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aka: Middle Earth Film Smaug

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The villains from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies that are not directly in league with the Big Bad Sauron.
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Smaug the Golden

Species: Dragon (fire-drake)

Portrayed by: Benedict Cumberbatch

Voiced by: Carlos Segundo (Latin American Spanish dub), Ryūzaburō Ōtomo (Japanese dub), Jérémie Covillault (French dub)

Appears in: An Unexpected Journey | The Desolation of Smaug | The Battle of the Five Armies

"My teeth are swords! My claws are spears! My wings are a HURRICANE!"

A massive, ancient, and powerful fire-drake from the far north of Middle-earth, with an ego and greed to match. Destroyed the city of Dale and conquered the kingdom of Erebor for its massive hoard of gold, in which he slept for some sixty years. Was awoken when the Company of Thorin Oakenshield arrived and attacked and destroyed Lake-town in revenge.
  • Achilles' Heel: There's a gap in Smaug's scales, made when Bard's ancestor tried to shoot him down when he first attacked Erebor. He missed his target but broke off one of the scales, exposing the flesh underneath.
  • Adaptational Badass: Whereas the book counterpart's scales were soft on the underside and only a waistcoat of treasure embedded in the scales protected that region; in the movies, Smaug's hide is tough all over, and can only be successfully damaged by Black Arrows fired from a dwarvish wind-lance. His weak spot is subsequently changed to a single chink where a scale is missing — and even then, it took multiple hits from two wind-lance fired Black Arrows to give him that weak spot!
    • While the book counterpart was no wimp by any stretch of the imagination, this version of Smaug endures and bounces back from a lot of punishment that his book counterpart was never known to (from having giant metal constructs falling atop him in a seemingly bottomless underground shaft, to getting drowned in molten gold), as well as being somewhat more persistent when the dwarves have entered the Lonely Mountain.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Sort of. In the novel, he only appeared once the Company arrived at the Lonely Mountain, but in An Unexpected Journey, there's a flashback of him destroying Dale and Erebor, along with his Eye Awaken scene in the present.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Downplayed. While he was already a seriously evil piece of work in the novel, this incarnation comes across as far more sadistic and driven by personal hatred for Thorin and his people.
  • Advertised Extra: A downplayed example for both films he appears in. For The Desolation of Smaug, while he was purposely mostly kept out of the advertising to save his full appearance for the film's release itself, he's nevertheless one of the two eponymous characters but doesn't even appear until relatively late into the film. And for The Battle of the Five Armies, he's once again for the most part kept out of the advertising, but his appearance on the film's theatrical poster counts, considering he only has a handful of scenes before dying.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Smaug's historical sack of Erebor in the novel is used in the first movie to portray a cinematic fire-and-destruction sequence.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Smaug takes some pleasure in barbecuing literally everything that opposes him. Or vaguely related to those who oppose him.
  • Asshole Victim: He gets what looks like a very painful demise, with his breath seeming to burn up his insides, but it's not like he didn't completely deserve it.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Adapted for this version of the character to a burrow where a single scale is missing, though it's still in the same place on the left side of his chest.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's consistently intelligent and charismatic, but also very psychotic, as becomes clear when he's thoroughly pissed off or when his mood starts to swing. To say nothing of his utter Lack of Empathy and willingness to slaughter people by the hundreds.
  • Badass Boast: About 80% of his dialogue. These two probably stand out the most:
    I am King Under the Mountain!
    I am fire! I am... DEATH!
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't insult his greatness or commit any affront to his ego, no matter how minor.
    • Don't try to steal from him either. To say he'd react badly is a considerable understatement.
    • Don't mention Black Arrows, the one thing he fears that can pierce through his hide and possibly kill him either.
    • Don't mention that missing scale...
      Bilbo: So it is true... the Black Arrow found its mark.
      Smaug: (whips around to face him) What did you say?!
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The "chiefest and greatest calamity" of the age and a massive threat to Bilbo and his companions alongside Azog. He also shares this with Sauron himself, at least until his death early in The Battle of the Five Armies. However, even after his destruction, his influence is still felt throughout the rest of the movie, particularly on Thorin.
  • Big Entrance: There's his first appearance attacking Dale and Erebor in An Unexpected Journey — after the hurricane-like wind described in the book manifests, the very first sign of his presence is a sudden roar before he sends flame-covered trees flying free of the mountain-side. Cue everyone looking up in horror at something in the sky the camera doesn't fully see. Played With in practice, as in both the first and third films, Smaug seems to appear rather swiftly and with little sound due to being a Stealthy Colossus, instilling psychological fear in the people he's about to slaughter.
  • Blinded by Rage: As part of the movie's extended chase through Erebor, Thorin takes advantage of Smaug's volatile temper and intolerance of criticism. He loudly insults the dragon at the forges, enraging him to a point which overrides his cunning and causes him to immediately fire his breath weapon there and then, unwittingly re-lighting the mountain's furnaces as Thorin wanted.
  • Blow You Away: Like in the novel, heavily implied to be Wind from Beneath My Wings. The hot hurricane-like wind that precedes his attack on Dale and Erebor is shown to be powerful enough to tear trees loose on the mountainside. It appears Smaug can control this to an extent, as he doesn't cause this when he's flying towards Lake-town nor when he's stalking the town from inside the overhead clouds as a Stealthy Colossus, or even when his wings catch enough air to lift him off the floor in Erebor's forges.
  • Break Them by Talking: Tries very hard to do this with Bilbo regarding Thorin's motivations, and while Smaug doesn't completely manage, he does get under the hobbit's skin. As a bonus, he's right about a lot of it.
  • Breath Weapon: He's a dragon, you kinda have to expect he can breathe fire.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Before the Company tries to drown Smaug in molten gold, they use the environment and contraptions within Erebor to mess around with him for a bit. Thorin even at one point calls Smaug a "slug" who has grown "slow and fat" in his dotage. Their attempts prove to be futile.
    • During his rampage on Lake-town, Smaug taunts Bard for the latter's inabilities to kill him and to save his son Bain, completely ignoring the fact that the bowman is a master marksman with the adequate means to become a dragonslayer.
  • Call-Forward: When sensing the One Ring's gold on Bilbo, he calls it "precious", which is a reference to Gollum (who already has some similarities with Smaug, as described under his folder here).
  • Can't Take Criticism: Criticism is his biggest Berserk Button. In short, he simply won't tolerate anything he perceives as a blemish on his person, no matter how slight. Thorin exploits this to maneuver Smaug into position for the dwarves' plan to kill him, quite easily manipulating him with some rather feeble taunts.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Profoundly immoral, incredibly greedy (he literally has mountains worth of coins in his lair, and he will not part with even one of them), utterly malicious, and has an ego bigger than his stature, such so that he seems to enjoy being called "Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities" or "The Tyrannical", among other evil nicknames. Being reminded of his power is delicious to him.
    • There's his boast; "I am fire. I am death."
  • Circling Monologue: Does this to Bilbo about his role; impressive given his massive size.
  • Compelling Voice: Not a direct version, but Smaug's voice clearly has a More than Mind Control effect like in the book. Aside from how hearing Smaug speak makes Bilbo take off the Ring without realizing it (the Ring may have helped Smaug's words get into Bilbo's head here), Bilbo at more than one point is visibly trying to shake Smaug's words out of his brain.
  • The Corruption: In the third film, it's mentioned that the fact that Smaug has brooded over the treasure so long has had an actual effect on the gold, making it cursed and that is partly the reason for Thorin falling to "Dragon Sickness".
  • Covered with Scars: Relatively subdued in the finished film, but he was deliberately designed to have imperfections in his scales and scars on his face to make him look like he'd led a life of battling before he conquered the Lonely Mountain.
  • Crown-Shaped Head: The horns on his head form a crown-like shape, befitting his portrayal as the usurper King under the Mountain who has stolen Thorin's rightful title and palace for his own.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gets shot by a Black Arrow just as he was about to unleash another burst of fire. It's heavily implied the interrupted plume backfired and messily burned up his insides.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • His declaration that he's going to destroy Lake-town actually gets Bilbo to come out of hiding, and Bilbo's vain attempt to talk him out of it actually prompts Smaug to not kill him so he can watch the town burn.
    • He also contemplates allowing Bilbo to take the Arkenstone, just so he can watch it destroy Thorin as it did Thrór. He ultimately decides against it, though.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His attacks on Dale and the Lonely Mountain, and Lake-town until Bard kills him.
  • Death Glare: He shoots Bilbo a few frightening looks that make it clear the hobbit will only stay alive for as long as he remains interesting. He also has this look on his face when he first recognizes dwarves in his lair, right before he explodes.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In The Battle of the Five Armies. He is truly gone when Thorin finally rids himself from Smaug's shadow and corrupting influence towards the end of the movie.
  • Distracted by the Shiny: Not only is Smaug greedy, but he seems borderline mesmerized if introduced to a large golden object, especially when he sees a gold statue as big as he is.
  • Don't Wake the Sleeper: Played With compared to the book version. Bilbo tries for several moments to sneak away without waking Smaug after he accidentally causes a mini-avalanche in the treasure dunes that uncovers Smaug's buried head, but Smaug wakes anyway. It's implied Smaug was going to wake up regardless of whether or not he heard Bilbo from the moment part of his head was uncovered.
    Balin: If there is, in fact, a, um, live dragon down there... don't waken it.
  • The Dreaded: There are perfectly justifiable reasons why nobody ever tried to kill Smaug after he invaded Erebor:
    • Entire armies of dwarves and men crumbled during his attack on Dale and the Lonely Mountain, with the survivors left with no choice but to flee.
    • Upon seeing the death and destruction that Smaug created, Thranduil and the elves of Mirkwood chose to keep their distance from the dragon's lair.
    • Elrond and Bard are terrified by the potential annihilation of the world if Smaug is roused from his slumber. In the third film, they are proven absolutely right. The denizens of Lake-town decide to row for their lives when the dragon is about to rain fire and blood upon their homes.
    • Even Gandalf does not want to imagine the fate of Middle-earth if Sauron decides to make Smaug his weapon against all who oppose him.
    • Dain Ironfoot, Thorin's hot-headed cousin who will happily fight hordes of elves and orcs, does not go near Erebor so long as Smaug lives.
  • Ear Notch: A variation. One of the larger spurs on the right side of his head is broken or worn down, compared to its counterpart on the other side, fitting with the filmmakers' intention to make Smaug look like he'd led a life of battle before attacking Erebor.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: In the theatrical cut of An Unexpected Journey, Smaug is clearly a six-limbed (four-legged) classical dragon during his Monster Delay rampage in the Lonely Mountain. Note that Smaug's design still wasn't complete when the film was released. In the next two films which show Smaug's full appearance, he's a four-limbed dragon with wyvern-like winged forelegs, with the first film's extended edition likewise correcting the aforementioned glimpse of Smaug's forelegs to match up with the other two films' continuity. However, the illustration of him on Gandalf's map of Erebor still depicts him with six limbs.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: His devastation has left the Lonely Mountain and surrounding lands barren of any life larger or more complex than snails and small weeds, without a trace of birdsong, even after he's gone into a deep sleep. Notably, as soon as Smaug dies, ravens almost immediately come flocking back to the Mountain.
  • Evil Gloating: Most prominently his savage gloating to Bard at Lake-town before he lunges for the kill.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's by far the largest sentient character in all of Jackson's films.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He's the "chiefest and greatest calamity" and obviously takes it in stride.
