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Old 07-04-2016, 10:08 AM   #1
skytree
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Balrog and The One Ring

Did Tolkien ever speculate on what would have occurred if the Balrog had gained the Ring when the Fellowship passed through Moria?
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:35 AM   #2
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I can't recall Tolkien ever discussing it. My opinion is that the Balrog was aware of the Ring's presence, and was drawn to the Fellowship because of it.

If it had gained the Ring, I see no reason why it couldn't have made use of the contained power to become greater than Sauron.
Then again, what would the Balrog have done with that power? Since it was apparently content to hang out in Mordor and be a big fish in a small pond, I wonder what sort of motivation it might have found to do anything else.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:48 AM   #3
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I will need to dig through the HoM-e books dealing with the writing of the LotR, but I do recall a comment on the subject of the Balrog and its relationship to Sauron.

If I recall correctly, there were rather a lot of interrelated issues concerning the Balrog.

Foremost among them was that Gandalf knew that something must be done about the Balrog to prevent it from becoming an ally of Sauron. So this was one of Gandalf's motivations for the trip through Moria: To scout the Balrog, and ascertain its motivations and goals (and to "deal with it" should the opportunity arise).

I cannot recall Tolkien touching upon the Balrog gaining the One Ring, but I am certain that the thought crossed his mind.

The trick here is whether the Balrog would even have wanted the One Ring (at least for itself).

Most people do a spit-take on this, and exclaim "What-the-What???!!! Why would the Balrog NOT want the One Ring???"

And here you get tangled up in the origins of Balrogs, Sauron, and the corruption of Maia, and their individual goals and reasons for being corrupted.

Both Sauron and the Balrogs still serve Morgoth, even if they remain concerned for their own temporal power within Middle-earth.

And Sauron was, in the Hierarchy of "Middle-earth Hell" the remaining Authority for Morgoth.

In the Cosmology, Morgoth was supposed to eventually re-enter, bodily, Arda by crossing over the Walls of Night. And it could be that Tolkien imagined his Servants seeking to facilitate this.

To that end, Sauron having the One Ring would make that eventuality much more likely than the Balrog having it (and the Balrog would likely know this).

Like I said.... Here we get into a tangled web of the goals and intentions of "Evil" and "Corrupted" spirits/souls in Middle-earth, and things like allegiance, slavery (of the mind and/or body), the corrupted "nature" (psychology) of those fallen to Evil and "Morgothism," as well as to the Loyalty of Morgoth's Ainur Servants (It seems to be only his "Slaves" - Orcs, and Trolls, and other such corruptions or Life - that gave him problems of "rebellion" against his Will, in the same way that Morgoth rebelled against Eru Ilśvatar).

We have to remember that Sauron continued to Worship Morgoth as the Rightful Ruler of Arda. See his behavior at leading Nśmenóre into Morgothism, and his perverting Humanity after their awakening to the same thing as described in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth. Sauron also established such Worship of Morgoth among the Easterlings and Haradrim. Thus Sauron remained "Loyal" even though he sought to establish Temporal Dominion over the peoples of Middle-earth (recall from Morgoth's Ring that Morgoth's goal was dominion over the physical realm of Arda - the "stuff" out of which "creation" was made, rather than dominion over the people - he seems to have delegated this to Sauron, who was more focused upon the dominion over other's Will than was Morgoth).

The question would then be:

"How Loyal to Morgoth would the Balrog have remained?"

My personal feeling is that the Balrog would have little personal interest in the One Ring, as the Balrogs seemed to have cared more about chaotic violence and destruction than they did for dominating the wills of others.

And thus the Balrog would likely believe that delivering the One Ring to Sauron would best further the Balrog's personal goals of sowing chaos and destruction, and of seeking for the return of Morgoth from beyond the Walls of Night.

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Old 07-04-2016, 12:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
We have to remember that Sauron continued to Worship Morgoth as the Rightful Ruler of Arda. See his behavior at leading Nśmenóre into Morgothism, and his perverting Humanity after their awakening to the same thing as described in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth. Sauron also established such Worship of Morgoth among the Easterlings and Haradrim. Thus Sauron remained "Loyal" even though he sought to establish Temporal Dominion over the peoples of Middle-earth (recall from Morgoth's Ring that Morgoth's goal was dominion over the physical realm of Arda - the "stuff" out of which "creation" was made, rather than dominion over the people - he seems to have delegated this to Sauron, who was more focused upon the dominion over other's Will than was Morgoth).

The question would then be:

"How Loyal to Morgoth would the Balrog have remained?"

My personal feeling is that the Balrog would have little personal interest in the One Ring, as the Balrogs seemed to have cared more about chaotic violence and destruction than they did for dominating the wills of others.

And thus the Balrog would likely believe that delivering the One Ring to Sauron would best further the Balrog's personal goals of sowing chaos and destruction, and of seeking for the return of Morgoth from beyond the Walls of Night.
Speculation is nice, but in this case the speculation is based on the Second Prophecy of Mandos and Dagor Dagorath, something that a Balrog hiding in the nether regions of Moria since the end of the 1st Age would know absolutely nothing about. For all the Balrog knew, Morgoth was gone for good, banished with the terrible retribution of the Valar (hence the Balrog hiding in fear of being found out).

And what did Sauron know about the Second Prophecy, or care for that matter? Using Morgoth as a prop to build a religion around would certainly be easier selling to the Numenoreans than erecting totems to himself, a prisoner of Numenor. No, by the time of the War of the Ring, it would seem Sauron's only interest was Sauron, of regaining the One Ring, and his mastery of Middle-earth, figuring that the Valar had abandoned the world once Morgoth was imprisoned, and imprisoned with a finality that was much different than when Morgoth was a hostage in Valinor (and Sauron remained the good servant, ruling in his master's stead).

As far as the Balrog and the One Ring, there is zero information that I can find. Who knows what it would have done? Rather like Smaug devouring Bilbo and having access to the One Ring, I can't see a being of such power and evil intent simply surrendering it to Sauron. Power begets power and greed overpowers all.
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Old 07-04-2016, 03:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Speculation is nice, but in this case the speculation is based on the Second Prophecy of Mandos and Dagor Dagorath, something that a Balrog hiding in the nether regions of Moria since the end of the 1st Age would know absolutely nothing about. For all the Balrog knew, Morgoth was gone for good, banished with the terrible retribution of the Valar (hence the Balrog hiding in fear of being found out).

And what did Sauron know about the Second Prophecy, or care for that matter? Using Morgoth as a prop to build a religion around would certainly be easier selling to the Numenoreans than erecting totems to himself, a prisoner of Numenor. No, by the time of the War of the Ring, it would seem Sauron's only interest was Sauron, of regaining the One Ring, and his mastery of Middle-earth, figuring that the Valar had abandoned the world once Morgoth was imprisoned, and imprisoned with a finality that was much different than when Morgoth was a hostage in Valinor (and Sauron remained the good servant, ruling in his master's stead).

As far as the Balrog and the One Ring, there is zero information that I can find. Who knows what it would have done? Rather like Smaug devouring Bilbo and having access to the One Ring, I can't see a being of such power and evil intent simply surrendering it to Sauron. Power begets power and greed overpowers all.

In Morgoth's Ring, and elsewhere (I will have a look around), Tolkien points out that No Ainur may be killed, nor their life ended by any but Eru himself.

Both the Balrog and Sauron would know this was well, both being products of the "Mind of God." So both would well know that Morgoth remained "Alive" (or intact), and simply beyond the "Circles of the World."

Both would know that Morgoth (and indeed many of his original Servants and Slaves) had previously travelled outside the Circles of the World into the Void, and returned (Morgoth even hiding there for a time from the Valar).

The only difference at this point would be his binding by the chain Angainor (and perhaps blindfolding and gagging, as he was when first brought into the Ring of Doom after his first capture by the Valar).

And they would know that the world was still Marred by his effused presence within the World as a consequence of the Ainulindalė.

So his returning to within the Circles of the World should not be such an outlandish thing to seek.

If Sauron was so certain that his Lord was gone forever, he would not have set-up the Nśmenóreans to the Worship of Morgothism, but would instead have made himself the object of veneration.

