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The Hobbit

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    Bird's Nest 
  • Radagast has a bird's nest on his head, which is leaking bird shit down the side of his face and beard. Why is the bird shitting in its own nest? Does it get trapped under his hat? If so, why would the bird willingly use that nest?
    • Coz birds do that? I've owned four birds, and they shit anywhere, Including their nests (Especially their nests). As for why they stay there, they like the company? The fact that being near him pretty much is the safest bet from predators? And he's no doubt got good access to food if they need it?
    • They actually shit straight out of their nest. They just don't bother to go further than simply stick their backsides right outside the nest, leading the crap fall exactly where you see.
    • Birds occasionally do make nests on things that move, like boats or seldom-driven trucks. So long as the vehicle moves slowly enough for them to keep up with it, or returns to its usual berth/parking space before the nestlings get too hungry, they won't abandon the nest.
    • Radagast himself might've put the nest there to keep its occupants safe, after finding it knocked to the ground by a storm or predator. Caring for injured or imperiled animals is what he does.

    Sauron's form 
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman says that Sauron cannot assume his humanoid form without the One Ring - which is supported by the fact that he only appears as a giant flaming eyeball, but Radagast's encounter with him in The Hobbit shows he's well on his way to doing so. Why is Jackson contradicting himself?
    • We have yet to see the White Council fight with him. It's possible that he has the ability to assume a humanoid form now, but his defeat (which we have not seen yet) changed that.
    • From what we see in Unexpected Journey, the Necromancer manifests as a humanoid figure of smoke and shadow- not exactly a physical form per se. In Fellowship, Saruman says that Sauron can't take a physical form yet, not that he can't manifest at all (otherwise, he wouldn't even be able to control his empire).
    • Key words: "Saruman says". It may well be that Saruman, who is a traitor, is simply lying about Sauron's ability to manifest.
    • Gollum when he was interrogated in Mordor was said to have seen him himself, so perhaps he can take a seeable form yet only as a shadow form made of smoke, he can't take a physical form and interact just yet since he lacks the ring.
    • Note that Saruman said that Sauron can't take physical form. He said nothing about humanoid. He's just a spirit in The Hobbit, just like he was in the LotR-trilogy.
    • We see this explicitly in Desolation of Smaug- the Necromancer goes through at least three forms during his battle with Gandalf (cloud of shadow, image of Sauron's armored form, Eye of Sauron), but none of them appears entirely solid or physically present.

    Glowing Blades 
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sting is the only Elvish blade to glow blue in the presence of orcs. Fine, since it would have taken extra time to explain Glamdring's glow (and possibly Haldir's troops in The Two Towers.) However, in The Hobbit, Elrond specifically states that both Glamdring and Orcrist would glow blue in the presence of orcs and goblins (and, by implication, Bilbo's as-yet-unnamed blade would too). But in practice, Bilbo's short sword shines brighter than a lightsaber, brighter than it ever did in The Lord of the Rings, and Orcrist and Glamdring never do. At best, they have a faint gleam that looks more like a trick of the eyes than a real glow, even in the goblin kingdom where they should've shone like torches. What gives?
    • In the film Elrond never says Glamdring and Orcrist would glow. It's Gandalf who says that to Bilbo, and he's only referring to Sting. One might wonder why the two others, having the same origin and being legendary weapons, do not glow, as they do in the book, but no one actually ever claims they should glow. So it's technically not a plot hole. Also had Glamdring glowed now, it would raise the question of why it no longer does in The Lord of the Rings. Presumably the film makers decided to make the two sword consistent, and keep Sting the way it was, since its the only one whose glow is ever relevant to the plot.
    • Agreed with the above. Glamdring and Orcist glowed in the book, but the directors/editors/producers/etc. in LOTR forgot that Glamdring glowed too until it was too late to change it, since they were focused on Sting. Eventually they decided that only Sting glowed, thus making it unique. They probably just wanted to keep Sting unique.
    • Gandalf specifically says, "This is an Elvish blade, which means it glows blue in the presence of orcs..." If he doesn't mean to imply that all elvish blades glow, that's pretty poor writing on the screenwriter's part.
    • Oh no, a character said something and it's automatically assumed that it's absolute truth and the author's opinion word for word instead of the character maybe, perhaps, simply being mistaken. That is pretty poor reading/watching on the reader's/viewer's part.
    • Yeah, because it's not like you would expect the character consistently shown to be one of the wisest beings in Middle Earth to be right about something!
    • Could be Fridge Brilliance: As Sting isn't large enough to have been a primary weapon for an elf warrior, it makes sense that it would be given a secondary property — detection of orcs/goblins — that would compliment the powers of the orc-killing sword which a dagger like Sting was originally paired up with.
    • Except that the elves in the books saw no problem with having Glamdring and Orcrist glow. It's not like it detracts from the combat effectiveness of the blade, and if it did you wouldn't choose another blade to give the 'orc proximity sensor' property to, you'd pick something like a ring that you wouldn't have to devote another hand to.
    • Which is really irrelevant; the movie is a different continuity, and in that continuity the elves' blades in general do not glow around Orcs. Only Sting does.
    • You say Sting glows brighter? I didn't notice. But if it did, it's probably because so many years have passed and the light has dulled. The batteries, I mean, uh . . . mystical elf magic obviously doesn't last that long, and so it dulls with time.
    • When Gandalf draws his sword in the Goblin caves their king comments in terror on how bright it glows, even though we in the audience see nothing.
    • Jackson & Co. stated that the swords looked too much like light sabers and it didn't look good. Since the medium of film focuses on visuals... it makes sense they'd cut something that looked weird.
    • Sure Gandalf says Elven blades glow but just because elves make blades that glow around orcs doesn't mean they make all their blades glow. Indeed that would be rather a problem in battle; a whole army's worth of glowing swords would make it almost impossible to see the enemy coming and indeed those three swords are the only ones the Professor mentions glowing anywhere in either book. So only some Elven blades glow. In the book that includes Orcist and Glamdring, in the films it doesn't. Not that big of a deal. As for the Goblin kings screaming about how Gandalf's sword is glowing it is reflecting about a thousand torches at the time.
    • There's a streak of panic at work in the goblin caves at the time. The King is exaggerating in his alarm, saying the sword is "glowing" in an overstatement of how menacing Gandalf suddenly appears. It's like a real-world human shouting, "Holy &$%#, he's got a big f-ing gun!", when a threatening person unexpectedly pulls a (normal-sized) pistol.

