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Thread: Of Wyrms and Drakes: Greatest?

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I've decided to take Grondys helpful suggestion regarding a topic on which I go back and forth: who was bigger and badder, Glaurung or Ancalagon? We know the latter was the greatest of the flying dragons, but this seems a hefty qualifier, given the fact Glaurung was bound to land. In fictions I've read involving dragons those who could fly are invariably smaller than those that can't, because of the physics that woud be involved in such creatures. The closest real world parallel would be that while pterodons were, IIRC, the largest flying reptiles, a T-Rex or brontosaur dwarfed them in size.

Logically, you'd think Morgoth would make the best and baddest right out of the gate, and that subsequent models would be mere variations on this theme. This logic is borne out by actual later developments; Glaurung and the other early dragons were just flaming juggernauts, while later versions saw the refinement of flight. When we read of Ancalagons Wreck flattening Thangorodrim it certainly seems to argue for his being quite imposing, and without doubt he was, but Glaurung killed whole rivers and charred countrysides just by his passage. I lean towards Ancalagon, but I'm torn. So, what say you all, PT?
Ah!! You ask a difficult question... Ancalagon definently was one bad big lizard, and he could fly!! But Glaurung is one mean bugger! Just look what he did to Turin and his family. There's definently a lot of intelligence in that one. As in combat, who knows... Ancalagon has the advantage of flight, but would that be enough...?
I think the greatest dragon of them all was Wushu, from Mulan.

No seriously, I go for Ancalagon the Black. Like Smaug, he could fly around a bit and fry peeps at the ground without even getting touched.

The fact that he was so big, though, makes it really puzzling how Eärendil was able to beat the beast; Eärendil must've flown an Apache, or a battle cruiser. Ancalagon could snarl, claw, bite and spew fire, but what could Eärendil do? Kamikaze himself into Ancalagon's skull? Enter one of Ancalagon's ears to reach the dragon-brain and splatter away?
Ah, but you forgot about the Holy Silmaril of Valinor; he just counts to five, and BOOM! ;-p

More likely, since we had the Great Eagles battling the Drakes in the air it was the flip side of Feanors encounter with the Balrogs: peace through superior firepower. Sure, Ancalagon was scary, but against Earendil and a score of Great Eagles, I think he goes down. It would take a while, hit and fade, hit and fade, just like Fingolfin vs. Morgoth, but I think the main thing that sustained Morgoth was the fact none of the Children of Iluvatar can take a Vala; Thorondor didn't stick at coming down, slicing up Morgoths face, and bearing away Fingolfin, so a little thing like Ancalagon the Black won't slow him down. It seems from the little I know of the origins of each that Drake vs. Great Eagle is more along the lines of Maiar vs. Maiar. And if I had to guess right now, I'd say the Great Eagles are more likely Maiar than the Dragons.

So, is Glaurung a prototype, to make sure Morgoth got everything right before he invested his top henchmen, or did he put the worst of the worst (among non-Balrogs, at least) out there the very first time? And why don't we hear more about Dragons in the Fall of Gondolin? We know they were there, but there's no direct encounters.
Actually, I believe Eärendil fought Ancalagon alone, one day and one night.

The Great Eagles are indeed Maiar, as are the Ents, for the exact quote visit the 'Tom or Fangorn' thread.

Dragons are most probably Maiar; maybe they're Valaraukar who were forced to leave their Blarog-body and to enter a dragon-shape created by Morgoth. Who knows. Not all Maiar who entered Melkor's service, became Balrogs, after all. There's the hypothesis that the first Orcs were Maiar, too, and what with Wargs, Trolls, etc.

Of course, it's also possible that Morgoth breeded all his monsters using beasts that had already been mutated/deformed earlier by the malice flowing from his former fortress of Utumno. But considering that Glaurung did have Maia-like powers (when he put a spell on Túrin and Nienor) makes me believe that the dragons at least originated from a Maia.

Glaurung seems to be a prototype, for he is described as the father of all dragons (he must've been quite busy at home when he wasn't out burning and slaying).
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Glaurung seems to be a prototype, for he is described as the father of all dragons (he must've been quite busy at home when he wasn't out burning and slaying).
Yup, I figure the reason the original dragons didn't have wings was that they were made as worms to carve out the tunnels under Thangorodrim; that they were given flames was to irradicate any vermin that decided to settle in those tunnels.
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that they were given flames was to irradicate any vermin that decided to settle in those tunnels.

I thought Morgoth had hired Daeron, the Pied Piper of Doriath for that job.
I don't think that they originated from a Maia. If a Maia or two one day long ago just turned into a fantasy being like a dragon, or a five legged emu dog for that matter, he/she wouldn't be able to produce offspring, because the lifeform didn't originate in a creation of Eru. I don't think Balrogs can breed either. It is just a shape, a costume. But I think some fire maian were mixed in with excisting beasts later. Giant serpents or lizards + fire maia = clever fire breathing dragons/fire serpents/uruloki. A twisted version of what Melian did.

Some of the worst and strangest creatures in Norse mythology are created in a simmular way. Loke/Loki is the father of the Middle-earth serpent (a huuuuuuge nasty serpent which curls around ME), the great wolf Fenris (who will swallow the sun and moon during Ragnarok) and the mother(!) of Sleipner (Odin's eight-legged horse). And what is the elven name for serpent? That's right. Lokë. Loki in plural.
You philological linguophiles and your derivates! Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie And yet we still don't have "rolleyes" spelled correctly. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie I can see it going either way, Amarie, though I am inclined to believe it's a combination, that Morgoth placed Maiar spirits in twisted corruptions he made of Erus creations. In the original, LT2 version, of Beren and Luthien in prose, Huan speaks as a matter of routine, while in the Silm he speaks but thrice in his long life, yet we have the captain of the werewolves make a dying declaraton to Sauron after his battle with Huan. And it's well established Morgoth nor Melkor was capable of creation, only the perversion of existing creations; add the fact Dragons are clearly living creatures and they can only be either corrupted but preexisting life and/or Maiar in physical form.

