The Truth About Balrogs - Appendix
In this last installment of the series I will present a few further
passages about Balrogs which did not fit into the earlier texts and
some general comments.
I. What are the names of the Balrogs?
The five Balrog names which appear in the stories can all be found in
"The Eldar named him Kosmoko or Kosomok(o), but 'tis a name that
fitteth their tongue no way and has an ill sound even in our own
rougher speech, said Elfrith [emended fmm Elfriniel].'
(In a list of names of the Valar associated with the tale of The Coming
of the Valar (I. 93) it is said that Melko had a son 'by Ulbandi'
called Kosomot; the early 'Qenya' dictionary gives Kosomoko = Gnomish
BoLT2, Fall of Gondolin - Commentary ~2 'Entries in the Name-list'
"But Lungorthin Lord of Balrogs
on the mouth smote him, and Morgoth smiled"
LoB, The Second Version of the Children of Hurin (line 96)
Christopher comments a few pages after this second passage that
references to Gothmog 'Lord of Balrogs' were to be found written
shortly before and after this text. He suggests that Lungorthin might
thus be >A< Balrog Lord, while Gothmog was still >THE< Lord of
Balrogs. Alternatively, this could have been a transitory idea for
another name to be given to the character elsewhere called
Gothmog and the different Quenya versions of the name are translated
variously as 'Voice of the Master' (for the Orcish origin), 'Dread
Tyrant' or 'Terrible Enemy'.
Tolkien never provided a translation of 'Lungorthin', but it may
contain the Sindarin roots 'gor' = 'horror, violence' and 'thin' =
'grey'. The 'lun' element is very uncertain, but may be derived from
'lune' = 'blue' or 'lung' = 'heavy, grave, serious'.
II. What is the etymology of 'balrog'?
Tolkien gave a few different origins for 'balrog'. The earliest
suggests that it was Orcish in origin;
"Balrog is said to be an Orc-word with no pure Quenya equivalent:
LROW, The List of Names
Given that Tolkien indicated that Orcs often borrowed and adapted words
from other languages and the 'borrowed Malaroko' comment above it seems
likely that the Orcish term was meant to be a modification of the
earlier elvish Malaroko;
"Balrog GL defines Balrog as 'a kind of fire-demon; creatures and
servants of Melko'. With the article the form is i 'Malrog, plural i
'Malraugin. Separate entries give bal 'anguish' (original initial
consonant mb-), balc 'cruel'; and graug 'demon'. Qenya forms are
mentioned: arauke and Nalkarauke. In QL Malkarauke with other words
such as malkane 'torture' are given under a root MALA (MBALA) '(crush),
hurt, damage', but the relation of this to MALA 'crush, squeeze' (see
Olore Malle) was apparently not decided. There are also Valkarauke and
valkane 'torture', but again the relationship is left obscure.
The entry for Balrog in NFG says: 'Bal meaneth evilness, and Balc evil,
and Balrog meaneth evil demon.' GL has balc 'cruel'. see I. 250
By the time that Tolkien began work on LotR these ideas had been
somewhat modified and formalized, retaining the meaning 'Cruel Demon'
or 'Torture Demon';
"NGWAL- torment. Q ungwale torture; nwalya- to pain, torment; nwalka
cruel. N balch cruel; baul torment, cf. Bal- in Balrog or Bolrog
[RUK], and Orc-name Boldog = Orc-warrior 'Torment-slayer' (cf. NDAK)."
"RUK- demon. Q rauko demon, malarauko (*ngwalarauko, cf. NGWAL); N
LROW, The Etymologies
There was also one further etymology given for balrog after LotR had
"Note 28 (p. 390)
Some other derivatives are in Quenya: rukin 'I feel fear or
horror' (constructed with 'from' of the object feared); ruhta-
'terrify'; rukima 'terrible'; rauko and arauko < *grauk-) 'a
powerful, hostile, and terrible creature', especially in the
compound Valarauko 'Demon of Might', applied later to the
more powerful and terrible of the Maia servants of Morgoth. In
Sindarin appear, for instance, raug and graug, and the com-
pound Balrog (equivalents of Q rauko, etc.); groga- 'feel terror';
gruitha 'terrify'; gorog (< *guruk) 'horror'."
WotJ, Quendi and Eldar
Here the 'bal' part of the name is changed from a connection with
Quenya 'NGWAL' to relate to the same root found in 'Valar' (the
'Powers'), thus arriving at the apparently final meaning given in Silm;
'Demon of Might'.
III. What is the plural form of the word 'balrog'?
This might seem a simple question as Tolkien consistently used
"Balrogs they were named by the Noldor in later days."
MR, Later Quenta Silmarillion - Chapter 3 (Commentary ~18) pg 165
However, linguists are quick to note that an 's' ending does not
indicate a plural in Sindarin and thus the word 'balrogs' might best be
considered an 'anglicized' plural rather than the actual word which the
elves would have used. If the older orcish origin for 'balrog' is
assumed we might still guess that 'balrogs' is the correct plural, but
there is nothing to indicate that this was Tolkien's intent or that 's'
indicated a plural in any orcish dialect (of which Tolkien provided
A possible entry for what the 'un-anglicized' Sindarin form might have
"And in Utumno he multiplied the race of evil spirits that followed
him, the Umaiar, of whom the chief were those demons the Elves
afterwards named the Balrogath."
