Middle Earth Challenge: Durin’s Bane

Middle Earth Challenge


The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. “—Gandalf to Durin’s Bane on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm , The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring

Durin’s Bane is a Balrog. Balrogs, also known as the Valaraukar, were Maiar that were seduced and corrupted by Melkor(Morgoth) into his service. But this Balrog was named Valarauko “Demon of Might”, later named Durin’s Bane by the Dwarves. The Balrog killed King Durin VI when the Dwarves were mining for mithril deep inside Moria and awoke him.

Durin’s Bane is oddly enough a Maiar spirit which existed before the Middle Earth was created. That being said, This Balrog is the same as Gandalf and Saruman, who descended into Arda with the Valar. I believe I’ve touched base on this over the last couple of post of the Middle Earth Challenge. But the Balrog was corrupted by Morgoth in the first age of Middle Earth. Durin’s Bane fought in a number of battle notably most of the War of the Jewels tot he vary end of the battle of War of the Wrath. Where Durnin’s Bane managed to escape to the Misty Mountains. Deep, Deep underground that would be Khazad-dûm.

All through out the second age of Middle Earth, more than five thousand. Till the third age came about and the Dwarves mined to to deep in their greed for meithril. Woke the Balrog and it killed Durin VI and then his son Náin I after a number of fail attempts to the Balrog. Later the Durin’s Folk left Khazad-dûm and renamed it Moria. Now we all know the big fight be Durin’s Bane and Gandalf that started at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings

The Balrog appeared in Raph Bakshi’s Animated Lord of the Rings. Is appears as a giant Humanoid with a lion’s head and wings. Gandalf is the only one that seems to recognize it, and it does not appear until The Fellowship reaches the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.


Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring

The Balrog was also portrayed in Peter Jackson’s live-action film trilogy, as a giant, black creature covered in flame. Although Tolkien described it as being taller than a man but not huge, Durin’s Bane in the film is at least twenty feet tall. Rather than having a voice of any kind, when it roared, it sounded similar to an erupting volcano – the vaporous presence of heat emanating as its breath (the Balrog’s roar was created by pulling a cinderblock across a plywood board and then digitally shifting the pitch of the resulting sound.) Unlike previous adaptations, the goblins are terrified, and run as it comes closer to The Fellowship. Its weapons, rather than physical in nature, were completely comprised of flame, taking the form of a sword first and a whip second. Its own flames were its key weapon of choice against Gandalf. Their duel progress closely to how it does in the book: Gandalf shatters the Balrog’s fiery sword (using a magical shield formed around himself in conjunction with Glamdring), and then strikes bridge of Khazad-dûm, breaking it in half, and causing the Balrog to fall into the abyss. As the Balrog falls, its whip latches onto Gandalf’s legs and drags him off of the bridge.

Aside from this, the Balrog had been briefly seen in a book owned by Saruman, beforehand, as the latter taunted Gandalf telepathically of the choice of the Fellowship taking the route of Moria, implying that Saruman was aware that it had awoken and brought woe to the Dwarves there.

The Two Towers

The Balrog appears in a few flashbacks in The Two Towers. The first flashback shows the events that take place following Gandalf’s plunge into the abyss of Khazad-dûm: Gandalf hurtles down the chasm after the Balrog, recovering his sword Glamdring in midair and catching up to the Balrog. He and the Balrog attempt to kill each other as they continue to fall down the abyss, with Gandalf managing to land several blows on the Balrog while it makes constant attempts to strike at Gandalf with its fists and claws. They fall for a few minutes, until they at last crash violently into the underground lake, temporarily extinguishing the Balrog’s flames.

The second flashback shows Gandalf and the Balrog now dueling atop Mount Zirakzigil during a great storm, in which Gandalf manages to imbue his sword with electricity from a lightning strike and stabs the Balrog through the heart, mortally wounding it and causing it to fall from the peak and crash onto the mountain side, its flames extinguished.

Middle Earth Challenge: Beren and Lúthien

Middle Earth Challenge

32708664._SY475_Restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Humans, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.


Alan Lee (Illustrator)
If you have read the The Silmarillion or the Book of Lost Tales Vol 1 & 2, you would know this tale. I know in the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn had mention. Do to the parallels in theme with him and Arwen.
Now this is a tricky one to write about… Where I do like the book and think it does have a home in the Tolkien line up. It really isn’t a stand alone story like the The Children of Húrin. Beren and Lúthien novel is not set up in a stand alone format, in fact it’s reads more like a history/poem/how Tolkien worked book. There is about 40 or so pages of just intro/preface by Christopher Tolkien. Then the story of the Tale of Tinuviel (Beren and Lúthien). . So basically the first one hundred pages are worth the read. The part I had trouble getting through was the long poems afterwards. Hundred plus pages of this.. With notes from Christopher in between explain how his father wrote these stories and what the meaning behind a lot of it was.
When the story of Beren and Lúthien came about in the The Silmarillion and it was vary straight and to the point. Much like the recalling from Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings. it is said that Tolkien wanted these stories that were brought up in the The Silmarillion to have their own long narratives. The stories are Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin. It was within these stories that covered the events in the first age of Middle Earth.
While the novel of Beren and Lúthien is the beginning of the 3. It does not read like the other two. If you want more information about  Beren and Lúthien, I would recommend reading the The Silmarillion and Book of Lost Tales 1 & 2. I would also check out these website about  Beren and Lúthien:


Beren and Lúthien (LOTR Wiki)

Beren and Lúthien (Wiki)

It is here you can get a more full history and understanding of this love story and the rise of Morgoth. Now please keep in mind, I am not bashing this book. I just made the mistake of reading The Children of Húrin first. So I had a mind set of a stand alone story, only to find it was more of a history/poem novel. So that kinda lead to my… I don’t want to say my disappointment… But it left me with a “meh” feeling haha. I guess if you really want to look at it. It’s almost like The Fellowship of the Ring and how it reads. Except the Fellowship severed more as a stand alone novel kinda..

At any rate, I would say check it out if you have the time and are a big Tolkien fan.

Middle Earth Challenge: The Tale of Tinúviel

Middle Earth Challenge

…It is a long tale…” — Aragorn

This one is a little different. As the The Tale of Tinúviel is really the first chapter in the novel The book of Lost Tales Vol. 2. I kinda felt I should write about this before the I write about Beren and Lúthien. Now the Book of Lost Tales Vol. 1 & 2, cover of events that happen in the first age of Middle Earth. They also go with the The Silmarillion to add support to the events and stories within that novel as well.

In the story of The Tale of Tinúviel it is the earliest version of Lúthien(but in this story she is named Tinúviel) writen by Tolkien in 1917. It’s a complex tale of the love between her and Beren and the quest/adventure they have to get the Silmaril. **Spoilers** it also tells the stories of the deaths of Finrod Felagund, Draugluin, Carcharoth, Huan (Beren’s wolf-hound), and the tragic death of Beren.

Art work by https://www.deviantart.com/steamey

The Silmarils is the jewels of the Fëanor. Made with the essence of the two trees of Valinor. Said to be the most prized wonders that would made by the Elves. It was this that started the War of the Jewels and ended the first age of Middle Earth. Now much this tale is told again in the novel The Silmarillion as the epic poem The Lay of Leithian and it does not differ much. In the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn told Frodo of the story Beren and Lúthien. Plus the fact the both Aragorn and Arwen were both descendants of Beren and Lúthien.

It is also said that the tale of Aragorn and Arwen were to act a follow up to the Beren and Lúthien love story. So the themes are similar to each other and Tolkien also mirrored his relationship with his wife within these stories. In 2017 Christopher Tolkien wrote and worked on a 3 part series of the first age of Middle Earth. Beren and Lúthien became the first, taking the tales from Vol 1 & 2 and the works from the Silmarillion. Plus with the note from his father Christopher was able to make a book out of their quest.

Fun History Facts:

  • Tinúviel is only known by that name, which in this version is her given name and not an epithet given by Beren; the name Lúthien never appears.

  • Tevildo, “Prince of Cats”, is the precursor to the later character of Sauron.

  • Tinwelint was the name of the King of Artanor, who later would be changed to Thingol, King of Doriath.

  • Gwendeling was the name of Tinwelint’s wife, who later would be changed to the Maia Melian, Queen of Doriath.

  • Umuiyan is a character who is Tevildo’s doorkeeper.

  • Karkaras is the name of the beast-villain who later would be the wolf Carcharoth.

  • When Beren cuts the Silmaril from Melkor’s crown, he uses a kitchen-knife of Tevildo’s in this tale. Later, Angrist is what he uses instead.

  • Glorund the dragon is mentioned, who later becomes Glaurung.

  • Two named giants are mentioned, Nan and Gilim. In a certain song that Tinúviel sings, they are noted for their length of sword and height of neck, respectively. (Nan’s sword is said to be named Glend).

Middle Earth Challenge: Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years

Middle Earth Challenge

the_tolkien_yearsThe untold story behind the creation of the million-selling Lord of the Rings calendars, written by an author with first-hand knowledge of the creative genius behind them.


Candance Raney (Senior Editor)

This is basically a “coffee table” book. It covers all the art work done for the LOTR calendars, I believe in the 1970’s.. It is a great collection and oddy hard to find at times. I was lucky enough to find it at a local used book store. It still had the pull out poster in it .

It’s a must for an Tolkien fan out there. Not only it give you an account of all the  art work. It does give you the history of each character and what the brothers had to work with to come up with said characters. If you find it any where, grab it!