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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 Covillaut (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.
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  • 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.
  • 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 Baritone: Terrible enough to make your hair stand on end and briefly paralyze Bilbo with fear.
  • 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.
    • Don't try to steal from him either.
    • 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.
  • 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 speaks makes Bilbo take off the Ring without realizing it (the Ring may have helped Smaug's words get into Bilbo's head here), Bilbo is at more than one point 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 / Guttural Growler: 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.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's almost civil towards Bilbo before he explodes into rage mode.
  • 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 would make for a terribly effective and devastating ally against the Free Peoples if he aided Sauron.
  • Fantastic Racism: He despises dwarves intensely, describing them as "filthy" and "drawn to treasure like flies to dead flesh" — ironically, the latter remark fits better with him and dragons in general at least as well as it does dwarves.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, and even his capacity for callousness — which Thorin spends most of the second and third movies not wanting to acknowledge. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Treasure Guarding Dragon: All dragons are said to covet gold. Smaug probably more than the average dragon.
  • Troll: Not literally! He tries convincing Bilbo that Thorin considers him expendable, seemingly just so he can watch Bilbo squirm as the idea gets to him.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Smaug - Live action

Smaug boasts to Thorn Oakenshield about how his efforts to reclaim the gold he stole from the dwarves are futile.

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Main / BadassBoast

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