Tolkien Gateway

Lecture on Dragons

Lecture on Dragons (sometimes known as Essay on Dragons) is an unpublished lecture by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is referenced as "Ms. Tolk. A61. fols. 98-125" in the Tolkien's papers conserved at the Bodleian Library.

Extended extracts have been published by Christina Scull in Leaves from the Tree (1991), by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (1995) and in The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (2006), and by John Rateliff in The History of The Hobbit (2007).

The lecture was originally given on 1 January 1938 to children at the University of Oxford Museum. Tolkien described two kinds of dragons, "'creeping' and 'winged' but, in general, large, deadly, coiling serpent-creatures."[1]


  1. Quoted in Tree of Tales.