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Old 09-07-2008, 06:26 PM   #161
CSteefel
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Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard View Post
The Witch King's entire army was destroyed, I don't think that gives him much reason to stay.
That is true, but it did not stop him from charging Earnur
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...he singled out the Captain of Gonodor for the fullness of his hatred, and with a terrible cry he rode straight upon him...But Glorfindel rode up then on his white horse, and in the midst of his laughter the Witch-King turned to flight and passed into the shadows.
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:41 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by obloquy View Post
His reincarnation was relatively unique, but his power was not. Note that he is still never spoken of as one of the greatest of the Eldar. Gandalf was not overly impressed when he explained that Frodo had seen "an Elf lord revealed in his wrath." In any case, the distinction you've drawn between Glorfindel and "the Elves" is a false one: if Glorfindel had slain the Witch-King it would not be unacceptable to say "the Elves killed the Witch-King," so in this case it is also rightly said that the Witch-King fled from the Elves. He did flee specifically from Glorfindel, but Glorfindel was not the most powerful of the Eldar remaining.
I have to disagree with you - I think he was the most powerful of the Eldar remaining in ME. Actually, Gandalf says:
Quote:
And here in Rivendell there live still some of [Sauron's] chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.'
'I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?'
'Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. -LOTR ,"Many meetings"
I think it is enough to single Glorfindel out among the Elves - as a Calaquende of great power. But Gandalf was still tight-lipped: he didn't explain that G had been reincarnated, neither did he explain his own Maia status.

Here is what is said about the reincarnated Elves in "Of rebirth and other dooms of those who go to Mandos:, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, Morgoth's Ring:
Quote:
The Eldar say that more than one re-birth is seldom recorded. But the reasons for this they do not fully know. Maybe, it is so ordered by the will of Eru; while the Re-born they say are stronger, having greater mastery of their bodies and being more patient of griefs
Also look at the notes following the Appendix to "Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth" concerning reincarnated Elves:
Quote:
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.
Well, it sounds like super-powers to me...

Edit : found another quote in Home 12: "Last Writings"- "Glorfindel"
Quote:
For long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice..
An Elf who had once known Middle-earth and had fought in the long wars against Melkor would be an eminently suitable companion for Gandalf. We could then reasonably suppose that Glorfindel (possibly as one of a small party,(1) more probably as a sole companion) landed with Gandalf - Olorin about Third Age 1000. This supposition would indeed explain the air of special power and sanctity that surrounds Glorfindel - note how the Witch-king flies from him, although all others (such as King Earnur) however brave could not induce their horses to face him
And don't you get an impression (from reading only LOTR) that the WK feared Glorfindel more than he did Gandalf? The nazgul did attack the Grey Maia on Weathertop, the WK was preparing (albeit reluctantly) to fight him at the Gates, but the nazgul never challenged Glorfindel, even when he barred the road to them, hindering their mission.

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Old 09-08-2008, 01:48 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
I have to disagree with you - I think he was the most powerful of the Eldar remaining.

Actually Gandalf says:
"Lords of the Eldar"..."great power"..."one of the mighty of the Firstborn."

I recognize that he was one of the most powerful Elves in Middle-earth ("one of" perhaps quite a large pool of Elves), but I dispute particularly that he had climbed to the tier of Galadriel, who is explicitly stated to be one of the three greatest Eldar (multiple sources) and "the last remaining of the Great of the High Elves" (Letters); or that of Elrond, descendant of the greatest Elda Luthien and of Melian. Further, Tolkien says that if Galadriel's presumption that she could supplant Sauron as the master of the Ring is accurate, then so also could Gandalf and especially Elrond. Elrond and Glorfindel are just two "lords of the Eldar" of the "some" that Gandalf mentions in your quote.