MR, Annals of Aman - Section 2 (AAm* ~30) page 79
A common objection to 'Balrogath' as a plural is the belief that
Tolkien used '-ath' to indicate a 'collective' term for the race in
question and thus that 'balrogath' should be translated as 'the balrog
race' rather than simply 'balrogs'. However, in english the collective
term for a race can be denoted simply by adding an 's', as shown in one
of Tolkien's own translations;
Ernil i Pheriannath = Prince of the Halflings
Further, Tolkien actually used '-ath' as a simple plural for many words
(e.g. 'ar-gon-ath' meaning 'king stones'), including particular races;
"1601 Many Periannath migrate from Bree, and are granted land beyond
Baranduin by Argeleb II."
LotR, Appendix B - The Third Age
Here 'periannath' translates as 'hobbits', but clearly in the sense of
'more than one hobbit' rather than in reference to the 'hobbit race'.
As such it is possible that 'balrogath' was the common plural form of
'balrog', but this is far from universally accepted. Linguists then
extrapolate that the correct term may have been something like
'balroeg' based upon the way Tolkien pluralized other Sindarin words.
The form 'belryg' is also sometimes suggested, though this is
considered a non-standard pluralization (similar to the plural of
'mouse' in English being 'mice' rather than the more common 's'
pluralization, which would yield 'mouses').
The Quenya plural is given as Malraugin, Malarauke, and finally
Valarauki along with other such slight variations in line with the
evolving singular Quenya form.
IV. Personal Views
Finally, in order to aid in evaluating how my own views may have biased
the earlier essays I present an account of my personal beliefs on each
issue below. Note that, while the essays concentrated on textual
references and the relative support extant for various possibilities,
the summations below are entirely my personal aesthetic preferences,
even where I find these to be at odds with the majority of the textual
evidence, and my >guesses< as to what Tolkien's intent was. Obviously,
these should not be considered in any way the same sort of thing as the
1: Could Balrogs speak? And why would we even ASK such a question?
It seems to me that Balrogs should have been able to speak, but likely
seldom did so. The possibility that they used telepathic communication
seems quite plausible and fitting to me given that they would generally
be communicating with Orcs and other 'slaves', who had numerous
languages that it might well be beneath the Balrogs' arrogance to
study. In truth I doubt Tolkien gave the matter much thought and he
probably intended that they could and did speak normally.
2: How many Balrogs were there?
While all the known texts save one note indicate numerous Balrogs I
think Tolkien's late idea of a small number is considerably better.
Vast legions of Balrogs similar to the one described in LotR would have
been an utterly overwhelming force. I think Tolkien would have
retained the idea of a limited number if he'd had time to completely
rewrite the mythology to work it into the existing stories. The most
difficult area to revise would be the numerous Balrogs slain during the
Fall of Gondolin - but this could be simplified down to the two best
known cases (Ecthelion killing Gothmog and Glorfindel killing another
in the famed battle on the peak) and possibly one to three others (most
probably Tuor slaying one, Tuor and Ecthelion slaying one together
and/or the men of Rog slaying one). Likewise, while most of the texts
indicate that 'some few' Balrogs survived I think the Moria Balrog
would probably have been made the ONLY survivor had the overall number
of Balrogs been reduced in a revised mythology.
3: What IS a Balrog?
Again, while the majority of texts had them as constructed entities the
late adaptation to fallen Maiar seems clearly preferable. The dual
nature of fire and shadow introduced in LotR seems quite firmly
established and was consistently used thereafter. As such it seems
very likely that Tolkien would have kept the 'Maiar of fire and shadow'
nature for the Balrogs.
4: Was the Balrog of Moria under Sauron's command?
I've never been able to get a handle on this one. I can see good
reasons to believe either side of the argument. The Balrog apparently
stirred at the same time Sauron was reforming (and possibly in response
to this) and yet there is no indication of cooperation between Mordor
and Moria, even when we see Orcs from both locations forced into a
single band fleeing pursuit. It seems most likely to me that the
Balrog was as yet operating independently, but that it would have wound
up serving Sauron in time.
5: Can Balrogs change their shapes?
While the seemingly mutable appearance of the Moria Balrog is
suggestive, I prefer to view this as a limited flexibility of form
and/or alterations only in seeming due to the aura and power of the
Balrog. That they should be unable to assume fair forms or truly
change their shape seems most consistent with the limitations of
Morgoth and Sauron and would also seem (to me) consistent with their
apparent inability to reform after having their bodily forms killed.
6: Do Balrogs have wings, and can they fly?
While I prefer the image of a winged Balrog, the idea that they could
fly would require a significant reshaping of the mythology. If we had
some idea of how Tolkien would have accomplished that it might have
been preferable, but given the state of the final texts it seems easier
to keep the Balrogs land bound. My guess is that Tolkien was so struck
with the idea of a winged Balrog when it first occurred to him during
the drafts of LotR that he thereafter used IMAGERY suggestive of winged
(and flying) Balrogs in LotR and the 'Hithlum passage', but
deliberately refrained from directly stating the actual existence of
wings or flight (which are >usually< tied together) because these would
conflict with too much of the existing mythology.
Thanks are due to the regulars of alt.fan.tolkien and
rec.arts.books.tolkien for their extensive discussions on these issues,
from which much of the material in these essays was derived. I have
also extensively reviewed similar threads on numerous other Tolkien
discussion boards and, of course, the texts themselves to find
additional details. My goal in writing these essays has been to
present as much material as I could possibly find on all sides of the
issues - in hopes both of presenting at least one thing that each
reader had not seen or considered before and of combating the all too
common tendency in such summations to present only one side or the
other. In the end, the 'Truth about Balrogs' is that there is ample
room in Tolkien's descriptions of them to justify the myriad forms and
natures different readers have seen therein.
