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The Heart Trilogy is a series of The Hobbit and later The Lord of the Rings fanfics by DONOVAN94. The trilogy features an Original Character, a Seer named Kathryn, and her gradually developing romance with the dragon Smaug. The first two parts are completed, while the third part is currently dormant.

The first part of the series, Heart of Fire, begins with Gandalf meeting Kathryn, a Seer who lives in hiding and has an amazing story to tell. Many years earlier, the ostracized seer wandered Middle-Earth in search of peace, but when she settled in the ruined city of Dale, her life was changed forever. Upon hearing her heavenly singing voice, Smaug decided to keep Kathryn as a part of his hoard. From there began Kathryn's game of survival that led her to be connected with the dragon forever… to the point that she decides to return to him when Thorin Oakenshield's Company sets out to reconquer the Lonely Mountain.

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Official description of Heart of Fire: "I am SMAUG! I kill where I wish and none dare resist! And now, you belong to me!" Smaug stirs beneath Erebor when he hears a heavenly voice and knows he must have such a prize for his own. Trapped in the Dragon's lair, Kathryn, a seer, must survive this deadly creature to escape to freedom. But a vision plagues her, one that connects her to the mighty dragon forever.

In the second part of the series, Heart of Ashes, Smaug returns from the dead, transformed into a man. Determined and wrathful, he sets out to find a way to regain his true form, exact his revenge on the people of Dale and the dwarves of Erebor, and reunite with Kathryn who's been taken to the city of Vathvael. Dark forces hunt the dragon and the Seer, and with no one to trust, Kathryn is having continuous visions of a darkness that calls to her… and an evil that now grows inside of Smaug. Click here to see the trailer.

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Official description of Heart of Ashes: "I now have a duty that you abandoned me to face. It is time for you to face the ashes of your fires, dragon…" Smaug has been resurrected into the form of a human man, and now, he will stop at nothing to reclaim his lost form, exact his revenge on those that killed him and possess the one woman who stole his heart. The world will burn before him and darkness will feed his rage.

The third part of the series, Heart of the Inferno, takes place during the War of the Ring. Smaug and Kathryn, who have lived a secluded life for sixty years, are called by Gandalf to aid the Free Peoples against Sauron and his minions. Click here to see the trailer.

Official description of Heart of the Inferno: "The third age is now at an end, and in its place I shall bring the wings and fires to herald a new era: the Age of Dragons!" Gandalf seeks the help of an unlikely ally to fight the evil of Sauron: Smaug. With Kathryn, a Seer, he shall go on a journey that will determine the fate of Middle-Earth forever. The fires have ignited, the ashes have scattered, but the inferno still rages.


This work contains examples of:

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     The universal examples 
  • Acceptable Breaks from Canon:
    • Heart of Fire was first published before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug came to theaters, and was still in progress when the film was released. Because of this, the Smaug of this universe is less of a wyvern and more of a classically shaped dragon with four legs and two wings on his back. Heart of Fire was also completed before The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released, and as such, the author had Tauriel die during Smaug's attack on Lake-town.
    • Heart of Ashes was commenced before The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, so the White Council rescues Gandalf and drives Sauron out of Dol Guldur quite differently than in the film. Notably, Sauron vanishes in a blinding flash of light which Saruman unleashes. This references to the book continuity wherein Saruman is implied to have aided Sauron escape from Dol Guldur when the White Council drove him out.
  • Achilles' Heel: Smaug has the canonical gap in his scales. After he's resurrected, the gap is covered by thick scar tissue. There's also a downplayed case with the pores between his nostrils. While the scales are in that area as tough as elsewhere, it's still sensitive to pain.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Downplayed with Smaug who, despite all the caring he gives Kathryn, is pretty much the same selfish, greedy, arrogant and bloodthirsty dragon as in the source materials. However, unlike in the movie trilogy, he's never interested about serving Sauron or anyone else, wanting to be left in peace with his treasure and Kathryn unless provoked. While he accepts Sauron's proposal in Heart of Ashes, he does that in a moment of blind rage rather than For the Evulz. The Dark Lord trying to control him is an experience he's unwilling to repeat. He even takes the side of the Free Peoples in the War of the Ring, if only for his own reasons of which the safety of Kathryn and their twins is the most altruistic one.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Despite her better knowledge, Kathryn falls for Smaug, "the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities". However, it's not so much because of his badness but because he's one of the few people who understands and accepts her completely. In addition to that, remaining in his dangerous company protects her from being victimized by people who'd hurt or take advantage of her.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Mostly utilizes the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings movie continuity, but with Acceptable Breaks from Canon, references to the novel continuity, and some other minor alterations from canon. The most important divergences are the presence of Kathryn in Middle-Earth, and Smaug's (somewhat secret) survival beyond his death at Lake-town resulting in him still being alive as late as the War of the Ring.
  • Alliterative Title:
    • The 10th chapter of Heart of Fire is titled A Heavy Heart.
    • Heart of Ashes has Public Performance (Chapter 5), Familiar Faces (Chapter 6) and Darkness Descends (Chapter 21).
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Dragons, due to Morgoth's intervention. Though he genuinely loves Kathryn, Smaug himself remains as callous and merciless as in canon throughout the series. Kolstros and Vervenia are the first dragons in millennia to be born without their race's link to Morgoth, rendering them Token Heroic Orcs.
  • Beast and Beauty: Smaug and Kathryn, respectively.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Sauron is going through with his canon goals, and he also attempts to recruit Smaug as his beast of war. Fankil in turn attempts to use Kathryn in releasing his father Morgoth. In Heart of the Inferno, the two evil entities aren't exactly working together, but they do exchange some information.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Just like sharks in the water, dragons are able to sense electrical currents in the air thanks to the pores situated in the scales between their nostrils. This allows them to feel the changing air currents, anticipate the course of the weather, and tell the location of their prey through their aura.
    And with [Kathryn's] touch upon such sensitive skin, he could feel every current of electricity running through her body, every strong heartbeat, every breath in her lungs, every twitch of a muscle.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Fankil has these under his hood.
  • Blood from Every Orifice:
    • Not as extreme as other examples, but the vision Kathryn has in the 7th chapter of Heart of Fire is so severe that blood comes out of her nose and ears.
    • Before Kathryn turns from dragon back to human in the 19th chapter of Heart of Ashes, she's so weakened from the ordeal that blood leaks from one of her nostrils. Once she's human again, blood trickles from her nose, mouth and ears.
  • Blood Magic: Blood carries its own magic and can be used as an anchor during spellcasting. In Heart of Fire, a drop of Kathryn's blood falling on Smaug plays a role in turning the dying dragon — whom Kathryn just filled with Raw Magic in an effort to save him — into a human. In Heart of Ashes, Fankil and Andraya perform three separate rituals — to resurrect Kathryn, resuscitate the comatose human-Smaug, and induce a vision in Kathryn — in which they let three drops of their blood to fall on the target of their spells. In Heart of the Inferno, Kathryn smears Gandalf's chest with her blood in an effort to resuscitate him by transferring her Raw Magic into the dying wizard.
  • Byronic Hero: Smaug is arrogant, greedy, and bloodthirsty, and he will do anything he desires. While he comes to really love Kathryn, he has a lot of problems with complying to her wants or changing himself for her. He's also highly intelligent and knowledgeable. The human form he gains has cruel lines around the mouth as if from a lifetime of looking down on people unworthy of him. Otherwise he'd be considered handsome. Kathryn lampshades his complexity in Heart of Fire.
    He was a complexity if ever there was one. He was majestic yet frightening, powerful and quick, supremely intelligent but his guarded nature wasted his cunning on the pursuit of gold, he was utterly beautiful but deadly, and his lack of empathy only pushed forward his wickedness. He seemed to be a very angry creature, wanting to lash out at the first thing that drew his attention, but also… desperate for attention. Kathryn could find no other way to describe it; even when he was at his utmost cruel, even when he was playing mind games, even when he was stalking his prey, he craved for the respect and attention of another creature, so therefore he would have something to distract his mind. Even if he would eventually tire of whatever caught his interest. But he hadn't tired of Kathryn.
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: In Heart of Fire, Smaug captures Kathryn because he wants her heavenly singing voice all for himself. He even initially keeps her locked up in a giant bird cage, and furthermore, he mockingly calls her his "songbird" as a pet name. In Heart of Ashes, King Wilhelm calls Kathryn a songbird after he makes her his court's bard, which is a Gilded Cage situation for her.
  • Canon Foreigner: The character of Fankil (also known as Fangli or Fúkil) comes from The Book of Lost Tales that Christopher Tolkien composed from his father's source materials. He's mentioned to be the lieutenant of Melko (Morgoth) as well as his child.
  • Cowardly Lion:
    • Freyja is an easily frightened young girl, but she opts to accompany Faervel to rescue Kathryn from Smaug.
    • There's also the canonical Bilbo Baggins who secretly accompanies Gandalf and Elrond to help Dorwinion's people against Smaug, even though his nightmares are plagued by his first encounter with the dragon.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Smaug hates it when Kathryn's so little as innocently touched by any other male.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: A lot of attention is given to the demon Fankil's long fingers that are compared to a spider's legs.
  • Dark Fic: Overall, the trilogy has a darker tone and more mature-rated content compared to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (both the books and film adaptations). There's more moral ambiguity (one of the main protagonists is a supremely arrogant and self-centered dragon who is quite willing to commit mass murder), the violence is more graphic, and there are instances of abuse and attempted rape, amongst other potentially disturbing subjects.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In Heart of Fire, Sauron enters Smaug's mind, offering him gold and glory in exchange for leading the Dark Lord's armies in war. Smaug's not interested in serving anyone, so Sauron leaves and orders Bolg to capture Kathryn in order to have a bargaining chip. After Kathryn escapes from Smaug near the end of Heart of Ashes, Sauron offers to help him in taking Kathryn and Erebor back in exchange for swearing allegiance to the Dark Lord. This time, the seething dragon accepts the offer and attacks Vathvael, with Sauron's taint in his scar directing his actions with a varying level of success. Once Gandalf realizes this, he contains the worst of Sauron's taint, but the threat of succumbing to Sauron's influence if Smaug isn't careful with his darker emotions remains.
    • At the climax of Heart of Ashes, Andraya hands Kathryn over to Fankil in order to gain Revenge by Proxy against Smaug as well as a resurrection spell as a means to have Freyja back.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Unlike in the book or the films, Bard gets his left leg partially crushed when Smaug nearly bites it off. The dragon also nicks Bilbo's side with his teeth, leaving there a wound that's slow to heal.
  • Divine Parentage: Fankil is the son of the first Dark Lord Morgoth.
  • Epigraph: Every chapter of every part of the trilogy is initiated with quotations. The epigraphs of Heart of Fire are all riddles and their answers. Those of Heart of Ashes are all somehow dragon-related, covering various works. In Heart of the Inferno, all the epigraphs come from Tolkien's Legendarium.
  • Dream Walker: After linking his mind with Kathryn's in order to save her from a lethal vision, Smaug is able to enter her dreams.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Smaug's love towards Kathryn is his most redeeming trait. Even so, he commits bad actions that hurt the much more moral Kathryn, and the prideful dragon-dread doesn't easily comply to her wishes. By the end of Heart of Ashes, Kathryn forces Smaug to choose between his selfish desires and her. He ends up choosing her, giving up his plans for revenge. In the beginning of Heart of the Inferno, this trope is discussed, with Gandalf arguing to Galadriel that Smaug's feelings for Kathryn make him A Lighter Shade of Black against Sauron. Smaug's also happy about his and Kathryn's twins Kolstros and Vervenia after they're born.
    • While Andraya oppresses her daughter and uses the girl for her own ends, she does love Freyja. Freyja's death by Smaug's teeth causes Andraya to lure Kathryn into Fankil's clutches so that she'll gain both revenge and a spell to resurrect Freyja.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • When Kathryn finds the Arkenstone, Smaug puts a stop to its corruption of her by burying it deep in the gold and making her swear not to seek it out.
    • When Andraya reveals that she wants Smaug to impregnate Freyja with a powerful offspring, he's repulsed with the idea of laying with a fourteen-year-old girl. He also establishes that amongst the dragonkind, an adult dragon copulating with a dragon not of age (younger than fifty years) would be considered despicable.
  • Evil Cripple: Fankil walks with a limp, though he can fight with speed and agility. At the end of Heart of Ashes, he gets his arm dislocated, and it's revealed in Heart of the Inferno that severe injuries to his physical form like this are permanent.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Fankil has a signature scent of dust and ash combined with perfume sweetness so strong it's nauseous.
  • Evil vs. Evil: At various points, Smaug ends up at loggerheads with Sauron/the Necromancer, Andraya, Fankil and Durin's Bane.
  • Eye Colour Change:
    • Kathryn had originally her father's golden brown eyes, but when she had her first vision at the age of six, the magic of clairvoyance turned her eyes purple. When she dies while trying to save Smaug from death, her eyes gain the color of molten gold. They remain so when she's resurrected due to her link to Raw Magic being damaged. Once Smaug restores the link, she regains her purple eyes.
    • When Fankil is identified by Gandalf in Heart of Ashes, the demon's eyes return to their normal state of being completely black.
  • Family Eye Resemblance:
    • Ice blue eyes are the only physical trait Andraya shares with her daughter Freyja.
    • When Kathryn first meets Aragorn, she has a vision of Isildur's descendants passing a crown down their bloodline. They all share the blue-green eyes of Isildur and Aragorn.
