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The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep, and where are his sons' sons that dare approach me? I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, strong, strong, Thief in the Shadows! My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath, death!
~ Smaug's famous speech to Bilbo.
Heheh... Hahaha! Revenge, you?! Ha! I am Smaug! I kill whoever I wish! I am strong, strong, strong! My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are like swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail... a thunderbolt! [Smashes a stone wall into rubble] My wings... a hurricane! [Creates strong winds by flapping his wings] And my breath... death. [Uses his fire breath to melt some of his gold, demonstrating his power]
~ The 1977 movie's adaptation of the previous speech.
Smaug (also known as Smaug the Dragon) is the main antagonist of the 1937 classic fantasy novel The Hobbit by the late J.R.R. Tolkien, and its many adaptations including the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated film adaptation, the 1990 graphic novel, and the 2003 game.
He is a large and dangerous dragon who conquers the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, taking the Lonely Mountain and its vast treasure for himself. 150 years later, a Company of 13 Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, would set out to take their home back from him. In their quest, they were aided by Bilbo Baggins and the Wizard Gandalf, whose real reason for joining the quest was to eliminate Smaug before Sauron could command him for war.
In the 1977 animated film, he was voiced by the late Richard Boone. In the 2003 Sierra Entertainment videogame, he was voiced by James Horan.
One of the last great dragons of Middle-earth living near the Grey Mountains, Smaug rose to prominence by laying waste to the town of Dale and capturing the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) with all of its treasure. He was already centuries old at the time, this had happened over 200 years before the events of The Hobbit. The book recounts the tale of a party of dwarves (consisting of a few of the original residents of the Lonely Mountain and their descendants) and the titular hobbit to recapture the mountain and kill the dragon. In the book, he is sometimes called Smaug the Golden, Smaug the Terrible, and Smaug the Magnificent.
Smaug was intimately familiar with every last item within his hoard, and instantly noticed the theft of a relatively inconsequential cup by Bilbo Baggins. According to Tolkien, his rage was the kind which "is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy lose something they have long had but never before used or wanted". This theft and the dragon's ensuing rampage all echo the story of Beowulf, on which Tolkien was a noted expert and which he described as one of his "most valued sources" for The Hobbit. Among the items in Smaug's possession was the Arkenstone, and a number of mithril mail shirts, one of which was given as a gift to Bilbo by Thorin Oakenshield, the company's leader. In The Lord of the Rings, set 60 years later, the shirt saved Bilbo's relative Frodo from injury multiple times.
Smaug's belly was crusted in gems and gold, which rendered him almost invulnerable. However, when Bilbo met him in his lair, he discovered a bare patch on his left breast. When Bilbo told his Dwarf companions about Smaug's weakness, he was overheard by the thrush that roosted by the mountain's secret door. The thrush in turn told Bard the Bowman of Esgaroth. When Smaug attacked the town, Bard shot his Black Arrow into Smaug's left breast which is the dragon's weak spot, slaying Smaug and causing him to plunge into Esgaroth.
After Smaug's death, Thorin and Company claimed the treasure as theirs by birthright. This created a conflict with Bard and the Elven king, Thranduil, of Mirkwood, who each wanted a portion of the gold as reimbursement for all of the damage that Smaug had caused their kingdoms over the years. Thorin refused to share the treasure as long as they stood in arms before his gate and declared war on both of them.
Conflict was avoided by the arrival of the Goblin and Warg army who wanted the treasure out of greed, and the Dwarves decided to ally with the Elves and Men to fight this greater enemy in what was known as the Battle of Five Armies. The huge battle was eventually won by the Elves, Men, and Dwarves, but Thorin was mortally wounded.
Unknown to many, Gandalf had in fact initiated the quest with the intent of limiting Sauron's growing power in the North and ridding him of the Dragon, which he could have used to wage his war against the Free Peoples of Middle-earth.
Smaug also appears in Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy from 2012 to 2014 as the central antagonist, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch through motion capture.