In the Metaphysics Tolkien imagines for Middle-earth, he actually uses the words "Luciferian," "Devil," and "Satan" to describe Morgoth.

In Christian Mythology, the Servants and Slaves of Satan do not abandon Satan, even though they know that Satan is trapped within Hell until the "End-of-Times" (In Dantė, Satan is trapped, frozen within the Ice of the Ninth Circle of Hell). Yet the Demons who remain "free" to travel between Hell and the Earth continue to serve their Master, even though he remains trapped.

Why would Middle-earth's "Satan" and Daemonic Servants have different roles?

And there does seem to be a somewhat rigid authoritarian hierarchy within Morgoth's Servants and Slaves.

As for what they would have done with the One Ring....

I don't know, exactly.

But I suspect that the Balrog's desires, goals, and intentions are different from Sauron's, regardless of whatever the relationship to the One Ring might be for either.


MB

Last edited by Marwhini; 07-04-2016 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 07-04-2016, 03:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Marwhini View Post
in Morgoth's Ring, and elsewhere, Tolkien points out that No Ainur may be killed, nor their life ended by any but Eru himself.

Both the Balrog and Sauron would know this was well, both being products of the "Mind of God."


But there does seem to be a somewhat rigid authoritarian hierarchy within Morgoth's Servants and Slaves.

As for what they would have done with the One Ring....

I don't know, exactly.

But I suspect that the Balrog's desires, goals, and intentions are different from Sauron's, regardless of the relationship to the One Ring.
But what would Sauron think with the hand of Eru violently drowning Numenor, destroying the greatest armada ever assembled under Ar-Pharazon, and reshaping the very earth itself after interceding for the Valar? What would Sauron think when his own ruin was almost encompassed in that vengeful tidal wave initiated by Illuvatar Himself? Sauron could not possibly hold any hope for Morgoth's release when the hand of God was against him. And Sauron indeed knew it was Eru who had caused the great tumult:

"For Sauron himself was filled with great fear at the wrath of the Valar, and the doom that Eru laid upon the sea and land."

Like Morgoth, Sauron's reach had exceeded his grasp, and Sauron decided that Valinor was out of reach of Middle-earth forever. He would concentrate his power on the sole dominion of the world that is as Tyrannus Imperator and God of this World, eschewing any thought of Morgoth's return.

As for the Balrog, it was an age and more that it was under any direction from his Dark Lord, Morgorth. The Balrog was a Maia, like Sauron, and seeing Gandalf's fearful denial of the Ring and Saruman's descent from greatness to degeneracy at the mere consideration of holding the Ring, would not the Balrog, too, succumb to the Ring's lure? The Balrog was not like the Wraiths, beholden to Sauron for their existence and enslaved by Rings of their own. He was not some automaton moving at the behest of Sauron. He would not blithely surrender up such a thing as powerful and tempting as the One Ring because Tolkien was quite specific about the effects on even the greatest of beings.
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:00 PM   #7
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The most relevant passage about Sauron's attitude to Morgoth after the First Age is to be found in Morgoth's Ring:
Quote:
Sauron was not a 'sincere' atheist, but he preached atheism,
because it weakened resistance to himself (and he had ceased
to fear God's action in Arda). As was seen in the case of
Ar-Pharazon. But there was seen the effect of Melkor upon
Sauron: he spoke of Melkor in Melkor's own terms: as a god, or
even as God. This may have been the residue of a state which
was in a sense a shadow of good: the ability once in Sauron at
least to admire or admit the superiority of a being other than
himself. Melkor, and still more Sauron himself afterwards, both
profited by this darkened shadow of good and the services of
'worshippers'. But it may be doubted whether even such a
shadow of good was still sincerely operative in Sauron by that
time. His cunning motive is probably best expressed thus. To
wean one of the God-fearing from their allegiance it is best to
propound another unseen object of allegiance and another hope
of benefits; propound to him a Lord who will sanction what he
desires and not forbid it. Sauron, apparently a defeated rival for
world-power, now a mere hostage, can hardly propound him-
self; but as the former servant and disciple of Melkor, the
worship of Melkor will raise him from hostage to high priest.
This has always suggested to me that Sauron advocated Melkor-worship in Nśmenor out of opportunism and pragmatism, not genuine belief. As a hostage and prisoner in Nśmenor it would have been very unlikely that he could have put forward himself as their new religious figure and be successful, but he can put forward someone else, one about whom the Eldar had perhaps rarely spoken, and perhaps therefore appeared to be "forbidden" (and thus appealing) in the lore of Nśmenor which, by then, had been estranged from the Eldar and Valar for some time.

As for other places, it seems as if Sauron tended to be worshipped as a god himself. Professor Tolkien observes in Letter 131 that Sauron's empire, even in the Second Age (before he went to Nśmenor in fact), was an "evil theocracy (for Sauron is also the god of his slaves)". He also appears, according to The Lord of the Rings, to have been worshipped by the Black Nśmenóreans in some parts and/or at some, possibly later, times: "they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge."

We also know, however, that "By the end of the Third Age (though actually much weaker than before) he claimed to be Morgoth returned." (Letter 183) This suggests to me the possibility that Sauron exploited Men's uncertainty about who or what their dark god actually was in order to conflate himself with that person; it seems possible to me that some Men at least did not know that there was any difference between Morgoth and Sauron. Sauron, however, "demanded divine honour from all rational creatures", which suggests to me that he ultimately wished for himself, not Morgoth, to be worshipped as a god, and that he only used Morgoth's legacy when it enabled his own power to do so. According to Morgoth's Ring, he may actually have seen Morgoth as a failure after the First Age, not an object of worthy veneration:
"He probably deluded himself with the notion that the Valar (including Melkor) having failed, Eru had simply abandoned Eä, or at any rate Arda, and would not concern himself with it any more."

I should point out, however, that this is something of a later character development. In the original Nśmenor story composed in the early 1930s, at the time of The Lost Road and before any other aspects of the history of the Second Age were invented (and before the Third Age was invented at all), Sauron did not have this personal agenda; he's actually more like a puppet of Morgoth's will, or at least receiving instructions from Morgoth from afar. In this period Sauron appears to have been conceived of more as Morgoth's representative; in the later developments of the narrative Morgoth no longer seems to have much capacity, if any, to instruct or communicate with his former servants from the Void, and Sauron takes on the role of a replacement with his own, separate ambitions.

As for the Balrog, I don't recall any material in The Treason of Isengard or elsewhere which speculates too heavily on the nature of the Balrog, although I think there is speculation, abandoned in later re-drafting, that it might have served Sauron. I'll have to check later. Just wanted to get the "How sincerely did Sauron worship Morgoth?" discussion out while it was fresh in my mind.
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigūr View Post
The most relevant passage about Sauron's attitude to Morgoth after the First Age is to be found in Morgoth's Ring:


Quote:
Sauron was not a 'sincere' atheist, but he preached atheism,
because it weakened resistance to himself (and he had ceased
to fear God's action in Arda). As was seen in the case of
Ar-Pharazon. But there was seen the effect of Melkor upon
Sauron: he spoke of Melkor in Melkor's own terms: as a god, or
even as God. This may have been the residue of a state which
was in a sense a shadow of good: the ability once in Sauron at
least to admire or admit the superiority of a being other than
himself. Melkor, and still more Sauron himself afterwards, both
profited by this darkened shadow of good and the services of
'worshippers'. But it may be doubted whether even such a
shadow of good was still sincerely operative in Sauron by that
time. His cunning motive is probably best expressed thus. To
wean one of the God-fearing from their allegiance it is best to
propound another unseen object of allegiance and another hope
of benefits; propound to him a Lord who will sanction what he
desires and not forbid it. Sauron, apparently a defeated rival for
world-power, now a mere hostage, can hardly propound him-
self; but as the former servant and disciple of Melkor, the
worship of Melkor will raise him from hostage to high priest.


