The Hobbit, or There and Back Again The Hobbit, or There and Back Again question


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what do you guys think about the ending
Jullissa Jullissa Dec 03, 2015 10:20PM
Why was there so much buildup to the fight with Smaug, only to have them not fight him?



blereader (last edited Dec 17, 2015 09:48AM ) Dec 17, 2015 07:08AM   1 vote
It's very fitting, that the defeat of Smaug was so simple and swift. He's not a character with a lot of backstory, nor one where the narrator bothers to offer many reasons for sympathy or empathy. (Few readers, I think, felt sad when he was killed.) Rather, Smaug represents the ideas of greed and coveting. When he was defeated, it was not so much that an evil was vanquished. Rather, his death triggered the implosion of a long-lasting false peace. It was the spark that set to flame the real battle: the conflicts between the different races.

It's interesting that we only see Smaug as a thinking, calculating being, when he is with Bilbo. The two seem to share a lot in common: they are characters that others put into stories, yet they themselves remain independent, and almost defiant in their own claims of self-importance, even while they must resign to their inevitable and minor roles in the stories of humans and dwarves. Smaug is killed swiftly by a human, because for a human, Smaug is merely the means to an end--a bump in the history of mankind. But for Bilbo, Smaug was something more personal--a vague, impossible task thrust upon him.

In the end, the dwarves do not kill Smaug, nor Bilbo--it was a human. I think this happens, because of what the different races represent. It seems that dwarves are mostly occupied with building their wealth and defeating those that would threaten their territory. Humans are more interested in monsters and seeking battle for the sake of good and treasures. And elves are the ultimate isolationists.

Smaug, even though he killed many dwarves, was not a typical enemy for a dwarf. It was more fitting that a human should defeat Smaug. This difference between dwarves and humans was made clear in their first interaction after the dragon's death: when the human went to claim his reward (as a human would, after killing a monster), the dwarves defied this and any other claim, stating that the treasure was always theirs, by right, and the real enemies are any who would threaten this claim. Thereafter, we see more of the nature of dwarves. While they are utterly discombobulated on how to confront Smaug, marching through dangerous lands without a plan and with only a single-minded purpose of reclaiming their wealth, the dwarves show swift decision and exacting strategy when it comes to fighting armies.


I think it is a reflection of how we all are. We are often driven by hate, fear, and uncertainty. When we face this thing we are afraid of instead of hating it we become filled with compassion, pity, and a desire to help.


It was kind of lame and preachy, but I figured it was a British thing.


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