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Dragons

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| name=Dragons, Drakes, Worms
 
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| languages=Various Mannish and Elvish tongues<ref>{{PM|II}}, "Note on an unpublished letter"</ref>
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| languages=Various Mannish and Elvish tongues<ref>[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], "[[Leila Keene and Pat Kirke 3 August 1943]]" ([[Letters not published in "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien"|letter]]); quoted in {{PM|II}}, "Note on an unpublished letter", pp. 72-73</ref>
 
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[[Image:Ted Nasmith - Scouring the Mountain.jpg|thumb|left|''Scouring the Mountain'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
 
[[Image:Ted Nasmith - Scouring the Mountain.jpg|thumb|left|''Scouring the Mountain'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
 
===The origin and early history of dragons===
 
===The origin and early history of dragons===
Seeing the strength of the [[Noldor]] in battle, Melkor realized that [[orcs]] alone were not sufficient to defeat his enemies. He therefore began to breed a new race of monsters: the dragons.<ref>{{GA|115}}</ref>
+
Seeing the strength of the [[Noldor]] in battle, Melkor realized that [[orcs]] alone were not sufficient to defeat his enemies. He therefore began to breed a new race of monsters: the dragons.<ref>{{GA|115}}</ref><ref group=note>How this was done is unclear.</ref>
  
[...]
+
The Father of Dragons was [[Glaurung]], a mighty worm with a fearful intelligence and a powerful hypnotic gaze. Glaurung played an integral part in the fate of the Children of [[Húrin]]. Among his many crimes were the destruction of the Elf-realm of [[Nargothrond]] and a spell cast upon [[Nienor]] which stripped her of her memory. This eventually led her to a disastrous reunion and marriage to her long-lost brother [[Túrin]]. When Nienor learned the truth of Glaurung's plot, she flung herself to her death. Glaurung was finally slain by Túrin, who afterward committed suicide in reaction to Glaurung's plot.
  
At the [[Fall of Gondolin]], Morgoth's foul host included dragons, "''many and terrible''".<ref>{{S|23}}</ref>
+
At the [[Fall of Gondolin]], Morgoth's foul host included dragons, "''many and terrible''"<ref>{{S|23}}</ref> including the fearful [[Beast of Gondolin]].
 +
 
 +
During the [[War of Wrath]], Morgoth unleashed a new terror upon Middle-earth -- the winged dragons. Chief among these was [[Ancalagon]] the Black. Eventually slain by [[Eärendil]] the Mariner, Ancalagon's fall crushed the towers of [[Thangorodrim]]. Many of the dragons were destroyed in the War of Wrath but some fled and survived into the later Ages of Middle-earth.
  
 
===The re-emergence of dragons===
 
===The re-emergence of dragons===
[...]
+
No dragon is mentioned in the tales of the [[Second Age]]. It would appear that the dragons that survived [[Beleriand]]'s destruction fled to the [[Northern Waste]], far from the lands of [[Men]] and [[Elves]]. Over the centuries, the race of dragons continued to breed and repopulate, particularly in the [[Withered Heath]], an area north of the [[Grey Mountains]].
  
In the late [[Third Age]] the dragons bred in the Northern Waste and Withered Heath north of the [[Ered Mithrin]], stirred by the [[Necromancer|return of Evil]], and began to make war with the Dwarves around year [[Third Age 2570|2570]] ([[Dáin I]] and [[Frór]] of [[Durin's folk]] were killed by a great cold-drake in [[Third Age 2589|2589]]).<ref>{{App|B2}}</ref><ref name=Durin>{{App|A3}}</ref> It was perhaps in these wars that dragons swallowed four of the [[Seven Dwarf-rings]].<ref name=Shadow>{{FR|Shadow}}</ref>
+
In the late [[Third Age]] the dragons bred in the Withered Heath, stirred by the [[Necromancer|return of Evil]], began to make war with the [[Dwarves]] around the year {{TA|2570}} ([[Dáin I]] and [[Frór]] of [[Durin's folk]] were killed by a great cold-drake in {{TA|2589|n}}).<ref>{{App|B2}}</ref><ref name=Durin>{{App|A3}}</ref> It was perhaps in these wars that dragons swallowed four of the [[Seven Dwarf-rings]].<ref name=Shadow>{{FR|Shadow}}</ref>
  
[...]
+
The most fearsome dragon of the Third Age was [[Smaug]], who laid waste to the Dwarf-realm of [[Lonely Mountain|Erebor]] and the nearby town of [[Dale]]. This devastated the area and sent [[Durin's folk]] into exile. Smaug remained in the abandoned halls of the Lonely Mountain for many years until the coming of [[Thorin and Company]] and their "burglar", the [[Hobbits|hobbit]] [[Bilbo Baggins]]. This began a chain of events that led to Smaug's death at the hands of [[Bard]] the Bowman.
  
