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Glaurung, also known as The Deceiver, The Evil and The Father of Dragons, is a major antagonist in The Silmarillion and the main antagonist of The Children of Húrin. He was the first terrestrial, non-winged, fire-breathing and the first-ever Dragon to have ever lived in all of Middle-earth. First of the Fire-drakes (Urulóki) was Glaurung, the Father of Dragons. He functions as the mortal enemy of Túrin Turambar.

Biography

Creation and Revealing Himself

Glaurung was bred by the evil Morgoth from the earth to use as a weapon against the Ñoldor, perhaps to act as a counter to their deadly swords and as a cover for his army. Morgoth intended not to reveal Glaurung until he was at his full strength so that the Ñoldor would not be able to find out a counter to him. Glaurung eventually charged out recklessly into Beleriand and managed to terrify the Ñoldor into retreat until Fingon managed to drive him back to Angband since he could not yet endure arrows. The Ñoldor were overjoyed, for they did not see how powerful Glaurung would be in his full might, and Morgoth was displeased that Glaurung had revealed himself, but Glaurung merely saw this as a youthful adventure.

Dagor Bracillioth

Glaurung reemerged 200 years later, in his full power, and managed to destroy the majority of the Ñoldorin fortresses, specifically defeating the sons of Finarfin, Angrod, and Aegnor, as well as the Ñoldor at Maglor's Gap. He slaughtered thousands of the Ñoldor and made several victories for Angband and his master. His actions out in the field succeeded in temporarily throwing the Ñoldor into disarray and managed to end the Ñoldorian time of peace. Morgoth eventually recalled Glaurung to Angband and was no longer seen by the Elves for another 25 to 30 years. He was either patrolling the territories he had gained for his master or was recuperating in Angband.

Nirnaeth Arnodied

Glaurung was a major character in the climactic battle for Beleriand at Unnumbered Tears. Depending on the version of the story his role differs. In the original, he prevents the Elven hosts from linking up and manages to almost annihilate the eastern force before the dwarf king Azghail stabbed him in his vulnerable underbelly causing him to flee to Angband. In the rewrite, he destroys the eastern host right at the start of the battle and later returns with his army to finish off the western host. His contributions resulted in a firm end to the power of the Ñoldor main kingdoms.

Curse of Húrin

Morgoth eventually chose Glaurung to attack the city of Nargathrond, the city that was the current residence of Túrin Turambar. Glaurung annihilated the Elven city, and then when Túrin confronted him, he spoke fairly, and then froze him with his magic dragon spell, and then spoke to him. Glaurung seemed to know everything about Túrin's previous actions as he specifically referred to them in their conversation, greatly implying that Morgoth chose Glaurung to be the instrument for fulfilling his curse against the children of Húrin. Glaurung then stated that Túrin must choose either to save Findiluas, the princess of Nargothrond, or save his family who was suffering in Dorlomin, Túrin's home. He urged Túrin to rescue his family and Túrin did as he suggested. Once out of earshot, Glaurung silently smiled as he had accomplished his master's command, whether or not it was destroying Nargothrond, preventing Túrin from chasing Findiluas to ensure the curse succeeded, or both, though it is greatly implied it was both, as Túrin's family aside from his father were in Doriath, whether or not Glaurung knew that or if this was a mere coincidence is unknown.

Glaurung then hoarded all of the treasure of Valinor for his own use, making him a dragon-king. He denied the Orcs the plunder, though it is not made clear if he killed them or simply ordered them out. For 2 years he lay there, but upon hearing horses, went into the river, creating a fog dense enough that Morwen, Túrin's mother was lost and the hidden Niënor, Túrin's sister who had hidden herself to meet her brother, came up to the hilltop where Glaurung's head was. After learning her identity, Glaurung managed to put her in a state of amnesia though, unlike Túrin who easily caved in when Glaurung brought up Túrin's previous actions, Niënor gave him a hard mental fight before giving up leaving her dumb, before returning to Nargathrond.

Death

Word soon reached Glaurung that Túrin yet lived with Niniel who he had taken as his wife in Brethil and correctly deduced that they were siblings. He sent orcs against them to fulfill the curse, but when they were slaughtered, he decided to finish the curse himself. Knowing that Findilaus had been Túrin's only hope of escaping the curse Morgoth had put on him, Glaurung did not go near Findiluas's grave, either doing this deliberately to give Túrin false hope or simply deeming he would have more fun destroying Brethil and killing Túrin before departing to Angband by taking a longer route.

While crossing Cabed en Aras, Túrin stabbed him fatally with his sword Gurthang in his underbelly causing Glaurung to jump across and embed the weapon in his flesh. When Túrin retrieved the blade, Glaurung's venomous blood sent Túrin into a swoon. When Niënor called for Túrin, Glaurung, still alive, revealed that Túrin was her brother and mocked her with the fact she was carrying their child. He then cruelly told her that the curse had fulfilled and then perished. With his death, his magical amnesia was lifted and Niënor in horror realized he had told the truth and committed suicide by jumping into the fast-flowing river.

Túrin soon came to and upon fleeing after hearing it, learned from the Elves of Doriath that Glaurung had told the truth, ran back to the brink of the river and killed himself, resulting in Glaurung, killing his mortal enemy in death. His body was cremated in a massive fire.

Personality

Glaurung was very obedient and loyal to Morgoth, despite disobeying him when he ran out before Morgoth told him to. He was highly skillful in magic and easily managed to use his terror and power to his advantage. Glaurung also had no qualms about destroying whole regions and turning them into wastelands. He can be clarified as a psychopath and a monster as he had no qualms about sending an entire kingdom into dust, and was also very greedy, even ordering his minions out, and possibly killing them. He also was extremely sadistic, gleefully telling Túrin falsehoods about the state of his family, and driving Niënor to suicide, and also managed to drive a whole family into death with his mere voice, making him one of the cruelest servants of evil in the First Age.

Titles

Glaurung was the Father of Dragons as he was the first dragon to ever appear and later sired more. He was known as the Worm, the Long Worm since he was frequently on all four legs and moved very slowly. He was called the Golden when he ruled over the treasure of Nargathrond, setting off his species love for gold, and foreshadowing the actions of his species in the Third Age, especially Smaug. His most well-known title was the Deceiver because his lies and falsehoods managed to destroy the entire family of Húrin Thallion and ended several kingdoms of resistance against the power of Angband.

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Trivia

  • Glaurung functioned as Morgoth's main field commander during the war, coming out more often than any other of his lieutenants, making him one of the key antagonists.
  • Glaurung is one of the few dragons in history, regardless of where it is from, to not have wings, a rarity as the beasts usually possess wings.
  • Glaurung overall managed to succeed in his task, making him perhaps one of the very few Tolkien villains in literature to actually succeed in achieving his goal.
  • Glaurung's other title "the Deceiver" is also a title belonging to Sauron.

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