- Conrad Bertrand Dunkerson
> In working on revising the earlier entries in this series I have
> (finally) completed the appendix. As it deals with a number of
> somewhat esoteric linguistic issues I suspect I'll be needing to
> make revisions to it as well, but in the meantime....
> The Truth About Balrogs - Appendix
if they dont have a gastrointestinal tract
they dont need an appendix
<snipping linguistic matters - excellent as they are>
> IV. Personal Views
> Finally, in order to aid in evaluating how my own views may have biased
> the earlier essays I present an account of my personal beliefs on each
> issue below.
> 6: Do Balrogs have wings, and can they fly?
> While I prefer the image of a winged Balrog, the idea that they could
> fly would require a significant reshaping of the mythology. If we had
> some idea of how Tolkien would have accomplished that it might have
> been preferable, but given the state of the final texts it seems easier
> to keep the Balrogs land bound. My guess is that Tolkien was so struck
> with the idea of a winged Balrog when it first occurred to him during
> the drafts of LotR that he thereafter used IMAGERY suggestive of winged
> (and flying) Balrogs in LotR and the 'Hithlum passage', but
> deliberately refrained from directly stating the actual existence of
> wings or flight (which are >usually< tied together) ...
This has been an argument, that I have been missing sorely. Especially
in myth the wings and the ability to fly are almost always tied together
(with wings on the feet or footwear indicating 'winged speed' - i.e. a
very fast creature or person). Their heavenly abode and the associated
ability is fly is - as I have heard it - the reason why angels are presented
in Christian tradition as winged.
While a few examples may be found in mythos of creatures capable of
flight who are not winged, I don't recall a single winged _mythological_
creature (or person) who were incapable of flight (my knowledge of
myth is largely constrained to a subset of those European myths which
were of special interest to Tolkien).
I just had this scaring image of the cover of SuperHero magazine
showing SH being attacked by some winged monstrosity with the
text "SuperHero vs. the PowerDemon" - inside our SH consults
the lost Elven Sage (with extremely pointed ears) to hear all about
the Valarauki ...
Please reply to t.f...@mail.dk
"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death.
And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then
do not be to eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the
very wise cannot see all ends."
-- Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring
> Tolkien never provided a translation of 'Lungorthin', but it may
> contain the Sindarin roots 'gor' = 'horror, violence' and 'thin' =
> 'grey'. The 'lun' element is very uncertain, but may be derived from
> 'lune' = 'blue' or 'lung' = 'heavy, grave, serious'.
I believe that the -ngorthin is the same as in _Nan Dungorthin_
(later > Dungortheb) where the root is NGOROTH and -in is an adjectival
ending. Cf. The Etymologies, p. 377, where ngorthin is given as the
Doriathrin word for "horrible". If the phonology were consistent with
Doriathrin, then lúne- "blue" as an element would not be possible (it
is _luin_ in Doriathrin).
"This poor attempt at a scholarly snippet which GIVES NO GILDED CREDIT
AT THE ALL TO MICHAEL MARTINEZ and deals almost *exclusively* with a
Creature of FIRE is obviously both a a - "
">>>>>>>>TROLL and a Vicious FLAME <<<<<<<<<<"
"which is only to be expected of one who has done to much to discredit
the Martinez Institution that is alt.fan.tolkien and should be-" <click>
That's enough of that - Ed.
Conrad, here are some of the quotes you are talking about.
i think Tolkien initialy meant that there was a huge host of Balrogs and
Maiar on Melkor's side but they were "wiped out" in the early ages when the
Elves first awakened.
at least that's what i always imagined.
what else could replace a huge host of Balrogs?
the following quotes are from the Sil:
"Melkor met the onset of the Valar in the North-west of Middle-earth, and
all that region was much broken. But the first victory of the hosts of the
West was swift, and the servants of Melkor fled before them to Utumno."
he met the onset with WHAT?
20 Balrogs and 1/2 dozen Sauron-class Maiar?
there were no Orcs at this time and i doubt that even a million of them
would have had a chance against either Tulkas or Oromë.
no Dragons either at this point.
"The lands of the far north were all made desolate in those days; for there
Utumno was delved exceeding deep, and its pits were filled with fires and
with great hosts of the servants of Melkor."
great hosts of WHAT?
i thought i read in Morgoth's Ring that Melkor even had a larger Host of
servants (Maiar/Spirits) than the Valar in the beginning.
maybe even during the Theme but i could be wrong.
"Thus an end was made of the power of Angband in the North, and' the evil
realm was brought to naught; and out of the deep prisons a multitude of
slaves came forth beyond all hope into the light of day, and they looked
upon a world that was changed. For so great was the fury of those
adversaries that the northern regions of the western world were rent
asunder, and the sea roared in through many chasms, and there was confusion
and great noise; and rivers perished or found new paths, and the valleys
were upheaved and the hills trod down; and Sirion was no more."
Melkor must have had more than Orcs and Dragons to resist the Hosts of the
Valar and break part of the freaking world i think.
i would like to know what everyone thinks could replace a huge number of
are there any plans to put the completed series up on the www? i think
steuard had threatened to do it at some point, but it doesn't seem to be
linked from the metafaq.
Just checking you were still there, Mike.
Thanks for playing. 'Bye-eeeeee.
