Here Be Worms

A selection of J. R. R. Tolkien’s hand-drawn dragons from The Hobbit. The ones below are from the included map. The one above, not in my 30th printing of the 1966 edition, was added as a frontispiece to later editions.The collective noun for dragons is a desolation, unless you’re referring to the Asian versions, in which case it is a charm, like goldfinches. (Yes, I’m making this part up.)We have shrunk the wyrm down to the worm, but originally it meant serpent and seems to have been interchangeable with dragon. Hence Great Worms and the Worm Ouroboros. But not the Diet of Worms.

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