View Poll Results: Who would win

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  • Smaug

    22 45.83%
  • a Balrog

    26 54.17%
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Thread: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

  1. #31
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Well said, Illuin

    As with any fight it would definitely depend on the circumstances. As pointed out, the deaths of Glaurung and Smaug are no indication of their power, unless you mean to say it took a whole villiage (down to their last arrow) or an assassin's blow to finally take them
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  2. #32
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Belrog.

    Belrogs lasted the ages, dragons wither and die. I think it has more to do with strategy than strength.

    If a belrog and a Smaug had a battle, it would be of Smaug's choosing, because a Belrog wouldn't leave it's lair (unless ordered), which gives him an upfront and immediate advantage.
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  3. #33
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Huh. I never wrote in this thread? Apparently I voted, probably for dragons. Both sides of this debate seem to be very confident that they are correct. I haven't seen any devastating blows being dealt (at least, nobody took them as devastating and responded in kind). Anti-climactic, yo. But then, it's less of a showy debate and more of a meandering argument. Both sides have already used plenty of great points, but they aren't attacking the other side, really.

    1. Balrogs are Ainur type things. So what? Some people use this as an argument and leave it at that. Sometimes they add that, because of their race, they can't be killed. That part is craziness. Plenty of Ainur type things have been killed. They (just like any other race) can only come back via special circumstances. It seems that these people believe that because they are immortal and have lots of creepy powers, that they are in an entirely different class and to compare them to other races is laughable. I see no evidence of this when Ainur type things have been killed by other races plenty of times, via the same tactics they'd use on anything else (I admit that if I had to worry about such matches, I'd be worried about all kinds of terrifyingly powerful Ainuric possibilities, but, from what I've read, it seems that my fears don't matter too much).

    2. Everyone died with their balrog opponent. So what? As the Illuin person points out, in a contest between two sentients, the odds can be figured, but the results are never definite. There's not enough written about most of the balrog and dragon fights for me to prove that one is generally weaker than another. The reason that balrog opponents always died tells me more about the opponents than about a balrog's strength versus a dragon's. Those opponents were either idiots, too focused on fighting past the balrog's fear ability to think more clearly, or the balrog just didn't seem scary enough to warrant more planning. It is obvious to those up against dragons that they will most probably die. The things easily take out armies. Thought is employed.

    Is there some other point I should move my attention towards? I just popped in really quick.
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  4. #34
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Unfortunately I don't share the sentiments of the dragon-lovers of the forum. What's even more peculiar is that this thread is five years old!

    First it is necessary to look at the origins of Dragons and Balrogs and their respective ancestries (or lack thereof).

    The Silmarillion: Valaquenta - Of the Enemies

    For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.
    The Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor

    ...Glaurung, the first of the Urulóki, the fire-drakes of the North, issued from Angband's gates by night.
    Tolkien never once referred to the dragons (to my knowledge) as being any of the Ainur, it is therefore safe to assume that the Balrogs, as Maia, were the greater of the two. The above quote is the first mention of any Dragon in The Silmarillion.

    Let's have a look at the resumés of the greatest of each of the two species nevertheless:


    Gothmog

    • - Slew Fëanor, greatest of the Noldor, at Dor Daedeloth.
      - Slew Fingon the Valiant the High King of the Noldor on the plains of Anfauglith.
      - Dragged Húrin into Angband after the defeat in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
      - Slew Ecthelion and was finally slain in The Fall of Gondolin.

    Glaurung
    [list]
    - Glaurung, scarce half-grown and got his a** handed to him by Fingon with his group of Elvish archers.
    - Slew Noldor and Men and crushed the hill-forts of the Noldor at Ard-galen with the help of balrogs.
    - Overcame Maehdros' defence at the great fortress at the Hill of Himring which closed the Pass of Aglon preventing entrance into Beleriand and subsequently destroyed all the lands between the arms of Gelion.
    - Wounded by Azaghâl of the Naugrim (Dwarves), Lord of Belegost in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad but nonetheless killed him.
    - Defiled the Eithel Irvin and burned the Talath Dirnen aka the Guarded Plain between Narog and Teiglin.
    - Overcome Nargothrond, the fortress of Finrod Felagund. He then cast a hypnotic spell upon Túrin and subsequently got his eyes stabbed out.
    - Temporarily blinded Mablung, chief captain of Thingol.
    - Laid a spell of darkness and forgetfulness on Nienor, who subsequently married her brother Túrin and consequently committed suicide.
    - Slain by Túrin at Cabed-en-Aras.