That phrase seems to be going around . . . Julia-Louise is a trendsetter!
> I believe that the -ngorthin is the same as in _Nan Dungorthin_
> (later > Dungortheb) where the root is NGOROTH and -in is an
> adjectival ending. Cf. The Etymologies, p. 377, where ngorthin
> is given as the Doriathrin word for "horrible". If the phonology
> were consistent with Doriathrin, then lúne- "blue" as an element
> would not be possible (it is _luin_ in Doriathrin).
Oh yes, of course...
I knew that. :)
Actually, I was expecting alot more given the number of linguistic
limbs I went out on there. I'm NOT totally all wet with the '-ath
as a generic plural' theory?
Thanks for the comments David.
remove spamblocker to reply
Yes, Conrad's partial and misrepresentative citations about the
Balrogs certainly deserve to be enshrined.
One of my personal favorites is his bullshit about how Balrogs
continued to be referred to in great numbers after THE LORD OF THE
RINGS. He so carefully leaves out the last rewrite of the Dagor
Very good, Conrad. You continue to demonstrate your incompetence in
all areas of Tolkien research.
And I notice you left out what appears to be the REAL reason you wrote
the HALF-TRUTHS About Balrogs: a futile attempt to rebut a certain
Balrog essay which, one must suppose, galls the hell out of you
because it is more thorough and complete than your nonsense.
Does it EVER occur to you provide ALL the relevant citations?
Ah, now I remember why we all love you so much Michael.
> are there any plans to put the completed series up on the www? i think
> steuard had threatened to do it at some point, but it doesn't seem to be
> linked from the metafaq.
It can be found on Google and I've been revising it for Steuard to
post up. He has always talked about having more detailed essays for
the various 'Great Debates', and this along with his Bombadil essay
makes a good start.
>> > Impressive work, Conrad! Thanks!
>> Yes, Conrad's partial and misrepresentative citations about the
>> Balrogs certainly deserve to be enshrined.
>Ah, now I remember why we all love you so much Michael.
Hmmm why nobody told me that he MM is a Balrog too?
'In XXI century, ability to compose and perform
simple and pleasant tunes was all but lost.
Fortunately, it survived in several remote
japanese villages, as secret art of J-Pop'
Modern History of Music
Well, now we at least know that MM is O'Neill's Bane.
You mean, it would make a great start if it were accurate and
complete. But then, why should you change your ways now and starting
providing full and relevant citations in proper context?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld fame may be a trendsetter, but
I think Julia-Louise Epstein (TBD from Louis Epstein) would take
great issue with the accusation of having set any trends whatsoever
(other than towards the restoration of the Monarchy and the
mass-microwaving of LoTR FoTR and eventually TTT and RoTK DVDs).
Isn't that right, Louise?
>You know, Arkady, you have been far less of problem in these news
>groups than you used to be.
>I suggest you keep it that way.
>Just discuss Tolkien.
>No one will hate you for doing that.
> One of my personal favorites is his bullshit about how Balrogs
> continued to be referred to in great numbers after THE LORD OF THE
That Tolkien continued to refer to great numbers of Balrogs after he
had completed work on LotR is simply a fact;
"There came wolves, and wolfriders, and there came Balrogs a
thousand, and there came worms and drakes, and Glaurung, Father of
WotJ, The Grey Annals - Year 472 ~230
"It came to pass that at last the gates of Utumno were broken and
its halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit.
Thence, seeing that all was lost (for that time), he sent forth on
a sudden a host of Balrogs, the last of his servants that
MR, The Annals of Aman - 1099
Both the 'Grey Annals' and the 'Annals of Aman' were begun after JRRT
had finished writing LotR.
> He so carefully leaves out the last rewrite of the Dagor Bragollach
So far as I can see, none of the late Dagor Bragollach passages has
any relevance to the number of Balrogs. After reviewing things you
have written previously on the subject I can guess that you might
mean the version in 'The Grey Annals', but after reading it again I
still see no valid way it can be taken to even imply a reduced number
of Balrogs. Is that the passage you are referring to, and if so what
leads you to believe it is relevant? The one explanation I can come
up with relies on a number of erroneous assumptions and is thus
probably not what you are getting at (if it is even the right passage).
> Does it EVER occur to you provide ALL the relevant citations?
That was of course the goal of my essays. I have repeatedly noted
that it is quite likely that I might miss some point and welcome any
further details which could improve the summaries.
> Impressive work, Conrad! Thanks!
Thanks Celia. Though actually, that's mostly the stuff that was
'left over' when I got done with the rest of the series. I could
post links to them on Google if you are interested, or the revised
versions should be available soon... but I've got to warn you, it
is ALOT of stuff. :)
As can I
Yes, and let *that* be a lesson to you Dunkie-baby!
Any more crappy essays like that one without full, relevant and
obsequious references to Michael Martinez and you'll be bitch-slapped
from here to Valinor!!!11!11!!!!!11111!
> > M.
> Well, you can thank Conrad for my giving a damn about replying.
<checks posts and times>
Which is why;
your response to my post shows up at 18:56 on Thursday,
your response to this post shows up at 09:35 today,
your response to C.M. Malm shows up at 09:39 today,
your response to Conrad Dunkerson shows up at 15:34 today,
and finally, you respond to Arkady at 15: 35 today.
Looks like you responded to nearly everybody before Conrad, so I don't
see why you ascribe your Group Alertness to him.
And there I was feeling snubbed for a minute...
