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Old 03-08-2003, 11:16 AM   #1
the guy who be short
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Sting the movie balrog

now, before anybody suggests this should be in the movie forum

IT SHOULD NOT

the movie balrog is (as you mightve noticed) very big and scary looking. but tolkien never described his balrog other than saying they were once maia and wreathed in flame. since the maia resembled men, wouldnt the balrogs just be like men made of shadow and fire? what did you think when you were reading it? did the moviemakers get it right?
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Old 03-08-2003, 11:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
since the maia resembled men
Where is this stated? Or are you getting them confused with the Istari? The Istari were sent in incarnate mannish forms, as the Valar had learnt from past mistakes and 'intimidate' the men of M-E.
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Old 03-08-2003, 11:58 AM   #3
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Well...
Quote:
since the maia resembled men, wouldnt the balrogs just be like men made of shadow and fire?
The maiar didn't necessarily look like men. If i have understood correctly maiar, as valar, could take various forms. Valar choose sometimes wander around in the shape of elves because they liked the form that Eru had given them. But basically valar and maiar were spirits which didn't have any specific appearance. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

But yes, I believe I've read somewhere that balrogs resembled men. Or maybe it's better to say they were "man-like" that meaning that they were no beasts like dragons. And I would be willing to think that they were, or at least could become, far greater in size than men. When I first read about the balrog of Moria I somehow imagined him to be, how should I put it...more "vague" in figure, shadowy and such. The movie balrog seemed to me "a bit" coloured but then again of course it had to be made that way! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Ok, this all was probably just pure nonsense again but please bear with me.

Edit: I.S. I didn't notice your post before I had send mine. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ March 08, 2003: Message edited by: Annunfuiniel ]
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Old 03-08-2003, 08:56 PM   #4
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By the time i read lotr, i had already seen some pictures of the balrog, and all of them showed him like a gargoyle-type creature. So, for me he was always like that... But thats a good point. The description isnt so clear, so I think's better that we imagine it like what we want it to like... [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]

On the book, at least in my edition, as I'm brazilian, its said something like ''maybe humanoid form'', and it is said that his hair was burning in flames...

[ March 08, 2003: Message edited by: Bauglir ]
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Old 03-08-2003, 09:08 PM   #5
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Cheers to that Bauglir, and welcome to the Downs. I always saw the Balrog as a big black beatie with an outline of fire around him. The Balrogs wouldn't be half as scary if they were in human form. Maiar come in all shaps and sizes, though.
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Old 03-08-2003, 09:23 PM   #6
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Sting

thanks [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

i've found some pictures of the lotr game, and they show the Balrog and Sauron... imo sauron's just ridiculous... Balrog is cool, but I imagine him a darker and more vague, like Annunfuiniel said...


Balrog Picture

Sauron Picture


***** ADMINISTRATOR'S EDIT **************
DO NOT put such big pictures on the forum
A link to such pictures is much better.
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[ March 12, 2003: Message edited by: The Barrow-Wight ]
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Old 03-08-2003, 09:31 PM   #7
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Sting

I picture it as a big black shadowy figure, huge and man-shaped, with fire and shadows swirling around it. Kind of like a Dark Archon.
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Old 03-08-2003, 10:09 PM   #8
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mabye they had many forms and could choose which one depending on the situation bet you never thought of that eehh

[ March 08, 2003: Message edited by: NAri Brassbow ]
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Old 03-09-2003, 08:41 PM   #9
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Sting

I'm pretty sure that in the book it says that the balrog was man shape so I always imagined it like a man surrounded by fire and shadow. I didn't like the movie balrog as I thought it was too much like a stereotyped fire demon.
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Old 03-12-2003, 12:49 PM   #10
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Sting

yea, i always thought it was vague too. like a shadow (shaped roughly like a man) with no clear features, wreathed in flames. and it says in the lay of leithian that morgoth was surrounded by his balrog lords. i dont think something movie-balrog sized could fit in a room, unless it was like a hall.
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Old 03-12-2003, 12:52 PM   #11
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Perhaps the Moria Balrog had just grown big feasting on all those tasty Dwarves. [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-12-2003, 01:30 PM   #12
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Sting

i expected the balrog to be more human like, without the horns, but otherwise i thought that it was quite accurate. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-12-2003, 08:17 PM   #13
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I belive they did a superb job. I invisioned it to be like a bull as the one in The Last Unicorn looked! They probley got the idea from that movie.
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Old 03-12-2003, 08:57 PM   #14
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I think they made the balrog too big and they should NOT have made it with wings.
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Old 03-13-2003, 12:42 AM   #15
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Sting

