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Old 10-11-2009, 09:21 PM   #1
Inziladun
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Silmaril Balrog Breaking and Entering

The Balrog that was the bane of the Dwarves in Moria, and was eventually detroyed by Gandalf, had suprised the Dwarves when they apparently delved deeper than they ought while looking for mithril.

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Thus they roused from sleep a thing of terror that, flying from Thangorodrim, had lain hidden at the foundations of the earth since the coming of the Host of the West: a Balrog of Morgoth.
Appendix A

The Balrog fled from the host of the Valar and hid in Moria, or under it. However, Moria was hardly a desolate, uninhabited place when the Balrog decided upon it as a refuge. When the Dwarves came into Beleriand and made dwellings at Nogrod and Belegost, they already had cities to the east of the Blue Mountains.

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Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond in the Elvish tongue, that was afterwards in the days of its darkness called Moria; but it was far off in the Mountains of Mist beyond the wide leagues of Eriador, and to the Eldar came but as a name and a rumour from the words of the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains.
Silm Of the Sindar

Khazad-dûm was long established by the end of the First Age, and thousands of Dwarves likely lived and worked there. There would have been comings and goings constantly, and surely the Dwarves kept a watch at the doors. How did something like a Balrog slip underground under the most populous city of the Dwarves?
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:57 PM   #2
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like a hobbit Caefully and quietly

Actually maybe through another passae like the ones the orcs made home in later I mean and this is PURELY Conjecture they(the tunnels) did all kind of intersect somehow. Or he could havee gone through the west gate which may have been much less populated than the other side also here's the idea being a maiar he could look like a dwarf and only in his rage did he reveal himself.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:56 PM   #3
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like a hobbit Caefully and quietly
Somehow I don't get the impression that Balrogs are all that good at stealth...

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Actually maybe through another passae like the ones the orcs made home in later I mean and this is PURELY Conjecture they(the tunnels) did all kind of intersect somehow. Or he could havee gone through the west gate which may have been much less populated than the other side
I don't think so, Morsul– it doesn't fit with what we hear of the Balrog hiding "at the foundations of the earth", and the fact that it was only excessively deep mining that disturbed it. It wasn't actually in Moria until then, but rather beneath it, with no way of getting through.

I find it more likely that it entered through the tunnels beneath Moria– you know, the ones "gnawed by nameless things" (see The White Rider).
According to Gandalf, the Balrog was familiar with these. We're not told if there was a way directly into these deep tunnels from outside at the time of the War of the Ring, but I don't see why there couldn't have been at some point.

From an outside-the-story viewpoint, I should say that's why Tolkien bothers to mention this ancient, unknown network of tunnels beneath the mountains– it explains how the Balrog got there in the first place.

This is a pretty interesting image, however–

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also here's the idea being a maiar he could look like a dwarf and only in his rage did he reveal himself.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:34 AM   #4
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Interesting catch on the detail there, Inzila, as usual. Perhaps the Balrog flew down a ventilation shaft.

In any case, as Nerwen has mentioned, it seems doubtful that the Balrog entered Moria proper and then made his way to the deep places. Instead he must have wormed his way there from the surface by some other means, only to be "unearthed" by the Dwarves later on. You've inspired me to page through some of the accounts of the coming of the Host of the West to see if I can glean more details...
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:38 AM   #5
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Somehow I don't get the impression that Balrogs are all that good at stealth...
We are told that Balrogs were 'cloaked in darkness' so maybe they did posses some stealth aspects.

In LoTR 'the Balrog' is the only surviving member which was also known as Durin's Bane having killed two kings of the Durin's Folk in Khazad-dum. This was the one Gandalf killed in TA 3019 after a lengthy battle. I suspect 'the Balrog' arrived in Moria before the TA through its ability to move unseen.