This has always suggested to me that Sauron advocated Melkor-worship in Nśmenor out of opportunism and pragmatism, not genuine belief. As a hostage and prisoner in Nśmenor it would have been very unlikely that he could have put forward himself as their new religious figure and be successful, but he can put forward someone else, one about whom the Eldar had perhaps rarely spoken, and perhaps therefore appeared to be "forbidden" (and thus appealing) in the lore of Nśmenor which, by then, had been estranged from the Eldar and Valar for some time.
I do not think that being a Cynical Opportunist and a True Believer are necessarily exclusive qualities.

It was the very passage you quoted that led me to think that Sauron would not surrender his loyalties to Morgoth so easily.

But that is really tangential to my main point regarding the One Ring and the Balrog. I will return to that later.

My point with Sauron is that his motivations were different than the Balrogs, as well as he was still the Balrog's "Boss" as it were.

I do admit that Sauron's depictions, and motivations, goals, desires seem to have shifted, and developed as Tolkien conceived Middle-earth.

But the ONE THING that informs all of my suspicions about Middle-earth involves a Unifying Metaphysics and thus Physics (How things "work"). As this was said by CJRT to be what caused JRR Tolkien to fail at completing The Silmarillion, and the earlier myths.

From The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth's Ring, pp. x - xi:

Quote:
Meditating long on the world that he had brought into being and was now in part unveiled, he had become absorbed in analytic speculation concerning its underlying postulates. before he could prepare a final and new Silmarillion he must satisfy the requirements of a coherent theological and metaphysical system, rendered now more complex in its presentation by the supposition of obscure and conflicting elements in its roots and its tradition.
And the issue of the One Ring is something that would need to be more adequately defined under such a system before we could know whether it would indeed have the same effects upon the Balrog that it had for others.

Note that not all Maia sought to possess the Ring, as they understood the dangers involved. And this might well apply to a creature who was Evil, recognizing that the One Ring might not help said creature as much in its own possession

Quote:
As for other places, it seems as if Sauron tended to be worshipped as a god himself. Professor Tolkien observes in Letter 131 that Sauron's empire, even in the Second Age (before he went to Nśmenor in fact), was an "evil theocracy (for Sauron is also the god of his slaves)". He also appears, according to The Lord of the Rings, to have been worshipped by the Black Nśmenóreans in some parts and/or at some, possibly later, times: "they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge."

We also know, however, that "By the end of the Third Age (though actually much weaker than before) he claimed to be Morgoth returned." (Letter 183) This suggests to me the possibility that Sauron exploited Men's uncertainty about who or what their dark god actually was in order to conflate himself with that person; it seems possible to me that some Men at least did not know that there was any difference between Morgoth and Sauron. Sauron, however, "demanded divine honour from all rational creatures", which suggests to me that he ultimately wished for himself, not Morgoth, to be worshipped as a god, and that he only used Morgoth's legacy when it enabled his own power to do so. According to Morgoth's Ring, he may actually have seen Morgoth as a failure after the First Age, not an object of worthy veneration:
"He probably deluded himself with the notion that the Valar (including Melkor) having failed, Eru had simply abandoned Eä, or at any rate Arda, and would not concern himself with it any more."

I should point out, however, that this is something of a later character development. In the original Nśmenor story composed in the early 1930s, at the time of The Lost Road and before any other aspects of the history of the Second Age were invented (and before the Third Age was invented at all), Sauron did not have this personal agenda; he's actually more like a puppet of Morgoth's will, or at least receiving instructions from Morgoth from afar. In this period Sauron appears to have been conceived of more as Morgoth's representative; in the later developments of the narrative Morgoth no longer seems to have much capacity, if any, to instruct or communicate with his former servants from the Void, and Sauron takes on the role of a replacement with his own, separate ambitions.

As for the Balrog, I don't recall any material in The Treason of Isengard or elsewhere which speculates too heavily on the nature of the Balrog, although I think there is speculation, abandoned in later re-drafting, that it might have served Sauron. I'll have to check later. Just wanted to get the "How sincerely did Sauron worship Morgoth?" discussion out while it was fresh in my mind.

(Grrrrr..... Had an entire paragraph eaten by my cat...)

The issue of how Faithful Sauron is is secondary to how faithful the Balrogs remained, or at least that was my intention.

From Morgoth's Ring, p. 165:

Quote:
For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendor in the days of his greatness, and remained in allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukir, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called Balrogs, demons of terror.

The Actual text of LQ 2 my father amended at this time very hastily to read:

These were the (ėaler) spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendor, 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 by the Noldor in later days. . . .
This is from work Tolkien created regarding the Earlier Days of Middle-earth after his completion of The Lord of the Rings but prior to its publication.

And it seems to indicate that the Balrogs would have remained very faithful to Morgoth. My personal take on this is that this means they would have remained faithful to the AUTHORITY of Morgoth as well, and Morgoth appointed Sauron as his chief Lieutenant.

We do have Archetypes and Myths for demons who betray such authority and loyalty to Evil; as many as those who retain loyalty and authority to Evil.

But given the Balrogs representation as following the Will of Morgoth almost robotically, I would think that they would seek to Surrender the One Ring back to Sauron, and then act as if Sauron was the Earthly Proxy of Morgoth, as indeed you suggest he is.

And... I do not think that the One Ring would have the same kind of effect upon the Balrogs as they had upon Mortals, or upon those who Lust for Power.

The Balrogs are not an Archetype of Lust, nor of Power. They are an Archetype of Violence, Fear, and Terror. They are an Archetype of a Display of Power, much like a terrible or horrific weapon, which has little Will of its own, but rather takes its will from the designated Authority.

Notice that in all the Thousands of Years the Balrog sat beneath the Three Peaks of Moria that it not once acted to establish any sort of dominion. It merely reacted when it was threatened, or encroached upon.

So... Maybe it would have taken the One Ring had it fallen into the Balrog's lap, and then just sat in Moria until Sauron came along to ask for his Ring back?

As I have rambled enough here.... My point, overall is that the Balrog cannot be expected to behave like Mortals, or like other Maiar who retain their intact Will (Capital-W). And thus outside of an operationalized definition of the Properties of the One Ring it is very difficult to know how it would react.

I have simply spelled out my own suspicions, and what evidence I believe supports them; right-or-wrong.

MB
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
But what would Sauron think with the hand of Eru violently drowning Numenor, destroying the greatest armada ever assembled under Ar-Pharazon, and reshaping the very earth itself after interceding for the Valar? What would Sauron think when his own ruin was almost encompassed in that vengeful tidal wave initiated by Illuvatar Himself? Sauron could not possibly hold any hope for Morgoth's release when the hand of God was against him. And Sauron indeed knew it was Eru who had caused the great tumult:

"For Sauron himself was filled with great fear at the wrath of the Valar, and the doom that Eru laid upon the sea and land."

Like Morgoth, Sauron's reach had exceeded his grasp, and Sauron decided that Valinor was out of reach of Middle-earth forever. He would concentrate his power on the sole dominion of the world that is as Tyrannus Imperator and God of this World, eschewing any thought of Morgoth's return.

As for the Balrog, it was an age and more that it was under any direction from his Dark Lord, Morgorth. The Balrog was a Maia, like Sauron, and seeing Gandalf's fearful denial of the Ring and Saruman's descent from greatness to degeneracy at the mere consideration of holding the Ring, would not the Balrog, too, succumb to the Ring's lure? The Balrog was not like the Wraiths, beholden to Sauron for their existence and enslaved by Rings of their own. He was not some automaton moving at the behest of Sauron. He would not blithely surrender up such a thing as powerful and tempting as the One Ring because Tolkien was quite specific about the effects on even the greatest of beings.
As I pointed out in my prior post, the issue has less to do with Sauron's Faithfulness to Morgoth, and more to do with the Balrog's.

I quote from Morgoth's Ring (in my previous post) a note that Tolkien made regarding Balrogs, and how they remained the most Faithful of Morgoth's servants.

The latter part of that post contains a response to your last question.

And... I suspect you will find that Tolkien was less specific on the effects of the One Ring than you imagine.

His descriptions dealt merely with those who sought to use the One Ring, or withhold it from its Rightful Owner. Absent in those descriptions are what effects it has upon co-evals of Sauron and Servants of Morgoth of similar power and "kind."

