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Was It a Cave Troll or was it the Balrog?

Was it a Cave Troll or Balrog that Attacks Fellowship in Chamber of Records

  • Balrog

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • Cave Troll

    Votes: 13 86.7%

  • Total voters
    15

Minas

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In the Chamber of Records in Moria Pipin 'Drops his Stone' down the well and the Fellowship is soon attacked.
Gandalf asseses who they face.
For an instant the wizard looked out. Arrows whined and whistled down the corridor as he sprang back.
"There are orcs very many of them and some are large and evil; black Uruks of Mordor. For the moment they are hanging back, but there is something else there. A great cave troll, I think, or more than one. There is no hope of escape that way."

He only gets an INSTANTaneous look and THINKS the most logical evil to cause them to do that is a cave troll.

Later as they prepare to flee the chamber Gandalf says.
Do as I say swords are no more use here. GO!.....
Suddenly at the top of the stair there was a stab of white light. Then there was a dull rumble and then a heavy thud. The drum beats broke out wildly and then stopped. Gandalf came flying down the steps and fell to the ground in the midst of the company. "Well Well That's over said the wizard. I have done all I could and have nearly been destroyed. "

The rumble and the thud is inconclusive, could be a battering ram or it could be the Balrog assaulting the door. I can't believe a mere cave troll is the match of Gandalf especially as Merry kills a troll captain later in the ROTK. Surely only the Balrog is Gandalfs match

Later still in this chapter. "A Balrog muttered Gandalf Now I understand He faultered and Leaned Heavily on his staff. What an evil fortune and I am already weary."

Grond and Greenleaf methinks the movie interpretation has clouded your memory of the book. Sure in the movie it was a cave troll but in the book I believed it to be the balrog, that was involved in the assault. We'll see what others think.

I guess the most critical facet of my argument that I haven't got answers to is the description of what Frodo attacks( "with Dark skin of Greenish scales") is different to the later description of the Balrog, 'the dark figure streaming with fire'. I can't find a detailed description of what other trolls are like in the novel to contrast with these 2.
 

Bill the Pony

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Good question. I tend to go for the troll though.
One more thing to add to the list of descriptions: After seeing the foot through the door Gandalf states:
`Now is the time! ' cried Gandalf. `Let us go, before the troll returns!'
My guess is that Gandalf got a decent look at the foot and knew very well what a troll foot looks like. Of course we don't know for sure how alike troll and balrog feet are.

Also
The ranks of the orcs had opened, and they crowded away, as if they themselves were afraid.
There were definitely a lot of orcs around when they were fighting in the chamber of Mazarbul. Wouldn't those have cowered as well if it was the balrog?
 

Thorin

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You are all talking about two different things...It was the cave troll that stuck it's foot in the door and what was stabbed by Frodo....I need to go back and take a look at it, but I am under the impression that it was a door outside the chamber that was needed to be closed. Didn't the orcs already invade the chamber and destroy the door? After they fled and Gandalf tried to keep the door closed (which ever door it was), he was battling with the Balrog because another spell was being cast (It wasn't a physical strength of a troll that was weakening Gandalf, it was a magical force that tested and counteracted his own magical powers...Gandalf said that he didn't know what it was but that it nearly desroyed him....After the Balrog shows itself, he mutters "Now I understand."
 

aragil

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One point to make, is that there certainly are cave trolls in Moria. Two huge cave trolls bridge the fiery chasm later for the Balrog- right as Legolas drops his bow and says 'Ai!' I agree with Thorin here (I think)- Foot in the door is a cave troll, being fighting with Gandalf at the other door is a Balrog.
 

Greenwood

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I think Thorin is right. I don't have my books handy, but my memory matches Thorin's description. Pending double checking the texts, I believe Thorin is dead-on on this one.
 

Bill the Pony

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Yes, I agree with Thorin. I thought Minas' question was about what it was Frodo stabbed (see Frodo's bravery thread). I agree that Gandalf's shutting spell was probably done against the balrog himself.
 

JoS Metadi

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My interpretation was that there were two different doors being talked about. One was the door they entered through. This was the one the troll started to pry open before Frodo stabbed his foot. The other door is the one they left through, and this was the one Gandalf put a spell of sealing on, the Balrog forced open magically, and shattered when Gandalf used a word of command.

But I'm not an expert, so I certainly could be mistaken.

JoS
 

PRH

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JoS - you are absolutely correct.
 

Minas

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So they were both there

So the justification then is that both the Balrog and the Cave Troll were there. The Troll gets stabbed by Frodo and goes and tells the Balrog to come and sort out the fellowship which is what has the magical confrontation with Gandalf.
'Then something came into the chamber - I felt it through the door... what it was I cannot guess, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter spell was terrible. It nearly broke me.'