    All Glaurung was really good for was storming fortresses, he was a battering-ram; nothing more. Gothmog slew three of the greatest of the Eldar. If I was taking the interview, it seems to me that Gothmog and thus the balrogs would get the job.

    One argument that I would put forward is that Smaug it seems, according to contemplations of JRRT, would have been recruited into the services of Sauron:

    Unfinished Tales - The Quest of Erebor

    The Dragon Sauron might use with terrible effect.
    It may, IMO, have been a little more difficult for Sauron to seduce a Balrog into his service, as they are spiritual equals, despite Sauron having the greater power.

    Smaug was defeated and slain by King Bard of the line of Girion in The Hobbit, whereas the Balrog encountered in Moria slew and was slain by Gandalf, a Maia or angelic being.

    Smaug, aka the Worm of Dread would be sent back to Erebor with his tail between his scales after being severely whipped by the Balrog who would follow him there and then open a baitshop for passing tourists on their way to the Long Lake to charter a fishing boat from the Men at Esgaroth.

    "Durin's Bane's Baitshop: Best Bait this side of the Misty Mountains!"
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  5. #35
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Are the more specific points supposed to be evidence that the first one makes any sense, or is there some proof hidden elsewhere that being an Ainur type thing automatically makes you more powerful than a dragon?

    Looking over these resumes, it seems that Gothmog's most notable accomplishments are all along the lines of striking the final blow while some guy is already surrounded and tired. I am wondering if the beings themselves made these resumes, or if they just hired someone not very flattering to do them. Whether you think of Glaurung as a mere battering ram or no, is there evidence that he couldn't just easily batter Gothmog to death? I don't see him as merely a battering ram, though. Most battering rams have only one form of attack and must be carried around by those with brains. Glaurung had more forms of attack (including the super impressive and far more refined than a balrog's evil power to mess with people's brains) than Gothmog and I would guess that he was smarter, mostly because I have read nothing of Gothmog's personality. Did Tolkien ever write anything to even suggest Gothmog's level of intelligence, besides the fact that he had some high rank (for which there could be all kinds of reasons)? Glaurung killed plenty of formidable opponents, too. It just would have been more tragic if Tolkien had taken the time to tell us each of their names and stories.

    Towards Smaug, that quote tells us little. Sauron could have used a balrog with terrible effect, too. Does it tell us that Smaug was easy to control? No. Actually, he seems to me to be more along the lines of an Ungoliant. Independent. The pathetic balrog hiding out in Moria used to work for Mel, so he probably knew that Sauron was his right hand Ainur type thing. I don't see why reviewing Sauron's resume would stop him from helping the guy out. Smaug had a good thing going by himself, though. He seemed plenty to content to stay where he was, and Sauron wouldn't have been able to force him into helping out. Of course, we have Sauron's vaguely defined ability to draw evil. It is too vaguely defined for me to worry about Smaug falling under its spell. With little information on how intelligent balrogs were, I wouldn't know who would be more likely to be swayed by it.
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  6. #36
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    by Belegûr
    Let's have a look at the résumés of the greatest of each of the two species nevertheless

    The résumé theory is irrelevant; as I have explained in post #30 (and rather not explain again ). Also, the fact that Smaug isn’t a Maia and the Balrog is has no bearing in a battle. A Balrog (Maia) can be slain (physically) just as easily as an Elf, Dwarf, Man etc. (as many were).

    PS - Ancalagon was the greatest of the Dragons; Glaurung was simply the first .

  7. #37
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Ulairi...fresh returned and disrespecting Dragons already? Unwise, old friend, unwise.

    Your references to Glaurung and Gothmog aside, let us consider Smaug and his death. Had his "jeweled waistcoat" been complete, I fear Bard would have gotten the roasting he so richly deserved. Alas, in his pride, he failed to assure his invincibility before flying to the attack.

    Smaug was the perfect killing machine, as Gandalf was well aware, curse him. Wings, fangs, claws, thick armour, intelligence far superior to all but the divinely wise and endowed with magick, it took a conspiracy to slay him. The slaying of a Balrog cold be accomplished by one person, be he mortal or otherwise.

    Had he lived and fought such a battle with a Balrog, the advantage of flight alone would have ensured his victory, as his manueverability would have been excellent. Combine that with flame-throwing and said Balrog is no more!
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Quote Originally Posted by Illuin View Post
    You have to look at the opponents for what they are, and the abilities they have. The fact that a Balrog is a Maia and a Dragon is not has nothing to do with the battle; it’s only relevant in the afterlife, when the battle is over.
    Not necessarily, a snake will always be victorious over a mouse.