Cirdan, too, was likely more powerful than Glorfindel, despite never having been to Aman: he was guardian of one of the Three, so we must assume he was capable of guarding it from Sauron and his servants. He was present at Sauron's defeat in the Second Age, at Gil-galad's side. He was also perhaps the oldest and wisest of the Elves remaining in Middle-earth, and both age and wisdom seem to play a role in spiritual power. Additionally, if some part of Glorfindel's enhancement owed to his "return to innocence" (mentioned below), Cirdan's status as a genuine Firstborn must be considered. Finally, it was said at the Council of Elrond that "what power still remains [in Middle-earth] lies [...] in Imladris, or with Cirdan at the Havens, or in Lorien." This suggests that Cirdan presided over other powerful individuals as well, and it can reasonably be supposed that this is also true of Galadriel.

Quote:
Here is what is said about the reincarnated Elves in "Of rebirth and other dooms of those who go to Mandos:, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, Morgoth's Ring:
You misread. "More than one rebirth" refers to one Elf being reborn more than once. Tolkien clarifies in his writings on Glorfindel that reincarnation was fairly common practice for Elves, since separation of fea from hroa was so unnatural to them. It was "the duty of the Valar" to restore slain Elves to incarnate life.

However, Glorfindel remains unique for a couple of reasons. First, he is the only reincarnated character, i.e. we do not become familiar with any other reincarnated Elves--though presumably many other Elves who were characters were also reincarnated but thought it a good opportunity to go into retirement. Second, before he was slain he had been banned from returning to Valinor. The ban was lifted for him specifically because his death purged him of the guilt for which the ban was imposed (should be enough, right?), and also because of the sacrificial and crucial nature of his death.

Quote:
Also look at the notes following the Appendix to "Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth" concerning reincarnated Elves:
Well, it sounds like super-powers to me...
And yet it was not Glorfindel's reincarnation that Gandalf said gave him 'great power against the seen and unseen.' It was simply by virtue of his having dwelt in the Blessed Realm. Gandalf also clearly does not consider Glorfindel unique when explaining this to Frodo: "in Rivendell live some of his chief foes [...] lords of the Eldar"; "they do not fear the Ringwraiths."

Quote:
And don't you get an impression (from reading only LOTR) that the WK feared Glorfindel more than he did Gandalf? The nazgul did attack the Grey Maia on Weathertop, the WK was preparing (albeit reluctantly) to fight him at the Gates, but the nazgul never challenged Glorfindel, even when he barred the road to them, hindering their mission.
You might be right about who the Witch-King feared more, but there's no reason to suppose WK ever perceived Gandalf's true power or nature. The Witch-King's perception has no bearing on the truth, which is that Gandalf was the single most powerful being in Middle-earth during the Third Age.

Quote:
Edit : found another quote in Home 12: "Last Writings"- "Glorfindel"
I'm glad you added this because it reminded me of a point I forgot to include in this post. Two paragraphs after the text you quote, Tolkien explains that for Manwe to have devised a special means of transporting Glorfindel from Aman to Middle-earth (necessary because of the removal of Aman from "the Circles of the World"), and to have sought exception to Iluvatar's ordinance that no one was to return from Aman, was "improbable and would make Glorfindel of greater power and importance than seems fitting." Tellingly, exactly such an exception was made in order to send Gandalf to aid Middle-earth in the Third Age.

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Old 09-08-2008, 05:19 AM   #164
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obloquy - I will not argue with you about the relative powers of Galadriel/Elrond/Cirdan vs. Glofindel, or especially about their greatness. It is all very delicate. I agree the first three were greater than Glorfindel, maybe also wiser. I only wished to point out that Glorfindel was both a Calaquende (not the most powerful of them, no) and a reincarnated being - unique in ME, as far as we know. I guess that would double his powers at least in the World of Shadow, his power against the Nazgul specifically.

For instance, Cirdan may be more powerful than Glorfindel and would best him in a fight (if such a silly thing were even possible) but not being a Calaquende, Cirdan would likely be at a disadvantage when dealing with the nazgul, while Glorfindel would have double advantages. That is what I was trying to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
And yet it was not Glorfindel's reincarnation that Gandalf said gave him 'great power against the seen and unseen.' It was simply by virtue of his having dwelt in the Blessed Realm. Gandalf also clearly does not consider Glorfindel unique when explaining this to Frodo: "in Rivendell live some of his chief foes [...] lords of the Eldar"; "they do not fear the Ringwraiths."
Right - in LOTR it is clear that any Calaquende is a threat to the nazgul. Yet, in later writings Tolkien has thought of additional reasons that would make Glorfindel so unique vs. the nazgul.

