Tolkien’s Legendarium is one of the biggest, most popular and most interesting fictional universes we have. It is – in a way – the epitome of a fantasy-based universe and served as a prototype for all later similar universes that are part of the fantasy genre. Tolkien’s universe has a lot of mysteries and while some of them are unclear, there are some that are solved but need further clarification. When Sauron is concerned, every story is quite interesting as the Dark Lord, despite being an antagonist, is one of the most interesting characters in the whole franchise. In today’s article, we are going to talk about Sauron’s connection with the dragon Smaug, a connection that Gandalf described as potentially devastating. Did it exist? Or was it just something the protagonists feared? Keep reading to find out!
Despite there being a connection between them – as both are connected to Morgoth in some way – Smaug and Sauron never worked together. It was an alliance Gandalf and the White Council feared, but it never happened since, as far as we know, the two of them never even met in The Hobbit.
Today’s article is going to be all about Sauron and Smaug. We’re going to tell you how the second Dark Lord and the most famous dragon from the Legendarium are connected, as well as whether something came out from that connection. Finally, we are going to give our opinion on whether the two of them would’ve worked together or not. Enjoy!
What is the link between Sauron and Smaug?
Before we explain whether the two of them worked together, we have to establish a link between Sauron and Smaug. The link doesn’t really seem obvious at first, since Sauron was not really known for allying with dragons, as the so-called “great dragons” had already died out and the other, surviving races weren’t of much use to the Dark Lord. So, why are we talking about the two in this aspect, then?
Well, the connection – for those who don’t know their history – is Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. As for Sauron, we know that he served under Morgoth and that he was one of his most loyal lieutenants, so that link is quite obvious; Sauron’s story is intrinsically connected to Morgoth’s and it was Morgoth’s example that Sauron followed. But how is Smaug connected to Morgoth?
Well, the origin of dragons in Middle-earth is still somewhat of a mystery, but most stories state that they were at least bred, if not created by Morgoth. The dragons were bred to be used as powerful war beasts, as Morgoth saw the potential of using gigantic, fire-breathing monsters to his advantage. Smaug himself was probably not bred by Morgoth directly but is an offspring (second or third generation probably) of Morgoth’s dragons and he was quite probably aware of the history of his kin.
The link becomes quite obvious now. Both Smaug and Sauron were, indirectly, “created” by Morgoth – Smaug is the offspring of the dragons created by Morgoth, while Sauron was Morgoth’s most loyal and diligent “pupil”.
Were Sauron and Smaug working together?
Sauron and Smaug co-existed in The Hobbit, although they had probably been around together much longer; the main issue here is that we don’t know much about Smaug’s origins and the descriptions we have from the books about him being a young dragon don’t really reveal much about his chronology. Smaug is young in dragon years, but he has been in Middle-earth for centuries for sure, so he had to be there during Sauron’s lifetime, although we “meet” both of them in The Hobbit for the first time.
Sauron and Smaug had a strong potential for working together. The tradition Sauron was “raised” in included allying with dragons and Smaug was greedy enough to have accepted an offer from Sauron for the right price. The alliance would have been a devastating one, as Gandalf remarked in The Return of the King:
“Among many cares he was troubled in mind by the perilous state of the North; because he knew then already that Sauron was plotting war, and intended, as soon as he felt strong enough, to attack Rivendell. But to resist any attempt from the East to regain the lands of Angmar and the northern passes in the mountains there were now only the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. And beyond them lay the desolation of the Dragon. The Dragon Sauron might use with terrible effect. How then could the end of Smaug be achieved?”– The Return of the King, Appendix A
Gandalf pondered how to deal with Smaug, but he soon realised that an attack on Sauron in Dol Guldur was more important. An alliance between Sauron and Smaug was never forged. As far as we know, the two never even met, nor communicated in any way. This is probably due to the fact that Sauron was nowhere near his full powers during The Hobbit (he was even hiding in Dol Guldur as the Necromancer before being expelled from the fortress) and his plans for taking over Middle-earth had not yet been put into action at the time. Smaug, on the other hand, was not interested in power, only gold, and since – at the time – there was no common ground between the two, it’s only logical that they never worked together at the time. Luckily for Middle-earth, they never did.
Would Smaug have actually followed Sauron’s orders?
Now, we know that they have not worked together, but had they done so – would that alliance have functioned well or not? Sauron was a powerful entity and due to the fact that he was Morgoth’s second-in-command, he surely had the means to control a dragon. On the other hand, Smaug was free for a very long time and he was completely content being dormant with his wealth. He had no motivation for doing anything else, except to – perhaps – gain even more treasure, as he was exceptionally greedy.
How would their alliance function? It is a fair assumption that Sauron would have had at least a degree of control over Smaug but we do not believe that he would’ve controlled the dragon completely. Smaug could easily have been bribed so the alliance would have to have been a mutually beneficial one for Smaug to be fully cooperative. Would Sauron have been able to bribe Smaug? Probably; he would have been able to find or forge a treasure worthy of Smaug’s attention but luckily for Middle-earth – nothing ever happened.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!