Are There Any Balrogs Left in Middle-earth?
From: Erik Tracy
After the Last Battle of the First Age there were some Balrogs left that escaped the wrath
and destruction of the Valar. The exact number of original Balrogs is not known. Those who
survived managed to escape as Tolkien describes:
"The Balrogs were destroyed, save some few that fled and hid themselves in caverns inaccessible
at the roots of the earth..." (Silmarillion)
We also have the following letter that specifically discusses the Balrog of Moria:
"The Balrog is a survivor from the Silmarillion and the legends of the First Age. So is Shelob.
The Balrogs, of whom the whips were the chief weapons, were primeval spirits of destroying fire,
chief servants of the primeval Dark Power of the First Age. They were supposed to have been all
destroyed in the overthrow of Thangorodrim, his fortress in the North. But it is here found
(there is usually a hang-over especially of evil from one age to another) that one had escaped
and taken refuge under the mountains of Hithaeglin (the Misty Mountains). It is observable that
only the Elf knows what the thing is - and doubtless Gandalf." (Letter #144)
Some people have questioned whether Gandalf knew what this thing was and only the Elf, Legolas,
recognized the Balrog. The above letter clearly shows Gandalf did know what it was;
whereas the encounter on the stair was behind a door and Gandalf could not see his opponent.
Gimli, however, only knows it as "Durin's Bane". He does not know that a Balrog is an evil
spirit left over from the First Age and a servant of Morgoth.
Tolkien has left open the possibility of more Balrogs still buried deep and waiting to be
Fear of the Middle-earth, deamons of fire, servants of Melkor... Find out all about Balrogs on this page.
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