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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Smaug the Golden?
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News From Bree

Mar 31 2012, 9:07am

Post #1 of 50 (3812 views)
Smaug the Golden? Can't Post

Remember The Hobbit production vlog #2 that came out back in July 2011?

Well, we've watched it again (and recommend you do too), especially the bit between 2:05 and 2:25, where it isn't hard to spot Peter Jackson and his crew wearing a "200 Days To Go" sweatshirt. What is hard to spot though is the logo on the front of that sweatshirt... until now.

Our Dwarves at TORn who spend their time mining the interwebs for gems of information came across an image of the hoodie that reveals the logo is none other than Smaug the Golden.

Our staffers then got down to discussing it, and some said Yes, and some said No. Some said it couldn't be the real design for Smaug, and some said it only offered clues to what the real Smaug will look like. One staffer called Greendragon was (aptly!) drawn to this image more than the others and said it looked very much like "a John Howe Smaug". Finally, the end of it was to put the image out for your consideration and see what you thought of it.

So, what do you think? Real or not? Mildly interesting or surprisingly faithful? Sound off on our message boards.

(This post was edited by Earl on Mar 31 2012, 2:49pm)


Mar 31 2012, 3:01pm

Post #2 of 50 (1340 views)
Wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

I actually think it’s marvelous. I like the Howe art even more, because I like how um, vermiform, Smaug is. Given that his name is related to Old English smugan, to squeeze through a hole, that makes perfect sense. (See also smial and Sméagol.)

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311

Kangi Ska

Mar 31 2012, 3:08pm

Post #3 of 50 (1382 views)
The wings are attached just as GDT said they would be.// [In reply to] Can't Post


Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.


Mar 31 2012, 3:11pm

Post #4 of 50 (1345 views)
Looks good to me [In reply to] Can't Post

Oddly enough, I re-watched the vlogs last night and spotted this in another one of them - never thought to make a post on it.

If this is the real design, I am happy with it. I have always loved Howe's picture;


as they are not so disimilar. I doubt it is the design though, they are careful to blur out all the posters/pictures/art work on walls when talking to people. I am sure they wouldn't misss this detail.

As for the colour, I'm not sure it proves he will be gold, since it blends in with the logo being the same colour?

The Shire

Mar 31 2012, 3:12pm

Post #5 of 50 (1278 views)
Smaug! [In reply to] Can't Post

I like it as I usually love anything by John Howe and Alan Lee for that matter, but I find it sad that he looks like pretty much every other dragon ever.

I was excited to see him when GDT said that he would come to define cinema dragons for years to come, and reach cult status like Maleficent (who he surprisingly resembles quite a bit), but if this is the final concept I won't think twice about him as a radically different dragon than others.

I would have liked to see his forelegs attached to his wings, kind of like a bat, or the dragons in Game of Thrones, but that's just a personal quip.

Overall, meh, kind of boring in my opinion.


Mar 31 2012, 3:29pm

Post #6 of 50 (1335 views)
He doesn't have the tail I was hoping for... [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien's dragons always have this three-pronged tails that I love... http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/...-30.jpg1555x2000.jpg I'm hoing that Smaug has this in the film, I'm not convinced that they'd have a genuine piece of concept art for the movie hoodies. Most designs for this stuff is kept secret from almost all the crew.

I remember the guys working on the Múmakil battle for RotK were kept in a special room where only a very few people knew what they were working on.

"...For if joyful is the fountain that rises in the sun, its springs are in the wells of sorrow unfathomed at the foundations of the Earth"

Pipe Dream

Mar 31 2012, 3:33pm

Post #7 of 50 (1205 views)
Looks good to me. [In reply to] Can't Post

I like him. At any rate, this is what he will look like...so get used to it.Tongue (If it is genuine, that is...).

"There is a long road yet," said Gandalf. "But it is the last road," said Bilbo.

(This post was edited by Pipe Dream on Mar 31 2012, 3:33pm)


Mar 31 2012, 3:50pm

Post #8 of 50 (1185 views)
they must know by now that ToRn dwarves have elvish eyesight! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love it, but I don't want to be disappointed. I am not sure that this would be the actual design. Surely they wouldn't leave it where we could find it?
Very John Howe though, which is great.

