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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Revisiting Smaug

When I think of dragons in pop culture, there are a few that come to mind almost immediately. Puff the Magic Dragon from the Peter, Paul and Mary song. The Reluctant Dragon from Kenneth Graeme’s story. Pete’s dragon from the Disney movie. The dragon that Eustace Scrubb becomes in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The dragon who is outwitted by Princess Elizabeth in The Paper Bag Princess.

And then there’s Smaug: “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

When I first read about The Hobbit coming to the big screen I was excited to see what the filmmakers would do with the book. I loved all three Lord of the Rings films (seeing each one at the theater more than once) and I trusted that Peter Jackson and his team would do The Hobbit justice too. Before the first installment hit movie theaters, I went back to re-read the adventures of Bilbo and the 13 dwarves.

Within the first few pages, I was sucked right back into the world that Tolkien created and I was ready to journey from Hobbiton to the Lonely Mountain to attempt to recover the treasure stolen by the dragon. Once Bilbo encountered Smaug and they had their first conversation, I knew this moment would be well worth the price of any movie ticket. Smaug’s arrogance and intelligence would surely play well on the screen—and I knew that the way I was imagining the hoard was nowhere near as massive and impressive as it should be. (Forbes magazine has named Smaug near the top of their Fictional 15 Richest Characters with a net worth of $54.1 billion.)

Knowing that I’ll soon see the second installment of the movie, I sat down and thumbed through my copy of The Hobbit yet again last night. I ended up reading far more than I planned to and spent some time trying to remember what I imagined as a child. It’s challenging to separate the Middle-earth I created in my mind from the 1970’s animated film from the world of Peter Jackson’s movies, but there’s magic in combining all three visions. I’m looking forward to losing myself in the story again this weekend and only hope that I don’t encounter any dragons in my dreams.

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One Response

  1. My 13-year-old daughter, her friend, and I went to see this as soon as it came out. They both read the noel last spring right before the first movie came out and were absolutely squealing to see this one. Personally, I LOVE the voice of the dragon, deep and rumbling. I read the book well over 30 years ago, so I should have picked it up again and dusted out the cobwebs of my memory. But overall, I thought this movie was a nice bridge into the final one for this one book novel. I am anticipating a great finale.

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