    Sting as a warning system 
  • I've had this query ever since Lord of the Rings. Sting is a sword which glows blue when Orcs / Goblins are close. Thorin's company knew they were haunted by Orcs. And even if they didn't, they at least knew Goblins were unpleasant and should better be avoided. So why sheath Sting at all? Why not have Bilbo's job be Orc / Goblin detector and just keep holding it unsheathed, and whenever it glows blue inform the gang? The sequence always seems to go: Somebody notices Sting is glowing blue, oops, too late, Orcs are already all over us.
    • Because you don't run around with a gun in your hand and your finger on the trigger either, do you? Sting is a weapon. A sharp weapon. And for the one time that it warns you of Orcs, there's 99 times that you're climbing over rocks, riding horses, or jumping from stone to stone where having a naked blade out is a bad idea.
    • They could still use it better as a sensor by poking a small hole on the sheath, so a little bit of the blade's side is always exposed. It wouldn't compromise the sheath itself (specially considering that we're talking about an elven dagger with thousands or years on it, it's probably quite resistant to natural erosion), and it would allow a little bit of light to shine through. Then all they have to do is keep an eye on it.
    • But even the little bit of light in the above scenario might be much more visible to the huge and dark-adjusted eyes of the goblins, than to the dwarves and the hobbit; and therefore something they'd want to keep hidden, so as to avoid drawing their pursuers to them. And my recollection was that initially, they didn't realize they were in the Goblin King's territory; and later, they were far too busy fleeing to stop and periodically check whether Bilbo's sword was glowing. (I also recall in Fellowship, nobody thought to check Sting either, until they were at Balin's tomb and the Orcs were already on the way. This is also Truth in Television, like not checking if you have your keys until after the door has locked behind you.)
    • Does the film continuity ever establish the range on the orc sensor? Since it was made in Gondolin, a blade that tells you there're orcs within ten miles tells you they're up to something unusual. In the Misty Mountains, knowing there are orcs within ten miles or so is practically a certainty.
      • Sting's warning seems to be meant not for "orcs may be in range of our city," but for "orcs are about to threaten me personally." Bofur has an entire conversation with Bilbo and only notices the glow at the end, when the goblins are about to spring their trap. Later, the glow goes out when Gollum kills the one goblin in range, even though the rest of Goblin-Town isn't that far away. Likewise, in Fellowship, it's not certain when Sting starts glowing, but by the time Aragorn notices it, the Uruk-hai are just around the corner.

    Gandalf's reasons for starting the journey 
  • I know that in the book, Gandalf sent the dwarves and Bilbo on their journey to keep Smaug and Sauron from assisting and allying with one another. In the film, Gandalf did not realize that Sauron has made a foothold in Dol Guldur yet so what is his motivation for sending Thorin and Co. on this quest?
    • Gandalf doesn't yet know that Sauron is active in Mirkwood, but he does know that Sauron is still out there somewhere and will eventually try to return to power. Wizards (and elves, for that matter) play the long game.
    • Better see the film again. Gandalf did not "send" the dwarves to the Lonely Mountain, it was their own idea and they would have gone anyway, with or without Gandalf, with or without the help or blessing of The Omniscient Council of Vagueness in Rivendell.
    • Thorin was the one who wanted to reclaim Erebor and kill Smaug; Gandalf thought it was a good idea because of the possibility of Smaug allying with Sauron and so put his support behind Thorin's expedition, going so far as to choose their burglar for them. From Thorin's perspective the quest was all his and Gandalf just helped out; from the perspective of most of the Wise (and Sauron) it would look much more like a piece Gandalf has put into play; I think Gandalf himself would think of it as seeing something already in motion (or about to be in motion) and greasing the wheels for it.
    • Even without any prospect of Smaug allying with Sauron there are very good reasons for Gandalf supporting the quest given he suspects Sauron's imminent resurgence - Erebor is perhaps the most impenetrable stronghold in Rhovanion and the dwarves are some of the hardiest and most tenacious of the free peoples; returning them to their homeland and prosperity will greatly strengthen the region when war inevitably comes - it will certainly help to block Sauron's armies from passing north of Mirkwood, creating a barrier right from the Grey Mountains to the sea. Gandalf comments in the books (probably The Quest for Erebor) how the War of the Ring wasn't won solely on the fields of Pelennor, but also outside the gates of Erebor and other locations - just as Gandalf rallies Rohan and Gondor during the war itself, here he's rallying the dwarves and preparing them for the impending conflict.
    • There is also good and sufficient reason just in getting rid of the dragon, one of the most powerful creatures on the planet, a beast of unimaginable viciousness which burns entire realms just For the Evulz. Whether it did or didn't ally itself with anyone else, there's no telling when it might decide to go on a new rampage, or where. So, if there's an opposite trope to For the Evulz, part of Gandalf's motivation is that (For The Goodz?).
    • For Great Justice!