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" - C. S. Lewis

One Ringer
Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 4:04pm

Post #9 of 50 (1161 views)
Looks good to me, [In reply to] Can't Post

It reminds of several versions of Smaug, such that I won't post any references now. It looks like an excellent balance, but still well enough to be fresh and interesting. Even if this is only a concept and not the final product, it looks solid.

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg


Mar 31 2012, 4:17pm

Post #10 of 50 (1168 views)
Well, I doubt that it's the final design, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

It does conform pretty closely to Tolkien's description of Smaug. He does need to be a bit more of a RED-gold dragon, though.

"Darkness beyond blackest pitch, deeper than the deepest night!
King of Darkness, who shines like gold upon the Sea of Chaos.
I call upon thee and swear myself to thee!
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed by the power you and I possess!"


Mar 31 2012, 4:25pm

Post #11 of 50 (1200 views)
I really doubt this is the final cut [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think they would have that on display for everyone to see. Imagine a pic of Gollum in their shirts when they were making LOTR. It's impossible. So i say this is a taste of it. If it looks like that though, i like it.

Grey Havens

Mar 31 2012, 5:17pm

Post #12 of 50 (1269 views)
If that is any indication of what Smaug will look like [In reply to] Can't Post

Then it is absolutely perfect. Very evocative of John Howe's design.


Mar 31 2012, 5:34pm

Post #13 of 50 (1185 views)
the color on this shirt might also be a factor of practicality [In reply to] Can't Post

It might be one of the colors that popped on a black shirt or was closest color the thread selection could provide.

As many here have noted, the function of this 'logo' was to be a gift to the crew (and cast?). Not an object to market the movie nor tie into the movie so people in love with the movie would buy the object. Those sorts of products would necessitate an accurate depiction of Smaug. The crew gift wouldn't. And of course, as others have noted, giving away Smaug in this manner would actually work against them. :-)

I find ponderings like this fascinating from a graphic design viewpoint because when designing - one has to identify the need first - and then weigh how design/color etc satisfies a need without drawbacks and then work with vendors to get a design produced - not everything we imagine can be produced ... or perhaps produced within a budget. So I definitely look at this through a graphic designer's eye.

LOTR soundtrack website
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide

Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 5:42pm

Post #14 of 50 (1159 views)
Very elegant and very Howe [In reply to] Can't Post

I doubt they'd be so careless about their biggest secret as to have it printed on their clothes, but if this is anything of a clue, I'm happy.

At its heart, heroism is growing adult. Growing adult is defying the fears gained in childhood.
-Tom Lundberg

Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 5:47pm

Post #15 of 50 (1174 views)
And there are the small fore limbs too. // [In reply to] Can't Post


At its heart, heroism is growing adult. Growing adult is defying the fears gained in childhood.
-Tom Lundberg

Grey Havens

Mar 31 2012, 5:50pm

Post #16 of 50 (1247 views)
If it IS the film design [In reply to] Can't Post

They probably figured that a 2D graphic, while giving us the general look of the dragon, would pale in comparison to the actual thing - and thus, the dragon hasn't been completely spoiled. Obviously, the color palette is greatly exaggerated here, and the image offers no clues as to the texture, movement, or even size of the creature. And we certainly can't make out his glittering waistcoat in this image. Even if the movie design looks very similar to this design, the dragon we see on screen will also look quite a bit different - by virtue of being an animated, live-action image.

(This post was edited by duats on Mar 31 2012, 5:53pm)

Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 6:01pm

Post #17 of 50 (1141 views)
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Once again, IF this is the real design, it does give away something important - it's very traditional. Especially in the sense of "the tradition of Tolkien illustration".

Knowing them and knowing us, and knowing them knowing us, I could almost buy the idea of them letting this design leak purposefully to calm us down from our time-to-time "they're ruining the Hobbit" hysteria. Tongue And then it took us this long to notice... PJ must have been face palming... Sly

At its heart, heroism is growing adult. Growing adult is defying the fears gained in childhood.
-Tom Lundberg

(This post was edited by Faenoriel on Mar 31 2012, 6:02pm)


Mar 31 2012, 6:07pm

Post #18 of 50 (1204 views)
Yes it is very traditional to Tolkien's illustration. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you here Faenoriel.