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Originally Posted by obloquy
You might be right about who the Witch-King feared more, but there's no reason to suppose WK ever perceived Gandalf's true power or nature. The Witch-King's perception has no bearing on the truth, which is that Gandalf was the single most powerful being in Middle-earth during the Third Age.
I guess Gandalf the Grey himself would have said that Saruman was more powerful and Gandalf the White did say that Sauron "was mightier still".

As to the Witch-King, Gandalf said: "...my heart sank. For even the Wise might fear to withstand the Nine, when they are gathered together under their fell chieftain. A great king and sorcerer he was of old, and now he wields a deadly fear. "- LOTR
The Witch-King himself had a good idea of Gandalf's powers:
Quote:
[The Witch-king] is both pleased and puzzled. For a while he had been in great fear, thinking that by some means Gandalf had got possession of the Ring and was now the Bearer; but as Gandalf passes he is aware that Gandalf has not got the Ring. What is he pursuing? He himself must be after the escaping Bearer; and it must therefore somehow have gone on far ahead. But Gandalf is a great power and enemy. He must be dealt with, and yet that needs great force. - Hunt for the Ring RC p.167
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:49 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by obloquy View Post
"Lords of the Eldar"..."great power"..."one of the mighty of the Firstborn."

I recognize that he was one of the most powerful Elves in Middle-earth ("one of" perhaps quite a large pool of Elves), but I dispute particularly that he had climbed to the tier of Galadriel, who is explicitly stated to be one of the three greatest Eldar (multiple sources) and "the last remaining of the Great of the High Elves" (Letters); or that of Elrond, descendant of the greatest Elda Luthien and of Melian. Further, Tolkien says that if Galadriel's presumption that she could supplant Sauron as the master of the Ring is accurate, then so also could Gandalf and especially Elrond. Elrond and Glorfindel are just two "lords of the Eldar" of the "some" that Gandalf mentions in your quote.
.
But Tolkien says in "The Istari" in the Unfinished Tales that
Quote:
...Galadriel, the greatest of the Eldar surviving in Middle Earth, was potent mainly in wisdom and goodness, as a director or counsellor in the struggle, unconquerable in resistance (especially in mind and spirit) but incapable of punitive action.
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Originally Posted by obloquy View Post
You might be right about who the Witch-King feared more, but there's no reason to suppose WK ever perceived Gandalf's true power or nature. The Witch-King's perception has no bearing on the truth, which is that Gandalf was the single most powerful being in Middle-earth during the Third Age.
This could be correct, since mostly Gandalf kept his power veiled. Saruman does not seem to have realized that his powers had been augmented until his own staff is broken. However, Gandalf does seem to show some of his "hidden power" when he drives off the Nazgul in order to save Faramir. Somehow the Nazgul got the message there, which is also why I suspect that the WK decided to delay a confrontation at the gates...
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:54 AM   #166
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obloquy -

As to the Witch-King, Gandalf said: "...my heart sank. For even the Wise might fear to withstand the Nine, when they are gathered together under their fell chieftain. A great king and sorcerer he was of old, and now he wields a deadly fear. "- LOTR
:
The quote would suggest to me that Gandalf is worried about the effect of the WK gathered together with the other of the Nine on the mortals out there, and thus their impact on the battle. I doubt that Gandalf personally was afraid, since like Glorfindel (as cited in The Fellowship of the Ring), the power of the dead has little effect on those who walk in both worlds (the living and the dead). Gandalf explicitly says this as a response to Frodo's comment about how Glorfindel was able to drive the Nazgul into the river at Rivendell...
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:05 AM   #167
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Gordis, but that doesn't necessarily mean The Witch-King knew Gandalf's nature, and knew his full power. Because even though if Gandalf is sent back with enhanced powers, he still keeps them veiled.
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:16 AM   #168
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CSteefel, the quote above was taken from the Council of Elrond - Gandalf's tale about his feelings after he met Radagast in summer 3018. At this point there was no battle to worry about - yet. The two wizards (Gandalf and Radagast) were on their own, and Gandalf decided to go seek Saruman's counsel - how to "drive back" the Nine.