In Video Games
LEGO: The Hobbit Video Game
In the 2014 LEGO video game adaptation of the The Hobbit films, Smaug is naturally featured in it as well. He appears as a minifigure and officially appeared in his Lego dragon form in a LEGO Hobbit set on October 15, 2014. Originally there was supposed to be a DLC of Battle of Five Armies where Smaug would meet his fate at the hands of Bard just like in the movie and the book, but it was canceled.
Smaug's only motivation was his greed. He loved gold more than anything and was incredibly possessive over it. Even when he had claimed the treasure of Erebor, he refused to part with a single gold coin as he said to Bilbo, and was left completely mesmerized when he saw a solid gold statue. Smaug can also be ruthless and cruel, as he destroyed the entire kingdom of Erebor to seize its treasure, and destroyed the entire village of Lake-town to hurt Thorin's Company. Smaug is also motivated by a sense of vengeance, as when he saw that Dwarves were stealing from him, he decided to destroy all of Lake-town as an act of revenge. These traits are commonly found among the servants of evil, making Gandalf's concerns of Smaug serving Sauron all the more important.
Well, thief! I smell you and I feel your air. I hear your breath. Come along! Help yourself again, there is plenty and to spare!
~ Smaug's first line in the original book, to Bilbo.
"You may indeed! I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen." "So I can well believe," said Smaug, "but that is hardly your usual name." "I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number." "Lovely titles!" sneered the dragon. "But lucky numbers don't always come off."
~ A portion of Bilbo and Smaug's conversation.
"I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me." "These don't sound so creditable," scoffed Smaug. "I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider," went on Bilbo beginning to be pleased with his riddling. "That's better!" said Smaug. "But don't let your imagination run away with you!"
This of course is the way to talk to dragons, if you don't want to reveal your proper name (which is wise), and don't want to infuriate them by a flat refusal (which is also very wise). No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it. There was a lot here which Smaug did not understand at all (though I expect you do, since you know all about Bilbo's adventures to which he was referring), but he thought he understood enough, and he chuckled in his wicked inside.
~ A portion of Bilbo and Smaug's conversation, with more insight on a dragon's mentality.
"Very well, O Barrel-rider!" he said aloud. "Maybe Barrel was your pony's name; and maybe not, though it was fat enough. You may walk unseen, but you did not walk all the way. Let me tell you I ate six ponies last night and I shall catch and eat all the others before long. In return for the excellent meal I will give you one piece of advice for your good: don't have more to do with dwarves than you can help!"
"Dwarves!" said Bilbo in pretended surprise. "Don't talk to me!" said Smaug. "I know the smell (and taste) of dwarf-no one better. Don't tell me that I can eat a dwarf-ridden pony and not know it! You'll come to a bad end, if you go with such friends, Thief Barrel-rider. I don't mind if you go back and tell them so from me." But he did not tell Bilbo that there was one smell he could not make out at all, hobbit-smell; it was quite outside his experience and puzzled him mightily.
"I suppose you got a fair price for that cup last night?" he went on. "Come now, did you? Nothing at all! Well, that's just like them. And I suppose they are skulking outside, and your job is to do all the dangerous work and get what you can when I'm not looking for them? And you will get a fair share? Don't you believe it! If you get off alive, you will be lucky."
Bilbo was now beginning to feel really uncomfortable.
~ Smaug warns Bilbo.
