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Topic: Height of the Balrogs

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Elf of Rivendell - Rank 2
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Height of the Balrogs

What was the average height of a Balrog in the First Age compared to the Balrog in the Third Age awoken by Durin?



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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ok, so firstly, there was no difference at all, they were of the same kind, Durin's Bane was probably the only Balrog that managed to run away after the end of the War of Wrath.

The following excerpt is from "The Book of Lost Tales II", as edited by Christopher Tolkien:

"Then Glorfindel's left hand sought a dirk, and this he thrust up that it pierced the Balrog's belly nigh his own face (for that demon was double his stature)..."

so as we see, a Balrog was about double the stature of a Noldorin Elf.
So considering that Noldor were usually about 6 feet tall, a balrog would be about 12 feet tall.

"Then leapt Ecthelion lord of the Fountain, fairest of the Noldoli, full at Gothmog even as he raised his whip, and his helm that had a spike upon it he drave into that evil breast, and he twinded his legs about his foeman's thighs; and the Balrog yelled and fell forward (...) "

Again, this seems to show that Balrogs are about double the size of an Elf.

"[the Balrog] strode to the fissure, no more than man-high yet terror seemed to go before it."
The History of Middle-earth Volume VII (The Treason of Isengard), X The Mines of Moria II: The Bridge

well, considering the Balrog was double the size of an Elf, I believe a Balgor could fit through such a fissure, so I stick to the previously made statement.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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As far as I know Eldar of the first Age, especially one so powerful as Glorfindel would be considerably taller than 6 feet probably more like 7 maybe even up to eight. This would make a typical Balrog 15' roughly and Gothmog woulfd probably be bigger again.


Durins bane was probably about this side in the First Age but may have had to reduce its size as it had to adapt to the tunnels of the Misty mountains.



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reduce its size?
do you have any quotes to support such a theory?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Well Sauron changed into many shapes in his attemp to flee from Huan and he is a Maiar with no more power than Gothmog.


And we know Balrogs have complete control over there flame and shadow. Perhaps being Maiar they can alter there size to a certain extent depending on there needs.


Now don't go exaggerating and saying that I said they could change into any size or shape they want to but perhaps there have power to fluctuate there own boundries slightly.



-- Edited by The One at 19:10, 2006-08-12

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I dont think a specific quote is necessary to prove MOSs theory because it is well documented in the Silmarillion that the Ainur could choose their shape. Balrogs would most likely choose whatever form would inspire the most fear.

Saying they can choose any size or shape is not really an exaggeration.




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hmm...well, that could be possible...
it could make sense in order to be able to go from hall to hall in Moria

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I would actually say that Balrogs could vary in size, ranging from about 6-15 feet.  TM has already given the quote in BoLT where the Balrog Glorfindel fought was twice his size, so that would be roughly 15 feet.  Eventhough if it is from Tolkien's earliest writings, I don't think there's anything to directly contradict or completely change the size of Balrogs.


It is clear however that Tolkien made Durin's Bane a much smaller Balrog:


A figure strode to the fissure, no more than man-high and yet terror seemed to go before it.~HoME VII: The Bridge of Khazad-dum


Alter description of Balrog. It seemed to be of man’s shape, but its form could not be plainly discerned. It felt larger than it looked.~ibid


1) The Balrog Gandalf fought was no more than 'man-high.'


2) Because of the darkness and the shadow that Balrogs could manipulate they could appear and 'feel' larger than they actually were.  And this is something that is consistant with LOTR:


What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and go before it.~LOTR: The Bridge of Khazad-dum



I think this quote supports the one's from HoMe pretty well.  It was of man-shape, but there's some uncertainty, 'maybe' and it was 'greater.'  But, Tolkien in his later writings points out the Balrogs could feel larger than they really were.


I would disagree with TM and think that Balrogs could actually be different sizes, even something to this extent that we are talking about (6-16 feet).  Eventhough if later in his writings, he makes Durin's Bane much smaller than Glorfindel's balrog that's the point.  In BolT, Tolkien says 'that demon' so only the one Glorfindel fought.  And in home and LOTR, Tolkien is only specifically talking about Durin's Bane.  So, I really don't see why we can't believe that they could have a variance in size.  After all they were Maiar, though similar, even races can have size differences. 


Concluding, I think the biggest  Balrogs could be is 16 feet, and the smallest roughly 6 feet.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I personally would rather agree with the size change theory, not the different size one.
The Balrogs are indeed a race, but they are not like all the other incarnates, that is why I rather believe (considering the fact that we see twice in Tolkien's books Balrogs that are about twice the size of a Noldo) that the "standard" look was of about 15 feet, but that, as mos suggested, the Balrogs could change size.

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There obviously is an inconsistancy with the height of the Balrogs.  Personally, I think it's possible since in both cases Tolkien was only talking about one specific Balrog, and not the balrogs collectively.


