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Thread: How should Smaug look

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Real lizardy or real Del Toro-y .....................
I think he should look like a dragon. We should accept nothing less!

Dear Old Cat, I've been waiting impatiently for your come-back, but the waiting is killing me, so here is my latest light hearted but thoughtful response...

Please please please don't make Smaug look like a Hyena!!!

I realize on some forums triple exclamation marks are banned, but Dear Old Cat, there is a serious intent hidden beneath my whimsy, and I need to be sure you see just how exclamatory my exclamation was! I asume you know exactly what I'm getting at (you subtle feline you!), but this is so important I just can't take any chances!

Oh my goodness, haven't I seen heaps of dragon illustrations? Surely one of them might be used as a template! But please, no "whale-like lizards" or "lizard-like chimpanzees", or "dinosaur-like dingoes", or "hyena-like hyenas"! :x


I'm so preoccupied with upset and anger at the thought, I'm not even sure I spelt 'exclamation' or 'exclamatory' right...! :cry: :x
On a more serious note: I have a copy of The Hobbit (Fourteenth Impression 1972, Unwin Books) with a drawing by Tolkien on the cover. It's the one with Smaug being shot by the arrow over Laketown. I like Tolkien's Smaug and think it would be a good point of reference for the design team. There is a simplicity, and I love the long lithe tail. I know he's got big in his old age, but I hope DT doesn't make him seem too huge and heavy-seeming. I feel Smaug is sinuous and wily.

Some of us discussed this months ago on the Voice of Smaug thread. My favourite picture of Smaug is the Hildebrandt Bros one. But I'm open to other suggestions. Here's the picture:

Personally I'd like a cross between the Hildebrandt Bros one and the one portrayed in the old animated movie of The Hobbit.
The Hingeandbracket version is too fat, like a chubby pony..........
John Howe got him right i think...............
but fingers are crossed for an obvious man in a suit aaaiiiiieeeeeeeee........Smaug...there goes Tokyo.......
[quote="Odo Banks":303bnwy0]I think he should look like a dragon. We should accept nothing less!


personally i love Justin Gerard's version of Smaug


Nice, brado1! (Though where is the tunnel mouth, and that camera angle that will show Bilbo Smaug's jewel-encrusted belly?)

Oh GB, I imagine Smaug as large and sinuous, not bronzed and muscular! (T never mentioned anything about old Smaug going to the gym - and where would he have got the tanning lotion from?)

And, no, Mr Cat, I wouldn't have called Smaug chubby; and I don't think any dragon would like being called 'chubby'! Mind you, on second look, he does look a trifle gay... I wonder if old Smaug would find that suggestion offensive...?

I absolutely [i:1nqmpkpo]love[/i:1nqmpkpo] the second picture you posted, brado1! 8-) I hope the filmmakers see and are inspired by it.
I agree, Eldorion. The pictures Brado1 put here remind me somehow of Tolkien's drawing.

Brother Gerard's painting of Smaug is brilliant Brado 8-) . Definitely, a great design.

And Smaug from the Rankin Bass Hobbit cartoon was about the only bit of it I really cared for.

I wouldn't call the Hildebrandt Smaug chubby though. That's like calling a Steroidal Schwarzenegger fat <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . The fact is the painting fits well with the traditional Nordic version of Dragons. I do agree though, that I would like to see a more Languid and Slithery Smaug in The Hobbit films also.

I'm hoping we get something Dangerous and Realistic looking along the lines of Vermithrax from Dragonslayer or the Dragons in Reign of Fire. A couple of other exceptionally vicious and realistic film Dragons include Fafnir from the Zemekis version of Beowulf, and the Hungarian Horntail from Goblet of Fire (the best part of an otherwise weak Potter outing).

Del Toro said that he has a way to seperate Smaug from any other dragon, so I'm hoping it sticks to Tolkien's general idea of him.
I must say, I'm curious. I hope we're not being set up for disappointment. A dragon set apart from all others! Big statement!

Del Toro is quite an artist. I've looked at books of his character and creature designs and he has a very original and dark imagination. If you look at the critters he designed for Pan's Labyrinth, Blade II, and Hellboy, I think that will assuage any concerns.