The Balrog was great! Inevitably everyone will have different opinions but for the average movie-goer with a basic comprehension of LOTR that was an awesome Balrog!
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Old 03-13-2003, 12:42 PM   #16
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Sting

i agree that they should not have given it wings but it is still very good. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-13-2003, 01:30 PM   #17
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Sting

There is nothing to indicate that the Balrogs are on a different scale than very tall humans. Tolkien's decription of them seems to indicate that it is difficult to see what they look like as they radiate shadow. They also radiate terror. The notion that they are 20 feet tall just doesn't work for me. It's the power radiating off of them that is so scary, not their size.

The Elf-lord Ecthelion of the Fountain, however valiant, couldn't have fought a duel with a 20 foot tall demon. Gothmog (the lord of the Balrogs) had many battles with Elven lords. These battles imply foes on more or less the same scale. A creature the size of the Balrog in the LOTR movie wouldn't simply kill an opponent. It would smash it to jelly. Nothing of the sort is described in any of Tolkiens references to the Balrogs. ...

Of The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
Quote:
...The outer door could only be reached by a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail, that spanned the chasm with one curving spring of fifty feet.

It was an ancient defence of the Dwarves against any enemy that might capture the First Hall and the outer passages. They could only pass across it in single file.
A creature the size of the one in the movie couldn't fit on a bridge that was designed to make orcs have to pass single file.

Also, when Gandalf first engages the the Balrog on the bridge, they actually cross swords, and Gandalf momentarily drove back the Balrog with Glamdring. This, again, indicates a creature of more or less man size.

I'm of the opinion that artist (especially animators) over the years have mistaken the Balrogs shadow for immense size and for that matter wings.
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Old 03-13-2003, 02:36 PM   #18
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Sting

i never said it didnt look good! it looked very good. and fierce and scary. but wasnt it inaccurate?

i think those are good points valarungol. but wouldnt the balrog come from the north- from thangorodrim? this would have it coming into khazad dum from the eregion side, same as the company of nine. so i dont think the bridge would be much of a problem if it was 20foot (which it shouldnt have been.)

speaking of this- why did the dwarves build such a good defence on the eastern side when their chief enemy at the time of building (first age) was from the north on the western side (thangorodrim)?

but i still think it was man-sized, not a giant whatever. maybe they deliberately changed it? i mean, a man on fire is not that scary, whereas a giant beast about 20 feet tall with horns and evil little eyes is. maybe they knew it was wrong but changed it just to make the movie more appealing to non lotr books fans? i mean, they dont care how big a balrog is, do they?
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Old 03-14-2003, 09:46 AM   #19
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I can't support this with passages from the book, seeing as I don't have it with me right now, but for some reason I remember always seeing the Balrog mentally as being quite large, and with wings. I'm not sure where I got that, as you guys probably know there's not deliberate mention of wings in the book. However, I agree with an earlier statement speculating that maybe the Balrogs could change their size and/or appearance at whim, kind of like Sauron.(Sauron took on the form of the gift-lord, presenting the rings of power to the peoples of middle-earth) I agree, there is a lot of evidence saying that they were man-sized in nature, but maybe the Moria Balrog took the large shape to intimidate the massive army of orcs that happened to inhabit Moria at the same time?
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Old 03-15-2003, 01:06 AM   #20
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Sting