  • Evil Is Petty: His ego means that anyone who transgresses him, however slightly, must suffer Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Evil Slinks: He moves in a reptilian way, due to being a dragon with a serpentine body. Benedict Cumberbatch crawled on all fours to create the motion capture reference.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Very deep. Not surprising, considering he's voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch who purposefully lowered his voice as much as he could so that he ended up having to drink the same "Gollum Juice" that Andy Serkis drank for voicing Gollum, and they then digitally lowered his voice afterward.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: His voice has a gravelly, underlying growl throughout, and it becomes particularly animalistic and feral-sounding when he snarls in a certain venomous tone.
  • Evil Takes a Nap: Like in the book, although it's discussed slightly more by the characters to emphasize how powerful and dangerous an antagonist Smaug is. Bard calls out the Company because if they disturb Smaug from his long slumber, it could spell the doom of the people of Lake-town, who have for decades been able to live in relative safety in the Lonely Mountain's shadow.
  • Evil Virtues: Besides what his book counterpart displays (see here), this incarnation also shows Cooperation (he's willing to ally with Sauron), Valor (he doesn't hastily if at all retreat from a fight once he's picked it, even if a Black Arrow threatens him), and he gets to demonstrate even more Determination than his book counterpart when he's pursuing the Company.
  • Eye Awaken: At the end of An Unexpected Journey, right after Bilbo says the worst is over now, Smaug's eye opens.
  • Eye Lights Out: When Smaug dies, his eyes go out.
  • Fangs Are Evil: He is a Card-Carrying Villain who proudly likens his fangs to swords.
  • Fantastic Nuke: He's a giant, flying Person of Mass Destruction, and Gandalf dreaded that Smaug siding with Sauron would massively shift the balance in Sauron's favor due to the sheer destruction that a fire-drake can sow.
  • Fantastic Racism: He despises dwarves intensely, describing them as "filthy" and "drawn to treasure like flies to dead flesh" — ironically, the latter remark fits him and dragons in general at least as well as it does dwarves.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's almost civil towards Bilbo before he explodes into rage mode.
    "Who are you and where do you come from, may I ask?"
  • Fearless Fool: Played With. He's completely unthreatened by Bard having a Black Arrow when he confronts him at Lake-town, despite Smaug's established awareness of the weapon. Possibly justified by Bard having no wind-lance anywhere nearby to fire the Arrow with enough force to punch through Smaug's hide, and Smaug neglecting to think Bard would catch sight of the opening in his scales.
  • For the Evulz: His initial motive for attacking Lake-town, compared to the book, is less about revenge for being robbed and more so because he likes killing, given that trying to talk him out of it actually makes him MORE eager to do it.
  • Genius Bruiser: A unstoppable machine of war, but also cunning enough to deduce pretty much everything about Bilbo on the spot.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: When Bilbo is briefly mesmerized into exposing himself to Smaug, the very first thing he sees upon taking off the Ring is Smaug's giant eye staring right at him, not five feet away from his face. Later in the film, Smaug's eye tracks Thorin when the latter ascends on a chain past the side of his head.
  • Giant Flyer: He's a dragon twice the size of a Boeing 747, according to this video.
  • Glasgow Grin: The curving shape of his mouth makes him look like a Smug Smiler, but when he bares his teeth it looks like a Slasher Smile.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Desolation of Smaug shows that not only do his eyes glow, but they also seem to emit beams of light, much like in the Rankin-Bass animation, albeit with a more subtle effect. The intensity of the glow seems to increase whenever his Ax-Crazy side comes to the fore, as well as right before he breathes fire (in conjunction with his Volcanic Veins).
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Downplayed. Smaug has an element of loneliness in him after sitting in all that gold alone for so many years, furthering his need for stimulation and entertainment. It explains why he was willing to play Bilbo's game without destroying the hobbit then and there.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: His facial scars and chips on his scales and spines are notably more numerous and less neat than what scars the dwarves sport.
  • Gold Fever: There's a reason that it's called "Dragon-sickness".
  • Greed: The reason he drove the dwarves out of their home. He possesses a literal mountain of gold and isn't willing to part with one coin.
  • Horns of Villainy: Has a crest of horn-like spurs crowning his head, which flex in tune with his mood.
  • Hypocrite: A lot of the things he says about Thorin and the dwarves could easily be used to describe him. Such as them being drawn to treasure like flies or calling Thorin a usurper with a foul purpose. Naturally, he seems oblivious to this. Plus, he rather pejoratively refers to Bilbo as a "thief," when he himself plundered an entire mountain kingdom of all its riches.
  • I Am the Noun: "I am fire. I am... death."
  • I Shall Taunt You: Calls himself "King Under The Mountain" (the title given to the Dwarven King of Erebor) to press Thorin's Berserk Button.
  • I Will Show You X!: After being injured by Bilbo and the dwarves, Smaug snaps, "I... will show you... revenge!"
  • Ironic Echo: This is what nearly breaks Bilbo — Smaug refers to the One Ring as "made of gold...but far more precious." Precious is, of course, what Gollum calls the Ring, as does Bilbo himself in The Lord of the Rings.
  • It Amused Me: A combination of enjoying flattery and this trope makes him talk with Bilbo rather than killing him immediately. As soon as he gets bored with the "little game", however...
  • It's All About Me: When pretty much your entire personality falls under the heading of Pride and Greed, this is a given. He makes it very clear that he considers the Mountain and its treasure to be his property, and doesn't even bother justifying his actions or cruelty.
  • It's Personal: Played With. Though Smaug and Thorin don't seem to have any past beyond Smaug taking the Lonely Mountain from Thorin's grandfather, this version of the dragon seems to really hate the prince, whom he considers in his own words to be a "filthy dwarvish usurper".
  • Jerkass: Aside from the obvious with his murdering hundreds of innocent lives if they stand between him and treasure, or to make somebody else watch, given the chance he takes time to rub in his victims' helplessness. This is highlighted when he sees Bard's son with him in the tower he's trying to shoot him from and taunts Bard about how he won't be able to save his son and he will burn with the rest of the town.
  • The Juggernaut: The most that Thorin's Company manages to do to Smaug is slow him down and severely piss him off.
  • Kick the Dog: Destroying Lake-Town does absolutely nothing to maintain his control over Erebor. He does it anyways specifically because Bilbo begs him not to.
    You care about them, do you? Good. Then you can watch them die!
  • Knight of Cerebus: Compared to the trolls in the first movie, there's pretty much nothing funny and non-serious about Smaug when he's onscreen.
  • Lack of Empathy: For someone who treats everyone around him as insects and shows no remorse over ridding a whole nation of their home, it's pretty obvious that he has zero empathy.
  • Large Ham: What did you expect from a giant talking dragon who's a narcissist and loves Evil Gloating and Badass Boasts?
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Initially subverted by the dwarves, who attempt to reclaim their stolen kingdom from Smaug but only succeed in pissing Smaug off to the point of him making them watch as he destroys Lake-town. Smaug is ultimately killed by a man of Lake-town when Smaug destroys the latter town For the Evulz; who was also descended from a Man of Dale.
  • Light Is Not Good: Less so than in the book (largely due to the dim lighting of his cave in the movie), but he still radiates a fiery glow and his eyes are subtle searchlights, as a reference to the animated movie.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He's huge, and not only can he fly fast, but he can move fast on foot and can easily smash rock pillars as big as he is.
  • Logical Weakness: During the climax of the movie in the giant gold-smelting furnace room, when he's about to roast Thorin, Bilbo unleashes a reservoir worth of water on him, temporarily neutralizing his fire breath. Though this only works for a short time, and he still has his brute strength and speed in the meantime.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: Guards the treasure of Erebor, and by extension, the Arkenstone.
  • The Magnificent: "The Terrible", "The Unassessably Wealthy", "The Stupendous", "The Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities", "The Tyrannical"...
  • Manipulative Bastard: Excels at this. He's perfectly happy to talk to Bilbo for a while and turn all his fears and doubts against him. He refrains from killing Bilbo because he wants him to watch Lake-town burn. He even briefly considers letting Bilbo take the Arkenstone to Thorin, just for the pleasure of watching it drive Thorin mad with greed, but he ultimately decides that doing so isn't worth the risk.
  • Meaningful Name: His means "to squeeze through a hole" in Old Germanic.
  • Might Makes Right: His claim to the treasure of Erebor is based on the simple logic that he flew in and took it, and (then or now) there is no one that can stop him.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: He's designed with traits of numerous species, as this blogger explores.
  • A Molten Date with Death: Averted when the Company attempt to drown him in molten gold from a giant dwarf statue, and only succeed in enraging him a bit further than he already was.
  • Monster Delay: He remains largely unseen in the first film, partly due to his design not being complete when the film was released. Only his tail, legs, and part of his head are clearly seen, with additional glimpses of his wings and his head's spurs (in the treasure chamber), and also a couple of shots of his silhouette.
  • Money Fetish: One the size of Erebor.
  • Mood-Swinger: He seems to frequently zig-zag between a nearly Faux Affably Evil politeness and rampaging wrath.
    Smaug: You have nice manners... for a thief, and a LIAR!
  • Mysterious Past: Virtually nothing about Smaug's past before conquering Erebor is mentioned in the film except that he's "a fire-drake from the north". He was designed to look ancient and to look like he's been in many battles with dwarves, elves, men, and other dragons over his life.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Smaug the Terrible.
  • Narcissist: Given that he is an ego-run amok, he clearly enjoys Bilbo's feigned flattery, despite being well aware of who sent him and why. He doesn't think for a second it's true but gives Bilbo an indefinite stay of incineration as long as he keeps it up.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Had he not taken time to taunt and toy with Bard at Lake-town, and just finished him off before Bain arrived with the Black Arrow (or had Bain had lost his grip while holding the Arrow after Smaug almost sent him falling), then Smaug would've likely won, then he would've flown back to the Lonely Mountain and finished Bilbo and the dwarves off.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Somewhat. His ego proves to be his downfall multiple times. Him taking time to boast and taunt enables Bilbo to spot the weak spot in his scales, and likewise with Bard when the latter is about to fire a Black Arrow at Smaug, and it only takes some rather made-up-on-the-spot insulting from Thorin to enrage Smaug into unintentionally re-lighting Erebor's forges when attempting to incinerate the dwarf.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Of the Super-Toughness variety. His hide is "tougher than the strongest armor", and after the dwarves' failed attempt at A Molten Date with Death against him, Tauriel and Bard believe that nothing that's readily available can possibly bring Smaug down. Fortunately, Bard has the last known Black Arrow in existence, and Smaug's armor has an Achilles' Heel thanks to the efforts of Girion long ago.
  • No-Sell: Normal arrows, the dwarves' magic Molotov Cocktails, and pretty much any other projectiles just bounce right off his hide and barely make him flinch (and sometimes they don't even do that). It makes watching archers try to fight him off with ordinary arrows look highly pitiful.
    • He seems to be immune to the One Ring's corruption. When confronting the invisible Bilbo, he almost immediately detects its presence, makes a remark about its strange nature, and does nothing to relieve it from the hobbit after it is visually revealed to him. Smaug being a creature of absolute sadism and greed, on top of being ridiculously massive and a flying weapon of mass destruction, there was possibly nothing for the Ring to exacerbate or corrupt.
  • The Nose Knows: When Bilbo attempts to use the ring to sneak by Smaug, it fails because Smaug can smell him and hear his footsteps in the piles of gold. Bilbo eventually gives up and reveals himself, switching to stalling tactics. His sense of smell allows him to discern that Bilbo has been traveling in the company of dwarves, thereby alerting Smaug to his real motive for entering the mountain.
  • Not So Invincible After All: He makes what little hopes the dwarves of Erebor and people of Lake-town have of killing him (and that's usually very scant as soon as he shows up) quickly evaporate. The light that shines in the darkness: the Black Arrow that can break through Smaug's hide, and the opening in his scales...
  • Oh, Crap!: He has one once he realizes the giant golden statue he has been staring slack-jawed at is still molten and about to roll its liquid over him.
  • One-Hit Kill: Bard's Black Arrow kills Smaug outright in the third film when it's fired into the area of his missing scale.
