This was my first encounter with Tiamat art. The Dragonlance Chronicles portrayed her as a dark goddess, 1 of 3 moons, and god over dark magic. I remember being in a store and seeing this cover art and, well, things clicked. But, confusion also clicked. A multi-headed dragon would be schizophrenic at best, off-balanced, and with that many dragon heads, how would Tiamat ever make decisions? For a D&D player, it didn’t matter. A single dragon is rough; five dragons is death!
In my own writing, I want Tiamat to make sense. Why would such a goddess exist? She is explained here in detail, but it’s worth noting that Tiamat is not a five-headed dragon, nor is the name unique to Dungeons & Dragons. Look her up. Ancient goddess of chaos and fertility, eventually co-opted by Christianity into a devil-type trope.
Tiamat is awesome. She is the consort to the All Father. They had a disagreement and the All Father ascended to Heaven, leaving Tiamat behind. The patriarchs of each dragon type had their own consorts. They sacrificed their consorts to Tiamat (she was the strongest of all dragons remaining) to make her as strong as the All Father. Though shown with many heads, a reader should get the impression that Tiamat is a group of goddesses: red/fire, white/ice, blue/lightning, green/gas, and black/acid. The shadow dragons and “blind” dragons have yet to join Tiamat’s faction against the All Father. Wyverns, hydras, and other dragon-like creatures already know their place or are too fallen to join Tiamat’s dominion.
So, when I say ‘Tiamat,’ I could mean Tiamat who is ‘the goddess consort of the All-Father,’ or Tiamat ‘who is the group of matriarchs that include Tiamat.’ Either way and whether we consider her awesome or not, Tiamat is dreadful in her power.
I personally see Tiamat as a beautiful and sensual woman appearing different to each viewer based on their own personal understanding of beauty. Male, female, human or not, Tiamat is everything they could ever imaging wanting to worship. So beautiful she makes your soul ache. She does not need a breath weapon; it’s too limiting. Her will drives power in whatever shape or form best suits her mood or thinking. She is omniscient for those things touched and shaped by dragons. To know Tiamat is to know the power that lifted the mountains of Tehra, filled the oceans with water and life, and drives the wind across the vast expanses of sky.
She always bears chains binding her to the matriarchs. The chains trail into space and vanish behind her. They are a covenant between her and the matriarchs to return the world of Tehra to the dragons who created it. She is their avatar. They are her army.