  • Famous Ancestor: Smaug reveals in Heart of Ashes that he descends from Ancalagon the Black, the largest dragon to have ever existed. In Heart of the Inferno, he's asked to use his bloodline to unite whatever dragons are left against Sauron.
  • Fantastic Racism: Smaug, and by extension the other dragons, are on the receiving end throughout the series. However, it's surprisingly justified, given the dragons' Always Chaotic Evil tendencies, and Smaug is no exception to the rule. In the case of Kolstros and Vervenia, it's much less justified due to them lacking Smaug's and other dragons' hereditary connection to Morgoth. This trope influences no end of suffering and Hero Antagonists' misguided actions for Smaug and Kathryn.
  • Foil: Several that have their own subpage.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • The entire existence of Kathryn leads to Smaug surviving his canon death and taking part in the War of the Ring.
    • In Heart of Fire, Smaug injures Bilbo with his tooth. In Heart of Ashes, Bilbo's recovering from the wound and hasn't thus left Erebor following the Battle of Five Armies. As such, he's around to hear about Smaug's reappearance in Dorwinion and decides to tag along with Gandalf and Elrond to make up for being unable to stop Smaug from attacking Lake-town.
  • Functional Magic: In Heart of Fire, Smaug explains to Kathryn the difference between the regular magic utilized by the wizards and the Raw Magic utilized by the Seers.
    Smaug: View Magic as energy. Like life in your body, like lightning in a tempest, it is a force of nature, the very fabric of the world around us. When a wizard or a conjurer uses magic, he is tapping into that force, merely reaching out in order to grasp it. But grasping and using are not the same… Somewhere between grasping that force and it becoming real through the wizard's staff, the magic becomes diluted, more focused, going only in the direction that the wielder aims it. Raw magic is not plucked and not channeled, it is fresh, wild, and completely erratic. It cannot be controlled or directed, merely released. Think of it as air: when a human blows air from his lungs he can control its direction, and that is regular magic; but with raw magic… have you ever seen a mortal man control the gale force winds?
  • Gilded Cage:
    • When Kathryn is brought to Vathvael's palace in Heart of Ashes, she's given luxurious quarters, but she's nonetheless obliged to entertain the royal court with singing and given little room for insubordination. The revelation of her being a Seer further lessens her chances of being allowed to leave.
    • In Heart of the Inferno, Kathryn and her twins are forced to remain in Erebor until Smaug returns to fetch them. Though their needs are tended to like those of honored guests, the dwarves don't hide their enmity towards the unwilling guests.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Several times, Kathryn's purple eyes glow when she's about to have a vision or use her powers in emotional turmoil.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The first Dark Lord Morgoth who was sealed long ago in the void through the Door of Night. It's stated by Gandalf that should Morgoth ever return, his former second-in-command and the current Dark Lord Sauron would bow to him. Morgoth's demon-spawn Fankil is trying to locate the Door and release Morgoth. The dragons' Always Chaotic Evil tendencies are also rooted to Morgoth's experiments. However, Morgoth himself has made no other appearances than in Kathryn's visions.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Fankil walks with a limp, yet he's still able to fight with feline agility and surprising strength when he has to.
    • In Heart of Fire, Smaug nearly bites off Bard's left leg, yet the Bowman is still able to make his way to the dwarven windlance and use it to shoot the Black Arrow at Smaug. As shown in Heart of Ashes, he has survived being knocked into Long Lake as well as the Battle of Five Armies despite his crushed leg.
    • Deconstructed with Tauriel in Heart of Fire. After Smaug crushes some of her ribs, she still attempts to heroically help Bard against the dragon. Unfortunately, she has lost her stamina and agility to the pain, so it's not long before Smaug catches and kills her.
  • Hero Antagonist: Because of Kathryn's ties to Smaug and the latter's protagonist role, some heroes from canon — including Bard the Bowman, the Company of Thorin, Kings Dáin and Brand — wind up being this, as do original characters such as Faervel (on-off), Freyja and Queen Lalemwen. One could even argue that Gandalf is partially right to blame himself in the second part for starting the quest for Erebor in the first place. Those canon heroes who have good relationships with Kathryn — such as Elrond, Gandalf and Galadriel — tend to avoid this trope.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Fankil and his motives remain mysterious until the final chapters of Heart of Ashes.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Has a great deal more explicit sexual content than Tolkien's works, especially in Heart of Ashes. Considering the fic is already Darker and Edgier though, it generally fits with the tone.
  • Hot Witch:
    • Andraya is a witch as well as attractive.
    • Kathryn is a beautiful Seer instead of a witch, but she otherwise fits this trope, and some ignorant people tend to call her a witch.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The massive dragon Smaug with the human female Kathryn. Even Smaug's seven-feet-tall human form dwarfs Kathryn.
  • Humanity Ensues: Smaug is turned into a human at the end of Heart of Fire thanks to Kathryn's magic, and he's outraged by it in Heart of Ashes. He eventually learns to change between his true form and the human form, though he still dislikes being in his human form when it isn't necessary.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Smaug's Dragon-spell. He can utilize it in his human form as well. Kathryn is rendered immune to it by her and Smaug's psychic bond.
  • I Gave My Word: When dragons offer to grant favours, they mean it.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Smaug's human face resembles that of Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrayed the dragon in The Hobbit film trilogy.
  • In the Blood: It's revealed that all dragons are born with a link to Morgoth due to his meddling and augmentations to their ancestors, which is heavily implied to be the root of their Always Chaotic Evil tendencies.
  • Interspecies Romance: Between a human and a dragon.
  • Ironic Echo: "May your greed be your doom!" This is the last thing Kathryn says to Thorin when he imprisons her. Later, Thorin takes the exact same line word-for-word when he attempts to kill Smaug, and it's the last thing he ever gets to say to the dragon's face. In the second story, Smaug has lost the Lonely Mountain and his treasure, and he later winds up with a permanent nasty affliction that will enslave him to Sauron's will if he ever caves to his darkest urges, so he reluctantly promises at the book's end not to go back to his old ways. He's still fighting those fights sixty years later in the third story. Anyone familiar with The Hobbit canon can guess Thorin's fate in Heart of Ashes. Further to the irony is that the person Kathryn cursed with this line first is now six feet under alongside both of his nephews (whom he outlived by a short time), whilst Thorin's hated enemy — whom he somewhat hypocritically cursed with the same line — is alive and kicking sixty years on, and on top of that, is with the woman he loves and their newborn twins. Boy, somebody must be turning in their grave…
  • It Was a Gift: When Smaug allows Kathryn to leave Erebor, he gives her the scale that was loosened by Girion's Black Arrows. She continues wearing it as a necklace.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind:
    • In Heart of Fire, the vision wherein Kathryn experiences the War of the Last Alliance threatens to kill her, so Smaug links his mind with hers in order to enter the vision and help her out.
    • When Smaug first reunites with the resurrected Kathryn in Heart of Ashes, he enters her shattered mind to fix her damaged connection to Raw Magic and free her from the madness that's keeping her trapped in an endless cycle of torture.
  • Language of Magic: During her visions, Kathryn can speak the ancient language of magic that originates from the time of the song of creation. Seers are among the only creatures who know it, with the others being dragons, spirits and the Valar.
  • Lean and Mean: Fankil is a nearly skeletal demon and a loyal lieutenant of his father Morgoth.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: As evil and conceited as Smaug is, it's agreed that Sauron and other entities directly linked to Morgoth are worse.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Elrond is rather fatherly towards Kathryn, and she appears to reciprocate the feeling.
  • Logical Weakness: If Smaug ends up in water, his inner fire douses.
  • Love Hurts: With Kathryn and Smaug both.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: Kathryn becomes this to some factions due to being a Seer. Even Smaug initially takes interest in her because of this and her heavenly singing voice before he develops feelings for her. The most serious threat to Kathryn is Fankil because he wants to use her Raw Magic in locating the Door of Night and releasing his father Morgoth.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Though an Abusive Parent, Andraya does care about her daughter Freyja. After Smaug kills Freyja, Andraya hands Kathryn over to Fankil as Revenge by Proxy.
    • Kathryn becomes one after Kolstros and Vervenia are born. She magically blasts Urgost for calling her twins unnatural half-breeds.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Smaug kidnaps Kathryn because he wants her beautiful singing voice all for himself. They gradually develop a complicated yet strong bond.
  • Morphic Resonance:
    • Smaug is large in his human form, and he retains his flame-like eye color and the scar inflicted by the Black Arrow. Kathryn is also able to spot in his face subtle signs of his draconic nature, such as the distorted nostrils and slightly sharp-looking teeth.
    • In her dragon form, Kathryn retains her purple eye color, and she has some ruby red scales just behind her horns as a substitute for her red hair.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Kathryn singing to Smaug. A special example occurs in Heart of Ashes when Smaug is transformed into a savage and grotesque beast.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nice Guy:
    • Faervel, the traveling Elf historian who helps and emotionally supports Kathryn while asking little in return.
    • Freyja is a timid girl who wishes no harm to others.
    • Queen Lalemwen of Dorwinion is one of the few people in Vathvael's court who really cares about Kathryn and her feelings. She also puts her people's safety before their pride.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. In Heart of Ashes, Kathryn has a menses which confirms to Smaug that he has failed to impregnate her. Andraya also asks him to impregnate Freyja the next time the latter's "prime time during her cycle" comes.
  • Not So Different:
    • Kathryn feels this way towards Freyja in Heart of Fire upon first meeting her and Andraya:
      … truly she felt compassion for the poor girl, who acted as her mother ordered, constantly under her thumb and lock and key. Kathryn knew what that felt like.
    • Smaug notes this about himself and Frodo Baggins when the hobbit's Morgul-blade wound is being treated in Heart of the Inferno.
      … at the thought of the dark powers that inhabited a wound such as that, it made [Smaug] shiver. His hand drifted to his chest and rubbed circles over his head, right where a thick, knotted black scar lay. For just a moment, he noted the similarities between himself and the sick hobbit. They had both been touched by the darkness, and it had left its mark on them, and would forever more.
    • In Heart of the Inferno, Urgost says to Smaug that neither of them care about what happens with the world as long as they can fulfill their own selfish desires, and they both have left the Withered Heath because they don't want to help in continuing their dwindling race.
  • Older Than They Look: Kathryn is nineteen years old when she first meets Smaug, but she stops aging due to her connection with him. This makes her about 140 years old by the time of the trilogy's third part.
  • Painful Transformation: Smaug and Kathryn's transformations between their human and dragon forms feel painful. In Heart of Ashes, Smaug undergoes a really baneful transformation into an animalistic hybrid of a dragon and a man.
  • Portal Crossroad World: The Path of Dreams which Irmo rules over is said to connect Middle-Earth (multiple versions, as it turns out) and all alternate realities to Valinor via dreams. At one point, Kathryn visits an alternate universe by touching the Path's gate per Irmo's command, and Fankil believes that the Path can be used to find the Door of Night.
  • Prehensile Tail: Smaug uses his tail to snatch Kathryn up several times.
  • Proportional Aging: Dragons rival elves in lifespan, and their infancy doesn't last long so that they won't remain helpless for too long. However, it takes them 30-50 years to reach physical adulthood.
  • Psychic Link:
    • Smaug forms one with Kathryn.
    • Aragorn and Kathryn form one in the third story.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Ancalagon the Black, the largest dragon to have ever existed, is Smaug's ancestor in the trilogy (specifically his great-great-grandfather), whereas they weren't said to be related in the source materials.
  • Sacred Hospitality:
    • In the first story, Kathryn insists on giving Gandalf her bed to sleep in, while he makes her breakfast to thank her. She berates herself for being a bit rusty as a host, though.
    Kathryn: I remember my mother enough to know that she would be mortified if I didn't give up my bed to house-guests in more need of it then I.
    • In the third story, Kathryn and Smaug receive this both at Rivendell and Lothlórien. Though the Elves would prefer not to have Smaug at their home, they give him the same courtesy as they give Kathryn as long as he agrees to remain civil.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Morgoth was sent to the void in chains, and the entrance called the Door of Night is hidden and protected by an immortal guardian. Fankil's goal is to locate the Door and release his father.
  • Seers: Kathryn is one of the last Seers, women capable of seeing into all realities of past, present and future through Raw Magic. The Elvish term for them is Tharŷliel, which means "Daughter of Future Dreams". Their patron is Irmo (also known as Lórien), the Vala of visions and dreams.
  • See the Invisible:
    • When re-encountering Bilbo who's wearing the One Ring in Heart of Ashes, Smaug finds the invisible hobbit by throwing dirt all over him.
    • The third story establishes that the camouflaged effects of the cloaks worn by Lothlórien's elves don't fool the superb senses of the dragons.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Neither Smaug nor Kathryn can prevent their clothes from being shred when they turn from human to dragon. In the third story, Kathryn is sure to take off her clothes before transforming herself. Curiously though, when Kathryn first transforms with Smaug's help in the first story, her clothes remain intact when she returns to her human form.
  • Shrinking Violet: Freyja is timid and apologetic.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Thanks to resurrection, Smaug is alive and kicking when the War of the Ring takes place.
    • A minor character Braga, Lake-town's captain of the guard, dies at the beginning of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with the town's Master. He appears alive in Heart of Ashes, delivering Bard, Gandalf and Elrond the news of Smaug attacking Vathvael and taking Kathryn with him.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • When Kathryn sees Ancalagon the Black in a vision, she finds his face to look uncomfortably familiar with his great-great-grandson Smaug. Smaug himself thinks that his dark-scaled son Kolstros looks in his dragon form like Ancalagon in a certain light.
