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Topic: how many balrogs were there

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Soldier of the East - Rank 4
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Posts: 306
Date: Jul 21, 2006
how many balrogs were there

I've heard that there were seven balrogs but I have also heard that there were two or three thousand. Well which is it?

P.S. If anyone posts please have a quote in mind, or at least the book you found the information in.

Thanks, Gil Gallad.

Edit: Mybad I posted this before I realized there was already a thread about this. So just completly ignore this thread and continue with the other. Again, mybad

-- Edited by Gil Galad at 06:47, 2006-07-21

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Date: Jul 21, 2006
In Tolkien's earliest drafts on Balrogs (Book of Lost Tales) he talks about there being an army of Balrogs, and the Balrogs were a seperate race on their own:

Then the Balrogs continued to shoot darts of fire and flaming arrows like small snakes into the sky, and these fell upon the roofs and gardens of Gondolin till all the trees were scorched, and the flowers and grass burned up, and the whiteness of those walls and colonnades was blackened and seared: yet a worse matter was it that a company of those demons climbed upon the coils of the serpents of iron and thence loosed unceasingly from their bows and slings till a fire began to burn in the city to the back of the main army of the defenders. "~Book of Lost Tales II, The Fall of Gondolin

'Company' suggests that there are quite a few balrogs.  Also in BOLT you'll read that Ecthelion slays I believe 4, Turin slays another 5...etc.  So, bottomline BOLT, Balrogs are a race on their own and there are armies of Balrogs.

But, by the time LOTR, the Silmarillion, and Tolkien's final thoughts emerge about Balrogs he has changed their numbers, and has also made them more powerful.  Once being an individual race, he changes Balrogs to being Maiar who were drawn into Morgoth's service, and he also greatly reduces their number:

"There should not be supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed"~HoME 10, Morgoth's Ring

What you heard was right, that there were thousands of Balrogs, and there were only few of them.  In this case, since BoLT is Tolkien's earliest drafts, and he goes on later to alter this and change their numbers as well as their might I think the '3 to 7' number is the one that should be accepted.

I am Lórien, Lord of Dreams, my true name is 'Irmo' in Quenya.
Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Jul 21, 2006
you can take a look
it is also a thread where we talked about balrogs' numbers.
anyway, I think Boromir88 very well summarised the general situation about Tolkien's idea on this.
And indeed, his last idea was between 3 and 7

Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Posts: 2161
Date: Jul 21, 2006
Yes Boromir's post is about the gist of things. In simple terms there were thousands originally and were not as deadly as later versions where Balrogs are lethal to all and there are only about 3-7 of them, probably nearer the later end of the scale.


Utúlie'n  aurë!  Aiya  Eldalië  ar  Atanatári,  utúlie'n  aurë! 
Auta  i  lómë! 
Aurë entuluva!

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