I think the 2 doors argument is misguided because whether they went out another door to the East they are still barring the enemy coming from the one direction surely? This is backed up by what is said later,

'Something dark as a cloud was blocking out all the light inside and I was thrown backwards down the stairs all the walls gave way and the roof of the chamber as well....as least the passage behind us is completely blocked.'
The thing dark as a cloud must be the balrog. The description is similar to 'Dark Skin with Greenish scales' but it is the associated feelings of dread and evil power that set the 2 appart.
I guess this makes Merry's feat of killing a Troll captain even more remarkable later as Boromir dents his sword and doesn't raise a reaction from the Troll, and he had a totally unimpeded strike. It is also more evidence of Frodo being shortchanged.

Cheers for helping clear that up interpretation :)
 

PRH

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Re: So they were both there

Originally posted by Minas
I think the 2 doors argument is misguided because whether they went out another door to the East they are still barring the enemy coming from the one direction surely? This is backed up by what is said later
It is absolutely two doors. They originally go into the chamber through the west door, then they barricade the west door, then the orcs break it apart and come in, then the Fellowship escapes through the east door which can't be made fast so Gandalf hangs behind to try and put a shutting spell on it. In the meantime, more orcs followed by the Balrog try to get through the east door to follow the Fellowship - at which point Gandalf collapses the chamber.

The thing dark as a cloud must be the balrog. The description is similar to 'Dark Skin with Greenish scales' but it is the associated feelings of dread and evil power that set the 2 appart.
I don't think "dark skin with greenish scales" is at all similar to "dark as a cloud."

this makes Merry's feat of killing a Troll captain even more remarkable later
since you've mentioned it twice I should point out that actually, it was Pippin.
 

Greenwood

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I now have my books in front of me and as I thought Thorin and PRH are correct. There is an east and a west door to the Chamber of Mazarbul. A few quotes from the book. "Boromir set his shoulder against the western door. 'Wait a moment! Do not close it yet!' said Gandalf" Gandalf then looks out and says he sees "very many" orcs and something else, "A great cave-troll, I think". Gandalf says: There is no hope of escape that way." To which Boromir replies: "And no hope at all, if they come at the other door as well." [emphasis added] Aragorn "standing by the eastern door listening" [emphasis added] says: "There is no sound outside here yet." The orcs push the west door partly open and that is where Frodo stabs the troll in the foot (after Boromir notched his sword hewing at the troll's arm). With a bellow the troll withdraws and Boromir slams the door shut again. The orcs then force the door open again and there is a fierce fight. Then: "When thirteen had fallen the rest fled shrieking, leaving the defenders unharmed, except for Sam who had a scratch along the scalp." Gandalf cries: "Now is the time! Let us go, before the troll returns!" [emphasis added] As they retreat a "huge orc-chieftain" jumps into the room and charging through the defenders, apparently skewers Frodo. Aragorn does in the orc and "his folowers fled howling". Aragorn picks up Frodo and "pushing Merry and Pippin in front of him" leads the escape. "Boromir hauled the eastern door to" but could not fasten it. It is then that Gandalf sends the rest on while he stays to put a closing spell on the door and has his first encounter with the balrog, still at that point unidentified.

So there you have it, two doors and two different creatures, a cave-troll and a balrog.
 

aragil

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And let's not forget:
He gave a cry of dismay and fear. Two great trolls appeared; they bore great slabs of stone, and flung them down to serve as gangways over the fire. Bt it was not the trolls that had filled the Elf with terror.
So there were certainly trolls in Moria.
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Minas on a different thread
Jai

I'm sure there is another instance of Frodo's outward bravery that has been left out of the movie.

He stabs the Balrog in the foot. In the movie they totally leave out this display of courage.:mad:
Originally posted by Grond on another thread
I believe you mean the Cave Troll. Aragorn cries, "One for the shire, The Hobbit's bite is deep. You have a good blade, Frodo son of Drogo." That is when the Cave Troll sticks his ugly foot through the door to Balin's chamber. Boromir notches his sword on the foot and Frodo stabs the foot with Sting. Frodo never got very close to the Balrog.
Your original quote is above as is my response. My response was true then and it is still true now. :)
 

Minas

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Hang on a Minute - Swinging voters have you thought of this..?

Now I'm fairly new to these boards but I have picked up a few things from watching other old timers.
Rule 1: Stick to the opinion you've had for 20 years even in the face of some fairly damning evidence from the Texts (see Do Balrogs have wings).
Rule 2: when you seem to be on a loser, pick on something open to interpretation (see Finding God in the LOTR)