    • King Brandon and his son Bard look uncannily like Brandon's grandfather Bard the Bowman. Kathryn, who has seen the latter only once sixty years earlier, can tell this by just looking at the two descendants.
    • Quithyra, the Haradrim woman from Heart of Ashes, has two older brothers who look much like her, especially the one named Zanros. In fact, Quithyra and Zanros were often mistaken for twins when they were younger.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Smaug, like in movie canon. His human form's eyes are even the same flame-like color as his dragon form's. His twins inherit his eye color.
  • Tail Slap: Smaug weaponizes his massive tail several times. So does Kathryn when she's in her dragon form.
  • Talking in Your Dreams:
    • Smaug is able to enter Kathryn's dreams and speak with her. He first starts doing this to make sure she won't die through another lethal vision in her dreams.
    • In Heart of the Inferno, this happens between Kathryn and Aragorn for reasons unknown to them.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Smaug's human form is seven feet tall, dark-haired, and physiqued like a warrior. He would be considered handsome if not for the cruel lines around his mouth and his condescendingness. He can be at times Tall, Dark, and Snarky as well.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Kathryn has purple eyes because of her Seer magic.
  • Villain Protagonist: Smaug is along with Kathryn the main character, but he qualifies as a Nominal Hero even at the best of times.
  • Was Once a Man: This universe's mythology leans towards the Middle-Earth fandom theory that the dragons were originally creatures of Eru that were corrupted by Morgoth.
  • Weredragon:
    • After spending half of Heart of Ashes as a human, Smaug learns to shift between that and his true form. Shifting from human to dragon is magically more taxing, though.
    • In Heart of Fire, Kathryn is briefly turned into a dragon by Smaug entering her body and lending her energy through their bond so that she can repel against Bolg's Orcs. In Heart of Ashes, she shifts two times of her own accord, first when she's furious with Smaug over Freyja's murder, and secondly to battle against Fankil.
    • In Heart of the Inferno, the twins of Smaug and Kathryn, Kolstros and Vervenia, are born as human babes, but they first shift themselves into dragons only one week after their birth. Gandalf says they're the first dragons to born with this ability, and Galadriel theorizes they can shift with less effort than their father because they're connected to Raw Magic like their mother.
  • Wild Magic: Kathryn's clairvoyant abilities emerge from Raw Magic which cannot be channelled, just released. Due to its erratic nature, Kathryn's visions are unpredictable when not induced with the right information. Elrond also confirms that unlike the magic the wizards utilize, Raw Magic needs energy from a living being's body in order to be cast.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Gender makes no difference to Smaug when he decides to make a kill. Just ask Tauriel, Freyja and Andraya.
    • In the second story, Lord Beronor backhands Kathryn in the face at the end of their last confrontation.
    • Implied with Gimli in the third story; when he intends to attack Smaug and Kathryn stands in his way, he seems to be willing to cleave right through her until Gandalf and Elrond put him in his place.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Smaug eventually kills the fourteen-year-old Freyja by biting her body into a bloody mess.
    • When it looks like Gimli is ready to go through Kathryn in order to attack Smaug in Heart of the Inferno, Elrond asks if he would attack a pregnant woman. Gimli responds that the unborn offspring of Smaug is a dragon-spawn, not a child, though he thankfully reins in his anger and makes no further threats towards Kathryn.
  • You Sexy Beast: Kathryn falls in love with the dragon Smaug. However, neither of them really think each other in more sexual terms until Smaug learns to shapeshift between human and dragon forms in Heart of Ashes. In Heart of Fire, they have sexually charged dreams about each other, but Kathryn always imagines Smaug as a human, while he sees her as a dragon like himself.

     Heart of Fire 
  • Abusive Parents: After Kathryn began having her visions, her parents tried to instill control over them so that she wouldn't be killed by superstitious villagers. Unfortunately, their methods included restricting her to home, forbidding her from playing with other children, locking her in her room every night, drugging her to keep her from having visions in her dreams, and tying her up to her bed as well as gagging her in case convulsions took over. After enduring this for ten years, Kathryn run away and never returned. When she sees her parents dying in a vision, they're shown to be remorseful for driving their daughter away.
  • Accidental Murder: When the Knight of Gondor attempts to shoot Smaug in the eye, Kathryn magically sends the Knight flying, causing him to die upon hitting a stone surface.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Smaug and Kathryn's interactions over the first 2/3 of the story, coupled with portraying the conversation with Bilbo from Smaug's perspective in Chapter 19, provide a lot of expansion on Smaug's character during the events of The Hobbit, including but not limited to his movie incarnation's hatred for Thorin.
  • Adaptational Anti-Hero: Thorin Oakenshield. While being faithful to the movie characterisation of Thorin, the story doesn't cover up or shy away from Thorin's more unsavoury character traits when he encounters Kathryn in a later phase of his Sanity Slippage. His Fatal Flaws are highlighted, showcasing how due to his Pride and Greed (which he refuses to acknowledge, unlike the somewhat knowingly wicked Smaug), he is Not So Different from Smaug in one of the worst possible ways. The other dwarves of the Company technically also fit this trope, though certainly to a milder extent, as their quest's motivations are (not inaccurately) presented as not-so-heroic.
  • Adult Fear: Just like in the film trilogy, Bard has to fear for his children when Smaug attacks Lake-town.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: Kathryn, especially after the Accidental Murder of the Knight of Gondor.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Kathryn has been feared and despised due to her clairvoyant abilities wherever she goes.
  • Always Accurate Attack: According to the Knight of Gondor, the Eluvienel Bow he intends to slay Smaug with is enchanted by the High Elves so that as along as your aim is true, the arrow will never miss its target once fired. He doesn't live long enough to prove if that's true.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Though they don't exactly "assault" Kathryn, most of the Company dwarves (except Thorin and Dwalin) at least have the sense to be shamefaced about imprisoning her when they tie her up.
  • Asshole Victim: The mercenary group that captures Kathryn before being vanquished by Smaug, especially their leader Karst who comes close to raping Kathryn.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Tauriel manages to briefly distract Smaug by trying to slice the scales between his nostrils, with the sting on his sensitive pores causing him to cry out in pain. And as per canon, Bard mortally wounds Smaug by piercing his scaleless skin with the Black Arrow.
  • Attempted Rape: Karst, the head of the mercenary group that captures Kathryn, tries to rape her, forcing her to scream and alert Smaug to her location.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Tauriel gives one when she offers to help Bard in keeping Smaug distracted.
      Tauriel: Should your guardsmen fail… I've been told that many stare at me, perhaps I'll draw his eye.
    • Bard when he challenges Smaug in the 22nd chapter.
      Bard: I, Bard, descended son of Girion, Lord of Dale, challenge you great Wyrm! And even if it is with my dying breath, I will fight to the last arrow to save my town!
  • Big "NO!":
    • Kathryn when she unleashes the magical shockwave that kills the Knight of Gondor who's about to shoot the blinded Smaug in the eye.
    • Kathryn as Bard launches the Black Arrow at Smaug.
  • Birdcaged: When Smaug first captures Kathryn, he locks her up in a giant bird cage until he realizes her to be a Seer and is convinced that keeping her in the cage won't do good to her singing voice. When she makes her first failed escape attempt, he returns her to the cage until they make a truce.
  • Blinded by the Light: The Knight of Gondor attempts to take advantage of the sun blinding Smaug and shoot the dragon in the eye with the Eluvienel Bow, only for Kathryn to stop him.
  • Body Snatcher: When Kathryn is wounded and about to be captured by Bolg's Orcs, Smaug forcibly enters her mind and turns her into a dragon by combining both of their magic. As soon as the Orcs are killed, he's forced to return Kathryn back to normal and leave her body to avoid killing her with the power overload.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Subverted during Kathryn and Thorin's clash at the inn. Kathryn makes numerous compelling points — Genocide Dilemma, Enemy Mine in light of the Greater-Scope Villain, and the unjustly huge threat to thousands of lives that would be posed by attacking Smaug for rather self-centred rewards — about why she should try getting them to a nonviolent solution with Smaug. Apart from a logical point about the world being better with Smaug gone, Thorin's only counterarguments are a Revenge Before Reason Motive Rant, a curt questioning of why it isn't worth risking the deaths of the people of Lake-town (definite sign of Dragon Sickness here), and deeming Kathryn untrustworthy despite the fact that Gandalf trusted her. Not that all of this stops Thorin from doing what he was going to do anyway and deciding to use Smaug's love for Kathryn against him.
  • Burn the Witch!: Played with; Kathryn has been hounded, cast out and hated by others for years due to her Seer abilities. The mercenary Karst at one point calls her a witch in spite.
  • Call-Forward: Kathryn's vision in the 13th chapter gives glimpses of what will happen sixty years later during The Hobbit trilogy.
  • Cassandra Did It: After Kathryn ran away from home and arrived in her first town, she had a vision of bandits burning the inn to the ground and killing the innkeeper. Everyone laughed at her, but then the vision came true three days later. Kathryn was driven away as a bringer of bad luck and evil.
  • Chase Scene: In Chapter 2, Smaug chases Kathryn through Dale's ruined city, and again inside Erebor in Chapter 12.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Before getting captured by Smaug, Kathryn buys sedatives and forgets them in her pocket. She later uses them in her first escape attempt by hiding them in Smaug's food, putting him in a deeper sleep for a short while.
    • While bathing for the last time in Erebor's underground lake, Kathryn realizes that the room's ceiling looks weak enough to collapse from the slightest pressure. Sixty years later, Thorin and his Company cause Smaug to fall into the shaft above that very room, and he falls through the ceiling into the water.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Andraya and Freyja first appear when Kathryn helps them against Orcs on her way back to the Lonely Mountain. They return in the epilogue to fish from the Long Lake Smaug — who's nearly dead and turned into a human — with the intention to resuscitate him.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • A Dangerous Game (Chapter 4) — Kathryn tries to escape after successfully drugging Smaug to sleep.
    • A Sickness of the Mind (Chapter 12) — Kathryn has a vision in which Smaug cannot enter, with her saying "The King Beneath the Mountains" poem.
    • The Nature of Evil (Chapter 16) — King Thranduil orders Kathryn to be brought to him alive from Mirkwood's path.
    • The Familiar Road (Chapter 17) — After escaping from Bolg's hunters by temporarily turning into a dragon, the wounded and fatigued Kathryn falls unconscious as she stumbles and Smaug calls for her in her mind.
    • A Mighty People Brought Low (Chapter 18) — Thorin leaves Kathryn imprisoned at the inn as her pleading and cursing fall on deaf ears.
    • Thief In The Shadows (Chapter 19) — Bilbo vanishes in front of Smaug, much to the dragon's fury.
    • Thieves! Fire! Murder! (Chapter 20) — After the Company fails to kill him, Smaug flies toward Lake-town, intending to burn it and retrieve Kathryn.
    • A Lake on Fire (Chapter 21) — Just as Smaug is about to kill Tauriel in front of Fíli, Kíli and Bofur, he hears Kathryn calling for him and spots her.
    • What I Live For (Chapter 22) — As Kathryn dies and Smaug prepares to join her, they're approached by a hooded stranger.
    • Epilogue (Chapter 23) — Andraya and Freyja fish from the Long Lake Smaug who's nearly dead and turned into a human.
  • Crowd Surfing: A variation is done in the 18th chapter when Kathryn falls and is caught by Thorin's Company.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: After Kathryn is imprisoned in the Long Lake's inn, she's able to steal a knife when the innkeeper brings her food, allowing her to eventually cut her bindings with the blunt blade.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Smaug tells Kathryn in the 10th chapter that if she's so afraid of her powers, then she should learn to control them instead of living in fear of them.
    Smaug: …if it is self-control you seek, then learn it. Master that which makes you weak, and turn it into your own strength! With time and patience come all things…
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: When Kathryn is having sexual frustrations, she tries to get rid of them by indulging with herself. Unfortunately, doing this repeatedly whenever Smaug is gone and him smelling her arousal upon his return leads him to mistakenly think that she's being played around by a man.
  • Death by Adaptation: Tauriel is killed by Smaug during his attack on Lake-town.
  • Death by Falling Over: When Kathryn releases a shockwave in the 16th chapter, one of the Orcs charging at her stumbles and dies when his neck smashes into a protruding flint stone.
  • Defiant to the End: The mortally wounded Tauriel continues to defy Smaug while being held in his grasp, up until he pierces her body with his talon.
  • Duck!: When Faervel is rescuing Kathryn from Mirkwood elves, he confuses her by whispering "Duck". She has barely enough time to throw herself to the ground as he whips out his bow and shoots an arrow at the elf standing behind her.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Faervel first meets Kathryn by saving her from King Thranduil's elves. Even though she threatens him with a knife and tells very little about herself even though he readily answers all her questions about himself, he escorts her to the river that leads to the Long Lake and lets her leave when he realizes that she loves someone else.
  • Famous Last Words: Spoken in Elvish by Tauriel to Smaug.
    "Lle naa haran e' nausalle."note 
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The vision Kathryn has in the third chapter gives hints about what will happen between her and Smaug.
    • During Smaug's attack on Lake-town, his extreme fury is compared to a black leech twisting his heart with negative emotions. This is how him being affected by Sauron's taint in Heart of Ashes is described.
  • Fix Fic: The dwarves' plan to bait and kill Smaug in The Desolation of Smaug was criticized as a rather ridiculous plan, but is adapted in this version to something considerably more logical and thought-out.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: When Smaug lifts himself into air in order to escape the torrent of water pouring down on him in Chapter 20, he smacks his head and back against the roof of the forges.
  • Framing Device: The first two thirds of the fic are about Kathryn telling Gandalf how she was captured by Smaug and lived with him until he released her, finishing in the 15th chapter.
