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Smaug is a powerful and ancient dragon known as a Fire Drake, or Uruloki. The last of his breed in Middle-Earth, Smaug was famous for his attack on the kingdoms of Erebor and Dale during the Third Age. He is the primary antagonist of the novel The Hobbit, and one of the main antagonists in the film trilogy of the same name. He is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies.

History in the Novel

Smaug was drawn towards the enormous wealth amassed by the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain during the reign of their king, Thror. Smaug came from the mountains in the north in the year 2770 TA, drawn by great wealth amassed by the Dwarven kingdom of the Lonely Mountain, which included gold, gems, silver, pearls, jewels of emerald, sapphire, diamond, and the famed Arkenstone; the so-called heart of the mountain. He took the mountain, killing many dwarves inside it. Thrór and his son Thráin used the secret door to escape, and the dragon continued ravaging the surrounding countryside for a long time, sacking the neighboring kingdom of Dale, which was ruled by Girion, a human king.

For 200 years, Smaug ruled the Lonely Mountain uncontested, lying within the great treasure hoard of the Lonely Mountain and ensuring that no one entered the mountain in an attempt to steal from him. The surrounding domain became a scarred wasteland known to the Dwarves and men as the Desolation of Smaug. During this time, the coins and jewels embedded in the soft skin of his belly, forming a waistcoat of protective armor his only vulnerable spot. However, one patch of skin on his left breast remained unarmored; his only weak spot.

In the year TA 2941, a company of fourteen adventurers consisting of twelve Dwarves, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and led by the heir of the Lonely Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield, entered Smaug's mountain lair by a secret door in a daring attempt to reclaim the ancient treasure from the dragon.

Bilbo, the company's appointed "burglar," was sent into the treasure chamber alone in an attempt to stealthily gather information and steal what he can without waking Smaug. Once inside, Bilbo was surprised to find that Smaug was much larger than he had expected and covered in impenetrable, scaly armor, save for his underbelly. Aware of this vulnerability, Smaug deliberately had spent years sprawled on the wealth of his hoard, allowing diamonds and hard gemstones to be embedded into his belly, armoring his only weakness. However, while examining the dragon after flattering and goading him with riddles, Bilbo noticed a single bare patch on the dragon's left breast, near his heart. With this invaluable information now at his disposal, he escaped the dragon's lair and returned to the Dwarves, sharing his discovery of Smaug's weakness with them, unaware that he was overheard by a thrush, who carried the secret to Bard the Bowman in nearby Esgaroth, the city also known as Lake-town, which was home to the descendants of the survivors of Smaug's attack on Dale.

Returning to the treasure chamber, Bilbo attempted to steal a single cup from the hoard, but its theft is immediately noticed by Smaug, who awakens from his slumber. Amused by the Hobbit, Smaug converses with Bilbo, attempting to deduce his origins and purpose in the mountain. He quickly surmises that Bilbo was aiding Thorin and the rest of the Dwarf company in an attempt to steal back the Arkenstone and reclaim the Mountain and flies into a rage, erupting from the mountain in fiery wrath and loosening his flame upon the land. He then flies to Lake-town upon the Long Lake and devastates it, killing many and destroying their homes. In the midst of the wreck, Bard the Bowman, heir to the throne of Dale and descendent of Girion, does his best to rally men to repel the dragon's assault. Bard, guided by his knowledge of Smaug's secret weakness, fires a black arrow into the beast's vulnerable spot on his belly. Roaring in fury and pain, Smaug falls from the sky and crashes into the flaming ruins of Lake-town. With this final act, Smaug's death signaled the end of the presence of the Uruloki dragons in Middle Earth. 

After his death, Thorin Oakenshield and his companions claimed back Erebor, while the hoard he had guarded became the catalyst for the Battle of the Five Armies, and Lake-Town was rebuilt on the shores of the Long Lake, rather than in its middle. A veritable fortune of gold and jewels was said to rest on the bottom of the lake amidst Smaug's bones, but few dared dive for them in the years after.

