From The Blog

Riddles in the Dark 2.12: Smaug Smack Talk

It’s time to talk about the big flying lizard on Riddles in the Dark!

Laura Berkholtz joins Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen and Trish Lambert as talk turns to the dragon of the Lonely Mountain. How will he be portrayed? Will he be in league with Sauron? What will Bilbo’s conversation(s) with him be like? Will Benedict Cumberbatch do right by this scaly monster?

Download: .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)


Riddle: How many times will Bilbo enter the dragon’s hoard by way of the secret door in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug?

A. Three times (book answer)

B. Two

C. One

D. More than three

Many thanks to the Lonely Mountain Band for allowing our use of their wonderful music to accompany the episodes. Season 2 sees excerpts from their new album “Songs of the Dwarves.” Intro: Battle of Azanulbizar; Outro: The Sevenfold Meeting.

  1. Murray September 9, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Just listened to the mp3. My choice is C for the following reasons:

    While I would prefer Bilbo go down solo twice as in the book, the two trips will be compressed into one to save time.

    But, there will not be an additional trip down because I do not think the dwarves go down with Bilbo until the third movie.

    So, one trip in Desolation of Smaug.

    Re the voice of Smaug, before the casting was announced I’d been hoping for Sean Connery as Smaug (eyebrows and all), so Cumberbatch better be good….

  2. Michael Lucero September 9, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    After hearing your discussion of Aragorn’s age in the movie universe, I can’t help but wonder if they messed with the chronology for the sole reason of being able to have Viggo Mortensen in the movie.

    I vote B, two times. I do think they’ll compress from the book answer, but I also don’t think your doubts about the dwarves rushing into the tunnels without fighting need contradict that. I imagine something similar to the Mines of Moria in the Fellowship film. The dwarves try to fight at first (at least a 5-10 minute scene), just as the Fellowship tried to fight the Watcher in the Water, but eventually they reallize the fight is futile and run into the tunnel just as the door is covered by boulders that Smaug has knocked down.

    I also love the idea of Bilbo finding the Arkenstone being the final scene. However, I think that most likely necessitates the dwarves, or at least some of them, being with him. If you just have Bilbo, alone, finding the Arkenstone and picking it up, viewers will simply think, “Oh, ok, they found what Thorin was looking for. That’s one subplot solved,” having no clue that Bilbo means to keep it for himself. In order for that tension to be crystal clear, one of the dwarves has to be nearby, so that Bilbo can find it, hide it in his pocket, and look nervously around at the other(s) to make sure they didn’t see what he did.

  3. Denis October 7, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    C One trip.

    (I’ve seen trailer two for what its worth)

    I think the visit will be a dramatic scene with Thorin / Balin and Bilbo. So the cup stealing and conversation will be condensed.

    The second trip I’m convinced WILL happen, either with dwarves or without (likely with) but I believe it will happen in the finale

  4. Halstein December 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I will answer A, three, because I think this is something they can take directly from the book. Also I hope they follow the book more.


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