Author has written 7 stories for Lord of the Rings.
It was about time to put something new on my profile page and after the wonderful review I received tonight, I thought I would answer a few questions about writing speculative fiction and how I come up with the premises for my stories. So sit back, have a bite of crackers and cheese and read on.
I am a writer of speculative fiction and as such often take great liberties with what Professor Tolkien laid out in his wonderful works. However, no matter what I write, I try to stay true to his "basic" precepts such as a higher power, subordinate powers, "fallen" powers, good and evil and above all ...hope!
In Old Bones I hypothesized that both the body of Isildur as well as the Elendilmir had survived and in the end were respectfully laid to rest in the empty tomb of Isildur's father. All this was based on a sentence in "Unfinished Tales," that "hypothesized" that since Isildur was killed in shallow water, his body could not have been washed out to sea - literary license albeit respectfully written - I hope. It is the same for "Dragon" where the premise of the story lays almost hidden on the pages of one of my books.
This is the second time that I have heard someone say that Morgoth created the dragons. Perhaps some of them were - in a way - the same way that elves were taken and made into mockeries of the orcs. The original orcs may have been created by Morgoth, but the progenitors of the orcs were of the elvish race and were brought into being by Ilúvatar just as the progenitors of the dragons, and down the line to Smaug and the Fell Beasts, were created by Ilúvatar. It was made quite plain in the Aulë/Dwarf incident just how Ilúvatar felt about somebody usurping his position as the creator of life.
And never forget about balance. Tolkien was very familiar with balance and if he had been able to spend another lifetime writing filler stories - stories that filled in the gaps about what was happening on Middle-earth before during and after the story of the Ring - perhaps we would have heard more about grand adventures, brave female warriors, tiny donkeys and beautiful dragons who carried the light of their creator's touch within a golden horn in the middle of their foreheads. But then, like I have said before, I am a hopeless romantic.
I can only find 18 of my Tolkien books and I am growling mightily ...finally found my copy of the Silmarillion ...gawd I've got to get a new copy ...it's in pieces ...worn out like me ...just joking!
On Page 6 of the Silmarillion, in a chapter titled Ainulindalë, Ilúvatar said to Melkor, "And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.'
So it fits that Melkor perverted what dragons he could persuade to follow him into mockeries of the eagles like you said and eventually came the fell beasts which some propose were Sauron's doing when he found them in a nest and fed them with "fell meats by his hand," but he did NOT create the dragon race per se. It would be entirely reasonable that there were those dragons who escaped Melkor's influence altogether just as there were elves who escaped his influence.
Canon? Canon you say? I don't believe in the term canon nor would I write canon - not that there is a single thing wrong with it. It is a genre of speculative fiction, although it is not mine. I will say no more on that matter although I will note for your benefit that none of my stories are canon in that sense and they will remain that way - I'm having far too much fun.
As far as the prophecy that the Nazgul could be killed by "no man." If you want to get literal with this then I would have to say that the Professor wrote himself into a "plot hole" and in case you don't know what that is, a plot hole is a "whoopsie!" A blunder or a boo-boo that the writer never fixed or explained away. If the Witch King could be killed by "no man," then why wasn't he killed by an elf? Hmmmmm.
My dragons, the Old Ones, in their day did have the power to make the Valar "give pause." Remember that they can open the doorway to the heavens with a song. (Keep reading ... you will find out what I mean.) You have to understand that the power they held within them was the power of good and the moment they abused that power in any fashion then Melkor and later the Witch King and even Sauron would have been victorious and they would have been instantly perverted and no better than those mockeries created by Melkor - they would have lost their light and would then be made to enter his service or crawl away to wither and die.
And speaking of withering ... you asked if I could validate the link of the good dragon. Well, perhaps - especially as it is the premise for my story. In "The Atlas Of Middle-Earth," pg. 40, after the lands of Middle-earth had been sunk beneath the water and Melkor had been thrust through the Door of Night the following was written: "The dragons (probably mostly winged, such as Smaug) in after years bred in the Withered Heath and lived in the wastes north of the Grey Mountains."
First, notice that dragons is plural, meaning that at least a male and a female, especially if they were breeding, had survived. It was said that most of the dragons were "winged" like Smaug, but did not make definitive reference to them "being" like Smaug - that is, evil and dark. I choose to again believe the Old Ones were given advanced warning or maybe even foresaw what was going to happen and so were able to get away to safety before the land was sunk. They stayed to do what they could to keep Arda safe. For what? That might just make another story. Also keep in mind that this may also explain the presence of dragons in later world mythology - who knows for sure?
Why didn't they rise up and save the world and destroy the ring? Deus ex machina - god from the machine. A strange term, yes, but one too many writers depend upon. Some writers think of Deus ex machina as an overused plot device - a hero that "rises up in the nick of time to save the day" and resolve the plot with little or no effort. My take on this term is, if you are going to use it then by gawd, make it interesting; something like what I did in Old Bones when I had the ghost of Isildur save the day and earn his redemption by saving Aragorn so he could one day do what he (Isildur) could not.
But answer me this: if Ilúvatar would not let the Valar who had taken a vow of non-interference, save the day, and if the Maiar had been constrained from matching Sauron's power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves or Men by force or fear, then what makes you think that Ilúvatar would have allowed the dragons to do so? There are certain tenets which even I do not violate.
In my story, the last of the Old Ones, Asgorath and Ederyn would have left Middle-earth long before the ring was even found. Their job was done. They were never meant to be the strong arm or even the salvation of mankind, but only the keepers of Arda. I believe that it was in Ilúvatar's grand design all along to make the dominant race work for that dominance. So, if it was the human race's turn to walk in the sunlight then they were going to have to earn the roadmap on how to get there - Ilúvatar doesn't give handouts, only hand ups (Sorry, but I've always wanted to say that!).
It is always my most sincere hope that at the end of each story I write that my readers will sit back and say, " My gawd ...what a ride!" It is my most sincere hope that "Dragon" will be no different. Read, think, experience, learn, feel and maybe even find out something new, and above all have a little fun along the way. If I have provided an interesting venue for my readers to do even a few of those things then I am satisfied.
A favorite quote:
Then said Ilúvatar: The story that I have laid before you, and that great region of beauty that I have described unto you as the place where all that history might be unfolded and enacted, is related only as it were in outline. I have not filled all the empty spaces, neither have I recounted to you all the adornments and things of loveliness and delicacy whereof my mind is full. It is my desire now that ye make a great and glorious music and a singing of this theme; and (seeing that I have taught you much and set brightly the Secret Fire within you) that ye exercise your minds and powers in adorning the theme to your own thoughts and devising. But I will sit and hearken and be glad that through you I have made much beauty to come to Song. The Book of Lost Tales I