Setting aside epistemology and inspiration (according to lore the "snakes" St. Patrick drove from Ireland were the Druids, who used the serpent as a symbol of wisdom, as does scripture on at least two occasions) I don't think Morgoth had it in him to give a dumb beast speech and human (at least) intelligence, but I also don't think it would be possible for any mortal to kill Glaurung or any other Dragon in any permanent sense if they were purely Maiar. So the most reasonable conclusion seems, to me, that the Dragons, Werewolves and likely many other horrible things besides known only to the Professor, were combinations of existing animal life and Maiar. That makes it a lot easier to explain Smaug and Scatha lasting from the First Age; while they COULD be offspring, reproducing Dragons have no precedent in canon, or even in apocrypha so far as I know. If you have an immortal beast due to a Maiar spirits presence reproduction becomes far less necessary, and we don't have to explain the apparently inherent evil of a Dragon brood.

As to the specific issue of Earendils combat with Ancalagon, the Silmarillion says only this (following a passage with the appearance of the previously unknown winged Dragons "so sudden and ruinous... that the host of the Valar was driven back:")

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But Earendil came, shining with white flame, and about Vingilot were gathered all the great birds of heaven and Thorondor was their captain, and there was battle in the air all the day and through a dark night of doubt. Before the rising of the sun Earendil slew Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of the dragon-host, and cast him from the sky; and he fell upon the towers of Thangorodrim, and they were broken in his ruin.
(Of the Voyage of Earendil, p.252 in the 1977 George, Allen and Unwin hardback)

This is the only canonical mention of the battle, or of Ancalagon at all (stuff like this is what drew me to HoMe.) It does tell us much, but much of that presents as many questions as answers. First, we see a combat between two armies, which Ancalagon and Earendil appear to lead (though it DOES say Thorondor was the captain of the Eagles, or perhaps of "the great birds" in general, though I know of no others in canon.) Even that assumes the Dragons were led by the greatest of their members, and not by Sauron or the mind of Morgoth himself, but this seems reasonable given the cunning and intellect we see in Glaurung and Smaug.

It's impossible to tell if Earendils combat with Ancalagon was "Roman style" or an aspect of the larger fray, but if the former it begs the question of what kept Vingilot aloft not merely in the heavens but over Thangorodrim. In this he is not simply put through the Doors of Night as part of the celestial realm, but in Middle-earth, and flying. Not only that, but his ship is with him, which to me suggests something like the swans of Alqualonde drawing the ships of Teleri.

Beyond that we can say little save the HOSTS fought the rest of the day and the entire night, and Earendil personally slew Ancalagon ere dawn. Ancalagons fall broke "the towers of Thangorodrim;" is this the mountain itself, or merely its battlements, which latter the Wreck of Gluarung, or even Smaug would likely have done? We don't know. Ancalagon is called "the mightiest of the dragon-host" but this seems to mean "the host of Dragons in the fight" from which Glaurung is obviously excluded since he's dead.

Hence my conundrum; Ancalagon is unquestionably the greatest of the flying dragons, but could something of Glaurungs bulk fly? If the winged dragons were so fiercesome, why were they not used 'til the War of the Powers? The most logical answer to the latter is that air superiority was of little value in the previous wars (though you'd think it would come up in the Fall of Gondolin) as to the former, I can't decide, though I lean toward "Ancalagon was the greatest of the Dragons, bar none."
maybe it should be a new poll??? to get everyone's oppinion??
It's a nice idea, but aren't the polls typically on the order of "multiple guess" rather than "T/F?" And essentially we only have two choices: Glaurung or Ancalagon; no "none of the above." I'm inclined to agree with the statement "Ancalagon the Black makes Smaug the Golden look like a homesick hobbit" even if ICE isn't canon (though many take it as such.) And the only other dragon of which we have a mention by name is Scatha, of which there's little more than what we have on Ancalagon. Though at least we have the honorific of "the Worm" and I've always understood winged dragons to be "drakes" while the land bound ones were "worms." Worms, after all, crawl, not fly.
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If a Maia or two one day long ago just turned into a fantasy being like a dragon, or a five legged emu dog for that matter, he/she wouldn't be able to produce offspring, because the lifeform didn't originate in a creation of Eru.

I'm not too sure of that. There are some examples of reproducing Maiar : Melian, for one, though she obviously took the form of an Elf.

The Great Eagles are able to reproduce too, for Landroval and Gwaihir are mentioned as the sons of Thorondor - Eru didn't create their bodies either, they took it up themselves.

Ungoliant did reproduce, too, and a huge spiderthing didn't really originate from Eru. In HoME, Gothmog is even Morgoth's son (not to mention, some Valar have offspring too). So I'd keep options open.

If we follow your logic, then Aulë's Dwarves wouldn't be able to reproduce either, for their bodies were not created by Eru - he only delivered the spirits.
Just like Aulë created his Dwarves, I believe Morgoth would be perfectly capable to create dragon/vampire/werewolf-bodies and afterwards order some Maian spirits to inhabit that form. Those creatures would then be able to reproduce, just like the Dwarves.