 
Although Smaug was the greatest of the dragons of his day,<ref name=Durin/> he seems not to have been the last of his kind as [[Gandalf]] told [[Frodo Baggins|Frodo]] that "''there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough'' [to melt the Rings of Power]",<ref name=Shadow/> indicating the presence of other, lesser dragons.  
 
Although Smaug was the greatest of the dragons of his day,<ref name=Durin/> he seems not to have been the last of his kind as [[Gandalf]] told [[Frodo Baggins|Frodo]] that "''there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough'' [to melt the Rings of Power]",<ref name=Shadow/> indicating the presence of other, lesser dragons.  
  
 
==Characteristics==
 
==Characteristics==
 +
===Means of locomotion===
 +
Some dragons ([[Glaurung]]) walked on four legs, like a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_dragon Komodo dragon] or some other lizard.
 +
*A second type ([[Ancalagon]], [[Smaug]]) could both walk on four legs and fly using wings. Winged-dragons only first appeared during the [[War of Wrath]], the battle that ended the First Age, so all dragons introduced before the end of the First Age couldn't fly (such as Glaurung), although breeds of wingless dragons did survive into later ages.
  
===Taxonomy===
+
===Fire breathing===
Tolkien designed his own taxonomic system for dragons, based on two factors:{{fact}}
+
====Means of locomotion====
+
*Some dragons ([[Scatha]]) had no legs, or front legs alone, and crawled like snakes.
+
*Others ([[Glaurung]]) walked on four legs, like a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_dragon Komodo dragon] or some other lizard.
+
*A third type ([[Ancalagon]], [[Smaug]]) could both walk on four legs and fly using wings.  Winged-dragons only first appeared during the [[War of Wrath]], the battle that ended the First Age, so all dragons introduced before the end of the First Age couldn't fly (such as Glaurung), although breeds of wingless dragons did survive into later ages.
+
 
+
====Fire breathing====
+
 
*The ''[[Urulóki]]'' (singular ''Urulok&euml;'', Fire-drakes) could breathe fire. It is not entirely clear whether the term "Uruloki" 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.   
 
*The ''[[Urulóki]]'' (singular ''Urulok&euml;'', Fire-drakes) could breathe fire. It is not entirely clear whether the term "Uruloki" 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.   
 
*The [[Cold-drakes]] could not.   
 
*The [[Cold-drakes]] could not.   
Line 54: Line 52:
  
 
== Individual dragons ==
 
== Individual dragons ==
[[Image:John Howe - Smaug the Golden.jpg|thumb|''Smaug the Golden'' by [[John Howe]].]]
+
[[Image:John Howe - Smaug.jpg|thumb|''Smaug'' by [[John Howe]].]]
 
* [[Glaurung]] &mdash; Father of Dragons, slain by [[Túrin|Túrin Turambar]]. First of the Uruloki, the Fire-drakes of Angband.  He had four legs and could breathe fire, but didn't have wings.
 
* [[Glaurung]] &mdash; Father of Dragons, slain by [[Túrin|Túrin Turambar]]. First of the Uruloki, the Fire-drakes of Angband.  He had four legs and could breathe fire, but didn't have wings.
 
* [[Ancalagon]] the Black &mdash; first and mightiest of the Winged-dragons, slain by [[Eärendil]] in the [[War of Wrath]].
 
* [[Ancalagon]] the Black &mdash; first and mightiest of the Winged-dragons, slain by [[Eärendil]] in the [[War of Wrath]].
* [[Scatha]] &mdash; Slain by Fram of the [[Éothéod]]. Apparently a cold-drake.  Described as a "long-worm", although this imparticular term seems to be more of an expression rather than a separate taxonomic group.   
+
* [[Scatha]] &mdash; Slain by Fram of the [[Éothéod]]. Apparently a cold-drake.  Described as a "long-worm", although this imprecise term seems to be more of an expression rather than a separate taxonomic group.   
* [[Smaug]] &mdash; the last great dragon of [[Middle-earth]], slain by [[Bard the Bowman|Bard]] of [[Esgaroth]]. A winged Urulokë.
+
* [[Smaug]] &mdash; the last great dragon of [[Middle-earth]], slain by [[Bard]] of [[Lake-town|Esgaroth]]. A winged Urulokë.
 
