The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
The earliest use described Glaurung, who was first seen in I 260 and slain in I 499; also used of Armenelos, which stood throughout most of the Second Age (destroyed in the Downfall of II 3319, at the same time as Ar-Pharazôn, who also bore this title); also used of Smaug, of uncertain age, who was slain in III 2941
Title of
The Dragons Glaurung and Smaug, King Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor, and Armenelos the royal city of that isle


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 July 2015
  • This entry is complete

The Golden

A title for Dragons and royalty

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

A title given to two Dragons, a city and a King of Númenor. In general the title implied wealth and the power that comes with it, at least in the titles of the Númenórean city of Armenelos and its ruler Ar-Pharazôn. Doubtless the connection with wealth was intended in part with the two Dragons who were also given this title, Glaurung and Smaug, though in these cases it also seems to have been applied somewhat literally.

Armenelos The city of the Kings of Númenor, that lay to the east of the Meneltarma near the centre of the island kingdom, is sometimes referred to as 'Armenelos the Golden', presumably in reference to its richly opulent architecture.
Ar-Pharazôn The last of the Kings of Númenor brought Númenor to the height of its power and military might. Seeking the everlasting life that he imagined was to be found in the Undying Lands, and corrupted by Sauron, he led an armada to Aman, and so brought about the Downfall of his kingdom.
Glaurung The Dragon Glaurung apparently earned the title 'Golden' because of his golden colour (he is also called the 'Gold-worm of Angband'), though it may also refer to the hunger for gold and treasure that he shared with all his kind.
Smaug Like Glaurung, Smaug's title of 'Golden' seems to derive partly from his appearance (he was red-golden in colour) and partly from his love of gold. The title no doubt also reflects that fact that his underside was encrusted in gold from the hoard he kept in Erebor.

These four were the only characters and places to be given the specific title 'the Golden', but there are numerous other related expressions. Among these were things that were actually made of gold, or covered with it: the Golden Gate, Hall and House. Other uses referred to things that were golden yellow in colour: the Golden Flower, Perch, Tree and Wood. The Men of the House of Hador were famous for their golden hair, and from this two related titles of Hador himself emerged: the Golden-haired and Goldenhead.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1998, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2015. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.