Minas Tirith Forums Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic
profile | register |
search | faq | avatars | citizens
donate | about | library
 
Minas Tirith Forums » History of Middle-earth » Gothmog in Children of Hurin
Author Topic: Gothmog in Children of Hurin
Jango
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 891

posted      Profile for Jango   Email Jango   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
So I'm beginning Children of Hurin, and I've never been huge into the HoME just because it was so hard to follow everything and everyone at the time I attempted it. I've recently gotten back into it and in all of my reference material Gothmog is listed as a Balrog and the Lord of the Balrogs. I always thought this was the case. However in chapter 2 The Battle of the Unnumbered Tears, Gothmog is not described outside of being the captain of the enemy forces. He is described as engaging one of the elf lords (I don't have my book in front of me, so I don't remember who) in one on one combat and cheats the fight with the aid of a balrog who laces the elf lord in a steel thong while Gothmog bashes his head in with an axe. This doesn't sound like the description of a balrog to me and have been perplexed ever since. Am I missing something or did Christopher Tolkien miss something in his editing? Was "a balrog" supppose to be "the balrog"?

EDIT: So it was Fingon I was thinking of, I had thought so... anyways, here's the same passage from the Silmarillion I guess with different wording:
quote:
Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, high-captain of Angband, was come; and he drove a dark wedge between the Elvenhosts, surrounding King Fingon, and thrusting Turgon and Húrin aside towards the Fen of Serech. Then he turned upon Fingon. That was a grim meeting. At last Fingon stood alone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog, until another Balrog came behind and cast a thong of fire about him. Then Gothmog hewed him with his black axe, and a white flame sprang up from the helm of Fingon as it was cloven. Thus fell the High King of the Noldor; and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood.
here it sounds like Gothmog IS a balrog, it is ANOTHER balrog that comes up and it is a thong of fire this time. The inconsistent translations are troubling to my wild and detailed imagination...
(um... sorry if this in the wrong board)

[ 07-19-2007, 05:12 AM: Message edited by: Jango Fett ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"Sonofabitch I'm sick of these dolphins." ~Steve Zissou

From: US Virgin Islands | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 816
posted      Profile for Thorin   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I believe that the Professor's idea of the number of balrogs changed over time. Early in BoLT I think there were hundreds of them. Later in the composition of the Legendarium he decided the number was only seven, I think. Let me go do some quick research []

Edit: Here is a nice little essay complete with quotes and sources: http://tolkien.slimy.com/essays/TAB2.html

[ 07-19-2007, 05:23 AM: Message edited by: Thorin ]

From: Helsinki | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Dread Pirate Roberts
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2117
posted      Profile for The Dread Pirate Roberts   Email The Dread Pirate Roberts   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I've never liked the late change to "at most seven" balrogs. Why would a group of seven beings have their own "Lord?"

I don't know. I tend to agree that thousands or even hundreds of balrogs is indeed too many, but limiting the number to five or seven is likewise too few, IMO.

I'd have much preferred if Tolkien had left it ambiguous. By trying to quantify their numbers and failing, (again, just IMO) I'm left dissatisfied. []

From: Blacksburg, VA | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Galin
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4975
posted      Profile for Galin   Edit/Delete Post 
In the Grey Annals it was said 'He (Fingon) was overborne by the Balrogs...', as also in the older Quenta Silmarillion text (HME V).

Also in the Grey Annals Gothmog is referred to as Lord of Balrogs whom Ecthelion slew afterwards in Gondolin -- this Gothmog was indeed a Balrog, at least according to the very early version of The Fall of Gondolin anyway, which was never updated to completion with respect to 'long prose version'. Gothmog is called Lord of Balrogs in subsequent texts (subsequent to this early Fall of Gondolin tale I mean).

Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Imbëar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 729
posted      Profile for Imbëar   Author's Homepage   Email Imbëar   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Dread Pirate,
Tolkien quantified the number of Elves.
Is it the quanitifying that bothers you, or the ambiguity?


Imbëar

From: Auburn, CA | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Galin
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4975
posted      Profile for Galin   Edit/Delete Post 
I've no problem with a Lord of (seven) Balrogs myself... somewhat like a Lord of nine Ringwraiths.