    The Letters of JRR Tolkien - #144: To Naomi Mitchison

    The Balrogs, of whom the whips were the chief weapons, were primeval spirits of destroying fire, chief servants of the primeval Dark Power of the First Age.
    In any ancient military construct the strongest soldiers were always the leaders.

    The Silmarillion - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

    ...their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them; they had whips of flame. Balrogs they were named in Middle-earth in later days. And in that dark time Melkor bred many other monsters of divers shapes and kinds that long troubled the world...
    The "other monsters of divers shapes" would likely include dragons. The following passage is of enormous interest to me for various reasons:

    The Letters of JRR Tolkien - #153: To Peter Hastings (draft)

    But if they 'fell', as the Diabolus Morgoth did, and started making things 'for himself, to be their Lord', these would then 'be' ... real physical realities in the physical world ... But whether they could have 'souls' or 'spirits' seems a different question; and since in my myth at any rate I do not conceive of the making of souls or spirits, things of an equal order if not an equal power to the Valar, as a possible 'delegation'. I have represented at least the Orcs as pre-existing real beings on whom the Dark Lord has exerted the fullness of his power in remodelling and corrupting them, not making them.
    Here Tolkien is discussing the quintessential concept to most myth and fantasy based on religious premise that created creatures cannot themselves create, they can only twist and mar that which already is in existence. He concedes that even if Morgoth were capable of 'making' things, they could never match the power of the Valar through delegation (delegation in this context meaning the passing of power or will from one being to another which Tolkien in another letter explains is inherent in myth - Sauron's power passed into the Ring and Morgoth did the same through his Ring - Arda). I am and never will be JRR Tolkien, but I firmly believe that if I ever got the opportunity to ask him this question I know what the answer would be. If we substitute Valar for Maia or possibly Ainur in the above quote then the dragons could never match the power of the Ainur (or Maia). I know that's speculative, but I believe what Tolkien in this passage is fundamentally driving at is the impregnable concept that sub-creation cannot create and thus cannot match that which already is; and you'll see exactly why below. Fëanor's Silmarils were works of art but were simply imitations of light of the Two Trees. The Two Trees did not 'create' their own light but generated the light already present in the world after the Flame Imperishable was kindled in the Void:

    The Silmarillion - Of the Beginning of Days

    In that guarded land the Valar gathered a great store of light...
    Myths Transformed sheds even greater light on the subject aforementioned.

    The History of Middle-earth X: Morgoth's Ring - Myths Transformed: VIII

    Melkor corrupted many spirits - some great, as Sauron, or less so, as Balrogs. The least could have been primitive (and much more powerful and perilous) Orcs; but by practising when embodied procreation they would (cf. Melian) [become] more and more earthbound, unable to return to spirit-state (even demon-form), until released by death (killing) , and they would dwindle in force.
    Here Tolkien acknowledges that through perpetuation of physical form, the "corrupted Maia" eventually became earthbound to the point that they could not exercise the greatness of their power, which includes even a demon-form: a form which the Balrogs constantly possessed. Subtextually Tolkien evinces that even a demonized form is greater than the physical form possessed by dragons.

    The History of Middle-earth X: Morgoth's Ring - Myths Transformed: X

    For Morgoth had many servants, the oldest and most potent of whom were immortal, belonging indeed in their beginning to the Maiar; and these evil spirits like their Master could take on visible forms.
    And there you have it: Maiar are crucial to the discussion as they are greater in being than artificial sub-creations such as Orcs and Dragons. Thus Balrogs are more powerful than Dragons; but I am not going to leave it at that, oh no...

    The Silmarillion - Of the Return of the Noldor

    He was yet young and scarce half-grown, for long and slow is the life of the dragons.
    Dragons conversely, were mortal creatures and thus of lesser potency (or power - they have the same meaning). Even the Quenya form of Balrog - Valarauko - means 'Demon of Might'. Another salient point is that Balrogs didn't appear to re-produce and thus did not confine themselves to physical forms. In determining the number of Balrogs left, Christopher Tolkien notes that this note of JRRT's was discarded and the number of Balrogs was therefore quite small:

    The History of Middle-earth XI: The War of the Jewels - The Grey Annals 230

    The Balrogs were still at this time conceived to exist in large numbers... '[Melkor] sent forth on a suddent a host of balrogs' - at which point my father noted on the typescript of AAm: 'There should not be supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed'...
    From CT's notes it appears that Tolkien changed his mind and considered that only 3 or 7 at most existed. I understand the fault in that logic, but it is irrefutable that he considered the number to be far smaller as he developed The Silmarillion.