Hey Arky, how you doin'? I see you keep an eye on the funny happenings here.
There is always something to have a laugh at.
Because he isn't. He has no wings, you see.
>In article <%2Q%8.2929$pg2.2...@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,
>"Conrad Dunkerson" <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>> The Truth About Balrogs - Appendix
>if they dont have a gastrointestinal tract
>they dont need an appendix
And that is noen of your buisness.
If you can't get satisfaction, call the ferret.
He has no wings you see? Does that mean he has wings you *don't* see
(yes, I know, I left out the comma, but it is much more interesting
debating something when you rearrange it into something you can attack
[remove -remove- to reply]
> Actually, I was expecting alot more given the number of linguistic
> limbs I went out on there.
I'll need to read the whole thing more closely.
> I'm NOT totally all wet with the '-ath
> as a generic plural' theory?
I would generally expect Balrogath to mean either "all the members
of the Balrog species" or "all the Balrogs in a particular troop,
family, or other recognizable unit".
>'left over' when I got done with the rest of the series. I could
>post links to them on Google if you are interested, or the revised
>versions should be available soon... but I've got to warn you, it
>is ALOT of stuff. :)
I'll wait for the revised, I think. Things are going to start revving
up to the beginning of the semester here, soon. I only hope that this
year will be easy enough that I can stick around the newsgroup for a
Oh, I found it. Wasn't so much a reply to *me* as a jumping-off point
for a rag on Conrad. <shrugs> Good to see that nothing's really
changed around here.
They have judging by the stories of times past. It's just every now and
then that we get a visit from Him Almighty and life gets that much more
The closest I came to perfection was when I wrote my Resume.
> Conrad, here are some of the quotes you are talking about.
> i think Tolkien initialy meant that there was a huge host of
> Balrogs and Maiar on Melkor's side but they were "wiped out" in
> the early ages when the Elves first awakened.
Hi. The summary on the number of Balrogs in the appendix is just
some information on my personal views. It refers back to an earlier
much more details essay which you might be interested in;
As to the 'Balrog host' being wiped out when the Valar broke Utumno,
Tolkien continued to write about them in the First Age. That might
have been an excellent explanation for fewer Balrogs in later ages,
but in the one place where Tolkien wrote that there should be fewer
Balrogs he said 'ever'... implying that it was meant to be the case
from the beginning.
> "Melkor met the onset of the Valar in the North-west of
> Middle-earth, and all that region was much broken. But the first
> victory of the hosts of the West was swift, and the servants of
> Melkor fled before them to Utumno."
> he met the onset with WHAT?
> 20 Balrogs and 1/2 dozen Sauron-class Maiar?
It is probably unlikely that there were 6 'Sauron-class Maiar' in
Morgoth's service. There are references to other 'Maiar' and
'spirits' serving him, so there could have been large numbers of
Maiar LESS powerful than the Balrogs. Morgoth also corrupted many
of the early creatures of Yavanna.
> >Hmmm why nobody told me that he MM is a Balrog too?
> Well, now we at least know that MM is O'Neill's Bane.
Ai! Ai! Martinez is come...
Reality is for those who cannot cope with Middle-earth.
Because the lying asshole doesn't seem to understand that when someone
bans him from a forum, he is not entitled to circumvent the ban by
using proxy services to continue posting there.
Conrad doesn't seem to get the fact that he is not wanted there. Or,
he does get it but realizes that most of you people are too stupid to
accept what he is up to and so you'll keep encouraging him with your
ignorant supportive posts.
There is only one reason for why the Tolkien news groups have become
flame groups: Conrad Dunkerson.
There is only one reason for why I occasionally feel compelled to come
back here: Conrad Dunkerson.
You got a problem with that? Tough. You helped to give him all the
credibility he rides on.
That's because you're too stupid to understand the written word,
Conrad. When Tolkien drops the Balrog references from the revisions
of the texts you use moronically use as "proof" for your insane
arguments, that means he changed his mind about things.
You, however, have always felt you knew better than J.R.R. Tolkien
what he should have been about.
Hence, you NEVER cite any text which contradicts your absurd ideas,
much less give Tolkien any credit for having made up his own mind on
matters where you disagreed with him.
The only goal you have in mind is to deceive people.
Like I said: you couldn't navigate your way through a Tolkien text
with a road-map and a Boy Scout to guide you.
Yeah sorry about that Mike, I've been busy. I'm a little disappointed to see
you have taken me out of your kill-files though.
Was he banned from AFT or RABT?
> Conrad doesn't seem to get the fact that he is not wanted there. Or,
> he does get it but realizes that most of you people are too stupid to
> accept what he is up to and so you'll keep encouraging him with your
> ignorant supportive posts.
> There is only one reason for why the Tolkien news groups have become
> flame groups: Conrad Dunkerson.
*cough* What? No offense here, (if that's at all possible), but I have seen
his posts, I have seen your posts, and I have compared the two. He tries to
be reasonable, he's polite (to most people anyway) and he posts nice things.
For example, this Balrog essay was quite interesting. (On that subject,
from some of your comments I have inferred that you wrote one--I would like
to read it, where is it, please?) You, on the other hand, have constantly
insulted many members of this newsgroup, most (but not all) of your messages
are inflammatory, plus they're not very nice. Now, which side am I more
likely to take?
> There is only one reason for why I occasionally feel compelled to come
> back here: Conrad Dunkerson.
Ignore the poor guy, for heaven's sake!
