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Old 09-30-2003, 10:05 AM   #15
SharkŻ
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Sting

It is true that as a consequence of the theory that dragons could have reproduced after the First Age, it might be supposed that the two escaping dragons need not have been Scatha and Smaug at all; one or both of these could have been lesser, descended dragons (personally, I would hold Scatha to be more likely lesser one). On the other hand, with what sketchy idea we have of the biological origin of dragons, there is no need to treat the scenario that Scatha and Smaug could have produced lesser offspring by mating with other animals, as Mithadan mentioned, as impossible. Especially in the light of later theories of Orcs & alii such crossbreeding seems not wholly unlikely.

Nevertheless, I would in any case not disregard the post-LotR 'two dragons' note. For once, it is from an 'author's text', not written from the point of view of, and not a statement by any character.
Furthermore, it is a definite statement. Which is why I still think it is perfectly reconcilable with the texts, even more so where hints of more than two dragons at all are based on either 'news from Bree' or difficult conclusions and interpretations of Tolkien's use of plural vs. singular when he says {dragon}.

Another possibility would simply be that the meaning of 'dragon' has somewhat shifted. No doubt Morgoth had more fell beasts than just dragons; in later ages, when the great dragons and their creator had become scarcely more than distant and dark rumours, the old word 'dragon' might have survived and been applied to other, far lesser creatures.
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