Interesting points raised here.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:16 AM   #6
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I find it more likely that it entered through the tunnels beneath Moria– you know, the ones "gnawed by nameless things" (see The White Rider).
According to Gandalf, the Balrog was familiar with these. We're not told if there was a way directly into these deep tunnels from outside at the time of the War of the Ring, but I don't see why there couldn't have been at some point.
My only problem with this is you'd think that the entire area, not just Moria proper, would have been crawling with Dwarves. There should have been constant travel to and from the West-gate through the area later to be known as Eregion.
I would say the Balrog was lucky to have escaped their vigilance, but it was probably the Dwarves who were luckier.
This actually makes me wonder why the Balrog picked a location where it was likely to be discovered sooner or later. The Misty Mountains were a pretty large range, and you'd think there would have been hundreds of caves it could have explored. Maybe it had once known the Watcher and wanted to catch up on old times.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:21 AM   #7
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My only problem with this is you'd think that the entire area, not just Moria proper, would have been crawling with Dwarves. There should have been constant travel to and from the West-gate through the area later to be known as Eregion.
I would say the Balrog was lucky to have escaped their vigilance, but it was probably the Dwarves who were luckier.
I think Nerwen is spot on in her observation.
Anyways the entrances to tunnels under Moria probably wasn't situated near the gates or at the main travel rutes, the misty mountains is a massive mountain range and it should be no problem to find a desolate place.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:55 AM   #8
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From the Silmarillion, it would seem that Angband was mostly subterranean, and probably dug pretty deep - maybe even including some biotopes for nameless, gnawing things of its own (Morgoth's pampered pets?). So who's to say Durin's Bane didn't travel all the way underground? It could have wandered through the entrails of the Earth for millennia until it finally found a cosy nook to settle down, entirely unaware that there were Dwarves living on top of it. I guess it was pretty annoyed when they broke into its attics.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:38 PM   #9
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From the Silmarillion, it would seem that Angband was mostly subterranean, and probably dug pretty deep - maybe even including some biotopes for nameless, gnawing things of its own (Morgoth's pampered pets?). So who's to say Durin's Bane didn't travel all the way underground? It could have wandered through the entrails of the Earth for millennia until it finally found a cosy nook to settle down, entirely unaware that there were Dwarves living on top of it. I guess it was pretty annoyed when they broke into its attics.
Ah, Your Highness be basically quoting the beautiful, yet terribly uncanonical works by the Iron Crown Enterprises, incorporating a vast complex of Morgoth's tunnels from the First Age, reaching from the Remains of Thangorodrim as far as the halls under Moria, and reaching further into the "Drowning-Deeps" underneath the Blue Mountains, the "Rusted Deeps" under the Iron Hills, and at last, the dark Under-Courts of Barad-Dur. So, great minds think alike?

Well, anyway, I consider the subterranean infiltration rather plausible (with all canonicity). Was it Gandalf who said that the lodes of mithril lead "north towards Caradhras - and down to darkness"? Certainly "down to darkness" raises the image of unknown underground corridors, which may lead who knows where.

But I would combine it with the stealth aspect, too. I mean, why would the Balrog not be good at stealth? I always thought they could be. Covered with shadow, indeed, like wayseer said.

(Topic-unrelated note: Okay, I must say I freaked out when I saw wayseer posting on this thread - as for me, it was something like a name of legend, I saw wayseer posting before I joined, so for me it's something like seeing SpM, only with the difference that I have been talking to SpM before.)
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #10
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Don't forget also about all the crazy cataclysmic stuff that was going on during the War of Wrath. Could the shaking up of the earth that must have happened with the drowning of Beleriand been enough to 1). catch the Dwarves off guard, 2). open up new and secret ways under the earth, or 3). possibly even trap the Balrog there? (Sorry, but I have a bit of a hard time thinking that the Balrog spent that much time just waiting very, very patiently for Dwarf fricasee...)
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:46 PM   #11
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The gnawing creatures, during the breaking of Thangorodrim, began squirming in all directions - underground, of course - just like an bugs when you strike the nest. The balrog, being the only one that survived, obviously was a bit brighter than the others, and so followed the gnawing ones out away from the battle.

Eventually, the balrog could worm no more, and so lay down for a sleep in some cavern under Caradhras...that is until some hammer-banging Dwarves showed up...
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:53 PM   #12
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Indeed, and once again, if we think of any underground complex of Morgoth's, it would go down with Beleriand, too, and probably be drowned. A Balrog doused after long swimming would be also less detectable, eh? Well, jokes aside, opening new passages by cracking the land makes a whole new possibility indeed. Also, speaking of secret passages and water, this reminds me of the Watcher in the water, who managed to get to the West Gate of Moria from who knows where, it is true that there was probably not much anybody to guard it at that time, but still, there must have been some good access way for it in the first place, so as for unexplored cracks in the mass of Caradhras or other mountains, I don't think it would be such a problem to get in (or the good old solution, drilling).
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:02 PM   #13
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Also, speaking of secret passages and water, this reminds me of the Watcher in the water, who managed to get to the West Gate of Moria from who knows where,
Thinking about the Watcher, the creature was obviously not born in the lake - don't think that the Dwarves had had to contend with mini versions during their stay in Moria (there is the theory that the Watcher is actually a 'Flushie,' like some sewer alligator, but I'll let others speculate on that ). So the Watcher had to travel to the lake. If it could cross land, or at least any length, it wouldn't have remained in the lake.

