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How the Balrog Was Invented

How J.R.R. Tolkien came up with the idea of a "balrog" for his novels, because of curry paste.


In 1939, J.R.R. Tolkien was visited by 7.5 kilograms of Extra Hot Red Curry Paste from India. "Good day, Mr. Tolkien, sir", the Curry Paste said. "I have travelled far to talk to thee. Know then that I am far too spicy to be ingested by any living human. I would like to ask thee, if I shall be allowed, to find a person suitable to consume me."

"Well", Tolkien said, "the hardiest people on Earth are the Viking warriors of Norway. Let us go and find one."

They went to Tromsø and found one. He was very large, like all Vikings, and he wore a horned helmet, like all Vikings. He was also just holding a whip, because he had just led his reindeer flock to the summer meadows. His name was Bælle Røkke.

"Ha, puny Englishman!" he boomed. "Afraid of some food? I will show you how hardy we are!" And he took the 7.5 kilograms of Extra Hot Red Curry Paste and shoved it all into his mouth!

"Wuhaaaaa! Hot!" Mr. Røkke howled. It was so hot he burst into flames! For a moment, Tolkien just saw him as a dark silhouette in front of the shimmering aurora: a large horned being with a whip, clothed in flames.

"This looks kind of cool", Tolkien said. "I will base a monster in my new novel on this look. And I will call it... Bælle Røkke... Bællrøkke... Balrog!"

This is how the Balrog was invented.

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A comprehensive collection of short truths from J.R.R. Tolkien's life, and the many wonders and miracles he bestowed upon the world. Put together and published here for the first time!


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