17 Jan 2010

Barlogs - The Fallen Angels of Middle-earth

The history of the Barlogs ( or Valaraukar as they are also know ) is one that can be traced back to the First-Age. The Barlogs are Maiar, servants of the Valar- among the greatest being like Sauron, Saruman and Gandalf, but as we know the Maiar are not perfect. Barlongs are corrupted by Melkor (aka Morgoth) from whom all evil in the world of Middle-earth ultimately originates. When I think about the Balrogs often Fallen Angels comes to my mind. Tolkien's concept for the Barlogs will develop over time, at the beginning of their history they are about twice the size of men and are described as riding dragons - by the time the Fellowship of the Ring enters Moria they have become larger, and more evil but not indestructible. As evil creatures go, only dragons were greater in power then the Barlogs. Man-like demons of shadow, with streaming manes of flames, and fire-breathing nostrils. They move in a black cloud of shadow . Their main weapon is a whip of fire although they can also carry a flaming sword, or axe or mace, but it is the whip that is the most powerful of all.

One of the most infamous Balrogs is Gothmog, in the First-Age. He made his appearance in The Silmarillion and holds the title of Lord of the Balorogs.At this time the Balrogs can be found in Morgoth's strongholds of Utumno and Angband in Middle-earth and nothing and no one seem able to stop them. When Morgoth is released, he takes the Silmarils. Ungoliant, the Great Spider, tries to take them away from him, but Morgoth call for help and the Balrogs came to his aid. They freed Morgoth from Ungoliant's webs with their flaming whips and Ungoliant fled from them in fear, nothing can stop them. They will mortally wound the Elf-craftsman Feanor when he tries to retrieve the Silmarils. They are at Mortgoth's side in every great battle of the First-Age, they are his champions and so it is told that when finally Morgoth's reign is over by the Host of the Valar , the Barlogs are also defeated....all but one known as Durin's Bane that escape deep in the caves under the Misty Mountains where it lurk for almost 6,000 years.

During the Third Age of the Sun the dwarves of Moria released the Barlog by accident although it was probably already awoken by the rising power of Sauron. Once unleashed , the demon struck down the Dwarf-King and his heir. The remaining Dwarves fled and Khazad-dum became known as Moria, "the Black Chasm" and Orcs and other evil creatures came to dwell there. In 2989, Balin (of of the 13 dwarves in The Hobbit) came to Moria to try to re-establish a Dwarf colony there, once more the Balrog was disturbed the colony destroyed and Balin himself was killed and buried in Moria.

In January 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring enters Moria, soon their presence is noted by the Balrog that began the chase. Gandalf is a Maiar and his spells are powerful, however the Balrog is a Maiar too....

(Gandalf vs. the Balrog by Grantgoboom on Deviantart)

" 'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. ' A Balrog! A Balrog is come!' Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face. 'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'" (J.R.R.Tolkien)

(Comic from Here)

As it is told in the 'Red Book of Westmarch' Gandalf was to remain on the Bridge of Khazad-dum to spot the Balrog reaching the Fellowship, he will destroy the Balrog's sword with his staff, he then struck the bridge that began crumbling under the Balrog's feet. The demon falls and lash its whip for a last time catching Gandalf by his knees and pulling him down after itself. They fall for a very long time, fighting each other before landing in a lake deep underground. The Balrog's fire is off however it is still strong. Gandalf keep following the demon in the tunnels, up to the peak of the Silvertine where the last battle is to take place. The demon is now on fire again but at last Gandalf is able to push the demon off the mountain-side where finally Durin's Bane dies. Gandalf the Grey falls and pass into darkness and out of time, he perish, however will be sent back to Middle-earth as Gandalf the White to complete his task and help Frodo in his struggle. And with the death of Durin's Bane, the Balrogs's history ends, the 'Fallen Angels' of Middle-earth are no more!.