Quote:
"Even if you set out from this spot, you will hardly reach [Saruman] before the Nine discover the land that they seek. I myself shall turn back at once." And with that [Radagast] mounted [...] and rode off as if the Nine were after him.
Now consider this: there are 2 Maiar. They have to oppose the Nine coming in their direction. But they don't even try to do this by force, two against the Nine. Radagast is plainly terrified of the Nazgul. Being a Maia is not such a great advantage in itself, it seems...
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:38 AM   #169
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Gordis, but that doesn't necessarily mean The Witch-King knew Gandalf's nature, and knew his full power. Because even though if Gandalf is sent back with enhanced powers, he still keeps them veiled.
I didn't try to imply that the WK was aware of Gandalf's death, resurrection and his "upgrade" to White Wizard. But the quote from RC says that the WK, already while hunting the Ring near Weathertop, did know that G. the Grey was a great power. Most likely they had occasions to meet before (in Angmar?)
And what being could make a nazgul pause? Calaquendi and Maiar - or something like Tom B. (Also pretty girls, in the Witch-King's case ). I think the nazgul were very good at recognizing incarnate Maiar - hadn't they watched Sauron for an Age?

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Old 09-08-2008, 10:24 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Gordis
I only wished to point out that Glorfindel was both a Calaquende (not the most powerful of them, no) and a reincarnated being - unique in ME, as far as we know.
Well, you did say
Quote:
I have to disagree with you - I think [Glorfindel] was the most powerful of the Eldar remaining in ME.
Quote:
I guess that would double his powers at least in the World of Shadow, his power against the Nazgul specifically.
Double? Care to share the formula you used to calculate that? I disagree with the interpretation of the "world of shadow" as a literal realm where a person might be amplified or diminished independent of his "world of direct sunlight" counterpart. It is rather a modified perception of the ordinary, unified world, in which it is possible to see the spiritual power that is ordinarily veiled by corporeal forms. When Frodo puts on the Ring, he does not transport to this other world since he still occupies physical space in the ordinary world despite his invisibility there. (The state that The Ring confers is evidently different than the state of the Nazgul since Ringbearers are made invisible clothing and all, but the Nazgul can put something on to become visible. Still, the Nazgul must also occupy physical space rather than being true disembodied spirits since they are capable of wearing clothing and carrying weapons.) What changes, then, is Frodo's perception of the world, and in some cases what he sees may even be figurative, as in his vision of the searching Eye.

Quote:
For instance, Cirdan may be more powerful than Glorfindel and would best him in a fight (if such a silly thing were even possible) but not being a Calaquende, Cirdan would likely be at a disadvantage when dealing with the nazgul, while Glorfindel would have double advantages. That is what I was trying to say.
Then why isn't Glorfindel guardian of Narya? Who is Sauron likely to send to retrieve it, if he were to discover its location? Nazgul, right?

Quote:
Right - in LOTR it is clear that any Calaquende is a threat to the nazgul. Yet, in later writings Tolkien has thought of additional reasons that would make Glorfindel so unique vs. the nazgul.
Again, Gandalf does not seem to consider Glorfindel unique, but just "one of" the Elf lords present in Rivendell.

