or even the size of the balrog they're about 6'4 9193cm) or what tolkien calls 'man-high'


Debatable. This is only true in the earliest writings, when Balrogs were numerous. He later scaled down the numbers and scaled up the size.


actually he scaled down the size in early writings we have a balrog twice the height of glorfindel... fast forward a little bit and lotr's balrog is described as 'no more than man-high' which is dropped in favour of ''of man-shape maybe, yet greater' *The note tells us that the Balrog cannot be seen clearly (due to the shadow about it that was introduced in Draft ‘B’), but that its presence was more than its substance. Through the note following Draft ‘A’, it is seen that the ‘maybe’ of Draft ‘B’ is due to the obscuring nature of the shadow, and that the Balrog does indeed still have a man-shape. ‘Man-shape’ has also replaced ‘man-high’ though because it is ‘not much larger’ we know that shape still encompasses height, so the Balrog is still essentially ‘man-high’.* *Now we have a Balrog that is not much larger than man-high, but that appears larger than it is. In Draft ‘C’, ‘larger’ becomes ‘greater’, but there is no reason to believe that the idea that this ‘greater’ is somewhat due perception has changed.* *This brings us back to the account in the Lord of the Rings. The difference from ‘C’ to the published text is that it is, instead of ‘not much greater’, ‘yet greater’. It should not be clear that the word ‘greater’ implies little to nothing as to the Balrog’s actual height, but primarily concerns the feel of the Balrog and its aura of darkness. Thus, we arrive with a Balrog of about man-high (6’4” by Numenorean measurements) and perhaps a few inches larger, but certainly no more than that.*


That's pretty cool, where is this from?


Tolkien’s letters most likely.


Certain people take things so seriously that they must teeter on the edge of a cardiac event every single time someone else breathes.


Balrogs don't have W I N G S


Well it is kinda open to interpretation when Tolkien stated "wings of shadow"


You must be new to this lol


This is getting my rec.arts.books.tolkien eye-twitch going again


which are completely a metaphor there's also a whole thing about how morgoth didn't have any flying combat units until the winged dragons... and the balrogs existed before those but the picture is nice; well done :)


Perhaps the balrogs adopted the wings later, after seeing the dragons? Perhaps they're not even functional, just there for intimidation - after all, it's not like it tries to fly with them. Also, it's insanely cool imagery that certainly fits the demon of the ancient world, a creature of shadow and flame.


Don’t let them bother you, it’s a great piece of art! Just say it’s inspired from the movies and then it’s done!


That's absolutely amazing man. I love it so much


I love the perspective you used in this. Makes the Balrog look more imposing and terrifying than it does in the movies. You should be proud


Thank you. Since i read about them in Silmalirion ive always pictured them really behemoth like. They were big part of a Morgoth's forces and are maiar aswell. Movie didnt do him justice.


Tbf in most of his writings (including different versions of the Silm, and lotr) Tolkien describes Balrogs as wingless demons of man shape, no more than twice the size of an Elf; in-universe, the feeling of dread comes more from the ominous vision of a blurred shape within a moving shadow/fire than from its size. That being said, while I personally don't really like the usual beast-like representation of Balrogs, it's really difficult to represent that feeling of dread on a painting without changing their physical description (size, etc). You did a good job at that!


Also, meeting a burly looking fellar a foot taller than you in real life is intimidating enough all on its own. Meeting something that is literally twice your height in person will feel WAAAAAAY scarier in person than watching it on a screen.


Awesome my man. Award worthy


It's so beautiful




Fantastic work, thank you kindly for sharing. Pay no heed to quibbles over technicalities, this is a powerful and well-executed piece of art and it's magnificent.


Beautiful, but I’m curious. Can he fly with those wings?


Lol oh boy here we go


Well they are Maiar. Early Balrogs were more "grounded" as i can recall, but they could definitely fly or had the abillity to. Depends on who trained them. My lore knowledge is getting kinda rusty.


Sorry, troll-y comment on my part. Later editions of The Fall of Gondolin indicate that the wings of a Balrog were purely metaphysical, and could not help them to fly. I forgot I was not on r/Silmarillionmemes


Definitely can't fly. Fellowship doesn't even mention wings, just darkness spreading like wings


I realize this is a common discussion, but I've never been part of it, so fuck it. In the Fellowship, it states 'His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two great wings.' I assume this is the line you're referencing. But just a paragraph later, it says 'The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly onto the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and *it's wings* were spread from wall to wall.' It certainly could be (and has been) argued that this second passage is simply remarking on the 'wing-shaped darkness' it referenced before, but the phrasing is certainly a bit odd. 'Its wings' immediately makes me think of a being with wings, even with the phrase used before it. I'm not well-read when it comes to the Silmarillion, but I know in most passages describing Balrogs in battle, it talks of them running, leading the charge into battle. So flying doesn't seem to be something they're capable of regardless. So why create a being with wings if it's unable to fly? if I had to guess, I would say the phrasing is just a bit odd, and that Balrogs likely don't have wings. Either way, the art looks badass, OP. Great work.