  • One-Man Army: Described as "the chiefest and greatest calamity of the age", Smaug proves he's a monster and a badass in one stroke, by wiping out a prosperous human town and its armed forces and then destroying Erebor, despite the hundreds of dwarven warriors that opposed him. There's a very good reason why Gandalf wanted him taken out before he had a chance to join Sauron.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Played With in that he does not go through with it. Dragons will never part with their treasure once they claim it, not even a single coin. So when Smaug tells Bilbo that he's almost tempted to let him take the Arkenstone, it really puts in perspective just how bad and corruptible the King's Jewel is to Thorin.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In body shape, at least, he's a wyvern (four limbs — a pair of bat-like wings and hind legs).* Smaug's body proportion and quadrupedal walking gait seem to have been designed with the giant ornithocheirid pterosaurs of the late Cretaceous period in mind, with disproportionately gigantic, winged forelimbs coupled with a relatively small body and hind-legs. His head resembles that of a monitor lizard. According to the production staff, he has certain elements of Eastern Dragons mixed in, as evidenced by his long, serpentine body shape and slithering movements. He resembles the dragon Vermithrax in a lot of ways, only being a lot bigger. He's also fully sentient, Faux Affably Evil, plays with his food, terrifyingly intelligent, vain, greedy, and cruel.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He's easily capable of single-handedly annihilating entire cities using his fire breath and physical might, and he has no problem inflicting severe casualties in the process. Gandalf does not want to see what Smaug would do in Sauron's service if he allied with the Dark Lord.
  • Power Echoes: His voice is underscored with a deep reverberating growl.
  • Power Glows: In addition to the Glowing Eyes of Doom, there's the Volcanic Veins effect.
  • Pride: His ego's bigger than he is. Since he doesn't actually do anything with his unimaginable wealth, this seems as likely motivation for his hoarding as pure Greed, and his reaction to theft is that of one who's been insulted rather than inconvenienced in any way.
  • Psychological Combat: As is typical for Middle-earth dragons, Smaug loves this as much as causing physical destruction.
  • Pyromaniac: Implied Trope. Smaug naturally has fire as his Breath Weapon, but he really seems to favor this particular method of destroying and killing things he hates. It's more explicit in some of Benedict Cumberbatch's unused mo-cap recording sessions.
  • Red Is Violent: The color of Smaug's scales and fire are primarily red, and he has an absolute sheer enjoyment of wreaking havoc upon every living creature he sees.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: According to this video frominvoked the creators, he's twice as big as a Boeing 747. He's also powerful enough to be considered Middle-earth's answer to Godzilla.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Very lizard-like in appearance, utterly heartless and destructive.
  • Required Secondary Powers: As a fire-breathing dragon that can generate heat comparable to that of Mount Doom, by necessity, Smaug must have a hide that is extremely heat-resistant. When the Dwarves try to kill him with molten gold, he of course is only mildly inconvenienced by it.
  • Revenge by Proxy: His motive for destroying Lake-Town after Bilbo and Thorin's company upsets his slumber. He can easily destroy the dwarves, but he decides that it's time he "paid them a visit", and Bilbo begging him not too motivates him to do it more out of spite.
  • Sadist: Smaug's usual modus operandi with intruders is to burn first and enjoy it immensely, except in the case of Bilbo. After talking with Bilbo at length and nearly killing him, Smaug decides it'd be way more fun to let him live for a while longer and go kill innocent people just because Bilbo begs him not to and he knows it will make him suffer from guilt. The part where Smaug draws the line is when his sadism interferes with his greed; he would love to watch Thorin gain the Arkenstone and lose his mind to greed and corruption, but Smaug still wouldn't seriously consider giving up the gem to see it happen.
  • The Scrooge: He literally hoards mountains of coins in his lair, and he makes it very clear that he won't part with even one of them.
  • Serkis Folk: In the movie, to match his and Benedict's facial expressions. The motion capture was actually revealed to cover far more than just Benedict's face: he wore a full-body suit, having studied the movements of reptiles in zoos to move in a more reptilian way.
  • Shadow Archetype: Though he and Thorin are already this in the book, the Hobbit movies put more direct emphasis on how Smaug is a pure embodiment of Thorin's worst traits: pride, greed, vengefulness and even callousness. Smaug essentially foreshadows what Thorin turns into directly after the latter's death. It's made all the more obvious by Bilbo hearing Thorin speak with Smaug's voice, and Thorin when he starts coming to his senses hallucinating Smaug swimming underneath the floor of gold.
  • Shown Their Work: The production crew really prioritized making the movies' incarnation of Smaug as realistic as possible. Benedict Cumberbatch likewise chipped in, studying reptiles at the London Zoo to prepare for the role.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: He remains largely unseen in the first filmnote , but his silhouette appears in flames at one point, and in the first film's extended edition, his body is glimpsed in silhouette flying over Dale.
  • Sloth: If left alone, he doesn't seem to do much beyond sleep. Not that anyone's complaining; most people are very glad that he lacks the motivation to do more than sleep on his treasure, and the thought of him joining with Sauron unsurprisingly has everyone worried.
  • Smug Super: It's very clear his ego is way too big for his own good, but with his size, intelligence and power, he has a lot to back up his arrogance.
  • Snake Talk: He really loves stressing his sibilants; most prominently as he assures Bilbo that "I will not part with a sssingle coin", complete with a serpentine tongue-flick. Even before that: "Hmmm...there is ssssomething about you."
  • Snakes Are Sinister: He has a rather serpentine look, particularly in his tail which drags along the ground behind him when he walks.
  • The Sociopath: Smaug shows many sociopathic traits as the films go on: incredibly Ax-Crazy and sadistic as he exhibits extreme amounts of glee at even the very thought of slaughtering people, as well as delighting in rubbing in Bard's face how he's going to kill his son first; extraordinarily self-absorbed to the point of being easily distracted with basic flattery; a need for stimulation considering that after leveling Erebor, he easily grows bored and sleeps until he's finally awakened; and an utter Lack of Empathy for his victims, recalling upon times of wanton slaughter with absolute fondness as if it was nothing but a favorite pastime. Peter Jackson repeatedly describes Smaug as a psychopath in the supplementary materials.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Has numerous spiky spines and spurs on his body, including along the length of his spine from head to tail.
  • Starring Special Effects: He was very much the highlight of The Desolation of Smaug. Weta broke new ground for motion capture when bringing Smaug to life, while Benedict Cumberbatch provided a memorable Serkis Folk performance.
  • Stealthy Colossus: He can be real quiet and stealthy when he is not shaking the earth with his rage. At one point, he is even able to go unnoticed by the dwarves while climbing above them until a loose coin falls off his scales, drawing their notice.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: His Breath Weapon is shown to be strong enough to blast apart stone towers in flashback; but in the second film, it acts as pure flame with no concussive force, while in the third film, it has little concussive force beyond setting Lake-town's buildings ablaze and blowing up a few in certain shots. Since he has control over the power of his fiery breath, these two points are Justified: 1) As much as he wants the dwarves dead during his fight with them in Erebor, he doesn't want to destroy his treasure (nor his house) doing it. 2) He wants to show Bilbo and the dwarves his revenge by making them watch and hear the slow suffering of Lake-town's inhabitants as he rains fire upon them.
  • Super-Toughness: Due to his nigh-impenetrable hide and Kaiju size. He completely No Sells normal arrows and projectiles. Dwarvish Black Arrows fired from a wind-lance can pierce a dragon's hide, and even then, few were ever made — it took three shots just to break off one of Smaug's scales. During the battle within Erebor, he's bathed in molten gold and just shakes it off like it's merely really hot water.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: His eyes are a fiery-looking gold color, reflecting his magical (and pyromaniacal) nature.
  • Tempting Fate: Boasting about how Bard the Bowman has no hope of challenging him makes his death at the hands of a Black Arrow less than a minute later all the more satisfying.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Played With. Specifically calling Bilbo "Barrel Rider" seems to be Smaug's way of giving the little hobbit a red "Ax-Crazy" warning light.
  • Throat Light: Bright light shines from his chest up to his neck, into the back of his mouth when he's ready to breathe fire.
  • Tiny-Headed Behemoth: It's only really visible when we see his full wingspan, but in proportion to his spread wings and his tail, Smaug's head is almost miniscule.
  • Too Powerful to Live: Gandalf organizes the Quest of Erebor to get rid of Smaug because he fears Smaug siding with Sauron and becoming a formidable threat. He dies shortly after he is awakened for this exact reason: the Battle of the Five Armies would have gone very differently if he still around then.
  • Totally Radical: He talks quite a bit like this in his non-canon interview with Stephen Colbert.
    I am an old-school wyrm! Keeping it real, yo! Doing what dragons do!
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers for The Battle of the Five Armies make it pretty clear he won't have a lengthy role in the film, given he's killed as the Disc-One Final Boss, but he has a VERY lasting influence on Thorin.
  • Tranquil Fury: When not raging and violently destroying anything in his way, he speaks with a barely-repressed snarl, holding "lesser" beings in contempt.
  • Treasure Guarding Dragon: All dragons are said to covet gold. Smaug probably more than the average dragon.
  • Troll: Not literally, of course, but he takes more than a little pleasure in winding up people.
    • He tries convincing Bilbo that Thorin considers him expendable, seemingly just so he can watch Bilbo squirm as the idea gets to him.
    • When he sees Bilbo eyeing the Arkenstone, he admits that he almost wants to let him return it to Thorin, believing that the dwarf couldn't handle such riches and enjoying the idea of Thorin driven mad over the thing he's sought for so long.
  • Unstoppable Rage: That just gets worse and worse as the dwarves humiliate and insult him.
  • Villain Has a Point: His comments about Thorin's greed and that he judged Bilbo's life "worth nothing" prove right on the money, given that not only did it take a What the Hell, Hero? for Thorin to even enter the mountain, but when he entered he actually held a sword to him when he didn't have the Arkenstone; to say nothing of Thorin's escalating Sanity Slippage in the third film.
    • He is also correct about the coming darkness (aka Sauron) posing a threat in the near-future.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He's a calm, confident, arrogant bastard, up until he's actually injured by the dwarves. Then he goes berserk.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: He has two large, curvy spikes for either cheek. Fittingly, Benedict Cumberbatch sported this trope in another film released in the same year as The Desolation of Smaug.
  • Villainous Legacy: His attack on Lake-town leaves the town completely destroyed, and drives the survivors to seek refuge in the City of Dale. The Dragon Sickness Smaug's presence left on Erebor's treasure partly fuels Thorin's descent into madness even after Smaug has died, which in turn debatably influences the progression of the Battle of the Five Armies.
  • Visual Pun: Though not used in the film, one of Smaug's titles is "Smaug the Golden", named after his vast wealth. One of the dwarves' attempts to kill him is to drown him in molten gold. Smaug emerges out of the bath completely coated in liquid gold, thus truly making him Smaug the Golden.
  • Volcanic Veins: The gaps between the scales on his throat and belly glow red when he's about to breathe fire.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Downplayed. Being sprayed with an amount of water proportionate for a dragon his size will stop him from breathing fire for a while, but he'll still have his brute strength and speed.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He couldn't care less that he is about to burn a village full of children. He even taunts Bard about the fact that his son Bain is going to burn in the flames.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Implied he does this during his conversation with Bilbo, in which the Arkenstone is constantly kept out of Bilbo's reach by movements of Smaug's body throwing the stone and/or Bilbo around the piles of gold.
  • Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: His flame-colored eyes also fit with how much of a cunning psychopath he is, being capable of inflicting psychological warfare.
  • You Are Too Late: Gandalf organized the dwarves in the hopes of stopping Smaug from joining Sauron's forces. Smaug's dialogue with Bilbo reveals that he's well aware that Sauron has returned and that if he does come, Smaug is betting his money (no pun intended) on the Dark Lord's victory. The extended edition of The Desolation of Smaug reveals that Smaug is already in league with Sauron. Thankfully, though, nothing came of their alliance before Smaug is killed in The Battle of The Five Armies.
  • "You!" Exclamation: He pulls a quiet, soft-spoken one that's dripping with old hatred when Thorin draws his attention at the end of The Desolation of Smaug.