Whenever Smaug's roving eye, seeking for him in the shadows, flashed across him, he trembled, and an unaccountable desire seized hold of him to rush out and reveal himself and tell all the truth to Smaug. In fact he was in grievous danger of coming under the dragon-spell. But plucking up courage he spoke again. "You don't know everything, O Smaug the Mighty," said he. "Not gold alone brought us hither." "Ha! Ha! You admit the 'us'" laughed Smaug. "Why not say 'us fourteen' and be done with it, Mr. Lucky Number? I am pleased to hear that you had other business in these parts besides my gold. In that case you may, perhaps, not altogether waste your time. "I don't know if it has occurred to you that, even if you could steal the gold bit by bit-a matter of a hundred years or so-you could not get it very far? Not much use on the mountain-side? Not much use in the forest? Bless me! Had you never thought of the catch? A fourteenth share, I suppose, or something like it, those were the terms, eh? But what about delivery? What about cartage? What about armed guards and tolls?" And Smaug laughed aloud. He had a wicked and a wily heart, and he knew his guesses were not far out, though he suspected that the Lake-men were at the back of the plans, and that most of the plunder was meant to stop there in the town by the shore that in his young days had been called Esgaroth.
~ Smaug mocking Bilbo's thieveries.
"I have always understood," said Bilbo in a frightened squeak, "that dragons were softer underneath, especially in the region of the-er-chest; but doubtless one so fortified has thought of that." The dragon stopped short in his boasting. "Your information is antiquated," he snapped. "I am armoured above and below with iron scales and hard gems. No blade can pierce me." "I might have guessed it," said Bilbo. "Truly there can nowhere be found the equal of Lord Smaug the Impenetrable. What magnificence to possess a waistcoat of fine diamonds!" "Yes, it is rare and wonderful, indeed," said Smaug absurdly pleased. He did not know that the hobbit had already caught a glimpse of his peculiar under-covering on his previous visit, and was itching for a closer view for reasons of his own. The dragon rolled over. "Look!" he said. "What do you say to that?" "Dazzlingly marvellous! Perfect! Flawless! Staggering!" exclaimed Bilbo aloud, but what he thought inside was: "Old fool! Why, there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!"
~ Smaug reveals his weakpoint in his gloating.
Smaug had left his lair in silent stealth, quietly soared into the air, and then floated heavy and slow in the dark like a monstrous crow, down the wind towards the west of the Mountain, in the hopes of catching unawares something or somebody there, and of spying the outlet to the passage which the thief had used. This was the outburst of his wrath when he could find nobody and see nothing, even where he guessed the outlet must actually be.
After he had let off his rage in this way he felt better and he thought in his heart that he would not be troubled again from that direction. In the meanwhile he had further vengeance to take. "Barrel-rider!" he snorted. "Your feet came from the waterside and up the water you came without a doubt. I don't know your smell, but if you are not one of those men of the Lake, you had their help. They shall see me and remember who is the real King under the Mountain!"
He rose in fire and went away south towards the Running River.
~ Smaug's last words, as he flies towards lake-town.
In the 1977 Rankin/Bass cartoon film adaptation of The Hobbit, Smaug resembles an Eastern dragon with ears that are somewhat cat-like, likely inspired by his purring sounds mentioned in the book.
A red dragon appears in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic who lives in a tall mountain laying on a treasure hoard, giving him a resemblance to Smaug who was likely his inspiration. Also, the episode where he appears has a similar theme song to Lord of the Rings, and, although this may be a coincidence, six ponies go to convince him to leave Equestria, while in the book, Smaug eats six ponies.
In The Lord of the Rings: Online and The Hobbit film trilogy, clues indicate that Smaug was already in league with Sauron. As the Dragons of the Third Age were directed in battling with the Dwarves by the resurgent Dark Lord, it is not unlikely that Smaug was already in service to him by the time he sacked Erebor. Rumors of its treasures might have been brought to his ear by his unseen master, or maybe it was not until later that the Lonely Mountain would figure into Sauron's machinations.
As of 2013, Smaug is ranked by Forbes (as part of their annual Forbes Fictional 15) as the second-wealthiest character in all of fiction, adjusted for inflation, with a net worth of $54.1 billion. He is surpassed only by Scrooge McDuck, with a net worth of $67.4 billion.
In 2012, however, he was briefly ranked at #1, with an estimated net worth of $62.0 billion.
Given that McDuck is technically considered a hero despite his own notorious greed, this may make Smaug the single wealthiest villain in all of fiction.