The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – why is the Balrog scene missed?

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Episode 5 of Rings of Power introduced us to a handsome Balrog, but may also have spoiled a great scene from The Silmarillion.

WARNING, MINI-SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 5

This is a key moment in episode 5 of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: the flashback featuring an epic battle between a glorious Elf warrior and a big Balrog. And it's true, it's a very nice moment… as well as a probable clumsy adaptation (in any case, not assumed) of a very long sequence from the Silmarillion, the one featuring the most powerful of all the Balrogs. Explanations of this (probable) mess, and a short summary of what a Balrog is in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien.

WHAT IS A BALROG < p style="text-align: justify;">It's already been explained a thousand times, but as The Rings of Poweris to say the least quite messy in the exposition of its mythology, we are going to add a layer of it for the most profane. The world of Arda was created by an almighty God called Eru Illuvatar. He also created the Ainur, a collection of more or less powerful spirits. The most important of these became the Valar, a pantheon of a dozen major deities who reside on the continent of Aman, to the very west of Arda and Middle-earth.The Other Ainur , less powerful, are called Maiar.

While all Valar and all Maiar are born good, not all remain so. Thus the arch-villain of Tolkien's universe, Melkor/Morgoth, is a Valar who has rebelled against the will of Eru Illuvatar and seeks to undo his world. Sauron, his most trusted lieutenant, is himself a Maiar corrupted by Morgoth. And the Balrogs in all this? Well, just as Wizards are Maiar who remained loyal to the Valar and Eru, Balrogs are Maiar who joined Morgoth.Sauron, Balrog, Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, same nature therefore: all Maiar (be careful, this does not mean that their powers are similar).

This is why the fight between Gandalf and the Balrog of Moria is such an important and tragic moment: Gandalf confronts and kills not a beastly servant of Evil as a basic orc, but one of his ilk.Some Balrogs followed Melkor from his first act of rebellion, others joined him later, and they are described as beings enveloped in fire and darkness, but the satanic diabolico interpretation of Peter Jackson with the horns is in rather free reality, Tolkien remaining much more abstract. In contrast, the fire whip is indeed their trademark in the source material, and the swords are also in the barrel.

Tolkien describes the Balrogs (also called Valaraukar) as the most powerful servants of Morgoth (after Sauron and some dragons) and it should be understood that they are not beasts, but sentient beings, although corrupted until to the marrow. So there is a hierarchy in the Balrogs, and although almost no details are available, still the Silmarillion speaks of a lord of the Balrogs named Gothmog. Gothmog is a Balrog himself, and he has a very large kill count.

WHAT RELATION TO AMAZON

If the appearance of a Balrog remains an exceptional fact in the Second Age (and a fortiori in the Third Age), they were literally legion during the years which preceded, and Gothmog led them in battle against the most powerful Elf leaders. It was Gothmog himself who killed the great Elf hero FĂ«anor, creator of the Silmarils. Gothmog also killed two high-kings of the Elves, Fingon (struck “unto dust” in the text, as what Tolkien can also be violent), then much later, Ecthelion, during a duel. But it's more likely that Amazon was inspired by a fourth scene, with a Balrog that isn't Gothmog.

Indeed, the setting of the flashback of episode 5 is rather reminiscent of a duel that pitted a Balrog against the Elf hero Glorfindel. A more heroic episode for an Elf character much more iconic than the previous two… and who could have a significant role to play inThe Rings of Power. During the First Age, Glorfindel witnesses the fall of the capital city of Gondolin, a huge tragedy in the history of the Elves. As the survivors attempt to flee, they are ambushed by orcs, led by a Balrog. If an intervention by the Eagles can hold back the orcs, Glorfindel listens only to his courage and opposes the Balrog, all alone.

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As Glorfindel delivers the killing blow and the Balrog falls down the precipice they were fighting on, the creature grabs Glorfindel by the hair, and the two die. A scene that has remained etched forever in the memory of the Elves… but which has only remotely to do with the scene described by Amazon in episode 5, you might say. And that's quite normal: the latter is quite simply invented as well as the origin and the properties of mithril which result from it.

However, it's hard not to make the connection, especially since, as a reminder, Amazon does not have the right to directly adapt Le Silmarillion. So it would be a way to do a roundabout borrowing, without looking like it… but which results in these weird and wobbly thirty seconds.

Besides , in Tolkien's text, Glorfindel returns to Middle-earth during the Second Age, somewhere near the events told by the Rings of Power. From there to saying that we could have been hinted at the future appearance of this character, there is only one step. Finally, remember that the plans of the Balrog in the trailer Rings of Power weren't used in episode 5, so it's quite likely that we're not done seeing them. And so much the better, because this one appearance at the limit of fan service left a tad to be desired.

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