In my researches as a story archaeologist, I often find myself plundering the same rich, golden seams of ancient Celtic and Norse myths that inspired the imaginations of much greater writers that went before me, notably J.S. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. And as I stand there, trowel in hand, before these gloriously resonant archetypal images – such as the dragon Smaug, from The Hobbit, that hoards piles of gold – I become fascinated to find out where such imagery came from because I know that will also give me its deeper, original wisdom meaning.
So where can we find the derivation of the dragon Smaug?
Well, we need to dig down even further into a dark, peaty layer that hasn’t seen the light of day for many thousands of years.