Table of Contents
Ancalagon the Black
Gandalf the Grey/White
Saruman the White
Radagast the Brown
Men of the West
Elves (General) - New!
Men of Middle-Earth
Malbeth the Seer
Mouth of Sauron
The Silent Watchers
Deus Ex Machina
Army of the Dead
Killer Spiders from Outer Space!
Inside Information, p. 233-4 wrote:'There he lay, a vast red-golden dragon, fast asleep; a thrumming came from his jaws and nostrils, and wisps of smoke, but his fires were low in slumber. Beneath him, under all his limbs and his huge coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretched away across the unseen floors, lay countless piles of precious things, gold wrought and unwrought, gems and jewels, and silver red-stained in the ruddy light.
Smaug lay, with wings folded like an immeasurable bat, turned partly on one side, so that the hobbit could see his underparts and his long pale belly crusted with gems and fragments of gold from his long lying on his costly bed.'
Pretty self-explanatory, the first description of the great dragon and his gem-encrusted belly.
Inside Information, p. 236 wrote:'Thieves! Fire! Murder! Such a thing had not happened since he first came to the Mountain! His rage passes description - the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted. His fire belched forth, the hall smoked, he shook the mountain-roots. He thrust his head in vain at the little hole, and then coiling his length together, roaring like thunder underground, he sped from his deep lair through its great door out into the huge passages of the mountain-palace and up towards the Front Gate.
To hunt the whole mountain till he caught the thief and had torn and trampled him was his one thought. He issued from the Gate, the waters rose in fierce whistling steam, and up he soared blazing into the air and settled on the mountain-top in a spout of green and scarlet flame.'
More self-explanatory, Smaug is not someone you would want to make angry.
Inside Information, p. 237 wrote:'They had barely time to fly back to the tunnel, pulling and dragging in their bundles, when Smaug came hurtling from the North, licking the mountain-side with flame, beating his great wings with a noise like a roaring wind. His hot breath shriveled the grass before the door, and drove in through the crack they had left and scorched them as they lay hid. Flickering fires leaped up and black rock-shadows danced. Then darkness fell as he passed again.'
In case you didn't realize yet that his fire is hot
Inside Information, p. 240-1 wrote:"Old Smaug is weary and asleep," he thought. "He can't see me and he won't hear me. Cheer up Bilbo!" He had forgotten or had never heard about dragons' sense of smell. It is also an awkward fact that they can keep half an eye open watching while they sleep, if they are suspicious.
Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, almost dead and dark, with scarcely a snore more than a whiff of unseen steam, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin and piercing ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye. He was only pretending to sleep!'
Creeping up on a dragon asleep, or trying to hide from one, would be a difficult task it seems.
Inside Information, p. 243 wrote:'Bilbo was now beginning to feel really uncomfortable. 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.'
Much of a dragon's magic stems from their eyes, both in this example and from several involving Glaurung, and is seen dangerously effective even against a race as magic-resistant as Hobbits. For an unwary adversary, Smaug could probably just look 'em in the eye and tell them to kill themselves, if not worst.
Inside Information, p. 244 wrote:'Now a nasty suspicious began to grow in his mind - had the dwarves forgotten this important point too, or were they laughing in their sleeves at him all the time? That was the effect that dragon-talk has on the inexperienced. Bilbo of course ought to have been on his guard; but Smaug had rather an overwhelming personality.'
Trying to talk to a dragon is, obviously, not a good idea Whether this ‘dragon-talk’ is magical in nature is questionable.
Inside Information, p. 245 wrote:"Revenge!" he snorted, and the light of his eyes lit the hall from floor to ceiling like scarlet lightning. "Revenge! 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!" he gloated. "My armour 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!"
The text hints at several things besides the "my armour is..." passage. One, the light from his eyes can obviously get bright enough to illuminate a large hall. Two, laying low the "warriors of old" would indicated he's fought against Elves and Edain, perhaps even fought in the War of Wrath versus the Host of the Valar, which makes him very old. Three, advanced age actually makes a dragon stronger rather then weaker, so one can imagine how powerful Ancalagon would be had he lived for a few thousand years...