If asked which 'height' I think is most likely, I think the 6 foot one would be the best, seeing as it is the one consistant with The Lord of the Rings.  But, since there is a bit of ambiguity, I don't think anyone can come in and say with certainty the height of the Balrogs. And unlike a lot of things Tolkien writes, this is at least one we have enough to set up a pretty good range, and some numbers to work with.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Lord Lorien - if some Balrogs took the size of 15 feet why would another choose to remain at 6 feet??? They are the deadliest servants of Morgoth so would naturally choose to be quite large and imposing. It makes more sense if Durins Bane took a smaller size after the War of Wrath to travel the tunnels of Moria.



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Good question.


Larger doesn't always necessarily mean more powerful, or frightening.  The Dragons for instance were larger than the Balrogs, but the Balrog's were Morgoth's 'deadliest servants.'  And there are times when Tolkien does use 'height' to install fear into someone:


He laid his hand on the hobbit's shoulder in friendly fashion; but Frodo felt the hand trembling with suppressed excitement. He stepped quickly away, and eyed with alarm the tall Man, nearly twice his height and many times his match in strength.~The Breaking of the Fellowship


Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic. In his earlier incarnation he was able to veil his power (as Gandalf did) and could appear as a commanding figure of great strength of body and supremely royal demeanor and countenance.~Letter 246


So, there are times when Tolkien uses height to make a person more intimidating or dominating.  But, height isn't the only form of fear.  Take the Ringwraiths for instance.  Now we are told that of the 9, only 'three were great lords of Numenor' (The Silmarillion: Of the Rings of Power.  So, some of them may have been taller than your average guy, but they didn't use height for their main source of fear, but the 'ghost-like' quality, and a fear that was enhanced in darkness:


Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ghosts). They have no great physical power against the fearless.~Letter 210


We also know that the Balrogs could manipulate the shadows about him, to use it for fear and make himself look larger.


That is a good question, and I'm just kind of trying to give some ideas and possibilities. 



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Another example would be Ungoliant who took the form of a Giant spider. It seems likely that Morgoth would have commanded the Balrogs to assume a shape of his choice, so it would seem quite unreasonable to assume that he would choose most to be around 15 foot, an then one to be about 6'. Remember there were only ever a few.



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I don't think there is a correct answer. What is the height of a Balrog? Whatever height a particular Balrog feels is best to scare the **** out of its opponents and servants. This is one of those discussions that is beyond logic.

It's difficult to think like one of the Ainur. Why didnt Manwe just send Eonwe to beat up Sauron?

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Becuase Sauron truly repented for his actions:


"When Thangorodrim was broken and Morgoth overthrown, Sauron put on his fair hue again and did obeisance to Eönwë the herald of Manwë, and abjured all his evil deeds. And some hold that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented, if only out of fear, being dismayed by the fall of Morgoth and the great wrath of the Lords of the West."
(The Silmarillion)


So you see Sauron put on his fair hue but some part of him DID truly repent if only out of fear. perhaps Manwe knew this and thus is why he asked Eonwe to ask Sauron to come to Valinor.



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LoL Im sorry about that. The question was supposed to be rhetorical to illustrate the how difficult it is to think like the Ainur.

Psssssst. The quote you used only answers the question for a specific period of time.

What your quote did establish was the fact that the Maiar will take vastly different shapes depending upon their motivation, which does play into this discussion.

The point is that unless we could actually think like one of the Ainur, it is difficult to determine the average height of a Balrog, beyond "Big", which I think is an appropriate answer.

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as Manwe I would still have sent Eonwe to beat him up
Manwe was really nice on that occasion, and even though he showed a lot of mercy, it was not a good decision

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Glorfindel, actually Sauron didn't repent.  He was afraid and shocked form Morgoth's downfall, but he did not truly repent...Let's take a closer look:


Sauron put on his fair hue again and did obeisance to Eönwë the herald of Manwë.


So, he disguised himself, and put on his 'fair' hue, to make himself look better.  Just as he did with Celebrimbor to get him to forge the Rings.


And some hold that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented,


The first clause is the important one.  A minority (Some)believed that Sauron wasn't faking it, but he actually did repent.  Notice, this is only what a minority believed, for we know that he didn't truly repent:


"When Morgoth was defeated by the Valar finally he [Sauron] forsook his allegiance; but out of fear only; he did not present himself to the Valar or sue for pardon,"~Letter 183


So - as soon as he has mentally rejected repentance - he (just like Sauron afterwards on this model) makes a mockery of self-abasement and repentance."~Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed, Text VI


The 'he' is referring to Morgoth who had 'mentally rejected repentance', but it also is clarified that Sauron does this as well.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I think your taking the quote the wrong way, Lord.


If 'Some' believe he repented that can mean anything up to 99%. It does not say all agreed, but 'Some' does not nessersarily mean a minority.