    Preparing against dragon attacks 
  • Related question: If you know dragons are a thing that exists in your world, and you're obsessed with your gold, shouldn't you have an anti-dragon defense plan set up for your gold stash? Seems like some ballista or weighted nets or something could have been set up.
    • Dragons were very rare after the War of Wrath where Morgoth was thrown to the Outer Void, and Great Dragons even more so. Smaug belongs to the latter category and is believed to be the Last of His Kind. In short, dragons were a distant rumour as far as Erebor was concerned, something that was a problem in the distant North and East, not at their own doorstep. Besides, they had excellent defenses that could have held entire armies at bay. Since no-one alive had experienced an actual dragon attack, at least one as terrible as Smaug's, they were thoroughly unprepared for the real thing.
    • With something like Smaug, anti-dragon defenses can best be summed up as "pray a dragon doesn't notice you."
    • This, pretty much. What anti-dragon defenses could there be? Erebor was already about as hardened and impenetrable as it could get, on the defense side. On the offense side, weapons large enough to hurt most dragons would be in the "siege weaponry" size category, which for people at their level of development would have been too slow to arm and aim to do much good against a dragon.
    • The Desolation of Smaug revealed there were anti-dragon defenses already in place when Smaug attacked, namely Dwarven windlass crossbows and black arrows. Unfortunately for Dale and Erebor, Smaug was too fast and too tough for the crossbows to be effective, and the black arrows were few to come by.
    • The windlance was a little more than just a crossbow. It was basically a ballista, and the black arrow was a high power ballista bolt. It's said that dragon hide is so tough that anything but a direct hit from one of those would be completely ineffective. Bard's grandfather managed a glancing blow from a windlance, and all it did was knock a scale off.
    • And even when they were used, all they ended up doing was chipping scales off of Smaug, rather than actually hurting him. Keep in mind Smaug is in the same class, though not quite as powerful, as Dragons like Glaurung and Ancalagon the Black. For comparison, Glaurung was killed by Turin using a sneak attack with an enchanted blade, and Turin, one of the strongest human warriors ever, died with him. Ancalagon was so powerful he and his Brood drove the VALAR back for a time. So there really wasn't anything more the dwarves could do to effectively fight him than what they did.

    Thorin's heirs 
  • Why are Fíli and Kíli considered Thorin's heirs? Dwarf-women join their husband's houses when they marry, and Fíli and Kíli aren't male-line descendents. Surely they wouldn't be counted in the line of succession.
    • Most likely because Thorin has no children of his own, and Fíli and Kíli are the closest in blood-relation to him, even if they aren't technically part of the House of Durin because the line goes through their mother. So, they are most likely his heirs because of the closer blood ties, more than what House they technically belong to or not.
    • Tolkien states that many dwarves never marry and even fewer have children, so it makes sense that Thorin would look to his closest blood-relations for heirs, including his sister. He probably isn't the first dwarf of nobility or royalty to never sire children. And even in heavily patrilineal countries, if there were no closely related heirs from the male lineage, it wasn't unheard of for the children of female heiresses to be appointed to the throne.
    • Strict patrilinearity may have been judged too unpalatable for a modern audience, or just too difficult to explain within the constraints of a film.
    • And in a society where even kings don't necessarily marry, it would make sense if an unwed king without any younger brothers could simply proclaim that whomever he chooses can be his heirs. In Thorin's case, he chose his nephews.