Gollum (Formerly Sméagol)
"Oh! We knows! We knows safe paths for hobbitses! Safe paths in the dark... Shut up!"

Species: Stoor Hobbit

Portrayed by: Andy Serkis

Voiced by: Ricardo Tejedo (Latin American Spanish dub), Rubén Trujillo (Latin American Spanish dub, Fellowship of the Ring), Sylvain Caruso (French dub)

Appears in: An Unexpected Journey | The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers | The Return of the King

"They cursed us. Murderer they called us. They cursed us, and drove us away. And we wept, Precious, we wept to be so alone. And we only wish to catch fish so juicy sweet. And we forgot the taste of bread... the sound of trees... the softness of the wind. We even forgot our own name. My Precious."

Once a Stoor hobbit named Sméagol living in the hobbits' original home along the Great River Anduin, he murdered his cousin Déagol on his birthday after Déagol found the One Ring and refused to give to Sméagol as a present. Sméagol was then exiled. To deal with the stresses of exile, Sméagol's personality fractured, creating the creature known as Gollum, for the hacking cough he developed. Gollum, unlike Sméagol, was cruel, ruthless, twisted and manipulative, but allowed them to survive in the goblin-infested Misty Mountains. Eventually, Bilbo Baggins encountered Gollum as he trekked eastwards on the Quest of Erebor. Bilbo stole the One Ring, and beat Gollum in a game of riddles. Many years later, Gollum, hoping to reclaim the Ring, followed the Fellowship on their journey, starting in Moria. After the breaking of the Fellowship, he ambushed Frodo and Sam as they continued alone, but was captured and eventually served as their guide to Mount Doom. Despite the reemergence of the more decent Sméagol personality, he could not resist the lure of the Ring, and eventually attempted to lead Frodo and Sam into Shelob's clutches, so he could take the Ring from their bodies, but was killed when he attempted to take the Ring one last time at the Crack of Doom.
  • Accidental Hero: He did not mean to destroy the Ring, but if he hadn't tried to seize it from Frodo, it would never have fallen into the fire and either Frodo would have turned into Gollum-Frodo or otherwise Sauron would have reclaimed the Ring.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Surprisingly enough, though is mostly applies to his Sméagol side. His wallowing in misery can sometimes be over-the-top.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Somewhat downplayed. While he goes back to his old ways like in the book, Smeagol actually manages to briefly overcome his evil side and puts his trust fully in Frodo. It's implied that he would have turned good had the Forbidden Pool incident never happened.
    • In the books Gollum used the ring to spy on other hobbits and steal from them — none of that happened here.
  • Adaptational Skimpiness: Inadvertently, since his "ragged garment" is barely mentioned in the books, but Tolkien's notes to illustrators indicate that Gollum should be better-dressed than he is here. Still, Jackson's version is in keeping with the vast majority of other adaptations and illustrations.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In contrast to Two Towers, Return Of The King makes him far less sympathetic than in the book, by making him frame Sam of eating the elven bread and removing\changing the context of his tragic near-repentance scene.
  • Affably Evil: The Smeagol side is generally friendly and helpful.
  • Anti-Hero: Becomes one in The Two Towers, aiding Frodo and Sam on their quest after the two spare his life, before slipping back to his old ways.
  • Anti-Villain: He's an antagonist in that he wants the One Ring more than anything else, and doesn't really care about the War of the Ring or what it will mean for the kingdoms of Men. He just wants the Ring, and that's all he wants. However, Frodo notes that Gollum's situation is rather pitiable, and the movies treat him as a threatening but ultimately pathetic creature.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Gollum side of him is unhinged, depraved and murderous.
  • Beauty to Beast: The opening of the third film shows how his time with the Ring turned him from a normal, even handsome Hobbit to a hairless, nearly toothless, emaciated and grey-skinned monster.
  • Beyond Redemption: Averted just like with his book counterpart. While he goes through some Adaptational Villainy in the third film and his tragic near-repentance is removed, it is implied that even this version of Gollum would have turned good if things had gone better. Gollum, in fact, manages to briefly overcome The Ring and puts his trust fully in Frodo. It is only thanks to a misunderstanding caused by Faramir and his Rangers that he starts slipping back to villainy.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Of Return of the King. He's the main threat for Frodo and Sam, while Sauron is the main threat for the entire Free People of Middle-Earth.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Gollum's a Card-Carrying Villain, but Sméagol is more underhanded in his villainy. In the extended edition, Gollum even points out to Frodo that Sméagol's promise to work with Frodo was a lie.
    Gollum: Then we will finds it.
    Smeagol: AND TAKES IT FOR ME!!!
    Gollum:... for us.
  • Body Horror: His transformation from a hobbit into the goblin-like creature he is now wasn't pretty. At one point he looked like a living corpse.
  • Breakout Character: Had one scene of note in The Hobbit. In The Lord of the Rings, he's a big attraction.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to his cousin Déagol's Abel; Sméagol murdered him for the Ring. Played With since Déagol was also being corrupted by the Ring, and in the moment was trying just as hard to murder Sméagol for possession as vice versa. Had Sméagol not overpowered him, it is quite likely that Déagol would have gone down the same slippery slope.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "My Precious" is what he calls the One Ring, as his obsession with the Ring covets all of his terrible actions.
    • "Gollum, Gollum!" This is how the split personality side of him got its name, from a hacking cough he developed while it was in his possession.
  • Chronic Villainy: He struggles between his loyalty to Frodo who spared his life and was kind to him, and his temptation by the Ring. In the end, the temptation wins, and he becomes a full-on villain by the third movie.
  • The Corruptible: He (and his cousin) both become murderously possessive in very short time under the Ring's influence compared to the likes of Frodo and Sam. Even the first Pre-Insanity Reveal shot of Sméagol examining a bait-worm with a smile seems to be suggesting he might've always had more darkness in him than Frodo or Sam did, though he very likely never would've given in to it if he hadn't come in contact with the Ring.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: One of the most iconic voices to fit this trope; it's incredible how Andy Serkis, who normally speaks with a baritone, managed to pull it off without lasting damage to his vocal cords.
  • Covered with Scars: Has some nasty scars riddled all over his back, presumably from being tortured by Sauron's forces over the location of the Ring.
  • The Determinator: A rather dark version. He survives starvation, the dead lands, the marshes, torture, and falling off a cliff, all powered by his lust for his precious. Possession of the One Ring extends its bearers lifespan indefinitely. However, once they lose possession of it, all that age catches up with them very quickly, as it did to Bilbo, after living 111 years but barely seeming to age until he gave up the ring. In comparison, the Ring extended Gollum's lifespan until he was approaching 600 years old. Several years after losing the ring, he's still going strong.
  • Dirty Coward: His usual method of attack is striking while his quarry's guard is down. If he faces any kind of retaliation for this, he'll start whimpering.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The relationship between Smeagol and Gollum resembles several real-life psychological scenarios:
    • Gollum's obsession with the Ring is reminiscent of methamphetamine addiction. It turns his body thin and haggard, destroys his identity and willpower, drives him to kill in order to possess it, and generally consumes his life.
    • Gollum, as an Enemy Within born from guilt, is a Split Personality and acts like depression, anxiety and self-hatred do for many people.
    • Many elements of the Sméagol/Gollum dialogue resemble a real-life abusive relationship: one side is constantly goaded into crime by the other one who appears loving, comforting and guiding. When the meek Smeagol tries to break free, Gollum switches to threatening and reminding Smeagol that Gollum is the reason they survive. Smeagol banishes Gollum and can barely believe it, but comes back crying at the first sign of betrayal and this is just what Gollum is waiting for to welcome him back into the fold.
    • And of course, Sméagol "loves and hates the Ring as he loves and hates himself", which sounds awfully like Stockholm syndrome.
  • Driven to Madness: By the Ring. It corrupted his mind into a complete obsession, to the point he developed a Split Personality and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it back.
  • Driven to Villainy: He was a regular Stoor hobbit once, but the One Ring drove him into killing his cousin. If it hadn't been for that, he probably would have had a normal life.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: At the end of his tantrum when he loses the One Ring, he looks at his reflection and realizes exactly where it is - Bilbo's got it in his pocket.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: His reaction when he falls into the lava of Mount Doom is to silently stare at the Ring in shock, wondering why it betrayed him but still trying to hold it up away from the lava as he sinks into it.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Samwise. Sam genuinely cares about Frodo while Gollum manipulates him.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Gollum side takes gleeful delight in tormenting others and inflicting harm.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Five-hundred or so years with the One Ring left him an emaciated creature barely recognizable as a hobbit, with glowing eyes to help him see in the dark.
  • Evil Old Folks: Gollum is over 500 years old thanks to the Ring's longevity, and though it may be more due to his subterranean lifestyle than the ravages of age, his frail, bald, gaunt appearance resembles a wicked, crooked-backed old man.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: He speaks with a grating, high-pitched croak that sounds like a caterwauling lynx. It's notable in that he initially sounded normal in the flashback, but the second he laid eyes on the Ring, his voice immediately sunk to its raspy tone.
  • Faux Affably Evil: When Sméagol finally sides with Gollum, the end result is this — a false front of good cheer that hides a scheming, devious trickster who's bent on killing Frodo and Sam to get the One Ring.
  • Foil: To Bilbo. Bilbo's life as a Ring-bearer began with an act of Mercy while Sméagol began his with murder.
  • The Fog of Ages: He's lived over five-hundred years, most of it in the mountains with only the ring, and has since forgotten almost everything about his life prior, even his own name.
  • Freudian Trio: With Frodo and Sam; represents the Id.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was a normal hobbit living a happy life in the Shire until he found the ring and was driven mad almost instantly by it.
