Minas Tirith Forums Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic
profile | register |
search | faq | avatars | citizens
donate | about | library
  This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  ...  10  11  12 
Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » The question of Balrog wings (Page 3)
Author Topic: The question of Balrog wings
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
in the Fall of Gondolin (HoME 2) alot more then 7 balrogs were killed, so how could there only be 7 if there was still balrogs who fought in the War of Wraith?

No where in the bible are angels described as having wings so I still think that those were simply a metaphor and a simile for the growing darkness.


From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 248

posted      Profile for Nimruzir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
RE: in the Fall of Gondolin (HoME 2) alot more then 7 balrogs were killed, so how could there only be 7 if there was still balrogs who fought in the War of Wraith?

Since Fall of Gondolin was never updated to conform with The Silmarillion until Chris did so, would you mind posting when it was written?

RE: No where in the bible are angels described as having wings so I still think that those were simply a metaphor and a simile for the growing darkness.
I mentioned Pictorially. Which is where the association mainly resides, but is not exclusiove to.

However:
Exodus 25:09
'And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.'

(many instances of Cherubims with wings)
And no; they're not the little children usually depicted pictorially.

Ruth 2:12
'The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.'

Where God himself is given Wings (figurative or not).

Once again on God himself:
Psalm 17:08
'Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.'

I could go on (without mentioning Seraphim) but I hope this was sufficient.

The point is that WINGS are associated with holiness, in the Bible and\or pictorially.


From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
The term "wings" in the passages you have cited in Psalms and Ruth are both metaphors for a "place of refuge" or "safe haven", so these can't possibly be seen as examples of Angels being described as having actual wings.

In regard to the cheribim statement from exodus: First of all that is not Exodus 25:9
Exodus 25:9 goes like this:

------------
Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
-------------
Also cheribim (kerubh) are not angels they are biblical attendants of God or a holy place or a holy place usually represented as a being with large wings a human head and an animal body (refer to Ezekiel 10 for support of this statement).
Also, in all first hand describtions of Angels (where someone actually saw an angel in real life(in the bible of course)) they are never described as having such appendages of any sort.

I understand what you are saying (that tolkien used the imagery we often equate with angels (though it be in error) to illistrate the Balrog's demonic presence) but I am goin to have to disagree with that because angels do not have wingsand I believe tolkien knew that (being a devout Anglecan) and so would not use an error to communicate th nature of the Balrog.

Oh yeah and the seraphim mentioned in Isaiah 6, had six wings: one pair covering their face, onepair covering their head and another pair flying. This describtion Can't be taken literaly and even if you do 6 wings does not correspond with your demonic and angelic imagery.

This message has been edited by Fingolfin of the Noldor on 03-24-2001 at


From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 248

posted      Profile for Nimruzir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
LOL!
I did mention metaphorical or not.
My apologies if my menory was in error on the exact location of passages. No misdirection was intended. My Bible knowledge isn't as good as my Tolkien knowledge.

It was merely to illustrate a point.

RE: I understand what you are saying (that tolkien used the imagery we often equate with angels (though it be in error)...
The ENTIRE point of the trip into Gospel land.

General error or no, the nearly universal pictorial (and thus more commonplace) imagery associated with Angels is with wings (as stated; the subconscious connection with Angelic beings). Again; the entire point. I could debate on the attendants, but it's not worth the effort.

I appreciate the discourse on Angelic beings, and their nuances, but if you truly wish to discuss the Religious aspects, I can point you to a EZBoard that specializes in it, and would appreciate the Biblical relationship discussions.


From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I still doubt that tolkien would ustilize an error (generally excepted or not)to communicate something.

Then again mb I am wrong, many christians believe that angels do have wings out of ignorance, its just that I can't picture tolkien being ignorant in that specific field.


From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Fingolfin,
1. JRRT was raised as an Anglican, but became later in life Roman Catholic
2. JRRT has more often took methaphors from existing literature or culture and used them for his own purposes. For example, he used the army of walking trees from Shakespeare's MacBeth, to create the Ents. So, he can have used the existing view of Angels to create something new.

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
yes, but Angels were not mentioned in the Bible as having wings the way they are portrayed. mb he did take the walking trees from Macbeth but he couldn't have taken Angels and demons with wings from the bible unless he based it on the seraphims who had 3 pairs of wings.
From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mithrandir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 292
posted      Profile for Mithrandir   Author's Homepage   Email Mithrandir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
right, there were lots of balrogs, as beorn so well states: "Since when do you call 2 a company" in the same respect "how do you call 3 an army" or 3 a host of them....see?
From: Valinor | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 248

posted      Profile for Nimruzir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
RE: right, there were lots of balrogs.
Morgoth's Ring
'In the margin my father wrote: 'There should not he supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed.'

