Balrogs are some of the most favorite creatures of JRR Tolkien fans among the different entities that exist in The Lord of the Rings. The popularity of the Balrog only increased with the impending appearance of Durin’s Bane in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. But when it comes to Balrogs, the name “Gothmog” often comes up as the strongest out of all of them. So, are Gothmog and Durin’s Bane the same, and which Balrog is stronger?
Gothmog and Durin’s Bane are different because Gothmog was the chief of the Balrogs and was the strongest among them. He was the one responsible for Fëanor’s death during the First Age. On the other hand, Durin’s Bane was just an ordinary Balrog that managed to escape and hide after the First Age.
The fact that Durin’s Bane is only an ordinary Balrog but was able to cause so much damage in the history of the Dwarves is proof of the fact that Balrogs are incredibly powerful creatures. This also means that Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs, was even more powerful during his time. Now, in that regard, let’s talk more about Gothmog and the Balrogs.
What Are Balrogs?
A lot of fans aren’t new to the Balrogs because they met one in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring when the Fellowship passed through the mines of Moria on their way to Mordor. However, while fans of the movies were impressed by how mighty and powerful the Balrog of Moria was, the thing is that Balrogs used to be quite numerous back in the older ages of history.
Balrogs have been around for a very long time, as there were a lot of Balrogs during the time of Morgoth. And those who want to know more about the Balrogs need to look at history a bit deeper to understand what they are and where they come from.
When Eru Ilúvatar created the world, he started by creating the Ainur, which are divine spirits that are capable of incredible power. Fourteen of the Ainur became the Valar, as they were far stronger than any of the Ainur. Meanwhile, the other Ainur became the Maiar, who were numerous but were weaker and were associated with certain Valar.
During the time when the Ainur were creating the world, Melkor, the strongest of all of the Ainur and the one who became Morgoth, desired to be Eru Ilúvatar’s equal, and that was why he disrupted the Music of the Ainur and became the source of evil and darkness in the world. When he fell from grace, he wasn’t alone because he was able to corrupt a lot of other Maiar that eventually joined him. These Maiar took on fiery demonic forms and soon became the Balrogs, which were some of the first soldiers that fought on Morgoth’s side when he became the Black Foe of the World.
It was during the First Age when Morgoth relied a lot on his Balrogs, as they were the elite soldiers that he sent to battle against some of the strongest that the Ñoldor Elves had to offer. These creatures had gigantic demonic bodies that were made out of flames. On top of that, they also wielded fiery swords and whips.
However, after the First Age, all of the Balrogs were destroyed and were forced to revert back to their spiritual forms as Maiar. That is why the Balrogs were basically extinct and wiped out from the face of the Middle-Earth after the First Age.
Who Is Gothmog?
During the time when Morgoth relied on his Balrogs when it came to war, he also had a Balrog commander that led all of the Balrogs on the battlefield. This Balrog was Gothmog, who was the strongest and greatest of the Balrogs. He was chief among the Balrogs and was given the title of the Lord of Balrogs due to his might.
Gothmog wasn’t entirely different from all of the Balrogs but was just merely inherently stronger and mightier than the rest of these already powerful demonic entities. In fact, Gothmog was so strong that he was the one responsible for dealing the fatal wounds that killed Fëanor, the high king of the Ñoldor and was the one who was often considered the greatest among the Elves.
After that, Gothmog continued to engage in several battles for Morgoth. He once again killed another Ñoldor king in the form of Fingon, who was defeated when another Balrog joined the battle and allowed Gothmog to turn the Elf’s body into dust.
When Gothmog led the forces of Angband in the siege on the Hidden City of Gondolin, he fought another powerful Elf in the form of Ecthelion of the Fountain. He was about to defeat Ecthelion before the Elf rammed Gothmog with his pointed helm and forced the Balrog into the Fountain of the King. Gothmog was cleansed by the waters of the fountain, while Ecthelion died due to drowning.
At the end of the First Age, all of the Balrogs were believed to have been defeated by the combined forces of the Valar and the Elves. But that wasn’t entirely the case at all because one Balrog had survived.
Who Is Durin’s Bane?
While all of the other Balrogs were defeated by the end of the First Age, one particular Balrog survived the fall of his master. This Balrog ran away from the battle and hid in the Misty Mountains, where it was able to find refuge while it tried to keep itself outside the limits of the eyes of the Valar and the Elves. It stayed dormant in the roots of the Misty Mountains and went into a long and deep slumber that lasted thousands of years.
When the Dwarves of the great Dwarven kingdom of Khazad-dûm started digging deeper and deeper into the Misty Mountains to mine mithril, they didn’t know that peril awaited them at the end of the excavation.
Due to the activities of the Dwarves, the Balrog that had been sleeping in the Misty Mountains woke up and terrorized Khazad-dûm. The Balrog slew King Durin and became known as Durin’s Bane. After that, the Dwarves were forced to abandon Khazad-dûm, which eventually became known as Moria when the Balrog took residence in it.
During the events of The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring passed through Moria, where Durin’s Bane blocked their path. Gandalf had to stay behind to fight the creature, as he believed that the Balrog was beyond any of the other members of the Fellowship. Both the Balrog and Gandalf fell into the waters under the Misty Mountains, as Durin’s Bane ran while the Wizard pursued it.
In the end, Gandalf slew Durin’s Bane but fell due to his injuries as well. This was when Gandalf was sent back to Middle-Earth by the Valar in the form of Gandalf the White because his mission was not yet done.
Who Is Stronger Between Gothmog And Durin’s Bane?
At this point, it is quite obvious that there is no doubt that Gothmog is stronger than Durin’s Bane. That’s because Gothmog was the chief of the Balrogs and was the strongest out of all of the corrupted Maiar (except for Sauron) that joined Morgoth. On the other hand, as strong as he was during the events of The Lord of the Rings, Durin’s Bane was simply one of the regular Balrogs that fought under Gothmog back in the First Age when Morgoth was still active.