    Thus this argument:

    Quote Originally Posted by Illuin View Post
    Fire Resistant: Smaug-Yes / Balrog-Yes

    Ability to Fly: Smaug-Yes / Balrog-No

    Projectile Flames: Smaug-Yes / Balrog-No[...]

    [...]Well, it’s obvious the Balrog has a substantial disadvantage. Also, why did Morgoth wait so long to attack during the Siege of Angband? Couldn’t he have just sent Gothmog out there to break the siege? Probably, but he wasn’t confident with that strategy. He instead wanted to be sure he was going to have the victory; so he patiently waited for his deadliest weapon to mature; Glaurung! And it worked; the Battle of Sudden Flame was devastating . And personally, I think Smaug would have no problem taking out Glaurung if circumstances arose.

    So, do I think a Balrog could take Smaug?....not a chance in hell.
    Becomes irrelevant. The Balrogs were simply smaller in number than the dragons, they were however, corrupted and immortal Maiar, the "most potent" and "chief servants" of Morgoth Bauglir, whereas dragons, including Glaurung and as...

    Quote Originally Posted by Illuin View Post
    Ancalagon was the greatest of the Dragons; Glaurung was simply the first...
    ...they are nought but cheap imitations of created beings twisted and marred by Morgoth and consequently "dwindled in force". Despite Smaug being the last of the great dragons, he was still part of the brood and therefore less in potency, might and power, than that of the lowliest Balrog.

    As for Ancalagon being the greatest Illuin, you are absolutely correct; but Ancalagon's achievements were far outshadowed by that of his ancestor Glaurung and therefore it is my own personal contention that Glaurung remains the first and the greatest of all dragons, which is another topic of discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post
    Towards Smaug, that quote tells us little. Sauron could have used a balrog with terrible effect, too. Does it tell us that Smaug was easy to control? No. Actually, he seems to me to be more along the lines of an Ungoliant. Independent. The pathetic balrog hiding out in Moria used to work for Mel, so he probably knew that Sauron was his right hand Ainur type thing. I don't see why reviewing Sauron's resume would stop him from helping the guy out. Smaug had a good thing going by himself, though. He seemed plenty to content to stay where he was, and Sauron wouldn't have been able to force him into helping out. Of course, we have Sauron's vaguely defined ability to draw evil. It is too vaguely defined for me to worry about Smaug falling under its spell. With little information on how intelligent balrogs were, I wouldn't know who would be more likely to be swayed by it.
    True but nowhere does Tolkien express that point of view, and Gandalf potentially concludes that Smaug as an agent of Sauron may be a certainty:

    Unfinished Tales - The Quest of Erebor

    Often I said to myself: "I must find some means of dealing with Smaug... We must disturb Sauron's plans. I must make the Council see that."
    If Olórin considered that a possibility and used the quest for the Arkenstone as an ulterior motive to overcome Smaug, then I would indeed infer there was a strong possibility that Smaug would be recruited into Sauron's service.
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Ulairi...fresh returned and disrespecting Dragons already? Unwise, old friend, unwise.
    chrysophalax, how very nice to hear from you after all this time. What a pleasure it is hear from you again. I made a statement earlier that TTF has become another Moria, but even so, I'm glad you're still here to revitalise our Khazad-dûm to its former splendour and glory.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Your references to Glaurung and Gothmog aside...
    Yes, I acknowledge it was a contrived and slightly constipated effort, but I am, as with you and other members of TTF, becoming slowly re-acquainted with a dear old friend: The Silmarillion. I haven't touched a Tolkien novel in about six years.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    ...let us consider Smaug and his death. Had his "jeweled waistcoat" been complete, I fear Bard would have gotten the roasting he so richly deserved. Alas, in his pride, he failed to assure his invincibility before flying to the attack.
    And Illuin made a similar point in his post. However, another (clever) member also noted that all dragons seem to be slain by none other than Mortal Men, the lesser forms of creation in comparison to the Elves and the Ainur; which implies to my mind that dragons also, must therefore be lesser than the Immortals, and if you see my post above Tolkien certainly agrees with me as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Smaug was the perfect killing machine, as Gandalf was well aware, curse him. Wings, fangs, claws, thick armour, intelligence far superior to all but the divinely wise and endowed with magick, it took a conspiracy to slay him. The slaying of a Balrog cold be accomplished by one person, be he mortal or otherwise.
    Yes, yes... he is a veritable 007 flashing his Walter PPK and that winning smile that Balrogs can do nought but swoon amorously. However, there were no Balrogs slain by men (to my knowledge and I am open to correction - but be careful, I am still Úlairi and have a notorious temper when corrected ) and resultantly I just can't agree with you there. The only reference I'm aware of is Húrin who fought off an entire host but was ultimately defeated and then dragged into Angband by Gothmog.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Had he lived and fought such a battle with a Balrog, the advantage of flight alone would have ensured his victory, as his manueverability would have been excellent. Combine that with flame-throwing and said Balrog is no more!
    You seem to forget that Balrogs were demons of fire; I seem to remember something from my repressed childhood about fighting fire with fire...? Hmmmm...

