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 Post subject: Re: Shape-Shifting Balrogs and their Sizes
PostPosted: February 16th, 2017, 12:40 am 
Gondorian
Gondorian
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Lord Of All wrote:
Here is my quote: "Then Glorifindel's left hand sought a dirk, and this he thrust up that it pierced the Balrog's belly nigh his own face (for that demon was twice his stature)"~BoLT II, The Fall of Gondolin

Now I hear you saying "well that would make the Balrog 12'" - but that is assuming Glorfindel was 6'.

As we know Elves, and indeed men (especially of the Edain race) were far taller than those of the Third Age. (Elendil I beleive was around 7.5' maybe even 8'. So it is well to assume that Glorfindel, an important Elf in the time when Elves were at there greatest, was at the very least 7' probably more, hence the Balrog would be at least 14'

That is my argument.


But this could be off track due to a mixing of conceptions. From the same text, the early Fall of Gondolin: "'Tis written that in those days the fathers of the fathers of Men were of less stature than Men now are, and the children of Elfinesse of greater growth, yet was Tuor taller than any that stood there. Indeed the Gondothlim were not bent of back as some of their unhappy kin became, laboring without rest at delving and hammering for Melko, but small were they and slender and very lithe." As I read this, the idea is, even though Men were smaller in the past, and the Elves larger in the past, Tuor was yet taller than any of the Elves present in this scene.

We know Tolkien ultimately imagined his Elves to be very tall by today's standards, but this is early writing, and here's a text from a different section of The Book of Lost Tales: "... Nuin's words are therefore puzzling, especially since in A they immediately preceded the comment on the original similarity of size; for he can surely only mean that the sleepers in Murmenalda were very large by comparison with the Elves. That the sleepers were in fact children, not merely likened in some way to children, is made clear in D: 'Nuin finds the Slumbrous Dale (Murmenalda) where countless children lie" [Christopher Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales] Nuin had said: "(...) nor any the more when Nuin made an end of his tale, telling of all he saw there -- and methought,' said he, 'that all who slumbered there were children, yet was their stature that of the greatest of the Elves."

So while the early descriptions don't allow specific heights for Glorfindel, I would guess that he was possibly imagined as significantly shorter at the time this duel was described, a duel which Tolkien would, decades later, note to himself needed revision, though in what way (outside of, very arguably, style,] isn't known.


Anyway (and the argument aside here, of whether or not Balrog size remained constant through the years), the point is that I think this early description doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the notable stature of the great Elves that Tolkien would describe decades later.


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