Quote:
I guess Gandalf the Grey himself would have said that Saruman was more powerful and Gandalf the White did say that Sauron "was mightier still".
First, Gandalf was known for his humility and it is the reason he succeeded where others failed, particularly Saruman who mistakenly considered himself the most powerful of his order and a peer of Sauron. I have written much about this in other threads. Second, Gandalf does not say that Sauron "is mightier still." This quote is constantly misinterpreted. Gandalf says that "Black is mightier still." There's no reason to believe that Sauron sometimes goes by the name Black. Black refers to The Bad Guys who, at the time that this was said, clearly still had the upper hand. It has absolutely nothing to do with Gandalf's perception of his own power.

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Originally Posted by CSteefel
But Tolkien says in "The Istari" in the Unfinished Tales that
Quote:
...Galadriel, the greatest of the Eldar surviving in Middle Earth, was potent mainly in wisdom and goodness, as a director or counsellor in the struggle, unconquerable in resistance (especially in mind and spirit) but incapable of punitive action.
Nice research. The context of this excerpt is important, however. Here Tolkien refers to her role in the overthrow of Sauron in the Third Age, which is somewhat different than what she might be capable of in direct confrontation with the Nazgul. With this in mind, it is telling that Tolkien calls her unequivocally "unconquerable."

Edit: In my post above I referenced Glorfindel's "return to innocence" but did not elaborate because I intended to do so later in the post, but then I forgot. I think most parties involved in this discussion are probably familiar with what I was referring to, but here it is anyway (from HoMe 12 - Last Writings):
Quote:
We can thus understand why he seems so powerful a figure and almost "angelic". For he had returned to the primitive innocence of the First-born...
It goes on to include his long association with Maiar and faithful Eldar in Aman as additional reason for his enhancement.

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Old 09-08-2008, 12:15 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by obloquy View Post
Well, you did say I have to disagree with you - I think [Glorfindel] was the most powerful of the Eldar remaining in ME.
What I disagree with is your statement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
His reincarnation was relatively unique, but his power was not. Note that he is still never spoken of as one of the greatest of the Eldar.
I believe his power was outstanding - at least in the Third Age ME. In the First Age there had been many Elves greater than him - that's why he is not counted among the greatest of the Eldar overall. But in the Third Age he was quite a figure.
I hate to discuss relative powers of good guys, but it stands to reason that there are many kinds of power - spiritual and physical, power in domination and power in resistance and preservation, power in what men call sorcery etc. In military prowess Glorfindel was, perhaps, unmatched: wasn't he the head of the Elven forces of Lorien and Rivendell in the last Angmar War? - and not Elrond, or Amroth, or Galadriel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
I disagree with the interpretation of the "world of shadow" as a literal realm where a person might be amplified or diminished independent of his "world of direct sunlight" counterpart. It is rather a modified perception of the ordinary, unified world, in which it is possible to see the spiritual power that is ordinarily veiled by corporeal forms.
That has always been my interpretation of the Shadow World as well. But even so, Calaquendi are said to have great powers both in Seen and the Unseen - which the other lack.
And the quotes about reincarnated Elves lead to believe that they have increased power in the Unseen -
Quote:
"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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
Then why isn't Glorfindel guardian of Narya? Who is Sauron likely to send to retrieve it, if he were to discover its location? Nazgul, right?
In the Third Age The Three rings weren't guarded, they were wielded by those who needed them most - not by those who could guard them better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
Again, Gandalf does not seem to consider Glorfindel unique, but just "one of" the Elf lords present in Rivendell.
Sure, how could Tolkien in his text written in 1930-ies and published in 50-ies use the ideas from his late writings? But while writing about Glorfindel later (text in HOME 12) he did take into account LOTR. Also, as I said, Gandalf was not supposed to reveal everything to the hobbit in mid-quest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
Gandalf was known for his humility and it is the reason he succeeded where others failed, particularly Saruman who mistakenly considered himself the most powerful of his order and a peer of Sauron.
Humility is a good thing, and a part of "general strength" but it is different from raw power. Had Gandalf been mightier than Sauron, he wouldn't fear to confront him over the Palantir. Had Gandalf been mightier than Saruman, he wouldn't be trapped in Orthanc. If Gandalf were able to fight the Nine single-handedly (or with Radagast) he wouldn't have gone to Saruman, leaving Frodo on his own with only Rangers guarding the borders.

