Dragon attack

Death of Smaug

As Lake-town burns under the sadistic maneuver of Smaug, the Dwarf company of Erebor still watch out of Ravenhill unto the destruction that they in part caused. Bofur, Óin, Fili and Kili still row their boat with Tauriel and Bard’s children on board trying to escape Lake-town before death finds them.

Pricking the hide of the dragon

Bain: “Da.”

Tilda: “Da!”

Kili: “He hit him! He hit the dragon!”

Tauriel: “No.”

Kili: “He did! He hit his mark! I saw.” 

Tauriel: “His arrows cannot pierce its hide. I fear nothing will.” 

Bard stands alone on top of the bell tower firing arrows at Smaug. Apart from him there is no one that dares to stand against the dragon. Though he knows that these arrows will not be able to incur damage, still he tries for the sake of himself, his family, his town and ultimately his honor. After all, he is the descendant of Girion, Lord of Dale, whose inability to kill the dragon has left an indelible mark of shame on his lineage. 

Kili seeing the arrow touch Smaug’s hide is convinced that it would be enough to bring the beast down. However, not having been a part of the conversation in Bard’s house about the happenings of the day the dragon came and the Black Arrow, he can only surmise based on his own experience as an archer. Tauriel assures him that there is no positive outcome possible that can derive from an arrow of that particular size and weight. It may only enrage him further. 

Bain leaves the boat

Bofur: “What are you doing?”

Fili: “Come back! Bain!”

Sigrid: “Bain!”

Bofur: “Bain! Get back here!”

Fili: “Bain!”

Tauriel: “Leave him. We cannot go back.” 

Tilda: “Bain!”

As Tauriel speaks of nothing being able to penetrate Smaug’s impenetrable exterior, Bain remembers the Black Arrow, whose hiding place beneath the statue of the Master comes into view as they row along toward the exit of the town. Immediately, he takes action, grabs onto a craned hook that transports him onto the wooden path. He then runs to retrieve the arrow and help his father fight the dragon. 

His sisters would have preferred to go after him or stop him in any way possible. However, that plan would have left them defenseless and transportless since the rest of the company in the boat would have floated on without them. Though a tough decision to make, leaving the boy to his own chosen fate, Tauriel instructs the Dwarves to row on. 

The belltower

Bain: “Dad!”

Bard: “Bain! What are you doing? Why didn’t you leave? You were supposed to leave!”

Bain: “I came to help you.” 

Bard: “No. Nothing can stop it now.” 

Bain: “This might.” 

Bard: “Bain. You go back. You get out of here now.” 

Bain: “Dad!”

Bain reaches the belltower with the Black Arrow, just as Bard runs out of ones to fire. Bard’s sentiment is in accordance with that of Tauriel: he expected his son to leave Lake-town and save himself. However, the son’s want of help and assistance to his father overshadows his own instinct to flee. He cannot stand to see his father fighting this beast alone and that which he carries may be crucial in its destruction. 

Though Bard urges his son to go, having given his father the Black Arrow, Bain remains by his side as the dragon aims for the destruction of the belltower.

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Bard vs. Smaug

Master: “Stop! Stop! Halt! Halt!”

Smaug: “Who are you that would stand against me? Now, that is a pity. What will you do now, Bowman? You are forsaken. No help will come.” 

Master: “Now’s our chance. Go! Go! Head for the open water!”

Smaug: “Hmmm…. Is that your child? You cannot save him from the fire. He will burn!”

As Smaug lands onto the streets and houses of Lake-town to face the Bowman, so does the Master halt his barge from advancing, seeing as how they cannot be sure which direction Smaug will take. It seems to please Smaug to have this small and inconsequential adversary facing him. It gives him a point on which he can focus rather than spew fire all over.

This confrontation is more intimate and more to his taste given the lack of those who have tried to face him. He would have enjoyed a palaver with Bard, had Bard not had the wits to know that a conversation with a dragon can only lead to a negative outcome. 

Bard takes the Black Arrow in his hand wanting to string it to the longbow, but he finds it broken from the impact that Smaug had caused only minutes ago. This leaves his determination to falter and Smaug to rejoice over his mishap. Bard is left with only his heirloom while the dragon taunts him. Mentioning Bain as Smaug does gives Bard an incentive to use his son in his attack against the dragon. 

Drowning Smaug

Bard: “Stay still, son. Stay still.” 

Smaug: “Tell me, wretch, how now shall you challenge me? You have nothing left but your death!”

Bard: “Bain. Look at me. You look at me. Little to your left. That’s it. Bain! Hold on!”

Bard jams the two pieces of the broken bow in two opposing wooden pillars left after Smaug’s destruction. He places the Black Arrow on his son’s left shoulder to help him balance and aim. Though Bain is terrified hearing the dragon pace toward him, he stands as still as possible so his father can have a better shot at the beast.

In his narcissistic and sadistic way, Smaug presents his fate in fire and death, revealing the missing scale under his left wing. Seeing this Bard finally has a point of aim in which direction he releases the arrow from the bow. 

The scene of Smaug’s death resembles a drowning man trying to claw to the surface and breathe in air. The moment of death has been wonderfully done by the visual effects team at Weta Digital, very realistic with each phase of his death brought to life gradually and very vividly.

The ravens return

Ori: “What was that? What happened?”

Bilbo: “It fell. I saw it. It’s dead. Smaug is dead.” 

Glóin: “By my beard I think he’s right. Look there! The Ravens of Erebor are returning to the Mountain.” 

Balin: “Aye. Word will spread. Before long every soul in Middle-Earth will know the dragon is dead!”

Ori hears a thud and a splash that claims his interest in knowing what that could be. Bilbo and the rest of the Dwarves, apart from Thorin, have seen the beast fall into the lake, exhibiting no life. They now know the dragon is dead. Almost instantaneously, the ravens, a symbol of Erebor, begin to congregate around Ravenhill flying toward Erebor. The reign of the beast is finally over. 

What Balin states matter-of-factly, drives Thorin to change his look to one of determination and walk down the steps of Ravenhill toward his kingdom. Yes, other races in Middle-Earth will soon know that Smaug is dead and that his hoard is unattended. Since the word of Thorin Oakenshield’s quest has not been spread around to protect the lives of the Dwarves as well as the secrecy surrounding their plan, other races may think the gold available for taking at will.

No one would think that a group of 13 Dwarves would be able to surpass the dragon and reclaim their homeland. To anyone, it would seem as foolish an idea as well as impossible. This will spur them on to make their way toward Erebor themselves. Thorin understands and fears this which is precisely why he heads back into Erebor to claim his rightful place as King Under the Mountain. 

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Featured image by Raphaël Jeanneret on Pixabay

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