Did Balrogs Fly?
From: Erik Tracy
This is a point of debate. Some people are firmly entrenched with the idea that Balrogs have
wings and can fly. This is mainly from the description in the Fellowship of the Ring:
"It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height,
and its wings were spread from wall to wall..." (Fellowship of the Ring)
However, this statement is preceded by the description given above that its darkness was
LIKE wings. Tolkien was very particular on the use of words. If the Balrog had wings he would
not have used the word "like". This usage denotes that its darkness was tangible and looked
like wings; not that it actually had wings. We also have a description of how Balrogs moved
from the Silmarillion which tends to support the idea that they were land bound and had to
"Then suddenly Morgoth sent forth great rivers of flame that ran down swifter than Balrogs from
Thangorodrim, and poured over all the plain...In the front of that fire came Glaurung the
golden, father of dragons, in his full might; and in his train were Balrogs, and behind them
came the black armies of the Orcs in multitudes such as the Noldor had never seen or imagined."
(p. 147 Sil)
It would seem that the Balrogs were running with the lava flow although not as fast.
If they flew, then Tolkien would not have used the word "run" as a comparison on how fast the
lava flowed. We also know that Glaurung was a Great Worm and not a dragon which could fly. This
meant that Glaurung was land bound and that the Balrogs were in his train; the implication is
that the Balrogs, too, were land bound.
Fear of the Middle-earth, deamons of fire, servants of Melkor... Find out all about Balrogs on this page.
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