FrontPage
FAQ/

RecentChanges
SandBox
MessageBoard

Search
Members
Projects
Folders
Index

Preferences

Edit




NEW:






FAQ / Do Balrogs have wings

From these quotes comes most of the controversy

The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemey halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Bridge of Khazad-dm


The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. 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; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Bridge of Khazad-dm


The cry of Morgoth in that hour was the greatest and most dreadful that was ever heard in the northern world; the mountains shook, and the earth trembled, and rocks were riven asunder. Deep in forgotten places that cry was heard. Far beneath the ruined halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their Lord; and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire.
The Silmarillion; Of the Flight of the Noldor

When they rose did they rise to their feet? or up in to the air.
But the cry of Morgoth in that hour was the greatest and most dreadful that was ever heard in the northern world: the mountains shook, and the earth trembled, and rocks were riven asunder. Deep in forgotten places that cry was heard. Far beneath the ruined halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, the Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their lord. Swiftly they arose, and passed with WINGED SPEED over Hithlum, and they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire.
Morgoth's Ring; The Later Quenta Silmarillion (II), Later Chapter 7, Of the Thieves' Quarrel

Maybe Balrogs can run as fast as eagles can fly.
Comments

I think that a lot depends on how you picture Balrogs in your mind. The first time you read these passages and what artwork you have seen. In the Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated vesion of Lord of the Rings shows a Balrog with great bat-like wings. In Peter Jackson's version we see the Balrog with wings of shadow and smoke (which is closer to the literal truth, but in the DVD commentary the producers proudly state that their Balrog has wings)

In Western cultures the demon has for many hundreds of years been represented as having large bat-like wings and horns etc,. This can be seen in works like Dante's Divine Comedy (1300's).


The emperor of the sorrowful kingdom stood, waist upwards, from the ice, and I am nearer to a giant in size than the giants are to one of his arms: think how great the whole is that corresponds to such a part. If he was once as fair, as he is now ugly, and lifted up his forehead against his Maker, well may all evil flow from him. O how great a wonder it seemed to me, when I saw three faces on his head! The one in front was fiery red: the other two were joined to it, above the centre of each shoulder, and linked at the top, and the right hand one seemed whitish-yellow: the left was black to look at, like those who come from where the Nile rises. Under each face sprang two vast wings, of a size fit for such a bird: I never saw ship’s sails as wide. They had no feathers, but were like a bat’s in form and texture, and he was flapping them, so that three winds blew out away from him, by which all Cocytus was frozen. He wept from six eyes, and tears and bloody spume gushed down three chins.
Dante's Divine Comedy; Inferno Canto XXXIV:1-54 The Judecca: Satan

Just as our Demons must have Bat-wings, our Angles must have white feathered eagles wings. It would make as much sense to ask: Does Gandalf have wings? as to ask, Do Balrogs have wings?

The answer is no.

No, Balrog's do not have wings, but if you disagree I will not argue with you as this comes down to a point of personel preferance. If you had read the book and read the sections above without making a clear mental picture and then went on to see the movies and see pictures of winged Balrogs this is not wrong.

The picture is worth a thousand words. I wish that the Professor had drawn one.


DougCreller
FolderFAQ

 
(C) The Tolkien Wiki Community Page last changed: October 28, 2004