I will quote it again:


"When Thangorodrim was broken and Morgoth overthrown, Sauron put on his fair hue again and did obeisance to Eönwë the herald of Manwë, and abjured all his evil deeds. And some hold that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented, if only out of fear, being dismayed by the fall of Morgoth and the great wrath of the Lords of the West."
(The Silmarillion)


OK so by this we can see that some (1-99%) believe that Sauron DID truly repent. For what reasons are irrelevant. We know he repented becuase his Great master who he no doubt always intended to serve, was now defeated and he was DISMAYED. Now if you are dismayed by something you are likely to repent with what made you dismayed in the first place (the Valar).


The bottom line is Sauron DID repent, but only after fear for the Valar and dismay from his defeated master.



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as far as I know, in such a sentence "some" is indeed a minority
if it was the majority the right word to use is most, and an intelligent person like Tolkien would have never used "some" to describe a majority
so it's clear that most of the people believed that he was faking it, and that some didn't
on the other hand, he also doesn't use "a few", so it means that it wasn't only 1% of the people that believed Sauron repented, but some more.
anyway, the point is, most didn't trust him

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All = 100%
Most = 51 - 99%
Some = 1 - 50%
None = 0%


Notice the difference. Most is a definitive guide amount. It HAS to be MORE than Half but CANNOT be MORE than 99%. 'Some' is not the same. It is not quite so clear cut. It is generally considered by all to be 1 - 50% but in its literal sense it is not confined to those bondries. It COULD in theory include up to 99%.


Thus it could be that most think Sauron repented, even though it does not say 'most'.



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Ummmmm. Guys, the topic of this thread is not "Did Sauron actually repent?" I only brought him up as an example of the Maiar being able to change their shape.

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nice way to twist words to explain your point...
now don't take this as an offence, but if you don't believe me, and if you're still in school bring your English teacher that sentence and see what she says about it...
Some is never used as a term describing the majority of people

In linguistics, "some" (or paucal) is a number that specifies 'a few' things. Of course, it theoretically it could be any unspecified number, but I am talking about the literary use of the word, it isn't used here in a conversation, it is used in a literary work, and in this case it has the meaning of "a few".

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No TM, you clearly did not read my last post, so perhaps your the one who needs some English lessons.


Your post basically sumised what i said.



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sorry Celethil, I didn't notice that

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Celethil, I felt a need to point out that Sauron didn't repent as was said, but since it was brought up I think it hsould be clarified.


Glorfindel, look at the sentence again, you're just looking at the last part.


Some hold...ok so now what did some believe Sauron did: that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented, This is what some held to be true, you're just looking at the last clause and saying he truly repented. But looking at the full sentence, it's clear Sauron did not really repent, but some had believed he did and he wasn't faking. It cannot be interpretted any other way because there are two quotes which back up that Sauron had not truly repented.


Also, it really doesn't matter how many believed Sauron truly repented, people can believe whatever they want, doesn't mean that they're right.



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Also, it really doesn't matter how many believed Sauron truly repented, people can believe whatever they want, doesn't mean that they're right.





totally agreeing with that Lord Lorien, very well put

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If that is the case then Lord Lorien we know little of Tolkien's works:


"Its said by the Elves that The Valar raised mountains and Melkor levelled them, The valar delved valleys and Melkor raised them etc"


"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth..."


"It is said that in the making of Arda he endeavoured to draw Ossë to his allegiance..."


''It is said that she descended from the Darkness that surrounds Ea"


"But it is said among the Elves that it lay far off in the east of Middle-earth, and northward, and it was a bay in the Inland Sea of Helcar..."


"It is said by the Eldar that Men came into the world in the time of the Shadow of Morgoth, and they fell swiftly under his dominion..."


"And it is said indeed that, even as the Valar made war upon Melkor for the sake of the Quendi..."


Do you see? None of the above quotes gives a definate answer. So if you are only prepared to take the clear cut things then you will be drastically lessned on lore material.


If the quote said:


And Olorin the Maiar holds that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented, if only out of fear, being dismayed by the fall of Morgoth and the great wrath of the Lords of the West.


Would you then beleive it?



-- Edited by mouth of sauron at 17:17, 2006-08-16

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I think you have quite a warped view on the topic
compare "it is said by the Eldar" with "some thought"
you make one fatal mistake
all the examples you gave were firstly believed by all, and secondly were LORE
the example about Sauron is about PERSONAL OPINIONS; not knowledge or lore as in all the other quotes...

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The might, you just wrote that post to be argumentative. It does not contribute anything.

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I can't really see what you mean by that...
Aren't arguments supposed to be used in a forum?
So why would it be wrong to be argumentative...???
and another thing, don't be so hasty to judge others

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Beleive me TM you have given me plenty of evidence to come to the conclusions I do about you.