* An unnamed dragon appears in [[Hobbits|Hobbit]] verse, said to have had red eyes, black wings and teeth like knives.<ref>{{AB|Hoard}}</ref>
 
* An unnamed dragon appears in [[Hobbits|Hobbit]] verse, said to have had red eyes, black wings and teeth like knives.<ref>{{AB|Hoard}}</ref>
 +
* [[Beast of Gondolin]] &mdash; A Fire-Drake at the [[Fall of Gondolin]].
  
==Etymology==
+
==Names==
 +
The dragons were known by many different names: drakes, [[worms]], [[long-worms]], [[serpents]].
 +
===Other tongues===
 +
Words denoting "dragon" in [[Quenya]] are ''[[lókë]]'' and ''[[angulóke]]''. [[Sindarin]] has ''[[lhûg]]'' and ''[[amlug]]''.
 +
===Etymology===
  
 
''Dragon'' is derived from French; ''drake'' is an English word, from [[Old English]] ''draca'' (derived from Latin).<ref>{{HM|LT2}}, "Short Glossary of Obsolete, Archaic, and Rare Words", p. 350</ref>
 
''Dragon'' is derived from French; ''drake'' is an English word, from [[Old English]] ''draca'' (derived from Latin).<ref>{{HM|LT2}}, "Short Glossary of Obsolete, Archaic, and Rare Words", p. 350</ref>
 
+
===Obsolete tongues===
 +
In [[Gnomish]], "dragon" is ''fuithlug'' ("a dragon who guards treasure"), ''lingwir'' or ''ulug'' (plural ''ulûgin''; "she dragon" is ''uluch'', ''uluchnir'' or ''ulugwin'').<ref>{{PE|11}}, pp. 36, 54, 74</ref>
 
==Other fiction==
 
==Other fiction==
  
 
A dragon named [[Chrysophylax]] appears in [[J.R.R. Tolkien]]'s story ''[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]''.
 
A dragon named [[Chrysophylax]] appears in [[J.R.R. Tolkien]]'s story ''[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]''.
 +
 +
In the story ''[[Roverandom]]'', white dragons are among the creatures living on the moon. A dragon, called the Great White Dragon, attacks Rover and the moon-dog, and is said to be the origin of all white dragons. In Merlin's time, this dragon had been to the earth, and fought with the Red Dragon in Caerdragon. The Great White Dragon has wings and can breath fire.<ref>{{HM|R}}, "[Chapter] 2"</ref>
  
 
==Portrayal in adaptations==
 
==Portrayal in adaptations==
 +
<center><gallery perrow=4>
 +
File:SBG - Cave Drake.png|<center>''[[The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game]]''
 +
File:Jeff Murchie - Dragon.png|<center>''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]''
 +
</gallery></center>
 
===Portrayal in games===
 
===Portrayal in games===
'''''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'''''
+
'''1982-97: ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'':'''
 
:Apart from the type of dragons created by Tolkien, additional races include ''Rain-drakes'', ''Light-drakes'', ''Ash Drakes'' and several others.<ref>{{ICE|2012}}</ref>
 
:Apart from the type of dragons created by Tolkien, additional races include ''Rain-drakes'', ''Light-drakes'', ''Ash Drakes'' and several others.<ref>{{ICE|2012}}</ref>
  
'''''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'''''
+
'''2001-: ''[[The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game]]'':'''
:''Dragon-kind'' include several type of drakes: ''Cold-'', ''Fire-'' and ''Shadow-drakes'', ''Fire-worms'', ''Rock-worms'', and many more. A related beast is the ''salamander'' or ''eft'', a weaker and simpler breed of dragons.<ref>"[http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Category:Dragon-kind Dragon-kind]" at [http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Lorebook_home Lord of the Rings Online: Lorebook] (accessed 28 October 2010)</ref>
+
:The ''Dragon'', which can have the ability to breathe fire and fly, is a powerful enemy of the Good players.<ref>[http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?prodId=prod1080191 Dragon] at [http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/home.jsp Games-Workshop.com] (accessed 23 September 2011)</ref> The game also includes the subterranean ''Cave Drake'', a large but agile monster and natural enemy of the Dwarves.<ref>''[[White Dwarf]]'', issue 371 (November 2010), p. 42</ref>
 +
 