    Gandalf and the Necromancer 
  • If Gandalf knows unequivocally that the Necromancer is Sauron as of Desolation of Smaug, why is he so surprised that Sauron has returned in Fellowship of the Ring?
    • Alzheimers?
    • Because they'll undoubtedly banish him rather utterly by the end of There and Back Again and don't expect him to rise to full power again in a few short decades, especially in his old seat of power at Mordor.
    • Also, it wasn't the fact that Sauron was still around that surprised him - "The spirit of Sauron endured", remember? - it was the fact that he'd discovered the One Ring was not so lost after all, and that Sauron might very well be trying to get it back.
    • Exactly right. Gandalf wasn't surprised at all that Sauron was still around/alive; it was the ring being around - in the Shire no less - and that Sauron was looking for it that he didn't know about. So actually, even if they (The White Council) do somehow banish Sauron from Dol Guldur in There and Back Again, what Gandalf and the others should know is that whatever they do won't get rid of Sauron permanently. That he's still out there somewhere, though they may not know exactly where, i.e. back in Mordor.
  • Gandalf himself admits that most likely there's a trap waiting for him in Dol Guldur... So why does he go there anyway? He should know Sauron is stronger than him, so he has no chance of beating him face-to-face. Why doesn't he wait until the rest of the White Council gets there, so they'd have a better fighting chance? By deciding to go to Dol Guldur alone he achieves nothing except getting himself captured. Shouldn't Gandalf be smarter than that?
    • I disagree that "he should know Sauron is stronger than him" - honestly according to everything in the first trilogy, Sauron isn't strong at all, and doesn't act directly - his powers are essentially remote-viewing, and willing other forces of evil to act. Sauron in Desolation demonstrates FAR greater power than he demonstrates in the LOTR trilogy and there's really no explanation for why he gets weaker given - best guess is something Galadriel did in their contest of wills weakened him greatly.
    • I don't see how one could possibly judge Sauron's strength in direct combat from the LOTR film trilogy, because we never see him in such a situation there (outside the prologue). This is more an issue of Sauron's personality than anything; his nature is to lurk in the shadows and use others as his tools as much as possible, not to go out fighting himself (taking the Legendarium as a whole into account, the number of times he's actually depicted as fighting can be counted on one hand, and are always in response to having lost almost all of his minions). In LOTR he doesn't fight not because he's somehow weaker, but because he's got nine Nazgul and hundreds of thousands of men and orcs to do that for him; in The Hobbit, he's responding to what amounts to an invasion of his own home when he's already sent his army away. It's a question of circumstance, not of power. Also, going by the books, keep in mind that the entire Dol Guldur battle was a feint to make the White Council think they'd beaten him, leaving him free to return to Mordor and bring his true strength to bear...
    • Gandalf and Sauron are more or less equal in power so long as Sauron is without the Ring (at which point Sauron becomes more powerful than his mentor, Morgoth), as both are Maiar. The problem is that Gandalf is mandated so that he can't use the full extent of his powers (thus becoming more than capable of pretty much solving Middle-Earth's problems sans Sauron with the Ring on his own), as doing so would lead men to depend on him and become complacent. Also remember that Sauron is sorely weakened by the time he takes refuge in Dol Guldur. The only reason why their fight doesn't end with a draw is to build dramatic tension.
    • But obviously Gandalf knows that he can't use his full power against Sauron. And even if he suspects Sauron is weakened, he doesn't know how weak Sauron is. So he enters Dol Guldur not knowing whether or not Sauron is powerful enough to defeat him. So the question remains: why doesn't he wait for the rest of the White Council to arrive there, so they'd have a better chance of defeating Sauron? Sauron has been building his power base in Dol Guldur for years, so waiting for a few days for reinforcements wouldn't really change anything... Yet for some reason Gandalf seems to think it's necessary for him to go there immediately after he gets definite proof that the Necromancer is Sauron.
    • Sauron with the Ring is NOT more powerful than Morgoth, not even close. Morgoth was powerful enough to change the landscape and climate of the entire world (he was responsible for creating the polar caps and several mountain ranges, volcanos and underground complexes); he created and bred Orcs by the millions, he created trolls and, more importantly, Dragons. Even with the Ring, the best Sauron could do was erect Barad-dûr, perfect the regular Orc into the Uruk-Hai and the regular Troll into the Olog-Hai, and breed the fell-beast for the Nazgûl 's use.
    • Don't get Morgoth confused with Melkor. They're technically the same person, but Middle-earth's first Dark Lord diminished in power greatly over the course of his career. As Melkor, he was the most powerful Physical God on the planet, and the second-most powerful being in the cosmos after Eru Ilúvatar, but he underwent canonical Villain Decay, squandering his power in extravagant acts of hate and destruction until by the time he became Morgoth, locked into a single physical form, he was weak enough that Ungoliant was a threat to him, Fingolfin was able to fight and injure him, and Lúthien was able to enchant him. Save the breeding of Dragons (which, though Tolkien gives no info on the precise process, may have been accomplished by using his corrupted Maiar as progenitors and therefore would have needed little to none of Morgoth's personal power) everything you describe was performed by the Great Enemy as Melkor, not Morgoth. When we say "Sauron + Ring > Morgoth, it means that Sauron at his strongest was more powerful than Morgoth at his weakest, not that Sauron outpowered Melkor at the height of his strength.
    • There is nothing in Tolkien's writings that suggests than even at his weakest Morgoth may have been less than his servant. Even by the time he had lost much of his power, Morgoth still managed to magically bred a wolf that was quite more powerful than Sauron was in his own wolf-form. Ungoliant being a threat means little since that was after she drank the Trees dry, and it required the entire Balrog host (ech one a Maia like Sauron) to drive her off.
    • Nothing in Tolkien's writings? Au contrair. 'Sauron was 'greater', effectively, in the Second Age, than Morgoth at the end of the First. Why? Because, though he was far smaller by natural stature, he had not fallen so low. Eventually, he also squandered his power (of being) in the endeavour to control others. But he was not obliged to expend so much of himself. To gain domination over Arda, Morgoth had to let most of his being pass into the physical constituents of the earth...' Morgoth's Ring, pg 394. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Morgoth's breeding of things like dragons and super-werewolves was part of his problem, or at least symptomatic of his wasteful use of his powers that led to him being drastically weakened (while the only thing Sauron permanently sunk part of himself into was the One Ring, where he could still access it so long as the Ring remained in his possession and which actually enhanced his power while he wore it). The same text goes on to state that Sauron also likely had a greater knowledge of the Music (and by extension, of the things brought into being by Eru and the other Valar and Maiar) while Morgoth was only really interested in the raw expressions of elemental force that were his own particular domain; therefore as Arda became more defined and settled, Morgoth's knowledge and nature didn't serve him as well as Sauron's did.
    • Gandalf still wasn't sure that the Necromancer was Sauron. In the battle he managed to confirm that it was, in fact Sauron, so he didn't achieve "nothing". If he hadn't gone in the "Necromancer" may have managed to keep his identity secret.
    • Maybe I'm too cynical, but I assumed he did it to force Saruman's hand. If he just came back with intel, Saruman would stall further. If he's captured alive, it'll take a lot to stop Galadriel (and maybe Elrond) setting off on a rescue mission regardless of Saruman's opinion. That's why he's so adamant that Radagast *must* escape to tell them.
    • ^ This exactly. As it is, Saruman is very much on a 'wait and see' course, and he has enough pull with the rest of the White Council to make that policy if the only thing he has to act on is Gandalf's suspicion that someone is in Dol Guldur. But in getting "caught," Gandalf forces them to come and rescue him and thereby see for themselves that it is, in fact, Sauron, both jolting them out of their own complacency and getting them to punch Sauron in the nose.

