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Balor (sometimes spelled Balar or Bolar), also known as Balor of the Evil Eye, is the tyrant warrior of Fomorians, a race of semi-divine beings from Irish mythology feared for the power of his large eye that wreaks destruction when opened. He has been interpreted as a personification of drought, blight, and the scorching sun.
It is said that Balor was the son of Buarainech, husband of Cethlenn, and grandson of Neit. Described as a giant with destructive large eye, Balor is a tyrant who oppresses Ireland from his fortress on Tory Island.
Upon learning a prophecy about his downfall where he would be killed by his grandson, Balor sought to avoid this future as with other antagonistic figures in various mythologies does. In his case, he locked away his only daughter Ethniu, in a tower on Tory Island to keep her from becoming pregnant. One day however, he made a mistake by stealing Glas Gaibhnenn, a magical cow of abundance from Goibniu the smith, leading the cow's guardian at that time, Cian, to set out to get it back. Infiltrating the tower with aid of the druidess Biróg, he stumbled upon Ethniu and fell in love with her. Unfortunately, Balor soon discovered this and killed him for it, yet it was too late. Ethniu is already pregnant with a child. As soon as she gave birth a son, Balor took his grandson away and tried to drown the child in the sea. However, he is saved by the sea god Manannán, who raises the child as his foster-son. He grows up to become Lugh and officially become one of Tuatha Dé Danann's best warriors and eventually, their king.
As the king of Tuatha Dé Danann, he led his people fighting his grandfather and Fomorian forces in the Battle of Mag Tuired (Moytura) after Nuada's death. When Balor wreak havoc with the power of his evil eye, Lugh, with either a sling stone or in other sources, a spear crafted by Goibniu, tore Balor's magical eye off his skull, turning its overwhelming dark powers against his own legion in process and subsequently, Tuatha Dé Danann's victory in the war. The injured Balor then beheaded by Lugh, ending his reign of terror.
One legend tells that, when Balor was slain by Lugh, Balor's eye was still open when he fell face first into the ground. Said eye's power burns a hole filled with water and became a lake which is now known as Loch na Súl ("lake of the eye") in County Sligo. Another tradition is that he was the grandson of Nét and that he met his death at Carn Uí Néit ("cairn of Nét's grandson"), known in English as Mizen Head. On Tory Island there are features called Dún Bhalair ("Balor's fortress") and Túr Bhalair ("Balor's tower").
Powers and Abilities
Balor is one of most formidable Fomorians ever faced by Tuatha Dé Danann. His enormous size conferred considerable physical strength, which attributed to how he bested and ultimately slew Nuada in combat. The Fomorian warlord's infamous ability that made him embody the concept of "evil eye" however, is the mystical middle eye that described as fiery as much as venomous. While O'Donovan's version of the folktale pertaining him stated that the eye could unleash petrifying beams not unlike that of mythical basilisk, more well-known accounts instead depicted it generating streams of scorching heat not unlike sunlight during heatwaves albeit in more catastrophic scale, latter which faithful to interpretation of him as the personification of the harmful aspects of the sun.