From the Medieval Studies Research Blog: "Dragonomics: Smaug and Climate Change"

Author: Dov Honick

Fahey Dragon Hoard Stephen Hickman 1985 Opt
‘Dragon Hoard,’ Stephen Hickman (1985).

Today, we talk about dragons. I refer specifically to the greedy, northern (often fire-breathing) variety as described in Beowulf and featured in Tolkien’s Hobbit, and I will consider how these monsters present environmental catastrophe as a direct result of hoarding and greed.

My discussion of dragons and climate change continues my recent series of blogs interested in placing medieval literature (and in this case also modern medievalism) in conversation with current crises. This blog develops an earlier argument made in a paper at a “Tolkien in Vermont” conference (2014), titled “Dragonomics: Smaug and Pollution on Middle-Earth,” in which I argue that pollution in Tolkien’s Hobbit is linked to both the literal destruction by the dragon, and the rampant greed that motivates Smaug and ultimately initiates the plunder and violence at the Battle of Five Armies.

This is an excerpt from “Dragonomics: Smaug and Climate Change” written by Richard Fahey, Ph.D. (Notre Dame). Read the full story.