Wherefore are there dragons?

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Wherefore are there dragons?

Postby Ursamajor » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:05 am

I am wondering if anyone has given thought to the origin of dragons. The Silmarillion says Morgoth bred them and they first appeared in the great battle at the end of the first age. There is also evidence they come in at least four flavours; fire-drake (winged, and unwinged), cold-drake, and long wyrm.
My question comes from the fact that Morgoth cannot create, only corrupt. Orcs from elves, trolls from ents, wargs from wolves, etc. so what in Middle Earth are dragons a corruption of? Are they a cross breed of Maia and something else? Or possibly the original creatures were utterly destroyed either by Morgoth or in the final battle of the first age.
Any thoughts would be helpful as I've been stewing about this for a while.
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Re: Wherefore are there dragons?

Postby scirocco » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:50 am

Ursamajor wrote:I am wondering if anyone has given thought to the origin of dragons. . so what in Middle Earth are dragons a corruption of? Are they a cross breed of Maia and something else?


Tolkien didn't make any really clear statement on the subject, but reading between the lines, I think that the fire-drake dragons evolved or were bred from lesser worms. More of a selective breeding program by Morgoth than a corruption from another creature in my opinion.
For a while other evils that he (Morgoth) had devised or nurtured lived on, although he himself was taken away; and Orcs and Dragons, breeding again in dark places, became names of terror...
The Conclusion of the Quenta Silmarillion, HoME 5

The wording here suggest that Orcs were "devised" but that Dragons were "nurtured".
As far as them being Maiar is concerned, I'm deeply sceptical of the whole "if in doubt, it must be a Maia" attitude. Dragons are physical beasts - you can kill them and they remain dead. They aren't like the Balrog, who is specifically described as a spirit and is never actually described as being dead. Just because dragons have some almost magical powers when alive doesn't make them Maiar. This is Middle-earth - things are allowed to be supernatural - Elves can live for ever, eagles can talk, trees can walk, wolves and birds can take orders and report information. You don't have to automatically assume that they are all Maiar who have descended into Ea with Iluvatar at the beginning of time.
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