 +
'''2007-: ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'':'''
 +
:''Dragon-kind'' includes several varieties: ''Cold-'', ''Fire-'' and ''Shadow-drakes'', ''Fire-worms'', ''Rock-worms'', and many more. Related beasts include the ''salamander'', a weaker and simpler breed of dragons, the pygmy-sized ''dragonet'', and the turtle-like ''avanc''.<ref>"[http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Category:Dragon-kind Dragon-kind]" at [http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Lorebook_home Lord of the Rings Online: Lorebook] (accessed 28 October 2010)</ref>
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
 
* [[:Category:Images of Dragons|Images of Dragons]]
 
* [[:Category:Images of Dragons|Images of Dragons]]
 
* [[Fell beasts]]
 
* [[Fell beasts]]
{{references}}
 
  
[[Category:Creatures]]
+
==External links==
 +
*[http://cogitemusaccurate.blogspot.com/2013/02/concerning-origin-of-dragons.html Concerning the Origin of Dragons]
 +
 
 +
{{references|note}}
 +
 
 
[[Category:Dragons|*]]
 
[[Category:Dragons|*]]
[[Category:Races]]
 
 
[[Category:Characters in The Hobbit]]
 
[[Category:Characters in The Hobbit]]
 
[[de:Drachen]]
 
[[de:Drachen]]
 
[[fr:encyclo:biologie:faune:dragons]]
 
[[fr:encyclo:biologie:faune:dragons]]
 
[[fi:Lohikäärmeet]]
 
[[fi:Lohikäärmeet]]

Revision as of 23:42, 14 March 2013

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J.R.R. Tolkien - Dragon.jpg
Dragons, Drakes, Worms
Race
LanguagesVarious Mannish and Elvish tongues[1]
Lifespan"Long and slow"[2]
MembersGlaurung, Ancalagon, Scatha, Smaug
"Never laugh at live dragons."
Bilbo Baggins[3]

Dragons were created by Morgoth out of fire and sorcery sometime before the First Age of the Sun, when Glaurung first appeared.

Contents

History

Scouring the Mountain by Ted Nasmith

The origin and early history of dragons

Seeing the strength of the Noldor in battle, Melkor realized that orcs alone were not sufficient to defeat his enemies. He therefore began to breed a new race of monsters: the dragons.[4][note 1]

The Father of Dragons was Glaurung, a mighty worm with a fearful intelligence and a powerful hypnotic gaze. Glaurung played an integral part in the fate of the Children of Húrin. Among his many crimes were the destruction of the Elf-realm of Nargothrond and a spell cast upon Nienor which stripped her of her memory. This eventually led her to a disastrous reunion and marriage to her long-lost brother Túrin. When Nienor learned the truth of Glaurung's plot, she flung herself to her death. Glaurung was finally slain by Túrin, who afterward committed suicide in reaction to Glaurung's plot.

At the Fall of Gondolin, Morgoth's foul host included dragons, "many and terrible"[5] including the fearful Beast of Gondolin.

During the War of Wrath, Morgoth unleashed a new terror upon Middle-earth -- the winged dragons. Chief among these was Ancalagon the Black. Eventually slain by Eärendil the Mariner, Ancalagon's fall crushed the towers of Thangorodrim. Many of the dragons were destroyed in the War of Wrath but some fled and survived into the later Ages of Middle-earth.

The re-emergence of dragons

No dragon is mentioned in the tales of the Second Age. It would appear that the dragons that survived Beleriand's destruction fled to the Northern Waste, far from the lands of Men and Elves. Over the centuries, the race of dragons continued to breed and repopulate, particularly in the Withered Heath, an area north of the Grey Mountains.

In the late Third Age the dragons bred in the Withered Heath, stirred by the return of Evil, began to make war with the Dwarves around the year T.A. 2570 (Dáin I and Frór of Durin's folk were killed by a great cold-drake in 2589).[6][7] It was perhaps in these wars that dragons swallowed four of the Seven Dwarf-rings.[8]

The most fearsome dragon of the Third Age was Smaug, who laid waste to the Dwarf-realm of Erebor and the nearby town of Dale. This devastated the area and sent Durin's folk into exile. Smaug remained in the abandoned halls of the Lonely Mountain for many years until the coming of Thorin and Company and their "burglar", the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. This began a chain of events that led to Smaug's death at the hands of Bard the Bowman.

Although Smaug was the greatest of the dragons of his day,[7] he seems not to have been the last of his kind as Gandalf told Frodo that "there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough [to melt the Rings of Power]",[8] indicating the presence of other, lesser dragons.

