- "My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"
Smaug was the greatest and most powerful Dragon in the later part of the Third Age, and the last of the great Fire-drakes of Middle Earth. (Whether there might be other fire-drakes on other continents of Arda is unknown.) He is described as red-golden, and is intelligent and cunning. He could speak in the Common Speech of all races and was able to put people under the dragon-spell with his glare, compelling them to do his bidding. His invasion of Erebor and his possession of the Lonely Mountain made him extremely wealthy, since the Lonely Mountain was once home of Dwarves and still held much of their treasure. Smaug lived there for many years, until he was slain during the events of The Hobbit. Smaug is the main antagonist of The Hobbit.
- "Revenge! Revenge! The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and where are his sons' sons that dare approach me? I kill where I wish and none dare resist."
In the twenty-eighth century of the Third Age, the chronologies of the Westlands tell of how the mightiest Dragon of the Age came from the north to the great kingdom of the Dwarves in Erebor, the Lonely Mountain. The Fire-drake called Smaug the Golden was vast and bat-winged and a fearsome bane to Dwarves and Men. With consuming Dragon-flame, Smaug ruined the city of the Men of Dale and broke the door and wall of the Lonely Mountain. The Dwarves then fled or were slain and Smaug took the riches of the mountain and the town: gold and gemstones, mithril and silver, elf gems and pearls, the many faceted crystals of emerald, sapphire and diamond, as well as the Arkenstone.
For two centuries, Smaug ruled the Lonely Mountain uncontested, laying waste to the lands around the mountain, so that the blasted domain of the Dragon of Erebor became known as the Desolation of Smaug. Yet in the year TA 2941, a company of 14 adventurers led by the heir of the former Dwarf-kingdom, Thorin Oakenshield, entered Smaug's mountain by a secret door. One of the party, Hobbit 'burglar' Bilbo Baggins, approached the Fire-drake by stealth and was surprised to find that Smaug was larger than he had expected. Smaug was armored, as all of his race, with scales of impenetrable iron, but, in wariness, he protected his soft underbelly from assault: as he lay sprawled upon the wealth of his hoard he allowed diamonds and hard gemstones to imbed in his belly, armoring his only weakness.
During a confrontation with the Dragon, Baggins noticed one missing scale on the monster's left breast, nearest his heart. With this invaluable information, he escaped the Mountain and, while discussing Smaug's weakness with the Dwarves, he was overheard by a friendly bird (a thrush), who carried the secret to Bard the Bowman in nearby Esgaroth (Laketown).
The burgling of the Hobbit aroused Smaug and he came out in fiery wrath and loosed his flame upon the land. In vengeance, he went to the town built on the Long Lake (Laketown), and devastated it. In the midst of the wreck, Bard the Bowman, heir to the throne of Dale, did his best to rally the defenders. Bard, guided by the secret of Smaug's weakness, shot a magic black arrow into the beast's chest. Screaming in fury and pain, Smaug fell, crashing into the flaming ruins of Laketown.
After DeathAfter Smaug's death, Thorin and Company claimed the treasure as theirs by birthright. This created a conflict with Bard and the Elvish king Thranduil of Mirkwood, each of whom wanted a portion of the gold as reimbursement for all the damage Smaug had caused their kingdoms over the years. Thorin refused to share the treasure and, as a result, they both declared war on him.
It is said that a vast fortune in gemstones lay with Smaug's rotting carcass amongst the pilings of old Laketown, but few had the courage to dive for them in later years. With no Dragon to contend, the survivors of the town rebuilt—on dry land next to the lake.
First introduction to Smaug himself (in the chapter Inside Information) he is described as red-golden. Only about half of the illustrations of Smaug seem to take this into account, and it has yet to be seen whether or not the Peter Jackson film versions will have him this color, or some other (though glimpses so far indicate at least a golden tail).
Smaug's scales rendered him almost invulnerable, and made even stronger by jewels plastered to them from decades lying on them. This is described as a diamond waistcoat. However, when Bilbo Baggins confronted him in his lair, he discovered a bare patch on his underbelly, on the left side of his chest. Bard used this to defeat him when he fired his Black Arrow into him.
Smaug could not have destroyed the One Ring (the ring Bilbo was carrying). In the later Lord of the Rings, Gandalf stated that no dragon, not even Ancalagon The Black, was powerful enough to destroy the One Ring.
Portrayal in Adaptations
Director Peter Jackson has stated that in his 2012 and 2013 film adaptions, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Smaug will be created through the use of motion capture performance, performed by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who will also be providing Smaug's voice.
Smaug has a very brief appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, during the opening prologue and the ending, but only portions of him can be seen, not his full body.
Behind the Scenes
In the books, the name Smaug is presented as a translation of the "original Dalish" Trâgu, and is related to Sméagol/Trahald. According to Tolkien, the name Smaug is "the past tense of the primitive Germanic verb Smugan, to squeeze through a hole" (Letter No. 31); others have noted that it has echoes of "smoke" and "smog", though this connection is illusory at best, since in Tolkien's phonology, the "au" phoneme is pronounced like the "ou" phoneme in sound or house. Therefore names such as Sauron or Smaug are pronounced like Sow-ron or sm-ow-g.
According to Michael Noer, writing for Forbes Magazine, Smaug is the wealthiest fictional character, with a treasure having a calculated valuation of over 62 billion dollars. 
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- ↑ Michael Noer, How Much is a Dragon Worth, Revisited, Forbes.com, Business section (23 April 2012).