When a long trailer for “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” was released in July 2022, quite a few Middle-earth fans were happy: Because the last scenes of the trailer showed a Balrog, one of the fiery, demonic creatures , against whom Gandalf (Ian McKellen) fought in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films. In “The Rings of Power” episode 7, the Balrog could finally be seen – but that should have been it again by now.
If you were hoping for more appearances from this Balrog in upcoming seasons of The Rings of Power, you are in for a disappointment. Amazon probably only put the iconic monster in the trailer because everyone – from casual viewers to super fangirls – should recognize the fiery figure immediatelyand not because the Balrog is a big part of the series.
Because after episode 7 it is now clear: It really is the very same Balrog that made life difficult for Gandalf and company in The Fellowship of the Ring, also known as Durin’s Bane, because he Durin VI. kills and expels the dwarves from Khazad-dûm aka Moria. However, all of this only happens in the Third Age – many, many years after the events we witness in The Rings of Power.
You can see that from the fact that Durin III. (Peter Mullan) and his son Durin IV (Owain Arthur) are involved in the Balrog story in Moria, but their descendant with the same name. And also in “The Rings of Power” everything points to it: In episode 7, all mithril excavations will be stopped for the time being and the mine will be sealed. And even Durin and Disa (Sophia Nomvete) agree to digging for it “one day”.when Durin has become king.
However, we doubt whether we will still see this in the context of “The Rings of Power”. It would be theoretically possible for the dwarves to encounter Durin’s Bane before the Third Age, but that would probably be very difficult to explain.
Not only is there no mention of it in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books, it would also introduce unnecessary inconsistencies into the plot: Why is it that none of the dwarves who are known to live long and hold grudges later remember remember fighting the Balrog in the Second Age? And why should Durin’s Bane be content with killing a few dwarves instead of conquering all of Moria?
By the way, it would also be extremely silly to invent a second Balrog for the series, who also lives in Moria and has something to do with mithril, but then encounters the dwarves as early as the Second Age. We really can’t imagine that.
The short appearance of Balrog in the trailer and in episode 7 is very likely just a small Easter egg. On the other hand, we will not see a major fight against Durin’s curse in “The Rings of Power”, because the creature was only startled in the Third Age by the dwarves digging for mithril and then attacked.
But even so, there is still more than enough to tell in the “Lord of the Rings” series. In the season 1 finale, for example, the titular Rings of Power will likely be forged (or at least one of them) and the mystery of the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) and Sauron (is he really Halbrand?) will probably be revealed.