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Iron Dragons

"a complete consistency [...] is not to be looked for, and could only be achieved, if at all, at heavy and needless cost." — Christopher Tolkien
This article's canonicity is disputed.

The Iron Dragons were creatures of iron and bronze forged by the smiths of Melko within the pits of Angband. They were only ever used against the peoples of Gondolin during its fall.

[edit] History

It was Meglin who first conceived of the creation of monsters of fire and iron, and he brought this idea to Melko during his betrayal.[1]:169 When they came against Gondolin, they piled against the northern gate where the Orcs within would swarm into the breach.[1]:176

Based on their descriptions, it can be said that the Iron Dragons were inanimate in nature.[2] They were made by the most cunning of Melko's smiths and sorcerers. Their iron was expertly linked, so that they could coil and crawl like slow rivers over difficult terrain. Within these devices were Orcs armed with scimitars and spears, ready to emerge at need. It is said that after their appearance at Gondolin, such devices would not be seen again until the Great End.[1]:170

[edit] Inspiration

John Garth has speculated that the Iron Dragons were perhaps supposed to be partly allegorical of the tanks debuted in the Battle of the Somme.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary" p. 213
  3. John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War