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I don't think Morgoth had it in him to give a dumb beast speech and human (at least) intelligence, but I also don't think it would be possible for any mortal to kill Glaurung or any other Dragon in any permanent sense if they were purely Maiar.

It is quite simple, really. If they're Maiar, then they have the burden of the flesh, just like the Istari and the Great Eagles.

I don't think they're animals, not because they're able to speak (after all, Húan could speak, and the Elves learnt trees to speak), but because some dragons (at least, Glaurung) were able to put spells on ppl.

Also, what original animal in Middle-earth would be able to breathe fire? The fact that some dragons are capable of breathing fire, makes me believe they're connected to the Valaraukar.

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Hence my conundrum; Ancalagon is unquestionably the greatest of the flying dragons, but could something of Glaurungs bulk fly?

What do you mean with Glaurung's bulk? I'd call them Wyrms, not Uruloki, since Ancalagon (see below) and Smaug for instance could breathe fire too. Then again, Wyrms usually cannot breathe fire (Scatha could not, i believe).

There is this Ancalagon quote from FOTR :
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Not even the anvils and furnaces of the Dwarves could do that. It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself.
(Shadow of the Past)

On another note, Tar-Ancalagon was without a doubt the hottest Queen of Númenor. :-P
The Three Types of Dragons according to the confused canon:

The Urulóki = 'hot serpents', they included both flying and non-flying wryms (worms) who breathed fire, i.e. Glaurung, Ancalagon and Smaug.

The Cold-drakes were non-flying, non-fire-breathing dragons, i.e. Dáin I was killed by one of these per LotR Appendix A' and Scatha the Wrym, was probably also a cold-drake. These should have been called Cold-wryms to my thinking unless there actually were some who could fly.

The Fire-drakes were flying fire breathing dragons, i.e. Ancalagon and Smaug.

So there are fire-breathing crawlers, and non-fire-breathing crawlers, and fire-breathing flyers as best as I can make of this mess.



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Eru didn't create their bodies either, they took it up themselves.
You misunderstand me. I don't think Eru needs to custom build a body for them. "Hey Melian, Eru her. I lost your order, what hair colour did you want? Call me!" But the animal/creature needs to excist already, in order to be able to reproduce. Maybe I can call it DNA? Eru makes the DNA, everyone else can just copy/borrow and manipulate. Ungoliant was a spider, who bred with other spiders. The first Great Eagles, if they were Maian, copied the eagles and could produce eagle 'babies'. Melian was a Maia in an elven body and gave birth to an elven daughter.

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If we follow your logic, then Aulë's Dwarves wouldn't be able to reproduce either, for their bodies were not created by Eru - he only delivered the spirits.

Eru granted them life, he didn't tell some spirits to look like dwarves. Big difference. Melian had an elven child, but she herself was not counted as an elf. But the Dwarves were Dwarves from the second they came to life. Not copies, but originals from the first generation.

That's what I think. Wiggle Smilie
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Eru makes the DNA, everyone else can just copy/borrow and manipulate. Ungoliant was a spider, who bred with other spiders. The first Great Eagles, if they were Maian, copied the eagles and could produce eagle 'babies'. Melian was a Maia in an elven body and gave birth to an elven daughter.

But Eru didn't make the bodies of the Great Eagles, of Ungoliant and of the Dwarves (who were not intended by Eru, it seems). That was what i was arguing. The same with then go for Morgoth's monsters.

And in Tolkien's universe, there isn't really DNA... for the living beings were made out of the essence of Arda. DNA was only just discovered by Crick & Watson in the same year LOTR got published, if I'm not mistaken (1953).

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Eru granted them life, he didn't tell some spirits to look like dwarves. Big difference. Melian had an elven child, but she herself was not counted as an elf. But the Dwarves were Dwarves from the second they came to life. Not copies, but originals from the first generation.

I don't know what you mean, I was only arguing that if the Dwarves were able to reproduce when Eru did not create, nor intend, them, Morgoth's monsters would, too, IF he created their bodies and order some spirits to inhabit those forms.

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But the animal/creature needs to excist already, in order to be able to reproduce. Maybe I can call it DNA?

I don't think so, considering what happened with the Dwarves. As far as I know, there is nothing mentioned in Tolkien's works that supports your hypothesis.

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You misunderstand me. I don't think Eru needs to custom build a body for them.

No, but Eru did build the custom bodies of the first Quendi, the first Atani and any other living being on Arda, safe for the Dwarves.

Yet, the Dwarves were able to reproduce once they received a spirit of their own (yet, once can wonder how the heck they were able to do that, since they started with seven fathers..).

Morgoth could build bodies as easily as Aulë could, for the spirits he could order some of his corrupted Maiar to enter the bodies. This is a possibility.
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It is quite simple, really. If they're Maiar, then they have the burden of the flesh, just like the Istari and the Great Eagles.


The Istari and Melian both chose to be bound by the flesh, the former at the Valars behest and the latter to bear Thingols child. It seems to me that reproduction is possible for Maiar, but only if they submit to being bound to mortal forms. Very much a mixed bag.

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I don't think they're animals, not because they're able to speak (after all, Húan could speak, and the Elves learnt trees to speak), but because some dragons (at least, Glaurung) were able to put spells on ppl.

Also, what original animal in Middle-earth would be able to breathe fire? The fact that some dragons are capable of breathing fire, makes me believe they're connected to the Valaraukar.


Agreed; I'd actually meant to make the latter point but it slipped my mind as I was typing.

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What do you mean with Glaurung's bulk? I'd call them Wyrms, not Uruloki, since Ancalagon (see below) and Smaug for instance could breathe fire too. Then again, Wyrms usually cannot breathe fire (Scatha could not, i believe).