With these axioms in mind I went to find some evidence to back up my 20 year belief that Frodo sliced the Balrogs foot.
From the Hobbit in Roast Mutton we get a bit of a description on how to recognise a troll when you see one. ( Noting these are 3 mountain trolls come down to the woods)
"Three very large persons sitting round a large fire of beech-logs....Also there was a barrel of good beer and they were drinking out of jugs. But they were Trolls. Obviously trolls. Even Bilbo, in spite of his sheltered life could see that: from the great heavy faces of them, and their size and the shape of their legs.." So in Moria noone gets to Gawk at the Head associated with the Foot and Shoulder of the Balrog but at least we know a trolls legs set them apart.
Later "Bilbo did his best. He caught hold of Tom's leg- as well as he could it was as thick as a young tree trunk.. "
So we get a bit of an idea of the girth of a trolls leg but nothing too conclusive. It really means that Gandalf should have known what he saw when he peered out of the Chamber of Marzarbul and not have had to guess/think it was a Troll or more than one.
So obviously Gandalf made another mistake thinking he saw a troll when really it was the balrog.
The fact that Gandalf says "Let us go before the troll returns" is just try to look good in front of the rest of the Fellowship rather than admit he's wrong ( Not that I would do that)
So there you have rule one followed. Now for rule 2.
The only other reference to trolls is when Pippin ( I was going to try to convince you that actually it was Merry but that's a bit tough even for me) Slays the Hill troll.
"The Pippin stabbed upwards and the written blade of Westernesse pierced through the hide and went deep into the vitals of the troll and his black blood came gushing out. He toppled forward and came crashing down like a falling rock, burying those beneath him. Blackness and stench and crushing pain came upon Pippin and his mind fell away .."
Now contrats this with the blood fromFrodo's Balrog encounter
"Black drops dripped from the blade and smoked on the floor".
No mention of Pippin having 'acid' like rashes from all the blood that undoubtably came down on top of him. Also isn't the fact that the blood smoked more consistent with a Balrog that streams with fire (when there's smoke there's fire and all that.)

Now for the FBI theory of what actually happened.
Gandalf initially does a bad ID on the Balrog and then tries to cover his mistake with later comments. Balrog having been pretty calm before getting stabbed nurses his cut foot for while and then comes back for another shot at the company and is now pretty piised off. Trys to unlock Gandalfs spell then loses his rag and smashes the door and its hinges. Gandalf Fakes a huge fall to try and impress the company.
Balrog now uses his wings to skirt round the company but because of all the gnash(Fire) and his general wrath catches fire and starts 'Streaming flames'. Then there is the final confronation with Gandalf.
Now if you're not convinced to vote Balrog in the above poll with all that evidence we'll have to come up a little French-Russian judging pact to help the result go the Balrog's way.
 

Thorin

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Nice attempt at an explanation, Minas, but I don't believe that LoTR supports that...

Number one, I highly doubt that Gandalf recognizing ultimate power when he felt the spell of the Balrog that he would not have felt the 'presence' of the Balrog the first time (if that was what it was)

Number two, there is no evidence that there were orcs around the door when Gandalf was casting a spell. There were orcs when the foot came in the door. When the balrog met them on the bridge, the orcs split in fear and ran like their hair was on fire and their asses were catching...They were afraid of the balrog. I doubt that they would even be around the balrog in the chamber.

Number three, there was no real fear of the fellowship when the troll came around (not the fear a balrog would induce). A hobbit attacked the foot for crying out loud...Yet when the balrog shows up, even an ancient elf like Legolas cries out in fear.

Fourth, balrog's were about the same height of trolls (around 14 feet) not the 20+ feet shown in the movie). Your stating that the foot couldn't be the trolls because of size could also apply to the balrog.

Fifth. the balrog's mere presence was of darkness and fire that enveloped even the chasm of the bridge....Where was all that in the chamber?

Sixth, your descriptions of trolls does not take into account the differences in trolls just like in orcs, men, hobbits, dwarves, elves....etc. There are a difference between stone trolls, cave trolls, mountain trolls, forest trolls....etc.

Seventh, I highly doubt Gandalf would 'lie' to cover his own arse. Nothing in Tolkien suggests that that was what Gandalf did. Tolkien makes it quite plain in other areas in setting the matter straight when characters make errors in thought. (Boromir on Galadriel). Never mind an Istari lying to cover up his incompetence. Sorry, but you absolutely cannot glean that from the book....

Impressive that you show your support for what you believe
 

Greenwood

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Thorin

I don't think Minas was entirely serious with that last post. But hey, I could be wrong. :D
 

Thorin

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I think he was serious, especially with his preamble about people believing what they want to despite the evidence...

I can't see someone wasting so much space with so much reference to support his view if it was only tongue in cheek...

If he says so then I can admit I'm wrong.

At least that will discourage others from taking his proposed viewpoint so I have not fully wasted my counter argument if it wasn' t serious ;)
 
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Minas

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Thanks Thorin

Thanks for taking my post seriously Thorin, just a shame you couldn't find it in your heart to vote Balrog in the poll despite the evidence. Still just the one balrog vote, can't imagine who would have cast that.

I find it interesting that Greenwood was sans books when he was preparing his posts, I've had a steady list of people who want to borrow my books, which is great, but probably doesnt help the accuracy of my posts.

Great to clear it up and great that I was right and the vaste majority of true Fans Believe me.

Oh? Did I just invoke rule 3: Claim victory despite taking a crushing defeat. See I'm not just learning more about the story.

:D
 

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