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"Then something came into the chamber - I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent. It laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell."
The Lord of the Rings, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"

Balrogs, also known as the Valaraukar, were Maiar that were seduced and corrupted by Melkor into his service.[2]


Originally, in unrecorded ancient times, the Balrogs were fiery Maiar that were persuaded by Melkor's might and splendor to join his cause. Their first dwelling was in Utumno, but after their master's defeat during the War for Sake of the Elves, the Balrogs and other creatures in Melkor's service escaped to Angband and hibernated there.[3]


Years of the Trees

The Balrogs of Morgoth, by Thylacinee

Balrogs were present as early as the Years of the Trees when Melkor and Ungoliant went to Valinor and destroyed the Two Trees. By then, the Balrogs remained in the pits of Angband. After Morgoth destroyed the Trees with Ungoliant, he came to the ruins of Angband to renew his rule in Middle-earth. A disagreement with Ungoliant led to her attacking him, and Morgoth gave out a great cry that roused the Balrogs from their slumber. In a tempest of fire, the Balrogs drove Ungoliant away and prepared to pursue her. However, they were halted by Morgoth and returned to Angband, which shortly thereafter was constructed anew.[4]

First Age

Death of Fëanor, by LuisFBejarano

When the Ñoldor won the battle Dagor-nuin-Giliath, Fëanor furiously pressed on toward Angband. He came even within sight of Angband, but was ambushed by a force of Balrogs with few Ñoldor around him. Soon he stood alone, but long he fought on with all Balrogs alone as mightiest all the Children of Iluvatar even though he was wrapped in fire and wounded with many wounds. But finally Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, felled and mortally wounded Fëanor.

Maedhros, Fëanor's son, persuaded the forces of Morgoth for a feigned treaty, but Morgoth sent his Balrogs. The entire company was slain, except for Maedhros, who was taken to Angband.[5]

Years later, during the Dagor Bragollach, the Balrogs, along with Glaurung and an army of Orcs, issued forth from Angband to assault the fortresses of the Elves and to kill their allies, the Edain.[6]

The Balrogs fought during the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, where Gothmog led the invasion. He threw aside Húrin and Turgon, turned upon Fingon and killed him with the help of another Balrog, securing the field for Morgoth's forces. He also captured Húrin, after Húrin was buried under a mountain of slain foes. He bound the human warrior and delivered him to Angband, whereupon Morgoth attempted unsuccessfully to pry the location of Gondolin from him.[7]

Glorfindel and the Balrog, by John Howe

In FA 510, during the Fall of Gondolin, the Balrogs rode upon the backs of dragons to reach the hidden city. The Lord of the House of the Fountain, Ecthelion, managed to kill Gothmog at the cost of his own life. While attempting to escape the burning city, Glorfindel and his companions were blocked by another Balrog. To save Tuor, Idril and their young son Eärendil, Glorfindel fought the Balrog on a cliff and cast it down, but he was pulled down with the Balrog to their deaths.[8]

The remaining Balrogs fought in the War of Wrath. While most were destroyed, some managed to escape and hide in Earth's deep caverns.[9]

Second Age

Sauron gathered "all the evil things of the days of Morgoth that remained on earth and beneath it", starting the Accursed Years, however no Balrogs are mentioned as being active at this time.

Third Age

In TA 1980, a Balrog awoke in Khazad-dûm when the Dwarves had mined too deep for mithril. It drove the Dwarves out of their home and slew King Durin VI, and the Balrog was thereafter called "Durin's Bane".[10]

During the War of the Ring, the Fellowship of the Ring passed through Moria and encountered Durin's Bane, which pursued them to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Gandalf the Grey fought the Balrog, allowing the Fellowship to escape Moria.[11] Both fell into the abyss, but the battle continued at the peak of Zirakzigil. Finally, it ended, but both Gandalf and Durin's Bane were slain in the process. Gandalf was later "sent back" by the Valar, as Gandalf the White.[12]


"It was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it."
The Lord of the Rings, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"

Balrogs generally took the form of tall, menacing beings roughly humanoid in shape, though seeming to consist of or be surrounded by shadow and flame. They used both a flaming sword, and a fiery whip; they were constantly burning, and their weapons appeared molten. Gothmog, the Lord of Balrogs in the First Age, used a black axe as well.

It is unclear, and highly debated, whether Balrogs had wings.