  • Game Face: In the films it becomes fairly easy to spot when Gollum or Sméagol are speaking; Sméagol's pupils are large and doe-like and his expressions are far less angular, whereas Gollum has pinprick pupils and his face contorts much more harshly.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: In The Fellowship of the Ring and An Unexpected Journey, Gollum's pupils glow a pale blue-white in the dark.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: The trope namer. Sméagol initially is quite torn between his developing loyalty to Frodo being genuinely nice to him with no strings attached, and his utter obsession with the One Ring clouding his judgment. But then, the Gollum side of him bullies and berates Sméagol into accepting that the Ring matters more than anything else, and that Sméagol must betray Frodo to do it, stopping this potential turn to goodness before it can actually happen.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: He's spent five-hundred years alone in the mountains with no contact besides the Ring, letting it absolutely dominate his entire being.
  • Go Out with a Smile: He falls into the lava of Mount Doom, glomping the ring with a placid gleeful smile on his face.
  • The Heavy: Since Sauron has no corporeal form to directly affect the world and seldom ever knows where Frodo and Sam are with the Ring, Gollum steps in as the most commonly recurring threat to their quest. Ironically, he is also the reason it even succeeds.
  • Hobbits: At one time he was not unlike Frodo and Sam. This is part of why he's so damn tough.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He keeps wavering between "Gollum", the murderous sneaky bastard who wants to kill the thieves, and "Sméagol", the last vestige of his former self who yearns for friendship. Eventually Sméagol sides with Gollum outright.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Sméagol gets the upper hand in the second film and puts his trust fully in Frodo... and then Frodo has to trick him into getting captured by the Rangers of Ithilien, who are none too gentle. He feels betrayed by Frodo because of this and starts plotting to murder him and Sam.
    • While his tragic near-repentance from the books doesn't happen in the movies, there is a scene in Shelob's lair that drives home the same point. When Frodo fights Gollum in Shelob's lair, his Sméagol-persona returns causing Frodo to feel pity towards him and spare him. However, Frodo then admits the purpose of the quest to Gollum, at which he snaps and attacks Frodo again. This is the last time his Sméagol-persona appears in the movies.
      Gollum: It wasn't us! It wasn't us! Sméagol wouldn't hurt master! We promised! You must believe us! It was The Precious! The Precious made us do it!
      Frodo: I have to destroy it, Sméagol... I have to destroy for both of our sakes...
      Gollum: Noooooo!
  • Holy Burns Evil: He's so utterly corrupted that he can't eat Elven bread, and even touching something as mundane as rope made by the Elves causes unbearable pain.
  • I'm Melting!: Falls into the magma in Mount Doom.
  • It's All About Me: The Gollum side of his personality is profoundly solipsistic, greedy and vain.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: He was adorably handsome prior to finding the ring. Now, it's hard to believe he was ever anything but a beast.
  • Lack of Empathy: Again, the Gollum side has zero compassion.
  • Laughably Evil: As vile, manipulative, and untrustworthy as he is, his childish antics are frequently displayed as comical and he does provide a lot of levity throughout the films.
  • Loincloth: His only clothing is a small loincloth - presumably what's left of his pants from the time he was a hobbit. He still has a pocket on it he can put the ring into.
  • Madness Makeover: His slow physical transformation from the eccentric-eyed but relatively normal hobbit Sméagol into the demented and dangerous creature he is now gets portrayed in unforgettable detail in the opening of The Return of the King.
  • Manchild: Sméagol is very childlike and even playful, speaking in singsong and capering around. Sometimes he does this when he's happy that Frodo is being nice, sometimes he's happy because he's feeding Frodo to Shelob. And he's both at once during the riddle game with Bilbo.
  • A Molten Date with Death: How Gollum meets his end when he and the ring fall into Mount Doom's perpetually-erupting caldera, where he simultaneously sinks and melts. The ring manages to last a good 30 more seconds, but it's eventually melted into nothingness as well. In the book (and cartoon,) they both are instantly killed on-contact.
  • Mood-Swinger: He can be prone to ranting furiously to himself, snarling at his companions, then adopting a chipper and helpful demeanor all in the span of a minute. The fact that he is insane, has two personalities that are not always aligned with each other, and can be deceptive when he wants makes it hard to properly gauge what his emotional state really is.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Centuries with little food and shut away from civilization has left Gollum practically skeletal but he is still surprisingly strong.
  • Never My Fault: Somewhat more sympathetic version as he was about to turn good until Frodo admitted the purpose of the quest to him. Smeagol blames the Ring for making him want to kill Frodo, even though it's all too obvious by this point that he'd turned bad of his own volition. It's also the last time you see his good side as this is used to cement his Heel–Face Door-Slam and to replace his tragic near-repentance from the original book.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Uses this to terrifying effect during his scene in An Unexpected Journey, using it to vanish from sight and pop up behind Bilbo multiple times during their encounter. Even without the Ring's invisibility, he's plenty stealthy on his own.
  • Oh, Crap!: He has a massive freakout when he reaches for the One Ring to kill Bilbo after losing their game of riddles, only to find it missing.
  • Outside-Context Problem: He has nothing to do with the armies of Sauron, the attempted warmongering of Saruman, or the orcs that come with it. Sméagol and Gollum just want the One Ring more than anything else in the world. There's not even really a plan for what to do once they get it; Sméagol and Gollum just both want the Ring, and that's it. And yet, by acting as a guide for Frodo and Samwise to Mount Doom, as well as trying to backstab Frodo at the worst possible moments, he almost gives the Dark Lord a win entirely without meaning to.
  • Pluralses: Has tendency to add "es" sounds to the ends of his plurals, saying things like "hobbitses" and "orcses."
  • Pre-Insanity Reveal: Gollum is a prime example. Originally a Stoor hobbit named Sméagol, he was corrupted mentally and physically by the Ring by the time Bilbo meets him in The Hobbit.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In the end, he is finally able to reunite with his Precious. A minute later, he falls to his death into the fires of Mount Doom.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Five hundred something.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: In the Jackson films, Sam never completely trusts him even when he's loyal to Frodo. When he begins plotting in earnest, though... In the extended edition, there's a scene toward the end of The Two Towers where Sam does apparently start to trust Gollum in earnest, saying that he's being "very decent". And it's just before Gollum decides to go back to plotting Frodo and Sam's deaths, making this a case of Dramatic Irony, and making Sam's fury upon overhearing Gollum's scheming later even more understandable.
  • Sanity Slippage: All thanks to the One Ring, and being away from it for so long.
  • Serkis Folk: Trope Codifier in the Jackson films. Gollum is a CGI character, but played on the set by Andy Serkis in a motion-capture suit.
  • Shadow Archetype: Gollum is a shadow to both Bilbo and Frodo. He is to some extent a shadow to Sam.
  • Sinister Nudity: Sméagol started out as a fully clothed hobbit, but as he got corrupted by the Ring, losing his sanity and turning into Gollum, he stopped wearing clothes apart from a tiny Loincloth that is just enough to cover the essentials.
  • Spanner in the Works: Had Gollum not ended up tagging along with Frodo and Sam, then the quest would have failed, as Frodo ultimately proved incapable of resisting the Ring's power. It's only Gollum's attempt to take back the Ring for himself that led to its destruction, independent of the rest of the Fellowship or the Dark Lord.
  • Split Personality: He lost his sanity from spending too much time by himself, with the Ring as his only company, and developed two distinct personalities: the curious, loyal and often playful Sméagol, and the hateful, murderous Gollum. The two selves often engage in arguments with each other.
  • Sore Loser: When he loses the game of riddles between himself and Bilbo, he tries to kill the Baggins anyway out of spite.
  • Stalker without a Crush: In his quest to retake the Ring, he trails the Fellowship all throughout the first film, catches up to Frodo and Sam at the beginning of the second, and continues to follow them in the third after his betrayal was revealed.
  • Starring Special Effects: He is one of the main characters of The Two Towers and The Return of the King, and he's created by motion capture.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Even if he did kill his own cousin for the possession of the Ring, you cannot help but feel sorry for the guy. The fact that the Ring has long consumed his soul does not help one bit. Also, Deagol himself was also being corrupted by the Ring and trying just as hard to kill him, after denying Smeagol his birthday party, making apparent that the Ring would have reduced one of them to its host either way.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: And how. Despite being an utterly loathsome creature, everyone who encounters him can't help but feel absolute pity for the miserable wretch the Ring turned him into. It is this very sympathy and the mercy Gollum is given that allows for the Ring to finally be destroyed.
  • Talking to Themself: Usually represented by having him talk to his reflection, with the camera focusing on himself for Sméagol and the reflection for Gollum.
  • That Man Is Dead: By the time he resurfaces in Mordor to confront Frodo and Sam, there's no Smeagol anymore, only Gollum.
    Frodo: You swore! Smeagol swore to the Precious!
    Gollum: Smeagol lied.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Courtesy of the One Ring.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Of the trio he forms with Frodo and Sam. The hobbits are undergoing the journey to destroy the Ring. Gollum is an insane individual who's being dragged along as their not-always-willing guide and who frequently goes back-and-forth on deciding whether he wants to reclaim the Ring or stay loyal to Frodo. In the end, he chooses the Ring.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Fisssh. During the hundreds of years he spent in his cave, his primary food source was raw fish, which he grew really fond of. He can no longer stomach food prepared any other way, being disgusted when Sam cooks a rabbit he killed into a stew.
  • Tragic Villain: In Gandalf's words, his life's story is "tragic".
  • Verbal Tic: "My Precioussss", "Gollum, Gollum!" He also has a tendency to call random things, usually people "precious" as well and punctuate his sentences with it, as though no matter what he were paying attention to his mind was constantly on the Ring.
  • Verbal Tic Name: He is only known as "Gollum" from the gurgling sound he makes in his throat.
  • Was Once a Man: The prologue of Return of the King shows us his gradual corruption by the Ring from a normal Hobbit into the creature Gollum. This was done at the insistence of Andy Serkis, who wanted viewers to see there really was an actor behind Gollum.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He may be a disgusting, murderous wretch who does nothing but obsess over the Ring, but he never chose to be. The Ring made him that way.