Inside Information, p. 245-6 wrote:"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 posses 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 marvelous! Perfect! Flawless! Staggering!" exclaimed Bilbo aloud, but what he thought inside was: "Old fool! Why, there is a large patch in the hallow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!"
Classical dragon weakness, and Smaug's answer to with his diamonds and other gems. Though it would be interesting to know for sure which one is harder then which – dragon scales or gems?
Inside Information, p. 246 wrote:'It was an unfortunate remark, for the dragon spouted terrific flames after him, and fast though he sped up the slop, he had not gone nearly far enough to be comfortable before the ghastly head of Smaug was thrust against the opening behind. Luckily the whole head and jaws could not squeeze in, but the nostrils sent forth fire and vapour to pursue him, and he was nearly overcome, and stumbled blindly on in great pain and fear.'
Can shoot fire not just through the mouth but the nose as well.
Inside Information, p. 252 wrote:'And not a moment too soon. They had hardly gone any distance down the tunnel when a blow smote the side of the Mountain like the crash of battering-rams made of forest oaks and swung by giants. The rock boomed, the walls cracked and stones fell from the roof on their heads. What would have happened if the door had still been open I don't like to think. They fled further down the tunnel glad to be still alive, while behind them outside they heard the roar and rumble of Smaug's fury. He was breaking rocks to pieces, smashing wall and cliff with the lashings of his huge tail, till their little lofty camping ground, the scorched grass, the thrush’s stone, the snail-covered walls, the narrow ledge, and all disappeared in a jumble of smithereens, and an avalanche of splintered stones fell over the cliff into the valley below.'
Smaug's tail is quite powerful and tough to be able to smash apart solid rock; imagine what he could do to a normal castle.
Fire and Water, p. 268 wrote:'Amid shrieks and wailing and the shouts of men he came over them, swept towards the bridges and was foiled! The bridge was gone, and his enemies were on an island in deep water - too deep and dark and cool for his liking. If he plunged into it, a vapour and a steam would arise enough to cover all the land with a mist for days; but the lake was mightier than he, it would quench him before he could pass through.'
Another weakness of Smaug and, probably, other fire-breathing dragons. Also interesting that he tried to assault Lake-town from the ground at first; even with his armoured belly, better to 'play it safe' perhaps? What follows is expected: Smaug flies around, burning Lake-town while arrows uselessly bounce off his belly until:
Fire and Water, p. 269-71 wrote:'But there were still a company of archers that held their ground among the burning houses. Their captain was Bard, grim-voiced and grim-faced, whose friends had accused him of prophesying floods and poisoned fish, though they knew his worth and courage. He was a descendant in long line of Girion, Lord of Dale, whose wife and child had escaped down the Running River from the ruin long ago. Now he shot with a great yew bow, till all his arrows but one were spend. The flames were near him. His companions were leaving him. He bent his bow for the last time.
Suddenly out of the dark something fluttered to his shoulder. He started - but it was only an old thrush. Unafraid it perched by his ear and it brought him news. Marveling he found he could understand its tongue, for he was of the race of Dale.
"Wait! Wait!" it said to him. "The moon is rising. Look for the hallow of the left breast as he flies and turns above you!" And while Bard paused in wonder it told him of tidings up the Mountain and of all that it had heard.
Then Bard drew his bow-string to his ear. The dragon was circling back, flying low, and as he came the moon rose above the eastern shore and silvered his great wings.
"Arrow!" said the bowman. "Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!"
The dragon swooped once more lower than ever, and as he turned and dived down his belly glittered white with sparkling fires of gems in the moon - but not in one place. The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string, straight for the hallow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was its flight. With a shriek that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air, turned over and crashed down from on high in ruin.
Full on the town he fell. His last throes splintered it to sparks and gledes. The lake roared in. A vast steam leaped up, white in the sudden dark under the moon. There was a hiss, a gushing whirl, and then silence. And that was the end of Smaug and Esgaroth, but not of Bard.'
The Death of Smaug. Call it Fate, or Destiny, or Deus Ex Machina, but Bard's Black arrow would seem to be magical, given its supposed Dwarven origins, its unnerving accuracy, and by the very force it drove itself into Smaug, "smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was its flight". Also Smaug has quite the voice if it can truly split stone.