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Old 12-08-2010, 06:34 PM   #81
Aiwendil
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Greetings, Khazad-dum! It's always good to see new people in this rather dusty old barrow.

You are certainly right that Balrogs are Maiar. However, whether they could be re-embodied after being slain is a trickier issue. You mentioned Gandalf - but actually this seems to me to be a counter-example, since Gandalf was only able to return to life by the special grace of Eru. Of course, Gandalf was explicitly limited in his incarnate form in Middle-earth in a way that the Balrogs were not.

Re-embodiment as a possible solution to the Balrog problem was actually considered in the early days of this project (see the first few posts on this thread). I think Jallanite summed up the situation here quite well:

Quote:
In theory then we might have 7 Balrogs slain by the Valar, the same 7 slain again at Gondolin, and then again by the Enw's host in the War of Wrath, save for one who escapes.

However in the third Age speculation on the origin of Durin's Bane there is no suggestion that ir is a re-embodied Balrog, which would surely have been a guess if it were known that Balrogs in the past had re-embodied themselves after being slain. Possibly they were only re-embodied by Morgoth's power and not their own. Yet might not Sauron have also done so, in the Second Age, when at his greatest might?

With such floundering suppositions, hypotheses, and probabilities I will leave the debate to those who enjoy arguments of ignorance.
Jallanite's point here, which I quite agree with, is that we simply don't have enough information to decide one way or the other whether the Balrogs could be (and were) slain and re-incarnated.

Findegil wrote:
Quote:
When I read the conclusion of this thread rightly, the decission was to try not to specify any number of Balrogs, but to work with assumption that 7 existed and 3 were killed in the Battle of the Powers.
Yes, as far as I can tell/recall, that was our decision.

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While translating this I found (porberbly due tomy bad english) that the second sentence of the passage might be read figurativly. Please correct me if I am worng! Could 'But they were withered in the wind of his wrath and slain with the lightning of his sword;' be understood as meaning 'It was as if they were withered and slain'?
That's an interesting thought. The crux of it is the word 'slain' - can this word be understood to mean something short of 'made to be dead' in this instance? My immediate inclination is to say that it cannot be so construed. I can't think of any other place Tolkien used the word 'slay' non-literally.

But ultimately, even if one admits the possibility of a non-literal interpretation of the sentence, I don't think that's sufficient to allow us any more freedom than we've taken, since there remains still the possibility that it was meant literally.

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Seeing that Tolkien himself has addressed the Balrog already in FoG as 'demon', I think that it adds to ambigous Balrog emandations to leave it open if this is a Balrog or not. From the discription especially the 'whip of flame', one could gues that this Demon is a Balrog, but it also could be a diffrent kind of monster. Thus we would again give the reader the freeness to decide for himself.
You know, as I think about it I like this possibility more. Tolkien's change of 'Balrog' to 'Demon' in the Glorfindel essay is somewhat inscrutable, and I recall spending a great deal of time in the early days of the project trying to figure out what thought lay behind it. But, as you rightly point out, we don't necessarily need to determine the reason for the change in order to implement it. I need to think about this a little bit more.

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Two further points cmae up during my research that we already mist after the decision taken inthis thread:
In our chapter Of the coming of the Elves we took up
Let's not get ahead of ourselves - I don't think we've officially worked on that chapter yet! (Unless I've simply forgotten it, which is entirely possible).

All right, let's get just a little ahead of ourselves: I agree with the first change, though I think you meant to include more in the { } brackets:

Quote:
he sent forth on a sudden CE-EX-12.5 {a host of}<AAm, late scribbeld changes his> of Balrogs,
I don't, however, agree with adding the footnote, for two reasons. First, it goes against our decision to leave the exact number of Balrogs ambiguous. Second, it seems clear to me that this was a note Tolkien wrote for himself and was never intended to actually stand in any text (even in a footnote).
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:32 AM   #82
gondowe
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My opinion always was that there are some notes (vagues) writen at any time by Tolkien that must be taken carefully, one of these is this about 3 o 7 Balrogs. I think that if the professor had really stablished this in his mind, hed must had change lot of passages along the texts, and for one or another reason (time, dead or another change of oppinion) didnt do it.