So then it got into the lake from the water, meaning a passage appeared in the lake to some other place. If such passages from the surface to other areas are available to the Watcher, then they would be for the balrog as well.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:28 PM   #14
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Eventually, the balrog could worm no more, and so lay down for a sleep in some cavern under Caradhras...that is until some hammer-banging Dwarves showed up...
Yeah, I can imagine just how it happened. The Balrog, finally having found a nice little hide-out to settle down in away from all bossy Dark Lords and vindictive Gods, is awoken early one Sunday morning. A bit hung-over from the day before there's only one thought in his head:

"What's that infernal noise?"
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:05 PM   #15
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Ah, Your Highness be basically quoting the beautiful, yet terribly uncanonical works by the Iron Crown Enterprises, incorporating a vast complex of Morgoth's tunnels from the First Age, reaching from the Remains of Thangorodrim as far as the halls under Moria, and reaching further into the "Drowning-Deeps" underneath the Blue Mountains, the "Rusted Deeps" under the Iron Hills, and at last, the dark Under-Courts of Barad-Dur. So, great minds think alike?
Your Legginess doth credit me with more erudition than I can justly claim to possess, my familiarity with the scrolls of lore you mention amounting to little more than nil.
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Could the shaking up of the earth that must have happened with the drowning of Beleriand been enough to 1). catch the Dwarves off guard, 2). open up new and secret ways under the earth, or 3). possibly even trap the Balrog there?
Hmmm - the distance from Moria Gate to the Isle of Himling (closest remnant of Beleriand) was some 900-1000 miles as the Balrog flies*. I'm not quite sure what an earthquake that could be felt (and I mean felt, not registered by modern equipment) across such a distance would measure on the Richter scale - but who knows what the Lords of the West in their Wrath were capable of?
What about this: the Balrog, seeking to hide in the deepest recesses of Angband, was buried under what would after the cataclysm become the sea floor. It then wormed/burrowed/melted(?how much heat can an undoused Balrog generate?) its way through the continental crust till it found a nice cavern deep under Moria and decided to spend the next few millennia there.
But seriously, the real solution is, of course, much simpler:
*It flew to the top of Zirakzigil and descended the Endless Stair, etc., taking the same way as when it was pursued by Gandalf, only in the opposite direction. It's logical, isn't it? How else would it know the way so well?

(OT: Now that Legate mentions it, wayseer, are you actually, as your avatar seems to indicate, The Only Real Estel reincarnated? If so, I'm pleased and honored to meet you! (Well, pleased anyway!))
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:21 PM   #16
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Yeah, I can imagine just how it happened. The Balrog, finally having found a nice little hide-out to settle down in away from all bossy Dark Lords and vindictive Gods, is awoken early one Sunday morning. A bit hung-over from the day before there's only one thought in his head:

"What's that infernal noise?"
By the way, all the escape-from-Angband business and the fact that he was the sole survivor of his kind in the Third Age (or at least known one) makes me think whether this particular person, the one we know as Durin's Bane, wasn't a bit of a coward I mean, compared to the average of his kind...

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Hmmm - the distance from Moria Gate to the Isle of Himling (closest remnant of Beleriand) was some 900-1000 miles as the Balrog flies*. I'm not quite sure what an earthquake that could be felt (and I mean felt, not registered by modern equipment) across such a distance would measure on the Richter scale - but who knows what the Lords of the West in their Wrath were capable of?
Oh, I am sure the earthquake must have been quite a feat. I mean, we are talking about the whole Beleriand drowning here, Ered Luin being torn apart and all that stuff. Unless I am mistaken, the Bay of Belfalas was created at that time, and it was also implied, I believe, that there used to be the great inland sea of Helcar (beyond which Men awoke) where later the lakes of Rhun and Núrnen existed. Go figure.

(OT: I was not talking about the avvie, although of course I know it, but I was thinking of wayseer as wayseer, it's just weird as I recall his name vividly from before.)
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:45 PM   #17
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(OT: I was not talking about the avvie, although of course I know it, but I was thinking of wayseer as wayseer, it's just weird as I recall his name vividly from before.)
Meaning he isn't TORE? Now I'm disappointed... and confused. Where do you remember him from? Phantom memory?