    Nonetheless, I consider Letters and Myths Transformed to be the definitive answer on the matter, regardless of whatever else I may have said or implied.
    "Except it be for this one voice only that I cried, standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead am I judged this day by you." - Acts 24:21.

    "He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail." - 1 Samuel 2:9.

  10. #40
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    It is true that a snake would normally obtain victory over a mouse, but what if the mouse is much smarter than the snake?

    Towards the idea that a creation of Mel's couldn't be stronger than something Eru made, I point out that we don't know where dragons came from. There were all kinds of monsters in Middle Earth, made by who knows at who knows what time. They could have been captured and bred and enhanced by Mel. Or he could have constructed a shell stronger than most other people's bodies, then inserted subordinate Ainur type spirits. No problems.

    The bit about the balrog's demon form always being shown is no large deal. It just says that if they used up their power like Mel did, they would lose the ability to change or get out of their clothes. It seems that the balrogs never wore their more conventional clothes and always went around in their demonic ones. Wearing a physical form didn't constantly use up power. This is the first I've heard of the demonic brand of clothing in Tolkien's universe, though. Is there some other quote that tells me that wearing that brand is a constant drain? Mel and Sauron just lost some of their clothes-wearing abilities due to losing too much power by doing crazier things.

    Towards the bit about dragons not being immortal and therefore a race of lesser power, dang. I mean, um, the quote says that they have long and slow lives. Immortal is undeniably long and slow. I win! Additionally via semantics, one quote says that the oldest and most potent were immortal. It doesn't say oldest and slash or most potent, so the balrogs were merely some of the most potent of his oldest servants, which doesn't mean that they are more powerful than some of his younger servants.

    Towards Smaug again, I see no strong possibility that Smaug would have joined up with Sauron. There is certainly any possibility at all, but I see little to be certain about. It would be plenty dangerous if the two teamed up, the evil torturer Gandalf saw any possibility at all, and decided to prevent it. What evidence is there that Sauron was even thinking about recruiting Smaug, besides that, yes, it would have been a good idea? The evil torturer Gandalf thinking that Sauron planned on it could just be a crazy inference of his, and helping Dwarves out is always a good thing. Either way, the surmization that Sauron could recruit Smaug doesn't really help much in the argument that Smaug couldn't beat a balrog in a fight.

    And towards your separate post, your evidence that dragons are weaker than balrogs is that dragons have been killed by humans, and balrogs haven't? You think that a balrog couldn't be killed by a human just because there has been no documentation of such a thing? But when others did it, they employed things like swords, which humans also have the ability to employ. Balrogs seem to go down about as easily as most. Dragons, as I already typed, require a bit more thought, luck, or magical boats and blinding headgear.
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Much of the above post seems to me to be neither here nor there to the question, "Could Smaug (a specific Dragon) defeat a Balrog in a fight?"

    Although as an interesting aside, are we then to draw the conclusion that dwarves have no souls?

    Lost Tales Part II, p.179 "the number of Balrogs that perished was a marvel and a dread to the hosts of Melko, for ere that day never had any of the Balrogs been slain by the hand of Elves or Men.". This refers to a version in which Tuor slew 5 Balrogs, so your assertion that only elves or something greater can kill them doesn't hold up.
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post
    It is true that a snake would normally obtain victory over a mouse, but what if the mouse is much smarter than the snake?
    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post

    Towards the idea that a creation of Mel's couldn't be stronger than something Eru made, I point out that we don't know where dragons came from. There were all kinds of monsters in Middle Earth, made by who knows at who knows what time. They could have been captured and bred and enhanced by Mel. Or he could have constructed a shell stronger than most other people's bodies, then inserted subordinate Ainur type spirits. No problems.


    Yes, but Tolkien irrefutably stated that any creation of Melkor's was automatically an imitation; the sub-creator cannot create; only change, and that change is usually evil (there is a quote for this if you want it).