Of course in the last mithology aspect we have, theres no place for neither thousands nor hundreds or dozens of Balrogs, but there could have existed 8, 10 or 15, and they are very few for a coherent tale.
In the passage of the fall of Utumno it could be changed Balrogs for Demons and its again coherent with the subsecuent tales.

50 {It}Thus it came to pass that at last the gates of Utumno were broken and its halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Thence, seeing that all was lost (for that time), he sent forth on a sudden a CE-EX-12.5 {host}<AAm, late scribbeld changes his> of {Balrogs}[Demons], the last of his servants that remained, and they assailed the standard of Manw, as it were a tide of flame. But they were withered in the wind of his wrath and slain with the lightning of his sword; and Melkor stood at last alone.>

So the Demon of Glorfindel can be A Balrog leaving whatever of both words (even knowing Tolkien himself changed the word)

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Old 12-09-2010, 09:39 AM   #83
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About Balrogs slain or not in the War of the Powers:
Quote:
But ultimately, even if one admits the possibility of a non-literal interpretation of the sentence, I don't think that's sufficient to allow us any more freedom than we've taken, since there remains still the possibility that it was meant literally.
That' right. But I am still interested in oppions from others for my own enlightment indepent of the project itself.

About the 'Demon' slian by Glorfindel: I remember vaguly that we discussed this before, did not find it when I worte the post. I will again search for our old discussion.

CE-EX-12.5: Aiwendil worte
Quote:
Let's not get ahead of ourselves - I don't think we've officially worked on that chapter yet!
Oops, your are right. This is part of one of my drafts and not of any chapter discussed here. Thus I could have changed it silently. And of course you are also right that my editing was defectiv.
I agree that to use the footnote means to change a statement by JRR Tolkien into
a statement of on of the scibes in our line of text tradition. This is unwonted and therefore I agree not to use the footnote.
Thus the passage reads:
Quote:
50 {It}Thus it came to pass that at last the gates of Utumno were broken and its halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Thence, seeing that all was lost (for that time), he sent forth on a sudden CE-EX-12.5 {a host of}<AAm; late scibbled changes his> Balrogs, the last of his servants that remained<AAm; late scibbled changes faithfull to him>, and they assailed the standard of Manw, as it were a tide of flame. But they were withered in the wind of his wrath and slain with the lightning of his sword; and Melkor stood at last alone.
VE-13.045: Here I am sure that we alrady discussed it. So do you agree to my change?

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Old 12-10-2010, 01:29 AM   #84
Khazad-dm
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The Eye

Yeah sorry I didn't read all the earlier posts and I agree with that statement that it can't really be proven but I haven't really "studied" (lol) the books as much as a lot of people on the Downs have and that's just the opinion on the subject from someone(myself) who's only read LOTR once (almost twice I'm still working on it lol). I just like to post my short opinions on here (I can't write essays on the subjects like I've noticed other do) because my girlfriend laughs at me when I talk to her about it.

Sorry for being way off topic you can ignore this.

Thanks for the greetings by the way!
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:40 AM   #85
Elemmakil
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I read through this thread and found it very interesting. I thought I would contribute a few random thoughts:

1. I note in passing that there are, per the late margin note, "3 or 7" balrogs, and that there were 9 Nazgul (along with 3 Elven rings, 7 Dwarven rings, and 9 rings for Men). I don't know that it has any use or meaning, but Tolkien certainly seems to have liked odd numbers!

2. I never liked the thought of "1,000's" of Balrogs - such numbers cheapens them, and does make the idea of a "siege" of Angband laughable on its face - even the early versions of the stories make them somewhat powerful, and I find the notion hard to give credence to.

3. On the other hand, even 7, let alone a mere 3, Balrogs is to me an unsustainable idea. Why? Well, my concern has to do with the duel of Glorfindel and the Balrog. If there are only a tiny handful of Balrogs, does it really make logical sense that even one of these powerful beings would be committed to basically "night watch" duty away from the main battle? Would they not *all* be committed to storming the last stronghold of the Noldor? It would be like sending a fleet of destroyers and cruisers into the main fray, but having your Battleship hundreds of miles away on patrol looking for fleeing ships - that makes no sense at all. Now, if there were somewhat more balrogs (at least a dozen or preferably two or three dozen) then the idea of perhaps 2 to 4 being put in charge of the watchers in the surrounding hills becomes much more plausible.