Balrogs seemed to encapsulate and project power and terror, perhaps meant to be a dark shadow of the majesty that the Valar radiate. Additionally, Tolkien refers to Balrogs with "streaming fiery manes".[13]

Additionally, they may have been able to alter their body structures on occasion, as in the battle between Durin's Bane and Gandalf, when the Balrog fell into a body of water he shifted himself into something slimy.[14] However, it is also possible that this alternate form was simply Gandalf using colorful language to describe what the Balrog was like after having its flame extinguished and being covered in water. It is also possible that, while the Balrog, like all other Ainur, could shift form, this was not a case of that.

Powers and abilities

Balrogs were exceptionally powerful creatures. Only seven Balrogs were required to drive away Ungoliant, a large monster powerful enough to devour the fruits of Telperion, which produced the light for billions of stars.

A single Balrog, who became known as Durin's Bane, managed to drive the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm from their ancient and supremely fortified home, which was the greatest kingdom of Dwarves that had ever been. It also contended with Gandalf, and shattered the side of a mountain with physical might alone. The Balrogs were considerably bodily agile, such that their passing is once described as a “tempest of fire”.

Gothmog fought against and overcame Fëanor, an Elf who was powerful enough to control the light of the two trees. He also spread chaos through the city of Gondolin, filled with Elves of great power.


In Sindarin, the word Balrog means "Demon of Might",[15] from the words bal ("power") and raug, rog ("demon").[16] Balrogs are called Valarauko or Valaraukar[note 1] in Quenya, from the words vala ("power") and rauco ("demon").[16][17]

Other names

In other writings, Balrog is derived from ñgwalaraukô ("demon").[16]

Known individuals

Durin's Bane

Other versions of the legendarium

In Tolkien's later writings, he made note of the fact that there could not have ever been more than seven Balrogs,[18] yet they were able to drive away Ungoliant in what was described as a "tempest of fire".

In another early writing, the Lord of the Balrogs was named Lungorthin. It is unknown whether it is another name for Gothmog, but Christopher Tolkien thinks it is probable, since the name Gothmog was already mentioned in the earliest writings about Middle-earth.[19]

Initially, the Balrogs were often described to be immense in numbers:

The early conception of Balrogs makes them less terrible, and certainly more destructible, than they afterwards became: they existed in 'hundreds' (p. 170), 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.
The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, commentary by Christopher Tolkien on "The Fall of Gondolin"

In later writings, however, Christopher Tolkien notes that:

In the margin my father wrote: 'There should not be supposed more than say 3 or at most 7 ever existed.
—Morgoth's Ring, Section 2 (AAm*): note 50

Portrayal in adaptations

Video games

  • Two Balrogs also appear in The Lord of the Rings Online: Thaurlach, located deep within the Rift of Nurz Ghashu in Angmar, and Durin's Bane, encountered several times in visions and flashback sequences, first during introduction "quests" to Moria. Its remains are located at Moria's peak. An illusion of Durin's Bane is encountered in the Ost Dunhoth Instance Raid, and the true version is encountered in The Fall of Khazad-dûm, another Instance Raid.

Card games

  • Balrog (named Firelord Balrog) appears in the game The Legend of the Cryptids as a playable card.


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Glorfindel and the Balrog.jpg
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LEGO Balrog.jpg
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A Balrog from The Battle for Middle-earth attacks
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Three demons of Melkor in BFME2


Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.
  • Some fans of the Doom series claim that the Balrog of the movies looks similar to a cross between the Maledict and Cyberdemon from Doom 3, inheriting similar wings to the former and a similar overall shape to the latter.
  • A demonic monster in the popular 2D side-scrolling game Maplestory, bears many similar qualities and characteristics, and thus many believe the monster was represented on behalf of the fictitious one depicted in the Tolkien series.
  • A certain antagonist in the MMORPG Wartune, Merloch, is identical exactly to a Balrog, save for an additional two horns.
  • A demon in Dungeon Hunter: Alliance called the "Cremator" has the same head and fiery presence as a Balrog, but without wings.
  • Many fans claim that the Balrog inspired Games Workshop's Bloodthirster in Warhammer, which is known as the Greater Daemon of Khorne.
  • The main antagonist of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the Dahaka, strongly resembles the book rendition of Balrog (bigger than man but not a giant; seemingly comprised of shadow), but has one horn bent downward and one upward, and it does not have wings.
  • The Balor from Dungeons and Dragons is clearly based on the Balrog.
    • In early editions of the game, it was in fact referred to as the Balrog. The name was changed due to copyright claims made by Tolkien Estate.
  • The hero named Hellbringer from the MOBA game Heroes of Newerth can summon Malphas, whose appearance is very similar to the cinematic rendering of the Balrog.
  • War, the first horseman and main playable character from the game Darksiders, has a chaos form that looks very similar to Durin's Bane.
  • "Balrog" was the name of a boxer from the USA who made his debut as the second boss in Street Fighter II. Although he cannot kick, he made up for it with pummeling punches. This name was originally part of a triangle of replacement; the original Japanese game credited him as M. Bison (after boxer Mike Tyson), leaving the character Vega named Balrog.
  • In the manga and anime series Saint Seiya, Balrog Rune (or Balron Lune) is a servant of Hades clad in armor modeled after Tolkien's monster.
  • The Juggernaut and its upgrade the Ravager in Heroes VI, also resembles the Balrog's looks, especially the head region. Whether this is on purpose or just a coincidence is not known.
  • The boss Fyrus from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess bears a slight resemblance to the Balrog, in its height and black, fiery form.
  • The form of the character Chaos in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Feral Chaos ("Desperado Chaos" in the Japanese version), bore a strong resemblance to the Balrog (particularly its depiction in Peter Jackson's films) due to his being massive, demonic, possessing horns, and being constantly wreathed in flame.
  • Various characters from the Diablo franchise are visually similar to the Balrog.
  • In Devil May Cry 5, one of the weapons Dante has access to is named Balrog, which uses the element of fire. A character named Balrog is also present in the Devil May Cry 5: Before the Nightmare manga, being a fire-based demon who is defeated by Dante, which grants him the weapon. In an interview with the developers, it was stated that the name of Balrog is a reference to the character present in Street Fighter.[20]


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ባልሮግ (Balrogs)

ቫላራኩራ (Valaraukar)

Arabic بالروع ?
Armenian Բալրոգ
Belarusian Cyrillic Балрог (Balrogs)

Валараукар (Valaraukar)

Bengali বল্রোগ
Bulgarian Cyrillic Балрог
Catalan Bàlrogs (Balrogs)

Valaràucar (Valaraukar)

Chinese 炎魔
Georgian ბალროგი (Balrogs)

ვალარაუკარი (Valaraukar)

Greek Βαλρογ
Gujarati બલ્રોગ
Hebrew (Balrogs) באלרוגים

(Valaraukar) ואלאראוקאר

Hindi बल्रोग
Japanese バルログ (Balrogs)

ヴァララウカール (Valaraukar)

Kazakh Балрог (Cyrillic) Balrog (Latin)
Korean 발록
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Балрог
Macedonian Cyrillic Балрог
Marathi बल्रोग
Mongolian Cyrillic Балрог
Nepalese बल्रोग
Pashto بالروګ
Persian بالروگ
Polish Balrogowie
Punjabi ਬਾਲਰੋਗ
Russian Балроги (Balrogs)

Валараукар (Valaraukar)

Sanskrit बल्रोग्
Serbian Балрог (Cyrillic) Balrog (Latin)
Sinhalese බල්‍රොග්
Tajik Cyrillic Балрог
Tamil பால்ராஹ்
Telugu బల్రొగ
Ukrainian Cyrillic Балроґ
Urdu بالروگ
Uzbek Балрог (Cyrillic) Balrog (Latin)
Yiddish באַלראָג


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, III: "The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. The Silmarillion, Valaquenta: "Of the Maiar"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter III: "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIII: "Of the Return of the Noldor"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XVIII: "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  7. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XX: "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  8. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  9. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  10. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, III: Durin's Folk
  11. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter V: "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"
  12. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter V: "The White Rider"
  13. The History of Middle-earth, Vol III, The Lays of Beleriand, III:"The Lay of Leithian
  14. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter V: "The White Rider"
  15. The Silmarillion, Index of Names
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  17. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  18. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part One: The Grey Annals, Notes
  19. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. III: The Lays of Beleriand, chapter I: "The Lay of the Children of Húrin"
  20. GAME Watch - 「デビル メイ クライ 5」、「ダンテ」の武器や戦闘システムが明らかに


  1. Also spelled Valarauco and Valaraucar

External links