Back on topic (if only slightly): I hadn't considered Helcar shrinking into Rhûn and Nurnen in this context before, but it figures - the drowning of Beleriand probably had to be balanced by former sea floor being raised somewhere else; just like the New Lands created after/at the Fall of Númenor.
A wonder if anything in the west of Middle-earth was left standing at all. Potters and glaziers must have been very busy for decades after the War of Wrath.
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:48 PM   #18
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By the way, all the escape-from-Angband business and the fact that he was the sole survivor of his kind in the Third Age (or at least known one) makes me think whether this particular person, the one we know as Durin's Bane, wasn't a bit of a coward I mean, compared to the average of his kind...
Ah, give him a small break. Even Sauron the Great was frightened enough by the fall of Morgoth to humble himself before Eönwë and turn his back on his former master.


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Oh, I am sure the earthquake must have been quite a feat. I mean, we are talking about the whole Beleriand drowning here, Ered Luin being torn apart and all that stuff. Unless I am mistaken, the Bay of Belfalas was created at that time, and it was also implied, I believe, that there used to be the great inland sea of Helcar (beyond which Men awoke) where later the lakes of Rhun and Núrnen existed. Go figure.
If an earthquake resulting from the War of Wrath was strong enough to affect the Misty Mountains and aid the balrog in hiding, wouldn't it also have severely damgaged Khazad-dûm?

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A wonder if anything in the west of Middle-earth was left standing at all. Potters and glaziers must have been very busy for decades after the War of Wrath.
The Barrow-downs survived.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:23 PM   #19
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(OT: I was not talking about the avvie, although of course I know it, but I was thinking of wayseer as wayseer, it's just weird as I recall his name vividly from before.)
(Before? Before when?

But to the matter at hand - there have been stirrings of the Shadow elsewhere - but I am happy to be back.

Sorry - I do not mean to derail the thread).
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Ah, give him a small break. Even Sauron the Great was frightened enough by the fall of Morgoth to humble himself before Eönwë and turn his back on his former master.
Well, but Sauron was a great coward, we all know that But honestly. Encounter with Lúthien, bargaining with Eönwë, later with Ar-Pharazon, hiding in the East, hiding in Dol Guldur, and basically even hiding in Barad-Dur.

The cowards are the ones who survive, because the brave ones fight until somebody kills them. So all the brave Balrogs and other servants of Morgoth have died.

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If an earthquake resulting from the War of Wrath was strong enough to affect the Misty Mountains and aid the balrog in hiding, wouldn't it also have severely damgaged Khazad-dûm?
And who says it didn't? I think there's no need to record a few broken halls, the thousands of Dwarves had enough time to repair it before Sauron came to Eriador...

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(Before? Before when?

But to the matter at hand - there have been stirrings of the Shadow elsewhere - but I am happy to be back.

Sorry - I do not mean to derail the thread).
Interesting. I am quite certain I remember somebody by the name of wayseer posting at least around late 2006, resp. before it. I know that already back then I have noticed that this person and TORE have the same avatars. Aside from that, I definitely recall this person posting on the "where does your screenname come from" or some similar thread (wherever it was, somewhere where he could have explained it) that he picked the name "wayseer" as "seer of the way", that it is "fitting for a ranger". Honestly. Is it possible that there used to be a different user account which was deleted? I am puzzled. Because I also think *that* person used to have more posts. Like, into hundreds at least, I think. Or what? Am I crazy? (Okay, end of off-topic rant, but this is just scary and unexplainable, because even if it were so, that would be quite some coincidence to have a person with the same screenname AND avvie.)
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:07 PM   #21
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The cowards are the ones who survive, because the brave ones fight until somebody kills them. So all the brave Balrogs and other servants of Morgoth have died
You seem to be mistaking bravery for stupidity and to withdraw from a battle that cannot be won is not necessarily a sign of cowardliness. (it can be though)

