The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Presumably first bred in Angband with their cousins the Fire-drakes in the mid to late First Age; apparently still extant
Race
Meaning
'Drake' is an old word for 'dragon'

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About this entry:

  • Updated 9 April 1998
  • This entry is complete

Cold-drakes

The least mighty of Dragons

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"Now the least mighty [dragons] - yet they were very great beside the Men of those days - are cold as in the nature of snakes and serpents, and of them a many having wings go with the uttermost noise and speed..."
Turambar and the Foalókë
in The History of Middle-earth vol. II The Book of Lost Tales II

Lesser dragons; those of dragon-kind who did not have the ability to make fire.

They were used by Morgoth in the wars of the First Age, though no specific mention of them in this period remains in Tolkien's published work. After the War of Wrath, in which most would have perished, some few seem to have escaped into the northern regions of Middle-earth, beyond the Grey Mountains.

As the millennia passed, their numbers grew, until they became a serious threat in the later centuries of the Third Age to the Dwarves that mined the Grey Mountains. In the year 2589 of the Third Age, Dáin I, King of Durin's Folk, and his second son Frór were slain at the gates of their halls by a Cold-drake. The attacks of these fearsome creatures persuaded the Dwarves to migrate eastwards from the Grey Mountains, and it was soon afterwards that their realms in the Iron Hills and at Erebor were established.

Of the history of the Cold-drakes after this period we are given no hint. Four hundred years later, at the time of Bilbo Baggins' journey to Erebor, they seem to have left the Grey Mountains (at least, Gandalf makes no mention of them when describing the dangers of that region). It is possible that the Orcs who colonised the Mountains after the departure of the Dwarves drove them back into the cold wastes to the north, but we can do no more than speculate on their ultimate fate.


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