Can we really assume that the effects of the One Ring are similar in effort upon/between those who are "Good" (Capital-G) and those who are already "Evil" (Capital-E)?

Would not that assumption require the thing that Tolkien himself failed to reach: a Functional Metaphysics for Middle-earth that would have allowed him to define the mechanism by which the One Ring operated?

MB
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:47 PM   #10
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As I pointed out in my prior post, the issue has less to do with Sauron's Faithfulness to Morgoth, and more to do with the Balrog's.

I quote from Morgoth's Ring (in my previous post) a note that Tolkien made regarding Balrogs, and how they remained the most Faithful of Morgoth's servants.

The latter part of that post contains a response to your last question.

And... I suspect you will find that Tolkien was less specific on the effects of the One Ring than you imagine.

His descriptions dealt merely with those who sought to use the One Ring, or withhold it from its Rightful Owner. Absent in those descriptions are what effects it has upon co-evals of Sauron and Servants of Morgoth of similar power and "kind."

Can we really assume that the effects of the One Ring are similar in effort upon/between those who are "Good" (Capital-G) and those who are already "Evil" (Capital-E)?

Would not that assumption require the thing that Tolkien himself failed to reach: a Functional Metaphysics for Middle-earth that would have allowed him to define the mechanism by which the One Ring operated?

MB
You make the claim in a previous post that the Balrogs followed Morgoth "robotically". Funny thing, a Balrog wisely fleeing the imprisonment of his master, like another Maia, Sauron. One would think a robot would have laid down its life for its master, rather than running and hiding. That would indicate to me a being with a will of its own, and completely uninterested in sharing his master's fate.

It's also interesting that you make the assumption that the One Ring would be radically different in the hands of one set of Maia as it would be wielded by another, as if the E and the G would make much of a difference if the Ring was presented to one or the other. It's true the only Evil characters seeking the Ring were the Nazgul and they were already in thrall to the One Ring, and so do not count in the equation. I would say that, given the information we do have, that the Ring is inherently addictive, so much so that Saruman the Maia became obsessed by it without even seeing or touching it. And I think its fairly clear in the story that if he found the Ring he would not be handing it to Sauron.

Here's an interesting question: do you think if Morgoth returned to Middle-earth and Sauron was in possession of the Ring, would he, at the end of the 3rd Age, surrender it to Morgoth?
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:54 PM   #11
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Yes apologies for the long digression about Sauron; it's just a personal interest of mine. My first ever topic here was on the subject of what his attitude towards Morgoth was after the First Age and how much of his agenda was his own.
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But given the Balrogs representation as following the Will of Morgoth almost robotically, I would think that they would seek to Surrender the One Ring back to Sauron, and then act as if Sauron was the Earthly Proxy of Morgoth, as indeed you suggest he is.
It might be worth considering this statement from Morgoth's Ring about Melkor/Morgoth's weakening:
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"One of the reasons for his self-weakening is that he has given to his 'creatures', Orcs, Balrogs, etc. power of recuperation and multiplication. So that they will gather again without further specific orders. Part of his native creative power has gone out into making an independent evil growth out of his control."
This implies that the Balrogs still had some measure of independence (even if by accident), but perhaps a rather weak one. Maybe it was "waiting" for further orders from Morgoth (which of course never came). Might their "robotic" characteristics, then, perhaps be attributed to the Will of Morgoth being upon them? I'm reminded, for instance, of how when the Ring was destroyed the forces of Sauron were "witless and purposeless". Perhaps without the Will of Morgoth upon it, a Balrog might be somewhat mindless and similarly "purposeless", hence its apparent willingness to stay in Moria for hundreds of years and only emerge if roused by some disturbance or other, and then apparently only by performing what had then become its primary purpose: seeking to destroy.
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So... Maybe it would have taken the One Ring had it fallen into the Balrog's lap, and then just sat in Moria until Sauron came along to ask for his Ring back?
It seems like a possibility. I wonder the extent to which a Balrog might have recognised Sauron's authority. One would assume that in the First Age, during the times in which Sauron had command (such as when he was in Angband while Melkor was in Valinor, or when Morgoth went forth to spy on Men) he must have had authority over the Balrogs, even Gothmog, who was perhaps only one step below him in the chain of command. If Morgoth was defeated, killed and expelled into the Void, however, and Sauron was now pursuing his own ambition of conquering Middle-earth, might a Balrog recognise this and no longer perceive Sauron as its superior?

Unfortunately, I suspect we'll simply never know.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:31 AM   #12
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You make the claim in a previous post that the Balrogs followed Morgoth "robotically". Funny thing, a Balrog wisely fleeing the imprisonment of his master, like another Maia, Sauron. One would think a robot would have laid down its life for its master, rather than running and hiding. That would indicate to me a being with a will of its own, and completely uninterested in sharing his master's fate.
Pardon the confusion about Robotically. That word tends to carry a different connotation for me (and those with whom I most regularly use the term) than is typically used, and I used it without thinking of the context.

The word was not meant to imply the Balrogs have no Will, only that they are rigorously faithful to a set of operational principles.


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It's also interesting that you make the assumption that the One Ring would be radically different in the hands of one set of Maia as it would be wielded by another, as if the E and the G would make much of a difference if the Ring was presented to one or the other. It's true the only Evil characters seeking the Ring were the Nazgul and they were already in thrall to the One Ring, and so do not count in the equation. I would say that, given the information we do have, that the Ring is inherently addictive, so much so that Saruman the Maia became obsessed by it without even seeing or touching it. And I think its fairly clear in the story that if he found the Ring he would not be handing it to Sauron.
No, not radically different in the hands of one set of Maia as it would be "wielded" by another.

My point is that the Balrog would have No interest in wielding it at all. Much like Faramir, or Gandalf.

Because the Operational Principles under which the Balrogs act is to maximize the Power of their Master(s) (being Morgoth and Sauron).

And the One Ring in their possession would not maximize that power, it would diminish it.

This is an area where there is some contention regarding the nature of the One Ring. And I think that the movie tends to act to a great deal in propagating that contention by treating the One Ring as if it were some overwhelming addictive force against which all were immediately (instead of ultimately) powerless.

Even Frodo only used the One Ring three times, and all the while he remained Faithful to the cause of destroying it, right up to the Ultimate Act itself, where he failed.

The Balrog is going to have different motivations from people like Saruman, or Sauron, whom Tolkien depicted as Fully Realized Agents, rather than the subservient Elemental manifestation of Horror, Terror, Fire, and Darkness that are the Balrogs.

In that respect, the One Ring seems to mostly Corrupt Good, while Furthering the goals of Evil. The Balrog isn't "Good." It begins as "Evil" (already Corrupted, AGES LONG SINCE Corrupted).

The One Ring manifests through corrupting the motivations of People who seek to claim it, or use it.

Thus the Balrog has two things going for it that make the One Ring's relationship to the Balrog different:

1) The Motivations of the Balrog are not to Dominate and Control (which is what Sauron poured of his Will into the One Ring).
2) The Balrog is already Corrupted. It is already going to seek out what will maximize Evil.


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Here's an interesting question: do you think if Morgoth returned to Middle-earth and Sauron was in possession of the Ring, would he, at the end of the 3rd Age, surrender it to Morgoth?
Nope, because:

1) Morgoth doesn't seek to Dominate other Peoples. He seeks to Dominate the Fabric of Reality, and to Create in his own Right. It is a pity that Morgoth's Ring isn't digital, because this is one Aspect of Morgoth that Tolkien himself spelled out (and having a digital copy would allow me to do a quick search for the Quote - I am in the process of re-reading it right now, and will eventually discover that quote. I will be sure to post it in this thread when I find it).

This does not mean that Morgoth is wholly uninterested in Enslaving the Children of Ilśvatar. Only that this interest is itself not his Primary Interest. It is merely subservient to his Primary Goal of Dominating Arda itself. Morgoth seems to have left the Nuts-and-Bolts of Temporal Power to Sauron. Again, somewhere in Morgoth's Ring there is a quote by Tolkien to this effect, and I will locate it within the next few days (making a note to myself to make a note of it here when i locate it).