  • Genocide Dilemma: Kathryn invokes this when arguing with Thorin and the dwarves at the inn, pointing out that killing Smaug would be contributing to the near-extinction of the Great Fire-Drakes. Thorin doesn't particularly care, saying the world would be better with Smaug gone.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Bard has to slap the hysteric captain of the guard Braga during Smaug's attack.
  • Glowing Eyes: When Smaug lets Kathryn leave Erebor and creates the magical link between her and himself, his eyes glow in brighter golden color.
  • Good Samaritan: Kathryn runs into several of these after leaving Erebor. After her travel through Mirkwood leaves her ill, a traveling family helps her recover and takes her with them until she parts ways with them at Rivendell. She's then taken in by Elrond who teaches her to better control her magic until she continues her journey. When she reaches Bree-land, she's taken in by an elderly couple whom she serves until they pass away, leaving her all their belongings.
  • Groin Attack: Kathryn does this to Karst when he's about to rape her. It's not enough to make him let go of her, however.
  • Held Gaze: Between Smaug and Kathryn when they reunite after six decades of physical separation.
  • The Hermit: After leaving Erebor, Kathryn eventually settles to live in solitude for six decades in a cottage north of Bree, with minimum contact to people and Smaug keeping her company in her dreams.
  • Honor Before Reason: A Knight of Gondor appears to slay Smaug in the 9th chapter, knowing it to be a suicide mission even with the Eluvienel Bow he's armed with. Though Kathryn manages to convince Smaug to give the Knight a chance to leave alive, he refuses to turn away from his quest unless Kathryn leaves with him to safety.
  • Hope Spot: There are two instances when it seems like Kathryn is able to convince Smaug to cease his attack on Lake-town and leave together with her. Both moments are interrupted by Bard turning the dragon's attention to himself.
  • Human Sacrifice: Before Kathryn came to Dale, a village of fanatics tried to sacrifice her to their heathen gods.
  • I Have Your Wife: An anti-heroic example; Thorin threatens to have Kathryn harmed unless Smaug leaves Erebor to never return. It only makes Smaug certain that she's in Lake-town and even more determined to distribute his retribution.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Smaug kills Tauriel by using the talon of his thumb to pierce the griveously injured elf's body.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet:
    • While fleeing from Erebor in the fifth chapter, Kathryn realizes soon that the forest she's running through has become awfully quiet. Then she hears from a distance the beat of Smaug's wings.
    • While running from Smaug in the twelfth chapter, Kathryn becomes worried that she can't hear anything else but her own running steps. Her worries are immediately warranted as Smaug's head snaps out of nowhere.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The story begins with only a storm disturbing the silence of Kathryn's cottage until Gandalf the Grey knocks on her door and asks shelter for the night.
  • I Want Them Alive:
    • Sauron orders Bolg to capture Kathryn to be used as a bargaining chip in convincing Smaug to join his cause.
    • When Thranduil's informed of a purple-eyed woman traveling through Mirkwood with a dragon scale, he orders Kathryn to be brought to him alive, remembering the captured Orc speaking about someone sought out by Smaug.
  • I Will Wait for You: An unusual example occurs when Smaug allows Kathryn to leave Erebor. It's actually a Batman Gambit to truly have her, for he's counting on Kathryn to eventually return to him after getting her fill of freedom. It lacks the usual "not having heard from her" trait, because Smaug spends the following sixty years sleeping, keeping Kathryn company in her dreams. He also specifically forbids her from telling him her location so that he wouldn't come to take her.
  • Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: Averted by Thorin; he knows Kathryn and Gandalf know each other but refuses to trust Kathryn.
  • Lima Syndrome: Smaug on Kathryn. He takes her prisoner just to have her heavenly singing voice all to himself, but she gradually becomes his Morality Pet.
  • Love at First Note: Not love (that comes much later), but hearing Kathryn singing causes Smaug to forcibly imprison her and make her a part of his hoard, and it's initially only because of being able to enjoy her singing that he treats her leniently.
  • Love Epiphany: Kathryn when Smaug allows her to leave Erebor.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The brave kind of dumb for Kíli. He runs from his cover and demands Smaug to release Tauriel when he grabs and nearly kills the latter.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In Chapter 4, Kathryn begs Smaug to meet her halfway and take better care of her nourishment, else she won't be mentally well enough to put her heart into singing. He later brings her a better meal while using those words as an explanation. She in turn says them when she seasons the rest of the flesh (while hiding strong sedatives in it) before letting him eat it. Finally, when Smaug creates the link between himself and Kathryn before allowing her to leave Erebor, he says that she's "meeting him halfway".
    • A character says that "with time and patience, come all things" in two separate points. Smaug says it first when he tells Kathryn to learn control over her powers instead of living in fear of them. The line is last said at the end of the epilogue by Andraya after she and Freyja have rescued Smaug's comatose human form from the Long Lake.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kathryn after she kills a Knight of Gondor to protect Smaug. It's intensified when she soon after sees her dying parents in a vision and hears their remorseful words in regards to her. It takes a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech (and forcing her to kill a goat to feed herself) from Smaug to reassure her.
  • Numerological Motif: When Bilbo calls himself the Lucky Number, Smaug deduces it to mean that the hobbit is a member of a group of fourteen individuals.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • When Smaug tries to help Kathryn survive the vision of the 7th chapter, he swallows his pride and asks her to trust him instead of commanding it. Kathryn grows suspicious, noting that Smaug would never ask people to do anything. He agrees that there's a first time for everything.
    • Smaug displaying fear is for Kathryn a clear indication of how fatally the Black Arrow wounded him.
      "…Kathryn was almost brought to tears to see fear in his face. She had never before seen any kind of fear for any reason in him, he had always been strong and determined, mastering such lowly instincts. But now, there was no denying it, and it was tragic to see such a magnificent creature brought to the point of complete terror that she saw in his eyes."
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In the 13th chapter, Smaug notes that it's not like Kathryn to discard to the ground one of the fine dresses she has worn.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Kathryn manages to escape from Smaug by sedating him, but she's soon caught by a band of mercenaries whose leader nearly rapes her. Smaug finds her and kills the mercenaries, taking Kathryn back to the mountain.
  • Parting Words Regret: One of the things Kathryn feels bad about after witnessing her parents' death in a vision is spending their last moment together screaming hatefully as they locked her up in her room for the last time.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Though Bolg follows Sauron's orders and tries to capture Kathryn, he's personally unsure if it's wise to try extorting Smaug and risk facing the dragon's fury.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Smaug when he catches Kathryn after saving her from the mercenaries.
      Smaug: Give me one good reason why I shouldn't crush you! Give me: One. Good. Reason!
    • Smaug again when he denies Kathryn a day off in Lake-town.
      Smaug: You have nowhere left, this mountain and I are all that you have, and without it: You. Are. NOTHING!
    • Thorin when he interrogates Kathryn about her knowledge in regards to him and his Company.
      Thorin: What. Do. You. Know?!
    • Smaug when he threatens Bilbo Baggins.
      Smaug: I will not part with a single coin! Not. One. Piece of it!
    • Smaug again when he is about to crush Tauriel in front of Fíli, Kíli and Bofur, having realized that Kíli cares about Tauriel.
      Smaug: But your Oakenshield holds something of mine captive, doesn't he? And haven't you heard? TURNABOUT. IS. FAIR. PLAY!
  • Quit Your Whining: When Kathryn wallows in self-loathing due to the Accidental Murder she committed and her parents' death, Smaug forcibly pins her and basically tells her to cast her "illogical and irrelevant" guilt aside and move on with her life. It's not until he forces her to kill a goat in order to get something to eat and gives a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech that he gets his point across.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Smaug is fatally wounded by Bard's Black Arrow before Kathryn can convince him to stop his attack on Lake-town. As she desperately tries to heal his wound with her Raw Magic, she overexerts herself and dies. Fankil then appears to take her body away, leaving the heartbroken Smaug to sink alone in the Long Lake. However, Andraya and Freyja fish from the water a man who has the same appearance as Smaug when he has taken a human form in dreams. Andraya then makes clear her intention to awaken the comatose man.
  • Real After All: When Kathryn has the vision about the War of the Last Alliance and Sauron seems to take interest in her, Smaug is able to convince her that it's not real. It's revealed sixty years later that Sauron himself was summoned to this vision, even though he was much weaker back then and bound by the vision's rules. Ever since that incident, he has been aware of Kathryn's existence and her status as a Seer.
  • Reality Ensues: When Kathryn decides to return to the Lonely Mountain, she tries to sell her property and animals and set out immediately afterwards. Much to her frustration, Bree's magistrate insists on weighing the value of everything she has at their own pace instead of just buying everything at the lowest price, and it also takes time to find a farmer who'd buy her animals since all the farmers are busy due to the nearing harvest season. Add in the equation a huge storm, and Kathryn is able to begin her journey after being delayed by an entire week.
  • Riddle Me This: In the 7th chapter, Kathryn initiates with Smaug a game of riddles for fun. Unfortunately, when she deduces the answer to one of his riddles to be "ring", she enters the vision about the War of the Last Alliance that almost kills her.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Subverted. Kathryn tries to save Smaug from death by using Raw Magic. She only manages to kill herself and leave Smaug with a still mortal wound. However, the sequel reveals that she did save him while unintentionally turning him into a human.
  • Sequel Hook: Kathryn's dead body is taken away by the still unidentified Fankil as the dying Smaug sinks in the Long Lake. However, Andraya and Freyja afterwards fish from the lake a comatose man who has the same appearance as Smaug when he has taken a human form in dreams.
  • Shower of Angst: After having a particularly unsettling vision about Smaug in the 13th chapter and finding the mummified dwarves who were included in it, Kathryn proceeds to bathe in Erebor's underground lake.
  • Single Tear:
    • As the human version of Smaug writhes in pain during the vision Kathryn has in the third chapter, he sheds a single tear.
    • Before Kathryn unleashes a magical shockwave in the eight chapter, she sheds a tear out of loathing towards her "curse".
    • Kathryn does this again when Smaug nastily refuses her request to visit Lake-town.
    • Kathryn in Chapter 13 when she's too frightened to answer Smaug's furious question about what she saw in her vision.
  • Stargazing Scene: At one point in Chapter 11, Kathryn and Smaug watch stars in companionable silence while sitting at Erebor's entrance.
  • Synchronization: Kathryn feels Smaug's pain through their Psychic Link when he's hit by the Black Arrow.
  • Terms of Endangerment: When Smaug brings the Knight of Gondor to Erebor following the argument he had with Kathryn, he calls for "his little Songbird", something he hasn't called Kathryn since keeping her in the bird cage. This, combined with Smaug's malicious tone, is enough to tell Kathryn that he's up to something awful.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Memories" by Within Temptation. The author has used it to make a music video about the fic.
  • Title Drop:
    • Smaug uses the expression "heart of fire" during his dying mental speech to Kathryn.
    • At the end of the 9th chapter What We Are, Kathryn says "We are what we are." to Smaug.
    • The 16th chapter is titled The Nature of Evil, which is what King Thranduil says during the canonical interrogation of Narzug.
    • The chapter in which Smaug first meets Bilbo has the nickname Smaug uses on the hobbit — Thief in the Shadows — as its title.
  • Together in Death:
    • After Kathryn has left Erebor, she's taken in by a Happily Married elderly couple living north of Bree. They pass away a year later, embracing each other in their final sleep.
    • When Kathryn dies, the also dying Smaug prepares to follow her to death even after Fankil takes her body away.
  • Token Good Teammate: Bilbo, who wasn't in the room when Thorin had Kathryn tied up, is the only member of the Company who respects Kathryn's wish to try neutralising Smaug without any violence when he converses with the dragon, and he expresses disappointment towards Smaug and pity for Kathryn when the dragon doesn't live up to her notion of him being reasonable. Thorin tried to pull an I Have Your Wife gambit, but he had already made it very clear that he intended to kill Smaug, so he probably would've played dirty in the very unlikely event Smaug had folded.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: Kathryn neglects eating during the Heroic BSoD she has after killing the Knight of Gondor and learning about her parents' death.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Thorin due to Gold Fever, like in canon. He's rude and demanding towards Kathryn from the moment she wakes up in his custody when he discovers she has a dragon-scale necklace, but he takes the Jerkassery Up to Eleven when he and Kathryn subvert Both Sides Have a Point (see above). If that isn't bad enough; though it might appear as if some part of him under the Gold Fever is honoring Kathryn's wish to spare Smaug when he pulls his I Have Your Wife gambit, it's implied Thorin was merely using the gambit to get Smaug into the right spot to trap him, and would've tried to kill Smaug anyway even if Smaug had somehow folded.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Downplayed with Smaug when he's struggling to comprehend Kathryn's grief for her Abusive Parents' deaths. Smaug himself doesn't honestly care beyond a code of honor about what's happened to his parents or his siblings since he left the nest. He indicates that dragons naturally don't retain close emotional ties to their kin into adulthood like humans do.
  • Unwanted Rescue: When Kathryn is about to successfully persuade Smaug to stop his rampage on Lake-town and leave with her, she's about to willingly let him take her in his grasp. Bard interrupts them by shooting arrows at Smaug, thinking that the dragon is a threat to Kathryn as much as to everyone else.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Elrond is upset with Gandalf for seeking out Kathryn and involving her in the Company's quest to take Erebor back from Smaug.
    • At the end of Kathryn and Thorin's first and only encounter, Kathryn has eight parting words for him:
      "May your greed be your doom, Thorin Oakenshield!"
