Balrog is a mighty character in the fantasy world. J.R.R. Tolkien’s books reflect the true character and spirit of the Balrog, however, the movies have fallen short of projecting minute yet important details about it. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings and Hobbit have excluded some of the facts which make the Balrog a truly unique and distinct character. Some of those facts are discussed in this article.

  1. Durin’s Bane did not die

The movie would have you believe that Durin’s Bane died at the hands of Gandalf on top of the mountain. However, Durin’s Bane is a maia like Gandalf, and like Gandalf, his spirit would have survived.

Gandalf the Grey’s physical body perished, but he was sent back by the Valar to finish his mission and given a new corporeal body – Gandalf the White. The same thing would have happened to Durin’s Bane, and its spirit would have survived.

You can kill the physical body, but not the spirit of the maia. Granted, it was probably banished by the Valar, so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

  1.     Balrog shouldn’t be that tall

Peter Jackson took some liberties when it came to the appearance of the Balrog. Tolkien described the Balrog as a shadowy figure wreathed in flame and not much taller than a man. Unfortunately few details are given.

In the movie, the Balrog is depicted as a massive, hulking monster with horns, wings, and a gaping mouth that spews flames. The Balrog’s wings remain a spot of contention among Tolkien fans, as he does use the word “wing,” but people aren’t sure if this is used metaphorically or literally. Jackson went literally, as you can see.

  1.   The War of Wrath

Those who don’t know much about Tolkien need to read about the War of Wrath. Essentially, the War of Wrath was the final, climactic battle between all the forces of good in Arda (dwarves, elves, men, Valar) against Melkor and his forces of evil.

The battle was so fierce that it completely shattered an entire area of Middle-earth called Beleriand, which was found in the northwest section of the land. Anyway, Balrogs fought in the War of Wrath, but most were defeated. Those that were not killed hid deep within the Earth. Which is where The Lord of the Rings picks up.

  1.     There was a Lord of the Balrogs

Balrogs aren’t just independent spirits – no, they actually have (or had) a Lord, and his name was Gothmog.

Gothmog lived in the First Age and served under Melkor. He was given the title Lord of the Balrogs, and he fought (and won) many battles for his master.

He killed an important elf named Fëanor, he captured Maedhros the Tall, fought in both the Battle of the Sudden Flame and the Battle of the Unnumbered Tears. Gothmog eventually died at the hands of Ecthelion during the Fall of Gondolin. 

  1.     Balrogs were corrupted by Melkor

The Balrogs could have done good. Unfortunately, they were corrupted by Melkor.

Melkor was the first Dark Lord of Eä (the name for Tolkien’s fictional universe), and he was the predecessor of Sauron. Melkor was the Dark Lord of the First Age, and Sauron served as his lieutenant.

The Balrogs were corrupted by Melkor’s power and splendor, and they lived in a subterranean domain called Utumno, which was carved by Melkor himself.

  1.     Balrogs are also known as the Valaraukos

The Balrogs aren’t just known as the Balrogs. In another Elvin language, called Quenya, the Balrog is known as “Valarauko.” Of course, the spelling can change dramatically, and they are also known as Valaraukar, Valarauco, Valaraucar.

This name too means “Power Demon,” as “vala” is “power,” and “rauco” is “demon.” Hence, the Demon of Might.

  1.     Balrog means “Demon of Might”

Within the Tolkienverse, “Balrog” translates to “Demon of Might.” It comes from the Elvish language Sindarin, and is a compound of the words “bal” and “raug.”

“Bal” means power and “raug” means demon. Translated literally, Balrog means “Power Demon,” or “Demon of Power.” It’s also referred to as “Demon of Might”.