2) Morgoth doesn't need a Firecracker when he has the equivalent of Nuclear Weapons. Again, from Morgoth's Ring (only this time I have the Quote); p. xi.:

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. . . for this reason have I chosen Morgoth's Ring as the title of this book. It derives from a passage in my father's essay 'Notes on motives in the Silmarillion' (pp. 394 ff.), in which he contrasted the nature of Sauron's power, concentrated in the One Ring, with that of Morgoth, enormously greater, but dispersed or disseminated into the very matter of Arda: 'the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring'.
[Emphasis Mine]

The One Ring has an overblown reputation in this sense, in that people seem to thing that it is the Ultimate Power for Evil in Middle-earth. Morgoth is that Ultimate Power. Morgoth IS SATAN.

Yet to Morgoth, the One Ring would be a trinket; a bauble made by one of his Servants, which itself is made of the Substance of Morgoth's Ring. Satan does not need to usurp the devices of his Servants. Doing so would diminish them, and thus Satan himself.

So, again, the One Ring would be best used to/for Morgoth's Ends in the hands of Sauron... Not in the hands of Morgoth himself. Morgoth would not seek to diminish the power of his Agents and Servants to act on his behalf. And that is what (pointlessly) taking the One Ring from Sauron would do.

And... Yes, I am aware that Tolkien said that Sauron had grown in power since the end of the First Age. But the Writings in Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels post-date the Writing of The Lord of the Rings. And they remain consistent in Pointing out that Morgoth remains the (Ultimate) Source of ALL Evil within Arda (and Ėa).

In Metaphysical terms, the mass of his Fėa (and thus Evil) is tremendous compared to that of Sauron, even with some sort of amplifying property of the One Ring for Sauron's Fėa (and thus Evil).

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Old 07-05-2016, 01:56 AM   #13
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Yes apologies for the long digression about Sauron; it's just a personal interest of mine. My first ever topic here was on the subject of what his attitude towards Morgoth was after the First Age and how much of his agenda was his own.

It might be worth considering this statement from Morgoth's Ring about Melkor/Morgoth's weakening:

This implies that the Balrogs still had some measure of independence (even if by accident), but perhaps a rather weak one. Maybe it was "waiting" for further orders from Morgoth (which of course never came). Might their "robotic" characteristics, then, perhaps be attributed to the Will of Morgoth being upon them? I'm reminded, for instance, of how when the Ring was destroyed the forces of Sauron were "witless and purposeless". Perhaps without the Will of Morgoth upon it, a Balrog might be somewhat mindless and similarly "purposeless", hence its apparent willingness to stay in Moria for hundreds of years and only emerge if roused by some disturbance or other, and then apparently only by performing what had then become its primary purpose: seeking to destroy.
The Quote of Tolkien regarding the "Weakening" of Morgoth is something that I was taking into consideration.

Also, I do not mean to imply that "Robotic" means "Without Will."

I used the term without giving thought to the audience. I am used to using the term with an audience for whom the word (Robotic) has a very different meaning than typically used. I defined it in my previous post, as being Rigorously Faithful to a set of Operational Principles (be that an Optimization Function of some sort, or some other directive).

And the episode at the end of The Lord of the Rings needs to be informed by the fact that this failure of their "Will" was not complete, or permanent. Nor was Sauron completely destroyed (as only Eru can do that). Sauron was simply "dispersed" by the Valar to prevent him from remaining as a coherent Will and Force of Evil.

Elessar still had to spend years eliminating pockets of Organized Resistance from the remnants of Orcs and other creatures serving Sauron.

The sudden chaos among Sauron's servants seems to be more likely due to Shock of the loss of Will, which, like any Shock, would recover somewhat after a time.

And... Recall that Morgoth's Will is not completely absent from Middle-earth. His Will is a part of the very Fabric of Middle-earth, as the result of Arda Marred.

But that Will is very much diminished, which could account for the Balrog's lack of any drive to act.

Quote:
It seems like a possibility. I wonder the extent to which a Balrog might have recognised Sauron's authority. One would assume that in the First Age, during the times in which Sauron had command (such as when he was in Angband while Melkor was in Valinor, or when Morgoth went forth to spy on Men) he must have had authority over the Balrogs, even Gothmog, who was perhaps only one step below him in the chain of command. If Morgoth was defeated, killed and expelled into the Void, however, and Sauron was now pursuing his own ambition of conquering Middle-earth, might a Balrog recognise this and no longer perceive Sauron as its superior?

Unfortunately, I suspect we'll simply never know.
My suspicion is that the Balrog would remain Faithful to Morgoth, and thus to Sauron, who was Morgoth's recognized subordinate and proxy.

At least the Balrog would do so as long as it perceived Sauron to be remaining Faithful to Morgoth, which is a point of contention.

Was Sauron acting solely cynically and opportunistically in spreading Morgothism?

Or did he still genuinely revere Morgoth as the Rightful Lord and God of Arda?

Or was he doing both?

Perhaps Sauron was just having a "Crisis of Faith" due to the setbacks of his Master, and that had Smaug, and the Balrog managed to be rallied to his side, he would have again acted in the name of Morgoth, rather than in his own right.

Also, a point I missed earlier....

It is not a contradiction that Sauron should seek veneration as a God himself while still recognizing a superior deity (Morgoth). This is a central feature of Pagan religions (That the Gods have a Hierarchy), and we even see this to an extent among Catholicism with the veneration of Saints. Also, the various Satan/Lucifer Myths that detail a litany of subordinate Demons show that many of the Demons were worshipped in their own right while still respecting the suzerainty of Satan/Lucifer.

But overall I think that the issue of the One Ring is overblown when dealing with the Greater Demons in service to Morgoth, or other creatures in his service; as if the One Ring was the source of Ultimate Evil and Power.

Especially in light of how those (horrific) movies portrayed the One Ring.

While the One Ring is especially important to the Mythology of the Later Ages of Middle-earth, and is incredibly powerful in Light of the remaining "Powers" within Middle-earth, it should pale in comparison to Morgoth, even diminished.

It is sort of like the difference between a gun, and the tide of the ocean.

Sauron's Ring is like a Gun, capable of putting extreme power into the hands of a single person.

While Morgoth's power is like that of the tides of the ocean: Vast, and immense beyond compare to the power of the Gun; capable of re-shaping the world itself, and moving continents, given the time.

With the gun you can point it at people, and use it to Dominate to your will those so threatened. Yet one who controlled the tides could lay waste to entire regions of the Earth.

MB
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:03 AM   #14
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It is not a contradiction that Sauron should seek veneration as a God himself while still recognizing a superior deity (Morgoth). This is a central feature of Pagan religions (That the Gods have a Hierarchy), and we even see this to an extent among Catholicism with the veneration of Saints. Also, the various Satan/Lucifer Myths that detail a litany of subordinate Demons show that many of the Demons were worshipped in their own right while still respecting the suzerainty of Satan/Lucifer.
An interesting point. Personally I prefer an incredibly arrogant Sauron who thought that his old master was a failure, that God was "dead" (or at least disinterested) and saw himself as the only person in existence with the right approach to, and way of thinking about, the world.

That might be a personal thing, however. I find Sauron a little more interesting than Morgoth (although I find both characters interesting, especially the differences between them).
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But overall I think that the issue of the One Ring is overblown when dealing with the Greater Demons in service to Morgoth, or other creatures in his service; as if the One Ring was the source of Ultimate Evil and Power.
Another interesting point, although as a means of controlling minds (as opposed to Morgoth's interest in dominating matter) I find it to have its own significance in terms of the themes it represents.

Is it worth considering the notion that as Morgoth dispersed himself into the world he actually lost control of that "evil"? It seems to me that was the case, that "evil" came from Melkor but "Morgoth" the person no longer actually had that much control over it. It might work in his favour – but it might not, hence evil's tendency to be self-destructive.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:06 AM   #15
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An interesting point. Personally I prefer an incredibly arrogant Sauron who thought that his old master was a failure, that God was "dead" (or at least disinterested) and saw himself as the only person in existence with the right approach to, and way of thinking about, the world.

