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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Re: Wherefore are there dragons?

Postby Xlranet » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:09 am

Compared to every other creature that Morgoth corrupted, dragons appeared much later than his other corruptions. This can show how much he had probably edited something a lot to create a dragon.
I would have said he got an Eagle and changed it as it could have been hard to capture one therefore taking a long time to make something good in Morgoth's eyes (maybe he had to experiment on lots eagles until he got the right dragon?)
However, the first dragons (or dragon, as it may have just been Glaurung) did not have wings, so it may have been a different creature.

OR Glaurung was offspring of a creature or creatures who shared the same creation as Ungoliant, which would explain how they had the powers of hypnotising and light-draining (hmm light-draining? i'll make a new topic hold up)

OR Morgoth created them, which is contradicting but remember Aule created the dwarves and Morgoth is meant to have more power than him.

OR im wrong :) :)
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Re: Wherefore are there dragons?

Postby Felarof » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:45 pm

Think of the winged creature ridden by the Nazgul in LOTR.
"A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day, and in hideous eyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil."

If we can allow creatures of an older world to survive, I can think of quite a few possibilities for the root-stock of dragons.
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