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Old 06-22-2010, 12:31 PM   #1
Archaic Elf
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Had Smaug Lived to See LOTR...

If Bard had failed to kill Smaug in the book the Hobbit, and Gandalf's plan had gone completely awry, just how much more difficult would it have been for the heroes to achieve victory in the Lord of the Rings? Assume that Gandalf, Bilbo, and some of the dwarves managed to get far away from the Lonely Mountain. What role do you see Smaug playing over the course of events in the LOTR?

I could see Smaug flying over the heads of the rangers and descending right down upon the Shire, torching everything in sight. Perhaps some rangers would have pursued the dragon and managed to shoot it with an arrow in the patch on his chest that Bilbo had spotted long before. Either that or Gandalf would barely manage to get Bilbo and Frodo out of the Shire, and they would then take off towards Rivendell with as much stealth as they can muster.

I think Smaug would have to be defeated in the first book if Rohan and Gondor are to stand a chance at all against Mordor. Smaug could be killed by a ranger in the Shire, as I just mentioned, by an archer at Rivendell, or even by Legolas before the fellowship enter the mines of Moria. Either way, having Smaug set out after the ring bearer would have terrible consequences for the people of Middle Earth.

What are your thoughts? What role would you assign to Smaug in the War of the Ring?
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:39 PM   #2
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I guess it would depend on whether Smaug would have been acting on his own or at Sauron's behest.

Smaug himself might be sufficiently interested in Bilbo for goblet-thieving and being a sneaky annoyance to go after him, but he wouldn't have known where Bilbo came from (except presumably somewhere west of the Misty Mountains, from what Bilbo told him in his riddles), and I don't see him inquiring for directions to the Shire like the Black Riders did, so the Shire might have been safe, for a while at least.

If Sauron would have controlled Smaug somehow, I doubt he would have sent him for the Ring instead of the Nazgűl, knowing how possessive dragons tend to get about treasures. But he certainly could have used Smaug to attack his other enemies - Thranduil probably first, then Lórien, possibly Rivendell, maybe even Gondor and Rohan. Like Tolkien says in LotR Appendix A III (Gandalf speaking):
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Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador, night in Rivendell. There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now hope to return from the victory here only to ruin and ash.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
If Sauron would have controlled Smaug somehow, I doubt he would have sent him for the Ring instead of the Nazgűl, knowing how possessive dragons tend to get about treasures. But he certainly could have used Smaug to attack his other enemies - Thranduil probably first, then Lórien, possibly Rivendell, maybe even Gondor and Rohan. Like Tolkien says in LotR Appendix A III (Gandalf speaking):
Especially to attack Rivendel,which was hard to reach,even for those knowing where the Valley was,by the paths and the Ford of Bruinen.By air however and with all these forests around...Total massacre.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:02 PM   #4
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There is a rather good outline by Gandalf himself, mentioned in the Unfinished Tales, in a part which, actually, was originally intended to be a part of the Return of the King (Gandalf telling that to the hobbits during the "peaceful rest-time" after the coronation of Aragorn):
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Originally Posted by Unfinished Tales, The Quest for Erebor
"It might all have gone very differently indeed. The main attack was diverted southwards, it is true; and yet even so with his farstretched right hand Sauron could have done terrible harm in the North, while he defended Gondor, if King Brand and King Dáin had not stood in his path. When you think of the great Battle of Pelennor, do not forget the Battle of Dale. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now only hope to return from the victory here to ruin and ash. But that has been averted – because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring not far from Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth."
I think the idea was that Sauron would eventually recruit Smaug to his cause and use him as a vanguard of his army which would allow the Easterlings (not hindered by the Men of Dale and the Dwarves of Erebor) to pass through the Grey Mountain narrows, cross the Anduin close to its beginning (where it was still possible) and pass the mountains to Eriador - resp. retake Angmar and basically re-launch the Angmarian campaign all over again. All the other things mentioning that subject seem to point towards this direction (and I have been looking into this topic rather deeply, actually, as I used to be interested in it a lot).

EDIT: crossposted with the two above
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:36 PM   #5
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Hi all,

agree with what's been said here, and even had Smaug not allied with Sauron I think his presence alone would have had a major impact on the War of the Ring. Not sure that Smaug (much like the Balrog) would have joined Sauron unless 'invited' personally, as I don't see the Nazgul ordering a dragon around (they weren't keen on fire after all). However Smaug could certainly have taken the opportunity to cause mayhem for his own satisfaction.

Without the black arrow, there would have been no Battle of the Five Armies, so the orcs, goblins and wolves of the Northern Misty Mountains would have been far stronger. Dale and Erebor would still be ruins rather than thriving towns, and the Northmen would not have been able to set up their kingdom, that by the time of LoTR ran all the way to the River Carnen.

Additionally, few amies would be prepared to move in the area of Erebor for fear of Smaug. Therefore Sauron's forces have far more freedom of movement while the good guys are unlikely to be able to support one-another.

