Smaug was a winged fire-breathing dragon of unknown origins and one of the last great Dragons of Middle-Earth. In T.A. 2770, he attacked the Lonely Mountain and the town of Dale and claimed the treasure of the mountain as his own. He was killed by Bard the Bowman in T.A. 2941 during the Quest of Erebor.
Smaug first appeared in T.A. 2770 when he attacked the city of Dale and the Dwarven kingdom of the Lonely Mountain, also known as Erebor.1
He came "like a hurricane coming from the North"
and first descended upon the mountain before turning his attention towards Dale.2
From Erebor only Thrór, King under the Mountain, and his son Thráin II managed to escape by using a secret side-door.
After laying waste to Dale, Smaug entered Erebor through the front door and claimed its' treasure for himself.1
He spent most of the years after this sleeping upon a bed of gold, only occasionally leaving the mountain to seek food and continue the destruction of Dale. The area immediately surrounding the Lonely Mountain became known as the Desolation of the Dragon.3
As time went by, Smaug left the mountain and his treasure on fewer and fewer occasions and spent most of the time sleeping. Smaug developed an armor of gems and gold on his chest from lying on the treasure.
In T.A. 2850, Gandalf
visited Dol Guldur with the intention of revealing the identity of the Necromancer.4
In one of the dungeons he found Thráin who gave him a map of the Lonely Mountain and a key. When Gandalf found that the Necromancer was indeed Sauron, he became concerned that Sauron would use Smaug to take control of the north. In T.A. 2941, Gandalf met with Thorin Oakenshield, the grandson of King Thrór, and devised a plan to reclaim Erebor.
In spring of T.A. 2941, Thorin Oakenshield
set out with twelve other Dwarves and a burglar, the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins
, on the Quest of Erebor.2
With the help of the map and the key they were able to find and open the secret side-door to the mountain.3
Being the burglar, Bilbo entered the mountain first and retrieved a golden cup from the treasure. This caused Smaug to wake.
Smaug felt that the secret door had been opened and soon discovered that the cup was missing.3
Enraged by this, he left his chamber and ravaged the mountain but could not find the intruder. Using his ring to make himself invisible, Bilbo returned into the mountain when Smaug was asleep to look for a weak spot in the Dragon's armor.5
However, Smaug only pretended to be asleep and challenged Bilbo.
Well thief! I smell you and I feel your air. I hear your breath. Come along! Help yourself again, there is plenty and to spare!
- Smaug to Bilbo Baggins. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Inside Information
Bilbo did not tell Smaug who he was but told riddles of his identity.5
The unknown scent of Hobbit puzzled Smaug. Bilbo eventually revealed he had come not only for the treasure but for revenge. Smaug mocked Bilbo over the idea of seeking revenge and boasted about his strength. After Bilbo suggested that the Dragon was softer in the chest, Smaug rolled over and showed his armor and unknowingly revealed an unprotected spot over his left breast. Bilbo had seen what he wanted and fled back through the door. When he told the Dwarves of the weak spot he was overheard by a thrush.
Bilbo had called himself "barrel-rider" in one of the riddles which led Smaug to believe the intruders had received help from the Men in Lake-town.5
Smaug therefore left the mountain to attack Lake-town and set the town on fire.6
The armor of the Dragon protected him from the arrows of the defenders until the thrush told Bard the Bowman of the weak spot. Bard shot a black arrow into the hollow over Smaug's breast and fatally wounded him. Smaug fell from the sky and destroyed Lake-town.4
After the death of Smaug, Lake-town was rebuilt further to the north.4
The skeleton of the Dragon was visible but no-one dared approach it, not even to retrieve the gems from Smaug's chest.
Smaug was a fire-breathing Dragon, an Urulókë, and one of the last great Dragons of Middle-Earth.7
His body was red-golden and his flames green and scarlet.5
As Bilbo entered the secret passage, even before he could see Smaug, he saw a red glow and felt the heat radiating from the Dragon's body. The chest of Smaug had been covered in an armor of gems and gold from lying on his treasure, except for one bare spot over his breast.
There he lay, a vast red-golden dragon, fast asleep; thrumming came from his jaws and nostrils, and wisps of smoke, but his fires were low in slumber. Beneath him, under all his limbs and his huge coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors, lay countless piles of precious things, gold wrought and unwrought, gems and jewels, and silver red-stained in the ruddy light. Smaug lay, with wings folded like an immeasurable bat, turned partly on one side, so that the hobbit could see his underparts and his long pale belly crusted with gems and fragments of gold from his long lying on his costly bed.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Inside Information
Thorin described Smaug as "a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm".2
Like most Dragons he found joy in hoarding gold and had a encyclopedic knowledge of his treasure, immediately noticing the missing cup.5
Smaug is portrayed as greedy, arrogant and with a sharp mind. He boasts of his own strength and appears certain nothing is able to threaten him.