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Old 10-12-2009, 05:04 PM   #22
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You seem to be mistaking bravery for stupidity and to withdraw from a battle that cannot be won is not necessarily a sign of cowardliness. (it can be though)
Nope, but only in this case. Sauron was the typical coward, and I think on the side of evil the characters in LotR (or Sil etc.) were often more or less cowards. Sometimes defining bravery and stupidity depends only on the point of view, but very often you can tell withdrawal from cowardice, and the guys who survived from Angband seem to belong to the other bunch. Because otherwise you would be saying that all the other guys were just stupid not to withdraw, whereas certainly the question at the moment was something different, it was sort of a matter of honor - maybe not of bravery, but kind of stubbornness maybe, "no, we are not going to give up now, after such a long time we just won't admit that we were wrong all the time". Something like Saruman. Something unlike Galadriel. See, that's the difference. Three completely different approaches: Saruman, Galadriel, Sauron. Stubbornness, willingness to admit own faults, cowardly opportunism or just plain cowardice. And I would put the Balrog in the latter cathegory as well, because why would he flee, of all, while all his colleagues did stand and fight?
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:16 PM   #23
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very often you can tell withdrawal from cowardice, and the guys who survived from Angband seem to belong to the other bunch. Because otherwise you would be saying that all the other guys were just stupid not to withdraw,
Maybe they where. . .

At least when the battle was clearly lost it would make sense to withdraw if possible, thus being able to fight another day. The Balrog who we meet in the third age almost achived victory for the forces of evil, something it would not have been able to do had it been slayen in a last stance at Angband.

I am not saying that fighting against all odds is always stupid, as you cannot run forever, but to insist on it at all times is foolish.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:21 PM   #24
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At least when the battle was clearly lost it would make sense to withdraw if possible, thus being able to fight another day. The Balrog who we meet in the third age almost achived victory for the forces of evil, something it would not have been able to do had it been slayen in a last stance at Angband.

I am not saying that fighting against all odds is always stupid, as you cannot run forever, but to insist on it at all times is foolish.
Well, I am not speaking about my opinions on this question at all. I am merely thinking about the Balrog (and the others) now. As for what you said in the first part, personally I don't think he would have thought of anything like that when he was escaping - like, calculating that he might take revenge one day, or carry on the legacy of his master. Of course. He could start to think of destroying a few Gandalfs only when he was safely somewhere in a warm cavern. "Hide-hide!" was probably his only thought when the judgement came upon Angband, quite logically.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:27 PM   #25
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I find it more likely that it entered through the tunnels beneath Moria– you know, the ones "gnawed by nameless things"
But don't you think his wings might have got in the way?

*ducks*
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:54 PM   #26
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Thinking about the Watcher, the creature was obviously not born in the lake - don't think that the Dwarves had had to contend with mini versions during their stay in Moria (there is the theory that the Watcher is actually a 'Flushie,' like some sewer alligator, but I'll let others speculate on that ). So the Watcher had to travel to the lake. If it could cross land, or at least any length, it wouldn't have remained in the lake.

So then it got into the lake from the water, meaning a passage appeared in the lake to some other place. If such passages from the surface to other areas are available to the Watcher, then they would be for the balrog as well.
Well if you are of the camp that beieves that the Watcher was some sort of kracken, then in non-nativity to the lake or pre lake river, is almost guanteed since, presumably the Sirrannon is a freshwater river, and to my knowedge there are no freshwater squids. Actually, it's ability to survive in the lake makes me wonder if, maybe the dward had been dumping stuff (like tailings) in the river to make it salty enough for a marine creature to survive (if they did you migh say that the Watcher was just as much thier fault as waking the Balrog, since both were in a way due to thier mining.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:10 PM   #27
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I'm still unable to figure what made the Balrog decide to go where it did. If it wanted only to hide, there had to be much better options, far away from any Elves, Dwarves, or Edain. Perhaps it wanted to be close to the action, should Sauron require its services? But then, why did it not openly aid him rather than lying dormant for thousands of years until awakened, then skulking around in the dark bullying cannon-fodder Orcs?
I think I figured out something related though. I'd long wondered about the ultimate source of the 'ill will' and the conveniently bad weather faced by the Fellowship on Caradhras. It was their failure to climb to the Redhorn Gate, of course, that led them into Moria where the Balrog awaited them.

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The Dwarves delved deep at that time, seeking beneath Barazinbar for mithril, the metal beyond price that was becoming yearly ever harder to win. Thus they roused from sleep a thing of terror....
Appendix A

Barazinbar was the Khuzdul name for Caradhras. The Balrog would have been quite familiar with the tunnels underneath that mountain. Perhaps it sensed the presence of the Ring, then used its 'divine' powers to defeat the Company's attempt on the Redhorn, knowing they would then be likely to enter its domain?
I'm probably the last to come to that conclusion, and it really isn't on topic, but it came as quite a revelation to me.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:48 PM   #28
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To get back to the original question of the thread, why couldn't the Balrog have come in through the west-gate? For the dwarves, and for the elves of Eregion, it didn't exist until Celebrimbor arrived. (His name was on the door, wasn't it?)