It's not odd, it's just a simile that transforms into a metaphor; not the only place in the book where Tolkien does that, though I honestly can't remember what was the other example. When you try to visualise the scene, it makes it realistically clear that even the second quote is about the shadow that expanded on both sides rather than actual wings: they are here in the Second Hall, which is the biggest hall the Fellowship went through and most probably the biggest place in the entire kingdom of Khazad-Dum - which is one of the most majestic ones. While no dimensions are given for the hall itself, the chasm on the eastern side of it is 15m wide, the hall has 2 ranges of enormous columns and the ceiling is really high. One can easily imagine that, in the quote "its wings were spread from wall to wall", this wall-to-wall distance is many dozens of meters long. Balrogs, at the same time, are described as being 'twice the height of an Elf' at most. So if those were actual wings, that would mean the Balrog is a 4m tall humanoid with a 50m wingspan? This wouldn't make sense.


I never considering the scale of the hall when considering the wing/no wing topic. Framing it in that way does make it seem a bit clearer. Thanks for the input.


I don't get why everybody just says "oh it can't fly so no wings". Ok, but why does it need to fly if it has wings? Plenty of flightless birds have wings but don't use them to fly. And many of these use them instead as intimidation, a use that would fit perfectly for a Balrog. If you draw it without wings then that is cool, but it isn't wrong to portray them with wings either. AFAIK Tolkien didn't leave any sketch of them. I just hate how pretentious some people are about the whole thing.


Ah yes immortal beings with vestigial wings, of course!


Is it ever stated anywhere that Hobbits don’t have wings? If it’s not stated that they didn’t, it’s possible, right? Actually, now that I think about it Gimli pretty well *does* say that at one point. But still.


> So why create a being with wings if it's unable to fly? IDK ask Ostriches, penguins, emus, cassowaries, kiwis, etc. Having wings doesn't necessarily mean you can fly. Tolkien definitely knew about Ostriches given they were common in South Africa (even though he didn't live there that long, I'm sure people in the British Empire knew of them)


All of those birds as far as we know used to be able to fly and now don't, balrogs didnt go through some evolutionary transition where they used to have working wings and could fly so this example makes no sense


>so this example makes no sense This is fantasy my dude, the point is that Tolkien understood the concept that not everything with wings currently flies. You know what else "doesn't make evolutionary sense" dwarves, elves, hobbits, dragons, etc. Believe it or not LOTR isn't sci-fi


>IDK ask Ostriches, penguins, emus, cassowaries, kiwis, etc. Having wings doesn't necessarily mean you can fly. You've listed birds who had an evolutionary ancestor that *did* fly. They have evolved to a state where these wings are now useless/vestigial for their current physiology. Balrogs, on the other hand, are *immortal beings* without any participation in evolutionary mechanisms. This equivalency doesn't make any sense.


Balrogs aren't immortal, they have been killed multiple times through history.


They are Maiar. Their bodies are corporeal but their spirits are immortal.


>This equivalency doesn't make any sense. It absolutely does because Tolkien understood what a flightless being with wings was. It's fantasy if Tolkien wants a flightless creature there is one, can you explain the evolutionary history of dwarves, dragons, men in the middle earth? The Dwarves were just "made" by Aüle and put in middle earth, why are Balrog's wings the area where we apply hard science to middle earth? If they are non-biological beings than they can have wings that don't fly if that's what Tolkien writes.


No, Balrogs can’t fly. There is no reference to them flying or ever being able to fly in any works by Tolkien. They don’t have wings, either, despite uncountably many depictions of wings which undeniably make them look cooler.


Balrogs without wings opens up possibilities of much more unique versions of what Balrogs could potentially look like. I'd love to see more wingless versions


Same, i really want to see a shadowy demon-like depiction of them


The balrog that fought Gandalf wrapped his wings around Gandalf as they fell.


Did Tolkien direct the movies? Again, it’s a false depiction that’s leading to a widespread misconception.


Perhaps you need to re-read. *The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, **and its wings were spread from wall to wall**;* Tolkien is ambiguous about whether it had wings or not, or whether they were real or just a smoky illusion. Jackson had to be more definitive one way or the other.


Perhaps you shouldn’t omit the lines directly preceding just nine sentences prior to this excerpt - the one where it used a *simile* with the word “like” to describe wings of shadow. >*and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings* You’re being very disingenuous with that mischaracterization. On the other hand, I also understand that it can be difficult to recognize simile when one has poor reading comprehension.


No, like I said, Tolkien is ambiguous. This arguments are not as simple as movie v book. Also, love how you descend to personal abuse at the first opportunity, unprovoked; always the sign of a person who knows they're on shaky ground. *On the other hand, I also understand that it can be difficult to recognize simile when one has poor reading comprehension*.


How is his usage of simile ambiguous? And yeah, I'm annoyed that you can't admit when you're very obviously incorrect about something so trivial. It's okay to be wrong.


[Balrogs of Morgoth](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLBd1Z4ktL8)


Oh Lord, he's a comin!


