Smaug is one of the last great dragons of Middle-earth. He attacked the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor, also known as the Lonely Mountain, and the neighboring town of Dale. Driving out the Dwarves, Smaug took over the Lonely Mountain and laid claim to all of the treasure within. For two hundred years, he has lived in the Lonely Mountain, guarding the treasure. The people of the nearby town of Esgaroth, or Lake-town, live in constant fear that one day the sleeping dragon might awake.
In Tolkien’s letters, he describes the name “Smaug” as the past-tense form of the old Germanic term smeugan, which means “to squeeze through a hole.” This is significant, because the Dwarves ponder, at the beginning of The Hobbit, whether Smaug was able to squeeze through the secret entrance to the Lonely Mountain.
- “You have nice manners for a thief and a liar.” (to Bilbo)
- “Don’t talk to me! … I know the smell (and taste) of dwarf — no one better.” (to Bilbo)
- “Bless me! Had you never thought of the catch?” (to Bilbo)
- “My armor is like tenfold shields. My teeth are like swords. My claws, spears. The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt. My wings, a hurricane. And my breath, death.” (to Bilbo)