History in the Films

Smaug is voiced and interpreted with performance capture by Benedict Cumberbatch in Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of The Hobbit. Smaug is presented with a long, komodo dragon-like head, red scales, enormous wings, and gleaming yellow eyes. The dragon has a deep, resonant voice with an underlying growl. He is also portrayed as being sadistic, malicious, manipulative, and cruel in addition to his being arrogant and proud. In the films, his weak spot is due to the fact that he lost a scale to Girion in Dale. He is significantly larger than in the films than his length of 66 feet in the novel, measuring 462 feet long with a similar wingspan. Additionally, he is portrayed as being wyvern-like in the film, as opposed to his description in the novel, which is that for a traditional six-limbed (four-legged, two-winged) western dragon.

He appears in the prologue of the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, described as a "fire drake from the north" by the narrating Bilbo before taking residence in the Lonely Mountain. His full appearance was not shown as only parts of him were glimpsed as he is flying over Dale and partially obscured by the treasure in the Lonely Mountain. He is featured mostly off-screen, with the only visible parts of him being his legs, tail, a small part of his head, and his wings as he flies, which is consistent with Tolkien's illustrations, and his eye, which can be seen in the final scene of the film. In addition to this, Smaug is a major topic of discussion amongst the White Council as Gandalf cites his reason to support Thorin Oakenshield's quest, citing that if Smaug decided to choose to serve evil, he would be nigh unstoppable.

When Thorin and Company arrived at the Lonely Mountain and send their burglar, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, to find the Arkenstone, the hobbit unwittingly caused a landslide that unveiled the dragon. Smaug stirred from his sleep amongst the vast pile of treasure, as he was suspicious that someone was in the chamber with him. Although Bilbo was forced to use his ring to keep out of sight from the dragon, Smaug was immediately aware of his presence by his scent which, thankfully for Bilbo, the smell of hobbit was unknown to him. He began to search for Bilbo, beckoning him to come out from where he was hiding and when Smaug got too close, the hobbit was overcome with fear and attempted to run, only to alert the dragon, who chased after him through the chamber. Bilbo evaded him and hid behind a massive pillar, still under the cloak of the ring. Smaug continued his search, and claimed that he was aware of the ring in Bilbo's possession and that he sensed that Bilbo has something "made of gold, but far more precious," which in turn forced the hobbit to remove the ring, causing the dragon to find him. Smaug was amused by Bilbo's knowledge of who he was, and began his conversation with the hobbit in order to deduce his origins.

During their conversation, the hobbit then tried to lie to Smaug by claiming that he was no more than a simple traveler who came to the mountain alone to see the dragon, as he didn't believe the tales about him. The dragon rhetorically asked Bilbo if he thought flattery would keep him alive, and asked who he was and where he came from. Bilbo later made his riddle talk by claiming that he "came from under the hill and over hills and under hills his path had led", and through the air, as well as that he was "he who walks unseen". Smaug hardly believed the tiny burglar, but asked Bilbo what also did he claim to be and the Hobbit answered that he was the "luck-wearer", "riddle-maker", and "barrel-rider". The dragon then revealed that he knew that the dwarves were outside of the mountain, although Bilbo (whose eyes were on the newly revealed Arkenstone) tried to deny it, only for Smaug not to take the bait. Soon, a cat-and-mouse banter began with Smaug and Bilbo, as he made unfavorable comments about Thrór and boasted about his armor and invincibility. Smaug then realized that Thorin, Thrór's grandson, had sent Bilbo for the Arkenstone and revealed to him that he found out about Thorin's goal "some time ago", and said that it didn't matter because the quest was ultimately futile, as he was aware that Sauron, the Dark Lord of Middle-Earth, was preparing to openly declare himself once more. In Dol Guldur, the wizard Gandalf the Grey also learned that Sauron and Smaug were in league when he found the imprisoned Thrain.

