08 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 161: Dragons in Middle-earth

Dragons were among the most ancient and terrible of all the creatures in Middle-earth. It is likely that they were first bred by Morgoth upon his return to Angband with the Silmarils.

There were three strains of dragons:

Urulóki – Also called fire-drakes, the Urulóki (Q. ‘hot serpents’) were the most common type of dragon during the First Age. Although they breathed fire, they could not fly. Glaurung was the first of this kind. These dragons could only be withstood by those specially armoured to face their fire; the Dwarves were best equipped for this, as theirs was the most durable armour in Middle-earth.

Winged dragonsFirst appearing during the Great Battle, the winged dragons not only flew, as their name suggests, but they also breathed fire. Following the Great Battle, they are not mentioned in the history of Middle-earth until TA 2570, when they reappeared in the Ered Mithrin. Ancalagon the Black was the first and greatest of the flying dragons, but Smaug was one of the last remaining winged dragons in Middle-earth.  

Cold-drakesThe lesser cold-drakes, found only in the Ered Mithrin, probably did not breathe fire. Instead they relied on their speed and size. It was one of these creatures, Scatha the Worm, who slew Dáin I and his son Frór, causing their folk to abandon their homes in the Ered Mithrin and return to Erebor.

Additionally, dragons are also sometimes referred to as drakes, worms, long-worms, or serpents.  

Most of the dragons in Middle-earth were not only strong, but they were also cunning, quick-witted, malicious, and greedy (they were known for possessing much wealth). They also had the ability to bewitch anyone who looked into their eyes.  

1 comment:

  1. As someone who read The Hobbit first, before any other of Tolkien's works, it's really only after reading the Silmarillion that I got a better appreciation for Smaug, given the awesome and powerful tradition of dragons he descends from.