There are plenty of different creatures that are quite fearsome and terrifying in the world that JRR Tolkien created in his books about The Lord of the Rings and the different stories related to this lore. However, two of the most fearsome creatures he imagined and wrote into fiction are the Balrogs and the Nameless Things. Both of these creatures are quite terrifying and powerful in their own right. But who between the Balrogs and the Nameless Things would win in a fight?
It is suggested that the Nameless Things are stronger than the Balrogs because a prophecy regarding Morgoth’s return suggests that he will one day return to Middle Earth and then use the Nameless Things as his secret weapon to finally conquer the world and defeat the Valar.
As strong as Balrogs are in the mythos of Tolkien’s universe, the Nameless Things are so mysterious that we know little to nothing about them because not a lot of things have ever been written about these creatures. But, based on the things that we know, it is quite possible that the Nameless Things are more powerful than the Balrogs due to how ancient and mysterious they are.
Balrogs Powers And Abilities
When it comes to the lore of the world that JRR Tolkien created in his books, we know a lot of fearsome creatures that are quite strong and terrifying. Of course, these creatures are most likely dark and evil because of how the world fears them. Some of the creatures that were able to make their way to the movie universe based on Tolkien’s novels were the Balrogs, who were represented by a Balrog named Durin’s Bane during The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
What a lot of people forget is that Balrogs were never monsters that inhabited Middle Earth as mindless demonic beasts that only existed to kill and destroy. Instead, Balrogs were once exalted godlike or angel-like beings called Maiar, which resided together with the Valar in Valinor, which is essentially the heaven or the paradise of the world that Tolkien created.
Due to the fact that they were once Maiar, which are entities that are only below the Valar in terms of rank and power, the Balrogs are incredibly powerful and are capable of fighting on par with most of the other creatures in Middle Earth. But the one thing that makes Balrogs quite distinguishable is the fact that they are cloaked in shadow and flame as they are corrupted Maiar.
Balrogs were once Maiar that were corrupted by the Valar named Melkor, who became the dark lord known as Morgoth, who was the greatest threat that Middle Earth and the Valar faced during the First Age. In fact, Morgoth was Sauron’s master, as both Sauron and the Balrogs served this dark lord during the First Age before the original dark lord was defeated and imprisoned.
Throughout the war that occurred during the First Age, the greatest of the Balrogs was Gothmog, who was their leader. Like other Balrogs, Gothmog was incredibly powerful and was also cloaked in shadow and flame as a large beast-like creature armed with a sword and a whip.
In battle, Gothmog and the other Balrogs were adept fighters that belied the fact that they were huge monsters. They aren’t clumsy giants like Trolls, which struggle to move around nimbly and are quite dumb and unskilled. Instead, the Balrogs are capable fighters that are quite mobile and skilled at using their swords and whips. This made them incredibly dangerous foes that, as Gandalf said, were beyond any of the members of the Fellowship of the Ring, which had strong fighters in Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, and Legolas.
Balrogs are also capable of utilizing their flames in a fight as they are capable of burning their opponents down to ash. While Balrogs aren’t dragons, they are still very adept at using flames in a battle. On top of that, flames do not affect Balrogs because they are made of flames themselves.
While the Balrogs weren’t always focus characters in any of Tolkien’s works, we did see a Balrog named Durin’s Bane in action during the time when the Fellowship of the Ring had to pass through the mines of Moria. It was this Balrog that killed Durin and almost an entire army of Dwarves that wanted to make their home in Moria. They attempted to fight Durin’s Bane off, but not even the sheer numbers of the dwarves were able to do anything against it.
Meanwhile, during the events of LOTR, Durin’s Bane was said to be beyond any of the members of the Fellowship, except for Gandalf. The wizard fought the Balrog off to the point that the battle took ten days. While the battle was mostly a stalemate, a last-ditch effort by Gandalf proved to be what eventually killed Durin’s Bane. Gandalf, also a Maiar himself, died in that fight but was asked to return to Middle Earth by the Valar as Gandalf the White because his task was yet to be completed.
Nameless Things Powers And Abilities
While a lot of the different creatures and monsters in Tolkien’s novels were described well enough in the books, the Nameless Things were creatures that are still quite mysterious even today. That’s because Tolkien didn’t talk about them a lot, as they are still enigmatic. Nevertheless, let’s look at what we know about the Nameless Things and how strong they are.
It is said that the Nameless Things pre-date even Sauron himself because, as Gandalf said, not even the dark lord knew anything about them. That means that they have been around for as long as possible and are some of the most ancient creatures in Middle Earth and quite possibly the entire world of Arda.
The Nameless Things are said to be large creatures that are slimier than fish and once dwelled in the darkness of the Misty Mountains. However, when the orcs started digging tunnels in the Misty Mountains, the Nameless Things withdrew even deeper into the dark depths of Arda, as not a lot of people have seen them or have lived to tell stories about them.
However, it is possible that the Watcher that the Fellowship of the Ring faced before entering the mines of Moria was one of the Nameless Things, as this was a creature that fit the description of what they are—slimy creatures that dwelled in the dark depths of Middle Earth. But it is quite possible that the Watcher was simply one of the lower entities that belonged to the Nameless Things.
Whatever the case may be, if we would use the Watcher as an example, it is clear that the Nameless Things are large and strong creatures that could quite possibly take on entire battalions. The entire Fellowship struggled against the Watcher because of its tentacles. And this forced them to retreat into the mines of Moria, where they faced an equally dangerous foe in the form of Durin’s Bane.
Balrogs vs. Nameless Things: Who Would Win In A Fight?
While we don’t know a lot about the Nameless Things, there is a unique reason why we believe that they could be stronger than the Balrogs. And that goes back to Morgoth himself, whose army of Balrogs was left nearly extinct after the First Age.
The prophecy of Mandos suggests that, at the end of it all, Morgoth will once again return to wage the final war against Middle Earth and the Valar. It is also suggested that he will use the Nameless Things as his secret weapon in the war that he will wage to finally defeat the Valar and claim Middle Earth as his domain. As such, it is possible that the Nameless Things, being secret weapons, were always more powerful than the Balrogs, who ended up losing in the First Age.
Of course, there is another reason that can be quite obvious. As mentioned, the Balrogs wrap themselves in shadows and flames and are basically creatures that are made of fire. On the other hand, the Nameless Things dwell in the water. That means that the Nameless Things have an elemental advantage over the Balrogs because of the fact that water basically beats fire. Still, that is just speculation on our part as we know little to nothing about the Nameless Things.