Like I said, random thoughts.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:40 AM   #86
Gothmog, LoB
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In my it is pretty obvious that Manwe's dealings with the Balrogs in Utumno actually refer to a physical fight and their subsequent defeat.

Considering that this was the War of the Powers we can be reasonably sure that the Valar and Maiar (and Melkor's minions) did not exactly fight in a way they and the Eruhni would fight Melkor's creatures later on. The War of Wrath most likely involved a lot of more physical weaponry and violence than the War of the Powers during which many (if not all) of the ealar involved would not yet have been permanently bound to their bodily forms.

In that sense, I see no problems with an unspecified number of Balrogs being 'slain' by Manwe himself at Utumno since that would only have bereft them of their bodily shapes. They wouldn't have died in any real sense.

In fact, we know from Note 5 of the sanwe-kenta that only one Vala (Melkor-Morgoth) ever became permanently incarnated. With the Maiar this tends to happen more quickly, but Melian is cited as the only example (although that causes problems if we try to imagine the details of her return into the West prior to the voyage of Erendil). The Istari we certainly can cite as later examples for this (although their incarnation seems to have been 'special' in the sense that it might have been more binding from the beginning, unlike the slow process that made Melian and Sauron earthbound).

However, the note also includes an interesting revelation about Sauron and his confrontation with Lthien during the Lay of Leithian. Unlike the old text JRRT seems to have changed his mind about Sauron not losing his body back then and there, stating that 'the first destruction of the bodily form of Sauron was recorded in the histories of the Elder Days, in the Lay of Leithian.'

This suggests that Sauron doesn't become a 'special case' using the One Ring as his anchor to the physical world. And Tolkien also specifies that this extends to Morgoth's mother minions, not just Sauron: 'So it was also with even some of his [Morgoth's] 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.'

A momentary 'nullification' due to the loss of one's hra didn't necessitate a permanent end. One assumes that fallen Maiar/maiar couldn't 'die' and restore their bodies indefinitely, but they could do so quite a few times.

In that sense I'd argue that there is little problem with the number of the Balrogs aside from the actual descriptions of certain battles.

But there should be an unspecified number of Balrogs throughout all the battles of the First Age, acting as Morgoth's generals and his most fearsome warriors. And there is also no need to mess with any of the details of the fights between Elves and Balrogs (Gothmog & Balrogs vs. Feanor; Gothmog & Balrog vs. Fingon; Gothmog vs. Ecthelion; Glorfindel vs. Balrogs).

It is part of the story that the Eldar in their youth were very powerful, or had the potential to become very powerful, and this explicitly confirmed for Feanor. The idea that this man could have fought of multiple Balrogs of the type the Fellowship faced in Moria isn't far-fetched at all. And with Fingolfin fighting against and physically wounding Morgoth himself there is also no reason to believe that Fingon, Ecthelion, and Glorfindel did what they did.

One could even imagine that some of the other Gondolindrim slew some Balrogs - they could all have made themselves new bodies for the War of Wrath. The Noldor of Gondolin were the cream of the Eldar warriors in Middle-earth, and we know there was later much and long fighting between the Maiar-Vanyar-Noldor host and Morgoth's armies during the War of Wrath. One assumes that Morgoth's creatures and servants were not only fought by the Maiar during that war but by the Eldar (and Edain) as well.
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:02 PM   #87
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Nice thoughts, Elemmakil and Gothmog. But what is it you want to change (or to leave as it was, if we changed it)?

And consider, what the group has tried up to now is to reduce the number as far as possible, but not to state any specific number. So the intention was that our text would allow the read to interpret any number 3 or 7 or some more (not hundreds) of Balrogs ever existing. And we would as well not make any statement if they can be re-embodied after the War of the Powers or not.

Generaly we try to avoid fixing the debate matters of Middle-Earth as less as possible.

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