Glaurung Picture

the Worm of Morgoth issues forth from the gate of Nargothrond, holding Turin under his spell.

for me dragons have always existed, like dinosaurs, somewhere on the evolutionary line between the reptile and bird families, and for a flightless dragon like glaurung (also the originator of the species, back before they had wings) I tend to lean heavily over into the reptile camp. I'm a big fan of John Howe's crawling, heavy bodied take on Glaurung; as a land-bound creature it would seem he could get away with a having little more heft to him, and there's something about that slow, belly-dragging walk of a monitor lizard or a big mature crocodile that is at once powerful, confident and hypnotic.

despite the vastly greater numbers of winged dragons in popular culture, I would almost argue that the flightless, crawling "worm" somehow feels more classic, ancient, and archetypal. It seems that many of the oldest dragons in mythology are basically snakes, like jormungandr the world serpent of norse mythology, or satan, who appears as both a "serpent" and a "dragon" (apparently the word "dragon" itself was used as a word for "snake" in english up until the 1700s) and it must be said that dragons, as depicted in most legends (and certainly in Tolkien's world) are very snake-like, they crawl on their bellies, they can hypnotize, they guard treasure hordes (which anyone who's read Rudyar Kipling will readily identify as a habit the two have in common) and they are, more often than not, regarded as evil creatures, even to the point of being associated with the "devil" (or with morgoth in ME) intelligent, cold, wicked; tempters, corrupters, and manipulators. Glaurung is in all these ways very much a "classic" mythological dragon (even being a very close servant of "satan") and what I was mainly interested in here was to give an idea of his movement; measured, purposeful, plodding low and heavy on these big crocodillian feet, with a long, serpentine tail slithering along behind. I can imagine him not moving at all for long periods of time.

part of the Weekly Tolkien Sketchblog (PS he does have hind legs, we just cant see them)
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