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Glaurung

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Glaurung
Biographical Information
Other names"The Deceiver," "The Great Worm," "The Father of Dragons", Undolaurë, Laurundo
Created/bornUnknown
Years influentialF.A. 260 - 499
DestroyedF.A. 499
AgeUnknown
RealmAngband
Physical Description
RaceDragons
GenderMale
AccomplishmentsSack of Nargothrond, death of Túrin Turambar

Known as the Deceiver and Great Worm, Glaurung (S, pron. [ˈɡlaʊruŋ]) was a land-bound fire-breathing Dragon.

Glaurung was a very powerful and cunning dragon, and he used his abilities to achieve his desired ends without resorting to direct physical violence (which he was equally proficient at). It was his nature to trick and deceive, and to spread lies and deceptions so cleverly that they could not be discovered until it was too late. In this manner, he accomplished much more damage than he could have with brute force, and caused the destruction of the Elven stronghold of Nargothrond and the suicide of the great hero Túrin Turambar. He caused amnesia in Túrin's sister Nienor Níniel, and since she had never met her brother, they eventually married. However, Glaurung himself was slain by Túrin before he committed suicide.

Contents

History

Glaurung was called the Father of Dragons. It is not known with certainty, but it is largely suspected that he sired the rest of his race (or at least of his own sub-species, the Urulóki: wingless fire-breathing dragons). He was bred by Morgoth from some unknown stock and was the first dragon to appear outside of Angband. This first appearance occurred during the Dagor Bragollach, when he came forth to attack.

But Morgoth was not pleased. Glaurung revealed himself too early; he was still young and immature. He was defeated and driven back to Angband by mounted Elven archers led by Fingon son of Fingolfin.

The Fall of Nargothrond

In the autumn of F.A. 495[1] Glaurung led an army of Orcs against Nargothrond. He passed over Anfauglith and first assailed the north Vales of Sirion, then coming south laid waste to Eithel Ivrin and Talath Dirnen. His advance was checked by the Mormegil, Túrin Turambar, who led the forces of Nargothrond out to meet Glaurung in the Battle of Tumhalad. The Elves were utterly defeated; King Orodreth was slain, and although Túrin attempted to rally the survives to a last defence of Nargothrond itself, Glaurung came there first. The dragon passed swiftly over the bridge over Narog and destroyed the Doors of Felagund.[2]

Nienor and Glaurung by John Howe.

As Glaurung's Orcs were sacking the city Túrin arrived and cut his way to the captives. As he did so Glaurung emerged from the doors and put him under his spell. Túrin was transfixed by the gaze of dragon as the captives, among them Finduilas, were led away. Then Glaurung spoke to Túrin and convinced him not to go after Finduilas but to return to Dor-lómin and rescue his mother Morwen and sister Niënor (when in fact they had already fled to Doriath). After weaving the first strand of his plot to bring doom to the children of Húrin, who Morgoth had cursed, he drove away his orcs and made his abode in Nargothrond, casting down the bridge and, in true dragon fashion, laying down to sleep on the great horde he had plundered.[2]

The following year, F.A. 496,[3] Glaurung's slumber was disturbed. Hearing of the fall of Nargothrond a small party from Doriath, including Morwen and Niënor, was sent to seek tidings, especially of the fate of Túrin. His keen sight quickly detected them and, as they approached his dwelling, he issued forth into the Narog and created a steam and reek that scattered the spies in confusion. Glaurung then crept swiftly towards Amon Ethir where he meant Niënor, alone, and placed her under the same spell he had her brother Túrin. But this time rather than subtle deceits he used his power to completely obliterate Niënor's memory and left her to wander in the wild.[4]

Death

The Slaying of Glaurung by Guy Gondron.

For the next several years Glaurung ruled as the 'dragon-king' of what was once the Realm of Nargothrond, gathering many Orcs to him.[5] Meanwhile Niënor escaped from Mablung's care and wandered into Brethil. There she was found by Túrin, now living amongst the Halethrim, who named her Níniel. Not knowing that they were brother and sister (Túrin having never met his sister and Níniel ignorant of her true identity), the two fell in love and were married.[4][6] In F.A. 498 Glaurang began to send his orcs against Brethil, and thereby forced Túrin to reveal himself.[7] The next summer[8] he came there himself, but before he could lay waste to the dwellings of the Halethrim he was bested. Túrin lay in wait in the gorge of Cabed-en-Aras and as Glaurung attempted to leap over it he was dealt a mortal blow by Gurthang, Túrin's black sword.[9]

However even as he lay dying on the banks of Taeglin the King of Dragons completed the doom he had woven for the children of Húrin. Túrin was rendered unconscious by Glaurung's noxious blood and Níniel, coming upon the scene, thought him dead. With his last breath the dragon revealed to Níniel and Brandir his plot, and as he died his spells were undone and Níniel knew she was in fact Niënor. Therefore she leapt to her death in Cabed-en-Aras and when, awaking, Túrin also learned the truth from Brandir he cast himself upon his own sword.[9][10]

Etymology

Throughout early versions of the legendarium, he was known by different names: Glórund (the c. 1916-19 Lost Tales) > Glórung (the 1926 'Sketch of the Mythology') > Glómund (the 1930 Quenta Noldorinwa; the Lay of Leithian) > Glaurung (the c. 1951 'Grey Annals'; the published The Silmarillion).[11][12]

Portrayals in Adaptations

1988, 1994: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Glaurung was described and given role-playing statistics in the supplements Creatures of Middle-earth and Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition). His name was given the Quenya translation "Golden Gloom".[13] Furthermore, Glaurung was conceived to have bred the cold-drakes Scatha and Ando-anca (whose names were suggested to be revised to Skadi and Skell).[14]

See Also


Named Dragons
Glaurung · Ancalagon · Scatha · Smaug

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §275.
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Fall of Nargothrond".
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §304–308.
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Journey of Morwen and Niënor to Nargothrond".
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung".
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Niënor in Brethil".
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §319.
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §321.
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Glaurung".
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Túrin".
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "The Earliest 'Silmarillion'": Commentary on the 'Sketch of Mythology': [Section] 13
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag End, Chapter XII "Conversations with Smaug": (i) Tolkien's Dragons
  13. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr., (1994) Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition), p. 111
  14. Chris Seeman (1998), "Dragons of the North", in Other Hands Issue 23