Actually, I treasure the image of the old weary wizard in grey, not the mightiest of his kind, sometimes afraid, often mistaken, but stalwart in his mission nonetheless. He is much more likeable (and believable) than a super-hero, mightier than Sauron would ever be.

Then again... what was the original question?
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:58 PM   #172
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Nevermind the Balrog vs the Witch King. What of the Balrog versus Sauron? The victor of this duel would surely overcome the Witch King. Both were servants of Morgoth, neither were directly in league with one another, however, and they certainly were not allies in The Third Age.

According to Legolas, Sauron would be the favourite:-

Quote:
It was a Balrog of Morgoth. Of all elf-banes the most deadly, save the One who sits in the Dark Tower.
But how could Legolas know this? Who has ever trialled their strength at both the Balrog and Sauron?
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:55 PM   #173
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Nevermind the Balrog vs the Witch King. What of the Balrog versus Sauron? The victor of this duel would surely overcome the Witch King. Both were servants of Morgoth, neither were directly in league with one another, however, and they certainly were not allies in The Third Age.

According to Legolas, Sauron would be the favourite:-



But how could Legolas know this? Who has ever trialled their strength at both the Balrog and Sauron?
It doesn't matter how Legolas knew: Tolkien told us unequivocally that Sauron was greater than the balrogs.

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Old 12-14-2008, 11:35 AM   #174
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It doesn't matter how Legolas knew: Tolkien told us unequivocally that Sauron was greater than the balrogs.
The only questions that have to be asked in this discussion are, which character actually took up the aegis of Morgoth after his fall? Which character had the power to restore evil in Middle-earth and maintain a semblance of rule while Morgoth was exiled (more than once, mind you)?

Hint: it wasn't a Balrog. They hid. They showed neither the propensity for leadership, nor even an inkling of will to turn defeat into the possibility of victory. They had no personal power to draw all the evil elements of Middle-earth into a vast and insidious web that ensnared all of the East and most of the West.

It is obvious that Sauron alone among the followers of Morgoth had the will and the power to become Dark Lord in his master's stead. It was Sauron that rebuilt Angband into a more terrible bastion than Utumno ever was. It was Sauron who haunted the steps of the West for two Ages, was the primary cause of the destruction of Numenor, decimated the realm of Arnor, nearly crushed Gondor, and it was against the domination of Sauron that the Valar sent the Istari to Arda.

If Gandalf could defeat a Balrog, what could be said of Sauron, who was Gandalf's primary foe, and the only reason the Istari were in Middle-earth in the first place? If one really considers the story itself in its entirety, then the answer and the question itself is superfluous.
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Old 12-14-2008, 01:31 PM   #175
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If one really considers the story itself in its entirety, then the answer and the question itself is superfluous.
I am proud of the majority of the forward thinking and creativity that this thread has encouraged.


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It doesn't matter how Legolas knew: Tolkien told us unequivocally that Sauron was greater than the balrogs.
A Balrog versus Sauron would still be a tightly fought contest, and the comparably sourced dark power they would have used may have largely cancelled each other out. Was Sauron mightier than a Balrog without his Ring?

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Old 12-14-2008, 02:08 PM   #176
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A Balrog versus Sauron would still be a tightly fought contest, and the comparably sourced dark power they would have used may have largely cancelled each other out.
You have no proof. It is merely conjecture without textual basis.

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Was Sauron mightier than a Balrog without his Ring?
Doesn't matter. There was no dissent among the dark forces when Sauron temporarily assumed power in the 1st Age, nor in the 2nd or 3rd Ages when he was de facto Dark Lord. There was no no one who vied against Sauron for Morogoth's throne. All Morgoth's old minions fell naturally under Sauron's rule when Morgoth was banished for good.

