Message Board | Rules

Thread: Dragon-helm

Bottom of Page    Message Board > The History of > Dragon-helm   
Whatever happened to the Dragon-helm of the House of Hador after Turin died? There was no mention of it in the later chapters of Children of Hurin, and I don't think I've read of what became of it after his death, either.
In general Tolkien 'hadn't finished' with the helm: he intended to have T’rin wear it at Nargothrond (facing Glaurung) and there is a suggestion that he was to wear it at the slaying of the golden worm, but there was not enough text for Christopher to easily incorporate these details into the new book.

Ah, so that was what happened to it. So was it lost after the slaying of the Dragon and the death of Turin? For surely the Dragon-helm would've been a priceless heirloom of the House of Hador, even if their eldest line was finished.
When Turin learned of Nienor's end, he ripped off his hat in desperation and trying to stomp it into the ground, accidentally kicked it over the edge and into the chasm Cabed Naeramarth, from which it was never recovered. Orc Sad Smilie

I don't expect the above is full of truthiness, but it might have been. Teacher Smilie
Not much going on in 'Books' lately, but as I did a long version (of my post above) for another thread, I thought I would paste it here.

I would say Christopher Tolkien only chose another text (dwarf-mask) because he did not have enough actual narrative on the helm to easily incorporate it into a 'finished' tale -- despite that by doing so, when constructing a 'finished' tale at least, he could not represent his father's latest ideas on the matter.

In the Grey Annals (GA) Tolkien penciled in the margin of the entry for 489: 'At once he (Beleg) set forth in search of T’rin [penciled in margin: bearing the Dragon-helm that T’rin had left in Menegroth). But in later writing Tolkien concluded that T’rin left the dragon helm in Dimbar, and Beleg brought it from there to Amon Rudh in the winter. And in GA 495 he also added the note: ['T’rin in the battle wore the Dragon-helm']

So Christopher notes: 'My father must have supposed therefore that Gwindor and T’rin carried it with them after Beleg's death, to Nargothrond.' and further notes a very interesting isolated piece of writing:

'Beleg searching the orc-camp [in Taur-nu-fuin] finds the dragon-helm -- or was it set on T’rin's head in mockery by the orcs that tormented him? Thus it was born away to Nargothrond; but T’rin would not wear it again, lest it reveal him, until the battle of Talath Dirnen.' JRRT

The note continues with the details that Glaurung desired to rid T’rin of the aid and protection of the helm, taunting him, and...

'And indeed so great was the terror of the Dragon that T’rin dared not look straight upon his eye, but had kept the visor of his helmet down, shielding his face, and in his parley had looked no higher than Glaurung's feet. But being thus taunted, in pride and rashness he thrust up the visor and looked Glaurung in the eye.' JRRT

And in GA again, before the doors of Felagund, penciled against a paragraph 'For while he wore the Dragon-helm of Galion he was proof against the glance of Glaurung.'

And from Unfinished Tales: 'Finally there is the suggestion that T’rin was to wear the helm when he slew Glaurung, and would taunt the Dragon at his death with his words at Nargothrond about 'a master of another name'; but there is no indication of how the narrative was to be managed to bring this about.' Christopher Tolkien

So despite these notes the available text to work with was too thin for The Silmarillion or The Children of H’rin ('new' version). Christopher Tolkien explained that for the Silmarillion he had adopted a passage from another text in the 'Narn papers' that told how T’rin found a dwarf-mask in the armories of Nargothrond, and wore it into battle. And though this was written by JRRT it seems, also...

'It seems probable that this story arose at a stage when my father was treating the Dragon-helm as lost and out of the story (from the end of Dor-C’arthol, the Land of Bow and Helm, when T’rin was taken by the orcs), and I extended T’rin's wearing of it to the battle of Tumhalad.' Christopher Tolkien The Grey Annals

Christopher basically kept the dwarf-mask for The Children of H’rin too of course, again, despite that it did not represent the likely way Tolkien himself would have finished the tale.
Forgot this: in The Wanderings of H’rin (The War of the Jewels) Christopher Tolkien presents two pieces both generally described as a 'record of emerging ideas' -- these are given before Christopher gives the story of H’rin in Brethil. In the second piece, JRRT wrote, among other things:

'But ^ [?new] Lord gives the dragon-helm to H’rin. His heart is hot against Thingol...'

The space marked by a caret evidently awaited the name of the new Lord of Brethil. Christopher comments: 'In the second appears a new articulation in the unwritten history of the Dragon-helm, together with...'

Sorry, I should have added that earlier.
With respect to the image of the crest, I notice that Alan Lee depicts the body of the golden worm. The Dragon-helm surfaces in the early Lay...

'... and its wearer warded from wound or death
whoso bore to battle brightly shining
dire dragon-headed its dreadful crest'.


'Lo! we deemed as dead the dragon of the North,
but high o'er the host its head uprises,
its wings are spread! Who has wakened this spirit
and the flame kindled of its fiery jaws?

From The Lay of the Children of H’rin (second version HME III). Also: 'Upon this helm was set in mockery an image of the head of Gl’mund the Dragon, and oft had Gumlin borne it to victory...' Quenta Silmarillion HME V.

The description (of the Helm) in Unfinished Tales: '... a gilded image of the head of Glaurung the dragon;...'

However: 'Upon its crest was set in defiance a gilded image of Glaurung the dragon; for it...' The Children of H’rin

So the text that Lee illustrated 'allows' for more than the head -- though on the other hand, the head of the dragon could be said to be an image of it, and most of the extant texts (though they vary in date of course) appear to speak to a Dragonhead image.

Some helms from the land of the Angles (England): Sutton Hoo provides one with a visor and a dragon-crest, for example. Another, according to the site at least, is the Benty Grange helmet:

Boar crest

Just a couple interesting primary world examples.
Were I a helm designer, I'd limit it to just the cast dragon head atop the helm, sans wings. For wings, just like horns on a Viking helm, can cause the uncovering of ones head if they happen to be struck a glancing blow during a battle. And if it didn't fly off due to the employment of a chin-strap, one still might get a crick in the neck or ones eyes covered as it slipped at an angle forward.

One's hero simply can not declare a time-out in the heat of the battle simply to adjust their headgear. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

A helm constructed in the shape of a dragon's head would also be unwieldy in combat, due to the long snout, so just a dragon head casting atop the helm seems in order. Other examples of this would be the helms worn by the Teutonic Knights in Sergei Eisenstein's movie Alexander Nevsky.