Balrog

 / Balrogs
   'Demon of Might', Sindarin form (Quenya Valarauko) of the name of the demons of fire that served Morgoth.
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   Dread Servants of Melkor.
   The Balrogs were spirits of fire seduced by Melkor in the beginning of Arda, and who dwelt in his northern fortress of Utumno. During the First Age, the Balrogs were the most feared of Morgoth's forces after the dragons.
   In appearance, the Balrogs were man-like, but fire streamed from them, and they were swathed in dark shadows. They carried whips of flame and induced great terror in friends and foes alike.
   In the War of Wrath, Morgoth was assailed by the forces of the Valar.
   Most of the Balrogs were destroyed in that War, but some few escaped over the Blue Mountains and lay hid in Middle-earth. Durin's Bane, the creature that drove the Dwarves from Moria, was one of these.
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   The Balrogs Before the First Age: The Balrogs were in origin Maiar, of the same order as Sauron or Gandalf. Melkor corrupted them to his service in the distant past of the World, in the days of his splendour. They were originally gathered by him in his ancient fastness of Utumno during the time of the Lamps of the Valar. When this fortress was destroyed by the Valar, at least some fled and lurked in the pits of Angband (whether any of the original Balrogs were slain in the Valar's attack on Utumno is not known).
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   Balrogs in the First Age: When Melkor and Ungoliant escaped from Valinor three ages later with the Silmarils, the Balrogs were still to be found in the ruins of Angband. Ungoliant entrapped Melkor in her webs, demanding the Silmarils for herself, but the Balrogs issued from their hiding-place and rescued their lord.
   The Balrogs were apparently first encountered by the Elves during the Dagor-nuin-Giliath in the first year of the First Age. After the great victory of the Noldor over Morgoth's Orcs, Fëanor pressed on towards Angband, but the Balrogs came against him. He was mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Though his Sons beat off the demons of fire, Fëanor died of his wounds soon after, and his spirit departed for the Halls of Mandos.
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   The Appearance and Nature of Balrogs: Balrogs were spirits of fire - their hearts were of fire, we are told, and they carried whips of flame.
   They could, however, shroud themselves in darkness and shadow. The Balrog that Gandalf fought in Moria, for example, at first gave no hint of his fiery nature apart from the flames that issued from his nostrils.

J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary. . 2003.

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