Glaurung the Father of Dragons – Lord of the Rings Lore


The First Dark Lord, Morgoth, had many fearsome
creatures at his disposal, from the simple Orc to the Demons known as Balrogs. Among his forces, were Dragons, which Morgoth
bred in his fortress of Angband, and Glaurung was the first Dragon to be created. Hello friends, It’s Karl here, and in today’s
episode we’ll be exploring the history and abilities of Glaurung, the father of Dragons. After Morgoth’s forces were defeated during
the battle of Dagor Aglareb, the Elven army besieged his stronghold of Angband though
they were unable to capture it. And so they had no choice but to maintain
their siege hoping to keep Morgoth at bay… and yet 200 years after the start of their
siege, in the year 260 of the First Age, a new threat would emerge from the gates of
Angband. For Morgoth had realized that Orcs alone were
no match for the Noldor Elves, and so he devised a new creature that could challenge them,
a creature that would forever be known as dragons. I’ve already discussed how Dragons were
created, so I’ll be leaving a link to my video above, rather than covering it again. Now this Dragon was called, Glaurung, the
first Fire Drake to be created and he was a wingless dragon. He had many offspring that would trouble the
free people of Middle-Earth in the years to come, earning him the name the Father of Dragons. When Glaurung first emerged from the gates
of Angband, the Elven forces were terrified at the sight of this new creature and they
fled before him. Though a Dragon should never be taken lightly,
Glaurung was still barely half-grown, and so his scales had not reached their full development. This weakness, allowed Fingon, who was an
Elven Prince, to lead a group of archers towards Glaurung, and they surrounded him and pierced
his hide with darts. And so, to avoid further injury, Glaurung
fled back to Angband, and his master Morgoth was displeased, for Glaurung had acted without
his instruction, and Morgoth had not wanted to reveal his creature just yet. For the next 200 years, Glaurung would grow
and increase in might and in the year 455 of the First Age, he would emerge from the
gates of Angband once again, yet this time he was fully grown, and he lead Morgoth’s
forces consisting of Balrogs and Orcs. In the battle that followed, the lands were
devastated, being set aflame and burning with rivers of fire, and so this battle earned
its name, the Battle of Sudden Flame. The forces of Elves and Men were overwhelmed
by this attack, and many of their greatest warriors fell in this battle. The survivors fled and scattered throughout
the lands, and so the siege of Angband was lifted. As the fires raged around him, Glaurung pushed
through into the Pass of Aglon, laying waste to the surrounding lands and he lead Morgoth’s
forces into eastern Beleriand. In the coming years, the Noldor Elves would
lose many of their lands in the northern part of Beleriand, though in the year 473 of the
First Age they would unite once again to face Morgoth, in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. They were joined by the Dwarven and Men allies,
and together they drove out the Orcs from Northern Beleriand as they pushed towards
Morgoth’s fortress of Angband. Yet as hope for victory started to grow in
their hearts, Morgoth unleashed all of his forces that remained and Angband was emptied. There were Orcs, Balrogs and dragons including
Glaurung and his offspring, and his terror and strength were terrible to behold. Many Elves and Men withered before him, and
he drove a wedge between the two elven hosts of Maedhros and Fingon, sweeping them apart. Since their inevitable defeat seemed clear,
what remained of the forces of Elves and Men fled, while the Dwarves of Belegost chose
to stand their ground for they could withstand fire better than their allies, and they held
off Glaurung and his brood. We’re told that if wasn’t for the Dwarven
stand, Glaurung would have slain all that was left of the Noldor Elves. Now these dwarves surrounded Glaurung, and
attacked his hide with their great axes, enraging him, for his armour could not withstand their
blows, and he turned and struck down the lord of the Dwarves of Belegost named Azaghal,
and crawled over his body. Yet, Azaghal still had some life in him, and
with what remained of his strength he drove a knife deep into Glaurung’s belly, inflicting
a serious wound, and Glaurung fled from the battlefield. In the years to come, Glaurung would play
a crucial role in Morgoth’s plans, and in the year 495, Morgoth ordered him to lead
an Orc army to attack the Elven fortress of Nargothrond. As this army travelled through the northern
valleys of Sirion they committed many evil deeds, and after journeying across the southern
borders of the mountains known as Ered Wethrin, they came upon a lake called the Eithel Ivrin
which Glaurung defiled. They then proceeded to travel down river,
burning the surrounding lands as they approached the fortress of Nargothrond. Yet, their presence would not go unnoticed,
for the Elves were aware of this approaching threat, and they chose to ride out and face
