Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is here. We want all Spoilerites to have the best viewing experience possible and have the widest knowledge base about the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This is a weekly Let’s Get Nerdy article series highlighting a different piece of Tolkien I think you need to know about!
In past articles I have answered the question:
- What Are the Rings of Power?
- What is Númenor?
- What is the Second Age?
- Who are the Harfoots?
- Who is Prince Durin IV?
- What is Khazad-dûm?
- Who is Celebrimbor?
- What is the Last Alliance of Men and Elves?
- Who is Elendil?
- New Pics! Who are Bronwyn and Theo?
- What is Rivendell?
- The Rings of Power First Reactions Are In!
- What is Lindon?
- What are the Nine Human Rings?
- Empire Magazine’s The Rings of Power Covers
- New Character Pictures
- Will Wizards Appear in The Rings of Power?
- New Promo for The Rings of Power
- What is Eregion?
- Leaked! Rings of Power Trailer Breakdown
- The Rings of Power Teaser Breakdown
- New EW Rings of Power Pictures
- SDCC Rings of Power Trailer Breakdown
- Who is Isildur?
- The Rings of Power is Here! Read the Reactions
- Who is the Stranger?
- Who is Queen Míriel?
- Who is Ar-Pharazôn?
- What is the broken black blade?
- What is Mordor?
- What is Mithril?
- What are the Silmarils?
- What is Narsil?
- Who founded Númenor?
- Who is Galadriel’s Brother Finrod?
- Rings of Power Adds 15 New Cast Members for Season 2
- Who is Círdan?
- Will Celeborn Appear in The Rings of Power?
- Are Galadriel and Sauron Enemies in Book Canon?
- Who is Narvi?
- Jamie Bisping Cast as Viran
- Will the Harfoots Settle The Shire?
- What to Watch Before The Rings of Power Season 2
- Will We See More Rings in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Will Lord Belzagar Appear in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Who is Diarmid?
- Will Ringwraiths appear in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Will Gil-Galad Lead an Army in The Rings of Power Season 2?
One of the biggest teases in The Rings of Power season 1 was the Balrog. From early trailers we saw the creature of shadow and flame we have been so familiar with from the original Lord of the Rings film trilogy. By the end of the first season it became clear to viewers we were only going to be catching glimpses of the Balrog hither and thither. Cloaked in whisper and rumour. Considering Amazon Studios must have spent a significant amount of money purchasing the Balrog asset from Warner Bros. I think many of us expected executives to want to get their moneys’ worth.
And yet. And yet …
Author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
“It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as if a cloud had bent over it. […] The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs.”
A creature of this excellence would definitely wreak havoc over the course of the show. To understand why I want to clear up some misconceptions about this creature and what exactly being “Durin’s Bane” means in the context of The Rings of Power.
First off, this creature is not “The” Balrog. This is a phrase I’m employing in this feature because I know Spoilerties are probably familiar with it. The creature we think of as Durin’s Bane is actually “A” Balrog. One of many such creatures dwelling in Middle-Earth. This particular Balrog slumbered beneath Khazad-dûm for years and years and years following The War of Wrath.
(to avoid falling even further down the rabbit hole I’ll leave off The War of Wrath for right now, but perhaps we’ll get deeper into that in a future feature …)
As with many magical creatures in Middle-Earth the Balrogs were created by the Maia and chose to follow Morgoth – the first Dark Lord we’ve heard spoken on in hushed tones throughout The Rings of Power season 3. He likely would have slept under the Misty Mountains forever had he not been awoken by the dwarves of Moria – a.k.a. Khazad-dûm – during the Third Age of Middle-Earth.
Yes, you read that right! Per J.R.R. Tolkien’s original canon we’re not actually supposed to get to any of the Balrog business (as it pertains to Khazad-dûm), until The Third Age of Middle-Earth. Which doesn’t come until after Sauron is defeated by Isildur and The Last Alliance of Men and Elves.
Which we can only assume must be some time in the future from the current events of The Rings of Power.
The year 1980 of The Third Age of Middle-Earth, in fact. Quite a ways in the future.
The “Durin” of “Durin’s Bane” who “delved too greedily and too deep” and awoke the Balog is King Durin IV. Meaning the “Prince Durin” we see played by Owain Arthur with such aplomb in The Rings of Power is the very being to which this “Bane” refers. You can probably suss out from the use of the word “Bane” how the inevitable showdown between then-King-Durin and his kin goes …
… and if you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring you’ll know to have your tissues at the ready when the moment comes.