Tolkien did not specify the number in the texts, he changed 'host' on the typescript but his marginal note need not be the wording within the tale (though I guess why be fairly specific in the note if it's going to be left ambiguous in the story).

[ 07-27-2007, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Dread Pirate Roberts
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2117
posted      Profile for The Dread Pirate Roberts   Email The Dread Pirate Roberts   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Dread Pirate,
Tolkien quantified the number of Elves.
Is it the quanitifying that bothers you, or the ambiguity?

Imbëar

Interesting. I did not know that about the Elves. Exactly how many were there? Also, where can I find that info?

A couple things bother me about the Professor's quantifying of the balrogs. One is that with the changes to the number of balrogs that Tolkien made in his lifetime, we are left with uncertainty about whether more changes were in the offing.

Another is that reducing the number of balrogs so significantly changes the stories about them, as well. Of course, as a writer working on a tale, Tolkien has every right to do this. But as a reader, I don't like the feeling of reading a work in progress. And unfortunately for all concerned, he passed away before many of these stories could be completed.

And now that you mention it, I suppose I find numbering them at all to be unnecessary. Some things are better left in general, not specific terms.

You have piqued my interest in the number of Elves. Thanks!

From: Blacksburg, VA | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 816
posted      Profile for Thorin   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
It is an interesting idea, isn't it?

quote:
According to the legend, preserved in almost identical form among both the Elves of Aman and the Sindar, the Three Clans were in the beginning derived from the three Elf-fathers: Imin, Tata, and Enel (sc. One, Two, Three), and those whom each chose to join his following. So they had at first simply the names Minyar 'Firsts', Tatyar 'Seconds', and Nelyar 'Thirds'. These numbered, out of the original 144 Elves that first awoke, 14, 56, and 74; and these proportions were approximately maintained until the Separation.

Quendi and Eldar, The War of the Jewels

Emphasis mine. And here is a thread where it was discussed as a side to the original question.

[ 08-03-2007, 04:08 AM: Message edited by: Thorin ]

From: Helsinki | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eluchil
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5432
posted      Profile for Eluchil   Author's Homepage   Email Eluchil   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Aaah, the Cuivienyarna []
But let's not forget :
quote:
'Actually written (in style and simple notions) to be a surviving Elvish "fairytale" or child's tale, mingled with counting-lore'.

From: Menegroth, deep under the sea | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 816
posted      Profile for Thorin   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Way off original topic: Could this have anything to do with "sixes and twelves"?
From: Helsinki | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eluchil
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5432
posted      Profile for Eluchil   Author's Homepage   Email Eluchil   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I thought about it during the whole day, when I was unable to post []
Do you think we should carry on on this in the other thread ?

E: I'm doing it []

[ 08-03-2007, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

From: Menegroth, deep under the sea | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Snöwdog
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 15

posted      Profile for Snöwdog   Author's Homepage   Email Snöwdog   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
.... Getting back to Gothmog, I have always assumed he was a Balrog from reading
quote:
Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, high-captain of Angband, was come; and he drove a dark wedge between the Elvenhosts, surrounding King Fingon, and thrusting Turgon and Húrin aside towards the Fen of Serech. Then he turned upon Fingon. That was a grim meeting. At last Fingon stood alone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog, until another Balrog came behind and cast a thong of fire about him. Then Gothmog hewed him with his black axe, and a white flame sprang up from the helm of Fingon as it was cloven. Thus fell the High King of the Noldor; and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood.
in the Silmarillion. In reading Children of Hurin, I assumed this in my head that Gothmog was a Balrog when it said he was the Captain.

As for the number of Balrogs, never really thought of it.

From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Varnafindë
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4097

posted      Profile for Varnafindë   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
In this Silmarillion quote it's quite clear that Gothmog is a Balrog and that another Balrog joins him in the fight with Fingon.

Whatever Gothmog may have been in other texts at other stages of the work in progress ...

From: Narnia, also connected with Norway | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

posted      Profile for Hamfast Gamgee   Author's Homepage   Email Hamfast Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
And two Balrogs must be hard to deal with in any battle!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » History of Middle-earth » Gothmog in Children of Hurin
 - 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