Tolkien 101: The Most Metal Deaths in Middle Earth

In the comment section to last week’s post on A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War, Jason from Off the TBR asked when I would do a post on Tolkien’s influence on rock.

He would make a good Glorfindel

Obviously, my first thought was that he was referring to Tolkien’s influence on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  But, one, I could find no paper trail in support of said influence (the People’s Elbow is entirely too egalitarian for Tolkien’s tastes) and, two, apparently Jason was talking about rock music.

That, too, is sadly not my forte.  Just go over to Music Monday on the other blog and see how many rock songs you find (Steve Earle counts, damn it).  But.  But.  With family in town and a work deadline looming, I could use a breather (yes, this entire week has been a breather over both blogs—I have been squandering my time caring for my child and working at my actual job).  And.  And.  After a hiatus—our great national nightmare—possibly the greatest blog post in the history of the world has reappeared.

I present to you: Austin Gilkeson’s The Most Metal Deaths in Middle Earth, Ranked

I will give you one, small, fair use taste.  I trust that is all that it will take.

9.) Ecthelion

Let’s talk about Balrogs. Balrogs were fire-spirits corrupted by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord and Tolkien’s stand-in for Satan. Most people think of Balrogs as the fallen angels and demons of Middle-earth. But they’re even more metal than that. In Tolkien’s legendarium, the Sun is a fire-spirit who did not fall. Which means two things: (1) Our Sun is a Balrog, and (2) Taking on a Balrog is a surefire way to get violently inducted into Mandos’s most metal hall.

The elf-warrior Ecthelion and the Lord of Balrogs, Gothmog, killed each other in single combat during the fall of the elvish city Gondolin. Ecthelion gets major metal points for dying in battle against the Sun’s evil cousin. But he loses points for location: he and Gothmog fought and died in a fountain. Fountains are delightful, not metal. Ecthelion should have stopped the battle and suggested they move to a more suitably metal place, like a volcano or a fjord. A demon-lord called Gothmog would surely have agreed.

Read the rest here.


Bonus track: You think George R.R. Martin is rock ’n’ roll just because he named his series A Song of Ice and Fire and stuck some incest in there?  J.R.R. Tolkien is more rock ’n’ roll than Martin’s ever been.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Led Zeppelin.


You can find all of my Tolkien 101 posts here.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
This entry was posted in Sundry, Throwback SF and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Tolkien 101: The Most Metal Deaths in Middle Earth

  1. H.P. says:

    I should point out that there are two Gothmogs: Gothmog Lord of Balrogs and Gothmog lieutenant of Morgul. The latter is briefly mentioned in the books but gets a much more prominent role in the movies (he is the deformed orc leading Sauron’s armies against Minas Tirith). One of the few places where the extended versions actively detract from the story are the additional scenes featuring Gothmog fighting Eowyn and later getting killed by Aragorn and Gimli.


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  3. John Boyle says:

    I had never heard of that list until you linked to it in your last Tolkien post. It is superb and Tolkien is indeed more metal than G.R.R.Martin has ever been.

    I quite agree with your opinion of Gothmog Lt of Morgul in the movies. Almost completely unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL, I now want a Wrestling/LotR crossover! Vince McMahon joining forces with Sauron, god help us all! And I am sure Triple H will become the ring-bearer and goes over Frodo, cause.. that’s what he does! But in the end it turns out that he’s been working together with Vince & Sauron all along!

    Arwen & Galadriel have to wear bikinis all the time unfortunately and have bra & panties matches.

    …maybe this is not such a great idea after all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alex says:

    A remake of the Lord of the Rings movies with a Led Zeppelin and other heavy metal soundtrack.

    Someone must make it happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Pingback: The most metal deaths in Middle Earth – The FAR System

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