    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post
    The bit about the balrog's demon form always being shown is no large deal. It just says that if they used up their power like Mel did, they would lose the ability to change or get out of their clothes. It seems that the balrogs never wore their more conventional clothes and always went around in their demonic ones. Wearing a physical form didn't constantly use up power. This is the first I've heard of the demonic brand of clothing in Tolkien's universe, though. Is there some other quote that tells me that wearing that brand is a constant drain? Mel and Sauron just lost some of their clothes-wearing abilities due to losing too much power by doing crazier things.


    Grrr, keep it calm Úlairi. Need to feng shui this statement...

    That demon form was simple a visible hue that was inherent to all Ainur, and it did not diminish their power. Power diminished only when is was expended into physical objects. DO NOT think of Balrogs as expressly physical creatures; they are not. Thus the Balrog Label is just like being naked; but in a scary way. Hmmm, interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post
    Towards the bit about dragons not being immortal and therefore a race of lesser power, dang. I mean, um, the quote says that they have long and slow lives. Immortal is undeniably long and slow. I win! Additionally via semantics, one quote says that the oldest and most potent were immortal. It doesn't say oldest and slash or most potent, so the balrogs were merely some of the most potent of his oldest servants, which doesn't mean that they are more powerful than some of his younger servants.


    This bit shows a good level of intellect Yay, but Immortal is permanent, the Elves become weary but they do not perish. Dragons do and thus become mortal. There is unambiguously a distinction there; which Tolkien evinces in Myths Transformed also.

    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post
    Towards Smaug again, I see no strong possibility that Smaug would have joined up with Sauron. There is certainly any possibility at all, but I see little to be certain about. It would be plenty dangerous if the two teamed up, the evil torturer Gandalf saw any possibility at all, and decided to prevent it. What evidence is there that Sauron was even thinking about recruiting Smaug, besides that, yes, it would have been a good idea? The evil torturer Gandalf thinking that Sauron planned on it could just be a crazy inference of his, and helping Dwarves out is always a good thing. Either way, the surmization that Sauron could recruit Smaug doesn't really help much in the argument that Smaug couldn't beat a balrog in a fight.


    You're right, but in a completely wrong way. You're speculating without evidence; I provided evidence that Gandalf considered it a distinct possibility and then speculated that Smaug may be seduced by Sauron. If you're going to make that point; you should provide evidence. I would be far more convinced you were going to kill me if your gun was actually loaded.

    Quote Originally Posted by YayGollum View Post
    And towards your separate post, your evidence that dragons are weaker than balrogs is that dragons have been killed by humans, and balrogs haven't? You think that a balrog couldn't be killed by a human just because there has been no documentation of such a thing? But when others did it, they employed things like swords, which humans also have the ability to employ. Balrogs seem to go down about as easily as most. Dragons, as I already typed, require a bit more thought, luck, or magical boats and blinding headgear.


    Yes, but here's a nice little bit of delectably bite-sized facts:

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

    'Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!'


    Mithrandir supposed that none, and especially, not even Aragorn or Legolas could overcome the Balrog. Aragorn, the heir of Elendil and Isildur, and Legolas, a Prince of Elves? Perhaps we should get Gollum to tackle the Balrog next time; the next time he says "My precious" it'll be through a feeding tube.
    "Except it be for this one voice only that I cried, standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead am I judged this day by you." - Acts 24:21.

    "He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail." - 1 Samuel 2:9.

  13. #43
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Much of the above post seems to me to be neither here nor there to the question, "Could Smaug (a specific Dragon) defeat a Balrog in a fight?"


    I suggest you re-read the post then chrysophalax, I thought I did a decent job. Here's the short version:

    Immortal > Mortal
    ∴ Maiar > Physical imitated creation due to sub-creator's inability to create
    ∴ Balrogs > Dragons
    Smaug = Dragon
    Balrog = {Balrogs}
    ∴ Balrog > Smaug

    Quod Erat Demonstratum. Here's the quote again:

    The History of Middle-earth X: Morgoth's Ring - Myths Transformed: X

    For Morgoth had many servants, the oldest and most potent of whom were immortal, belonging indeed in their beginning to the Maiar; and these evil spirits like their Master could take on visible forms.


    IMHO this quote is nitroglycerin; glyceryl trinitrate; dynamite without sawdust - so handle with care. It's DYNOMIGHT!

    po⋅tent
    [poht-nt]

    –adjective
    powerful; mighty: a potent fighting force.