    • When Smaug decides to destroy Lake-town, Bilbo tells him he's glad that Kathryn isn't there to witness how Smaug's behavior doesn't deserve her high opinion of him or her wish to keep him alive.
  • With Us or Against Us: Thorin refuses to trust Kathryn when it becomes clear that she wants Smaug to live, so he has her imprisoned in the inn at the Long Lake's shore, intending to judge her for "treason against his people" after Erebor's taken back.
  • Written by the Winners: Faervel refers to this trope by saying that both sides of an interracial argument alter historical facts to suit their own biased views. That is why he aspires to collect the history of all the Free Peoples and compose them in a neutral way.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: To ease her guilt over the Accidental Murder she committed, Smaug forces Kathryn to kill a goat in order to provide food for herself. He uses that to explain to her that there's nothing wrong with killing for food or survival. He also uses the fact that unlike him, she takes no pleasure in killing.
    Smaug: Do you know why I did this? You killed today to survive, if you hadn't you may have died. That is what you must think: kill to survive, not because you can.
    Kathryn: But you do: you kill because it pleases you, for malice and for sport.
    Smaug: And that is the difference between you and I. I kill where I wish and take every pleasure in it. But you: You did nothing wrong here when you killed for food. As when you killed the knight, you did nothing wrong.
    Kathryn: That wasn't for food.
    Smaug: No, it was for survival. There is no shame in that.

     Heart of Ashes 
  • Abusive Parents: Andraya slaps Freyja when the girl tries to object to mating with Smaug.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Andraya gives Freyja one in the 8th chapter. It does nothing to placate the girl.
  • Alternate Universe: During one of her visits to the Path of Dreams in which she encounters Irmo, Kathryn visits the Alternate Universe of The Appetite for Souls and is a direct part of the story.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In the epilogue, Smaug finally tells Kathryn out loud that he loves her when he's afraid that after all the bad things he has done, she won't return his feelings even if she stays with him.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: In the 7th chapter, Smaug receives two of these (as well as a fist to his jaw) from Kathryn who's furious with him for letting her believe until now that he's dead.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • After handing Kathryn over to Fankil out of revenge, Andraya is burned alive inside Smaug's stomach.
    • King Wilhelm is murdered in his bed by Andraya, but he was presented as a Jerkass who treated Kathryn like his possession.
  • The Baby Trap: Smaug decides to impregnate Kathryn partly because having a child with him would tie her to him more than ever. When she has her menstrual period following several times of copulation, Smaug angrily reveals what he's been trying to do. Kathryn is hurt and furious with him for trying to impregnate her without first speaking with her about having a baby.
  • Back from the Dead: The fic begins with Fankil resurrecting Kathryn.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: In the 4th chapter, Smaug has this against the madness that has been plaguing Kathryn ever since her resurrection. Instructing her to sing both to calm herself and support his determination, he has her send him to her own centre through the malevolent darkness. Once there, he scorches the darkness in his dragon form, allowing Kathryn to reconnect with her Raw Magic and return to sanity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though the overall ending has better spirits than with Heart of Fire. Fankil's defeated before he can locate the Door of Night through Kathryn, but he's still at large and will return to fight another day. Freyja's dead, and so are a number of Vathvael's people, but the city will carry on under Queen Lalemwen, and Andraya is no longer alive to bother Smaug or Kathryn. In order to remain with Kathryn and avoid being corrupted by Sauron's taint, Smaug is forced to give up his plans to reconquer Erebor and have his vengeance. With a lot of reconciliation to work on, Kathryn and Smaug decide it's in their best interests to go into hiding from everyone. Despite this, Gandalf is certain that they will meet again.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: When Smaug deduces Andraya to have used witchcraft to awaken him, she says that she prefers the term "magically capable".
  • Blinded by the Light: Gandalf blinds the now identified Fankil with light before he makes a run for it with Kathryn.
  • Body Horror: Smaug's human body starts gradually turning draconic when he has thoughts related to greed and bloodlust. He eventually turns into a grotesque half-man/half-dragon trapped in a state of animalistic wildness, with his body futilely trying to complete the transformation into a dragon. Kathryn fixes this by lending Smaug her magic through their bond, helping his body to fully restore itself.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Smaug has always been violent, but when he allows Sauron's taint to take root in his heart, he becomes even more unhinged. Bilbo notes this as he remembers his first encounter with Smaug when the dragon's rage wasn't so uncontrolled.
  • Brought Down to Badass: In his human form, Smaug is a Lightning Bruiser by human standards, his senses are superior (through not as superb as they are in his true form) to those of average humans, and he can still use his Dragon-spell along with other magic.
  • Call-Back: When the right side of Smaug's human face starts turning draconic in the 9th chapter, Kathryn recalls seeing the same happen in the vision she had in the 3rd chapter of Heart of Fire.
  • Came Back Wrong: Kathryn's resurrection leaves her in a state of illness and trapped in nightmares, with her connection to Raw Magic cut. It's fixed when Smaug restores the link.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The City (Chapter 3) — Smaug enters Kathryn's mind in order to heal her of her sickness.
    • Familiar Faces (Chapter 6) — Smaug reveals himself to Kathryn in his human form.
    • You're Mine (Chapter 8) — Kathryn is protected by Smaug in a new vision involving Morgoth and Irmo.
    • We Are Changed (Chapter 9) — Smaug is hit by a painful transformation, and he jumps from Kathryn's balcony.
    • The Beast Within (Chapter 10) — The savage half-man/half-dragon Smaug turns his attention from Faervel to Kathryn when she calls for him.
    • Just Like Before (Chapter 11) — Kathryn reluctantly leaves the exhausted and now dragon Smaug to sleep, having to explain everything to Faervel.
    • All Things Must End (Chapter 12) — Just as Smaug is breaking off his expired deal with Andraya and warns her not to cross paths with him again, he senses Kathryn to have a distressing vision and leaves to help her.
    • I'm Yours (Chapter 13) — Andraya murders King Wilhelm in his bed and tricks the guards into thinking that "Cail Agonn" is guilty.
    • Ancient Blood (Chapter 15) — After robbing a caravan of Dale's merchants, Smaug sends the sole survivor to give his regards to the rulers of Dale and Erebor.
    • Visitors (Chapter 18) — Kathryn and Faervel come across Smaug who has just killed Freyja, and Andraya swears revenge as she senses it.
    • Betrayal (Chapter 19) — Smaug nears Vathvael to take Kathryn back while his mind is being infected by Sauron's darkness.
    • Realisation (Chapter 20) — With Fankil revealed, Gandalf tells Kathryn to run.
    • Darkness Descends (Chapter 21) — Gandalf uses a spell to stun Smaug who's plagued by Sauron's infection.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: When Smaug's right hand turns draconic, he conceals it with a leather glove.
  • Continuity Nod: At the end of the 5th chapter, Kathryn hears Smaug singing a line from the song he sang in the 8th chapter of Heart of Fire.
  • Crossover: See Alternate Universe.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Andraya is mauled and swallowed by Smaug, and then boiled alive by the fire in his stomach.
  • Cry into Chest:
    • This happens during Kathryn's reunion with Smaug in the 7th chapter.
    • When Faervel holds Freyja to ease her panic attack, she eventually weeps into his shoulder.
  • Crystal Ball: Andraya gives one to Smaug who uses it to see Kathryn being taken to Vathvael. She had originally planned to offer it to him in exchange for impregnating Freyja. It's later used by Freyja and Faervel to track Smaug and Kathryn down to Emyn Muil.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Smaug killing four dwarf merchants in the 7th chapter.
    • When four guards burst in Kathryn's bedchamber in the 14th chapter, Smaug — stark naked and having slept for just one hour — kills them effortlessly.
  • Darwinist Desire: Andraya wants Smaug to give Freyja a child because she believes that the old magic of the Third Age's greatest fire drake combined with the magic stored in her normal daughter would make the offspring powerful enough to rival the wizards. The reason she's not planning to mate with Smaug herself is because she sacrifices her fertility to awaken Smaug.
  • Death Glare: Queen Lalemwen gives "Cail Agonn" a pretty impressive one when she first asserts herself in her court, although it's a total No-Sell on the fearsome Fire-Drake. She later gives a more successful one to Lord Beronor and Lord Gregorse when they try to protest against her decision to ask for the help of Erebor's dwarves.
  • Does Not Like Men: Andraya harbors an irrational viewpoint about all men exploiting women sexually and otherwise, and her trying to drill it into the more innocent Freyja causes quite a few issues.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Since his retreat in the first chapter, Fankil is revealed to have been the physician assigned by Lord Beronor to treat Kathryn.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Kathryn feels this way towards the Smaug of The Appetite for Souls universe, leading her to participate in the fight against the Dragon God. The alternate Smaug seemingly got a sense of déjà vu when he briefly saw Kathryn.
  • Dramatic Drop: Freyja drops a fire poker two times in the same chapter; first when Smaug uncharacteristically offers to help Andraya with a heavy sack, and secondly when Andraya speaks for the first time in Freyja's presence about her plan to have Smaug impregnate the girl.
  • Easter Egg: During one of her visions, Kathryn is thrust into a battle that takes place in The Appetite for Souls in which she herself makes a cameo appearance.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Smaug transforms into a grotesque and savage half-man/half-dragon creature when his body, triggered by his darker draconic emotions, tries to turn itself back into a dragon.
  • Equivalent Exchange: In order to awaken Smaug from his coma, Andraya uses an ancient ritual which requires for her to sacrifice something of her own to retain the balance of life. The price is her ability to produce any more children.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • When Smaug reveals that he's been trying to impregnate Kathryn, she's very furious and hurt, for she didn't expect him of all creatures to betray her trust by making such a big decision without consulting her first.
    • An even worse instance happens when Kathryn finds Freyja murdered by Smaug shortly after learning from Freyja that Smaug has been killing people during their time in Emyn Muil and planning to take Erebor back without Kathryn's knowledge.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Kathryn is unable to keep Smaug's restored dragon form intact without returning to her body, she tries to figure out how to keep her magic within Smaug until he can complete the transformation on his own. When she thinks about fusing their magics, the word "fuse" gives her the idea to have their magics transfer between them in a loop.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Celebrimbor was able to forge a chain that's strong enough to keep a dragon contained, but when the first dragon it was used on became so panicked from being unable to fly that it strangled itself to death, Celebrimbor was so horrified that he didn't forge any more of such chains.
  • Face Palm Of Doom: Smaug kills one of the dwarf merchants by grabbing his face in his palm and using his newly-discovered fire powers to ignite the dwarf's face.
  • Fighting from the Inside: When Smaug spots the One Ring with Bilbo, Sauron's taint tries to force him under its full control and he tries to fight it, giving Gandalf the chance to knock the frenzy dragon unconscious and remove the worst of the corruption.
  • Finishing Stomp: Smaug kills a soldier captain in the 14th chapter by crushing his skull with his heel.
  • Forced Sleep: When Kathryn is resurrected, she screams wildly in her madness. Not wanting anyone to be alerted by the screaming, Fankil places a sleeping spell on her. It's all he has time to do before the nearby merchant caravan attacks him.
  • Frame-Up: Dressed as a maid, Andraya murders King Wilhelm in his bed, slices her own forehead, sinks the dagger in the king's chest, and screams for help. The "hysteric maid" tearfully tells the guards that "Cail Agonn" — a wanted man who recently spoke disrespectfully to Wilhelm in front of his court — murdered the king and escaped through the servant passage she left open.
  • From Dress to Dressing: When Kathryn notices in the 17th chapter that her arm is burned, she bandages it with a piece of cloth from her hem.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: When the soldiers seeking their king's murderer attack Smaug in Kathryn's bedroom, he kills all four of them in a Curb-Stomp Battle, stark naked.
  • Good Samaritan: After Kathryn escapes from Emyn Muil with Faervel and is left on the brink of death by her transformation into a dragon, an old farmer provides them with a horse so that Faervel can take Kathryn to Vathvael for medical treatment.
  • Hates Being Touched: Freyja is uncomfortable when people hug her comfortingly, likely due to her mother's abuse and misandristic teachings.
  • Honest Advisor: Following Smaug's first appearance as a dragon in Vathvael, General Victis is brutally honest to Queen Lalemwen about their slim changes against the dragon, shutting up the overconfident Lord Beronor by describing his own face-to-face confrontation with Smaug.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Queen Lalemwen decides to ask Erebor's dwarves to create any Black Arrows they can for whatever price they ask, Lord Beronor tries to exploit this trope by saying that Dorwinion cannot ask for others' help, with its motto being "Strong and sure". The Queen refuses to risk her people for petty pride with the threat of Smaug in the air.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Smaug says that humans, elves and dwarves like hearing their own voices, Kathryn playfully points out the hypocrisy of "Smaug the O-so-pompous-one".
  • If Only You Knew: When Kathryn says in the 8th chapter that she's very observant and has a good memory, Faervel playfully responds that she can make such a claim once she has lived as long as an elf. He doesn't know at this point that Kathryn is about eighty years old.
  • I Know You Know I Know: When Smaug meets Kathryn on her balcony when there are spies watching her chambers, she questions if the balcony isn't the most obvious place to spy on. He explains that the spies have let themselves stray because of this trope.
    Smaug: There are spies now watching your chambers, I can smell them between the thin walls. It was not safe to speak there.
    Kathryn: But then, I must question the balcony, for it would be the most obvious place that they are spying on.
    Smaug: That is where you're wrong: it is such an obvious place, they would know you would know that, so you would avoid this area on purpose, meaning there was no need to watch this space.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: When Smaug acts like a predator in the midst of his Painful Transformation, Kathryn is able to soothe him by using her singing voice and his loosened scale which she wears to make him recognize her.