That might be a personal thing, however. I find Sauron a little more interesting than Morgoth (although I find both characters interesting, especially the differences between them).
There are more than a few commentaries that point out that Sauron was always the more proactive of the characters.

Tom Shippey even goes as far as to say that it might have actually been Sauron who ran the nuts-and-bolts operations of Morgoth; that Morgoth was so consumed by Rage and Hatred that it caused an almost paralysis, and that it was left to Sauron to conduct the day-to-day business.

I also read a paper that suggested it was Sauron who did the actual work of "corrupting" the Elves and Humans to create Orcs, and Dragons (and other monsters) from the pre-existing creatures or beings of Arda. I found it to be pretty convincing.

But I still don't think that is contradictory to having Sauron remain Faithful to Morgoth.

As Tolkien points out, Sauron is well aware of the cosmology of Arda, and as such would know that ultimately his goals were only possible because of Morgoth's Rebellion; that ultimately his own power(s) were caught up in the existence of Morgoth.

Unfortunately, though, this is largely a narrative issue which Tolkien did not address (Curses!!!), and in terms of the unfolding of Plot, there exist many different interpretations that could be taken.

Where I disagree with Sauron "rebelling" against Morgoth is that it is hung too closely upon Saruman's Rebellion from the Istari, and thus the theme that so many have of Evil being its own Undoing.

That is a theme that largely exists in only one place (The Lord of the Rings), and in a character who has a very conflicted loyalty and set of goals (The goals for Saruman remain the same, they just become perverted by his study of evil). Sauron himself isn't conflicted in that regard, and his goals remain the same goals they have been pretty much since the First Age, if not before. Any "perversion" of Sauron occurred in the countless millennia prior to the Third Age, and we see no deviation from his prior goals.

I just think people are too quick to make everything an "Evil being its own undoing" event, when those were rare exceptions and not the rule (which was that Evil makes things vastly worse than they were previously).

Quote:
Another interesting point, although as a means of controlling minds (as opposed to Morgoth's interest in dominating matter) I find it to have its own significance in terms of the themes it represents.

Is it worth considering the notion that as Morgoth dispersed himself into the world he actually lost control of that "evil"? It seems to me that was the case, that "evil" came from Melkor but "Morgoth" the person no longer actually had that much control over it. It might work in his favour – but it might not, hence evil's tendency to be self-destructive.
Again.... I think that is looking too hard for an "Evil is its own undoing" moment. That Morgoth was consumed by his Hatred and Rage is something we have no shortage of evidence for (and thus was usually a malevolent force off-stage). Even Tolkien comments on this at multiple points.

But Morgoth never became impotent, even when thrust outside of the Circles of the World. Tolkien points out that he retained an ability to influence the World to Evil, just by his Shadow and Thought.

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Old 07-05-2016, 11:47 AM   #16
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I don't agree with the idea that Balrogs were mere subservient elemental manifestations with no will of their own, unable to deviate from the programming devised by Morgoth, or were incapable of independent action. How would the Balrog of Moria have fled in the first place if it had no independent will? I think the impression of "roboticness" on the part of the Balrogs is mostly a result of the comparative abstractness of the Sil, where only a select few personalities are explored in detail, and the fact that the Balrog of Moria never spoke in its confrontation with Gandalf.

All of Morgoth's servants we come into detailed contact with have at least some degree of free will. Why would Balrogs differ in this regard?

Clearly, to a large extent the motivations of the Balrog of Moria were different from the norm of Evil, but it was operating on incomplete information.

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I wonder the extent to which a Balrog might have recognised Sauron's authority. One would assume that in the First Age, during the times in which Sauron had command (such as when he was in Angband while Melkor was in Valinor, or when Morgoth went forth to spy on Men) he must have had authority over the Balrogs, even Gothmog, who was perhaps only one step below him in the chain of command. If Morgoth was defeated, killed and expelled into the Void, however, and Sauron was now pursuing his own ambition of conquering Middle-earth, might a Balrog recognise this and no longer perceive Sauron as its superior?
I agree with Zigūr.

How legitimate would the Balrog have viewed Sauron as being the proxy for Morgoth? Especially since the Balrog would know that Sauron was lying about being Morgoth Returned and could not possibly be taken in by this deceit. Also note, Sauron abandoned his service to Morgoth before the end of the First Age, presumably vacating his place as Morgoth's chief lieutenant. The Balrog would undoubtedly be aware of this betrayal. Why would the Balrog respect Sauron as Morgoth's proxy in light of these things?

The other question that has not been touched on in this thread yet is "Could the Balrog have mastered the Ring?"
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:44 PM   #17
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The other question that has not been touched on in this thread yet is "Could the Balrog have mastered the Ring?"
If by master, you mean having the ability to withhold the Ring from Sauron in his despite (as described in a Letter by Tolkien as being a measure of one's 'mastery' of the Ring), I would say it's a toss-up. Tolkien envisaged Gandalf as being able to do so. The Balrog seemingly had not exhausted, as had Sauron, much of its will and spirit in the dominion of others. Then the question again turns to what a Balrog with the Ring would do. Try in some one to enable Morgoth's return? Impossible. Force Sauron and the forces of Mordor to serve it, essentially replacing Sauron? If that, doesn't the Ring win after all?
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:10 PM   #18
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If that, doesn't the Ring win after all?
The Ring always wins unless it is destroyed.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:55 PM   #19
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I don't agree with the idea that Balrogs were mere subservient elemental manifestations with no will of their own, unable to deviate from the programming devised by Morgoth, or were incapable of independent action.
Good, because no one has argued that.


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Old 07-05-2016, 01:58 PM   #20
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If by master, you mean having the ability to withhold the Ring from Sauron in his despite (as described in a Letter by Tolkien as being a measure of one's 'mastery' of the Ring), I would say it's a toss-up. Tolkien envisaged Gandalf as being able to do so. The Balrog seemingly had not exhausted, as had Sauron, much of its will and spirit in the dominion of others. Then the question again turns to what a Balrog with the Ring would do. Try in some one to enable Morgoth's return? Impossible. Force Sauron and the forces of Mordor to serve it, essentially replacing Sauron? If that, doesn't the Ring win after all?
Again, Morgoth's return isn't impossible, as Tolkien said that was how Arda Marred would eventually come to an end, and Arda Unmarred would come to be:

Morgoth would return from the Void, crossing over the Walls of the Night.

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Old 07-05-2016, 01:59 PM   #21
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Again, Morgoth's return isn't impossible, as Tolkien said that was how Arda Marred would eventually come to an end, and Arda Unmarred would come to be:

Morgoth would return from the Void, crossing over the Walls of the Night.
I'm aware of the Second Prophecy, but my point was that the Balrog couldn't have pulled it off, Ring or no.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:09 PM   #22
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I'm aware of the Second Prophecy, but my point was that the Balrog couldn't have pulled it off, Ring or no.
Yes... Quite likely.

But.... Does that mean he would not try?

As I already indicated... I don't think the Balrog would have left Moria, even if it possessed the One Ring.

But then that damned Ring of Sauron's seems to be the source of so much contention and strife. And not just in Middle-earth. It seems that even in our world the One Ring is the source of a sizable amount of strife and conflict among wound-be allies.

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Old 07-06-2016, 06:04 AM   #23
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Ring The Balrogs were Maiar

From what we have been told, the Balrogs were Maiar, like Sauron, and were also corrupted by Morgoth.

It's possible the Balrog in question might have had a chance against Sauron. While I don't have his Letters to hand, I recall Tolkien saying that the only being who had a chance to defeat Sauron in personal combat while using the One Ring was a Maia, Gandalf. Might that Balrog, also a former Maia, have a similar chance?
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:51 AM   #24
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It's possible the Balrog in question might have had a chance against Sauron. While I don't have his Letters to hand, I recall Tolkien saying that the only being who had a chance to defeat Sauron in personal combat while using the One Ring was a Maia, Gandalf. Might that Balrog, also a former Maia, have a similar chance?
I think so.