    Thus being more potent is being more powerful.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Although as an interesting aside, are we then to draw the conclusion that dwarves have no souls?


    Come now, mighty chrysophalax; you're just attempting to stir up debate here.

    The Silmarillion: Of Aulë and Yavanna

    Why dost thou attempt a thing which thou knowest is beyond thy power and authority? For thou has from me as a gift thy own being only, and no more, and therefore the creatures of thy hand and mind can live only by that being, moving when thou thinkest to move them, and if thy thought be elsewhere, standing idle. ... Then Aulë took up a great hammer to smite the Dwarves; and he wept ... and the Dwarves shrank from the hammer and were afraid, and they bowed down their heads and begged for mercy. And the voice of Ilúvatar said to Aulë: 'Thy offer I accepted even as it was made. Dost thou not see that these things have now a life of their own, and speak with their own voices? Else they would not have flinched from thy blow, nor from any command of thy will.'


    Damn Tolkien's beautiful. So yes, the Dwarves had souls given to them by Ilúvatar.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysophalax View Post
    Lost Tales Part II, p.179 "the number of Balrogs that perished was a marvel and a dread to the hosts of Melko, for ere that day never had any of the Balrogs been slain by the hand of Elves or Men.". This refers to a version in which Tuor slew 5 Balrogs, so your assertion that only elves or something greater can kill them doesn't hold up.


    A cautionary tale chrysophalax which even yourself acknowledged, this wasn't the final conclusive version of The Fall of Gondolin which was published in The Silmarillion. This "version" underwent heavy revision and by JRRT as is now the version you see in The Silmarillion. Unfortunately, Tuor did not such thing in the final version. This version is one where Gnomes are servants of Melkor!!!Here's another of those delectable bite-sized fun facts in reference to that deplorable piece of "evidence":

    The History of Middle-earth II: The Book of Lost Tales - Volume II - The Fall of Gondolin (p. 212 of my copy)

    The early conception of Balrogs make them less terrible, and certainly more destructible, than they afterwards became: they existed in 'hundreds' ... and were slain by Tuor and the Gondothlim in large numbers: thus five fell before Tuor's great axe Dramborleg, three before Ecthelion's sword, and two score were slain by the warriors of the king's house.


    Now there's an eye-opener!
    "Except it be for this one voice only that I cried, standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead am I judged this day by you." - Acts 24:21.

    "He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail." - 1 Samuel 2:9.

  14. #44
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    Ack! You're fairly certain that you know what you're doing with the gun, but I only got grazed that one time! I have a loaded gun, too, but I prefer talking people out of their craziness. I could totally bring up all kinds of quotes, too, but I find it distasteful. Coming over here and trying to shoot me into submission? We've both got quotes. We both know our way around them. My way of winning is less bloody. No? A win only counts if Tolkien agrees with me? Nah. I disagree with that guy all the time.

    Anyways, I figure that dragons only might count as a creation of Mel's. If they are something along the lines of what I mentioned (monsters enhanced or constructs injected with spirits), then they aren't the kind of creation that your quote seems to be talking about. They're made of stuff that other people made and given steroids and a new race name.

    Towards the apparently as well as uniquely balrog brand of birthday suit, I am unconvinced. They sound fairly physical, to myself. Fire that I don't remember being described as especially different from the regular brand, smoke, and steel claws. Have they turned their usual as well as invisible spirit forms inside out? Sounds like another form of clothing, to myself. Otherwise, how could they be killed by regular old swords? Clothed, unclothed, inside out, or whatever else they're supposed to be, I see no evidence that staying in such a form is somehow impressive beyond its novelty.

    Towards immortality, I still don't see that dragons aren't, since Tolkien only wrote that their lives were long and slow, which immortality is. Could not elves be said to have long and slow lives? Was there a dragon that died of old age? I don't remember.

    Towards Smaug's possible recruitment, besides the facts that we can't compare Smaug's resistance to Sauron's entreaties versus the average balrog's anyway, we don't know how powerful Sauron's creepy persuasion powers could be, and we only have the evil torturer Gandalf's crazy opinion to go on, I already came up with reasons for why Smaug wouldn't listen to Sauron. You want me to type out quotes from that The Hobbit book as evidence of Smaug's character? But I have already assumed that we've both read that book, so why bother? Smaug was independent. He displayed no interest in obtaining allies. He seemed quite content with sticking around his hoard. Also, Sauron had been hiding out in Mirkwood for a while, and I have read of zero attempts to contact Smaug. He had plenty of time, and the place would have been easy to get to. I won't provide a picture of a map because I believe that we both know the geography. See? Gun is loaded, but I see no need to pull the trigger. Civilized?