I'm hoping for a typical medieval dragon, but with a twist. a bit of a cross between Brado's submission and this:


I also think he should not look evil, spiny, dark, etc. He should be a very regal and proud being.

Maybe, and I'm saying [i:3twkkyak]maybe[/i:3twkkyak], please don't tear me apart for it, even a [i:3twkkyak]touch [/i:3twkkyak]of this:


I know these aren't even depicting The Hobbit, but they can still be considered.
My vote's still with Brado1's second picture (and T's of course!)

How he looks is important, but even more so is how DT depicts Smaug's personality (from the book!). Let's see his humor, urbanity and slyness! Please don't make him too evil! He's hungry (food-wise)(not ’hubby-wise!), and greedy (wealth-wise), but not particularly evil when compared with the likes of Sauron, I would have thought. If he's painted too darkly, I think we'll miss his 'dark' sense of humor.

Del Toro, i'm sure has talked about using more models and 'life size' creations rather than relying on CGI, i hope this vision comes to fruition, as it will look all the more organic, dirty, dusty and 'real' than any CGI by numbers attempt.
(i bet he'll have runes carved into his skin,along with his gems)
Hello Old Cat, I wondered when you'd pop in again.

Your last post seems to both praise and scorn the director all in the one breath. Are you crippled by both hope and doubt?

I love Del Toro's work........... scorn?
Hang on, is this about that thing i said?
Maye you thought it was you, but no, it was Eldorion who asked about 'that thing'.

One can sometimes have too much going on in one's head, Old Cat, and perhaps you're beginning to believe you're not yourself at all, but someone else completely.

Almost anyone can be prone to this condition. It's because we're just Mortal folk and can all of us be quite frail (intellectually) at times.

Thanks for that Odo,
Anybody else got anything dragon related to say?

Always pleased to lend a helping hand...

As to dragons - I'm still on Brado1's side.

I like the 1st one actually. I've always LOVED dragons, and my version of the Hobbit had a picture of Smaug on the cover (I think it was published in 2004?) and I find it perfect! He's sitting sleepily on his hoard of gold. He's a magnicficent large red dragon with a long winding tail with a barb on the end. Anyone know what I'm talking about? and yes, he shouldn't be young and lean, but not chubby! Why insult such a lazy, once-magnificent dragon who's been causing trouble for Eriador for countless years?
sorry, I posted this in the wrong place, I was referring to Brado1s pictures...
Another slip up by Tinuviel! :oops:
As long as you don't do it ALL the time, I suppose we can forgive you!

I liked both of the pictures you posted Numenor. Really, I'll be happy with any dragon that doesn't look Cuddly and Adorable like Eragon and Dragonheart :P .

Now I'm sure to avoid Eragon the movie! A cuddly dragon! What next?

I still like the first set of Smaug art i posted, but i must say i really like John Howe's version.


while searching Google found some really nice images of Weta's bronze sculpture of Howe's Smaug






i another image i like is the original Rankin and Bass sketch of Smaug...


but hated the cartoons final cat faced fat dragon look




pretty hideous!

the Smaug that [url=]David Wenzel[/url:1m0lsc3c]had done in the Graphic Novel wasn't bad, but certainly not my favorite.


I don't know who did this version....
Considering how big Smaug is supposed to be, his wings will have to be ENORMOUS if they want his flying to look any bit realistic.
Thumbs way up on Howe's Smaug :mrgreen: .

Definitely, Cbernui. The design team on LOTR did the same thing with the Nazgul's steeds (or they said they did, I don't know exactly how feasible the design was) so I think we can expect a good Smaug design. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":2owdve6i]Thumbs way up on Howe's Smaug :mrgreen: .[/quote:2owdve6i]

Same here. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />
I think his looks should reflect his personality. He is the type that likes to give the imression he is a wise guy, but he is also kind of a selfish basterd on some points, you know? So he should have this slither look in his eyes. And a big, powerful body, but still slim and acrobatic. He is an old dragon with the mind of a youngster. Though his talk seems very mature.
Hello all, this looks a very exciting forum, and btw I can't wait until the film is released in 2011 <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> .

