The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

!!!!This is NOT a forum. Comments are to be informative and generally helpful. Clean humor is acceptable, but NOT if it detracts from the entry. This site is to help people find out more about fantastical creatures!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dragon--Tolkien


Besides dragon (derived from French), Tolkien variously used the terms drake (the original English term, from Old English draca, in turn from Latin draco) and worm (from Old English wyrm, "serpent", "dragon). This brilliant writer made many observations about dragons that established the foundation for many fantastical researchers today.


History
The dragons were created by Morgoth during the First Age, when Glaurung first appeared. It is stated that they are great spirits. This means that they must be fallen Maiar (although some of Tolkien's earlier works state that they were bred from a corrupted stock;).Dragons were capable of breeding on their own, and in later ages the Withered Heath was purportedly their spawning ground.

Taxonomy
Tolkien designed his own taxonomic system for dragons, based on locomotion and fire-breathing. Some dragons (Glaurung) walked on four legs, like Komodo dragons or other lizards. Other dragons (Ancalagon, Smaug) could both walk on four legs and fly using wings. Winged-dragons were only first witnessed during the War of Wrath, the battle that ended the First Age, so all dragons seen before the end of the First Age could not fly (such as Glaurung), although breeds of wingless dragons did exist.


Dragons who could breathe fire were called Urulóki (singular Urulokë), "Fire-drakes". It is not entirely clear whether the term "Urulóki" referred only to the first dragons such as Glaurung that could breathe fire but were wingless, or to any dragon that could breathe fire, and thus include Smaug. Interestingly, Tolkien mentions a "Cold-drake". It is commonly assumed, though not directly stated, that this term indicated a dragon which could not breathe fire, rather than one who "breathed" ice or snow like the White Dragons. Tolkien calls the dragon Scatha a "long-worm" but does not explicitly explain the term.

Other characteristics
All of Tolkien's dragons also shared a love of treasure (especially gold), subtle intelligence, immense cunning, great physical strength, and a hypnotic power called "dragon-spell". They are extremely powerful and dangerous, though they mature very slowly. Because of this, Melkor's first attempts to use them against his enemies failed, as they had not yet become powerful enough to become extremely useful in battle. Dragon-fire (even that of Ancalagon the Black) is stated as not being hot enough to melt the One Ring; however, four of the Dwarven Rings were consumed by Dragon-fire.

Named dragons
Glaurung
Father of Dragons, slain by Turin Turambar. First of the Urulóki, the Fire-drakes of Angband. He had four legs and could breathe fire, but he did not have wings. Glaurung could control and enslave Men using his mind.


Ancalagon: (Sindarin: rushing jaws from anc 'jaw', alag 'impetuous')
The Dark Lord Morgoth bred Ancalagon, called the Black, during the First Age to be the greatest and mightiest of all dragons, and the first of the winged 'fire-drakes'. Near the end of the long War of Wrath that pitted Morgoth's hosts against the Host of the Valar, Morgoth sent Ancalagon, leading a fleet of winged dragons, from the fortress of Angband to destroy the Dark Lord's enemies. So powerful was the assault of the dragon fleet that the host of the Valar was driven back from the gates of Angband onto the ashy plain of Anfauglith.

But Earendil 'The Blessed' in his powerfully hallowed elven airborne ship Vingilot duelled with Ancalagon for an entire day, until Eärendil at length prevailed, pitching Ancalagon onto the triple-peaked towers of Thangorodrim, destroying both dragon and towers. With his last and mightiest defender slain, Melkor was soon utterly defeated and made captive.
Ancalagon was said to have been so large that he blotted the Sun out, even from afar. He was the largest of any dragon to appear in Middle-earth, even larger than Smaug. His length was unknown, though longer than Glaurung or any other ground dwelling dragons. Despite his legendary fire-breath, Ancalagon was reckoned to be insufficiently hot to melt the One Ring, and none of the lesser dragons could do so.

Ancalagon was possibly long-lived like other dragons Melkor bred. So large a dragon would have taken centuries to grow to his full size. The method of how exactly Eärendil managed to battle and slay so titanic a creature is not explained.


Scatha
A mighty "long-worm" of the Grey Mountains, little is known of Scatha except that he was slain by Fram son of Frumgar (an ancestor of Eorl the Young) in the early days of the Eotheod.
After slaying Scatha, Fram's ownership of his recovered hoard was then disputed by the Dwarves of that region. Fram rebuked this claim, sending them instead Scatha's teeth, with the words, "Jewels such as these you will not match in your treasuries, for they are hard to come by." This led to his death in a feud with the Dwarves, and however the dispute was resolved, Fram's descendants "brought few good tales from the north of that folk". Certainly the Éothéod retained at least some of the hoard, and brought it south with them when they settled in Rohan. The horn that Eowyn gave to Merry Brandybuck after the War of the Ring (many hundred years later) came from this hoard.


Smaug
The last great dragon of Middle-earth, slain by Bard, a descendant of Girion Lord of Dale. A winged fire-breathing dragon. He was described as red-gold in color, and his underbelly was encrusted with many gemstones from the treasure-pile he commonly slept upon once he had taken control of Erebor (the Lonely Mountain). Smaug had only a single weakness: he was missing a scale from his left breast area. Like most dragons, Smaug was both intelligent and cunning.


Other dragons were present at the Fall of Gondolin. In the late Third Age, the dragons bred in the Northern Waste and Withered Heath north of the Ered Mithrin. Dain I of Durin's folk was killed by a cold-drake.

Earlier conceptions
In the earliest drafts of "The Fall of Gondolin", the first ever to be written, Morgoth (here called Melkor) sends mechanical war machines in the form of dragons against the city; some even serve as armoured personnel carriers for Orcs. These machines do not appear in the published Silmarillion, also edited by Christopher Tolkien, where real dragons attack the city. Real dragons at this stage were classified by the presence of wings or ability to fly: the winged, flying ones were smaller and could not breathe fire; the unwinged ones were larger and did breathe fire. These distinctions do not apply to Tolkien's later Ancalagon and Smaug, who had wings and could breathe fire and were the two largest dragons in Middle-earth.


A special thanks to Wikipedia and to J.R.R. Tolkien as well as the brilliant artist that I can't seem to find the original link to--help me out and send it to me!

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