    Three Trolls 

The Trolls (Bert, Tom & William)
"Nothing wrong with a bit of raw Dwarf! Nice and crunchy!"

Species: Troll

Portrayed by: Mark Hadlow, William Kircher, Peter Hambleton

Voiced by: Germán Fabregat, Ricardo Hill, Miguel Ángel Ghigliazza (Latin American Spanish dub)

Appear in: An Unexpected Journey | The Fellowship of the Ringnote 

Three trolls from the Ettenmoors that the Company encounter in the Trollshaws west of Rivendell. Extremely stupid, they attempted to eat the Company, but fail due to Bilbo's stalling, a smidge of Gandalf's magic, and sunlight.
  • Aerith and Bob: They're the only characters in the story with modern English names.
  • All Trolls Are Different: They have a pale, fleshy skin-tone, and are more humanoid-looking and intelligent than the trolls of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, speaking in perfect English (albeit in suitably thuggish tones).
  • As You Know: William tells the other to hurry because he doesn't want to turn into stone when the sun comes up (guess what happens). Justified by how incredibly slow-witted they are — either William was acting the stupid one for being a know-it-all over something so obvious, or the others are stupid enough to sometimes forget this.
  • Beard of Evil: Tom has a short chinstrap beard.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: William is tall and wide (big), Tom is skinny for a troll (thin), and Bert is the shortest of all three (short).
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: They try to cook the dwarves without killing them first.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tom gets hit and smacked around the most by the others and by the Dwarves during the fight. Even getting hit in the eye and the groin as well.
  • The Cameo: Their petrified forms are stumbled upon by Frodo and company in the extended cut of The Lord of the Rings. Effectively an Early-Bird Cameo, since Lord of the Rings was adapted before The Hobbit.
  • Comically Cross-Eyed: Tom, the Butt-Monkey of the trio, has uneasy eyes, indicating mental issues.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Bert isn't terribly fond of mutton, especially since the three are on farm country and sheep is all there is on the menu (unless they find the occasional human).
  • Dumb Muscle: With a degree of variation. Tom seems way dim compared to the others, while the others, at least, are particularly savvy. Tom also has unfocused eyes, possibly implying other difficulties.
  • Evil Brit: The stupid kind, since they all speak with the stereotypically gruff Cockney accent.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Played straight with William and Bert, and inverted with Tom.
  • Exact Words: Kíli demands the trolls drop Bilbo. They oblige and toss Bilbo right on top of him.
  • Eye Scream: Bert's left eye is dead.
  • Groin Attack: Bert gets hit in the groin by Dori (which is pretty funny since they share an actor).
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being a troll, Bert has a surprising knowledge of cooking, including saute and the use of herbs. Where he got this knowledge is a mystery, and he has no opportunity to utilize it.
  • I Have Your Wife: They get the dwarves to surrender by capturing Bilbo.
  • Large and in Charge: William is the largest (11 feet tall) and functions as the leader.
  • Laughably Evil: They serve the role of "funny villains" for the earlier part of An Unexpected Journey.
  • The Leader: William seems to be the leader of the trio, giving them orders. Or at least, ordering around Tom.
  • Lean and Mean: Tom, compared to William and Bert.
  • Lethal Chef: Bert is implied to be a terrible cook. His stew certainly looks disgusting and requires Tom sneezing in it to make it better.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Trolls: Fili and Kili convince Bilbo that he's the best to deal with the trolls, since he's smart and fast while they're slow and stupid (but doubtlessly strong and dangerous).
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: They might be stupid and goofy, but once enraged they threaten to tear Bilbo limb from limb.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Unlike Bert, who enthusiastically falls for Bilbo's ruse about knowing the secret to cooking Dwarf, and Tom who mindlessly follows along with what the others are doing, William tells the others to get a move on with cooking the dwarves, and states matter of factly that they shouldn't bother seasoning them because the sun is just about to come up and he doesn't want to be turned to stone when it does.
  • Roar Before Beating: They speak English perfectly well, but a vestige of their more primitive troll nature is seen when Dwalin smashes Bert on the foot with his axe, and he lets out an outraged, bestial roar.
  • Serkis Folk: Portrayed by Mark Hadlow, William Kircher and Peter Hambleton via motion capture.
  • Starter Villain: They are the first enemies that Thorin and Company encounter after leaving Bag End.
  • Stealth Pun: "Lay down your arms! Or we'll rip his off!"
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Bilbo keeps the trolls from killing the dwarves by promising to tell them the secret to cooking dwarf and then insisting the dwarves have parasites and are inedible. He keeps them busy until Gandalf and the Sun show up and kill them.
  • Taken for Granite: When exposed to sunlight.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: William and Tom complain that all of Bert's cooking tastes like chicken. Except for his chicken, which tastes like fish.
  • Team Chef: Bert. And he's really pissed the others don't appreciate his cooking.
  • Teeth Flying: Bert gets some of his teeth knocked out by Dwalin.
  • Three Stooges Shout-Out: You can't help but feel that somehow Larry, Curly, and Moe made their way to Middle-earth and became trolls, what with how they act and the way Bert smacks Tom around like Moe did Curly.
  • To Serve Man: Dwarves anyway. They also eat humans since William complains that he's still picking bits of a farmer out of his teeth.
  • Villainous Gluttons: They have an appetite matching their size.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: They are the first villains the company encounter, but they are quickly defeated and their scene could easily be removed from the plot. However, that way we would miss one of the most iconic scenes of the story.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Sunlight, which turns them into stone.



Species: Giant

Appear in: An Unexpected Journey

A race of giants living high up in the peaks of the Misty Mountains near the High Pass.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book, the stone-giants seem to only be throwing rocks at each other as a sort of game. Here, they are viciously brawling with each other (with Thorin and Company getting caught in the middle of their fighting) for no clear reason.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: They are so massive that Bilbo and the dwarves are able to walk across the knees of one of them.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: These colossal giants are as tall as the Misty Mountains themselves.
  • Rock Monster: They all appear to be made of animated stone, hence their name.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The stone-giants don't seem to have any allegiance with Sauron or the Goblins of the Misty Mountains, and only serve as a brief obstacle for Thorin and Company as they pass through the Misty Mountains, and are never seen again for the remainder of the story.

    The Great Goblin 

The Great Goblin
"Bones will be shattered, necks will be wrung! You'll be beaten and battered, from racks you'll be hung! You will die down here and never be found, down in the deep of Goblin Town!"

Species: Goblin

Portrayed by: Barry Humphries

Voiced by: Humberto Vélez (Latin American Spanish dub), Paul Borne (French dub)