I mean Glaurung was a massive creature, as we see in greater detail in LT2 and UT. His mere passage over a chasm wide enough to admit men is enough to dislodge a stone that sends one to his death, just as his mere passage was enough to wither Brethil and dry up Eithel Ivrin. If nothing else, the Silm says:

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But when Glaurung felt his death-pang, he screamed, and in his dreadful throe he heaved up his bulk and hurled himself across the chasm, and there lay lashing and coiling in his agony. And he set all in a blaze around him, and beat all to ruin, until at last his fires died, and he lay still.
(Of Túrin Turambar, The Silmarillion p. 222 in the '77 hardback.)

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There is this Ancalagon quote from FOTR :
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Not even the anvils and furnaces of the Dwarves could do that. It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself.
(Shadow of the Past)


That is telling; one would expect Gandalf to cite Glaurung if he were the greater. However, Gandalf never encountered Glaurung, while it's all but certain Olorin witnessed the combat of Earendil and Ancalagon during the War of the Powers. By itself it's not enough.

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On another note, Tar-Ancalagon was without a doubt the hottest Queen of Númenor. :-P


Yikes! Talk about your femme fatales. And fierce, too; it took the whole ocean to quench her fires. ;-p

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The Three Types of Dragons according to the confused canon:

The Urulóki = 'hot serpents', they included both flying and non-flying wryms (worms) who breathed fire, i.e. Glaurung, Ancalagon and Smaug.

The Cold-drakes were non-flying, non-fire-breathing dragons, i.e. Dáin I was killed by one of these per LotR Appendix A' and Scatha the Wrym, was probably also a cold-drake. These should have been called Cold-wryms to my thinking unless there actually were some who could fly.

The Fire-drakes were flying fire breathing dragons, i.e. Ancalagon and Smaug.

So there are fire-breathing crawlers, and non-fire-breathing crawlers, and fire-breathing flyers as best as I can make of this mess.


I think you have the right of it, Grondy. In many ways Tolkien dealt with issue of influence by turning the tables and offering a True History of Our Distorted Myths and Legends, much as Jordan does (and this I've always found among the foremost charms of both authors.) Given that it's to be expected he would want to be mostly consistent with the ancient tales, so drakes fly and wyrms crawl. Of course, only his hairdresser knows for sure....

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You misunderstand me. I don't think Eru needs to custom build a body for them. "Hey Melian, Eru her. I lost your order, what hair colour did you want? Call me!" But the animal/creature needs to excist already, in order to be able to reproduce. Maybe I can call it DNA? Eru makes the DNA, everyone else can just copy/borrow and manipulate. Ungoliant was a spider, who bred with other spiders. The first Great Eagles, if they were Maian, copied the eagles and could produce eagle 'babies'. Melian was a Maia in an elven body and gave birth to an elven daughter.


Perhaps that's why they became bound to the flesh; they incorporated it in their being. We hear of the Ainur taking on forms like unto the Children of Ilúvatar but exalted, yet we don't hear of them being bound by those forms; they weren't just Ainur in bodies of the Atani or Eldar but something LT1 (IIRC) compares to clothing. Obviously Melian and the rest took it a step further; you can't mate with someones clothing, after all. And once again there's the rub; when they partake of the flesh they become, at least in part, subject to it.

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Eru granted them life, he didn't tell some spirits to look like dwarves. Big difference. Melian had an elven child, but she herself was not counted as an elf. But the Dwarves were Dwarves from the second they came to life. Not copies, but originals from the first generation.

That's what I think.


To me it seems at least a similar thing; the spirits of the dwarves were fundamentally linked to their bodies, and that gave them the means to perpetuate themselves.

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But Eru didn't make the bodies of the Great Eagles, of Ungoliant and of the Dwarves (who were not intended by Eru, it seems). That was what i was arguing. The same with then go for Morgoth's monsters.

And in Tolkien's universe, there isn't really DNA... for the living beings were made out of the essence of Arda. DNA was only just discovered by Crick & Watson in the same year LOTR got published, if I'm not mistaken (1953).


Fair point, but the principles seem valid. The glaring exception is the Balrogs themselves, who seem unprecedented in Arda, and yet can clearly be slain. Apart from them, all the other fell creatures, subject to or merely allied to Morgoth, are gargantuan versions of existing creatures, PERversions of natural forms. Eru didn't (necessarily) make the bodies of the Great Eagles, but he did make avians, as he made spiders and snakes. Morgoth then built on that foundation, as he did with Orcs and Trolls.

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I don't know what you mean, I was only arguing that if the Dwarves were able to reproduce when Eru did not create, nor intend, them, Morgoth's monsters would, too, IF he created their bodies and order some spirits to inhabit those forms.


That seems reasonable.

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I don't think so, considering what happened with the Dwarves. As far as I know, there is nothing mentioned in Tolkien's works that supports your hypothesis.


Not explicitly, no, but with the exception of Balrogs, whom I've always taken to have bodies produced by their spirits, in which they chose to be bound to increase their influence on Arda, all the other creatures were either Ainur developing and elevating existing animals (Huan seems another likely candidate) or, in the case of Dwarves, spirits being sent by Eru to new animal forms who would have no life without them. Either way Eru is involved in their creation, by furnishing raw materials or by furnishing the spirit resident in those materials. And let's not forget the vision of Eru is greater than even the Valar as a whole; just because the Dwarves were new to Aule doesn't mean they were new to Eru.

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No, but Eru did build the custom bodies of the first Quendi, the first Atani and any other living being on Arda, safe for the Dwarves.