In the War of the Ring, Thranduil, the Woodmen and the Beornings co-operated to fight off invasions from Dol Guldur (and likely the remnants of the Misty Mountains goblins). Erebor and Dale, and the greater kingdom of Dale, likely Laketown, and just maybe the Dwarves of the Iron Hills all co-operated against the invasion of the Easterlings, and this was a very close run thing.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:22 AM   #6
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All the important points have already been mentioned, I especially like Rumil noticing that without Smaug's death the goblins would have been much stronger. Perhaps any passage through the Misty Mountains would then be impossible.

Just wanted to add that I do expect Smaug to ally with Sauron. In LotR Sauron sends a Nazgul to Erebor to force the Dwarves into submission, but without Smaug's death he may have sent the Nazgul to arrange a treaty, perhaps assuring Smaug that he will receive his fair share of any encountered treasures. Since Sauron wasn't interested in gold and jewels anyway, he would have no problem with this. And Smaug would surely gladly accept.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
Smaug himself might be sufficiently interested in Bilbo for goblet-thieving and being a sneaky annoyance to go after him, but he wouldn't have known where Bilbo came from (except presumably somewhere west of the Misty Mountains, from what Bilbo told him in his riddles), and I don't see him inquiring for directions to the Shire like the Black Riders did, so the Shire might have been safe, for a while at least.
The thought of Smaug wanting to get revenge on Bilbo helped inspire the thought of Smaug torching the Shire. It would present a very ghastly visual of innocent hobbits caught in an air raid...perhaps that's a little too WWII...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
If Sauron would have controlled Smaug somehow, I doubt he would have sent him for the Ring instead of the Nazgűl, knowing how possessive dragons tend to get about treasures. But he certainly could have used Smaug to attack his other enemies - Thranduil probably first, then Lórien, possibly Rivendell, maybe even Gondor and Rohan. Like Tolkien says in LotR Appendix A III (Gandalf speaking):
Yeah, it would be a very bad idea for Smaug to go after the ring. Dragons fire can destroy it, so Sauron wouldn't want any unfortunate accidents, like Frodo getting caught in a blast while wearing the ring.

I am assuming that Smaug would form an alliance with Sauron. Glaurong was a willing helper of Morgoth, but Glaurong did seal himself up in Nargothrond with all the wealth once he sacked the fortress with the help of the orcs. I think Smaug would be the same way...help out Sauron for some profit, and then retire from action when he's satisfied or his own purposes are met. Smaug would likely want to keep his realm secure and possibly finish off Bilbo (or at least make an example out of a few random hobbits). Once those two goals are met, Smaug would probably return to the lonely mountain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
I think the idea was that Sauron would eventually recruit Smaug to his cause and use him as a vanguard of his army which would allow the Easterlings (not hindered by the Men of Dale and the Dwarves of Erebor) to pass through the Grey Mountain narrows, cross the Anduin close to its beginning (where it was still possible) and pass the mountains to Eriador - resp. retake Angmar and basically re-launch the Angmarian campaign all over again. All the other things mentioning that subject seem to point towards this direction (and I have been looking into this topic rather deeply, actually, as I used to be interested in it a lot).
Smaug would have been a major player in the War of the Ring, like the Witch King and Saruman. Even if Smaug had already wiped out the men of Dale, Smaug's position put him at odds with the elves of Mirkwood and the dwarves of the Iron Hills. He would still have enemies, so working with Sauron to allow passage of the Easterlings seems like a good idea on his part.
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:00 AM   #8
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Another place Smaugh might have made a difference (assuming he agreed to help Sauron) might be at Pellenor. This would basically have been a bigger version of how he might have helped at some of the other battles. At Pellenor he basically could have all but destroyed the whole Minas Tirith army, frying them from the air. Or suppose the amount of coopertation between Smaug and Sauron was deep enough that Smaug consented to let the WK ride him to Pellenor. With one blast of fire he could have literally roasted Theoden where he stood, and prbaby done the same to Eowyn Eormer and anyone else causing the Mordor armies trouble. With only one tiny weak spot he'd have been a lot harder to take down than the winged beasts were, and he might not have even had that weak spot anymore (since Smaug unlike a winged beast is both intellegent and articulate, if he knew about the missing spot (or someone in Mordor noticed it) he could probably have had a breastplate made in Mordor(He's undowtedly strong enough to bear that much extra weight) Or simply had someone stick a gem right in the opening, making him TRULY invicible. Actually the army probably would not have been neccecarry, Smaug Himself could have simply flown over and roasted Minas Tirith (we saw how badly it suffered from fire simply from flaming arrows, imagine what dragon fire could do). Quite simply with Smaug you would have a mobile flying firestorm. who knows how that would have changed things.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:27 AM   #9
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Just conjecture...

I'm figuring the one thing harder to herd than cats might be dragons. While Morgoth once commanded them to fight as a team, have any of them acted as part of a team since?

I shouldn't really second guess Gandalf's opinion, but I don't see Smaug going too far from his nice golden bed, and I can't see him sitting idle when the darkness comes. He'd do something, but I'm not sure what.

There would be risk if he'd gone against the elves of either Mirkwood or Lorien. The elves have the eyes and the archery skill. Smaug was arrogant enough to go after them anyway. I've no reason to expect Smaug would select Fangorn as a target, but he'd be one enemy a forest of hurons wouldn't want to see.
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