Appears in: An Unexpected Journey

A powerful Goblin chieftain of Goblin-town. Surprisingly personable and snarky for a goblin.
  • Acrofatic: Despite being about twenty times their size, he doesn't seem to be any less agile than his smaller kin.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Although his book counterpart was also a villain, the first film makes him willing to answer Azog's bounty on Thorin's head. In the book, the goblins wanted them destroyed simply because they considered them spies and a threat (even though the dwarves never wanted any trouble with the goblins).
  • Adipose Rex: Big and fat and the king. Self explanatory really.
  • Bad Boss: While this is essentially the norm for orcs and goblins, he's shown sitting on some and crushing others with his feet. In the extended edition, he kills one of his own minions during his Villain Song just for kicks.
  • Berserk Button: The sight of Orcrist causes him to lose his cool completely, making him opt to forgo torture in favor of killing the dwarves immediately:
    "I know that sword! It is the Goblin Cleaver! The Biter, the blade that sliced a thousand necks! Slash them! Beat them! Kill them, kill them all! Cut off his head!"
  • Body Horror: His "beard" isn't made of hair.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Lesser goblins address him as "Your Malevolence". He also sings songs about how the dwarves are going to suffer under him.
    "Abominations, mutations, deviations. That's all you're gonna find down here!''"
  • Cool Crown: Which may be made of claws or teeth.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: He's about the only goblin that lands a good blow on Gandalf, swatting him off his feet. Before Gandalf gets back up and promptly kills him with three slashes.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: According to the design team, his throne also acts as a commode, and was set-dressed accordingly...
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a deep, booming voice.
  • Eye Scream: Has some sort of infection surrounding his right eye that prevents him from closing it when he blinks. When he comes face to face with Gandalf, the wizard hits that first before slashing him open.
  • Fat Bastard: Extremely so on both counts.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He acts very jolly and cordial for a sadist. The extended edition takes this further, having him lead his goblins in a merry Villain Song about how he plans on torturing and killing the dwarves for trespassing into his kingdom.
  • Freak Out: When he sees the dwarves' elven swords.
  • Genius Bruiser: Enormously strong (he effortlessly smashes his way through a bridge) and he comes across as pretty knowledgeble, knowing Thorin's history and being able to correctly identify magic swords on sight.
  • Graceful Loser: He handles Gandalf eviscerating him with surprising nonchalance. See Major Injury Underreaction for his exact words before getting his throat slit.
  • I Will Show You X!: In the extended edition:
    Óin: You're going to have to speak up. Your boys flattened my trumpet!
    Great Goblin: I'll flatten more than your TRUMPET!
  • Jerkass: Takes a moment to rub in how Thorin, the King Under the Mountain, "[doesn't] have a mountain. And [he's] not a king. Which makes [him]... nobody, really".
  • King Mook: The biggest, and also most important goblin seen in Peter Jackson's movies.
  • Large and in Charge: He's almost the size of a troll.
  • Large Ham: Special mention goes to his breaking out in song while describing how he intends to torture and kill the Dwarves.
    "He wields the foe-hammer! The Beater, bright as daylight!"
  • Laughably Evil: He's a dangerous sadist who has every intention of torturing and killing the dwarves, but he's portrayed a lot more silly and comical than the likes of Smaug and Azog.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: In the film after Gandalf fatally injures him.
    "...that'll do it."
  • Mythology Gag: Bears a resemblance to his counterpart from the animated film.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Even more different than other Goblins as he's much larger than a man and grotesquely fat.
  • Serkis Folk: By the one and only Barry Humphries.
  • Slashed Throat: What Gandalf does to finally do him in. Turns out he was right to freak out about seeing Glamdring.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Of the “died later than in the source material” type. The books' version of the Great Goblin is killed when Gandalf makes his entrance at Goblin Town to rescue the dwarves. Here, he shows up at the very end of the chase to fight Gandalf.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Great Goblin.
  • Staff of Authority: Carries one of these that's adorned with a skull or two.
  • Tempting Fate
    "You thought you could escape me? What are you going to do now, wizard?"
  • Villainous Glutton: Presumably, given how bloated he is compared to all other goblins and orcs.
  • Villain Song: Gets a brief one (quoted above) that sounds somewhat reminiscent of the "Goblin-Town" song from the book. The extended edition has him singing an altered version of the aforementioned song.
  • Wicked Cultured: He seems quite well-spoken and knowledgeable for a goblin. Furthermore, he composes songs and makes the entire community perform them.

    The Goblins of Goblin-Town 

The Goblins of Goblin-Town

Species: Goblin

Appear in: An Unexpected Journey

The countless inhabitants of Goblin-Town and the Great Goblin's minions.
  • Bamboo Technology: Their city's bridges, platforms, and torture machines are all made of wood.
  • Body Horror: Similar to their king, they all exhibit deformities and other health problems.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The entire goblin civilization follows their leader in singing about their evil.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Their infinite number is nothing compared to the dwarves' weapons and combat skills, let alone Gandalf.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Twice. In the original books, the words "goblin" and "orc" were used to describe the same species. After decades of goblin/orc distinction in books, tabletop games, video games, and more, the film only calls these creatures goblins. However, there already existed goblins of Moria, who were green and big-eyes. These ones are more pale and verminous.
  • Evil Minions: Naturally.
  • Extended Disarming: They do this to the dwarves.
  • Freak Out: When they recognize Thorin's weapon: Orcrist, the "goblin cleaver".
  • Harmless Villain: The film makes them really bordering on this.
  • Mooks: Numerous and ineffective.
  • The Morlocks: Eek out a troglodytic existence in the great caverns under the Misty Mountains.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: The Fellowship of the Ring already had goblins exist in Moria as green, big-eyed troglodytes, but the goblins here are shorter (almost Hobbit-sized), paler, and far more ugly, with great deformities and more verminous appearance. They still retain their Always Chaotic Evil personalities.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: They're not especially important to the plot, unlike in the book where the death of their leader was a major factor in the opposing army of the Battle of the Five Armies (in the film, the goblins are just one of many forces employed by Azog the Defiler to take the Lonely Mountain so that Sauron can go on to reclaim Angmar).
  • Zerg Rush: Their only tactic.



Species: Were-worms

Appear in: The Battle of the Five Armies

Subterranean megafauna that create tunnels for Azog's army.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the book they are supposed to live in the East and are implied to be random enemies unaffiliated with Sauron. However, their film versions appear right in Erebor and are used by Azog.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: It's implied that they were intended to resemble dragons or giant snakes in the book. The cinematic versions look like massive invertebrates.
  • Composite Character: They live beneath the mountains and form tunnels by "gnawing at the earth", much like the things hiding in the deepest parts of Middle-earth that Gandalf witnessed when he was fighting the Balrog.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The narrative reason why they leave the battlefield right after drilling tunnels for Azog. Given their massive size, fearsome strength and unknown number, they probably would have single-handedly wrecked all the forces of Good in the Battle of the Five Armies (maybe even the forces of Evil too if Azog happened to lack the means to control them) had they actually stayed and fought.
  • Kaiju: The only thing bigger than the Were-worms is Smaug.
  • Meaningful Name: The "were" prefix comes from an Old English word meaning "man". Their mouths are shaped like human hands.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: They seem to have no interest in fighting the enemies of the orcs. They just act in a way that is to the orcs' benefit.
  • Sand Worm: Only that they travel through dirt and stone as well.
  • Signature Style: Two of Peter Jackson's previous films have similar creatures in them. The Frighteners has an even larger worm that drags souls into hell and King Kong (2005) had the carnictis.


"She's always hungry. She always needs... to feed. She must eat. All she gets is filthy orcses."

Species: Spider

Appears in: The Return of the King

Shelob was one of the countless brood of Ungoliant, a Great Spider and a relic from a time before Sauron's Shadow. She was the greatest of Ungoliant’s spawn, many times larger than even the largest of Mirkwood's spiders. A purely neutral character, she only served herself, and her hunger and bloodlust would be satisfied by any creature she could consume.
  • Achilles' Heel: Her underside is not as tough as the rest of her body; when she gives up trying to paralyze Sam with her venom and decides to crush him, he shoves Sting into her guts. The book emphasizes that unlike dragons, Shelob has no weak spots save for her eyes. Sam is only able to pierce her skin and tissue because she unwittingly slams on his blade with her own, massive strength.
    • Also, as she constantly lives in darkness, bright light is extremely painful to her and can cause her to retreat, as Sam finds out when he uses the vial of starlight Galadriel gave him.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Just like her mother Ungoliant, who may have been a Maiar. Shelob is the result of the former breeding with the lesser spiders of Nan Dungortheb, the Valley of Dreadful Death.
  • Casting a Shadow: Like her mother, she weaves webs of "unlight" that are perceptible to the Hobbits, although the "unlight" part is hard to convey on film so they look like regular (but giant) webs.
  • Combat Pragmatist: After trying and failing to catch Sam with her stinger, Shelob finally gets tired and just tries to smash Sam to death under her bulk. Unfortunately for her, she slams down right onto the sharp blade of Sting.
  • Dark Action Girl: Shelob is a force to be reckoned with and puts up a good match with Sam.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Sauron treats her as his pet—specifically a cat, in that he thinks he owns her and she does whatever she pleases. However, she is not a pet and has no loyalty to Sauron. She only cares about feeding. Sauron leaves her alone because she's no threat to his plans and is an effective guardian of the tunnels into Mount Doom.
  • Eye Scream: Sam stabs her in one eye with Sting during their fight.
  • Giant Spider: She's thought to be the daughter of Ungoliant, a spirit on the order of Sauron and Balrogs, who took spider form. She's also related to the giant spiders of Mirkwood, but she's bigger.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: The only reason Sam is able to pierce her with Sting is because she deliberately tries to crush him under her bulk after he keeps dodging her stinger. Her sheer weight and force allow the blade to punch through her otherwise-unbreakable exoskeleton like a person sitting on a thumbtack.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Shelob is a spider with the stinger of a bee. Real spiders inject venom through their fangs.
  • Meaningful Name: "Lob" is an archaic word for "spider". She's female. "She-Lob".
  • Omnicidal Maniac: No, really - it's All There in the Manual. "She, who desired only death for all others, and for herself a glut of life, alone..."
  • Primal Fear: Spiders. Big spiders. Not surprising, since Tolkien was bitten by a highly venomous spider as a boy.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Not just of the pure evil variety but that of pure hunger. She was stated to be immune to the Ring's temptations because power holds no interest in something that just wants to eat everything.
  • The Smurfette Principle: She's the only female villain in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Both Tolkien and Jackson firmly believe in this trope. Shelob is a horrific menace even to the nasties that populate Mordor.
    • Jackson deliberately asked the WETA team to model Shelob primarily after the funnel-web spider, one of Australia's most toxic and least adorable residents.
  • Stealthy Colossus: Is she wasn't frightening enough already, the way she can creep up on her victims with absolute silence is pure nightmare fuel.
  • Time Abyss: Her mother was Ungoliant, who spawned her and countless other spiders way back in the First Age, making Shelob several thousand years old at least.
  • Uncertain Doom: When Sam stabs Shelob with Sting and she retreats back into the safety of her cave it is unclear if she died from the injuries that Sam inflicted upon her. Or if her lair was swallowed up by the lava from Mount Doom after The Ring was destroyed. Or if she merely starved to death since her primary food source (the orcs of Mordor) were either swallowed up by the earth when Sauron and Mordor fell or were killed in battle by Aragorn's forces.
  • The Voiceless: The fact that she was able to work out a deal with Gollum implies she can speak, but she never does during her appearance in the text. Or just that she understands speech, and relented her attack when Gollum begged for his life and promised to bring her tasty things to eat. After she injures herself on Sting and Sam regains the vial, Shelob does screech "Nooooooo!" as she drags herself away, though.
  • Weakened by the Light: The thing that finally makes her flinch is the phial of starlight Galadriel gave Frodo, although it doesn't dissuade her from keeping up the chase, even when Sam fights her directly. Shelob instead resorts to trying to knock it away from the Hobbits, but it's only after she's wounded herself on Sting does she finally run away for good in the face of the recovered phial.