This is a note attached to Annals of Aman relating to the passage: 'Host of Balrogs'.

3 is the minimum that MUST exist:
1 slain by Ecthelion, 1 slain by Glorfindel, and 1 slain by Gandalf. I beleive that he upped the number to AT MOST 7, to retain the text, but to limit the numbers of these fell servants of Melkor.

Apparently the old conception (having been formed with The Fall of Gondolin in 1916-1917 was now being reconsidered.

Fall of Gondolin was not taken up again in written form after its initial writing except in annalistic form.

Believe what you will, but this is the presented fact.


From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I think there were never huge numbers of Maia who went evil. So there can't have been an whole army of Balrogs.
Fingolfin:
1. the angels on the arc of the covenant had each 2 wings
2. I didn't state JRRT based his metaphors directly on the Bible (in this respect) but on what people thought about these angels and how they were portrayed by them. (At least, that was what I meant.)

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mithrandir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 292
posted      Profile for Mithrandir   Author's Homepage   Email Mithrandir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
well, early in the silm., when Feanor is slain, it says he is surrounded by alot of balrogs and they whip him, and he fights em off for awhile, but eventually dies.
From: Valinor | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Mith, I think this is a question of what JRRT wrote first, and what he wrote later on. His latest recorded thoughts point at regarding the Balrogs a small group of max. 7.
From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Int HoMe 2 in the Fall of Gondolin the numbers of Balrogs are said to be in the hundreds(Balantine pg 171):
quote:

...and upon them rode the Balrogs in hundreds...

In the Shaping of Middle-Earth the number of Balrogs are said to be in the thousands(Ballantine pg 362):

quote:

There came afresh a hundred thousand Orcs and a thousand Balrogs...

In the Lost Road and other writings Sauron is described as Taking Minas Tirith(the origional) with a hostof Balrogs(Ballantine pg 311):

quote:

...Sauron came against Orodreth, the warden of the tower with a HOST of balrogs...

What these quotes proveis that origionally tolkien wanted the numbers of Balrogs to be great, but if what you say is true why the sudden change?

______________________________________________
In regard to Balrogs with wings:

Origionally Tolkien had no intention of using the term wings of any sort in describing the Balrog of Moria, but the reason he did was to make it seem larger and more dreadfull then it would have otherwise looked, as supported by these two quotesThe treson of Isengard, The Bridge pg 199 Houghton Milton Company and pg 202 Houghton Milton Company:

quote:

There is a penciled note on the manuscript against the describtion of the Balrog: 'alter the describtion of the Balrog. It seemed to be of man's shape, but its for could not be plainly decerned it FELT larger than it looked.' After the words 'Through the air it sprang over the fiery fissure' my father added: 'and a great shadow seemed to black out the light...'


what this quote proves is that tolkien wanted the Balrong to seem larger than it was and so to do this he employed just a shadow in the first drafts.


quote:

In B{A,B... are drafts and FR is the Fellowship of the RIng] it is said only that the Balrog 'stood facing him' : in C'the Balrog halted facing him, and the shadow about him reached out like giant wings'. Immediately afterward in FR the Balrog "drew itself up to a great height , and its wings spread from wall to wall', neither B nor C has the words 'to a great height' nor speak of 'wings'.


what this quote prove it that wings were just the culmmonation of tolkien endevoring to make the Balrog seem larger and more commanding, it shows that tolkien did not want the balrog to be seen as a Winged beast but as a man-shape with a towering presence due to the imense shadow which seemed to accompany it. Tyhe fact that the shadow was present in the revious drafts but actual wings weren't until the very final supports the idea that tolkien had no intention of giving tha balrog wings and that when he did use the term 'wings" he used it as a simile and a metaphor.

From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 248

posted      Profile for Nimruzir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
RE: Int HoMe 2 in the Fall of Gondolin the numbers of Balrogs are said to be in the hundreds(Balantine pg 171):

In the Shaping of Middle-Earth the number of Balrogs are said to be in the thousands(Ballantine pg 362):

There came afresh a hundred thousand Orcs and a thousand Balrogs...

In the Lost Road and other writings Sauron is described as Taking Minas Tirith(the origional) with a hostof Balrogs(Ballantine pg 311):
All true, and all older text. There has been no denial that originally conceived, there were many Balrogs. The point is that later this concept changed.