Yet, the Dwarves were able to reproduce once they received a spirit of their own (yet, once can wonder how the heck they were able to do that, since they started with seven fathers..).

Morgoth could build bodies as easily as Aulë could, for the spirits he could order some of his corrupted Maiar to enter the bodies. This is a possibility.


Eru seems to have custom built Dwarven spirits for Aules created bodies; once again, if he's not involved no true self sustaining life is possible. Personally, I think the closest thing to your last proposal we have is Morgoth providing a template for the Maiar who became Balrogs to take on material forms in which they were bound.

I'm still leaning toward Ancalagon the Black being the greatest of Dragons, but I'm also still not entirely convinced.
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No, but Eru did build the custom bodies of the first Quendi, the first Atani and any other living being on Arda, safe for the Dwarves.

The looks of the dwarves may not have been designed by Eru, but they did become a custom built race with custom built souls. Eru made Pinoccio a real boy. Or seven men. Maybe Eru added some women, but these are not counted since the fathers were made first?

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Morgoth could build bodies as easily as Aulë could, for the spirits he could order some of his corrupted Maiar to enter the bodies. This is a possibility.

Well, it could be a possibility. But to me it is not likely. Aulë never put any spirits into the dwarves, he used his own mind to move them. A Maia can change shape, but where does it say they can move into a body and be one with it? There is Thuringwethil though, but she was just a human woman with a nifty costume/hang glider. She didn't become the creature. Neither did Luthien. Maybe that vampire shape she used was an attempt to make such a body.

Having two fire spirits taking the shape of two dragons and voila! dragons are invented, is also too easy. Unless that shape was a copy of something that already could reproduce, it means that any Maia can take any shape and create a new race/species, creating life. Creating a dragon with wings would be a walk in the park. I doubt the time it took was due to Morgoth having little imagination. "Turn into a.... um... snake! With... a tail? Oh I don't know... come back later."

Breeding is the key I think. Let nature do the work, twist and change creatures of all kinds to fit your purpose. Have a maia copy the creature when you wanted some brains put into the beast, to seperate the fell beasts from the dragons, perhaps.

I suppose it all comes down to what Tolkien never decided. Can two maian or two valar have children or cant they? Do they need bodies to have children? Seems like Melian and the eagles needed bodies, so I think so. Balrogs don't really have bodies, do they? They are just.. flames.

As for which dragon is the greatest.. I really don't know. Different shapes for different purposes.
They do and they don't. They're "flames cloaked in shadow" yet still wield weapons like the whip seen in Moria. And regardless of what you hold as the ultimate meaning of the infamous passage about THAT Balgrogs wings, whether shadow or physical wings their image is the consequence of a material body. A Maiar taking on physical form isn't the creation of life, anymore than Melians or the Istaris were. The life is that of the underlying Ainur animating the form, and that life was still created by Eru. Otherwise the Balrogs would be a new creation by Morgoth, of which we know him to be incapable.
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A Maia can change shape, but where does it say they can move into a body and be one with it?

The Ents are an example of this. Eru sent them forth to inhabit the elvar and the olvar.

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And Manwë said: 'O Kementári, Eru hath spoken, saying: "Do then any of the Valar suppose that I did not hear all the Song, even the least sound of the least voice? Behold! When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared.

(Quenta Silmarillion; Chapter 2 : Of Aulë and Yavanna)

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There is Thuringwethil though, but she was just a human woman with a nifty costume/hang glider.

She was a vampire.

But of course, Homer Simpson's quote applies : "When it comes to compliments, women are ravenous blood-sucking monsters - always want more, more, MORE."

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That is telling; one would expect Gandalf to cite Glaurung if he were the greater. However, Gandalf never encountered Glaurung, while it's all but certain Olorin witnessed the combat of Earendil and Ancalagon during the War of the Powers. By itself it's not enough.

I'd trust the words of the wisest Maia of them all... :-P

Wouldn't Olórin have been informed about every single detail of the War of Wrath by Eönwë, or someone else? He certainly would have longed to know.
Yeee-eees, that explains his knowledge of Ancalagon, but not of Glaurung. Few who encountered Glaurung lived to tell the tale.
When Manwë & Varda sit together on their throne in the Halls of Oilolossë, Manwë sees all and Varda hears all - hence they'd know about Glaurung.

And since Olórin was personally sent by Manwë & Varda themselves to Middle-earth later on, it seems like he was close to them - hence I think Olórin could have learnt this from the big shots, the Prom King & Queen themselves.

A bit far-fetched, perhaps, as for the same Mandos could've told Olórin - for Túrin's spirit would pass into the Halls of Mandos for a short while before rising up to Eru's Halls, would it not?

Another possible explanation is that the surviving Dwarves who had fought Glaurung at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (and thus had saved the Noldor's arses from getting fried), would have passed on the tale of their 'glorious victory over the dragon Glaurung' from generation to generation, until finally it would've been told to Gandalf during one of the latter's visits to Ered Luin or Erebor.
Besides which, when has a weapon ever been manufactured that is less destructive than its prototype. Weapons evolve, so the flames of the newer dragons, like Ancalagon, should be at least as hot if not hotter than that of the prototype, Glaurong.
Something tells me that during the brief period between Gandalfs death and resurrection he and Mandos spent much time discussing Glaurung. ;-p It's plausible though that Gandalf would have been kept aprised of what was going on during the First Age as it occurred. After all, he and Sauron used to be "apprenticed" together under Aule. The Silm says:

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Manwe and Varda are seldom parted, and they remain in Valinor. Their halls are above the everlasting snow, upon Oilosse, the uttermost tower of Taniquetil, tallest of all the mountains upon Earth. When Manwe there ascends his throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea. And if Manwe is with her, Varda hears more clearly than all other ears the sound of voices that cry from east to west, from the hills and the valleys, and from the dark places that Melkor has made upon Earth.