Later on, Smaug tried to destroy Bilbo's friendship with Thorin by lying to him, claiming that the dwarf was using him and found his fate worth nothing, but the hobbit refused to believe him. Smaug was intrigued by his word and wanted to know what reward Thorin was willing to give him if he succeeded in finding the Arkenstone before stating that he would never give away any of the treasure, not even a single coin. During the game, Smaug discerned the hobbit's attempt at stealing the jewel and kept Bilbo from catching the Arkenstone, boasting about his superiority. During the chase, Smaug also showed Bilbo his underbelly, coated in gems, and the hobbit caught a glimpse of a single missing scale; which was dislodged by Girion. Smaug then caught Bilbo's eye on the jewel and claimed that he was almost tempted to let him take it, only to let it consume Thorin to madness just like it did to Thrór, though, at that point, the dragon ended the banter with Bilbo and snapped toward the hobbit. Bilbo used his ring to escape and managed to get the Arkenstone while Smaug flew around in rage and unleashed a torrent of flames around the treasure chamber in an attempt to roast the Hobbit alive before he can escape.

When Smaug saw Thorin pointing his sword at Bilbo, asking if he found the Arkenstone, the dragon charged. The other dwarves with Thorin appeared to defend their friends, and Smaug charged after them, summoning his fire to burn them to death. However, the dwarves managed to elude him, and Smaug began to silently stalk the abandoned halls in search of the hidden dwarves.

Upon realizing the dragon was blocking their only path out of the mountain, the dwarves hatched a desperate plan to lead Smaug to the Lonely Mountain's forges in hopes that they can trick him into rekindling the smelting vats with his fire breath. They revealed themselves to Smaug, initiating a perilous game of cat-and-mouse through the halls of the mountain, doing everything in their power to encumber the pursuing dragon as they raced towards the entrance to the Lonely Mountain. As Bilbo leads the dragon into the Gallery of the Kings, he is quickly overrun by Smaug, who deduces that Bilbo and the dwarves were aided by the men of Lake-town, and leaves to destroy the town, saying that Bilbo can watch them die if he cares so much about their fate. As he is leaving, Thorin appears and taunts him, unveiling an enormous, freshly cast golden statue of a dwarf, which distracts the greedy dragon long enough for the statue to melt into liquid gold and engulf him. However, Smaug survives the scalding gold and erupts from the molten pool, roaring that he will show the dwarves what revenge really is. He then breaks through the walls of the mountain, shakes off his gold coating, and takes flight toward Lake-town, uttering "I am Fire, I am.....Death!" as he soars towards the unsuspecting town, leaving Bilbo and the others dumbstruck at the horror they have unleashed. 

Smaug, after reaching Lake-town, proceeds to destroy the city for their part in aiding the dwarves. Bard, having escaped imprisonment from the Master of Lake-town, climbs atop the belltower and begins firing arrows at the dragon, though each attempt fails, the arrows harmlessly bouncing off Smaug's armor. Eventually, Bain, Bard's son, arrives to aid his father with a Black Arrow. Unfortunately, as Smaug flies over, he claws at the tower, toppling most of it and nearly sends both father and son falling to their death. With the bell tower now half-destroyed, Bard is forced to make a makeshift crossbow using a rope that held the bell, some pieces of broken wood, and Bain as a stand. Smaug lands, and looks towards Bard, sneering at his attempts to stop him. Ignoring this, Bard notches the arrow, while Smaug charges him and his son. Bard fires his arrow, which miraculously hits Smaug straight in the chest, the shaft sinking fully into the bare patch of skin. The dragon stumbles, knocking Bard and Bain off their perch, before flying back up, shrieking in pain. Clawing and biting at the sky, his internal glow fades as he dies in mid-air. Smaug's body, upon falling to the water, lands on Laketown's corrupt master, killing him.

Even after his death, Smaug's influence is felt throughout the third film. Aside from the damage he inflicted on Lake-Town, driving the residents to try and stay in Dale, as Thorin falls under the influence of the dragon sickness, Bilbo begins to hear him speak in Smaug's voice, and Thorin experiences a hallucination of Smaug while walking on the golden floor that they created while trying to drown the dragon.

Images

The Hobbit The Unexpected Journey Film 2012 directed by Peter Jackson poster 1 film of Trilogy
The Hobbit The Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Film 2013 directed by Peter Jackson poster 2 film of Trilogy
The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit The Battle of Five Armies Film 2015 directed by Peter Jackson poster 3 film of Trilogy
The Hobbit The Battle of Five Armies
The Hobbit There and Back Again Book Writen and created by J.R.Tolkien poster J.R.Tolkien book
The Hobbit There and Back again

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