> You got a problem with that? Tough. You helped to give him all the
> credibility he rides on.
Really? I thought he earned it by being polite and helpful. All of his
posts (except replies to you) have been so.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations. -- J.R.R.
Tolkien, The Hobbit
Never laugh at live dragons. -- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
May the stars of Varda shine over you, may Manwë blow sweet winds
toward you, and may the trees of Yavanna long shelter you. May Lórien
and Estë send you dreams that are sweet, and may Mandos long bar you
from his Halls (which are the Halls of death)
Respect, sir, could you cite such passages? I would like to see for myself.
I am unwilling to take anyone's opinion for it without significant evidence.
Since Mr. Dunkerson's essay is the first I have seen on such matters, I may
be influenced, but Mr. Tolkien's word should be taken above everyone else's.
> When Tolkien drops the Balrog references from the revisions
> of the texts you use moronically use as "proof" for your insane
> arguments, that means he changed his mind about things.
>> So far as I can see, none of the late Dagor Bragollach passages has
>> any relevance to the number of Balrogs.
I was afraid that might be what you were getting at, but did not
want to assume. Unfortunately, you have made several mistakes;
1: Contrary to what you say above NONE of the twenty or so quotations
in my essay on the number of Balrogs (volume 2) refers to the Dagor
Bragollach. Indeed, as I have said, I do not believe that passage can
tell us anything about the number of Balrogs and all of the evidence I
have presented on every side comes from other sources.
2: Some Dagor Bragollach texts include the text '...and in his train
were Balrogs...'. You apparently assume this to be evidence of vast
numbers of Balrogs and its supposed removal as evidence of a reduction
in number. However, this does not follow at all... the text merely
says that there were 'Balrogs'. It could refer to two Balrogs, twenty
or thousands. No number is specified. Thus, this passage was never
evidence of vast numbers of Balrogs to begin with.
3: Further, removal of any reference whatsoever to Balrogs in that
passage could not be taken to mean that their numbers were reduced any
more than it could be taken to mean that Tolkien decided to get rid of
ALL Balrogs... only that Tolkien said nothing at all about Balrogs
4: Later, in precisely the same text you are citing for saying NOTHING
about Balrogs in one spot Tolkien again stated that there were numerous
"There came wolves, and wolfriders, and there came Balrogs a
thousand, and there came worms and drakes, and Glaurung, Father of
WotJ, The Grey Annals - Year 472 ~230
How can Tolkien saying nothing about Balrogs in one part of the Grey
Annals over-ride him saying there were a thousand of them later in the
5: You are incorrect about the passage having been modified to remove
the reference to Balrogs. That passage never HAD any reference to
Balrogs. You are confusing the chronological form of the story shown
in the Grey Annals with the narrative form found elsewhere. In a
prior essay you say;
"The entry in 'Grey Annals' which describes the Dagor Bragollach is
radically different from the 1930s description which Christopher used,
reading, in part, 'Rivers of fire ran down from Thangorodrim, and
Glaurung, Father of Dragons, came forth in his full might. The green
plains of Ardgalen were burned up and became a drear desert without
growing thing; and thereafter called ANFAUGLITH, the Gasping Dust.'
Gone is all mention of Balrogs in the dragon's train."
However, there was never any mention of Balrogs in the dragon's train
there to begin with. The Grey Annals passage above was an update of;
"Rivers of fire ran from Thangorodrim. Here Glomund the Golden,
father of Dragons, came forth in his full might. The green plains of
Bladorion were turned into a great desert without growing thing; and
thereafter they were called Dor-na-Fauglith, Land of Gasping Thirst."
LROW, The Later Annals of Beleriand -255
The problem is that you were trying to compare the descriptions in
the various timeline 'Annals' (which never mentioned Balrogs in the
dragon's train) with the descriptions in the narratives (which ALWAYS
"Then suddenly Morgoth sent forth great rivers of flame that poured,
swifter than the cavalry of the Balrogs, over all the plain; and the
Mountains of Iron belched forth fires of many colours, and the fume
stank upon the air and was deadly. Thus Bladorion perished, and
fire devoured its grasses; and it became a burned and desolate waste,
full of a choking dust, barren and lifeless; and its name was changed,
and ever after was called the Land of Thirst, Dor-na-Fauglith in the
This was the Third of the great Battles, Dagor Vreged-ur, the Battle
of Sudden Fire.
In the front of that fire came Glomund the golden, the father of
dragons, and in his train were Balrogs..."
LROW, Quenta Silmarillion ~134
In the quotation above you assumed that Christopher had used this
"1930s description" as the basis for the similar text in The
Silmarillion, but in fact it is clear that he used a version that
his father wrote much later;
"We come now to Chapter 11 in QS, given in V.279-89. The text was
not much emended on the manuscript, and I give such changes as were
made in the form of notes referenced to the numbered paragraphs in
~134 Bladorion > Ard-galen and subsequently.
'fires of many colours, and the fume stank upon the air' > 'fires of
many poisonous hues, and the fume thereof stank upon the air'
Dor-na-Fauglith > Dor-no-Fauglith
Dagor Vreged-ur > Dagor Bragollach
'the Battle of Sudden Fire' > 'the Battle of Sudden Flame' (and
WotJ, The Later Quenta Silmarillion
In short, Christopher correctly used the most recent narrative form
of the passage for 'The Silmarillion'. This continued to refer to
Balrogs in the dragon's train just as it always had and you were
mixing up textual histories when you assumed the 'Grey Annals' lack
of mention to be a change from this... as the Grey Annals were
derived from earlier texts which never HAD any mention of Balrogs in
the train to be removed.