Of course, this doesn't preclude some other possible entry. How about Durin's Stair? How about the top of the mountain? Of course, this implies that Balrogs can fly (wings?), but it also answers the fact that the Balrog seemed to know exactly how to find Durin's Stair (in his battle with Gandalf,) and how to get there. He's been there before. Sure seemed like it to me, at least at the time.

Of course, this doesn't explain the Watcher . . .

But, nothing explains the Watcher, except Tom Bombadil.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:24 PM   #29
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Don't forget also about all the crazy cataclysmic stuff that was going on during the War of Wrath. Could the shaking up of the earth that must have happened with the drowning of Beleriand been enough to 1). catch the Dwarves off guard, 2). open up new and secret ways under the earth, or 3). possibly even trap the Balrog there? (Sorry, but I have a bit of a hard time thinking that the Balrog spent that much time just waiting very, very patiently for Dwarf fricasee...)
There's a note in the "Durin's Folk" section of the Appendices that suggests that rather than actually waking the Balrog, the Dwarves merely
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released it from prison; it may well be that it had already been awakened by the malice of Sauron.
i.e. the Balrog was indeed trapped there by that time. It's not surprising– the area was geologically active even in the Third Age– too much for comfort, in fact– cf. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

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Originally Posted by radagastly View Post
To get back to the original question of the thread, why couldn't the Balrog have come in through the west-gate? For the dwarves, and for the elves of Eregion, it didn't exist until Celebrimbor arrived. (His name was on the door, wasn't it?)

Of course, this doesn't preclude some other possible entry. How about Durin's Stair? How about the top of the mountain? Of course, this implies that Balrogs can fly (wings?), but it also answers the fact that the Balrog seemed to know exactly how to find Durin's Stair (in his battle with Gandalf,) and how to get there. He's been there before. Sure seemed like it to me, at least at the time.
I refer you to my points earlier. As I said, I don't think the Balrog's hideout was connected to Moria at all until the dwarves broke into it while mining. For the sake of argument, it could have once been part of Moria proper, then sealed off by a rockfall or something– see above. However, I think it's much simpler to assume that Durin's Bane didn't deliberately choose a populous city to take its millennia-long nap in, but rather entered through some probably distant opening, travelled underground, and finally went to sleep in a cave that just happened to be near Moria.

And likely not all that close originally.

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"The lodes led away north toward Caradhras, and down to darkness (...) they delved too greedily and too deep..."
–Gandalf in A Journey in the Dark.

I'd guess that at the time the Balrog took up residence, its cave or whatever was a long way from any workings of the dwarves– it was only much later that they mined deep enough to reach it.

As for how the Balrog knew Durin's Stair– well, it had plenty of time to explore Moria after its release, didn't it?
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:44 AM   #30
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But don't you think his wings might have got in the way?

*ducks*
Oh, good that you mentioned it, Spm! You are right, the fact that he burrowed is actually another proof that he didn't have wings.

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I'm still unable to figure what made the Balrog decide to go where it did. If it wanted only to hide, there had to be much better options, far away from any Elves, Dwarves, or Edain. Perhaps it wanted to be close to the action, should Sauron require its services? But then, why did it not openly aid him rather than lying dormant for thousands of years until awakened, then skulking around in the dark bullying cannon-fodder Orcs?
As for the question why not to help Sauron: why should he? They were basically of the same rank (maybe not officially in Morgoth's army hierarchy, but Morgoth was gone now), and I can't imagine Sauron coming to offer Balrog his aid - so why should it be the other way around? Also, cf. my points earlier: Durin's Bane was simply a coward. It all fits.

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I refer you to my points earlier. As I said, I don't think the Balrog's hideout was connected to Moria at all until the dwarves broke into it while mining. For the sake of argument, it could have once been part of Moria proper, then sealed off by a rockfall or something– see above. However, I think it's much simpler to assume that Durin's Bane didn't deliberately choose a populous city to take its millennia-long nap in, but rather entered through some probably distant opening, travelled underground, and finally went to sleep in a cave that just happened to be near Moria.

And likely not all that close originally.