''It is said that she descended from the Darkness that surrounds Ea"


"And it is said indeed that, even as the Valar made war upon Melkor for the sake of the Quendi..."


Neither of these are 'It is said by the Elves' so this is not LORE. Do you beleive these statements?



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if you can't see the difference between "it is said" and "some say" then I hope someone can enlighten you better then me

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If the quote said:


And Olorin the Maiar holds that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented, if only out of fear, being dismayed by the fall of Morgoth and the great wrath of the Lords of the West.


Would you then beleive it?~mos


I would trust Olorin, being the wisest Maiar, above most other people, but again it can't be a proven fact (if that's what the quote indeed said), because as Tolkien points out specifically with Treebeard:


Treebeard is a character in my story not me; though he has a great memory and some earthly wisdom, he is not one of the wise and there is quite a lot he does not know or understand.~Letter 153


Tolkien gave all his characters minds of their own, in a way, and they are all liable to be wrong at any time.  Gandalf (or Olorin) is probably one of the more reliable characters in the story, but even he is capable of being 'wrong.'


But, the importance isn't the amount of people, or what they believe, the importance was the quote was being interpretted wrong in the first place.  You're thinking that since it comes out and says 'Sauron in truth repented' that's what the quote is saying, but you're just totally disregarding the first clause of the sentence.  This is what the quote says:


'...some hold:' what to some hold Sauron had not falsely repented, that indeed he had 'truly repented.'  And you're saying it means Sauron had truly repented, but as can be shown he had not.  And it's right in this very quote that it can be proven...'Sauron put on his fair hue again' so he took up a disguise and appeared 'fair,' as he always did (when he was still capable of changing his form) when trying to trick or sway people.  And here:


So - as soon as he [Morgoth] has mentally rejected repentance - he (just like Sauron afterwards on this model) makes a mockery of self-abasement and repentance."~Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed, Text VI


If you believe that Sauron had truly repented, then you must believe that Morgoth truly repented as well.  Which can't be true, because it comes right out and says that Sauron and Morgoth had mentally rejected repentance and mocked it.  Mentally rejected it...meaning he could appear fair and say he's redeemed all he wants, but 'mentally' (in his head) he rejected it...therefor he did not truly repent.  And with this quote it's easy to see why some were tricked and believed that Sauron really did repent, but he actually didn't.



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good quote there Lord Lorien, I didn't see that quote before...
and if that quote doesn't prove that Sauron never truly repented I don't know what does...

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So - as soon as he [Morgoth] has mentally rejected repentance - he (just like Sauron afterwards on this model) makes a mockery of self-abasement and repentance."~Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed, Text VI


I am a little confused by this quote. Where does it say 'Sauron never repented'? All I see is a quote saying that at some time or another Sauron did not truly repent. Where does it say its talking about after Morgoth's downfall?



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ah...I don't really know if you don't understand the quote or aren't trying to understand the quote
it is really simple
this is what the quote says:

- Melkor and Sauron both rejected repentance
- Melkor rejected repentance
- Sauron rejected repentance

so, as Lord Lorien says, if you say that Sauron truly repented, then you are in the same time saying Melkor truly repented, which he clearly didn't...



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OKay so Sauron did the same as Melkor, in that he did not repent. OK.


But where in that quote does it say the time Sauron did not repent?



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I thought the topic of this thread was the Height of the Balrogs.

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Glorfindel, I don't think time is an important issue here, or when exactly we are talking about.  Both mocked and rejected repentance, so neither could have ever truly repented.  It does appear though that the quote is comparing when Morgoth went before the Valar and when Sauron did.  As it says...'just like Sauron afterwards on this model' So, we are talking about two different times between Morgoth and Sauron and their 'rejection of repentance.'  And the 'on this model' suggests a comparison between Morgoth and Sauron when they were brought before the Valar.  After Tulkas had 'wrestled' and captured Morgoth he was brought before the Valar for pardon, and then was throne into prison.  After Morgoth's downfall, Sauron was brought before the Valar and that's when he had mentally rejected repentance.


Celethil, the thread question seems to have been answered (unless you have some more you would like to add?), and I felt like since this was brought up it was something that could be discussed.



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I am Lórien, Lord of Dreams, my true name is 'Irmo' in Quenya.
 
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Previous poll results (What is the 'Mightiest' weapon in Tolkiens myth?): Gurthang, blade of Turin - 28%, Narsil, sword of Elendil - 12%, Anduril, Sword of King Ellesar Aragorn - 23%, The Mace of the Witch King - 5%, Grond the dread hammer/hammer of the underworld -19%, Black axe of Gothmog - 4, Glamdring of Gandalf - 7%, Orcrist of Thorin - 1% A NEW POLL HAS BEEN ADDED TO TOLKIEN FORUMS Tolkien Forums - The Mythical world of J.R.R Tolkien