Fun Post: Scatha the Worm (Smaug’s brother?)

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Image by Jeff Murray (JeffMurray.com)

Between Tolkien’s three major Middle-earth works, there is a small number of references to dragons, but even less so have been attributed with particular names or involved in specific events.

Scatha the Worm is one of those rare named dragons about whom we know almost nothing, but this presents an excellent opportunity to analyse and speculate briefly.

The first time we hear of Scatha is towards the end of The Return of the King, when Éowyn presents Merry with an ancient horn as a parting gift after the War of the Ring.

‘This is an heirlom of our house,’ said Éowyn. ‘It was made by the Dwarves, and came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm. Eorl the Young brought it from the North.’
The Lord of the Rings, Book VI, Chapter 6, “Many Partings”

Interesting. The reference to the North would seem to point towards the Grey Mountains, the mountainous range where Durin’s folk had previously established one of their realms, before being driven out by dragons who bred close by in the Withered Heath.

The only other reference we find later on is in Appendix A:

Frumgar, they say, was the name of the chieftain who led his people to Éothéod. Of his son, Fram, they tell that he slew Scatha, the great dragon of Ered Mithrin, and the land had peace from the long-worms afterwards. Thus Fram won great wealth, but was at feud with the Dwarves, who claimed the hoard of Scatha.
The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, “The House of Eorl”

Apart from reinforcing the dragon’s abode (Ered Mithrin is Sindarin for “Grey Mountains”), we also learn that Scatha was a long-worm.

The term worms has been applied to dragons such as Glaurung and Smaug, although it seems more probable that Scatha was a wingless dragon like Glaurung. Whether Scatha was an Urulóki (a fire-drake) is also uncertain, but he could equally have been a cold-drake.

Etymologically, Scatha means “one who injures, a robber” in Old English, and is a clear reference to the dragon’s plundering of the Dwarven hoard.

Scatha shares these similar draconian traits with the rest of his species. Closest of these is Smaug who also came from the Grey Mountains to settle permanently in Erebor on a pile of Dwarf gold.

Would it be too much to speculate a crazy theory (please don’t take this too seriously) and state that Scatha and Smaug were brothers or related, and Smaug descended on the Lonely Mountain both to seek gold and vengeance on the Dwarves for the death of his younger sibling?

Between Scatha’s speculated demise (T.A. 2000) and Smaug’s descent on the Lonely Mountain (T.A. 2770), there’s a considerable amount of centuries to justify “vengeance”, but then again, Smaug may have been sleeping during those 700 years and learnt only later about his supposed brother’s death. And yet, why would Smaug take it out on the Dwarves, rather than Fram’s descendants?

I said it was far-fetched (and crazy).

Approaching Tolkien: The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun

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Tolkien’s poetic skills are undisputed: eloquent, beautiful, moving.

I am in no way an expert on poetry. However, I like to read the odd verse or two every now and then. So what I look for in a poem is a consistent rhyming pattern, the clever construction of words and meaning in a restrictive format, and all this through an easy and clear read.

This is why I have enjoyed Tolkien’s poems above any other author’s. He is capable of saying so much, in such a beautiful way, without reverting to the abstract or metaphorical that is typical of so many poems. His pacing is progressive and the content itself is both meaningful and straight to the point. Continue reading

Gimli: Most reproached character in Middle-earth

Gimli.jpg© New Line Cinema

It’s a tough life in Middle-earth for Gimli the Dwarf…

This is something I’ve noticed whenever re-reading The Lord of the Rings. I find myself thinking that he is the most reproached individual out of all the characters. He often serves as the audience’s bridge to the story, speaking the reader’s mind when interacting with other characters. For that reason, he finds himself reprimanded, sometimes quite severely.

I really empathise with Gimli and his fruitless attempts to try and win an argument or a conversation. His statements and questions are constantly put down by the other characters he finds himself with. Continue reading

Why I keep reading The Lord of the Rings over and over again

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… as well as The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and his other works.

This applies pretty much to any kind of book and book lover out there.

What really compels one to read the same book time and time again, when they already know the outcome?

Since this post also serves as a kind of self-reflective examination, I thought best to write it down as a monologue between myself, to try and understand what moves one to re-read a favourite piece of literature over and over. It reminds me of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, in which three individuals discuss differing views on the orbit of the Earth and the Sun.

Continue reading

Raising a cup of tea to Peter Jackson

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In keeping with tradition, I decided to write another brief blog post in honour of Peter Jackson’s birthday.

Last year I wrote a short letter dedicated to the director, praising his work and thanking him for introducing me to cinema and Middle-earth.

In this quick post, I’d like to talk about the individual himself. Continue reading

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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A big thanks to Olga from Middle-Earth Reflections and Lisa from Tolkien Read Through who have nominated me for this cool award – the Sunshine Blogger Award. The most rewarding part of blogging about Tolkien is communicating with fellow fans and readers, and sharing our love for the books. So thanks once again Olga and Lisa!🙂

Now on to the official procedure. Continue reading

Prepare for “the other” Middle Earth – Six Film Collection Extended Edition

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In the likely case you’re not going ahead and purchasing the ridiculously-priced Limited Collector’s Edition, there’s always the cheaper version.

Browsing through the endless digital bookshelves on Amazon, I just stumbled upon the ‘Middle Earth – Six Film Collection Extended Edition’ which is basically a 30-disc box set of both trilogies in their extended format. Continue reading