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Topic: durin's bane

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Dwarves - Rank 1
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Date: Jun 13, 2007
durin's bane

This is off wikipedia so forget all the underlined stuff. About the bold and italic, can anyone tell me where this is said. and if theres more of it?...and sorry if this is in the wrong place. 

Durin's Bane refers to a specific Balrog who was not otherwise named. It would surely have served its master
Morgoth during the First Age. It apparently survived the defeat of Morgoth in the War of Wrath and escaped to hide beneath the Misty Mountains.

For more than five millennia, the Balrog hibernated in its deep hiding place at the roots of the mountains in Khazad-dûm. It remained undisturbed throughout the Second Age and most of the Third, before the mithril-miners of Dwarf-King Durin VI awoke it. Durin was slain by the creature, at which point it became known as Durin's Bane.

The Dwarves attempted to fight the Balrog, but its power was far too great. Despite their efforts to hold Khazad-dûm against it, King Náin and many of the Dwarves were killed and the survivors were forced to flee. This disaster appears to have also reached the Silvan Elves of Hollin, many of which also fled the "Nameless Terror" (it was not recognized as a Balrog at the time). The elves began to call the place Moria, "The Black Pit".

For five hundred years, Moria was left to the Balrog.

Sauron began to put his plans for war into effect around the year 2480 of the Third Age. As part of these, he sent orcs and trolls to the Misty Mountains to bar all of the passes. Some of these creatures came to Moria. It is unclear as to whether Sauron could have controlled the Balrog (they were both Maiar) but it is probable that they would have been allied against the "common good". Furthermore, since Sauron had been the greatest of Morgoth's minions during the First Age, it is also probable that the Balrog would have submitted to the lower rank he had previously held beneath Sauron. The Balrog did allow the orcs and trolls to remain in Moria while it dwelt there. Tolkien does not mention whether Sauron was aware of the Balrog's presence prior to this time.

The Battle of Azanulbizar was the climactic battle in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. It took place before the eastern gate of Moria in 2799 and was a victory for the Dwarves. However, the victors did not conquer Moria because Dáin Ironfoot, having slain the orc Azog, felt the terror of the Balrog at the gate. Despite a failed attempt to recolonize Moria by Balin in 2989, Durin's Bane remained a menace in the ancient kingdom of the Dwarves whose nature was hidden to the outside world.

In January of 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring traveled through Moria on the way to Mount Doom. There they encountered Durin's Bane at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. The Elf Legolas instantly recognized the Balrog. More importantly, the WizardGandalf was there (perhaps for this very purpose); knowing that it was far more powerful than even the greatest of his companions, he challenged it.

Since Gandalf and the Balrog were both Maiar, they were beings of the same order. As they faced each other, Gandalf broke the Bridge in front of him, but as the Balrog fell it wrapped its whip around Gandalf's knees, dragging him to the brink. As the Fellowship looked in horror, Gandalf cried "Fly, you fools!" and fell. After the long fall, the two landed in a subterranean lake, which extinguished the flames of the Balrog's body, greatly weakening it. Recognizing its own weakness, the Balrog fled, and Gandalf pursued the creature for eight days until they climbed to the peak of Zirakzigil, at which point the Balrog's body flames were renewed, restoring its power. Here they fought for two days and nights. In the end, the Balrog was defeated and cast down, breaking the mountainside as it fell. Gandalf himself died following this ordeal, but was later sent back to Middle-earth with even greater powers as Gandalf the White.

*Lorien Edit: making the text easier to read.  A few sentences and I was already getting a headache from my eyes straining. no*



-- Edited by Lord Lórien on Sunday 3rd of October 2010 05:12:30 AM

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Seems accurate enough.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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What is it exactly that you want...please try to formulate your questions a bit more accurately in the future, you've got me a bit confused.

If you mean where these things are said, then probably in the Tale of the Years, and explanations by Gandalf in the book.

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Dwarves - Rank 1
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Sorry for my inclarity(if that even is a word...i think it is) but Imeant to say: Is that said in any Tolkien novels or in one of The History of Middle-Earth? Ok, The Might's got it. Thanks and sorry...

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Elf of Rivendell - Rank 2
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Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything in TTT (the White Rider) to indicate that the Balrog's powers were somehow diminished when his fire was quenched, and that they came back when he burst into new flame at the top of Zirakzigil. As for "recognizing its own weakness", it is said that both Gandalf and the Balrog fought each other for a long while after his flame was extinguished - Durin's Bane didn't instantly flee after his extinguishment, "recognizing his own weakness". Another thing - the wording seems to indicate that the Balrog instigated some of those fights, rather than Gandalf trying to fight him and he running. It was only after they had mutually fought each other for a long time that at last he fled - perhaps he was somehow weary? But I see _no_ indication that his powers were weakened when his flame went out, or that he "saw his weakness" and immediately tried to flee from big, bad Gandalf.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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If the Balrogs powers were reduced after he fell into the Water then how could he suddenly re-ignite them later on? I doubt the quenching of his flame actually reduced his power. It may have reduced his potential to beat Gandalf.

