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Could Sauron Control the Balrog of Moria?

From: Erik Tracy

This question can only be answered by conjecture as Tolkien left no statement to address this issue.

The Balrogs were originally the servants of Morgoth in the First Age, of whom, Sauron was also his servant. The Balrogs and Sauron were all Maiar and somewhat coeval; it is debatable whether a Balrog would recognize Sauron as successor and serve him willingly.

However, if one considers the chronology of events in the Third Age then a certain "relationship" or understanding becomes evident. The Balrog was awakened by the Dwarves in the year 1980. The Dwarves then fled Moria in the year 1981. The Tale of Years falls silent regarding Moria until the year 2480, when Sauron starts to populate Moria with his creatures, namely the orcs. From this point on, up to the year of the War of the Ring in 3018 there is a cohabitation of the Balrog and the orcs for 538 years!

Certainly Sauron knew of the existence of the Balrog (especially at the point when his orcs entered Moria), and the Balrog seems to have tolerated the presence of Sauron's orcs. Yet I do not believe that Sauron could have controlled or commanded the Balrog - at this time he lacked the One Ring which held a large part of his native power. Without the One Ring, Sauron would not have had the ability to dominate a will as strong as a Balrog.

As such, the Balrog acted just as he did in the story: in accordance with a "common evil" against "good". Gandalf, like the Balrog, was a Maiar, but aligned with the Valar(good), who were the eternal enemies of Morgoth(evil). Since the Balrogs were the chief servants of Morgoth it naturally follows that the Balrog of Moria would have attacked Gandalf. Not only that, but the Fellowship had entered/invaded Moria, and they were armed. This too would naturally lead to a confrontation.

But it is doubtful that Sauron (without the One Ring) could have commanded the Balrog to say attack Lorien or fight against Minas Tirith. The main powers of a Balrog are not against armies of lesser enemies, or in breaking castle walls, but rather against other powerful opponents like Wizards or Elf-lords.

Fear of the Middle-earth, deamons of fire, servants of Melkor... Find out all about Balrogs on this page.
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