    Iron weapons 
  • Specially forged weapons that are good for killing dragons - and the Black Arrow - are made of iron. The trouble is that iron, in and of itself with nothing else added, is not a very good material for weapons, since it can be quite brittle and ideally should be mixed with carbon to make steel, which is much stronger. Admittedly iron does sound better than steel in a fantasy world, but still.
    • I think we can assume they have some sort of enchantment on them, like a "+1 dragon-bane weapon" in D&D.
    • Cold iron is often the bane of supernatural in mythological settings, usually fairies but plenty of other creatures are also given the weakness, including vampires and werewolves. Dragons can't be that far behind on the list. And maybe the dwarves of Erebor figured out some semi-mystical way of making pure iron incredibly durable?
    • It might actually be a case of Elvish work rather than Dwarven. Elves clearly imbue their weapons with magic, which makes those who are evil more vulnerable to their bite. Since Erebor was allied with the elves back in the day, the black arrows may be more powerful not because they’re iron, but because they’re iron infused with Elvish magic. That would also explain why so few of them were made – Erebor was allied with the Elves, but still not exactly chummy with them, so they only managed to negotiate the making of four of them before Smaug showed up and ripped through the countryside like a weed whacker. Then the Elves just left, and nothing further was ever done about it.
      • Note that the aesthetic style of Bard's Black Arrow shows hints of both the curved motif of the films' elven craftsmanship and the squared-off, solid look of dwarf-forged metalwork. The Black Arrow's killing end splits and rejoins like the basket-hilt of a sabre, with each iron band curving smoothly, elf-style, yet square in cross-section a la something a dwarf would favor. The prop designers were playing up the historical links that once existed between the two peoples, and their respective contributions to mutual defense.
    • Dwarves also imbue magic in their weapons. It's in the song: "The Dwarves of yore made mighty spells, where hammers fell like ringing bells".
    • Also - in English, iron-carbon alloys with over 2% of carbon in them are called "cast iron" (this troper, whose native language is not English, is at loss as to why). And yes, cast iron can be brittle, depending on its specific composition, but pure iron isn't - it's actually too soft for practical use - carbon content makes it harder and brittler, but to make pure iron you need very sophisticated equipment. Coal has always been used in smelting, and all iron objects contain some carbon.

    Smaug's food 
  • Smaug had been holed up in Erebor for decades without being seen by the outside world until Thorin began to doubt he was still even there. What the heck did Smaug eat in all that time? Does he even need to eat? Was he hibernating? I really don't see "Smaug eats gold" as a viable theory.
    • I was always under the impression that Smaug (and dragons in general) did hibernate for extended periods.
    • Dragons are supernatural creatures and don't actually need to consume any more food than a Balrog or a Nazgûl does. They only eat for the pleasure of it.
    • That depends on whereas dragons are Maiar spirits or not. Even if they did originally start off as "angels", their assumption of a physical form and reproducing an entire physical race would pretty much render them physical beings if Tolkien's "Maiar based orcs alternative origin" explanation holds water.
    • May be dragons do eat, but they’re not necessary carnivorous, they may be omnivorous or even herbivorous like the sauropods were or like elephants and whales are. A dragon is a very large animal that would require huge amount of food. Now, we know Smaug doesn’t it people –cause there is a town nearby that haven’t see him in decades- and probably don’t eat animals –you don’t see any big fauna near either-. On the other hand, the environment around the Lonely Mountain seems kind of desertic to me, like with no much flora. My theory is that Smaug feeds from flora and only “eat” meat when killing for territorial reasons or because is omnivorous. Other animals of a similar size like brontosaurs and whales feed similarly. Although I do agree that he probably hibernate for long periods of time.
    • Actually, Smaug does eat people, as he boasts about having devoured the dwarves of Erebor and men of Dale "like a wolf among sheep". However, I'd imagine that he does this as for pleasure/as a terror tactic, since as you point out the fact that Laketown is still standing points towards people not being a mainstay of his diet. Of course, using the needs of real animals to try and figure out Smaug's needs doesn't really work that well, since Middle-Earth dragons are, more-or-less, biological magic-powered war engines bred by the God of Evil millennia ago to destroy his enemies- we know that Smaug eats, and that at least sometimes he eats meat, and that's about all we have to go on.
    • Fridge Logic + Fridge Horror: Having cooked the population of Erebor, he now has a lifetime supply of Jack Link's Brand Dwarf Jerky stashed somewhere in the mountain.
  • It's clearly established in the book that Smaug eats meat (whether or not he has to is up for debate) - he cheerfully tells Bilbo that he was outside eating the dwarves' ponies (not that the dwarves didn't notice him, but he was pissed off - although it doesn't state that the men from Laketown noticed him until his second hissy fit). I just assumed that he did leave the mountain from time to time to hunt the countryside for deer and such, but simply ignored Laketown to the point that the humans there stopped worrying about him. It's quite possible that he only has to eat every few days, weeks, or even months, and hates spending time away from his precious gold, so he only hunts for the minimum amount of time necessary before returning to bask in his enourmous wealth. And he is asleep when Bilbo arrives at the beginning of the night (the second time in the book, the only time in the film), but then wakes up and soon tears off happily to destroy Laketown - it's also possible that dragons are nocturnal and he was just waking up for his "morning," well rested and ready to go. And it is night when Smaug awakens from his bad dream and realises that the cup that Bilbo stole is gone (Bilbo's first visit in the book.). Therefore, if Smaug hunts at night, infrequently, and for a limited amount of time, the people of Laketown might not even notice him - especially if he goes out a back door not facing Laketown and stays very near the mountain to keep tabs on his hoard. Plus, he's a dragon with a number of cat-like tendencies - he may be quite stealthy, even if he's not necessarily trying to be.
  • The only thing we see Smaug do without someone else disturbing him is lay around on his treasure mound. If we assume that to be representative of his typical behavior then it might be that low levels of activity make him need less food to begin with. He's spent so long in Erebor that people think he might be dead or gone, so it wasn't like he regularly flew around.
    • Large predators can be very inconspicuous: dinner's easier to catch if it doesn't see you coming. Flying high enough to be seen a few days' journey away would scare off every herbivore in a similar radius. I'd also imagine that it's easier for a flying dragon to hunt when there's less vegetation. There seem to be open plains (prarie? mammoth steppe?) to the north, so he may prefer to fly off after the herds there rather than try to catch isolated deer or pigs in the scrublands around the Celduin.
    • He may also have decided that stirring up the men of Lake Town on a regular basis has got boring, and his life is quieter and easier if he lets them forget about him.