If you can show any way that any of this is relevant to the number
of Balrogs I would be happy to include it, but it seems that you have
simply mixed up the textual history.
> Hey Arky, how you doin'? I see you keep an eye on the funny happenings
> There is always something to have a laugh at.
I'm always watching. Send me an email sometime, we should catch up.
> Because the lying asshole doesn't seem to understand that when someone
> bans him from a forum, he is not entitled to circumvent the ban by
> using proxy services to continue posting there.
*ROTFL!* So *that's* what you're upset about? Well,
welcome to the Internet. You remind me of the big
"content provider" companies. Like you, they want to
set up their own closed little world on the Internet, and
when they find that the technology just doesn't support
it, they get furious. The only difference between you and
them is that you aren't rich enough to have given campaign
contributions to Senator Hollings, so he won't write a
Millennium Digital Xenite Protection Act for you.
Rather than get all upset, why not rejoince in the freedom
and no-hold-barred nature of the Internet? Having Conrad
drop in is not so very bad, is it? Just let go and stop
trying to be so controlling.
> Was he banned from AFT or RABT?
The Tolkien newsgroups on Usenet are open access to everyone. This
has both positive and negative aspects, but I have always felt that
the ability for everyone to express themselves freely without
censorship outweighs all possible downsides.
> He tries to be reasonable, he's polite (to most people anyway)
Heh. Thank you, and yes... I'm the first to admit that I have a
temper and am not always as polite as I should be.
> On that subject, from some of your comments I have inferred that
> you wrote one--I would like to read it, where is it, please?
Michael's essay on Balrog wings/flight can be found at;
Of my various Balrog essays 'Volume 6' is the one most closely
aligned to this in subject;
(if the link gets 'split' you may have to copy the bottom half into
the URL line to get the full address)
I have to warn you though... they are both very long. :)
I am currently in the process of revising all my essays at Steuard's
request, so any comments on additional material I should include are
(*suspicious look* Catch up what?)
"Yea! Verily yea!"
> Conrad doesn't seem to get the fact that he is not wanted there.
Did you not publically post that anyone who wanted to discuss Tolkien
was welcome there? And tell me in e-mail that I specifically was, so
long as I made no attacks on your character? And more, that you
would cease attacking me if I did not attack you?
And yet, I have not attacked you. You have come back here to flame
me twice more now, while I have said nothing against you. And that,
after coming out of the blue to flame me for some fictional attack
I made 'somewhere else' that you refuse to identify... knowing that
if you did so it could be disproven. On your board I was 'banned'
for posting a simple polite agreement with another participant who
was NOT banned.
As you now make it clear that I am not welcome and that you will
continue to attack me even when I have not said anything against you
I will of course stay off your forums. You have proven again that
you refuse to set aside your vendettas even when given no excuse for
your attacks. People have been entirely polite to you, avoided
responding to you at all, left for months or years, and even DIED
and yet you have ALWAYS continued your attacks on them.
So drop the false pretenses about how you'd stop 'if only'... and
This will be my only response to your claims about me.
>c...@eatspammindspring.com (C. M. Malm) wrote in message
>> Impressive work, Conrad! Thanks!
>Yes, Conrad's partial and misrepresentative citations about the
>Balrogs certainly deserve to be enshrined.
>One of my personal favorites is his bullshit about how Balrogs
>continued to be referred to in great numbers after THE LORD OF THE
>RINGS. He so carefully leaves out the last rewrite of the Dagor
>Very good, Conrad. You continue to demonstrate your incompetence in
>all areas of Tolkien research.
>And I notice you left out what appears to be the REAL reason you wrote
>the HALF-TRUTHS About Balrogs: a futile attempt to rebut a certain
>Balrog essay which, one must suppose, galls the hell out of you
>because it is more thorough and complete than your nonsense.
>Does it EVER occur to you provide ALL the relevant citations?
Andrew Rilstone and...@aslan.demon.co.uk http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/
'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind
That's what I thought. I was simply pointing out that he has no cause to be
dragging disputes from *other forums* here.
> > He tries to be reasonable, he's polite (to most people anyway)
> Heh. Thank you, and yes... I'm the first to admit that I have a
> temper and am not always as polite as I should be.
Actually, you're basically polite with everyone. The only person you're not
polite with is Michael Martinez, and even then you're not rude, just fed up.
> > On that subject, from some of your comments I have inferred that
> > you wrote one--I would like to read it, where is it, please?
> Michael's essay on Balrog wings/flight can be found at;
> Of my various Balrog essays 'Volume 6' is the one most closely
> aligned to this in subject;
> (if the link gets 'split' you may have to copy the bottom half into
> the URL line to get the full address)
> I have to warn you though... they are both very long. :)
> I am currently in the process of revising all my essays at Steuard's
> request, so any comments on additional material I should include are
Thank you very much.
(You know, secretly I was hoping to have MM reply, just for the delicious
pleasure of watching a windbag blow.)
Dear Mr Martinez,
Your note has given me new hope. At last, a sane poster in this mad
lazar-house of a flame-infested leper colony! Thank you for setting
things right, sir! Thank you! Thank you!
Did I not tell you to drop a topic which you have historically
perverted into some personal crusade? Did you not explicitly ignore
me? Did I not ban you? Did you not then circumvent the ban
repeatedly by using different proxy servers?