  • Is That a Threat?: The line's used by both Kathryn and Lord Beronor in the 12th chapter, along with the You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With quote.
    Lord Beronor: Do you know how I got to where I am now? Yes, I was born into my family title, but it was I who dragged my family name up to become one of the most influential houses in Dorwinion. And I did not get here by allowing anyone to stand in my way. Do not stand in my way, witch… life will become very unpleasant for you if you do.
    Kathryn: Is That a Threat??
    Lord Beronor: No, that was truth. A threat would be if I proposed something I had a chance of completing; when I say truth, I mean it with utter certainty.
    Kathryn: You will leave my presence please, Sir.
    Lord Beronor: You need to understand the natural order of things Kathryn. You are a parlour trick, nothing more. Yes, your powers may be extremely advantageous to us and a great thing to possess now. But soon the novelty will wear off, and when you cease to be useful it will only be a matter of time before your brash and insubordinate behaviour gets you killed. However, if, from now on, you do as you are told and do as I say, that can be avoided.
    Kathryn: Do you believe me to be a little puppet for you to pull the strings?! Do not think that because I am a woman, I am feeble! I too can command the winds sir! I have a hurricane in me so great it will strip the leaves of your Noble House bare if you dare to try me!
    Lord Beronor: You dare to threaten me?!
    Kathryn: I do! You are little more than a dog scrounging for food at the King's chair! I am more then what you or that weakling of a king could ever dream of! You have no idea who you're dealing with — ARGH! [is backhanded by Beronor who proceeds to calmly walk away]
    Lord Beronor: And apparently… neither do you.
  • It Only Works Once: When Bard's Black Arrow is fished from the Long Lake, it's so melted from its brief period inside Smaug's hot body that even the dwarves are unable to use it to craft a new one.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Gandalf feels like this about starting Thorin Oakenshield's quest that not only caused Lake-town's destruction and the Battle of the Five Armies, but also Kathryn's death and his failure to keep the promise he gave her about keeping Smaug alive.
    • Bilbo holds himself responsible over the people of Lake-town suffering Smaug's wrath.
  • I Want Grandkids: Andraya wants Freyja to have through Smaug a magically powerful child which Andraya wants to use in order to be free of men. When Freyja expresses unwillingness, Andraya scares the girl into submission.
  • Jerkass: King Wilhelm of Dorwinion keeps Kathryn around to entertain his court with her singing and later to use her foreseeing abilities, treating her like a pet to be punished when she goes against his desires, and caring nothing for her feelings.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While telepathically arguing with Smaug, Andraya claims that he cannot provide Kathryn with a peaceful life as long as he tries to conquer Erebor back, or the joys of an ordinary woman. Through Smaug doesn't admit it to the arrogant witch, he's afterwards bothered by her words. In the epilogue, Kathryn is so tired with all the heartache Smaug's wickedness has caused that she agrees to continue her life with him only if he promises to peacefully settle down with her and forget about his evil goals.
  • Just Desserts: Andraya is swallowed whole by Smaug and incinerated by his internal fire.
  • Kick the Dog: Smaug kills Freyja when he finds her in Emyn Muil, just to keep his threat to Andraya of killing them both were he to meet them again. And he had earlier said that his quarrel with Andraya didn't involve Freyja.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Andraya murders King Wilhelm just to frame Smaug for it, but the jerkass of a king had it coming.
  • Killed Offscreen: Thorin, Fíli and Kíli's deaths are about the same as in book canon. In Thorin's case, it's debatably also a slightly more Karmic Death for his responses — or lack thereof — to Kathryn's and (implied) Bard's arguments against his cause in the first story.
  • Kill the Cutie: Smaug kills Freyja upon finding her in Emyn Muil's fortress.
  • The Kingslayer: Andraya murders Dorwinion's king in his bed and frames Smaug for it in order to get back at him for breaking off their deal.
  • Kissing Cousins: Downplayed with Dorwinion's royal couple; King Wilhelm and Queen Lalemwen are distant cousins and expecting a baby.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Fankil's discovered with the freshly resurrected and screaming Kathryn by a caravan, he knows himself to be too weakened to take on the men and escapes.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: Andraya uses her favours to arrange for Freyja to become this to Queen Lalemwen so that they as well as Smaug can have a lodging in the castle.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Smaug's already this as a dragon, but his human form is also stronger as well as faster and tougher than those of ordinary humans.
    • In Kathryn's vision, Ancalagon the Black is shown to have been gigantic, but also a fast and agile flier as much as the smaller dragons, not a Mighty Glacier as one would easily assume from such a behemoth. When he was eventually killed, he crushed three mountains underneath him when he fell from the sky.
    • In the climax, Fankil proves himself to be strong, fast and tough enough to take on Smaug.
  • Little Stowaway: Bilbo when Gandalf and Elrond set out to Vathvael.
  • Living Dream: Kathryn takes a semi-corporeal form in the Appetite for Souls universe when she visits it in her dream.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • After restoring Kathryn's mind, Smaug declines Andraya's request to impregnate Freyja. He uses the fact that he originally agreed to "help Andraya with a small task" in exchange for her help… and he just helped Andraya by moving the heavy sack that was giving her trouble.
    • Radagast has a minor one while rescuing Gandalf from Dol Guldur.
      Gandalf: You gave me your word that you wouldn't come after me!
      Radagast: I didn't come in here for you!
      Galadriel: He came in here for me. [appears with the rest of the White Council]
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Kathryn feels like this about herself when Freyja tells her that Smaug has been killing people close to their hiding place in Emyn Muil, and he has all along been planning to take Erebor back.
  • Manchild: King Wilhelm has shades of this with the way he insensitively keeps Kathryn around for entertainment, treating her like a pet/possession he can treat however he sees fit. He also makes his displeasure known when things aren't going to his liking.
  • Manipulative Bitch: With the façade of a hysteric maid, Andraya successfully fools the royal guard into believing that Smaug murdered King Wilhelm.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Invoked in-universe by the characters — after visiting an Alternate Universe and learning from Smaug about the Path of Dreams, Kathryn wonders if it was a figment of her imagination or an actual reality.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Kathryn covers herself with a bedsheet when her bedchamber in assaulted by guards in the 14th chapter.
  • More Than Mind Control: The reason Sauron is able to influence Smaug through dark magic in the first place is because Smaug accepts Sauron's proposal in his blind fury. Even then the control isn't thorough, for the taint tries to direct Smaug to go on a full rampage and get the One Ring, while Smaug wants to settle personal grievances — like getting back at Bilbo — and find Kathryn. While Gandalf contains the taint, Smaug remains in the danger of succumbing to Sauron's influence if he ever gives in to his darker desires.
  • Mugged for Disguise:
    • In the 10th chapter, a maid is called to Kathryn's chambers where she's being confined. Faervel knocks the maid unconscious, allowing Kathryn to exit her chambers in the disguise of the maid.
    • In the 12th chapter, the currently wanted Smaug kills two patrolling guards at the castle walls, dressing himself in another guard's uniform.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: Freyja does not have her mother's magical abilities, even though Andraya invested magic into her during her babyhood. As such, Andraya wishes to have a grandchild with power inherited from the magic in Freyja's blood and Smaug's magic.
  • Must Make Amends: Bilbo secretly tags along with Gandalf and Elrond to help Vathvael's people against Smaug because he feels that it's his fault the people of Lake-town suffered because of Smaug's attack.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Andraya feels Freyja's death as if something irreplaceable has been torn from her chest.
  • Neck Lift: Smaug does this to Andraya when he wakes up in his new human body.
  • Neck Snap: While in his human form, Smaug employs this killing fashion a few times.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: When Smaug notices Bilbo Baggins having the One Ring, Sauron attempts to outright force Smaug to take it. As Smaug fights against the force attempting to control his body, Gandalf is able to use this distraction to knock Smaug unconscious and contain the worst of Sauron's taint.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Beyond furious over Freyja's murder, Kathryn transforms herself into a dragon and viciously beats up Smaug who's too shocked to fight back.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: When Smaug falls from Kathryn's balcony that is at least twenty-five feet off the ground, he briefly halts his drop by taking hold of a gargoyle (it's noted that if not for his superhuman strength, the sudden stop would have done grievous harm to his body), allowing him to fall the remaining ten feet to the ground unharmed. He soon afterwards falls from Vathvael's wall, with tree-branches helping him to survive this fall as well.
  • Oh, Crap!: Gandalf when he realizes that Kathryn has been having visions of Morgoth and was resurrected by Fankil.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Smaug offers to help Andraya with a heavy sack, both she and Freyja are baffled. The reaction's proven warranted moments later because Smaug was that way fulfilling his end of the bargain that included "helping Andraya with a small task" so that he could weasel himself out of having to impregnate Freyja and strike a new deal of his choosing.
  • Palm Bloodletting:
    • In the first chapter, Fankil slices his palm open to use his blood in Kathryn's resurrection. Andraya does the same to awaken the weakened Smaug in his human body.
    • This done again by Fankil in the climax when he attempts to make Kathryn locate the Door of Night through a vision.
  • Pitiful Worms:
    • King Wilhelm tries to assert his authority to Smaug while comparing him to a worm. The dragon-in-human-skin responds with a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, turning the worm-comparison around.
      King Wilhelm: I am a king, and you are nothing more than a worm beneath my boot!
      Smaug: A worm… What lovely titles you give both to yourself and to me. But I have seen kings and empires fall in just one day, all gone in a cloud of smoke… And just now, as your narrow-minded advisors tell you, self-proclaimed kings are falling day by day, to die in the dirt, and be nothing but food for the crows and the worms.
    • Smaug later calls Vathvael's people worthless worms during his attack.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Smaug allows guards to handcuff him when Queen Lalemwen orders him to be taken to the dungeons, but once Kathryn returns to her chambers, he has already escaped and waiting for her.
    Kathryn: What are you doing here?! You were taken —
    Smaug: Do not finish that sentence for it will only insult me that you believe I would even allow the notion of a pack of humans to keep me prisoner.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: Lord Beronor is apparently ruthless in his desire to create a lasting dynasty for his house, but aside from introducing Kathryn to Vathvael's court, he doesn't really contribute to the plot. As soon as Smaug and Kathryn escape from Vathvael, he makes one more appearance before disappearing.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Kathryn using her magic to return Smaug back into a dragon leaves her exhausted, and she falls unconscious for a while.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Smaug gives Andraya one before swallowing her.
    Smaug: You… You should have left me in that lake!
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Kathryn when a guard refuses to leave her alone with Faervel.
      Kathryn: I said… [leans towards the guard with glowing eyes] Leave. Us.
    • Queen Lalemwen when she's had enough of Lord Beronor's nonsense.
      Lord Beronor: Your Majesty, please listen to us when we say —
      Queen Lalemwen: [rises up to glare at the Lords] I am the Queen. You. Listen. To Me!
    • When Faervel inspects the remains of Dale's merchants whom Smaug slaughtered, the narration emphasizes the significance of the footprints he finds.
      "Four. BIG. Footprints."
    • Fankil when his identity is revealed by Gandalf.
      Fankil: You will not take her from me Maiar. I. Will not. Let you.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Happens between Freyja and Kathryn when the former finds the latter in Emyn Muil's abandoned fortress.
  • Reality Ensues: In the 9th chapter, "Cail Agonn" gives King Wilhelm an increasingly threatening "The Reason You Suck" Speech in front of his court. The king is initially intimidated along with everyone else, but then he refuses to take anymore of it and orders a guard to cut out Smaug's tongue. Fortunately Queen Lalemwen refuses to allow blood to be shed in her father's throne room and orders Smaug to be thrown in a dungeon insteadnote , but insulting royalty — especially one as self-absorbed as Wilhelm — in their face is likely to end badly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Smaug gives one to King Wilhelm in the 9th chapter about his delusions of royal supremacy before Wilhelm interrupts it by ordering Smaug's tongue to be cut.
    King Wilhelm: You seem to be under the impression that you have any form of authority. This is my court, and as such I am the one who holds the power here.
    Smaug: Isn't that the arrogance of men. [chuckles coldly] To claim what they are not worthy of.
    King Wilhelm: I am worthy by right of blood and marriage! I am a king, and you are nothing more than a worm beneath my boot!
    Smaug: A worm… What lovely titles you give both to yourself and to me. But I have seen kings and empires fall in just one day, all gone in a cloud of smoke… And just now, as your narrow-minded advisors tell you, self-proclaimed kings are falling day by day, to die in the dirt, and be nothing but food for the crows and the worms. How wonderful it must be. To be lord of a flock of sheep that follow what little orders are thought for them. To be king of a realm that has always been second best, for it is not the wealthiest, nor the most famous, nor the most popular. A realm that will burn beneath the fire of wyrms and die with —
    King Wilhelm: ENOUGH!
  • Recurring Dreams: Kathryn has several visions and dreams about the Door of Night, the War of Wrath, Irmo and Morgoth. She notes that the only time she's previously seen visions of the same theme was in the first story when she had symbolic visions of Smaug's death. During his masquerade as a physician, Fankil has been using his potions to influence Kathryn's visions in the direction he desires.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Ancalagon the Black's eyes are described as being coloured like the inside of a volcano when he appears in Kathryn's vision.
  • The Reveal: The 20th chapter (appropriately titled Realisation) finally reveals the name and identity of Fankil and how Kathryn could be used in freeing Morgoth. However, it's not until the 23rd chapter that Fankil's revealed to be Morgoth's son.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Andraya lures Kathryn into Fankil's clutches both to get back at Smaug for killing her daughter and to gain the spells necessary to resurrect Freyja.
