Meet Lord of the Rings’ Mightiest Dragon, Making Smaug Seem Pathetic in Comparison

Smaug the dragon looking fierce from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings franchises

When it comes to dragons in The Lord of the Rings franchise, most people think of Smaug, but the treasure-hoarding creature from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is far from the most powerful dragon in the LOTR series. In fact, some of Middle-earth’s fiercest winged beasts make Smaug the dragon look downright pathetic. In The Lord of the Ring‘s timeline, Smaug is a threatening fire-drake of the Third Age who makes his home on the Lonely Mountain. Before capturing his roost, Smaug destroys the city of Dale, driving the Dwarves who survived from their home.

As chronicled in The Hobbit, Smaug continues to lord over the wealth amassed in the Lonely Mountain. Considered the last “great” dragon of Middle-earthLord of the Rings‘ Smaug is a formidable foe for Bilbo Baggins and Thorin’s Dwarf company, who awaken him from his 171-year hibernation. Eventually, the King Under the Mountain realizes Thorin’s plot to steal back the Arkenstone and reclaim the mountain. As Smaug unleashes his fury on the nearby Lake-town, Bard the Bowman – heir to Dale’s throne — kills the dragon with a well-aimed Black Arrow, killing Middle-earth’s last dragon.

Ancalagon Was The Strongest Dragon In Lord Of The Rings’ History

Ancalagon Was The Largest Dragon To Have Ever Existed In Middle-Earth

Artistic depiction of Earendil sailing on a flying boat to confront a giant black dragon, ancalagon

The strongest dragon in The Lord of the Rings franchise, Ancalagon makes Smaug look pathetic. Dubbed merely “The Black,” Ancalagon was bred by Morgoth — a.k.a. Melkor​​​​​​​, the rebel Vala and the first Dark Lord. Unable to control Arda — a world in Lord of the Rings‘ Eä, which serves as a kind of Earth stand-in — Morgoth wanted to usher in an age of chaos. To do so, he amassed powerful allies, including Ancalagon. Although The Black lived way back during the First Age, he’s considered the largest dragon to have ever existed in Middle-earth.

The first Dark Lord unleashed his last-resort weapon: a fleet of dragons led by the fire-drake Ancalagon…

After the Valar destroyed Morgoth’s armies, the first Dark Lord unleashed his last-resort weapon: a fleet of dragons led by the fire-drake Ancalagon, who appeared in a flurry of lightning, thunder, and fire. Although they were beaten back at first, the Valar and the Half-Elf Eärendil ​​​​​​​were joined in their fight against the dragons by King Thorondor and the Eagles of Manwë. Eventually, the War of Wrath came to an end when Eärendil killed Ancalagon. Although Smaug lived inside a mountain, a slain Ancalagon fell on a mountain and decimated it, reiterating the dragon’s massive stature.

Why Smaug Is So Weak Compared To Lord Of The Rings’ Earlier Dragons

Ancalagon Was A First-Age Dragon Bred By The Dark Lord Himself

Smaug in The Hobbit

Although Smaug describes himself as having teeth like swords, claws like spears, and wings like a hurricane, the Third Age’s fire-drake is much weaker than The Lord of the Rings franchise’s other dragons. In fact, Smaug isn’t Lord of the Rings‘ most terrifying creature — when it comes to dragons, it’s ​​​​​​​Ancalagon, who was big enough to block out the sky and break mountains with his weight. Much of the power imbalance between the First-Age terror that is The Black and the Third Age’s Smaug the Golden is the circumstances of the dragons’ births.

Tolkien doesn’t go into detail when it comes to how, exactly, Morgoth bred Ancalagon.

Bred by Morgoth in the deepest pits of Angband, Ancalagon and his fellow War of the Wrath dragons were created by the Dark Lord himself. In The Silmarillion, Tolkien doesn’t go into detail when it comes to how, exactly, Morgoth bred Ancalagon. Popular Lord of the Rings fan theories suggest that Ancalagon was either a transfigured Maia or made from the world’s filth and darkness. Either way, his birth is marked by darkness. The cunning Smaug, on the other hand, was born much later. Like other post-Morgoth dragons, Smaug most likely hailed from Withered Heath.

What Happened To The Other Dragons Before Lord Of The Rings?

The Dragons’ Desire For Treasure Became A Defining Trait

Smaug faces Bilbo in The Hobbit

Viewers and readers might be confused as to why Smaug is the only dragon in LOTR and The Hobbit, but there’s a pretty clear-cut reason as to why. Although Morgoth bred dragons like Ancalagon and Glaurung to wage war during the First Age, the surviving fire-drakes went off to pursue wealth. With no creator to guide them, Lord of the Rings‘ dragons terrorized Dwarves and Men, often stealing their treasure. By the Second Age, which is depicted in The Rings of Power TV show, dragons simply didn’t play a crucial role in the power dynamics of Middle-earth

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