Don't get the impression that I am powerless to do anything to you,
Conrad. I have more than sufficient legal grounds to sue your lying
ass for defamation of character, not to mention to get you for
invasion of privacy over your latest assinine behavior.
But I don't feel like spending the money it would require for me to
haul your sick ass into court.
When you are posting on someone else's forum, you are expected to
abide by that other person's rules.
When the forum owner tells you to drop something, that means DROP IT.
It doesn't mean ignore the forum owner and circumvent IP address bans.
> And yet, I have not attacked you.
Excuse me? What was that pack of bullshit you posted on SF-FANDOM
last night -- in yet another attempt to circumvent the ban placed on
you for your misbehavior?
You most certainly DID attack me.
When you came back to SF-FANDOM I told the moderation staff we'd wait
and see what you did before banning you. Technically, you were STILL
under a ban and had made no attempt to contact the administration
staff to get the ban lifted.
You didn't bother to tell your gullible little Greek choir that in
your whining defense either, did you?
If you want to play in the big leagues, Conrad, you're going to have
to learn to respect the rules.
You mean, you don't want to be completely honest when dealing with the
Balrog issue. Your essay will only mislead people, which is, after
all, what you do.
> Unfortunately, you have made several mistakes;
> 1: Contrary to what you say above NONE of the twenty or so quotations
> in my essay on the number of Balrogs (volume 2) refers to the Dagor
Conrad, your reading comprehension problem combined with your
inability to admit the truth really make you look like a complete and
How many people do you really believe are going to be fooled into
thinking you were not citing passages from descriptions of the Dagor
Anything which has Balrogs in the train of Glaurung comes straight
from Dagor Bragollach material.
Once again, you are hoist upon your own stupidty, and your entire
argument is not worth responding to piece-by-piece because, quite
frankly, you just don't listen to anyone who can follow the damn book
better than you.
In short, you still cannot navigate your way through a Tolkien text.
>> NONE of the twenty or so quotations in my essay on the number
>> of Balrogs (volume 2) refers to the Dagor Bragollach.
> Conrad, your reading comprehension problem combined with your
> inability to admit the truth really make you look like a complete and
> total moron.
> How many people do you really believe are going to be fooled into
> thinking you were not citing passages from descriptions of the Dagor
All of them. Given that... I obviously was not.
> Anything which has Balrogs in the train of Glaurung comes straight
> from Dagor Bragollach material.
Attached below is a link to the essay in question. Note the complete
lack of any mention of 'Balrogs in the train of Glaurung';
> Once again, you are hoist upon your own stupidty, and your entire
> argument is not worth responding to piece-by-piece because, quite
> frankly, you just don't listen to anyone who can follow the damn book
> better than you.
Unfortunate. I think if you DID study the rest of my message you
would be able to correct some of the mistakes you made in your book
(and this discussion). It is quite clear that the 'Grey Annals'
passage was NOT edited to remove reference to Balrogs in the train...
it was a revision of the 'Later Annals of Beleriand' passage which
never had any such text about a 'train'. Further, Christopher did
not mistakenly base The Silmarillion account on '1930s material' as
you stated, but clearly used the 'Later Quenta Silmarillion' text I
quoted - which DID still have the 'Balrogs in the train' text.
> I'll need to read the whole thing more closely.
I'd appreciate it. When it comes to the linguistics I'm a dabbler
> I would generally expect Balrogath to mean either "all the members
> of the Balrog species" or "all the Balrogs in a particular troop,
> family, or other recognizable unit".
What about my example;
"1601 Many Periannath migrate from Bree..."
RotK, Appendix B
This does not seem to specify a 'recognizable unit' so much as just
'more than one hobbit'.
That's just what I'd *expect*. But there is occasionally a
difference between Tolkien's linguistic *prescriptions* and a
description of his *usage*. My expectations are founded on the
former; my analysis must be founded on the latter.
That said, there's a lot of overlap between "plurality by number"
and "plurality by group"; that could mean "many groups of hobbits"
(though it probably doesn't).
Should it matter where he was banned from, considering he started the
problem here in the Tolkien news groups? I don't think so.
> > Conrad doesn't seem to get the fact that he is not wanted there. Or,
> > he does get it but realizes that most of you people are too stupid to
> > accept what he is up to and so you'll keep encouraging him with your
> > ignorant supportive posts.
> > There is only one reason for why the Tolkien news groups have become
> > flame groups: Conrad Dunkerson.
> *cough* What? No offense here, (if that's at all possible), but I have seen
> his posts, I have seen your posts, and I have compared the two. He tries to
> be reasonable, he's polite (to most people anyway) and he posts nice things.
Since when are lies, half-truths, partial citations, and generally
misleading posts either reasonable or polite?
> For example, this Balrog essay was quite interesting.
For example, this Balrog essay is quite misleading, and Conrad has
deliberately omitted relevant passages which have been pointed out to
him time and time again.
He knows he can sucker people who don't have the books into believing
he is being thorough, but he is not.
As for insulting members of this news group, you have only to look at
the way they talk about me, week after week, month after month. Are
you implying THAT is reasonable and polite behavior?
You need to get your priorities straightened out, Bub.
> > There is only one reason for why I occasionally feel compelled to come
> > back here: Conrad Dunkerson.
> Ignore the poor guy, for heaven's sake!
Considering that the sick bastard has stalked me across the Internet,
it's a bit difficult to ignore him. He has been on about this for
almost 5 years now.
I can see you're not going to believe the facts, but that's your