Characteristics

Means of locomotion

Some dragons (Glaurung) walked on four legs, like a Komodo dragon or some other lizard.

  • A second type (Ancalagon, Smaug) could both walk on four legs and fly using wings. Winged-dragons only first appeared during the War of Wrath, the battle that ended the First Age, so all dragons introduced before the end of the First Age couldn't fly (such as Glaurung), although breeds of wingless dragons did survive into later ages.

Fire breathing

  • The Urulóki (singular Urulokë, Fire-drakes) could breathe fire. It is not entirely clear whether the term "Uruloki" 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.
  • The Cold-drakes could not.

Other characteristics

The dragons also shared a love of treasure (especially gold), subtle intelligence, immense cunning, great physical strength, and a hypnotic power called "dragon-spell". The best way to talk to a dragon under the circumstances of this spell (when it was questioning you) was to not directly give it the information it wanted, as this would compromise you and your friends, but not to flat out deny it an answer, because this would anger it to violence. Therefore, the best way to talk to the dragon is to be vague and speak in riddles- apparently dragons find it hard to resist wasting time with riddles.

Dragon-fire (of the Urulóki) was hot enough to melt Rings of Power: four of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves were consumed by Dragon-fire, although it was not powerful enough to destroy the One Ring itself.[8]

Individual dragons

Smaug by John Howe.
  • Glaurung — Father of Dragons, slain by Túrin Turambar. First of the Uruloki, the Fire-drakes of Angband. He had four legs and could breathe fire, but didn't have wings.
  • Ancalagon the Black — first and mightiest of the Winged-dragons, slain by Eärendil in the War of Wrath.
  • Scatha — Slain by Fram of the Éothéod. Apparently a cold-drake. Described as a "long-worm", although this imprecise term seems to be more of an expression rather than a separate taxonomic group.
  • Smaug — the last great dragon of Middle-earth, slain by Bard of Esgaroth. A winged Urulokë.
  • An unnamed dragon appears in Hobbit verse, said to have had red eyes, black wings and teeth like knives.[9]
  • Beast of Gondolin — A Fire-Drake at the Fall of Gondolin.

Names

The dragons were known by many different names: drakes, worms, long-worms, serpents.

Other tongues

Words denoting "dragon" in Quenya are lókë and angulóke. Sindarin has lhûg and amlug.

Etymology

Dragon is derived from French; drake is an English word, from Old English draca (derived from Latin).[10]

Obsolete tongues

In Gnomish, "dragon" is fuithlug ("a dragon who guards treasure"), lingwir or ulug (plural ulûgin; "she dragon" is uluch, uluchnir or ulugwin).[11]

Other fiction

A dragon named Chrysophylax appears in J.R.R. Tolkien's story Farmer Giles of Ham.

In the story Roverandom, white dragons are among the creatures living on the moon. A dragon, called the Great White Dragon, attacks Rover and the moon-dog, and is said to be the origin of all white dragons. In Merlin's time, this dragon had been to the earth, and fought with the Red Dragon in Caerdragon. The Great White Dragon has wings and can breath fire.[12]

Portrayal in adaptations

Portrayal in games

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Apart from the type of dragons created by Tolkien, additional races include Rain-drakes, Light-drakes, Ash Drakes and several others.[13]

2001-: The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game:

The Dragon, which can have the ability to breathe fire and fly, is a powerful enemy of the Good players.[14] The game also includes the subterranean Cave Drake, a large but agile monster and natural enemy of the Dwarves.[15]

2007-: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Dragon-kind includes several varieties: Cold-, Fire- and Shadow-drakes, Fire-worms, Rock-worms, and many more. Related beasts include the salamander, a weaker and simpler breed of dragons, the pygmy-sized dragonet, and the turtle-like avanc.[16]

See also

External links

Notes

  1. How this was done is unclear.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Leila Keene and Pat Kirke 3 August 1943" (letter); quoted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Appendix on Languages", "Note on an unpublished letter", pp. 72-73
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §115
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Shadow of the Past"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "The Hoard"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Short Glossary of Obsolete, Archaic, and Rare Words", p. 350
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), pp. 36, 54, 74
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien; Christina Scull, Wayne G. Hammond (eds.), Roverandom, "[Chapter] 2"
  13. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012)
  14. Dragon at Games-Workshop.com (accessed 23 September 2011)
  15. White Dwarf, issue 371 (November 2010), p. 42
  16. "Dragon-kind" at Lord of the Rings Online: Lorebook (accessed 28 October 2010)