    Smaug's alliance 
  • Why would Smaug ally with Sauron in the first place? There seems to be little that Sauron could actually offer the dragon, at least that Smaug would want; there is no evidence he (Smaug) is interested in ruling over others for instance. Likewise Smaug is powerful enough to seize as much gold and eat as many men/dwarves/elves/hobbits as he likes with Sauron's help. Is this an in-character case of Gandalf underestimating Smaug (he certainly seemed to have a low opinion of the dragon in the first film) and simply assuming Smaug would be Dumb Muscle Sauron could trick into his service.
    • Well, both Sauron and Smaug have the same master (Melkor, the first Dark Lord), so there is a chance they can broker an alliance. Gandalf is just playing it safe by making sure it will never happen, or else there would be little the forces of good could do to stop them.
    • I don't really see Melkor as much of a factor, myself - he's ancient history by the time of the Hobbit/LotR portion of the cycle, and while Sauron was certainly willing to use Melkor's name to get what he wanted when necessary (see also: the Downfall of Númenor), he didn't seem to owe him real allegiance any longer. I don't see Smaug being particularly inclined to go to war for a long-vanished master either. Rather, I imagine that any Sauron/Smaug alliance would involve some of the most epic bribery ever seen in the history of Middle-Earth, particularly if Sauron's role in the alliance was just to point out targets he wanted destroyed, then pull his armies back and let Smaug do his thing with minimal interference.
    • You have a point about Melkor, though I think Sauron at least is still loyal to his wishes. But Smaug would definitely not see having targets to destroy as a downside, but rather as an advantage. It would be less about Sauron inviting him to work, and more like inviting him for a game he enjoys. Anything Smaug could take from Sauron as payment would just be a plus.
    • I think you're seriously overestimating Sauron's loyalty to Melkor, which was limited even when he was Melkor's Dragon- he's listed on the Dragon with an Agenda page for a reason (specifically, Melkor/Morgoth was motivated primarily by spite stemming from being unable to create- and be god of- his own world, while Sauron was motivated by a desire for peace and order that got warped by his pride into a need to control everything). And Smaug is a dragon, pretty much an incarnation of avarice. Why settle for just burning the world, when he can burn the world and get paid outrageously for it at the same time? I can't imagine he wouldn't milk Sauron for all he was worth, even as payment for things he'd have been perfectly willing to do anyway.
    • There's also the possibility that Sauron wouldn't get try to Smaug onside through an up-front offer of an alliance, but through sublter manipulation. Kind of Sauron's thing, after all, and Smaug is far from immune to manipulation (even Bilbo manages it in a minor way, after all).
    • Smaug himself said that he enjoys causing pain and suffering almost as much as having gold, heck he let Bilbo live at the end of the second film just so he could suffer as he destroys a small town, and was even tempted to let Thorin take the arkenstone just to see him become mad with greed. Plus the reason he went to the Dwarf kingdoms was for gold, Sauron could bribe him by saying not only will he give him people to kill for his satisfy his cruelty but also even more gold(as Smaug values every single coin in his hoard). Granted this is an unlikely bribery but Gandalf is Genry Savvy enough to not take the risk in case Murphy's Fourth Law kick in.
    • "Hey Smaug! How would you like to add all the gold in Middle-Earth to your treasure horde? If you help me burn down all the Kingdoms of Elves, Dwarves and Men (and who doesn't love burning, destruction and mass murder and all the screaming victims you can eat, AMIRITE?) and I will give you all of their treasure. Don't worry about me! I won't be needing currency in the new order, as I plan to enslave anyone we don't kill. Heck, I'll even force them to mine more gold and jewels and mithril out of the earth and give you even more treasure! By the time I'm done, you'll have a mountain of treasure bigger than Erebor to sleep on. Stick with me, baby! You're going to have so much fun killing every goddamn thing and becoming the richest motherfucking dragon there ever was and will ever be."
    • I can't help but draw a possible parallel between Sauron and Smaug's alliance to be just as worse as that of Morgoth and Ungoliant's earlier in the First Age, and Gandalf perhaps didn't want to see something like that happen again.
    • The exact wording in "The Quest for Erebor" is "And beyond them lay the desolation of the Dragon. The Dragon Sauron might use with terrible effect." Two words jump out at me: "might" (Gandalf is not sure that this will happen, but is being cautious), and "use" (he does not foresee an equal alliance, but Sauron controlling Smaug — by what means, who knows?).
    • So Gandalf was really just trying to get rid off a very dangerous loose cannon by killing Smaug? Whether he serves Sauron or not Smaug is still extremely dangerous and needs to die to ensure the safety of the north.
    • As a dragon, Smaug is a creature created and thus touched by evil and would be sensitive to Sauron's power. Remember that Gollum was somehow drawn to Mordor where he was captured, while Sauron was consolidating his forces. Smaug would probably be too powerful to be directly controlled by Sauron, but he could use his subtle influence to rouse Smaug from his slumber and awaken a desire to cause massive destruction that would ultimately benefit Sauron's cause.
    • Even if Smaug was content with all his gold and the suffering he had already caused, Sauron could offer to fix the spot where Smaug lost a scale. It is doubtful that such a task is beyond the one who forged such powerful rings and would require any attempts to kill him to have more black arrows than are known to exist.