Also earlier on in the text I ntoce it says King Nain of Moria and some Dwarves tried to withstand the Balrog before they fled. As Durin was alive at that time (or just been slain by the Balrog perhaps) then I wonder if the text is accurate in naming another King. I doubt there were two kings in Moria.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I've had a little look into the case of King Nain of Moria and what I've found (from the LOTR appendices) is that if the text is refuring to Dain VI then it's not inaccurate. Dain VI died in the year 1980, killed by the recently arrived Balrog. Nain the First (I) was then killed the next year in 1981 as the Dwarves fled from Moria. Whether Nain was killed facing the Balrog I'm not sure.

Just wanted to clear that up.

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swift in anger, quick to laugh;
an old man in a battered hat
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He stood upon the bridge alone
and Fire and Shadow both defied;
his staff was broken on the stone,
in Khazad-dûm his wisdom died.
Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Throwing in my two cents here: In Lord of the Rings, Book III, Chapter V, The White Rider. When Gandalf recounts his battle with the Balrog of Morgoth he says:

"Yet it has a bottom (Meaning the abyss beneath Durin's Bridge), beyond light and knowledge," said Gandalf. "Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone. He was with me still. His fire was quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake."

This is just my own theory of course, but after the Balrog's fire was quenched by the freezing waters in the root of the mountain, he became a thing of slime.  Perhaps its hide was made of a combustible fuel like a powerful oil.  The stuff used in lamps of old, but of course, significantly more viscous as well as potent (being a Maiar and all). And it only needed a spark of warmth, say sunlight.  Gandalf did go on to say: 

"Then upon Celebdil was a lonely window in the snow, and before it lay a narrow space, a dizzy eyrie above the mists of the world.  The sun shone fiercely there, but all below was wrapped in cloud.  Out he sprang, and even as I came behind, he burst into new flame."



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Thursday 11th of August 2011 02:18:50 AM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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All,
Slimey but flammable? Now where in the world could that occur? Oh yeah! In every military conflict from and including World War II; napalm ... jellied gasoline. Or maybe a little earlier ... "Greek Fire" ...
You have given your "two cents" but your input leads to the whole dollar!

I think one of the truly great things about Tolkien is that he is aware and incorporates in his works those archetypes, (psychological, metaphysical, and sociological) and brings them to (terrifying or glorifying) life.

That is what "durin's bane" is. The archetypal creature of Tolkien's imagination that destroys the dwarvish empire and attempts to destroy the master of all that is good.(Gandalf the Grey) And like any archetypal story ... death is overcome through rebirth to a higher moral and physical level. (Gandalf the White) And that rebirth spreads to all the world ... confrontation, destruction, restoration.

We struggle to lable which "durin" the Balrog was the bane too ... but the key is " the dwarves of Khazad-dum were delving under the Redhorn for mithril when the Balrog unleashed its destruction. The Balrog may have been roused by their mining or it may already have awakened in response to the growing power of Sauron." (Thank you to "The Thain's Book - An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor") Either way the dwarves unleash the power of evil by their activity. and a "paradise" is lost.

So the Balrog, when confronted at the roots of "the mountain" turns into a slimey creature (do we dare call it "snake like") and when brought into the light bursts again into flame, (dare we call the flame "passion") and is ultimately destroyed by a reborn Gandalf. ( a "savior" figure if there ever was one - my apologies to Aslan)

Which individual dwarvish character the Balrog is the "bane" of is covered by dwarf guy pretty well in June 2007. And the archetypal essence is caught by Jaidoprism7 yesterday.

"Durin's Bane" is a lot more than naming a defecting Maiar or minion of Melkor or Sauron.
He seems to have a role in all the ages. And yes; he is one of the "bad guys."
But perhaps Durin's Bane is the symbol of a greater evil that just a hit-man on dwarvish kings.

 

 



-- Edited by Bear on Thursday 11th of August 2011 04:47:43 PM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I believe it was Durin's stair that lead up to Durin's tower at the top of the mountain.. I'd thought it was Silvertine... but yes, the balrog was serpenting or reptillian.

A very important note. There had been multiple balrogs at the time of Melcor.. and apantly came in different sizes. One was killed by Glorfindel.. a different or the same Glorfindel that came across Aragorn and the 4 hobbits on the road to Imladris.

There is detail of Glorfindel here and one balrog. This Glorfindel was a very powerful, high ranking elf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Glorfindel It's an interesting read becaul the Professor gave thought to the specifics.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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There were a couple of characters which Tolkien decided to grace with the names of ancestors. Glorfindel; the one that killed a Balrog, Glorfindel who aided Frodo across the Ford in LOTR. Denethor, I, II and Ecthelion and so on. Heck! I'm a Jr.
Oh, and yes it was Durin's stair and Durin's bane, but this thread deals with the Balrog and its proportions and such...

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Hello and welcome Imagineer!

 

I rarely miss a Glorfindel discussion, even as a side issue, and I'll add that Tolkien decided that there was only one Glorfindel -- in two very late texts he took up the matter to find out the truth -- the Elf of Gondolin was restored to his original body by the Valar, and Glorfindel returned to Middle-earth.



