Found this while poking around reddit this morning:
Tolkien villains too big for the big screen.
Note: the tiny, glowing figure in front of Ungoliant is Morgoth from the first entry. The tiny glowing object in front of Ancalagon? A ship.
Note 2: Gothmog actually died of the stab wound (when Ecthelion “headbutted” Gothmog, he actually drove the spike on his helm into his chest) or just possibly by drowning. Balrogs aren’t actually injured when their fires are put out (which requires full immersion. Rain won’t do it.).
Note 3: The lumpy-faced guy at the Pelennor Fields was named for the original Gothmog. Either he was just that badass, or Sauron just couldn’t stop imitating Morgoth’s style.
Do you remember the scene from Princess Mononoke where Moro, the wolf-goddess, confronts Lord Okkoto, the boar-god?
Lord Okkoto has just lost every single one of his followers in battle with humans. Between that grief and his own wounds, he’s gone mad and degenerated into a demon. No one wants to fight him – “Don’t touch him,” Moro says, “He’s no longer a god.” – but he’s…absorbing…Moro’s adopted human daughter. Before she leaps to the rescue, Moro sneers in utter contempt at how far her former colleague has allowed himself to fall: “Look at you,” she says. “You can’t even speak.”
That’s what brings me to my titular thought about the Balrog of Moria:
That giant, flaming demon began its existence as the same order of spirit as Gandalf. It is no less old and, theoretically, no less intelligent than any of the wizards. These things were Morgoth’s generals, after all. And yet…it’s roaring. That’s how the Balrog of Moria expresses itself. It doesn’t shout threats or make demands. It roars.
Is that what Gandalf is thinking as he faces a fellow Maia who has allowed itself to fall so far?
“Look at you. You can’t even speak.”
As I was writing my previous post, I came up with two questions that I’d like to discuss with any Tolkien buffs who might be reading this. I’m what you might call a reasonably well-informed layman, but I don’t have the obsessive depth of knowledge of a true fan.
First of all, Tolkien emphasizes over and over again that nothing is evil in its beginning, not even Sauron or Morgoth. So how does he explain Ungoliant?
You run into the same problem in every cosmology that includes God and Outer Gods. Usually the explanation is that God isn’t as omnipotent as He’s reputed to be, but you know Tolkien wouldn’t go that route.
Second, I wondered if this guy:
…was somebody Gandalf knew. At first I thought I was just being funny, but now I wonder. They’re both maiar. What are the chances that Gandalf is faced with killing an old friend here? Imagine the conversation at the top of Zirak Zigil:
“SURRENDER, OLORIN! COME WITH ME, JOIN ANNATAR AND WE CAN RULE THIS MIDDLE EARTH!”
“Curunir already tried that, Nayel, and it didn’t work. Besides, you never could make a sales pitch, even before it became clear just how much of a prick Melkor was. Now shut up and fight.”
As I said in another recent post, I’ve been a fantasy reader ever since I was a kid. Tolkien got me started down that path, and I have a particular affection for his work to this day.
Now, as I mentioned in that same post, I’ve always had a fondness for scary monsters, so of course my deepest fascination was with the Dark Lords.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of art depicting Tolkien’s Dark Lords, and most of them have depicted huge, dark figures in black armor with crownlike helms that would be worse than useless to anyone who actually had to worry about things like an enemy grabbing a horn and breaking their neck. For example, here’s one you might be familiar with: