would modify it accordingly if anything pops up to change my views on the subject considerably.
I haven't seen no balrog discussions lately, and it is already almost a tradition to have those spooky things discussed on any decent Tolkien related board ;)
Besides reasons related to post #32, initial posts are of great value and I would like to see them discussed by good thinkers (davem for one, per instance) which were not around at the time of initial posts being written
If Saulotus a.k.a. Bob Wehadababyitsaboy, whom I owe a lot in this case, is still lurking in the shadows somewhere around the board, I hope to lure him out into the light, to back me up or shatter the whole thing to smithereens
And last but not the least (aknowledging my vanity, alas, can not do anything about it at the moment), as any author, even those who dare not confess the thing, I want recognition! :p

So up it goes!

05-08-2004, 11:09 AM
I went looking for Balrog/balrog information, and instead I found information for the original thread!

Suddenly at the top of the stair there was a stab of white light. Then there was a dull rumble and a heavy thud. The drum-beats broke out wildly: doom-boom, doom-boom, doom-boom, and then stopped. Gandalf came flying down the steps and fell to the ground in the midst of the Company.

"But I have met my match, and nearly been destroyed." Gandalf

"Then something came into the chamber- I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent. It laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell."
"What it was I cannot guees, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking all the light inside, and I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well, I think."Gandalf

These quotes indicate several things: The creature that Gandalf fought was a Balrog, because only an Ainu could defeat him in terms of sorcery, and broken his staff (shades of Saruman?) Also, in this passage he most definitely met force with force, so his hands couldn't have been bound too tightly. Also, how did the Balrog get out of Balin's burial chamber? Did he physically dig himself out, melt the rock, or... ? I think the effects of the first two would have been noticed before the Company escaped Moria. But if he was embodied, how could he or she teleport?

HerenIstarion, I'm not davem, but that's an excellent article! Another quote used in the balrog wars is this:

...and its wings were spread from wall to wall...

05-09-2004, 11:01 PM
symestreem for two, per instance ;)

06-28-2004, 06:43 AM
Just stumbled upon this thread again :)

Symestreem, the quote you refer to is preceeded with:

His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings.

and in itself runs as follows:

It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall

emphases mine. It seems that drawing 'to a great height' is not quite physical process, but shadowlike, and so wings are of shadow - for if Balrog were of a given stature, the change of height would require some 'were' abilities (as, per instance, Beorn is werebear). But there is no textual evidence of Balrogs being shape-shifters.

But that seemed not too relevant to what the post #32 up above dealt with, so I haven't stressed on wing issue at all