Glaurung, Smaug , and Lyme Regis!

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halfir 28/Dec/2006 at 05:40 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I desired dragons with  a profound desire

wrote Tolkien in On Fairy Stories, and in Beowulf- The Monsters and the Critics he observed that:

Even to-day (despite the critics) you may find men not ignorant of tragic legend and history, who have heard  of heroes  and indeed seen them, who have yet been caught  by the fascination of the worm.

This ’fascination of the worm’ started at a very young age with Tolkien,around the age of seven, when he started a story about ’a green great dragon’ - a story that has passed into oblivion other than his remembrance of his mother’s comment  that he could not write ’a green great dragon’ - but  had to write ’a great green dragon’ -a grammatical point whose rationale he did not understand then , or in later years! {cf. Letter # 163}.

Thus imagine his joy when holidaying at Lyme Regis in the summer of 1906 he found a prehistoic jawbone of a dragon! Was it Glaurung’s, or perhaps Smaug’s?

Actually it was neither, it was a fossilised remain of some perhistoric animal which he pretended came from a dragon.

This, and a cornucopia of other fascinating information is contained in the Hammond&Scull JRR Tolkien Companion and Guide- Chronology volume.

I think we should name -Chinese style- 2007 as ’The Year of Hammond & Scull’ as  their latest work is bound to be increasingly quoted on the Plaza- and rightly so, as it is clearly the locus classicus on the chronological study of Tolkien’s life.

geordie 28/Dec/2006 at 05:43 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
halfir - What a wonderful anecdote!

I think we should name -Chinese style- 2007 as ’The Year of Hammond & Scull’ as their latest work is bound to be increasingly quoted on the Plaza- and rightly so, as it is clearly the locus classicus on the chronological study of Tolkien’s life.

-    -   I’ll get me crayons, and begin work on the posters straight away!

’The Tolkien-reading world is divided into those who have read Scull-Hammond, and those who are going to read them’.

halfir 28/Dec/2006 at 05:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
’The Tolkien-reading world is divided into those who have read Scull-Hammond, and those who are going to read them’.X(
Endril 29/Dec/2006 at 06:46 AM
Healer of Imladris Points: 9193 Posts: 9362 Joined: 15/Jan/2006
halfir: fortunately I’m in the second category.

Whatever, I read the quotes above and it seemed that Tolkien had a certain attraction for the dragons. They are indeed fascinating beings, usually regarded as evil beings in different fantasy stories or by the contrary as fantastic and helpful ones.

Usually the slaying of a dragon was one of the greatest acts of bravery for a hero. Tolkien used that with Turin even if that story is far more complex than this simple view of the hero.

I regard dragons as forever fascinating and great creatures that define strength and bravery but also the automate evil when that characteristic is given to them.      
Kirinki54 29/Dec/2006 at 08:17 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005
Quote: Originally posted by geordie on Thursday, December 28, 2006
’The Tolkien-reading world is divided into those who have read Scull-Hammond, and those who are going to read them’.


Do you plan on teasing us to death just because of unfair distribution?  I have - finally - been promised delivery on 18 January - and I go travelling for a week that day...

Nice dragon anecdote. I wonder again concerning something I mentioned in the ’Mountains’ thread - Drakensberg in South Africa. Tolkien was bound to know about this mountain range, but did he ever comment on it?