There are a number of parallels between the Gandalf vs. Sauron question and Balrog vs. Sauron. In both contests the Ring would still be a part of Sauron and attempting to get back to him. However, Sauron had spent much of himself and was greatly diminished from his former power whereas Gandalf and the Balrog were not.

The biggest difference being that Gandalf and the Balrog did face off and Gandalf won that one, so perhaps the Balrog was not quite on that level.
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:32 PM   #25
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Long time no see

I have the notion that a Balrog would be something like a dark and twisted version of Gandalf. Gandalf is surely a fiery spirit in origin, in possession of the Ring of Fire; and the fire of Gandalf is cleansing, uplifting, inspiring. The Balrog have a fiery heart but are clothed in shadow, their fire is destroying, devouring and they strike fear into the hearts of those who behold them.

But unlike the Istari none of the Balrogs are shown to have any kind of personality. The only named one is Gothmog who appears to have been a great field commander in Morgoth's army in the First Age with, one assumes, a great deal of agency and cunning, but he has no lines as far as I can remember and we are never told explicitly about any strategic decisions of his.

The motives and doings of Durin's Bane are also unclear. Why was he down there idle for so long? Did he command the Orcs that infested the Mines or were they just as surprised as the company when he showed up? Maybe they were aware of something terrible down below but too afraid of Sauron to move out? Could be that the Orcs and the Balrog had no means of communication between them, that they simply didn't share a common language, as banal as that sounds.

In my opinion I think Durin's Bane would immediately have recognized the Ring as a powerful artefact and used it for his own ends. And if Sauron came knocking, would he hand it over? Well for me that's impossible to say. I suppose that the Balrog wouldn't have surrendered it freely. Gandalf was tempted to take the Ring and use it, or so he said. But he was Good. The Balrog was Evil with a capital E, and would have no qualms about giving in to temptation. Besides he wouldn't know what the ring was and who made it. Well the more I think of it I reckon it's an unanswerable question. We don't know enough about the Balrogs to tell.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:05 AM   #26
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A few points:

1) Yes... Gandalf was a "Spirit of Fire," akin to Arien, the Maia who guided the Sun through the skies.

So... Gandalf and the Balrog fighting was as siblings fighting, one pure and faithful, the other corrupted, and perverted.

2) We do have an indication of the personalities of the Balrogs.

In the Book of Lost Tales Tolkien indicates that the Balrogs were rather keen on Torture. Throughout the first volumes of The History of Middle-earth this theme returns. Morgoth threatens Hśrin with being "given to the tortures of the Balrogs" in the Lays of the Children of Hśrin.

The Balrogs are also said to be "Spirits of Fire and Destruction."

Collectively these are akin to the Demons we see Danté describe in his work Inferno; that the Demons charged with the torture and torment of the Damned are essentially akin to the Balrogs. They would be sadistic, chaotic, violent, destructive, malevolent, etc...

But we also have another aspect of their personality that is very well defined:

Their Loyalty to Morgoth.

In Morgoth's Ring, where we have Tolkien giving them their ultimate conception, Tolkien describes them as:

"The first and most Faithful" (With a Capital-F) "of Morgoth's Servants."

And that they are his most Faithful servants date back to their very first conception, where they are Demons Morgoth creates himself (when Tolkien still conceived of the Ainur being able to Create in their own right) to be the backbone and Enforcers of his Dominion.

p. 65 of Morgoth's Ring:
Quote:
Seeing that all was lost (for that time), he sent forth on a sudden a host of Balrogs, the last of his Servants
So the Balrogs, even knowing that Morgoth was losing, and (at least "for that time) all was Lost, the Balrogs remained by his side, and were the last to fight for his cause in the Battle where he lost his Freedom prior to the First Age.

Later.. It was the Balrogs who rush to his aid when he is taken by Ungoliant, and she throws a web about him, and then sets to crushing him.

p. 165 of Morgoth's Ring
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. . . the Balrogs become the chief of 'the evil spirits that followed him . . .

For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraurik, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.

. . . my father emended at this time very hastily to read:

These were the (ėaler) spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendor, 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 by the Noldor in latter days.
And we have many other such quotations to illustrate that the Balrogs were the first of the most powerful of the Maiar to be corrupted/drawn to Melkor, and that they were the most faithful.

They are like unto Holy Warriors for Morgoth (even if there are only Seven of them), or his personal "Knights" (I cannot think of any word other than Arch-Demon or Arch-Fiend).

I imagine they are like the Nazi SS, or Muslim/Fremen Fedaykin (More the former than the latter).

So you would have fiercely loyal, sadistic, violent, dark, fiery, chaotic personalities.

That does give a rather broad domain of Personality, but it is a Foundation from which to work with.


3) What is it that people have with worrying about whether Sauron would be beaten by the Balrog if the Balrog had the One Ring?

Is this some sort of Video Game Concept, where you pit them in a Fighting Video Game, like Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, or Blaze Blu?

Is this like:

Which would win in a fight?

•*The Enterprise, or an Empire Star Destroyer?
• Spock or Legolas?
•*Harry Potter or Gandalf?

Why would the Balrog WANT to fight Sauron (especially given their loyalty and allegiance to Morgoth - see above)?



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Old 07-07-2016, 06:16 AM   #27
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Ring Gandalf and the Durin's Bane Balrog

In terms of the ability of Gandalf to fight Sauron in person wearing the One Ring, Tolkien had this to say, in Letter 245 of 25th June 1963 to Rhona Beare:

Of the others only Gandalf might be expected to master him [Sauron] - being a emissary of the Powers [Valar] and a creature of the same order [Maiar], an immortal spirit taking a visible physical form.

Tolkien then discussed if Elrond or Galadriel could have wielded the Ring and supplanted Sauron:

they would have built up an empire with great and absolutely subservient generals and armies and engines of war, until they could challenge Sauron and destroy him by force. Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated. One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in posession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors.
(My emphasis)

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Why would the Balrog WANT to fight Sauron (especially given their loyalty and allegiance to Morgoth - see above)?MB
His allegiance was given to Morgoth, not Sauron; so he might not have automatically given allegiance to the latter. Also, it's possible that he might have fought Sauron on the grounds that he had gone 'soft'. Tolkien made it clear in Morgoth's Ring that Morgoth wanted to destroy every living thing on Arda, including his own creatures such as Orcs, once the Elves and Men were destroyed. Sauron, by comparison, didn't mind things living, as long as they acknowledged his supremacy.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:48 AM   #28
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Also, it's possible that he might have fought Sauron on the grounds that he had gone 'soft'. Tolkien made it clear in Morgoth's Ring that Morgoth wanted to destroy every living thing on Arda, including his own creatures such as Orcs, once the Elves and Men were destroyed. Sauron, by comparison, didn't mind things living, as long as they acknowledged his supremacy.
I think this is a good point, and it's one that occurred to me as well. We know Sauron had been infected by Morgothian "nihilism", but not wholly.

Sauron was Morgoth's greatest servant, but I think Sauron's real "god" or master was the idea of order. Ultimately this just became a will to dominate all life, but I think Sauron's primal obsession with order at all costs might have been a stronger impulse, deep down, than his subservience to Morgoth, which itself arose from his desire to achieve order. Morgoth eventually focused upon disorder, chaos and destruction as his goals, which surely Sauron must have found abhorrent – an outcome of the fissiparous nature of evil being that different, even competing, evils arise. This is why I believe Sauron would have seen Morgoth as a failure; he believed that order was the only good, and according to that standard Morgoth, Manwė and indeed Eru Himself had failed to bring about good, by failing to bring about order. Thus, despite his relative "smallness", he might well see himself as "superior" to all others, regardless of their stature and potency in the hierarchy of creation.

A Balrog might well have been far more infected by Morgoth's "lust for destruction" and hatred of all reality independent of himself; thus, perhaps, a Balrog would have no use for the One Ring. To control the minds of other created beings might seem pointless to a creature which only wished for them to be annihilated.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:54 AM   #29
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Do you happen to know the location in Morgoth's Ring where Tolkien discusses Morgoth wanting to destroy everything?

I am currently re-reading Morgoth's Ring, but I have not yet come across anything like that.

