What are balrogs really? Let's take moment to look back at what they truly are!
Demons of shadow and flame. Balrogs were creatures of great power and terror. Their fundamental form appeared to be that of a man of great stature, but they were cloaked in shifting shadows and they had fiery cores. Balrogs had burning yellow eyes and streaming manes that kindled with fire. Their arms were long and powerful, and they may or may not have had wings. The Balrogs' chief weapons were whips with flaming thongs. Balrogs belonged to the order of the Maiar - the servants of the Valar. The Balrogs were originally spirits of fire that were corrupted by Morgoth in the beginning. The number of Balrogs that existed is uncertain. In some stories there were entire armies of Balrogs, but a late note suggests that there were only between three and seven Balrogs ever in existence. (HoME X, p. 79-80)
The Balrogs dwelled in Morgoth's strongholds of Utumno and Angband in Middle-earth. When those fortresses were destroyed by the Valar in the Battle of the Powers, some Balrogs hid in the caverns below and they awaited Morgoth's return from captivity.
After Morgoth was released, he stole the Silmarils. The Great Spider Ungoliant tried to take them from him, but Morgoth gave a terrible cry and the Balrogs heard him and came to his aid. They freed Morgoth from Ungoliant's webs with their flaming whips and Ungoliant fled from them in fear.
The Elf-craftsman Feanor marched on Angband to retrieve the Silmarils he had made, and Balrogs came forth and surrounded him. Feanor fought long and hard and received many wounds from their fiery whips until at last he was struck down by Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs. Feanor later died of his wounds. Afterwards, Morgoth said he would negotiate with the Elves, but he sent Balrogs with his emissaries and Feanor's son Maedhros was taken captive.
During the Battle of Sudden Flame in the year 455 of the First Age, Glaurung the Dragon led a host of Balrogs and Orcs to attack the Elves and Men. At the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in 472, Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, slew Fingon, the High King of the Noldor. Another Balrog trapped Fingon with its fiery whip while Gothmog cleaved Fingon's helmet with his axe, and then the Balrogs beat him into the ground with their maces.
Balrogs were among the forces that attacked the hidden realm of Gondolin in 510. Gothmog battled the Elf-lord Ecthelion and they both were slain. Another Balrog tried to prevent the escape of Tuor, Idril, and Earendil in the pass called the Eagles' Cleft. Glorfindel engaged the Balrog in battle to allow the others to escape. They fought on the precipice and both fell into the abyss to their deaths.
When the Valar vanquished Morgoth in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age, most of the Balrogs were destroyed, but it is said that a few fled into deep underground caverns. The fate of only one of these is known: It went to the Misty Mountains and hid at the roots of the Redhorn, where it lurked for over 6,000 years.
In 1980 of the Third Age, the Dwarves of Khazad-dum were delving under the Redhorn for mithril when they encountered the Balrog. The Balrog may have been roused by their mining or it may already have awakened in response to the growing power of Sauron. King Durin VI was slain by the Balrog, and the next year it killed Durin's son Nain I. The Dwarves abandoned Khazad-dum and it became known as Moria, the Black Chasm, and Orcs and other evil creatures came to dwell there.
In 2989, Balin came to Moria to try to reestablish a Dwarf colony there, and the Balrog stirred once more. The colony was destroyed just a few years later in 2994.
The Fellowship of the Ring entered Moria on January 13, 3019, and the Balrog became aware of their presence. On January 15, the Balrog entered the Chamber of Mazarbul after the Fellowship had left and it perceived Gandalf beyond the door. Like the Balrog, Gandalf too was of the order of Maiar. Gandalf placed a shutting spell on the door, but the Balrog cast a counter-spell and was nearly able to open the door, and then Gandalf spoke a word of Command. In the struggle between the two, the door shattered and the roof of the chamber collapsed.
The Balrog escaped and pursued the Fellowship to the Bridge of Khazad-dum. Gandalf remained on the bridge and denied the Balrog passage. The Balrog wielded a whip of many thongs and a flaming sword. Gandalf used Glamdring to shatter the blade of the Balrog's sword into molten fragments. He then struck the bridge with his staff and the stone cracked under the Balrog's feet. The Balrog fell into the abyss with a terrible cry and it lashed its whip and caught Gandalf around the knees, dragging the Wizard in after it.
The Balrog and Gandalf fell together for a long time, and Gandalf was burned by the creature's fire. They landed in a subterranean lake at the root of the mountains. The Balrog's fire was quenched and it became slimy, but it remained strong and it continued to battle with Gandalf. Then the Balrog fled through the tunnels to the Endless Stair and climbed to the peak of the Silvertine with Gandalf in pursuit.
The Balrog burst into flame again, and it fought Gandalf in the Battle of the Peak from January 23 to 25. At last Gandalf threw the Balrog down from the peak and it shattered the mountain-side and died. Gandalf died as well, but he was returned to life as Gandalf the White.
There are no further reports of Balrogs in the history of Middle-earth, so the Balrog of Moria may well have been the last of its kind.
As we can see, they are extordinary beasts or great power, not to be questioned. This map takes you through a battle across mountains and into elven territory. If you find it at first too easy (probably from the seven balrogs I give you), then add negative handicap to YOURSELF. Best of luck, and remember, the elven elite gaurd (in gold armor) are ready to slay your beasts! Defeat the fortess in the mountains quickly!
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