    The Spiders of Mirkwood 

The Spiders of Mirkwood

Species: Spider

Appear in: An Unexpected Journey | The Desolation of Smaug

Some of the countless brood of Ungoliant who are nesting in Dol Guldur and spreading through Mirkwood.
  • Achilles' Heel: Bilbo manages to kill several by stabbing them in the mouth or in the abdomen. The dwarves also coordinate to tear off the limbs of a spider.
  • All Webbed Up: What they do to their victims before eating them.
  • Animalistic Abominations: They're the offspring of Shelob, who in turn was the daughter of Ungoliant.
  • Cobweb Jungle: They're transforming Mirkwood into this and set web traps everywhere. Bilbo inadvertently informs them of the presence of the Company when he plays with a web filament, not knowing what it really is.
  • Giant Spiders: Not as big as Shelob in The Return of the King, but still very dangerous.
  • Knockout Ambush: On Bilbo.
  • Primal Fear: They are giant spiders.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Especially if they're descended from a spider-shaped Eldritch Abomination.
  • Talking Animal: The Ring somehow allows Bilbo to understand what they say when he puts it on. Considering who made the Ring and the place the spiders come from, it makes sense.
  • Zerg Rush: How they try to take down the dwarves and elves.

    The Watcher in the Water 

The Watcher in the Water

Species: Unknown

Appears in: The Fellowship of the Ring

An aquatic monster that guards the western gates of Moria. It encounters the Fellowship upon their arrival to the walls of the dwarven realm, possibly awakening from a stone thrown to the water, and tries to abduct Frodo with its tentacles before being shot away by Legolas. It then crushes the doors of Moria behind them, leaving them trapped in Moria.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the book, the creature could only extend its tentacles out of the water and it took only a few dagger slashes to make it release its prey. In the film, it seems to be at least partially amphibious and is much stronger and tougher.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: Considering the Fellowship is traveling with the equivalent of an angel and they encounter a devil shortly afterwards, the Watcher definitely qualifies, though it is not exactly a squid.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: Unlike the book, the film monster emerges fully and even completely leaves the water at one point.
  • Cephalothorax: Aside from a series of sacks or quills behind it, the monster is composed of a tentacled body whose eyes and mouth casually form a human-like face.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Watcher has a multitude of tentacles, each ending in a grasping three-fingered claw.
  • Composite Character: According to Peter Jackson, the Watcher in the Water is part of the race of nameless creatures which gnaw the world mentioned by Gandalf, and actually there was planned a scene in which Gandalf and the balrog scared away some of its kind upon splashing on the underground lake.
  • Hero Killer: The Watcher killed Oin when he was out scouting.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Has two jaws with some creepy teeth.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: It certainly evokes the kraken imagery.
  • No Name Given: It is not called by its name in the film.
  • Tentacle Rope: It catches Frodo with its tentacles and swings him before Sam and Legolas free him. Afterwards, it still tries to catch them and drag them down into the water.
  • Tentacled Terror: Was this for an entire generation, part of the terror comes from the near-human face that's wreathed by tentacles.
  • Uncertain Doom: Unlike the books where the creature clearly survived, the movie leaves it ambiguous whether the Watcher was killed by the falling rocks or merely trapped the fellowship.

    The Balrog 

Balrog of Morgoth, "Durin's Bane"

Species: Maia (Balrog)

Appears in: The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers

"You fear to go into those mines. The dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the depths of Khazad-dûm; shadow and flame."
— Saruman

A Balrog of Morgoth, a monster of the First Age, awoken by the dwarves in their delvings beneath Khazad-dûm, who killed Durin VI and drove the dwarves from their oldest and greatest realm. Encountered by the Fellowship as they leave Khazad-dûm. Slain by Gandalf in a titanic battle that began at the lowest abyss of Moria and ended on Durin's Tower, its highest point.
  • Big Red Devil: He's effectively this on fire, sporting the characteristic horns, hooves and bat wings, though his skin is basalt-like black rather than red, and he wields a Flaming Sword and a whip rather than a pitchfork.
  • Dark Is Evil: The parts of him that aren't on fire are black and shadowy and he lives in one of the deepest, darkest places of Middle-earth.
  • The Dreaded: When the Balrog rumbles, a hundred goblins who were willing to try their luck with the fellowship panic and flee. Gimli laughs, the hobbits look relieved; Gandalf's face fills with dread and regret. Just hearing its roar makes Legolas, who can kill the worst of the orcs and war elephants with little issue, start shaking in his boots to the point he can't even hold his bow without shivering. It also says something that Gandalf was willing to risk being attacked by Saruman by venturing close to Isengard rather than test his luck with the Balrog.
  • Dual Wielding: He uses a flaming whip in conjunction with a Flaming Sword.
  • Dug Too Deep: Not him, but the Dwarves that woke him did.
  • Elemental Weapon: Both his whip and sword are wreathed in flames.
  • Evil Is Bigger: At least twenty feet tall, and much larger than the orcs and trolls in Moria. They seem to be almost as afraid of him as the Fellowship is.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Balrogs are some of the most feared creatures in Middle-earth for good reason. They served Sauron's old boss before the Third Age and are all Hero Killers. Even the goblins are terrified of it.
  • Evil Takes a Nap: It was sleeping underneath the mines of Moria when the dwarves woke it up. They regretted that... just not for very long.
  • Fallen Angel: Is a Maia, the same order of being as Gandalf and Sauron. Originally a benevolent fire spirit, it and the other Balrogs were corrupted into demons by Sauron's former master millennia ago.
  • Flaming Sword: Created one as its first weapon against Gandalf, which the wizard shattered.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The story was serious to begin with, but the very notion of the Balrog and Gandalf's grim description makes even Legolas' eyes fill with terror. Needless to say, the monster paved the way for the Fellowship's breaking by bringing down Gandalf. (Of course, Gandalf got better.) It also introduced the epic one-on-one fights that would occur later in the story.
  • The Leader: Although the goblins are afraid of it, the Balrog seems to see them as guards, given that he tolerated them when they arrived in Moria.
  • Mighty Roar: It lets out an impressive roar when it steps on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, challenging Gandalf to a fight.
  • Out Of Context Villain: While technically affiliated through their shared servitude to their former master, he has nothing to do with Sauron or the Ring. His presence is primarily to be a believable force that can defeat Gandalf.
  • Playing with Fire: The movie makes it looks like he's literally a demon of flame. And shadow.
  • Rasputinian Death: Falls down a deep pit along with Gandalf, all the while trying to stab and punch one another as they plummet down to the bottom and smash against the rocky sides. Once they land, they are immediately submerged, carried down the stream presumably, until they reached the base of a mountain, climb the Endless Stair to the peak of Celebdil, where they fought until Gandalf manages to pierce its heart with his sword infused with a lightning bolt, causing it to fall down to its death.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: A giant demon that is black as magmatic rock, but perpetually wreathed in flame until his death.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Played With. While it appears to have wings when initially encountered, upon close inspection(most visible during his battle with Gandalf as they both fall) they appear more like skeletal limbs with large hands and thin fingers that have smoke falling from them, giving the illusion of wings as well as heavily obscuring its body.

    The Goblins of Moria 

The Goblins of Moria

Species: Goblin

Appear in: The Fellowship of the Ring

"They have taken the bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes, drums...drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out.... They are coming."
— The last entry in Ori's Book of Mazarbul

The countless inhabitants of Moria and minions of Durin's Bane.
  • Battle Cry: They continuously howl like madmen while chasing and fighting the Fellowship.
  • Ceiling Cling: As they pursue the Fellowship in Moria, some of them pour in from the ceiling. It makes them look more like roaches than humanoids.
  • Determinator: After Durin's Bane and Gandalf fell, the goblins' archers are back and start shooting the Fellowship.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In the original books, the words "goblin" and "orc" were used to describe the same species. After decades of goblin/orc distinction in books, tabletop games, video games, and more, the film only calls these creatures goblins.
  • Evil Minions: For Durin's Bane. It doesn't seem to be a pleasant experience for them, if them being scared by its roar is any implication.
  • Hero Killer: They're responsible for the deaths of Balin, Ori, and the rest of their colony (except Oin, who was killed by the Watcher in the Water).
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: They bring a lot of trouble to the Fellowship with their massive numbers. They also killed Balin, Ori, and their colony (except Oin, who was killed by the Watcher in the Water).
  • Mooks: Numerous of them.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: They are green-skinned with large eyes, wear heavy armor, and are very adept climbers.
  • Radial Ass Kicking: An absurd number of them completely surround the Fellowship, but they run away when the Balrog is awakened before the fight actually happens.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: They run away when Durin's Bane is awakened.
  • Zerg Rush: Their main tactic, and it seemed to work against Balin's expedition.

    The Cave-Troll of Moria 

The Cave-Troll of Moria

Species: Troll

Appear in: The Fellowship of the Ring

"They have a cave-troll!"
— Boromir

A cave-troll employed by the goblins of Moria to attack the Fellowship.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the book, it was driven off by Frodo stabbing its hand. In the movie, it takes the combined efforts of the Fellowship to kill it, and Frodo slashing its hand just makes it angry.
  • All Trolls Are Different: It's about 12 feet tall, with thick, doughy physiques and brutish faces with widely set eyes and nostril slits for noses.
  • Attack Its Weak Point / Boom, Headshot!: Legolas finished it off with an arrow through the upper palate, the only part of its body not protected by its thick hide.
  • Carry a Big Stick: It has a club chained to a collar around its neck.
  • Chain Pain: It tries to lash Legolas by using the chain attached to its neck.
  • Composite Character: Takes the role of an Orc chieftain who stabs Frodo with a spear.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: How the Fellowship finally killed it. They just keep stabbing it over and over and wearing it down until Legolas lands a final headshot.
  • Giant Mook: The only one in Moria. It's downright stupid, but due to its size, it proves to be the most difficult enemy the Fellowship faces in Balin's tomb, ultimately succumbing to a Death of a Thousand Cuts.
  • Kevlard: Like all trolls, it is covered in a thick, scaly hide which allows it to easily shrug off multiple arrows, sword strikes and even a spear to the gut.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: After Aragorn stabs the troll with a spear and is knocked out, the troll pulls the spear out of its flesh and uses it to stab Frodo.
  • Made of Iron: It shrugs everything thrown at it (sword swings to its limbs and belly, arrows and sword stabs to the back of its head and neck, rocks thrown at its head, getting gored with a spear) until Legolas shoots and arrow through its mouth.
  • Tragic Monster: It appears to be either a slave of the orcs or their attack dog, and it seems quite pitiable when it dies, though it does also seem to take some pleasure in stabbing Frodo.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Kills a few Orcs during its rampage in Balin’s tomb trying to hit the Fellowship.

Alternative Title(s): Middle Earth Film Smaug