    Sauron and Narya 
  • Sauron, who likes to have Rings of Power, takes Gandalf captive, who wears Narya, the Elvish Ring of Fire, and just leaves it on him? Wut.
    • Does Sauron even know Gandalf has Narya? It wasn't exactly common knowledge. Besides, the nature of the Three is such that they were essentially useless to Sauron unless he had the One, and if he did get the One back it would actually be advantageous for Gandalf to still have Narya, since Sauron could then enslave him.
    • Actually, the three Elven rings were uncorrupted by Sauron, so they'd be completely useless to him regardless of having the One (unless he could, somehow, corrupt them after their creation). He could take it from Gandalf in order to make him weaker, but either didn't care, or didn't know.
    • Not quite. When the One was first made, the wielders of the Three explicitly took them off in order to prevent themselves from being dominated, and Galadriel states in Fellowship (book version) that if Sauron regained the One, he'd be able to perceive her, her thoughts, and everything she'd used Nenya to do and be able to corrupt them at will, and Elrond says much the same at the Council - "it would be better if the Three had never been". Sauron may have never touched the Three, but they were made with the same techniques as the Seven and the Nine and thus would be subject to the One only if it's actually being used by Sauron, but unlike the other Rings they carry no corruption in-and-of themselves.
    • Considering Gandalf had no doubt whatsoever that he was walking into a trap, it's possible he didn't bring Narya along at the time, at all.
    • For that matter, where does Gandalf keep Narya when we don't see it? Or do I want to know?
    • Considering that hardly anyone knew Gandalf had Narya at all, I would not be at all surprised if it didn't have some means of concealing itself. In this particular situation, I imagine one of the Three would also be the opposite of the One- where the One wants Sauron to find and use it, Narya presumably would want to avoid being found by Sauron for as long as possible.
    • The three Elven Rings must have some way to prevent them from being taken against the bearer's will, since Saruman also fails to take Narya from Gandalf when he captures him (and according to the books he at least suspected that Gandalf had it). Sam can't even see Galadriel's ring in the book, even when she's obviously using it.
  • The extended cut of Battle of the Five Armies gives us the answer: Gandalf did have Narya with him at Dol Guldur, but it was protected by some kind of glamour. An orc tries to cut off Gandalf’s finger on Sauron’s orders and gets blown up by Galadriel for his trouble.

    The Arkenstone 
  • Does the Arkenstone have a corrupting influence like the Rings of Power do? In the first film it's implied that the discovery of the Arkenstone marked a turning point when Erebor (or at least Thror's mental state) started going downhill, and in the second film Smaug suggests that simply having the Arkenstone in his possession would corrupt Thorin and drive him mad.
    • Symbolically, definitely (there's a sub-narrative about the corrupting effects of greed). If they end up making it literally a corruptive magical item like the One Ring, that would be literalizing something that's best left symbolic, but I wouldn't put it past the filmmakers.
    • A more reasonable hypothesis is merely a case of Smaug having an idea of what Thorin's plan was. False hope can be a corrosive thing, and Smaug probably posited that Thorin getting the Arkenstone, gathering all the dwarf armies to him, and then getting them all charbroiled would have crushed Thorin completely, something Smaug would find most agreeable.
    • As Balin states, the Arkenstone is the crown jewel and representation of the entire treasure of Erebor. When Thorin sees the vast wealth before him, all of his initial thoughts of rescuing Bilbo are replaced by the thoughts of greed and the Arkenstone. After they reclaimed the mountain, Thorin refuses to part with any of the treasure that he sees as rightfully his, and Balin speculates that the Arkenstone would make him worse.
  • On a related note, when the dwarves couldn't find the Arkenstone after so many days of searching, why didn't anyone at least broach the possibility that Smaug might've been wearing the thing when he flew off to attack Lake-town? Even if the dragon's belly-coating of jewels was downplayed in the movie, the dwarves still knew he had at least some of his treasure jammed into the gaps between his scales: one of those coins slipped loose and fell right in front of them in the Clink Hello from the previous movie. And if there was anything from his hoard Smaug's greed would've urged him to keep on his own person, 24-7, it's the single most priceless object he's ever laid claim to.
    • The Arkenstone is not some small coin or random jewel of Erebor's great treasure, it is as Balin states to be a great white gem that can be recognized the moment you lay eyes upon it. Bilbo, despite being given a vague description of the Arkenstone and discovering there are many white gems that fit the description, was able to find and identify the crown jewel just from the glowing aura. If Smaug was wearing the Arkenstone, the Dwarves would have immediately spot it right on. Not to mention that Smaug considers all of Erebor's treasure to be priceless to him, and would take just as much offense if a single coin were to go missing.
    • Spotted it right on, even if it was coated with molten gold at the time Smaug flew out from the mountain? That's the only time the dwarves were really in a position to clearly view Smaug's entire body at once, and weren't otherwise too occupied in dodging, hiding, and/or fleeing a fiery death to inspect him in detail. The Arkenstone is big, but it's no Silmaril: its glow is very faint when it's in shadow, and it could easily be tucked deep beneath a large scale or at the base of a horn. But more importantly, the dwarves had already searched the place over and over and found no sign of it, and the possibility that the one thing they knew had left Erebor - Smaug - had taken the gem with him was never even mentioned. Heck, they never even speculated that it might've gotten caught up in the molten-metal flood they'd triggered, and be sealed under thousands of tons of gold in the grand hallway's new floor.

  • How does that shackle stay on Beorn's wrist when he transforms? His arms have got to be like three times as thick in his bear-form, right? Shouldn't it have snapped off or crushed all the bones in his wrist the first time he transformed with it on?
    • Yeah, I thought that was weird, too. Presumably some kind of magic is involved - if you're taking skin-changers captive, you might enchant the shackle somehow so that it doesn't break or destroy their wrists. Beorn said that they were imprisoned for sport, so it's possible that their torture involved setting up what would essentially be cock fights except with giant bears. Being forced to fight your own family and friends gladiator style would probably be the kind of sadism orcs would enjoy. In which case, the manacles would need to adapt with the skin-changers so that they would remain shackled at all times.
    • My question is actually if Beorn got one manacle off, then why does he still have the other? You would think after all this time he would have managed to get the second one off, so maybe he wears it to remember his kin and all they suffered or something.
    • Was he ever restrained by both wrists? If it was for a blood sport, he'd fight better if there's just a leash on one wrist.
    • That would make sense. Maybe all he managed to do was break the chain, but the manacle itself was too enchanted to get rid of.
    • It depends on how Beorn's shape-changing magic works. Perhaps he's a man with the soul of a bear, and that's why he can become a bear. And that manacle is no longer just a manacle, but a shackle that has been placed on Beorn's soul, symbolic of the pain he's suffered and what he's lost.