So far, all I get is that Morgoth wants Dominion over all of Arda, and is at odds with the other Valar.

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Old 07-07-2016, 07:07 AM   #30
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Do you happen to know the location in Morgoth's Ring where Tolkien discusses Morgoth wanting to destroy everything?
It's in 'Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion' in "Myths Transformed".
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Morgoth would no doubt, if he had been victorious, have ultimately destroyed even his own 'creatures', such as the Orcs, when they had served his sole purpose in using them: the destruction of Elves and Men. Melkor's final impotence and despair lay in this: that whereas the Valar (and in their degree Elves and Men) could still love 'Arda Marred', that is Arda with a Melkor-ingredient, and could still heal this or that hurt, or produce from its very marring, from its state as it was, things beautiful and lovely, Melkor could do nothing with Arda, which was not from his own mind and was interwoven with the work and thoughts of others: even left alone he could only have gone raging on till all was levelled again into a formless chaos. And yet even so he would have been defeated, because it would still have 'existed', independent of his own mind, and a world in potential.
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Morgoth had no 'plan': unless destruction and reduction to nil of a world in which he had only a share can be called a 'plan'.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:44 AM   #31
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Those both tend to support my contention that he sought Dominion over Arda, and not its destruction.

The Destruction was a case of "If I can't have it, no one will."

But I am now too tired, and need to sleep for a while so that I can think more clearly beyond this...

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Old 07-07-2016, 11:19 PM   #32
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Those both tend to support my contention that he sought Dominion over Arda, and not its destruction.The Destruction was a case of "If I can't have it, no one will."
But it says that's what he would have done *had he won*.
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Old 07-08-2016, 11:15 AM   #33
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But it says that's what he would have done *had he won*.
Upon reading through the entire section, no, that isn't quite what it says.

It says that it what he would have done if he had to SHARE the Dominion (rule) of Arda with the other Valar.

Tolkien's implication is that had Morgoth been given Dominion over Arda, and sole Authority on its ordering, he would then have gone about creating a world in his image and conception (To HIS THEMES in the Ainulindalė (Music of the Ainur), rather than that of Eru and the other Valar.

I will go back through the section of Morgoth's Ring: 'Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion (p. 394) later to get the relevant points.

You have to recall that Tolkien isn't writing this stuff to spell out answers to explicit questions we have, but to answer questions to himself about a Generalized Metaphysics (or, as it says on p. x of the same volume "the underlying postulates ..." and "... requirements of a coherent Theological and Metaphysical system.")

But the 'Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion' portion that deals with Morgoth details his (out)rage at not being given dominion over Arda. That he considered himself Superior to (and indeed was/is Superior to) all of the other Ainur, and thus felt it his Right to rule Arda, to have Dominion over it, and its substance; to have authority over the ordering of that substance to his liking. The Nihilism is a reaction to the denial of the remaining Valar to give him his way:

"If I can't have it, I'll burn it to the ground, and no one can have it!"

But I will get the specific quotes in a while, as I have something else I can collecting from HoM-e right now.

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Old 07-08-2016, 03:15 PM   #34
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I'm not sure "he had only a share" means share of the rulership, but rather share in the creation of, hence this statement:
Quote:
Melkor could do nothing with Arda, which was not from his own mind and was interwoven with the work and thoughts of others
He was not solely responsible for the creation of or nature of Arda; he was only one contributor among many. Thus he came to hate Arda and resent its existence because he believed only his own mind, work and thoughts to be worthy.

That's how it seems to me, at least.

To be fair, I think the passage is saying that Morgoth began with the desire for power over Arda, and that the transformation of that desire into a desire to destroy it came later, as a result of his ever-increasing pride.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:00 PM   #35
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I'm not sure "he had only a share" means share of the rulership, but rather share in the creation of, hence this statement:

He was not solely responsible for the creation of or nature of Arda; he was only one contributor among many. Thus he came to hate Arda and resent its existence because he believed only his own mind, work and thoughts to be worthy.

That's how it seems to me, at least.

To be fair, I think the passage is saying that Morgoth began with the desire for power over Arda, and that the transformation of that desire into a desire to destroy it came later, as a result of his ever-increasing pride.
Yes.... Could be.

Could very well be.

There does seem to be a "Descent into Madness" present in Morgoth, as Tolkien uses those exact words in the same essay.

But at the same time we are seeing works in HoM-e that are in progress (Tolkien trying to work out an Ontology of What Is).

And Tolkien's works represent The Authority in this respect, but that he never arrived at that coherent final whole.

The problem then remains of resolving the Metaphysical and Theological contradictions within Tolkien's works without altering the History of the events within them.

And the Nature of Morgoth remains a pretty significant contradiction within his works.

And thus even with this narrative of a descent into Nihilism, one is left with a litany of contradictions needing resolving.

And to resolve them..... That then requires those 'Foundational Postulates' I keep returning to.

Chief Among them is that Morgoth seemingly had the power to force the Valar to destroy the World for him, if this was actually his goal.

But.... My batteries are running out for this evening.... And I need to go consult Sources before delving further into this (for which I still need to find the rest of my HoM-e volumes other than Morgoth's Ring and The Treason of Isengard. I REALLY need to find The Shaping of Middle-earth and The Peoples of Middle-earth, as they contain much of the materials I need not only for this thread, but for the Ėa Project - I get to be Aulė and Yavanna at the present).

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Old 07-16-2016, 10:38 PM   #36
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Sauron has no emotional or sentimental attachment or feelings of loyalty towards Melkor ... to assume that would be a total misreading of his Charakter. Sauron was drawn to melkor because of his power and he constructed the Melkor-Religion in Numenor not out of a genuine feeling of loyalty but because he himself, as a defeated Prisoner was not a credible focal Point. There was a Thread about this Topic (saurons loyalty) a while back and the consensus was that melkor is not a Factor in saurons Motivations at all. Tolkien himself wrote that sauron considered melkor to be a failure. Sauron is a cold, cynical egotist and not some romantic idealist. Sauron didnt even participate in the war of wrath, he hid himself away and watched the whole spectacle from the sidelines ... The war lasted over forty years, not once did sauron think "hey I should help my "master" in his existential fight for survival" ... The surviving balrogs probably hate sauron because of this betrayal and would not be willing to work for him or accept his authority. Also: if you believe that the one ring somehow "channels" the morgoth element in arda, than that makes sauron effectively an usurper and enemy of his former master ...
Would the Balrog be tempted by the ring? Definitely, even if he might object to its existence, but I don't think that he would be able to master it. Tolkien wrote that only Gandalf might (!) be expected to master the one ring, but even that's hypothetical (I don't think Gandalf would be able to achieve it).
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:56 PM   #37
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So what would happen if the Balrog somehow found the One Ring? A lot of people seem to assume that the Balrog would naturally go on and try to conquer middle-earth and challenge Sauron. But in my opinion it is quite likely that he would end up like a beefed up version of Gollum, hiding deeper and deeper into Moria to be alone with is "precious" becoming completely and utterly enslaved to the ring, slowly losing his mind (if it isn't gone already) ... I mean that's all the Balrog really wanted: to be alone and undisturbed. I don't think that he would be able to master the ring. In the end Sauron, after winning the war by conventional means, would come to Moria in person and take the ring from the Balrog.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:02 AM   #38
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So what would happen if the Balrog somehow found the One Ring? A lot of people seem to assume that the Balrog would naturally go on and try to conquer middle-earth and challenge Sauron. But in my opinion it is quite likely that he would end up like a beefed up version of Gollum, hiding deeper and deeper into Moria to be alone with is "precious" becoming completely and utterly enslaved to the ring, slowly losing his mind (if it isn't gone already) ... I mean that's all the Balrog really wanted: to be alone and undisturbed. I don't think that he would be able to master the ring. In the end Sauron, after winning the war by conventional means, would come to Moria in person and take the ring from the Balrog.
That was my guess as well.

That even if the Balrog didn't sunder it up to Sauron, he'd just sulk down in Moria, eating Orcs forever (or at least until Sauron came and said "Hey! Gimme my damned Ring!").

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