I’m a big fan of dragons. I have been all my life. I like books and films involving friendly dragons and I don’t like it when dragons are the bad guys.

This could be partly why I have a problem really getting into The Hobbit.

Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit, is presented as a big, nasty dragon who is described as “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm.” and the entirety of the story revolves around getting rid of him so the dwarves can get their mountain back.

But why is Smaug in the mountain in the first place?

Smaug appears to be from the classical tradition of dragons who covet gold and live on their hoards. In The Hobbit, the dwarves of Erebor have spent many years amassing great wealth, stockpiling gold and gems within the mountain. Does that seem like a smart move in a world with gold-loving dragons? I don’t think so.

Traditional dragons are fairly simple creatures, driven by a desire for gold. They are the magpies of fantasy. So it seems only natural that a big, powerful dragon would be drawn to the gold stockpile. He was only doing what dragons do. The dwarves had no real need for the gold they had and should have realised that dragons would be attracted to it.

The dwarves made a perfect dragon lair and then got all pissy when a dragon came to live in it.

Smaug is a victim of his nature, not a villain.


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