One would think that evil, avaricious and power-hungry immortals would at least make an attempt to grab the throne (evil, after all, does not make fraternal and benevolent bonds between greedy and sadistic forces); this would be particularly true if the Balrogs felt they had a chance to defeat Sauron. Not surprisingly, they remained hidden and forgotten until Dwarves made the mistake of awakening one. Even then, the Balrog never left the confines of Moria to contest Sauron. Why do you think that is? The Balrog certainly had no fear of mortal Men, and he made quick work of the Dwarves. He could have left anytime he wished.

But the hierarchy of evil remained intact. It is rather like Sauron dutifully waiting for Morgoth while he was imprisoned. Per Tolkien, Sauron was just as evil as Morgoth by degree, save that he didn't hold dominion; however, Sauron, even if he wished to usurp Morgoth's throne (as evilly inclined folk are prone to do), he did not dare to do so. This wasn't merely servants blindly following centuries-old protocol like the Stewards in Gondor, it was naked power and aggression. Either you had it, or you didn't, or you waited.

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I am proud of the majority of the forward thinking and creativity that this thread has encouraged.
Why thank you, I am quite touched by your magnanimity. It is quite amazing what resourceful folk can do with a subject such as this. It is a credit to all the posters here.
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Old 12-14-2008, 02:33 PM   #177
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It is quite amazing what resourceful folk can do with a subject such as this. It is a credit to all the posters here.
Indeed. The thread has even inspired some great artwork in #141.
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Old 12-14-2008, 02:40 PM   #178
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Indeed. The thread has even inspired some great artwork in #141.
Yes, that is great, isn't it? I can hardly wait to see the illustrations for the Arwen vs. Eowyn jello wrestling thread. No what I mean? Nudge, nudge -- wink, wink -- say no more, say no more!

Ummm...sorry, had a Monty moment there.
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Old 12-14-2008, 02:50 PM   #179
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Why thank you, I am quite touched by your magnanimity. It is quite amazing what resourceful folk can do with a subject such as this. It is a credit to all the posters here.
I am proud of the contributions of the majority of posters in this thread. Kind words should not be checked with cold counsel. It is clearly obvious that knobody can be certain of victory in any contest in Middle Earth.
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:06 PM   #180
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It is clearly obvious that knobody can be certain of victory in any contest in Middle Earth.
Yes, that is true perhaps, as luck and fate have a place in Middle-earth. But we are speaking with specificity regarding two Maiar who never battled each other before, nor is there any textual basis to indicate that they ever would.

Again, Morgoth's throne was there for the taking on a number of occasions. Why did Sauron assume leadership without a fight? It's not like Tolkien never wrote about kinstrife and civil war before (like among the Elves, the Numenoreans, the Arnorions or Gondorions). Why didn't a Balrog attempt to forcibly evict him? I am sure there was no allegiance between the two based on devotion or love (I can't see a Balrog being all warm and sentimental), so if a Balrog was as powerful as Sauron, why then was there no confrontation?
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:21 PM   #181
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. . . so if a Balrog was as powerful as Sauron, why then was there no confrontation?
Because Sauron dared not try to evict the Balrog from his realm, no more than he did not with Shelob. The lesson of caution is well learned. The Balrog itself was not created with a view to dominate the world as a leader, but as a servant subdued to the will of Morgoth alone. I would compare this to the Witch King, soley commanded by the will of Sauron. Also, how many top draw powerful baddies could Tolkein accommodate in the LOTR as main characters? Certainly not both the Witch King and the Balrog, in addition to Sauron?

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Old 12-14-2008, 03:37 PM   #182
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Because Sauron dared not try to evict the Balrog from his realm, no more than he did not with Shelob.
Please present textual evidence to indicate Sauron wanted to evict either the Balrog or Shelob, or that he was afraid of them for that matter; otherwise, your argument is baseless. In fact, in the Two Towers I recall that Sauron was certainly aware of Shelob, but left her alone as she was useful in guarding the pass at Cirith Ungol. He even sent her unwanted prisoners from time to time. That doesn't sound like an adversarial relationship to me.

