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Things of Middle-earth


Type: Animals

Other Names: Urulóki, fire-serpent, fire-drake, worm, dragon, worm of greed, long-worm, Foalókë

Description:They are described as armored but with a soft underbelly, and a tail that coils. Several mentions are made of the 'dragon stench' which distresses men and horses. Looking into a dragon's eyes is dangerous, Túrin did so and "straightway he fell under the binding spell of the lidless eyes of the dragon, and was halted moveless." Dragons also have a keen sense of smell.
The Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

In Book of Lost Tales 2 Tolkien says "those drakes and worms are the evillest creatures that Melko has made, and the most uncouth, yet of all are they the most powerful, save it be the Balrogs only. A great cunning and wisdom have they, so that it has been long said amongst Men that whosoever might taste the heart of a dragon would know all tongues of Gods or Men, of birds or beasts, and his ears would catch whispers of the Valar or of Melko such as never had he heard before." He goes on to say that few may "taste their blood and live, for it is as a poison of fires that slays all save the most godlike in strength."

"Many are the dragons that Melko has loosed upon the world and some are more mighty than others. Now the least mighty -- yet were they very great beside the Men of those days -- are cold as is the nature of snakes and serpents, and of them a many having wings go with the uttermost noise and speed; but the mightier are hot and very heavy and slow-going, and some belch flame, and fire flickereth beneath their scales, and the lust and greed and cunning evil of these is the greatest of all creatures..."
Book of Lost Tales 2, Turambar And The Foalókë

From The Hobbit: "Dragons steal gold and jewels, you know, from men and elves and dwarves, wherever they can find them; and they guard their plunder as long as they live (which is practically forever, unless they are killed), and never enjoy a brass ring of it. Indeed they hardly know a good bit of work from a bad, though they usually have a good notion of the current market value; and they can't make a thing for themselves, not even mend a little loose scale of their armour."
Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

Dragons can be sidetracked as Bilbo discovered: "No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it."
Hobbit, Ch 12, Inside Information

Finally, Dragon gold can cause 'dragon-sickness,' a greed for gold that breeds desire for more.

There are four named dragons: Ancalagon the Black 'mightiest of the dragon-host', Glaurung 'father of dragons', Smaug 'mightiest dragon of his day' and Scatha, from whose horde came the horn that Éowyn gifted to Merry.

Dragons are originally creatures of Morgoth, but appeared to have been quiescent for long periods. The Tale of Years says it was in 2570 of the third age that "Dragons reappear in the far North and begin to afflict the Dwarves." They came from "the Withered Heath where the great dragons bred."
Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

Contributors: Lyllyn 10.17.03

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