Smaug the Golden


time period
early Third Age - late Third Age

Smaug the Golden was greatest and most cunning of the Grey Mountain Dragons. He was slow to anger but exceptionally pitiless, spiteful, wrathful, and proud. Although red, his scales had a golden undertone which reflected light like metal. In the sunlight or bright moonlight, Smaug appeared to be gold in color; thus his name. He was 90 feet long and had a wingspan of 150 feet, which was unusually large for a Fire-drake of the Third Age. Smaug originally resided in the Barl Syrnac, but he moved to Anvilmount, northwest of the Withered Heath, when he discovered that Dwarves had uncovered mineral wealth in region.

Smaug's Tale

Smaug was most likely born (or rather hatched) about 2570. He originally settled Anvilmount in the Grey Mountains where he found a vast delving which had once been (ca. First Age) an Adan holy place. In keeping with his nature, Smaug defiled the tombs and took the modest treasure for his hoard. He was upset with the lack of wealth and decimated much of the surrounding countryside in a fit of rage. When the tale of the wealth of the Dwarves of Erebor (S. "Lonely Mountain") came to his sharp ears in T.A. 2770, Smaug decided that this great treasure should be his. He flew southward across the Withered Heath and over the grasslands of northern Rhovanion. When he came to Erebor, he surprised his prey, and those that were caught within the mount were slaughtered. The rest of the Dwarves, who were led by King Thrór, fled eastward to the Iron Hills. Circling the isolated mountain, the pitiless Drake then swept down on Dale and burned the town that stood near the base of the peak. Only a few of the Northman residents survived. They escaped southward to Esgaroth (Lake-town) on the Long Lake.

Smaug ruled under the Mount for two centuries, occasionally stirring to destroy the surrounding countryside. He extended his wasteland domain, known as the Desolation of Smaug, as far as the Long Lake and the Long Marshes. The Dragon gathered his treasure — which included the entire wealth of Thrór's people — into an awesome pile, upon which he rested.

In T.A. 2941, Thorin Oakenshield brought his company of Dwarves (and a Hobbit) out of the West to challenge the great Drake. Thorin's compatriot, Bilbo Baggins, disturbed the Dragon. In the process, the vain beast revealed his birthspot, the one flaw in his armor. This proved to be his undoing. When he subsequently arose to kill Thorin's Dwarves and destroy the town of Esgaroth that had harbored and helped them, one of the townsmen was ready to exploit Smaug's secret. As he flew vengefully over the Long Lake and began burning the settlement. Bard the Bowman (the rightful heir to the throne of the then-ruined town of Dale) shot and killed the Dragon. Thus, Bard avenged the destruction of Dale and ended the reign of the mightiest Dragon in the North.


The ICE Canon made Smaug a child of Ancalagon and one of the few Dragons that actually survived the War of Wrath.This seems unlikely as when smaug invaded Erebor in 2770 he was still considered a relatively young drake.As Glaurung needed about 200 years to grow to full strength after his first appearance it seems unlikely that Smaug was actually much more than four hundred years old.Also Tolkien stated that only two dragons (seemingly one Cold Drake and one Fire Drake) had survived the war of Wrath and became the ancestors of all later Dragons.More likely Smaug and his brothers and sister (Throkmaw, Ruingurth and Utumkodur) were grand- or even great-grandchildren of Ancalagon.


  • MERP:Creatures of Middle-Earth
  • MERP:The Grey Mountains
  • MERP:Middle-Earth Adventure Guidebook II
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