RE: What these quotes proveis that origionally tolkien wanted the numbers of Balrogs to be great, but if what you say is true why the sudden change?
THIS I do not know.
I can only speculate that there must have been a reason, possibly something that was to be clarified later. Perhaps the thinking was that if there were too many Balrogs, what kept them in check for so long as melkor would undoubtedly utilized them more effectively. But that is speculation. I think the reason there were many originally was the allegory to the Fallen Angels of Satan (1\3rd of Heaven). When the good Professor trimmed the overt Religious similarities, this may have been one of the changes done for that purpose.

This message has been edited by Nimruzir on 03-26-2001 at


From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I think the reason why JRRT changed many Balrogs into a few is to make them more powerfull. There can only be a certain number very powerfull Maiar who fell into evil with Melkor. Making them a great group would mean they came from the greater group of lesser spirits. (Like the difference between Archangels and normal Angels.)

This message has been edited by Earendilyon on 03-27-2001 at


From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mithrandir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 292
posted      Profile for Mithrandir   Author's Homepage   Email Mithrandir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
yes i agree, he didn't want to make them as populous as say, orcs, he wanted them to be more select, more "elite"
From: Valinor | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Da-Bomb badill
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 251
posted      Profile for Da-Bomb badill   Email Da-Bomb badill   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
If there where armies of balrogs running around like there are armies of orcs, there would be no way to write the story.How could they be faced when Gandalf had to give his life to defeat just one?
From: Pittsburgh, PA USA | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
If you take the 2 that were killed at the Fall of GOndolin(silm) then you only have five left. Yet in the War of the Wraith(silm) it is stated that the Balrogs were destroyed save some few(3) who escpaed and hid them selves in the depths of the world.
How could, if the Balrogs were destroyed but three escaped (which would mean only 2 were killed),that be since 40% desn't fit the statement "the Balrogs were detroyed". You cant say you destroyed something if you destroyed less then half.

This message has been edited by Fingolfin of the Noldor on 03-27-2001 at


From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Fingolfin, you allways seem to ignore the fact, that there was a shift in JRRT's views of (many) things. Earlier in his live he mentioned great groups of Balrogs, later he change that idea. You can read that in other messages here.
Do you even read other posts?

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I have accepted that their wasn't many Balrogs(3-7) per tolkiens change of mind. All I was doing was endeavoring to illistrate that Christopher Tolkien did not edit the silmarillion so that only a handfull of Balrogs exsisted.
From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I think Chris editted the Silm. as much as possible to what his father had left of it. Most texts of the Silm. are -if I'm correct- rather old. Had JRRT lived longer, he had incorperated later material in the Silm. This later stuff is now in the UT and HoME. I guess Chris found these texts only later, so the Silm. couldn't be adapted anymore. He also wanted to show the changes in JRRT's work and not only the final version. To me as a historian is this very appealing: historical sources are often not unambiguous either: one says this, the other says that!

This message has been edited by Earendilyon on 03-29-2001 at


From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Zenith, read Fingolfin's post on the wings, a couple of posts back. You'll be convince they had none!
From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eol the Dark Elf
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 411

posted      Profile for Eol the Dark Elf   Email Eol the Dark Elf   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Isn't it more important to ask if Balrogs could fly or not ?

------------------
I'm working on my aim


From: Nan Elmoth | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mithrandir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 292
posted      Profile for Mithrandir   Author's Homepage   Email Mithrandir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
yes, actually it is, we need to stay on track, i think the wings question is closed, but im to scared to conclude it wrongly.
From: Valinor | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
Captain of Avatars
Citizen # 156

posted      Profile for Fingolfin of the Noldor   Author's Homepage   Email Fingolfin of the Noldor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
They did not have wings and if you look at the previous drafts you'll see that tolkien intended the Balrog to be man-shape but felt larger then it actually was. To acomplish this he utilized an expanding shadow which he used wings as a metaphor and a simile to describe. Only in LotR were balrogs said to have wings(figuratively or not) in no other place anywhere neither silm nor HoME nor UT. And if tolkien indeed did intend to give wings to Balrogs then don't you think he would mention them in the texts where they were mentioned the most?
From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » The question of Balrog wings (Page 3)
This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  ...  10  11  12 
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic       The Red Arrow!       Admin Options: Make Topic Sticky   Close Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic

About  ~ • ~  Contact  ~ • ~  Minas Tirith  ~ • ~  F. A. Q.  ~ • ~  Help

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.6.1