it in battle. They were led by a man named Turin whose fate
and future would be closely tied with that of Glaurung. Though the Elven force was valiant, this decision
would prove to be unwise, for the host of Morgoth outnumbered them, and only Turin could
stand against Glaurung, for he was protected by a dwarven-mask that offered him some resistance
to the dragon’s flames. And so, Morgoth’s army overwhelmed the Elven
force, and many of them fell in battle, though Turin survived and he fled back towards Nargothrond
hoping to reach it before Morgoth’s forces… yet fate would not have it so, for Glaurung’s
army was there before him. Now, news of the lost battle had not yet reached
Nargothrond, and so its guards were caught unawares… and Glaurung crossed the bridge
that lead to the fortress, and in a tempest of fire he overthrew the Doors of Nargothrond
and entered the fortress. Many of the Elves inside of Nargothrond were
burnt alive by the Dragon’s fire and its great halls were ransacked and pillaged, though
some of the female Elves were kept alive, to be sent as slaves to Morgoth. When Turin approached Nargothrond, he beheld
the destruction and onslaught of the dragon, and as he stood transfixed, outside of the
broken doors, Glaurung emerged from the fortress, welcoming Turin. Glaurung then looked into Turin’s eyes and
he cast a binding spell upon him, and Turin was unable to move. While he was paralyzed, Glaurung lied to him,
telling Turin that his sister and mother were slaves, and that Turin had brought evil and
misery to everyone around him, and since Turin was under Glaurung’s spell, he believed
these words and he hated himself. He didn’t even awaken, when the Elven prisoners
passed by him, and these included Finduilas who was the daughter of the King of Nargothrond
and she loved Turin. As she passed him, she cried out his name,
yet Glaurung still held him under his spell, and he didn’t release him until the Elven
Captives had reached the Northern road. When Turin awoke, Glaurung pretended to offer
him mercy, telling him that he would spare his life to honour his valour, and since Turin
was still partly under the spell of the Dragon, he believed these words. Glaurung then informed him of the choice that
lay before him. He could either make haste to his mother and
sister and save them from slavery, or he could try and save Finduilas first, though if he
chose to do so, he would never see his mother and sister again, and they would curse him
for it. Turin believed this lie, and he chose to save
his family, for he didn’t know that in fact his mother and sister were safe in the Elven
realm of Doriath. And so when he discovered the truth, he was
enraged, and he tried to fix his mistake, searching out Finduilas, though when he found
her it was already too late, for she had been slain by orcs. Turin would then join a faction of Men known
as the woodsmen of Brethil. Now, Glaurung turned the fallen kingdom of
Nargothrond into his home, driving out the Orcs from the fortress, and denying them any
loot. To ensure his safety, he broke the mighty
bridge that lead to this fortress, and he gathered all the gold and riches in a great
pile in the innermost hall of Nargothrond, and he rested upon it. Rumours would spread across the land, of Glaurung’s
occupation of Nargothrond and some said that Turin had fallen in battle while others believed
that he was still petrified by the dragon’s spell. Now these rumours would reach his mother and
sister in Doriath, and in distress his mother rode out alone, hoping to find her son or
news concerning his whereabouts, and a group of Elves were sent out after her, and Turin’s
sister called Nienor, disguised herself amongst them. This Elven company eventually caught up with
Turin’s mother, and together they approached the fortress of Nargothrond, though Nienor
and her mother waited upon a hill known as Amon Ethir. Now Glaurung was aware of the approaching
force and a plan started to form in his mind. He emerged from the fortress and lay in the
river, and he used the heat of his body to create a foul vapour from the water, which
blinded the Elven company. This created a mist which reached the hill
of Amon Ethir and Glaurung travelled to this hill and he lay there, biding his time. His plan would bear fruit for Nienor came
upon and she stared straight into his eyes, and for a moment their wills fought against
one another, though Glaurung put forth more of his power and he learnt her identity and
he cast a spell of forgetfulness upon her. This spell erased his memory and dulled her
senses and Glaurung then returned to the halls of Nargothrond. Now, Nienor wandered the lands lost and in
fear, and she eventually made her way to the woods of Brethil, where she was reunited with
her brother, Turin. Due to her memory loss, they were unaware
that they were siblings and they eventually fell in love and got married. Now Glaurung’s power and malice had kept
growing throughout the years, and he gathered Orcs to Nargothrond and ruled as a Dragon-King,
and three years after Turin had joined the woodsmen, Glaurung sent out an army of Orcs
