When it comes to creatures in the world of fantasy and literature, few stand out as much as dragons. From the fiery beasts that guard treasure hoards in ancient tales to the mighty creatures who breathe fire in modern pop culture, dragons capture the imagination like few other creatures. Among this illustrious group of fictional beasts, few are as impressive as Ancalagon the Black, a massive dragon from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth lore. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Ancalagon’s size and compare him to other dragons in popular media.
Before we dive into the comparisons, let’s talk a bit about Ancalagon himself. The Black was one of the best-known dragons in Tolkien’s legendarium, appearing in The Silmarillion. He was bred by Morgoth, the great villain of Middle-earth, specifically to be a massive and formidable weapon in that evil entity’s arsenal. Despite his impressive breeding, though, Ancalagon only made a limited appearance in the wider stories of Middle-earth. He was seen only in the War of Wrath, the event that marked the end of the First Age of Middle-earth, and was ultimately killed by Eärendil, one of the most heroic figures of Tolkien’s mythology.
So just how big was Ancalagon? According to the stories, he was so large that he could block out the sun, and his wingspan was said to measure an astonishing 100 fathoms (600 feet). This, of course, is a truly massive size — the creature was large enough to put many modern skyscrapers to shame. Given his impressive girth, it’s worth taking a look at some other dragons to see how they measure up to Ancalagon.
One famous dragon that comes to mind when talking about size is Smaug, the dragon that is featured prominently in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Unlike Ancalagon, Smaug is described in much more detail in the book, and his size is given as being similar to that of a large aircraft. Specifically, he is said to be approximately 80 feet long, with a wingspan of 130 feet. While this is certainly imposing, it’s still a far cry from the incredible measurements attributed to Ancalagon.
Another famous dragon that we can compare to Ancalagon is Drogon, one of the dragons from HBO’s Game of Thrones series. Drogon is depicted as being incredibly large and intimidating, and his presence on the show is often used to convey a sense of danger and threat. When it comes to his size, though, Drogon is still considerably smaller than Ancalagon. In the show, he is said to have a wingspan of roughly 150 feet, which is smaller than Ancalagon even when adjusted for the fact that Westeros — the fictional setting of Game of Thrones — is a smaller world than Middle-earth.
Of course, size isn’t everything when it comes to dragons. While Ancalagon may be one of the largest dragons in fantasy literature, there are plenty of other beasts who could give him a run for his money in terms of raw power and influence. For example, the infamous Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons is often portrayed as being able to control the elements themselves, making her a formidable foe even against a great warrior like Eärendil.
Ultimately, the comparison of dragons is as much about the stories they inhabit as it is about their capabilities or size. Ancalagon may be one of the largest dragons ever described in literature, but he is also a creature with a specific purpose and context within Tolkien’s work. Whether one prefers the brooding villainy of Smaug or the fiery majesty of Drogon, there are countless dragons out there to love and appreciate.
In conclusion, Ancalagon was an incredibly imposing creature, with size measurements that dwarf most other dragons in popular media. While dragons like Smaug and Drogon are still impressive in their own right, there’s no question that Ancalagon was a mythical beast of epic proportions, and his presence in Tolkien’s work is a testament to the enduring power of these incredible creatures in the world of fantasy literature.