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|"At the Bridge" by Ted Nasmith|
|Other names||Flame of Udûn|
|Location||Morgoth's dominions (early)|
|Birth||Before the Music of the Ainur |
|Death||25 January T.A. 3019 |
|Notable for||Killing Durin VI and ruining Khazad-dûm|
|Weaponry||Whip and a flaming sword|
|Gallery||Images of Durin's Bane|
Durin's Bane refers to a specific Balrog who was not otherwise named. It was probably one of the last of its kind, having survived the War of Wrath. After his long hibernation, he was awoken by the Dwarves in the Third Age and encountered by the Fellowship of the Ring.
 Before Hibernation
Durin's Bane was created as a Maia, and followed Morgoth to Arda soon after its creation, like the other Balrogs. There it most likely fought in all major battles until the end of the First Age. When the Valar came against Morgoth in the War of Wrath, Durin's Bane managed to flee and escaped into the east from the ruins of Angband, burying itself in the roots of the Misty Mountains, beneath Khazad-dûm.
 Awakening and Third Age
For more than five millennia, the Balrog hibernated in its deep hiding place at the roots of the mountains in Khazad-dûm. It remained undisturbed throughout the Second Age and most of the Third, before the mithril-miners of dwarf-King Durin VI awoke it in T.A. 1980. Durin was slain by the creature, at which point it became known as Durin's Bane.
The Dwarves attempted to fight the Balrog, but its power was far too great. Despite their efforts to hold Khazad-dûm against it, King Náin and many of the Dwarves were killed and the survivors were forced to flee. This disaster appears to have also reached the Silvan Elves of Lothlórien, many of whom also fled the "Nameless Terror" (it was not recognized as a Balrog at the time). The elves began to call the place Moria, "The Black Pit".
For five hundred years, Moria was left to the Balrog .
Sauron began to put his plans for war into effect around the year 2480 of the Third Age. As part of these, he sent Orcs and Trolls to the Misty Mountains to bar all of the passes. Some of these creatures came to Moria. It is unclear whether Sauron could have controlled the Balrog (they were both Maiar) but it is probable that they would have been allied against the "common good". The Balrog did allow the Orcs and trolls to remain in Moria while it dwelt there. We do not know whether Sauron was aware of the Balrog's presence prior to this time.
The Battle of Azanulbizar was the climactic battle in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. It took place before the eastern gate of Moria in 2799 and was a victory for the Dwarves. However, the victors did not conquer Moria because Dáin Ironfoot, having slain the Orc Azog, felt the terror of the Balrog at the gate. Despite a failed attempt to recolonise Moria by Balin in 2989, Durin's Bane remained a menace in the ancient kingdom of the Dwarves whose nature was hidden to the outside world.
 During the War of the Ring
In January of 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring travelled through Moria on the way to Mount Doom. There they encountered Durin's Bane at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. The Elf Legolas instantly recognised the Balrog despite having never seen one before. More importantly, the Wizard Gandalf was there (perhaps for this very purpose); knowing that it was far more powerful than even the greatest of his companions, he challenged it.
Since Gandalf and the Balrog were both Maiar, they were beings of the same order. As they faced each other, Gandalf broke the Bridge in front of him, but as the Balrog fell it wrapped its whip around Gandalf's knees, which dragged him to the brink. Gandalf staggered and fell, sliding into the abyss, crying "Fly, you fools!" and was gone. Neither he nor the Balrog was killed by the fall, and Gandalf pursued the creature for eight days until they climbed to the peak of Zirakzigil. Here they fought for two days and nights. In the end, the Balrog was cast down and it broke the mountain-side as it fell. Gandalf himself died following this ordeal, but was later sent back to Middle-earth with even greater powers as Gandalf the White.
 Portrayal in adaptations
Durin's Bane in The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)
Durin's Bane in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Balrog has wings and appears capable of limited flight. The head resembles a lion but the rest of the body was rendered in matte black, a technique commonly used for shadowy surreal effect in rotoscope animation.
- Durin's Bane has wings, albeit wings that were purely decorative as the Balrog could not fly. Jackson's Demon of Might was indistinct, a real blend of shadow and fire. Only its horned head, cloven feet, and clawed hands could clearly be seen.
- In the film continuity, the Orcs of Moria (here specified as "goblins") have crafted their armor and weapons to match the fiery appearance of the Balrog, apparently worshipping it as a deity.
- The Balrog is the boss of the level "Abyss Fight". He cannot be harmed except when he is stunned with Gandalf's lightning.
- The players assist Gandalf in his fight with the Balrog.
- Many of the Evil factions can summon a Balrog, specifically Durin's Bane for a short period of time. It is one of the mightiest units in the game, only able to be summoned with experience points. It is similar in design to the movie Balrog.
- Like in the previous installment, the Balrog can be summoned by evil factions.
2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:
- Durin's Bane can be observed in two "session plays" (player character not present): one depicts the awakening of the Balrog by Dwarves under Durin VI, the other depicts dwarves of Balin's company fleeing from the ancient evil. After Gandalf defeats him, the lifeless body of Durin's Bane can be found on the slopes of Zirakzigil. Despite the players knowing the Balrog dead, another Servant of Sauron tests their will and fears, by portraying an illusion of it. In the illusion, the fight between Gandalf and the Balrog on the Endless Stair is recreated, until it ends the opposite way of the actual event: the Balrog defeats the Wizard, throwing his lifeless body from Zirakzigil. Players have to defeat the Balrog in order to combat the illusion.
- Durin's Bane is only seen as a light that chases the player(s) through Moria. When they reach the bridge of Khazad Dum, it appears in a cutscene where Gandalf destroys the bridge and the Balrog pulls him down. Then, the player is Gandalf and has to grab Glamdring and land on Durin's Bane, where he has to stab it while avoiding the balrog's firey breath. When this is over, the game starts another cutscene that ends the level. Later, Gandalf appears on a snowy mountain with a tower on top. When he reaches the top of the tower, the Balrog climbs on. The Balrog repeatedly sweeps his fiery whip and strikes the ground with his sword. Then lighting begins to strike at one place and the Balrog breathes fire and is weakened. Gandalf uses his sword to direct the lightning at Durin's Bane and its health goes down. The lightning will strike at three different places, and when the Balrog loses all of its health by being hit three times, it will fall off the mountain and die.
 See also
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Account of the Valar and Maiar According to the Lore of the Eldar"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Durin's Folk
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The White Rider"
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