    Smaug's jeweled waistcoat 
  • I still can't quite tell if Smaug has his magnificently armored underbelly. It sparkles a bit at the beginning, but then the close-up is lacking. In the high def, it looks like he's got some gold coins jammed in his scales there. Is that what's going on?
    • It's just a few coins jammed in the cracks of his scales. I can only assume they figured an impenetrable coating of gems and gold would look bizarre in live action.
    • Or just unrealistic. Weta Workshop are sticklers for making their creatures seem like they could actually exist in real life. Which is also why they made Smaug a wyvern.
    • It also might not have worked well with the drown-the-dragon-in-gold ploy that the dwarves engineered in Desolation. Probably the "waistcoat" would've been scattered when Smaug shook the molten gold off himself, anyway.

     The Gender Dichotomy in Credits Songs Between the Trilogies 
  • Is there any significance to the fact that all the LOTR credits songs were performed by women, and that all The Hobbit credits songs were sung by men? I'm thinking, some sort of Fridge Brilliance that hasn't yet hit me. Any ideas?
    • Could just be to create contrast between the trilogies. The songs in the Hobbit trilogy are sung from the perspective of male characters, and the songs of Fellowship and Return of the King are from Galadriel's perspective. The anomaly being, of course, Gollum's song sung by Emiliana Torrini.
    • It was a Boy's choir that sang the Fellowship song.

     Tauriel's Ultimate Fate 
  • Seriously, what the hell happened to her after the movie? She'd been banished earlier, but her and Thranduil's last interaction would suggest she's forgiven. One of the art books says that they forged a connection in that scene, which would certainly suggest the banishment was revoked; Evangeline Lilly and Lee Pace both assume she went back to Mirkwood, but we don't know. Maddeningly, even the Extended Edition of Battle of the Five Armies didn't give any closure to her story arc, and since she's a Canon Foreigner, there aren't any other materials to draw off of.
    • She'd have no reason to return to Mirkwood. Legolas just left to join up with the Dunedain and Kili's just died, so the two men she's had any sort of feelings for are gone. Odds are, she just became a wanderer and remained as such until the end of her long days or she hopped on over to the Grey Havens and took the first boat available to Valinor and never looked back. Either that, or she returned to Mirkwood, fought in the War of the Ring, and either died or survived and left with the rest of her people.
      • Mirkwood has been her home her entire life, though, and she's more than just the sum of feelings for two guys. Presumably she has friends, and Thranduil did kind of raise her (not that that's addressed much in the films themselves). It's unfortunate that nobody behind the camera seems to have realized fans would like to actually know what her eventual fate was, especially since we last see her completely brokenhearted.
      • Tauriel may be strong but an elf's love runs far deeper than any race's, so much that they can die of extreme grief caused by a broken heart, The last scene shows her hunched over Kili's body in extreme emotional pain, ("If this is love, I do not want it. Take it from me, please. Why does it hurt so much?") and unlike Thranduil and Elrond she doesn't have any familial ties, obligations or kin to distract her from her mourning. It's not a stretch of imagination to say she would eventually succumb to grief. That could explain why there's no mention of her in LOTR.
      • Actually elves seem to be somewhat solitary creatures even amongst their own kind. Most of them seem to make a small handful of friends and keep them for life, and then spend the rest of their lives mourning them if they're lost. It would explain why Thranduil and even Elrond tend to be on the more melancholy side at times... they've been through enough wars to lose more than a few friends, which has left them with an eternal burden of mourning them. Elrond has responded by becoming a bit of a curmudgeon but making new friends, but primarily only among similarly long-lived races, Thranduil seems to have done his best to make himself emotionally distant even from his own son. Tauriel could conceivably be a bit of a loner even among her own kind, and after losing Kili, the one person she'd ever truly opened her heart to, she may have just decided the burden was too much and decided to sail for Valinor.
    • Possibly she's the reason why, decades later, there isn't an army of spiders fighting alongside Sauron's other forces in the War of the Ring. If Tauriel can really claim to have a love left at the trilogy's end, it's the forest: if she can't share her life with a guy, she can spend it restoring the Mirkwood to the Greenwood as best she can. So long as Thranduil's foresters don't find and/or report her, she may as well hunt Big Creepy-Crawlies and trespassing orcs to work through her grief.
    • If you are completely heart-broken and weary of remaining in Middle-Earth, then standard Elf procedure is to go to the Grey Havens, take a ship, and sail to the Undying Lands in the West.

     The Nazgûl 
  • In the film, the Necromancer appears to raise the Nazgûl from tombs. Hang on... they never actually died, right? So why were they inside tombs? Ones in Mirkwood, even! If they did "die", it would have been at the War of the Last Alliance, so who dragged their nonexistent bodies from Mordor to Mirkwood?
    • The tombs of the Ringwraiths are shown, and they aren't anywhere near Mirkwood. In Dol Guldur there are statues of them, and for some reason the Witch King seems to be hanging out inside the statue. Maybe he feels at home there?
    • Are they really tombs? Or are they prisons in which the Nazgul were confined, after Sauron's prior defeat, that just happen to look like tombs, the better to scare away the ignorant from messing with them?


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