I'd guess that at the time the Balrog took up residence, its cave or whatever was a long way from any workings of the dwarves– it was only much later that they mined deep enough to reach it.
Exactly, I agree. Aside from that, I find it an interesting coincidence that Balrog was found so close to the lodes of mithril. Perhaps he stopped where he did also because he found it nice to sleep on tons of the precious metal?

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As for how the Balrog knew Durin's Stair– well, it had plenty of time to explore Moria after its release, didn't it?
Exactly. Gandalf said he knew the underground tunnels "all too well", Durin's Stair, for him, would be just one of the many appendices of the tunnels. I find it more interesting why he chose to go to the top of Zirakzigil, of all places. I mean, he could have lead Gandalf to some deep tunnel who knows where, you know what I mean? Well, this is indeed off-topic, but I have never thought of that before, yet there must be an explanation. "Something else at work", the will of Eru driving even the Balrog to get outside, so that Gwaihir might pick up Gandalf? Or Balrog being hurt so much that he was afraid even of the "nameless things" around (just as much as Gandalf was), being worried that they would finish him once he's done with Gandalf? Who knows.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:48 AM   #31
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Oh, good that you mentioned it, Spm! You are right, the fact that he burrowed is actually another proof that he didn't have wings.
You are so right, to think that a winged creature could ever live in a cave. . .how silly!
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:07 PM   #32
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I'm sticking with my contention that Balrogs have redundant wings, just so they can put on a big, terrifying show when they want to. Non-functional, but potentially impressive. But that's just me.

After reading the thread, several quotes come to mind:

Quote:
"There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world." (Gandalf, "A Journey in the Dark")
Quote:
"But even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and disturbed that from which they fled, Durin's Bane." (also Gandalf, later in the same chapter)
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"Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels. They were not made by Durin's folk, Gimli son of Gloin. Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he." (Gandalf, "The White Rider")
All these things make me think several things:

1. There are tunnels below Moria.

2. The creatures that made them are tremendously old.

3. The Dwarves know nothing about them.

4. The Balrog knew about them, even if it didn't make them.

5. The Dwarves' knowledge of such tunnels was either minimal or non-existent, until they woke up the Balrog.

I have often wondered about the "nameless things" that are even older than Sauron. Did Gandalf mean that literally, or merely in terms of their existence in Middle-earth? If they are literally older than Sauron, they would have to be some form of Ainur, since Tolkien never mentions that Eru made anything related to Ea before he made the Valar and Maiar. If they're merely older than Sauron in that they were in Middle-earth before he took up permanent residence there, I would be inclined to think that they were more of Melkor's "experiments." He may have planted them well below the surface of ME so as to avoid the notice of the Valar, sort of strange weapons in reserve (or perhaps even stranger time-bombs). Whatever they were, in fleeing the War of Wrath, the Balrog of Moria may simply have high-tailed it into the tunnels, not even knowing where he would end up, so long as it was somewhere he could avoid being noticed, and captured or destroyed.

Hope that made sense. I'm still on pins and needles waiting to find out if my husband will still have a job at the end of the month. They were supposed to tell him two weeks ago, but now it's probably going to be later this week. Danged Balrogs still exist in the modern world, I guess.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:33 PM   #33
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I have often wondered about the "nameless things" that are even older than Sauron. Did Gandalf mean that literally, or merely in terms of their existence in Middle-earth? If they are literally older than Sauron, they would have to be some form of Ainur, since Tolkien never mentions that Eru made anything related to Ea before he made the Valar and Maiar. If they're merely older than Sauron in that they were in Middle-earth before he took up permanent residence there, I would be inclined to think that they were more of Melkor's "experiments." He may have planted them well below the surface of ME so as to avoid the notice of the Valar, sort of strange weapons in reserve (or perhaps even stranger time-bombs). Whatever they were, in fleeing the War of Wrath, the Balrog of Moria may simply have high-tailed it into the tunnels, not even knowing where he would end up, so long as it was somewhere he could avoid being noticed, and captured or destroyed.

Hope that made sense. I'm still on pins and needles waiting to find out if my husband will still have a job at the end of the month. They were supposed to tell him two weeks ago, but now it's probably going to be later this week. Danged Balrogs still exist in the modern world, I guess.
Nice points, Ibri!

It could be a combination of both--after all, the Balrogs themselves are Maiar who were then persuaded into the service of Melkor (with the notable exception of Arien). And considering that we have sea-Maiar (Osse and Uinen, and possibly "The River Woman"), air-Maiar (the Suruli), and fire-Maiar (the Balrogs and Arien); why shouldn't there be earth-Maiar to create all kinds of cool tunnels?
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:48 PM   #34
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I thought I'd bring to light something I recently found that would have some bearing on this. Apparently it would have been easier than I'd thought for the Balrog to make its way under Moria without being noticed.

