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A preview of the Balrog, also known as Durin's Bane

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The DCI team are happy to present the terrifying Balrog

** made by Louis Lux **


Among Tolkien's creations, the Balrog is one of the most intriguing and talked about . Their appearance is a source of debate probably due to the mystery and vagueness of their description but also due to the fact that their nature changed and evolved throughout the years. In our depiction of the Balrog we've aimed to adhere firmly to the text (at least the strongest interpretation of the text) but also to reconcile the aesthetics of the movie, the mod's own aesthetic and the limitations of the game.


Nature and Form

Balrogs are powerful Maiar in the service of Morgoth a Valar. Maiar and Valar are by nature discarnate but could incarnate and acquire a physical body or hröa (famous examples being Melian, Sauron and the Istari) and could therefore be killed. There are many examples of Maiar reincarnating but it seems to depend on the stature of their spirit and in Sauron's case the presence of an anchor such as the One Ring. It's possible but unlikely that the Balrog that survived beyond the First Age was a reincarnated spirit. Balrogs are referred many times as 'demons' which led many to depict them with horns, tails, cloven feet and other attributes of biblical demons. Similarly, Tolkien refers to Angband as 'hell' and the Istari as 'angels' but those associations are only symbolic. The word 'demon' is not exclusive to balrogs and is rather used to refer to an evil spirit or to any original form an evil spirit takes. There is no reason to give Balrogs demonic attributes (horns, tail) and those attributes are never mentioned in the text. The Balrog is described as having a 'man-shape' in The Fellowship of the Ring and in the drafts as 'no more than man-high' and 'of man-shape maybe, and not much larger'. There are earlier descriptions of Balrogs being much larger but the description in FotR should be viewed as the most accurate and final one. The form of the Balrog is described as of humanoid shape, taller than most Elves and Men, and wreathed in shadow and flame.

Balrog Armour

Purpose and Armour

Balrogs serve as captains of Morgoth's armies and sometimes as his torturers. Despite not uttering any words in any of the books, as Maiar and Captains it's safe to assume that they were capable of speech and were intelligent. There are a couple of mentions of Balrogs wearing iron armour and their flesh could be pierced so some protection would make sense. The armour in this case is derived from the armour of the Boldogs and Sauron (other corrupted Maiar).

Balrog Hair

Physical Attributes

Concerning wings, Morgoth sought to steal the ability to fly from the Eagles and the Eagles are described as being out of reach from Orc and Balrog, which points to Balrogs not having wings. The wings mentioned in FotR are accompanied by phrases describing the shadow around the Balrog becoming larger. Therefore, the most credible interpretation of the text is that the wings are shadows or illusions projected by the Balrog's menacing aura. Durin's bane is described as having 'furnace-fire' yellow eyes and a 'fiery mane'. I've taken those descriptions to be figurative rather than literal and have simply given the Balrog yellow eyes and long red hair. Sharp claws are mentioned in the text and I also decided to give him sharp teeth.

Balrog Sword


Balrogs wielded all sorts of weapons but Durin's Bane specifically used a red flaming sword and a whip of flame. Because of the game limitations my focus was really on the red sword part, so I tried to give it a distinct look.

I gathered most of the information in here from these two sources:

On Balrogs

Ëalar and Incarnation

Arenfi0roThree - - 19 comments

Nice work, this is a good interpretation of the Balrog.

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Eärendil_Ardamírë - - 1,868 comments

An interesting new visual interpretation of the Balrog, nice work! I am not sure how particle effects are working at Total War but a literally flaming sword would perhaps be a better choice, given that the Witch-king of Angmar wields something akin to it at the gate of Minas Tirith.

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Louis_Lux Author
Louis_Lux - - 341 comments

No such effect is possible in medieval 2. Some cool effects can be done with projectiles but that's about it.

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Eärendil_Ardamírë - - 1,868 comments

Ah, a pity. Still nice work!

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KingBaldwinIV - - 3 comments

is the mod dead?
i,m reallllllly want to use new goblins skins

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