The books > Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Discuss Lewis Carroll's books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" here!
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Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Postby aliceaficionado » Fri May 07, 2010 12:07 am

Well, to ME it's just that Jabberwock thing. I'm sure Tenniel and Carroll didn't mean it that way, yet people seem to think it's a dragon. Is it because most medieval heroes slay dragons? Or do people think Tenniel's drawing looks like a dragon? This is too much for my tiny insignificant mind! (Also, it seems to be wearing clothes in the drawing. Look at my avatar! I wonder why? I keep having more questions! Are there more than one Jabberwock?)

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Postby Lenny » Fri May 07, 2010 7:05 am

It's not a dragon, it's a Jabberwock.

And the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

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Postby aliceaficionado » Fri May 07, 2010 10:51 am

That's what I thought.

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Re: Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Postby Morton » Sun May 15, 2016 5:03 pm

it's all very well to say "it's not a dragon, it's a jabberwock" but based on the pictures, and one or two bits of text, i'd be inclined to believe it was at leased based partially on a dragon, particularly considering the whole returning with the head thing, which i believe is more common to dragons than other beasts because the head of a dragon is traditionally supposed to contain a hugely precious gem or stone. a jabberwock could even be a type of dragon, at the same time, it could be a completely separate creature, we may never know

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Re: Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Postby Forvai » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:55 am

It does look like a dragon but that's open to interpretation. It could be anything really. g
Last edited by Forvai on Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Postby Jess » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:55 pm

It's essentially a dragon (in the illustration at least) whether it was intended to be one or not. It certainly looks like one, other than the unusual head.

(If you were trying to describe it to someone who hadn't seen it, what would you say it looks like?)

Interestingly, the explanatory notes in my copy say that "Jabberwocky" was probably based on a particular poem, "The Shepherd of the Giant Mountains", about a sheperd-boy defeating a gryphon.

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Re: Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Postby RoamingTigress » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:03 am

Hes's portrayed as a dragon in the 1983 anime series but there's something else in there, so essentially a hybrid in my opinion and observations :D

For reference:

http://imgur.com/a/YnoWj

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Re: Is the Jabberwock supposed to be a dragon?

Postby Fernando S. » Sat May 13, 2017 7:02 pm

In my opinion the Jabberwock is very likely a type of dragon. As I stated to the Lewis Carroll Society more than 10 years ago, at one of their meetings, I make the case for Jabberwocky as a type of "argument" (or a compressed version) of/for the rest of the book, which I think is primarily about the Crusades. There are many reasons for thinking this is the case (such as chess was first introduced to Europe during the Crusades, there are several characters from the Crusades who map on to 'Looking Glass' (like queen Blanche, the foolish French queen, Princess Alice, and the Red Queen, whom Carroll describes in 'Alice on the Stage' as "the concentrated essence of all governesses." (Please also consider Humpty descibed as looking "like a Turk on top of a high wall," a good description of how the Crusaders described their foes.) The agreed upon Victorian "essence of all governesses" was their watchfulness, which was also the essence of Dragons (as they watch over their treasures) and thus they called governesses "dragons." Carroll himself used this term in his letters and one can also find this in the OED, under "duena," another name for a governess. Thus, in my opinion, both dragons, Jabberwock and the Red Queen (in this case the so called "dragon" the Crusaders were fighting) get vanquised in the book by the respective children (probably reminiscent of the Childrens' Crusade). I have much more evidence (as anyone would need to have to make this sort of argument), but these are primarily my reasons for thinking that the Jabberwock is a dragon, or the Dragon/Devil that the Crusaders thought they were fighting. One more thing: Carroll tells us that the Jabberwock is the same or very close to his Snark and in my paper "The Consumption of the Snark," I make the case that this monster is also the Devil, who is usually portrayed as a dragon.


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