That does NOT mean their sense are all pervading, only extreme in capacity. However, they're certainly enough to perceive Glaurungs depradations; the question is how much they discussed him with Olorin. This, with Mandos, is a compelling argument for Olorins knowledge of Glaurung, which, if it could be definitively established, would make Gandalfs statement on the Ring in relation to Dragons solid evidence. That's a lot of ifs and maybes though. It adds weight to the scale in favor of Ancalagon, as does Grondys logic, but it's still not conclusive IMHO. I'd say 70/30-80/20 Ancalagon.
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Something tells me that during the brief period between Gandalfs death and resurrection he and Mandos spent much time discussing Glaurung. ;-p It's plausible though that Gandalf would have been kept aprised of what was going on during the First Age as it occurred. After all, he and Sauron used to be "apprenticed" together under Aule.

After his death, Gandalf passed 'out of thought and time', hence he passed beyond Eä, beyond the reach and responsibility of the Valar. It was Eru who sent him back, hence Mandos did not come into the picture.

It was Saruman and Sauron who were Maiar of Aulë, not Olórin. Olórin is described to have lived in the gardens of Lórien, and that he often visited the house of Nienna in the Silmarillion; beyond this, in Unfinished Tales he was personally sent by Manwë & Varda to Middle-earth as one of the Istari.

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That's a lot of ifs and maybes though.

Hey, it's Tolkien.
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It's plausible though that Gandalf would have been kept aprised of what was going on during the First Age as it occurred. After all, he and Sauron used to be "apprenticed" together under Aule.
I don't believe Galndalf ever studied under Aulë. Is there a reference to that somewhere? If he had, he would have been more inclined toward mechanical contraptions or is that where he learned the art of fireworks making?
Never mind. I had read "Turin" as "Olorin" for some reason. I'm not sure how I confused Olorins origins with Sarumans, but since I can't recall where I read about Sauron having a fellow Maiar in his service to Aule (LT1 maybe?)

Edit: OK, cool; thanks.
It's mentioned in UT, chapter Istari, i reckon.
I would like to comment on the starter thread.
I am very experienced with Dinosauria and know that the biggest flying reptile was known as Quetzalcoatlus (very difficult to spell) (a 15 meter wingspan!) not a Pteradon, unless you mean Pterasaur which is the suborder of the flying reptiles you state.
Oh and also there is no such thing as a 'Brontosaur' by which you mean its correct scientific definition of 'Brachiosaur'.
Meh. So they changed "brontosaur" to "brachiosaur." The monkey is not impressed. And I DID say "IIRC" on the other; I'd never heard of a Quetzalcoatlsaur until now. When I hear "Quetzalcoatl..." the first thing to come to mind is NOT "dinosaurs." Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie." The point was you'd think mass and drag would prevent Drakes from possessing a Wyrms size. But perhaps I read too much Xanth; Joel Rosenberg gave his dragons an "inner flame" without which their wings wouldn't support them (and vice versa.)
Sorry if i adled you with Dino stuff.
Its a good thing i did not say that it was a Cretaceous reptile slightly bigger than Ornithichyrus (sp), made a around the world journey across the Pangea landmassand Panthalassa ocean every year and unfortunately witnessed the Mesozoic exstinction. Don't get me started on the longest Dinosaur name - Micropachycelfalosaurus (sp but about the same).
Not at all. I simply don't see any reason to stop calling a brontosaur a brontosaur just because of a little controversy about the time I was born. Indeed, if Wikipedia can be trusted (and much to the chagrin of Encyclopedia Brittanica, a recent comparison study found they can) the first person to identify the discrepancy felt "brontosaur" and "apatosaur" could be used synonymously. Further, the same Wiki article states the brachiosaur is itself merely one among several species that can be grouped in a suborder and collectively referenced as "brontosaurs." If it's good enough for Beanie Babies, Tranformers and the US Postal Service it's good enough for me. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie And I have no difficulty accepting Queztalcoatlosaurus, but when I hear "Quetzlcoatl" I typically think of the myth that got Montezuma killed.

Brontosaurus
Shush, you two! Don't make me call a palaeontologist!
Apatosaurus I beleive was thought to have been a subspecies of the Diplodicus family, another Sauropod yet heavier that the typical Diplodus we know today. I don't believe it was confused with the Brontosaur, later known as Brachiosaur as its heaight was considerably less but it was longer. The change from Brontosaur to Brachiosaur took place in the early to mid 90s I beleive.
The simple reason that Apatosaur could not have been Brachiosaur is becuase it could have gone into relatively deep water. Brachiosaur could not have becuase the preasure would have crushed its lungs.
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The simple reason that Apatosaur could not have been Brachiosaur is becuase it could have gone into relatively deep water. Brachiosaur could not have because the preasure would have crushed its lungs.
And they have found a set of these lungs have they, and done metalurgical tests on them to know that they were not surrounded by a sheath of HY80, the once-upon-a-time steel from which submarine hulls were made? These would have turned to rust and dissapeared during the intervening years. Elk Grinning Smilie
I thought you said you were not going to bring in the expert Virumor!
Sorry about that.
The logical thing to do is hit my link and take it up with Wiki, which has (among other things) this to say:

"The terms brontosaurus, brontosaurs and brontosaurians (no capital 'B'; no italics) are often used to refer to an infraorder of sauropods including genera such as Brachiosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus and Supersaurus, as well as Apatosaurus."