On a slightly unrelated note, I had a thought: I have never actually seen a Smaug design that I didn't particularly like or a design that wasn't like Tolkien/Howe/Lee (except for the obese hairy cat design...)

I have googled Smaug and yes there are huge variations, but all fairly similar. What I am really asking is, does anyway know of any awful Smaug designs, for comparison Wink

Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 6:35pm

Post #19 of 50 (1155 views)
Does dA count? [In reply to] Can't Post

One that I'm not particular excited about is this:


The author seems to have been inspired by earthworms, which doesn't really work, because it makes Smaug look fat and obese instead of an "intelligent reptile", as Tolkien descriped dragons.

However, the M-E dragon illustration I like the least is - oh my - the picture of Glaurung and Nienor by John Howe himself. You should know the one:


(Sorry, I'm too lazy to post actual pictures, so the links will have to do...)

At its heart, heroism is growing adult. Growing adult is defying the fears gained in childhood.
-Tom Lundberg


Mar 31 2012, 6:40pm

Post #20 of 50 (1135 views)
Oh blimey [In reply to] Can't Post

I can totally see where you are coming from with the first picture. No wonder Smaug sat on his pile of gold for so long - he was too lazy to get up by the looks of it Wink Despite that issue, it still does sort of resemble the traditional look. I'm not that good on dragon anatomy (Tongue), but it has those spikey bits running down the spine, and similar shaped wings and tail.

I love that Glaurung picture! Yes I never imagined him like that (and I still don't when I read the Silmarillion), but I still adore that picture Heart

Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 7:02pm

Post #21 of 50 (1172 views)
My trouble with the Howe picture [In reply to] Can't Post

is the same I have with the dA picture. Somehow M-E dragons are supposed to be above the other nasties*. Unlike Orcs, Trolls and suchs, you must have grudging respect for them, if not even outright awe. Glaurung in that picture looks just fat, slow and greedy, like a greasy mob boss. Laugh Of course, this is only the impression it leaves on me. If others feel differently, it's only my loss I can't join them.

*Yes it's only the exterior. Inside they're just as hideous as the others, if not even more so.

At its heart, heroism is growing adult. Growing adult is defying the fears gained in childhood.
-Tom Lundberg


Mar 31 2012, 7:19pm

Post #22 of 50 (1151 views)
Interesting point there [In reply to] Can't Post

I associated the first picture with the dragon being too big, fat, slow and heavy, and yet not the second; despite, from the outside, looking like it.

I'm not sure why I don't make that connection with Glaurung - even now, after you pointing it out, I still love it. Perhaps it's because it was one of the first pieces of art I saw associated with the Silmarillion? I don't know. I think it's also down to the fact that in my head I don't see Glaurung as that, I just see it as a lovely piece of art.

Tol Eressea

Mar 31 2012, 7:27pm

Post #23 of 50 (1542 views)
It surely is a nice painting [In reply to] Can't Post

How physically large and dark Glaurung is makes Nienor seem all the more fragile, and yet she holds her ground. What a valiant and stupid girl.

At its heart, heroism is growing adult. Growing adult is defying the fears gained in childhood.
-Tom Lundberg

Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 31 2012, 8:00pm

Post #24 of 50 (1216 views)
Remember the Eye of Sauron pin they wore for LOTR? [In reply to] Can't Post

John Howe designed this for the Weta crew's clothing and they used it as insignia through the filming. It isn't, of course, what the Eye actually looked like in the movies although I think they may have used this design for the Mordor orcs' battle flags.

So just because John Howe designed this insignia for the Hobbit crew doesn't mean that it's what movie Smaug will look like. But it might not be too dissimilar.


"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


Mar 31 2012, 9:17pm

Post #25 of 50 (1078 views)
Well, I'll take it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps they could have been a bit more creative... but then again, perhaps better to leave good enough (great enough?) alone.
It does look like John Howe - anyway, I've always adored his dragons, so I'm cool with that.

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