On Smaug.

I think that Smaug should have a lizardesque appearance. He should be a very long lean dragon whose bones have been exaggerated with age (in the same way that Gandalf's eyebrows protrude out from his face). His face should be sharp and exaggerated including an aspect of bonyness, he should look fairly withered and gaunt but at the same time he shouldn't look weak or frail, including some aspects of powerfulness too. His face should be very expressive and as a result look very sinister. He should have a long snout that points away from his face of which includes rows of very sharp teeth (obviously! :roll: ) and he should have gleaming great eyes (of which should be very scary for the viewer and not least for poor Bilbo! :lol: ). His body should have a very long tail and his claws should be sharp and shiny. His scales should be gleaming a beautiful golden colour and include the impression that they are very hard. I think getting someone to [i:2yuq8vya]sound[/i:2yuq8vya] the part is also very important I think that maybe John Rhys Davies or Christopher Lee would be very fitting actors for the role.


Mr.Bandobras Took
I think something to consider is where dragons come from, other than the withering heath ofc.

They were a creation of Morgoth, Sauron was Morgoths second in command, Sauron also created the Felbeasts. I am just thinking Sauron quite possibly took some inspiration of Morgoth's creations So perhaps we will see a bit of Felbeast blended in there. Wing spikes anyone.

Either way Smaug cant just be a big bulk with a sharp tounge. He cleared the mountain of dwarves, so he must have fought them on thier own ground inside the mountains thin tunnels with out much space. He is going to have to look deadly even on the ground.

I reckon his wings should fold flat almost like a fan, but with razor sharp spines down its length for swiping at foes.

Oh and I think it would be cool if he had scales along his neck that start to flair as he becomes angry.
Oh sorry I didn't realize you guys were being serious, I do apologise :oops: . I think you might have a point about the BFG btw, don't know what I was talking about, I meant to say he's very tall and as a result he might look a bit overwhelming at first sight, I suppose.

And btw sorry for patronising you for suggesting McKellen, Odo Banks <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' />. Now I think about, I think it's a good suggestion, maybe McKellen has more talent in bad guys than he's letting on <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />.

Regards (and apologies)

Mr. Took
After Harry Potter, Eregon, dragonhart ect ect, dont you think its going to
be hard to come up with an original idea of a dragon. We dont want Smaug
to look like a dragon weve seen from another movie, do we? :o
I think you might have a point there [i:3dmkdja9]chris63[/i:3dmkdja9], in quite a few ways we don't want the dragon to be boring but I really hope people don't start saying that they don't want to see a 'typecasted fire-breathing dragon'. The sad thing is that lots of films had been brought out before the LotR trilogy and they had included dragons of which people have since got bored with, this sadly will also apply to the two future Hobbit films, its such a shame that that a big film company has only recently started to produce film covers of the books by Tokien. The dragons that Tolkien creates come either straight from imagination or directly from the images created in the countless numbers of short traditional fairy tales. On most occasions Tolkien appears to have brought to life, aswell as adding alot of elements himself, the images that traditional fairy tales include (they obviously have no trade mark or official author). Tolkiens ideas are either original or adapted elements of tales that nobody recieves royalty from. They are in some respects the original foundations (although I think dragons might have initially originated from China, but I suppose there could be alot of controversy about what is and isn't a dragon) of the fantasy genre today, what is ironic is that people are saying, we don't want to see another dragon just like the one in Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling being a contemporary writer) when the Hobbit could be referenced to including what is commonly known as a dragon much earliar and way before recent fastasy adventures. It is a shame that the film has had to adapt to able to appeal to audiences whose only references of dragons come from Harry Potter (Don't get me wrong I love HP, I would never really diss Hazza <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> ) and cheap cartoons in the media in order to sell the film. I really hope the Dragon is conventional (although I have no doubt Del Toro will produce something of great quality, I think that with Del Toro having such an influence on the film I think this might be unlikely, although he is a great guy) as well as including something that other film-dragons do not. Call me a traditionalist, I know I sound terrible, do forgive me, it's just I think with something as great as Tolkien's [i:3dmkdja9]The Hobbit[/i:3dmkdja9] its very importantant not to mess it up with too much artistic licence.


