Don’t believe the mockers. The latest posthumous work of Tolkien is a masterpiece around the Wagnerian or Sophoclean theme of unconscious incest. Dragon slayers are of perennial fascination, whether they be Saint Michael the Archangel, Bel, Saint George or Perseus killing the sea monster that holds Andromeda prisoner. Modern literature has Ged, the Wizard of Earthsea, banishing the Dragon of Pendor from Ursula le Guin’s Archipelago; or even Harry Potter thrusting his sword through the mouth of the Basilisk. Yet there is no dragon of whom I have read, or whom I have seen on stage – not Fafner himself in Siegfried – who is quite so frightening as Glaurung, the dragon in JRR Tolkien’s The Children of Hurim. [More]