  • Rule of Three: Thrice in the story, a character cuts their palm and lets three drops of blood to fall on a laying individual, with the first drop falling above their heart, the second drop on their forehead, and the last one into their mouth.
  • Sequel Hook: After Kathryn makes Smaug promise not to pursue his vengeful goals if he wants her to stay with him, they decide to live in seclusion, but Gandalf is sure they will meet again, for they all know that Fankil and Sauron are waiting for their time to strike again.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: As Smaug tries to force his transformation back into a dragon in the 14th chapter, he's hit by three arrows. Once he has transformed, they're no longer an issue.
  • Shining City: Vathvael, the capital of Dorwinion, is made of smooth alabaster stone, and the great show of craftsmanship that would be applied to cathedrals extends even to the poorer areas.
  • Ship Sinking: There were fans who shipped Faervel and Freyja, but Freyja's death destroyed their hopes.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Gandalf rebukes Sauron concisely when the White Council confronts the Dark Lord in Dol Guldur.
      Sauron: There is none… that can stand before the darkness… You cannot fight against the oncoming night…
      Gandalf: But neither can the dark stop the dawn!
    • In his last appearance, Lord Beronor is verbally put in his place by General Victis and Queen Lalemwen.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Queen Lalemwen may seem like a gentle flower, but that or her pregnancy won't prevent her from asserting herself. It's first shown when she forbids her husband from mutilating Smaug in her father's throne room and sends Smaug to the dungeons. Later, when she orders Lord Beronor and Lord Gregorse to abandon their plans of Erebor's conquest and they try to protest, she puts them in their places.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: Dressed as a maid, Andraya sneaks into King Wilhelm's bedchamber, murders him, and tricks the guards she alarms into thinking that "Cail Agonn" is guilty. Subverted in that she wakes Wilhelm up by letting in cold night air and allows him to see her right before she slices his throat before he can fully awaken and call out an alarm.
  • Slashed Throat:
    • Smaug kills the leader of the dwarf merchants in this fashion.
    • Andraya kills King Wilhelm this way.
  • Smug Snake: Andraya is cunning, but her ego and temper tend to cause her detriment.
  • Spanner in the Works: Bilbo choosing to secretly follow Gandalf and Elrond to a meeting with Smaug leads to the hobbit saving the wizard's life by shouting Gandalf's name and causing Smaug to forget about killing the wizard (which would have been advantageous to Sauron in the long run) in favor of the "Barrel-rider". And when Smaug sees the One Ring in Bilbo's hands, Sauron ceases trying to subtly direct Smaug's actions and attempts to force him under his control. As Smaug fights back, Gandalf is able to knock him unconscious and contain the worst of Sauron's corruption, putting on hold Sauron's plans to have the Third Age's greatest fire drake on his side.
  • Spare a Messenger: When Smaug attacks a caravan of Dale's merchants in his new territory of Emyn Muil, a youth survives. The dragon enchants him with the Dragon-spell and sends him to give a message to the kings of Erebor and Dale: "I'm coming for them." The boy's encountered and freed from the enchantment by Gandalf, prompting him to tell Smaug's message to the wizard and Elrond.
    Smaug: I want you to go back to Dale. Go back to them as fast you can, and send a message to the Kings of Erebor and Dale from their old friend, Smaug. You tell them quite simply: I'm coming for them.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Quithyra, a Haradrim and the physician Fankil's assistant, is nearly six feet tall, curvy, dark-haired and dark-skinned.
  • Sue Donym: Smaug makes up an alias this way, but not with his own name because he wants no-one to use a variation of his name. Instead, he takes the name of his ancestor Ancalagon and turns it into Cail Agonn.
  • Supernormal Bindings: A gigantic chain forged by Celebrimbor himself is strong enough to contain and constrict a struggling dragon, and it cannot be melted by their fire. Gandalf recovers it from the Iron Hills to be used against Smaug in Dorwinion. The chain's put on Smaug while he's unconscious, and it helps to make him cooperative in ceasing the hostilities and rescuing Kathryn from Fankil.
  • Swallowed Whole: Andraya ends up this way into Smaug's stomach where she's boiled alive by his fire.
  • Tears of Joy: Kathryn's reaction to Smaug's promise to give up his plans to have his revenge and conquer Erebor back in exchange for her love.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "World On Fire" by Les Friction. The author has used it to make a music video about the fic.
  • This Cannot Be!: Elrond says this when he's told that a dragon attacked Vathvael and stole a Seer.
  • Three... Two... One...: In the 17th chapter, Kathryn counts the precise moment Smaug discovers her missing from the "den" and roars her name so loud it can be heard in the entire fortress.
    Kathryn: And in… 4… 3… 2… 1…
    Smaug: KATHRYN?! [Kathryn rolls her eyes]
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Smaug decapitates a soldier with a flung sword in the 14th chapter.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: Black Arrows and other black weapons capable of harming dragons — such as the black sword Gurthang that was used to slay Glaurung — are forged out of very rare meteoric ore.
  • Title Drop:
    • Downplayed; Kathryn tells Smaug in the 7th chapter that he must face the ashes of his fires.
    • In the chapter You're Mine, Smaug uses the title's words with Kathryn.
    • In Just Like Before, the expression is used by Kathryn in two instances; first when she enters Smaug's mind and is overwhelmed by his vast consciousness (something that happened when she last did this at the ending of Heart of Fire), and secondly when Faervel forces her to come with him and leave behind Smaug whom she has sung to sleep.
    • In No Coincidence, the guards searching for King Wilhelm's murderer come to this conclusion when they reach Kathryn's quarters where the guards are conveniently switching their rounds. In the same chapter, Gandalf states to Elrond that there is no such thing as coincidence when Braga tells them and Bard the news of a dragon escaping from Vathavel with a Seer.
    • In Betrayal, Kathryn and Smaug both use the word to describe the latter's act of lying to the former and murdering Freyja and the former's act of attacking and leaving the latter in retaliation.
    • Downplayed again in the epilogue. Smaug feels like his once fiery heart has turned into crumbling ash as he tentatively starts speaking with Kathryn.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Lord Beronor thinks that they can shoot Smaug down from the sky with Vathvael's garrison and ballista. General Victis, who was present to witness Smaug's strength and toughness, calls Beronor out of his unfounded confidence, and Queen Lalemwen decides to acquire Black Arrows in case Smaug returns.
  • Use Your Head: During the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown the dragon-Kathryn gives Smaug, she headbutts him.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Fankil loses his fight against Smaug and Kathryn in the climax and vanishes, but Kathryn and Gandalf know that he will return to fight another day.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Freyja is killed by Smaug, Andraya becomes hell-bent on revenge to the point of willingly making a deal with a demon who wants to release Morgoth. By the time she's caught, she's clearly not far off from completely losing it.
  • Wham Line: When Kathryn asks Fankil why does he want to release Morgoth, he goes on to explain that Sauron cannot compare to the first Dark Lord who will bring about the end of days once released. The kicker is what he says next.
    Fankil: And as my father… [grins sickly] I owe to him my allegiance.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Andraya slaps Freyja when the girl expresses her fear of being impregnated by Smaug, turning quickly from furious into self-righteously affectionate.
    Andraya: Oh now look what you've done dear. My poor baby… I do not mean to hurt you dear, but you must understand: fear is a weakness that we cannot have.
  • Woman Scorned: When Smaug reveals that he's been trying to impregnate Kathryn without her consent, she's so ticked off that she strikes him with a magical shockwave. When he later kills Freyja, Kathryn becomes so furious that she turns herself into a dragon and gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Worthy Opponent: Smaug seems to start feeling this way towards Gandalf during their duel.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: As a part of her plan to frame Smaug for King Wilhelm's murder, Andraya slices her own forehead and pretends to be a hysterically crying maid when she tells the guards that "Cail Agonn" murdered the king.
  • Wound Licking: After having his hindleg gashed by Fankil, Smaug licks his wound clean. Boiling hot dragon saliva makes for an antiseptic.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Kathryn and Lord Beronor exchange this quote in the 12th chapter. See the Is That a Threat? section above.
  • You Monster!: Kathryn calls Smaug a monster — among other things — when he murders Freyja.

     Heart of the Inferno 
  • Accidental Hand Hold: Kathryn and Aragorn do this when they're both reaching for the fallen hilt of Narsil. It causes between them a rush of magic that apparently results in their ability to contact each other while dreaming.
  • Achey Scars: It's revealed that merely indulging in his more sinister instincts in his dreams and thoughts tends to cause the scar on Smaug's chest to ache and pulse as a reminder of Sauron's contained taint that took root in the previous story.
  • Adaptational Badass: The canonical Durin's Bane engaged with Gandalf the Grey in a long and intense duel that resulted in a Mutual Kill. In this fic, the Balrog is able to knock Gandalf unconscious before it engages in a brutal Behemoth Battle with Smaug, a dragon twice its size. It takes the combined efforts of Smaug and Gandalf (whom Kathryn resuscitates) to kill Durin's Bane.
  • Ambadassador: Faervel has become Rivendell's ambassador for Esgaroth's all peoples, and he successfully convinces Smaug to accept King Brand's condition that he'll get Kathryn back once he returns from his mission in the north and leaves without harming anyone in Esgaroth's area.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Faervel gives Smaug one in the 15th chapter.
    Faervel: There is one thing, Smaug, that you have not accounted for…
    Smaug: And what is that?
    Faervel: You owe me a debt.
  • Behemoth Battle:
    • Between Smaug and Durin's Bane in the 7th chapter (though Smaug is at least twice as big).
    • The 13th chapter has a brief one between Smaug and Urgost. The bigger dragon Smaug gains the upper hand.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Gandalf does not take kindly to Smaug calling him a magician.
    • Before Gimli even realizes that Smaug is attending the Council of Elrond, he becomes infuriated when he hears Kathryn saying the dragon's name.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Smaug refuses to let himself or Kathryn be involved in the War of the Ring, thinking it's not their problem. This ends when Sauron mentally assaults Kathryn just as her labour begins, after which Smaug swears to destroy the Dark Lord.
  • The Cameo: Dwalin in Chapter 15 after last appearing in Heart of Fire.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • 60 years In The Making (Chapter 2) — Smaug and Kathryn find Gandalf at the entrance of their cave.
    • A Fellowship Formed (Chapter 5) — Smaug refuses to allow himself or Kathryn to join the Fellowship of the Ring and takes her away from Elrond's Council.
    • So It Begins (Chapter 6) — Smaug and Kathryn set out to help the Fellowship against Durin's Bane.
    • The Highest Peak (Chapter 7) — Smaug and Kathryn bring Gandalf to Caras Galadhon and are greeted by Galadriel.
    • The Downfall of Mortals (Chapter 8) — While Orc troops approach Lothlórien, Kathryn looks into the Mirror of Galadriel, only for Sauron's image to assault her during a vision.
    • Calm Before the Storm (Chapter 10) — Smaug agrees to unite whatever dragons remain against Sauron, secretly planning to reclaim Erebor as his reward for helping the Free Peoples win the war.
    • Go North, Go North (Chapter 11) — Sauron sends one of his mindless servants to sabotage Smaug's quest to rally the dragons of the Withered Heath against the Dark Lord.
    • Through the Grey Mountains (Chapter 12) — Kathryn and her twins are ambushed by a grey dragon on a mountain path.
    • Entertaining Thoughts (Chapter 14) — As Smaug flies over Dale, Kings Brand and Dáin insist on accompanying Kathryn to negotiate with Smaug.
    • Diplomatic Insensitivity (Chapter 15) — Kathryn witnesses in a vision the moment Aragorn fights Saruman's Warg riders and falls off a cliff.
    • Returned to the Mountain (Chapter 16) — While Kathryn goes to seek her children after she and Faervel survive an assassination attempt of dwarf conspirators, Smaug finally finds fire drakes in the Withered Heath.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Kathryn in the beginning of the second chapter.
  • Color Contrast: The Psychic Link Kathryn forms between Aragorn and Arwen is silver-themed, in contrast to Smaug and Kathryn's gold-themed link.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Smaug fights Moria's Balrog in the 7th chapter.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Kathryn covers the eyes of her twins when Smaug rips off one of Urgost's fingers.
  • Cruel Mercy: When Smaug meets Bilbo Baggins in Rivendell, he initially attempts to kill the aged hobbit. However, when Bilbo searches for his "precious" during a fit, Smaug opts to let him live the rest of his life with this "insanity".
    Smaug: Be left with the prison of your own design, with the poison of your own making, thief-in-the-shadows. Once again, you've denied me the satisfaction of killing an enemy. But I know death will come for you. It comes for all of us. Especially the insane. Enjoy your tormented world, Bilbo Baggins. I shall certainly enjoy watching you slowly die.
  • Cry into Chest: After Kathryn comes out of the vision she has at the Council of Elrond, she weeps against Smaug's chest.
  • Death by Childbirth: Subverted. Kathryn comes close to death while giving birth to her twins and finds herself welcomed by Irmo. Fortunately, the recently resuscitated Gandalf the White brings her back.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: While fighting Durin's Bane, Smaug gets one of his legs injured, seemingly forcing him to give ground to the Balrog. However, when the Balrog reaches the crater Smaug made earlier, the dragon strikes the fragile ground with his tail, sending both him and the Balrog tumbling down the mountain.
  • Divided We Fall: Kathryn tells Aragorn that he's needed to lead the Free Peoples because they stand divided and Sauron knows not to tolerate that same weakness with his own forces, so the Free Peoples can match the unity of Sauron's armies only by being united by a strong leader.