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Here the Elven-way from Hollin ended. Holly was the token of the people of that land, and they planted it here to mark the end of their domain; for the West-door was made chiefly for their use in their traffic with the Lords of Moria.
FOTR A Journey In the Dark

The Tale of Years says Eregion was founded in the year 750 of the Second Age, so the West-gate through with the Fellowship entered Moria was not in existence at the time the Balrog would have been fleeing Thangorodrim.
With such a prosperous Dwarven city which surely held commerce with others east and west, you'd think it must have been accessible from the western side of the Mountains though, and presumably there were other ways in.
I still have yet to figure out why the Balrog chose the Misty Mountains near Moria as a hiding place. You'd think the Grey Mountains would have been much better. After all, they seem to have been pretty much left alone by Elves, Men, and Dwarves, and the remaining Dragons apparently made the Withered Heath in those mountains their home after the fall of Morgoth.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:35 AM   #35
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But at the time when he was supposed to get there, I would assume the doors were also guarded? I mean, even though the door was open, you would have a Dwarf or two sitting there, if nothing else, and it would be somewhat awkward for the Balrog to get through customs.

As for the Grey Mountains/Withered Heath question, well, maybe that's just it - without the central leadership, maybe the Balrog did not feel as comfortable to share his place with some dragons. No, it would be somewhat "let's stay each in our own territory, here be dragons, here be spiders, here be balrogs". Also, what do we know, maybe Durin's Bane had a special affinity for mithril?

And one more note to the Grey Mountains - it's not that they were totally left alone either. Dwarves have been there at some point too, and possibly (maybe) already Men on the southern side (the Northerners lived there certainly later, resp. then the ancestors of Rohirrim). And Orcs (at least around Gundabad, so probably outreaching to the western part of the Grey Mountains).
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:59 AM   #36
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I don't think that the way to the Westgate existed prior to the Elves founding Eregion. If you think about the way of the company it looked for a long time as if they wandered through a very simple tunnel system with no much choice of direction. Only when they aproach the eastern area of Moria things become more complex. In addition the dwarves did use the redhorn-pass frequently. Otherwise it wouldn't have gained such a bad reputation. Why would they have used the pass if they had an underground way?

I think that the passage quoted means that not only tha gate was build at that time but the entire entrance and the way to reach it.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:34 PM   #37
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I would add that Moria's extent and population at the end of the First Age were not what they would later become. Others have pointed out that the West Gate wasn't built until SA 750 or later; and Gandalf towards the end of the journey calls the East End "Old Moria." Remember that Moria's population was greatly swelled in the early Second Age by refugees from Nogrod and Belegost.
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Old 12-19-2009, 10:09 PM   #38
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Fordim Hedgethistle has been trapped in the Barrow!
Talk about slipping in through the perhaps-non-existent or perhaps-existent-but-non-functioning wings...
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:20 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip spence View Post
Yeah, I can imagine just how it happened. The Balrog, finally having found a nice little hide-out to settle down in away from all bossy Dark Lords and vindictive Gods, is awoken early one Sunday morning. A bit hung-over from the day before there's only one thought in his head:

"What's that infernal noise?"
That sounds like one of my days a few months ago, getting an unexpected (and unwelcomed) visitor in the ridiculously early hours of the morning. Ai! Ai! You saying I'm a balrog!?

I can see stealth being in the Balrog's repetoire. He wasn't a hulking beast that was all scrunched up in tunnels and mine shafts. The tallest Balrog was the one Glorfindel killed, which was said to be twice his height. Durin's Bane was roughly man-size, it was hard to discern his exact height because he could control shadows. Besides being cloaked in darkness (a stealth tool for sure!) He is described as leaping, bounding, and skipping across fissures to reach the Fellowship (and Gandalf on the bridge). They were Maiar after all.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:59 PM   #40
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From reading the LOTR I tend to think that embodied maiar were able to look much larger on some occasions.

Gandalf at Garadhras:

Quote:
In the wavering firelight Gandalf seemed suddenly to grow: he rose up, a great menacing shape like the monument of some antient king of stone set upon a hill.
Balrog at Kazad-Dum originally seemed to be

Quote:
a dark form, man-shaped may be, yet greater
Quote:
suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall
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