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Did Balrogs Talk?

From: Erik Tracy

No, well maybe. As is so typical with Tolkien there are multiple interpretations. From above, we have the encounter of Gandalf and the Balrog at the door to Balin's tomb: Gandalf speaks a spell of holding and the Balrog counters that spell. Frodo hears Gandalf whispering as he lays the spell on the door, yet we are not told specifically if Gandalf heard the Balrog utter the counter spell. After all, it was on the other side of a stone door. But given that all other "Magic" of this type is spoken (see Magic in Middle-earth), it could be construed that the Balrog had to speak the counter-spell.

On the other hand, Tolkien was quite disgusted with an American movie makers' attempt to do a cartoon version of LotR. He made several comments concerning the depiction of characters and elements; one had to do with the Balrog of Moria:
    "The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer..."
    (Letter #210)
This could mean that the Balrog never speaks - ever. Or it could mean for this particular encounter he does not speak, for dramatic effect. Take your pick.

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