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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
No. I guess that's why I was confused about the part where Gilraen is supposed to be a bit of a grump.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Have you had time to listen to the sessions yet? Or read the session notes?
Yeah, this is a thing you're going to need to do if you want to get into Season 1 stuff. Gothmog isn't "Gothmog" at all at the beginning of Season 1. I forget the name that was drafted for him, but he, along with the other Balrogs, are much more angelic, to the point of being winged. They become the monsters we know them as (and lose their wings!) in an attack on the Lamps of Almaren, and are unable to return to their former glory after the fact. Hence, Chris Pine: a pretty boy who will eventually be buried under a few pounds of prosthetics and make up for the rest of the season.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I thought Balrogs had wings, at least in the Peter Jackson version. They're also described in the books.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Professor Olsen does an excellent deconstruction of this in his original "Tolkien Professor" podcasts, but I'll cover the basics really quickly.

In the text, it specifically says "the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings." LOTR Bk2Ch5. There is, of course, other, more circumstantial evidence against the Balrogs having functional wings.

Firstly, there have been three balrogs killed during the history of Middle-Earth. Two, including Gothmog, were killed during the Fall of Gondolin. The third dies in the above-quoted from fight with Gandalf. All three of them are killed falling from a great height, which suggests that they were not able to overcome gravity in any way (such as flight).

Secondly, Melkor was unable to accost Arien in her daily flights over Middle Earth because he had no servants capable of doing so. Had the Balrogs the ability to fly, they certainly would have been able to do this.

Now, there are passages mentioning the Balrogs in "flight" on several occasions during the Silmarillion, but if the use of that word is evidence for winged Balrogs, then there are many instances in which elves, men, and orcs should also have wings.

What was decided some time ago for this project is that the Balrogs arrive on Arda with Melkor, winged and beautiful. They cast down the Lamps of Almaren (influenced by Melkor), and are caught in the Lamps' ruin. The injuries they receive are what turn them into the "demons of shadow and flame" that we all know and love. They have only the "shadow" of their wings left as a bitter reminder of their fall.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I thought Balrogs had wings, at least in the Peter Jackson version. They're also described in the books.
There has been a lot of debate about that, since JRR uses descriptions like (the balrogs having) 'shadows like wings' rather than saying that they had wings (of flesh and blood) and the fact that they more than once fell to their death and therefore probably couldn't fly. At one point he actually produced a text where he stated that they had no wings. At no time he wrote clearly that they had. So the conclusion is that the idea that they had wings is a misinterpretation.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Well the balrog of Moria definitely falls, and although he is unharmed, he cries out as he falls. He falls all the way down without trying to fly at all. And when he and Gandalf gets outside, he just climbs, he never uses wings to get a better attacking position.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
On the other hand, I've never seen artwork of wingless balrogs that looked really convincing. They look kinda half-naked and just meh. The shadowy reminders of (former) wings will be very necessary to getting a good design for them, I think.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
My favorite thing about the shadow wings is that visually you can do all kinds of really fun stuff without the restraints of flesh and blood, it just has to look cool.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
On the other hand, I've never seen artwork of wingless balrogs that looked really convincing. They look kinda half-naked and just meh. The shadowy reminders of (former) wings will be very necessary to getting a good design for them, I think.
They could have leftover bony bits that end in ragged stumps but suggest maybe the outlines of something wing-ish jutting out from their backs and the rest of the space filled in with "shadow". That might be a little better than just having them completely gone, and you could add a lot of personality and a more striking sillouhette to each Balrog by having their stumps be asymmetrical and different lengths.
 
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