    Towards your, I would type, passable as well as bite-sized quote, the evil torturer Gandalf is a total drama queen, as everyone knows. He knew that balrogs were plenty dangerous, and he only really knew how great the evil Aragorn was. Compared to the balrog slayers of the First Age, I would doubt that any of those guys could handle it, either. Also, who is to type that the evil torturer Gandalf was unaware of a decent chance at coming back to life? His brain wasn't entirely settled when he came back and explained himself, anyway.

    Towards the hero Gollum saving the day versus a balrog, I don't doubt that he could have handled it, if he had been any good with weapons. He was more of the honest as well as hand to hand type of fighter, though, so a balrog isn't really his fight. If the thing had his security blanket, though, he certainly wouldn't have run off like everyone else.

    My short version:

    Immortal = Mortal, since no matter how powerful you're supposed to be, if you can be gutted with a sword and somebody smarter than you comes along, you're just as dead

    Dragons > balrogs, due to more intelligence, more weapons at their disposal, more armour, and more strength
    Humorous Bombadillian #3! Yay me!
    Vote Gollum for Prez. because you're preciousss!
    Mr. TTF (Former? I don't know by now.)

  15. #45
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    Re: Who would win, Smaug or a Balrog

    "The Letters of JRR Tolkien - #153: To Peter Hastings (draft)

    But if they 'fell', as the Diabolus Morgoth did, and started making things 'for himself, to be their Lord', these would then 'be' ... real physical realities in the physical world ... But whether they could have 'souls' or 'spirits' seems a different question; and since in my myth at any rate I do not conceive of the making of souls or spirits, things of an equal order if not an equal power to the Valar, as a possible 'delegation'. I have represented at least the Orcs as pre-existing real beings on whom the Dark Lord has exerted the fullness of his power in remodelling and corrupting them, not making them.

    Here Tolkien is discussing the quintessential concept to most myth and fantasy based on religious premise that created creatures cannot themselves create, they can only twist and mar that which already is in existence. He concedes that even if Morgoth were capable of 'making' things, they could never match the power of the Valar through delegation (delegation in this context meaning the passing of power or will from one being to another which Tolkien in another letter explains is inherent in myth - Sauron's power passed into the Ring and Morgoth did the same through his Ring - Arda). I am and never will be JRR Tolkien, but I firmly believe that if I ever got the opportunity to ask him this question I know what the answer would be. If we substitute Valar for Maia or possibly Ainur in the above quote then the dragons could never match the power of the Ainur (or Maia). I know that's speculative, but I believe what Tolkien in this passage is fundamentally driving at is the impregnable concept that sub-creation cannot create and thus cannot match that which already is; and you'll see exactly why below. Fëanor's Silmarils were works of art but were simply imitations of light of the Two Trees. The Two Trees did not 'create' their own light but generated the light already present in the world after the Flame Imperishable was kindled in the Void:

    This is a quote from Post # 38. Aule was, I believe on the same level as Melkor, so why then would Aule be able to create and instill a soul into said creation if Melkor could not? Again, if you bring up a point that has little to do directly with Smaug or balrogs, expect to be challenged!

    Also, thank you for the definition of the word "potent". I'm sure I would never have understood it on my own.

    The point I wish to reinforce here is the intelligence of Dragons. Not only can they reason, but then are also capable of wielding magick, in much the same way Saruman did. A highly intelligent animal, which the disposition of a rabid tyrannosaurus which, incidently, could fly is a terrifying proposition at the best of times. What would Sauron have had to offer said beastie in order to recruit him? He already had a beautiful dwarven horde and a lovely cavern, what else would he need? A lifetime supply of villagers would've been dandy, but hardly enough to lure him from his lair. He was far too sly and suspicious for that.

    In the end, it's been established both Smaug and any balrog could be killed and indeed, were killed by something other than each other. What this discussion amounts to is: who had the greater "fire power" between the two? My bet would be on Smaug because of his intelligence primarily. Balrogs overall seem to have been only soldiers, at best. Granted they were leaders, but over what? Orcs, werewolves? Pffft... Plus, do they actively seek out confrontation unless ordered to, or awakened from whatever dark pit they were hiding in? Not that I know of.

    Smaug, on the other hand, saw something he wanted, swooped in and grabbed it, like all dragons...aggression and death personified.
    If Iluvatar didn't want us to eat villagers, why did He make them out of meat?

    I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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