Jan 16, 3:58pm
Tolkien's dragons are some of his very best characters. Glaurung and Smaug of course have different tones because they are in very, very different stories. Glaurung, like the whole of the Turinssaga, is grim, horrifying and very, very serious. Smaug is in The Hobbit- which, although it becomes rather more serious and even grand in the later chapters, remains drolly humorous.*
And then there is my favorite of all, the sleazy con-artist Chrysophylax! Here we have the Smaug formula inverted: if Smaug is 80/20 dangerous/amusing, X-lax is the reverse: very funny, but there is still the frisson of "oh, yeah, dragon"
*Someone - Shippey maybe? - likened Smaug to a retired colonel accosted in a railway-carriage by someone to whom he has not been introduced. Myself, I always envisioned him with the voice of Jeremy Irons.
(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 16, 4:00pm)