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 10th of October 2011 01:45:13 PM

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Was this something Tolkien had in mind from the get go?

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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'Was this something Tolkien had in mind from the get go?'

Good question. I would put it this way: at one point during the writing of The Lord of the Rings Tolkien appears to have thought of Glorfindel of Rivendell as the reincarnated Glorfindel of Gondolin -- and I say 'appears' because he simply noted to himself that: 'Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin'.

 

Ultimately of course, for whatever reason, Tolkien did not have Glorfindel tell of his ancestry in Gondolin in The Lord of the Rings itself. 

 

And decades later Tolkien would characterize the use of the name Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings as a 'somewhat random' borrowing from his Silmarillion related tales. Is it somewhat random because he remembered he had long ago been thinking of having Glorfindel tell of his ancestry in Gondolin? Or does somewhat random simply mean, let's say, he liked this name especially, and so chose it.

 

Who knows? By the early 1970s, who knows if Tolkien even remembered he had written the much earlier note published by Christopher Tolkien? Perhaps Tolkien had not decided anything for certain back then.

 

In any event the two late essays both agree that there was only one Glorfindel, although by this time the way in which he would be reincarnated had been altered.



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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if me picking at your knowledge gets old please let me know, but what were the ideas of the way in which he was reincarnated?

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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For a very long time -- say roughly 1916 to the later 1950s -- Tolkien imagined that Elves were reincarnated by being reborn as Elf-children.

 

So I'm guessing that when he wrote the Glorfindel note (telling of his ancestry in Gondolin -- I can't recall the date of this note exactly, but late 1930s or somewhere in the 1940s), I guess that if he had been reincarnated he had been born again as an Elf-child -- and in a different body, having different parents I assume -- but still golden-haired as his name indicates.

 

But ultimately Tolkien firmly rejected this notion of reincarnation (twice), and noted that if it was to appear in description it should be noted as a false, probably mannish idea. The true idea was now: the Valar could restore an exact copy of the Elf's former body -- as the fea (roughly 'spirit') of an Elf contained a perfect and precise memory of the hroa (roughly 'body'). Reconstitution of the body could be delayed, but in general this was the way an Elf was reincarnated.

 

I can gather up the citations if anyone likes, but I think (or hope) this describes them accurately enough -- and even if so, I have no problem with anyone wanting to read the actual statements from JRRT or CJRT -- but for now I'll be lazy.

 

And I have no issue at all with anyone asking me something smile 

 

I may not know the answer, or may not have time to give my opinion, or whatever, but I certainly don't mind people asking questions. And of course that's part of what keeps our forums 'alive' so to speak, along with other things.



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 10th of October 2011 11:25:32 PM

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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that's what makes you a great loremaster Galin my friend. And I found your discription more then satisfactory.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Too kind Huan, but thanks!

 

Actually, due to your question I had never really before considered that -- within the old conception of rebirth anyway -- Glorfindel might have looked different compared to his old self (despite the hair).

 

I should add too that I'm not wholly sure if I can raise early and early-ish text (pre-1940s) that specifically describes that a reborn Elf will certainly have a different body -- it seems a natural enough assumption however -- and Tolkien does note this in later text as being very problematic, but all of the early references that come to mind concerning rebirth are, I think, relatively brief in any case.



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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I was always under the impresion that he intended the person that was reincarnated had the same spirit (obviously) and body as before their death. I think I read something to give me this opinion once but it was so long ago that I couldn't begin to remember where.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Galin,

I am a fan!  You have always attempted to help without a moments hesitation.

You are a big reason why we are still here when other sites are gone!

Thank you my friend ... if I may ... thank you on behalf of all of us!



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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'I was always under the impresion that he intended the person that was reincarnated had the same spirit (obviously) and body as before their death.'

 

Yes that's basically the revised, final idea. As Christopher Tolkien put it in Morgoth's Ring:

 

'A hastily written manuscript on small slips of paper, entitled 'Reincarnation of Elves', seems to show seems to show my father's reflections on the subject between the abandonment of the Converse of Manwe and Eru and the Commentary to the Athrabeth. In this discussion he referred in rapid and elliptical expression to the difficulties at every level (including practical and psychological) in the idea of the reincarnation of the fëa as the newborn child of second parents, who as it grows up recaptures the memory of its previous life: 'the most fatal objection' being that 'it contradicts the fundamental notion that fëa and hröa were each fitted to the other: since hröar have a physical descent, the body of rebirth, having different parents, must be different, and this must be a condition of pain to the reborn fëa.'

 

Tolkien would later reconsider the rebirth idea, but reject it once again. So when we think of Glorfindel being restored, we can think of him as having the exact same body. And the problem Tolkien encountered with Glorfindel specifically, was that he was a Noldorin Exile, and thus not supposed to return to Aman in physical form, after falling to his death.

 

But Tolkien worked around that smile

 

And thanks Bear! the same can be said of you and others here... but that reminds me, what happened to John Wain, for example? I thought he was going to be a somewhat regular contributor here, as he was on the now faded HarperCollins forum?

 

Well I guess there are any numbers of things that can interfere with forum life. Perhaps he and others will return soon.

 



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