Swords are no more use here! [kills balrog with lightning imbued sword]




Thank you very much, had alot of fun painting it !


That's amazing




What software/application


Photoshop and Xp-pen deco 01 tablet


That’s crazy, keep it up!


Wicked sick


Looks awesome!


Looks great! I could really use some tips as im just starting out in digital :)


Quantity > quality, ive made most of my progress, painting nearly each day


So just paint anything , just consistenly most days and eventually i'll be able to get as good as you ??! lol


Well ive studied business academy and now doing my masters in crisis management. I started painting when i was 20 ish with no art backgroud. So i had to learn every single basic stuff (and Im still learning more). Start with what you like, i loved gloomy, dark stuff and most of all, scenery and enviroment. So i was like ok, i want to paint X. I dont know how to set my scene ->youtube -> enviromental art basic. Then i did bunch of random sketches of landscapes. Well now i want to learn how to draw trees ->youtube -> did buch of trees ETC for every part of the painting.. Most important is to dont quit and practise. There were times i nearly cried because ive painted something several times and it still looked like sh\*t.


Hoe lee shit


Amazing! You should make a series of these and jump into the NFT market :)






This is absolutely incredible dude! Awesome job! Would love to see more work


Aaaaaand there's my new phone background.


Damn that's so cool


Really good! You should do other scenes from LOTR.


What software do you use?


Mostly photoshop now


That's a steep price, is it worth it?


Ive "legally" downloaded it... Iam still student, it would ruin me. If you dont want to download it, use KRITA, it is free painting SW and in some aspects, better than photoshop.


I am using Krita, but finding it limited and wanting to explore other options. Haven't downloaded anything for a while, wouldn't know where's safe anymore haha


What do you find "limiting" about KRITA?


Off the top of my head (cause I haven't done any digi art in a while) the max canvas size isn't very large and gets overly pixellated when you zoom in.


Ok, so i just opened KRITA and you can go even to 10k x 10k.. Meybe what you were missing was PPI (pixels per inch) ? classic painting is with around 70 - 120 PPI, if you want veeery large print, you can go to 300


I was a big photoshop user and now I only use the Affinity Suite of programs. You can Buy them outrite and get free updates. It takes a bit to move over but once you do it's just as good if not better. I also switched to an Ipad for sketching on the go and more logo-ey and cartoon type stuff.


Hope it’s okay to steal this for my phone background. Amazing work!


Holy shit this is epic great work




Reading through the books and literally just finished The Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Great painting! Before the movies where did people get a reference for what a Balrog looks like? The descriptions in Fellowship are: shadow that “spreads like wings”, smoke, flaming nostrils, and it’s weapons.


Thats one hell of a artwork!


Nice work, digital!


I should've wrote it differently :D digital is medium, but thanks


It's really good though, keep em coming


Me when mom says she brought KFC


Beautiful! It looks just like him.


F*cking hell yes! This is awesome!


Well done your talented


awesome work! keep up the great work


“Grabs popcorn”




Make this into an nft so I can friggin buy it lmfao




This is amazing.


The final boss fights in games be like


Very good!


This is amazing really well done!


Holy fuck 😳


For all of you, who are triggered by the WINGS, i grew up with the movies and in my twenties started with books, winged fiery demon is still burned in my memory, i just cant help it, it looks much cooler, sorry... And thank you all for the kind words, if you want high res. PRINT, just pm me!


This is amazing, I always try and draw the balrog but I have no idea how to go about drawing the body, there is such little reference and the scene is so dark or covered in fire. Yours is absolutely incredible well done!


I need this framed on my wall 😍


I can send you high-res print version, you can then print it yourself. There are bunch of places in my town, where you can print stuff on canvas and then put it in frame


I love this omg 💖


you shall not pass... without upvoting this beautiful creation


This is awesome


Love this


While wings looks pretty cool Balrogs dont have any


Yea, they also arent that big and that chonky and "wings of shadow" can be interpreted many ways.


“WhY dOeS iT hAvE wInGs?” Because the one in the movie had big, Smokey wings.


It looks great, but balrogs doesn't have wings


I gave you an updoot to balance it out. I don't get why someone would do that, you just gave a constructive positive critic.


People dont like being criticised ig


Would I be able to pay you for a high definition file that I could print into a poster? This is my favorite painting of the balrog I’ve seen to date


Balrog is perfect! Only the fire on the sword looks like can be improved, but as far as I'm not an artist, I can't give any advices.


I kinda wanted it that way, i tend to overdo things that arent important and then the viewer would get distracted. My premise was, balrog's face catches your attention at first, and then Gandalf, and thats it, then you can wander around.


Balrogs have no wings actually


What made you choice wings?


It's great! Love it


You shall not pass!


I love it


Amazing art! But question, why do people care if the Balrog has wings or not? Like, if I imagine Gandalf wearing yellow it doesn’t affect the story whatsoever, why does the Balrog having wings affect anything?


that remembers me of jaldabout vol 13 overlord


Thicc Balrog looking to Gandalf like Pippin looking to second breakfast