"History"

"Othniel Marsh, a Professor of Paleontology at Yale University who described and named an incomplete (and juvenile) skeleton of Apatosaurus ajax in 1877, two years later announced the discovery of a far larger and more complete specimen at Como Bluff Wyoming — which, because of discrepancies including the size difference, Marsh incorrectly identified as belonging to an entirely new genus and dubbed Brontosaurus excelsus."

"To perfect his find — the largest dinosaur ever discovered at the time and nearly complete, lacking only a head, feet, and portions of the tail — for what was to be the first ever display of a sauropod skeleton, at Yale's Peabody Museum in 1905, Marsh added some feet he had discovered at the same quarry, a tail fabricated to appear as he believed it should, and what he apparently felt was the "correct" skull for the massive creature: not a delicate Diplodocus-style skull matching what was actually a large Apatosaurus skeleton, but instead a chimaera composed of "the biggest, thickest, strongest skull bones, lower jaws and tooth crowns from three different quarries", primarily those of Camarasaurus. (This "scientific sloppiness" is considered to be symptomatic of undue haste resulting from Marsh's notorious rivalry with Edward Drinker Cope, which would later become known as the "Bone Wars".)

"In 1903 Elmer Riggs published a paper in Geological Series of the Field Columbian Museum which identified B. excelsus as an Apatosaur (ie. A. excelsus):

'...In view of these facts the two genera may be regarded as synonymous
. As the term "Apatosaurus" has priority, "Brontosaurus" will be regarded as a synonym. '

"Nevertheless, the mistake was perpetuated by conservative paleontologists and museum curators (who would in fact reverse a number of corrective identifications of Apatosaurus skulls over the years) until it was officially laid to rest in 1975 with the publication of a paper by John S. (“Jack”) McIntosh and David S. Bermanbase, based on twenty years of research review.

"Despite this some paelontologists — most notably Robert Bakker — argue that A. ajax and A. excelsus are in fact sufficiently distinct that the latter continues to merit a separate genus. Bakker recently re-classified A. yahnahpin as the type-species for the new genus Eobrontosaurus."

So there. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
Touch-down, Morambar.
Not quite sure what you are arguing about Morambar?
Lord of All posted :
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Not quite sure what you are arguing about Morambar?

Morambar has proven that the following - which you posted on 13 May 2006 - is incorrect:
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Apatosaurus I beleive was thought to have been a subspecies of the Diplodicus family, another Sauropod yet heavier that the typical Diplodus we know today. I don't believe it was confused with the Brontosaur, later known as Brachiosaur as its heaight was considerably less but it was longer.


He has also proven that the following - which you posted on 12 May 2006 - is incorrect :
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Oh and also there is no such thing as a 'Brontosaur' by which you mean its correct scientific definition of 'Brachiosaur'.


Because there's the following, coming from Wikipedia :
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"The terms brontosaurus, brontosaurs and brontosaurians (no capital 'B'; no italics) are often used to refer to an infraorder of sauropods including genera such as Brachiosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus and Supersaurus, as well as Apatosaurus."


And this, coming from Wikipedia as well :
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'...In view of these facts the two genera may be regarded as synonymous. As the term "Apatosaurus" has priority, "Brontosaurus" will be regarded as a synonym. '


So next time when you start an argument, I'd advise you to first check the facts instead of solely relying on your beliefs.
Brachiosaur was originally called 'Brontosaur', that is all I said, and that is true.
That is not all you said about the matter. Look at what you posted on 12 May 2006, which has been refuted by Morambar :
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Oh and also there is no such thing as a 'Brontosaur' by which you mean its correct scientific definition of 'Brachiosaur'.


Either you have a very short memory-span, or either you're mythomaniac.
Well, I must apologise for any misinterpretation. All I simply meant was the Brontosaur was later renamed Brachiosaur, not the it did not exist.
No worries, but that statement is also a problem; Wiki states that it was the Apatosaur that was originally called Brontosaurus, due to the discoverer of "both" not realizing his first Apatosaur discovery was a juvenile of the species. There was no confusion about the Brachiosaur, but it's perhaps understandable it could mentally replace the Apatosaur in the controversy, as the same Elmer Riggs who recognized the identity of Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus discovered Brachiosaurus. Of that Wiki says (among other things) this:

"The first Brachiosaurus was discovered in 1900 by Elmer S. Riggs, in the Grand River Canyon of western Colorado, in the United States. He named the new species and genera in 1903 after its long front limbs — Brachiosaurus means 'arm lizard', from the Greek brachion ('arm') and sauros ('lizard')."

In other words, the same year he clarified the status of Brontosaurus as an adult Apatosaur he classified his own discovery as Brachiosaurus.
Don't think I will get to discuss with you much more Morambar. Good to meet another Dinosauria fanatics though.
I'm really more of an enthusiast, but one who has Wikipedia bookmarked. ;-p Meanwhile, remember it's always darkest before the dawn, and hope for the best. Rednell had some good suggestions to avoid inadvertently causing problems through misunderstanding and miscommunication. In fact, I'd say much the same all the way through, and only add the importance of qualifying statements both in terms of not making declaring absolutes unless you're VERY sure you can corroborate them, and making clear opinions are just that. And, of course, that reasonable men can differ. Anyway, hope it all works out for you.
You know, I could have sworn I'd posted something here, but I don't see one. Disturbed Smilie
It has probably been replied to a hundred times but Virumer said:

"Gothmog was even Morgoth's son..."

