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Analysis: just how big is Jackson’s Smaug?

May 11, 2013 at 3:39 am by Demosthenes  - 

Pages: 1 2 3

Smaug in da Hoard

In the final scenes from An Unexpected Journey, Smaug awakes from slumber. You know the scene. If you don’t there’s always Google. Pro-tip: Smaug + Hoard + Video.

Aside: apparently Smaug sleeps buried under his hoard. Maybe it’s like a sleeping mask thing. I know I have a habit of sleeping with an arm across my eyes. So let’s just roll with it.

I took a screencap. Heaps of potential images to choose from. I fancied one that revealed as much of Smaug’s head as possible. So I have used a very wide image that has the left nostril, the left eye and as much of the “frill” as we see in the frame.

smaug-coin-guided Now we have to pick a coin. One that is either not moving, or only moving vertically (not horizontally).

You might wonder why. Well, that means that motion blur won’t be making our chosen coin seem larger than it really is.

I chose one near the centre that was highly reflective (so it was easier to find the edges compared to its golden cousins) and which seemed by and large motionless.

You can see it in the guides I’ve drawn up. According to Photoshop that coin, which is 4.09cm long, is 0.4cm of the width of the image file.

And that is the information we need for a gauge!

Let’s start with the eye.

How big is Smaug’s eye?

The eye in the image file forms 7.25cm of the image file.


Divide that number by 0.4 and we get how many coins are equal to the span of Smaug’s eye. The answer: 18.125. Now, if each coin is 4.09cm long, and Smaug’s eye is equal to 18.125 of them, that makes the span of Smaug’s eyeball an impressive 74.13 centimetres! Pretty damn magnificent.

Some comparisons?

Well, your eyeball is probably about 2.5cm in diameter. The eyeball of a horse is around 3.4cm. The eyeball of an elephant is roughly the same (strange but true!). The largest living mammal species, the Blue Whale, has an eyeball around 15cm in diameter.

The Giant Squid has an eyeball that’s up to 27cm in diameter. That’s huge, but still only one-third the size of Smaug’s eye.

Apparently, in nature, eye size is strongly linked to running speed (you can read more here — it’s interesting stuff). The scientists who studied this stuff said: “This gives them better vision to avoid colliding with obstacles in their environment when they’re moving very quickly.”

We know Smaug can move at a rate of knots when there’s ponies for the eating.

Rather than work out the rest by hand and bore you all to death with mathematics, I’m going to chuck the results in a list below:

* Eye size 74.13cm
* Nostril size 94.17cm
* Head size 671.47cm

What’s the size of Smaug’s head?

Well, turns out it’s longer than a lot of sedans (which are usually around five metres long). It’s more than half as long as a bus (around 12 metres). Lay four people end to end, and they’re still probably not as long as Smaug’s head, going from nose to nape of neck.

Smaug would be intimidatingly large for a hobbit or a dwarf. Even Elwe “Thingol” Singollo, tallest of all the Children of Illuvatar, would find himself a mite overtopped.

(Don’t worry, the compulsory measurement of Smaug in number of football fields is coming shortly.)

Posted in Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit, Tolkien on May 11, 2013 by