  • "Double, Double" Title: The 11th chapter is titled Go North, Go North.
  • The Dreaded: Even the normally arrogant Blood Knight Smaug isn't looking forward to facing a Balrog.
  • Enemy Mine: Smaug's Neutral No Longer decision includes him fighting with the Free Peoples (many of whom he has wronged during the past centuries) against their common enemies Sauron and Fankil. Furthermore, he sets upon a mission to rally under his banner the last dragons, a race that's generally hated for wreaking destruction in the name of greed and formerly Morgoth.
  • Evil Is Sterile: Galadriel states that Morgoth is unable to create life that's original and intelligent. He can only create mockeries of living creatures or corrupt those that already live. That's how he created the Orcs, and ever since he first extended his tainted influence onto the dragons, all of them have been born with a shackle tying them to him.
  • Fingore: Smaug bites off one of Urgost's fingers.
  • Foreshadowing: Galadriel tells Kathryn that she can sense the latter's unborn child to be burning as brightly as the sun and the moon or the Two Trees of Valinor. When the parturition is over at the end of the next chapter, it turns out Kathryn was carrying a boy and a girl.
  • The Good King: Kathryn already sees the makings of one in Aragorn and encourages him to take up that role.
    Kathryn: I have seen harsh kings, I have seen forceful and cruel kings. But not once have I seen a king to offer kindness and compassion, who leads others through loyalty and friendship. That is what YOU are. I BELIEVE you can do this.
  • Grim Up North: The Withered Heath, the last sanctuary of dragons.
    The Withered Heath was an unforgiving and mostly inhospitable place so far beyond the north, most mortals never dared to venture here. It was a valley between neat rows of mountains to the north, south and west. The east carried on seemingly forever until is supposedly reached the sea. The valley itself was a land where winter held sway forever. No matter the time of year for the rest of middle earth, the snows of the Heath never melted. Hardly any plant life grew in such a harsh environment, and as a result, the prey was selective at best. Yet this was the world that the dragons had been forced to, the last refuge where no mortals would bother them. A place where few survived.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Kolstros and Vervenia face the prejudices involved with this status from Men, Dwarves and Elves. On their father's side, Urgost is disgusted when he works out their heritage.
  • Hearing Voices: Kathryn can hear the ominous whispers of the One Ring at the Council of Elrond due to its magic calling out to hers.
  • Heel–Race Turn: Gandalf wants the dragons to make this, hoping their race's mystic chains to Morgoth can be broken. Kolstros and Vervenia turn out to be devoid of the other dragons' links to Morgoth.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: It's implied Kathryn has this reputation, as King Brand believes from his grandfather's stories that Kathryn actually aided Smaug's attack on Vathvael instead of trying to stop it.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: When Kathryn challenges Aragorn by telling him to place the hilt of Narsil back on its pedestal and walk away if he truly believes he will fail like Isildur did, she is ashamed of herself for telling someone to enter a life they may not want to, for many people have tried to push her to fulfill their expectations and seize the power at her disposal.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the civility at the Council of Elrond starts to break down, Smaug and Gimli exchange these words concerning who'll destroy the One Ring:
    Smaug: "Just like a dwarf — the mere look of gold has you buzzing like a fly to dead flesh."
    Gimli: "Says you! You couldn't do this task either!"
  • Is That a Threat?: Gimli uses a variation of this line at the Council of Elrond when Smaug tells him to be silent or he might forgo civility.
    Gimli: Careful there, laddie. That sounded like a threat…
  • It's All My Fault: After the Fellowship breaks, Aragorn feels like he has failed as their leader.
  • Jawbreaker: During their fight, Durin's Bane tries to kill Smaug by forcing the latter's jaws apart until Smaug forces the Balrog back with a blast of fire in the head.
  • Jaw Drop: Smaug's reaction to first seeing his twins in their dragon forms.
  • Jerkass: Dwalin makes it known to Kathryn how unwelcome he thinks she is in the Lonely Mountain. He says this about her and her human-looking toddler children directly in front of the latter:
    "I don't want yer pity! I doubt if it'd be real anyway. That dragon fucked whatever humanity you had left to create those filthy things!"
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While in Lothlórien, Smaug gripes to Kathryn that her tendency to risk her life for the sake of others will one day land her in a position from which even he can't save her. Following the birth of Kolstros and Vervenia that results in Kathryn being saved from death only by Gandalf's intervention, Kathryn admits that Smaug has a point and promises to think more for herself, especially since she needs to stay alive for the sake of her mate and their newborn children.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After Smaug pins down Urgost who realizes that Smaug isn't dead after all, the grey dragon looks at the bitten stump of his finger and surrenders, saying that he doesn't want to make the line of Ancalagon the Black his enemy.
  • Loose Lips: When it looks like Smaug is about to come to blows with Gimli at the Council of Elrond, Kathryn attempts to talk sense to her mate and blurts out his name, something that does not help to pacify the dwarves.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Downplayed. Smaug initially refuses to take Kathryn and their children to the Grey Mountains, where they'll be under threat from both the extreme conditions and other dragons coveting Kathryn's abilities for themselves. Smaug ends up taking them anyway when Kathryn threatens to follow him on horseback without any protection.
  • Maternity Crisis: Kathryn's labour begins right after she looks into the Mirror of Galadriel and ends up having to resist Sauron's domination attempts. Galadriel drives Sauron away with Nenya's power, but Kathryn's left with an extremely difficult childbirth to endure.
  • Mortality Phobia: Galadriel claims this is the Fatal Flaw of all mortals; that their fear of death will drive them to extreme lengths to escape it and make them susceptible to temptation, greed and violence. Kathryn acknowledges that since only the Elves are blessed with the knowledge of ending up in Valinor even after dying, the mortal races can only speculate what will wait for them in afterlife, and the lack of concrete knowledge regarding where they will end up in death feeds their fear of death. They would even prefer knowing that everyone will end up in hell over not knowing at all.
  • Neck Snap: After Gandalf has stabbed Durin's Bane with his electrified sword, Smaug kills the Balrog by breaking its neck.
  • Neutral No Longer: At first Smaug wants himself and Kathryn to stay out of the War of the Ring, but after Sauron makes the mistake of mentally attacking Kathryn whose labour is beginning, Smaug swears to destroy Sauron.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Sauron's mental assault on Kathryn just as her labour begins helps to convince Smaug to take the Free Peoples' side against the Dark Lord.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: When Smaug's not willing to help the Elves of Lothlórien against the Orcs of Dol Guldur and leave Kathryn in her labour pain, Galadriel changes his mind by suggesting him to be a coward.
    Galadriel: Perhaps I was mistaken, then. Perhaps you are not the famed dragon-dread who could slay an army as he did the great warriors of old. Perhaps you are just a snake too craven to stand against the Dark Lord.
    [Smaug nearly attacks Galadriel, but then he ponders on what Sauron has done to him and Kathryn, and makes up his mind]
    Smaug: For what Sauron has done, I vow to kill him and all that he rules for this insult!
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Though Smaug eventually agrees to ally with the Free Peoples against Sauron, he does that only to destroy Sauron and Fankil for what they've done to him and Kathryn, get rid of Sauron's taint inside him, and retake Erebor as his reward for helping the Free Peoples win the war.
  • Not Worth Killing: Upon finding Bilbo Baggins in Rivendell, Smaug sneaks into the aged hobbit's room to kill him. However, Bilbo has a fit induced by the One Ring and searches for his "precious". Deeming that killing a deranged enemy isn't satisfying, Smaug decides to let the hobbit be plagued by this "insanity" for the rest of his life.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bilbo's reaction when he finally realizes that the unfamiliar man he's speaking with is none other than Smaug.
    • Gimli and the other dwarves at the meeting of Elrond's Council when they realize that the arrogant man accompanying Kathryn is Smaug himself.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Played for drama and justified with Smaug. Kathryn's hard labour is suddenly triggered when Sauron tries to dominate her, and Smaug is left feeling helpless for being unable to make the process easier for Kathryn anyhow. Galadriel offers him an outlet by asking him to fight the Orcs of Dol Guldur in the meantime. While the birth is successful, Kathryn would have died without Gandalf the White's help.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Kathryn holds the dying Gandalf in her lap after she and Smaug arrive to save the wizard from Moria's Balrog.
  • The Power of Love: Gandalf believes that Smaug's love towards Kathryn will keep him from the clutches of the greatest of evil.
  • Pregnant Badass: Downplayed. Kathryn takes no part in fighting in her pregnant condition, but when Gandalf is fighting Durin's Bane alone, she's able to make Smaug take her to Zirakzigil, and while the dragon battles the Balrog, Kathryn is able to temporarily resuscitate the dying wizard by transferring her Raw Magic into him so that he can deliver a fatal stab in the Balrog's chest, despite the protests of her pregnant belly.
  • Rebel Prince: In addition to Aragorn, Smaug is revealed to be this among the dragons. As Ancalagon the Black's descendant, Smaug has the blood-right to unite the remaining dragons, who live largely independent of Middle-Earth's affairs. He forsook this birthright in his adolescence due to being uninterested in maintaining ties to his dying species and caring only about his own interests. However, after Sauron provokes him, he decides to fly north to reclaim his dominance and unite the dragons against Sauron in the War of the Ring.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kathryn and Smaug's twins are already starting to show signs of this dynamic; the more daring Vervenia is the Red Oni, while the more reserved Kolstros is the Blue Oni.
  • Secret Test of Character: Kathryn ends up arguing with Galadriel about what motivates the former when she asks for the latter's help in turning the Seer's power into a weapon against her enemies. Galadriel challenges Kathryn to combine the prophetic powers of the former's Mirror with her own, suggesting even that her child's fate may depend on it. Kathryn nearly looks in the Mirror before she stops herself, stating that prophecies are mostly self-fulfilling. Galadriel congratulates her and reveals that she was testing her.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Kathryn lampshades this trope by telling Galadriel that she knows from her own experience that prophecies mostly come to pass only in a self-fulfilling way.
  • Silk Hiding Steel:
    • Galadriel, the epitome of Elven beauty and gracefulness, is able to remain calm even when Smaug himself is about to attack her for suggesting he's a coward.
    • Smaug deems that the Elves of Lothlórien on the whole are this.
      They appeared to walk with a feather-weight, their voices always calm and whispered, as if their minds inhabited another plain of reality. Gentle and kind and exceedingly gracious were they, yet Smaug detected in every turn of their back was a suspicious whisper, or behind every smile was a dagger ready to strike at the earliest provocation. Oh yes, Smaug could tell that these elves were vipers hidden in the grass: charming and beautiful to beguile and fool the unwitting, and then would strike with deadly force if threatened.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When Bilbo meets Smaug in the latter's human form for the first time, Smaug makes blatant references to their first meeting, yet Bilbo recognizes him only after Smaug calls him "thief in the shadows".
  • Standing Between the Enemies: When the dwarves at the meeting of the Council take up arms against Smaug who is about to assume his true form, Kathryn comes between them. Smaug and most of the dwarves pause, but Gimli needs to be chided by Elrond and Gandalf before he sits down.
  • Stargazing Scene: Kathryn and Smaug share one in Chapter 10, reminiscing the one they had in the first story.
  • Tears of Joy: Kathryn is on the verge of shedding these when she's first holding her newborn twins in her arms.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Though Fankil and Sauron have some kind of a liaison between them, they both refuse to truckle to each other. Even during the First Age, they were at each other's throats over the right-hand position of Morgoth.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Lorde.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: When Kathryn asks Galadriel to help her understand her power of sight, the Lady of Lothlórien responds that no one, not even the immortal elves, are meant to know or fully comprehend the fabric of time.
  • Title Drop: In the chapter The Downfall of Mortals, Galadriel tells Kathryn that if the latter won't give up on her fear of not knowing what lays after death, she will be brought low by the downfall of all mortals.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: When Faervel first returns, he's become cold, sly and haughty following the events of Heart of Ashes. Kathryn thinks his new political power, which he previously detested, has gotten to his head. It doesn't take more than a brief and intense argument with Kathryn to get through to the old Faervel.
  • Tragic Stillbirth: Kathryn has had three miscarriages during the last decade. They were all devastating experiences both for her and Smaug, requiring a lot of time to recover from.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: In the 9th chapter, Kathryn gives birth to a son and a daughter while Smaug fights the Orcs of Dol Guldur with the Elves of Lothlórien. She names them Kolstros and Vervenia, respectively.
  • We Have Become Complacent: Gandalf notes to Galadriel that the era of peace has rendered the Free Peoples idle and ill-prepared for the upcoming war against the evil forces that are growing powerful each day.
  • Would Harm a Senior: When Smaug finds out that Bilbo Baggins is in Rivendell, he attempts to kill the aged hobbit, changing his mind only because Bilbo appears mad as he searches for the One Ring during a convenient fit.
  • "You!" Exclamation:
    • Smaug when Gandalf appears at his and Kathryn's doorstep.
    • Bilbo when he finally realizes that the strange man threatening him is actually Smaug himself.
  • You Owe Me:
    • Kathryn invokes this on Gandalf's behalf in order to convince Smaug to rescue the wizard from Durin's Bane. She says that doing so will free Smaug from the favour he swore to Gandalf in Heart of Ashes, and when Smaug says that he will be free of that debt if Gandalf dies, Kathryn arguments that if the wizard survives without Smaug's aid, he'll still have that favour to call upon.
    • Faervel calls in the favour Smaug swore to him in Heart of Ashes in order to convince him to leave Kathryn in Erebor and fetch her after completing his mission in the north and without harming a single soul. Smaug begrudgindly agrees.

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