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The Balrog itself was not created with a view to dominate the world as a leader, but as a servant subdued to the will of Morgoth alone. I would compare this to the Witch King, soley commanded by the will of Sauron.
The Balrogs were not 'created' to be subservient as you mistakenly imply. They were Maiar just like Sauron, Gandalf and Saruman. One Balrog, Gothmog, led Morgoth's armies, so they had leadership capability.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:01 PM   #183
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They were Maiar just like Sauron, Gandalf and Saruman. One Balrog, Gothmog, led Morgoth's armies, so they had leadership capability.
Gothmog is a different story. If we had a Gothmog vs. Sauron, I might be tempted to go for Gothmog as the winner.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:33 AM   #184
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I found this old thread by coincidence,and i really interested in this type of thread.


The witch-king vs the balrog?witch-king get stomp.a maiar is far above a wraith,even the most powerful one.even if he use fellbeast,he still couldnt hurt the balrog.
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:03 PM   #185
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balrog is no man. he could easily kill the witch king. but still the witch king says cool think like"send forth all legions" and "I will break him". but no witch king of angmar doesnt stand 30 seconds against the mighty balrog... who is ttly awesome!
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:11 AM   #186
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The witch-king, though one of the best villains, is still only a mortal.
the Balrog was a beast from FA, one of the first evils.
wiki has no chance.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:57 AM   #187
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The Balrog could probably fart on the Witch King and remove him from existence.
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:15 PM   #188
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The Balrog could probably fart on the Witch King and remove him from existence.
That's obviously not the case. The Witch King especially at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was greatly empowered by Sauron personally. I would still favour the Balrog, but Gandalf the White considered him a tough opponent so it would by no means be a walk over.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:04 PM   #189
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I found this old thread by coincidence,and i really interested in this type of thread.


The witch-king vs the balrog?witch-king get stomp.a maiar is far above a wraith,even the most powerful one.even if he use fellbeast,he still couldnt hurt the balrog.

The Balrog is more or less the equal of Gandalf the Grey, both being of the Maia order. All 9 Nazgul could not defeat Gandalf the Grey, so logically speaking the Balrog must be more powerful than all 9 Nazgul, and therefore more too than the Witch King. An enhanced (this demonic force does not imply Maiar-like power) Witch King cannot be more powerful than a weaker one plus 8 Nazgul at his side. So on all accounts, the Balrog is more powerful, and would defeat the Witch King in combat through formidable hellish spells that nearly destroyed Gandalf the Grey in Moria.

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Old 08-01-2014, 01:46 PM   #190
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I believe there were just (5?) nazgul at Weathertop, and Gandalf did
have to eventually retreat. Therefore it seems problematic whether
one balrog could prevail against all 9 nazgul gathered together.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:14 PM   #191
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I believe there were just (5?) nazgul at Weathertop, and Gandalf did
have to eventually retreat. Therefore it seems problematic whether
one balrog could prevail against all 9 nazgul gathered together.
Did Gandalf not face all 9, and then draw 4 of them away, so that Aragorn only faced 5 of them?
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:04 PM   #192
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Seems worth noting that Gandalf and Aragorn were not fighting the wraiths in a toe-to-toe Mortal Kombat battle, but a struggle to safety with the hobbits and the Ring at stake. You would fight differently alone than if you were trying to escape with a child.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:14 PM   #193
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Seems worth noting that Gandalf and Aragorn were not fighting the wraiths in a toe-to-toe Mortal Kombat battle, but a struggle to safety with the hobbits and the Ring at stake. You would fight differently alone than if you were trying to escape with a child.
Also worth noting the Nine did not push Gandalf over the edge to force him to reveal his true Maiar powers. I can only assume they didn't pose a big enough danger in killing Gandalf, even if he said he was hard put to at Weathertop. Didn't come across as tormented and aggravated at the Council of Elrond than when he told of his dealings with the Balrog when asked by Gimili in the White Rider guise. It seemed more like he thought the Nine were tough, but manageable, but that the Balrog was formidable and a match for him. A shaken Gandalf the White in anguish and emotional pain when telling his tale is one big indication of the might of a Balrog.
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