Yes, this story will be riddled with spoilers in it, and some snark.
With less than 2 months to go before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, we at TheOneRing.net thought you might like a little survival guide if you happen to be Arachnophobic or Drakonophobic. The Lord the Rings: The Return of the King was a little hard on many avowed Arachophobe Tolkien fans, this reporter’s sister being one of them. She watched the entire Shelob sequence from behind her purse every time she saw it on the big screen. It was only when she saw it on DVD that she could watch it unfettered.
Long before Tolkien conceived of Sam fighting off Shelob to try and save Frodo, he placed an entire Colony of giant Spiders in Mirkwood to trap the Company of Dwarves for Bilbo to rescue. This was Bilbo’s first real challenge to help the Company and he rose to the occasion. Here you can see the fear on Bilbo’s face, but he conquers it to save the Dwarves, and you can conquer your Arachnophobia too.
As for Drakonophobia, that may have been made up word, not quite sure, but better safe than sorry. Now, to be fair, there are probably more Arachnophobes than there are Drakonophobes in the world simply because there are more spiders in the world than there are dragons. We have all those Knights in Shining Armor to thank for that. Except in China, where the dragons settled in the Rivers and became good luck symbols and come out every Chinese New Year. Gung Hey Fat Choy!!!!
Dragons as seen in Tolkien’s Middle-earth can easily instill Drakonophobia in man and beast alike , and Smaug is the most famous of those dragons. There was fear, mixed with anger and sadness when Thorin told the story of Smaug’s attack on the Lonely mountain, killing so many and driving out the few survivors. Thranduil would not risk his own people to help and Dale was completely destroyed. The entire area around the Lonely Mountain was called the Desolation of Smaug while the Men of Lake-town built their town on stilts over the lake in the hopes of surviving future dragon attacks. Smaug has not been seen in 60 years, and yet Drakonophobia is still affecting the people of Lake-town to this day. But no one is really sure he is still really alive since it’s been so long since he was last seen, at least not until Bilbo makes his fateful first burgal attempt.
So, without further ado, here are a few helpful pointers on how to survive your inner phobias when spiders and dragons appear onscreen.
1) Read The Hobbit before the film opens, familiarity makes it easier to handle shocks of this nature, at least the chapters in Mirkwood through Bilbo entering the Lonely Mountain.
2) Go with a really tall friend and sit behind them. If you have no tall friend, find a tall person in the theater and sit behind them.
3) If you prefer to see the film unfettered, then bring a jacket or purse to put in front of your eyes during the spider or dragon scenes.
4) Failing a jacket or purse, buy a soda or popcorn to raise up, my preference would be popcorn, because if you spill it from fright, it is less messy and certainly not cold or sticky.
5) Bring Litzi (Red Envelope with money or gold in it) purely to use as a Chinese New Year gift/bribe
6) Put on your Ring of Power and hide
7) Hold hands with your best friend, try not to cut off the circulation.
8) Run out of the theater during the scary bits (works for children)
9) If running out of the theater seems to be a waste of money, just close your eyes, but you may need to hold your hands over years ears too, those spiders seem to make some creepy noises. Smaug, on the other hand has a rather awesome voice.
10) Wait for the film to come out on DVD/Blu-ray