What were the Powers of a Balrog?
From: Erik Tracy
The Balrogs were originally Maiar, angelic beings of lessure stature than the Valar (like
Morgoth), but immortal beings which nonetheless possessed considerable power. They were chiefly
spirits of fire which meant they could control and create fire about them, but they also could
control and use "magic" (See Magic in Middle-earth). Notice the confrontation between the Balrog
of Moria and Gandalf. He tries to hold the door to Balin's Tomb, but the Balrog uses a "counter
spell" to open the door which results in the door breaking:
"...I found myself suddenly faced by something that I have not met before. I could think of
nothing to do but to try and put a shutting-spell on the door...Then something came into the
chamber- I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent. It
laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell. What it was I cannot guess,
but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me.
For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command.
That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking
out all the light inside, and I was thrown backwards down the stairs." (Fellowship of the Ring)
Clearly, the Balrog knew that there was a spell on the door and also knew that another
coeval spirit put it there. It also used a counter spell to gain control of the door. Although
Balrogs are not depicted as conversant this does not mean they are merely strong and brutish.
They are Maiar and would therefore have knowledge (i.e. magic) that in most likelihood surpassed
the Elves and certainly all Mortals.
Balrogs were immensely strong and powerful. Their mere presence was enough to cause fear and
inaction in their enemies. Notice the response of Legolas and Gimli when they first see the
Balrog in Moria:
"He drew, but his hand fell, and the arrow slipped to the ground. He gave a cry of dismay and
fear...But it was not the trolls that had filled the Elf with terror...Gimli stared with wide
eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face." (Fellowship of
As can be seen, Balrogs were fiercesome opponents and NEVER to be taken lightly.
Fear of the Middle-earth, deamons of fire, servants of Melkor... Find out all about Balrogs on this page.
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