If I was a Balrog I'd want to be huge and intimidating too. It looks cooler than some normal-sized guy who's on fire. But, my opinion will almost always have a little bias towards the movie, as I saw FotR before I read the trilogy. So I'll always see Balrogs that way.
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Old 03-15-2003, 02:17 AM   #21
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Ok, this is my translation from Finnish LoTR so it may not be all that accurate but I hope you get the picture. (If someone could post the exact quote I would be forever grateful!):
"Balrog didn't answer. It's fire seemed to die but the darkness grew deeper. It stepped slowly to the bridge and suddenly it rose to terrific height and its wings spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen shining in the middle of the darkness; he looked small and altogether lonely; grey and bent like a sere tree under storm wind."
Poor translation I know! [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 03-15-2003, 02:19 AM   #22
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Wherever this discussion may lead, I am in the opinion that the film version of the Balrog is much, much better than the animated one. I had the chance of viewing the cartoon LOTR and didn't the Balrog look like a lion with butterfly wings? And it wasn't even wreathed in flame and shadow!Perhaps the animators were thinking of the Chimera of Greek myth...

[ March 15, 2003: Message edited by: secretfire ]
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Old 03-15-2003, 04:26 PM   #23
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Everyone is saying that the Balrog could not be of a great size because they dueled elf lords, but if you think about it, the larger the thing, they slower it would move therefor it would possible to fight and kill one. Also the Balrog in the movie was only very large when it stood straight up, most of the time if u looked it was crouched down running, and again how then did gandalf kill it on the peak with glamdrig?
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Old 03-16-2003, 06:02 AM   #24
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Sting

Found this passage in HoME 7:

Quote:
Legolas bent his bow. Then he let it fall. He gave a cry of dismay and terror. Two great dark troll-shapes had appeared; but it was not this that caused his cry;...a figure strode to the fissure, no more then man high yet terror seemed to go before it. They could see the furnace fire of hsi yellow eyes from afar; it's arms were very long...
'Man-high', as Unfinished Tales tells us is about 6 foot 4, the average Numenorean height. So he ,we can see a Balrog in early LoTR sketches, and a picture of what Balrogs looked like in the Silmairillion's of HoME 4 and 5, though they were a lot weaker here then in Tolkien's latter conception that only '3 or 7 ever existed'.
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Old 03-16-2003, 12:29 PM   #25
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Another idea-

Perhaps the wording is intentionally vague. All that stuff about an aura of terror could be there so that each reader will, in their mind, give the Balrog the scariest form they can think of.

[ March 16, 2003: Message edited by: Meoshi ]
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Old 03-17-2003, 09:11 AM   #26
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I have to look over the text again, but I remember it much as Annunfuiniel has translated it (except that "wings" was much less literal [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]), the Balrog towering over Gandalf, but then I may be influenced by most of the pictures I've seen of it (even before the film). The passage from HoME is interesting, though, and I think Balrog's were probably much more man-sized than in the film or most artwork. Sometimes Gandalf is described as growing in size as a projection of his power and menace (like the scene in bag-end where he towers over Bilbo in the start of the FotR film), so why couldn't a Balrog play the same kind of trick. I think that even the gods are also more human-scale--elves battle both Balrog's and Morgoth himself, though I always felt there was a suggestion of size difference there.