You are half right and half wrong. Gothmog means 'Voice of Melkor' in Quenya I believe yet in Sindar it means thus:

"Gothmog 'was a son of Melko and the ogress Fluithuin and his name is Strife-and-hatred, and he was Captain of the Balrogs and lord of Melko's hosts ere fair Ecthelion slew him at the taking of Gondolin. The Eldar named him Kosmoko or Kosomok(o), but 'tis a name that fitteth their tongue no way and has an ill sound even in our own rougher speech, said Elfrith [emended fmm Elfriniel].' (In a list of names of the Valar associated with the tale of The Coming of the Valar (I. 93) it is said that Melko had a son 'by Ulbandi' called Kosomot; the early 'Qenya' dictionary gives Kosomoko = Gnomish Gothmog, I.258. In the tale Gothmog is called the 'marshal' of the hosts of Melko (p. 184).) In the later development of the legends Gothmog was the slayer of Feanor, and in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears it was he who slew Fingon and captured Hurin (The Silmarillion pp. IO7, I93, 195)."
Bolt 2


This may be the quote you are thinking of:

"It emerges from this list that Omar-Amillo is the twin of Salmar-Noldorin (they are named as brothers in the tale, p. 76); that Nieliqui (p. 76) is the daughter of Orome and Vana; and that Melko has a son ('by Ul-bandi') called Kosomot: this, it will emerge later, was Gothmog Lord of Balrogs, whom Ecthelion slew in Gondolin."
BOLT 1


Basically it means thus:

Gothmog = Kosomot (Kosomoko in Quenya) - 'Son of Melkor' - it is Gothmogs title he was not actually a son of Melkor.

Here is another quote suggesting that Gothmog means 'Voice of Melkor':

"Gothmog '= Voice of Goth (Morgoth), an Orc-name.' Morgoth is
explained at its place in the list as 'formed from his Orc-name Goth
"Lord or Master", with mor "dark or black" prefixed.' These entries in
the List of Names have been discussed in II. 67. In the Etymologies the
element goth is differently explained in Gothmog (GOS, GOTH) and in
Morgoth (KOT, but with a suggestion that the name 'may also contain
GOTH )."
HOME5


This is why Sauron had a servant named 'Mouth of Sauron' following 'Voice of Melkor' and he named many other things after his master - Udun in Mordor, Grond the battering ram, Gothmog the captain of Pellenor etc...
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It has probably been replied to a hundred times but Virumer said: "Gothmog was even Morgoth's son..." You are half right and half wrong.


I would say Virumor is fully right, considering that in the early legends Gothmog was the son of Melkor and the ogress Fluithuin 'mother of Gothmog' (or Ulbandi).

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Gothmog means 'Voice of Melkor' in Quenya I believe yet in Sindar it means thus:


Neither Qenya Kosomot, Kosomoko mean 'Voice of Melkor'. See the Appendix on Names in The Book of Lost Tales II.

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This may be the quote you are thinking of: "It emerges from this list that Omar-Amillo is the twin of Salmar-Noldorin (they are named as brothers in the tale, p. 76); that Nieliqui (p. 76) is the daughter of Orome and Vana; and that Melko has a son ('by Ul-bandi') called Kosomot: this, it will emerge later, was Gothmog Lord of Balrogs, whom Ecthelion slew in Gondolin."
BOLT 1

Basically it means thus: Gothmog = Kosomot (Kosomoko in Quenya) - 'Son of Melkor' - it is Gothmogs title he was not actually a son of Melkor.


I don't see how 'Melko has a son by Ulbandi' means Kosomot was not actually his son.

And Kosomot is also Qenya, a variant of Kosomoko. If I am correct about Qenya phonology (not Quenya phonology, but this early language), when final here, -k becomes -t. But in any case in my opinion only Gothmog is the Gnomish example here, and these others are both Qenya.

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Here is another quote suggesting that Gothmog means 'Voice of Melkor': "Gothmog '= Voice of Goth (Morgoth), an Orc-name.' Morgoth is explained at its place in the list as 'formed from his Orc-name Goth "Lord or Master", with mor "dark or black" prefixed.' These entries in the List of Names have been discussed in II. 67. In the Etymologies the element goth is differently explained in Gothmog (GOS, GOTH) and in Morgoth (KOT, but with a suggestion that the name 'may also contain GOTH )." HOME5


That is from a name list from the 1930s, not necessarily to be mixed with the idea given in The Book of Lost Tales however. Christopher Tolkien explains:

'A name-list made in the 1930's explains Morgoth as 'formed from his Orc-name Goth 'Lord or Master' with mor 'dark or black prefixed, but it seems very doubtful that this etymology is valid for the earlier period.' (The Tale of Tinúviel, Miscellaneous Matters). Christopher then even compares 'Voice of Goth' to the meaning 'Strife-and-hatred' -- these are different ideas from different texts.

Moreover, and as noted, according to Etymologies (see CJRT in HME V for dating here) -- where we still have not yet reached the Sindarin of The Lord of the Rings at this point -- Gothmog was said to hail from *Gothombauk- from a base MBAW- 'compel, force, subject, oppress.', and GOS-, GOTH- 'dread'.

Anyway, though Tolkien later rejected the idea, the offspring of the Valar were once numbered with the Maiar. Tolkien would ultimately change wife to spouse in later texts, with the significance that 'spouse' meant only an 'association'. As Christopher Tolkien notes in Morgoth's Ring, the abandonment of the Children of the Valar was an abandonment of an old and long rooted idea.

So I think Virumor is correct in that at one point even Gothmog was considered the son of Melkor.
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