to attack the woodsmen of Brethil. At first the Orcs seemed to have the upper
hand, until Turin decided to lead the woodsmen into battle and they utterly defeating the
Orc army…though their victory would not come without a price, for Turin had chosen
to wield his famous black sword once again, and when Glaurung learnt that the black sword
was seen in battle, he wondered how he could twist this news to serve his evil purposes. And so, in the following summer, Glaurung
emerged from Nargothrond and he made his way to the borders of Brethil. His approach filled the woodsmen with fear
for they thought that Glaurung was going to attack and ravage their lands, and in their
fear they turned to Turin. Now, Turin had a good understanding of the
might of Glaurung having faced him in battle, and he told the woodsmen that a straight up
assault against Glaurung would be futile, while a stealthier approach was more likely
to be successful. After scouting the land, a plan started to
form in Turin’s mind, for he saw that Glaurung lay near a deep gorge and Turin believe that
the dragon would try to pass over it. And so Turin planned to descend into this
ravine and approach the dragon from beneath him, taking him by surprise. His plan would succeed, for in the middle
of the night Glaurung awoke from his sleep and he started to make his way across the
chasm, and Turin was almost overcome by the smell and heat of the Dragon’s body… yet
he summoned all of his will and courage, and climbed up the cliff till he stood beneath
the dragon. He then drew his black sword, and with all
of his might and fuelled by his hate for the dragon, he thrust it deep into the soft belly
of Glaurung, delivering a mortal wound. As the blade tore through his hide, Glaurung
sensed his imminent death, and he roared and hurled himself across the chasm, lashing and
coiling in agony, beating the land to ruin and setting it ablaze, until his fires died,
and he lay still. Yet Glaurung still had webs of lies to spin,
and evil deeds to commit, and when Turin approached his body and pulled out his black sword some
of Glaurung black blood fell upon his hand and burnt it, and in that moment Glaurung
opened his eyes and looked at Turin with such malice that he fell unconscious and lay as
if he were dead. Now, Glaurung’s dying screams reached the
woodsmen of Brethil, and Nienor ran towards the area where the dragon lay, and she came
across his body though she ignored him for Turin lay nearby. However she thought that he was dead and she
cried next to his body, and once again Glaurung awakened, and with his dying breath he spoke
to her, about her true name and heritage and told her how Turin was her brother, and when
Glaurung died his magical spell was broken and Nienor regained her memories. In her anguish at all that had come to pass
she cast herself over the edge of Cabed-en-Aras and she was lost to its wild waters…though
if she waited a few moments more, perhaps her life might have been spared…and her
brother’s also, for with Glaurung’s death Turin awoke, and when he learnt that Nienor
had died, he cast himself upon the edge of his sword, and so he too passed away. The woodsmen and a group of Elves would eventually
come across this tragic scene and Glaurung’s body, and they would burn the dragon’s corpse
upon a great pyre, until only ashes were left. Now I’d like to discuss some of Glaurung’s
abilities and characteristics. So Glaurung was a golden wingless dragon,
and the first dragon to be created. He was called the father of dragons, and it’s
possible that all the dragons that came to be were of his brood, though one could argue
that the winged dragons and cold drakes might have been a different breed altogether. Glaurung’s eyesight was said to be sharper
than that of the eagles and elves, and in his eyes lay the fell spirit of his master
Morgoth. His eyes also seemed to be the means through
which Glaurung worked his magic, such as petrifying his foes or casting spells upon them such
as memory loss. Though he was a large beast, he was also very
agile, though it seems that after using his magic he was left in a temporary weakened
state, with his fire burning low and walking at a slower pace. His stench was so foul that few could endure
it, and Glaurung made use of it, using it as a weapon. He was also well protected, for his scales
were said to be harder than iron, though just like all dragons his belly was soft and a
weak spot. According to Turin, though Glaurung’s strength
and malice grew over the years, his true power was in the evil spirit that dwelt inside him
rather than the strength of his body, and I believe that this spirit was that of Morgoth. However once again I’ve discussed this already
in one of videos, and so I’ll be leaving a link to it above. Anyway friends this wraps up today’s video
and I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re interested, check out our Facebook,
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together we’ll once again explore the magical world and lore of Middle-Earth.

Randy Schultz

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