On the other side, it is fun to picture then as big fiery demons with wings and all (though the horns were a big un-original). In much mythology/legend, a hero will slay a giant or a dragon, even though it is much bigger than him, so I don't think that even if a Balrog were 20 feet tall it would make much difference to Gandalf or Glorfindel, who are very powerful beings despite their relative size. And everybody knows relative size doesn't bother the greatest warriors in ME... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:20 PM   #27
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Quote:
Then Glorfindel's left hand sought a dirk, and this he thrust up that it pierced the balrogs belly nigh his own face (for that demon was double his stature.)
book of ost tales, volume II, page 194. so heres my new idea: the balrog would want to be as big as possible to intimidate glorfindel. thus they can change size, and be anything from man height to twice that. eh?
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:07 PM   #28
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How do we not know, that the Balrog, were not like real creatures, some are born big, some small, like all animales, could that not be a possability, or for the nature of the lifespan of the creature, couldnt the smaller ones be adolesants or even toddlers in their age
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:57 PM   #29
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If you think about it, being able to change one's size and shape at will would make the weilder of such powers practically invincible if he didn't mind constantly changing, looking a tad ridiculous, or ruining a good story. Also, they could just stay ridiculously large in the first place making an assault upon them impossible. So, it would make sense if there were some limits on this morphing ability of these creatures. Yes, yes, I know this is just a book, but... So, the ability to change size should not be used as a solution because either there are limits or Tolkien was a sloppy story-teller, his work is faulty, and there's no point or possibilit of intelligent debate or definite conclusions anyway.
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Old 03-19-2003, 10:59 PM   #30
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In the movie I thought they made the balrog look like a devil. And isn't the devil always depicted as half goat half man with horns on his head. No matter what the creatures we make up will always be somewhat humanized. The balrog in the movie did have some sort of human body. But when I read the book I imagined him more with more fire and less figure.
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Old 03-20-2003, 07:41 AM   #31
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by with less figure do you mean like a shadow, with no clear outline?
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Old 03-20-2003, 06:08 PM   #32
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yeah that's what i meant. A vague outline but you can't see his exact figure or muscels
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Old 03-20-2003, 08:01 PM   #33
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I thought that although the movie Balrog wasn't all that realistic, they did a pretty good job. It probably shouldn't have had wings though(it's going to fly underground?). Does anyone remember in FOTR, Saruman's book with the drawing of the Balrog? I thought that was pretty cool. Also, I agree with Lathriel when she said that it looked like a devil. But, it's a demon, right? So, that's kinda like a devil, right? I don't know, now I'm confused. Ah me! [img]smilies/confused.gif[/img]
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Old 03-22-2003, 01:28 PM   #34
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Well you can say that Demons are distant cousins from the devil. They are both creatures of fire. [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 03-23-2003, 10:20 AM   #35
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this is different, but i didnt want to take up space starting a new topic. the dragon things the nazgul ride on in the movie: tolkien didnt describe them, i didnt like the movie ones. i was talking to someone else who has read lotr yesterday, and we both had imagined them as more like bats. what did you think?
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Old 03-23-2003, 10:37 AM   #36
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In his prelimary sketches of LoTR (HoME 8) Tolkien describes the 'flying machines' [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] of the Nazgul was being eagles/eagle like being, some kind of vulture.

Quote:
The Black Riders now have taken form of demonic Eagles and fly before host, or (take Eagle like) vulture birds at steeds
Though this is just a prelimanry sketch, in which apparently the Nazgul could shapeshift, into a eagle like being/s, they still rode steeds that were like Vultures, NOT dragons or drakes.
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Old 03-23-2003, 01:42 PM   #37
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Why don't you think the balrog has wings? The one in Khazad-Dûm did.

Quote:
It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall...
In the Silmarillion, it called Balrogs "demons of terror" and when I think of a demon, I think of something with horns.. or a gargoyle. So I think they did pretty well with the Balrog in the movie. =)
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Old 03-23-2003, 01:48 PM   #38
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Why don't you think the balrog has wings? The one in Khazad-Dûm did.

Quote:
It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall...
In the Silmarillion, it called Balrogs "demons of terror" and when I think of a demon, I think of something with horns.. or a gargoyle. So I think they did pretty well with the Balrog in the movie. =)
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Old 03-24-2003, 07:56 AM   #39
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Ai! Ai! A Balrog wing discussion is come!

Welcome to the Downs, Yavanna.

This is an issue which should be approached with great trepidation, since it has been the subject of much past debate on this site. There is a great article on the subject here, and much more on various threads (use the Search facility if you are interested).

Once again, welcome and have fun posting. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 03-24-2003, 01:30 PM   #40
GaladrieloftheOlden
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I have always imagined the Balrog as being approximately human shaped, but bigger, and with a sort of aura of fear, fire, and shadow radiating from it and all around. I have never had a clear idea of whether or not Blarogs have wings. I do have an opinion on the matter, as every true Tolkien fan must [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] but when I imagine him, he (by the way, do we know that the Balrog is male?)sometimes has wings, and sometimes doesn't. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Could that solve the question? Or maybe just one wing? [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
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