Mr. Bandobras Took
Stream-lined and sinuous, wiry and wily and wise, huge and hungry, jewell-encusted and ego-centric - not your average dragon, but its more his personality than his 'look.' Nearly any dragon I've seen so far might do - but keep him on the simple side like Tolkien drew him - and you can't go too far wrong.

Actually, Smaug is one character I'm not too concerned about. I think he'll be right up Del Toro's alley as far as how he 'looks.' I'm even confident they'll keep his personality close to that in the book. Why do I have this confidence? I don't know why, I just do.

Smaug's voice? Ian McKellen would be perfect! I can imagine a certain 'Gandalf' like quality to old Smaug's face and voice. I'm full of queer thoughts - maybe Smaug might even remind one of his Maker, old T himself!

[quote="Odo Banks":38jlcsd2]Stream-lined and sinuous, wiry and wily and wise, huge and hungry, jewell-encusted and ego-centric - not your average dragon[/quote:38jlcsd2]

I do [i:38jlcsd2]sort of[/i:38jlcsd2] agree with you now thinking about it, maybe Smaug isn't as conventional as I had thought before and said in my last post, he is quite a bit more exciting in personality sense I suppose, but generally speaking doesn't virtually every evil dragon include almost all, if not every one of these characteristics? You were suggesting these characteristics were surprising, I think these are the characteristics you would definitely expect a dragon to have.

I do also disagree that looks aren't as important as personality. What something looks like can also give you an idea of its personality, in most cases in fantasy (not in every day society of course), if something looks mean -it probably is (apart from Roald Dahl's BFG and Shrek of course, they're obvious but rare exceptions!), i.e. if you happen to be roaming the African savannah for example, and you bump into an animal with sharp claws and sharp teeth you expect it to use them.

By the way I like the thought about Ian McKellen Odo' <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />, because Ian’s Gandalf wassuch a Stream-lined and sinuous, wiry and wily and wise, huge and hungry, jewell-encrusted and ego-centric character wasn't he <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> (Just joking by the way <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> , I'm know you were joking <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> )

P.S. Seriously though, what do you think about Christopher Lee as Smaug? (Btw I have noted there is a Voice of Smaug forum I be sure to post any further thoughts there*)


Mr. Bandobras Took
Smaug has a developed personality - not sure many others meet the mark. Smaug the Magnificent. Yes indeed. The most interesting dragon around!

I'm not sure that the BFG or Shrek looked particularly monstrous - definitely not our BFG. He was just big and stringy.

I was serious about McKellen for Smaug's voice btw. Smaug the Smooth. Not Smaug the Big Bad and Ugly for me.

Having seen McKellen in the remake of The Prisoner as #2 (which was a Travesty despite some excellent dialogue) and Magneto in the X-men, I could easily see him as Smaug.

Seriously, check out X-men and the new Prisoner remake Bullroarer. You'll see McKellen in smooth villain action 8-) .

I knew the old spell caster had it in him <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .


Mr. Took
I think he should look like a giant, magnificent, golden lizard....
Your going out on a limb a bit there demonslyr <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> there's never been a dragon like that before :lol: , just joking, being serious now I agree with you Demonslyr, that Smaug needs to be a fairly Traditional dragon as oposed to something from a Doctor Who series.


At last! To be taken seriously! Thanks for easing up on me, Bullroarer. It's nice to know the pressure is off. (If only GB would stop patronising me, I might regain some self respect!) As to a big gold traditional dragon - yippee-yey-yo-kay-how! (Or whatever it is our American forum-sojourners say when they're very excited!) Come to think of it, a Chinese kind of dragon might be good -they're golden, and they're traditional! And I bet a Chinese dragon would be wily too. They look wily anyway...

Congradulations Odo, you've identified a fault :lol:, maybe I'll play it cool and go along with your Chinese Dragon suggestion, maybe I'll tell you I meant to say Chinese as well as traditional, might save me some more embarassment <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .


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