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In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thranduil

angrily tells Thorin not to speak of dragon fire, then reveals a vision of half his face burned away.

The conversation implies that Thranduil has been in battle with a dragon. Considering that he leads a Silvan kingdom far to the east and south of what was once Beleriand and Angband, and there is no record of Smaug having visited the Woodland Realm, when and how could Thranduil have experienced dragon fire?

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I'd just like to add that since it is only a movie thing, I don't think it needs to be justified with Tolkien's writings :D (after all, there are enough inconsistencies in the films) –  MadTux Jan 4 at 11:05
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6 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

There are other dragons Thranduil could have encountered. During 'An Unexpected Party', Thorin says

There were lots of dragons in the North in those days, ...

where 'those days' refers to the reign of his grandfather Thror before the sack of Erebor, and 'the North' refers to the Withered Heath. There is also relevant material in the Lord of the Rings. In 'The Shadow of the Past', Gandalf says

It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power...

and also

Seven the Dwarf-kings possessed, but three he has recovered, and the others the dragons have consumed.

Hence, Smaug was not the only fire-breathing dragon alive after the forging of the Rings of Power. Thranduil's realm is mentioned at the start of Appendix B (The Tale of Years), so we know it dates back as far as the early days of the second age, some 15-1600 years earlier.

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While I was originally leaning towards a First Age explanation, this seems much more likely and better supported by canon. –  Travis Christian Dec 23 '13 at 16:50
    
Dragons were absent from Middle-earth between the War of Wrath and TA2570, but that still establishes plenty of time; +1 –  Jimmy Shelter Dec 28 '13 at 21:02
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There's evidence that Thranduil may have lived in, and have been a survivor of, Doriath in the First Age. The original long entry for SA750, given in HoME 12, reads:

Remnants of the Telerian Elves (of Doriath in ancient Beleriand) establish realms in the woodlands far eastward ... The chief of these were Thranduil...

Naturally the timeline was subsequently altered, but it's unclear if Thranduil's past was lost owing to compression (a point which CT touches on in his commentary) or rejection.

If we accept compression, then following the Ruin of Doriath he would have been part of the Elven colony at the Mouths of Sirion and/or on Balar, and would have seen dragons in the War of Wrath.

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Not that I doubt you, but I'd love to see the evidence in a Stack Exchange answer.... –  mattdm Dec 19 '13 at 20:40
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Expanded as requested; there are also indications that Legolas may date to the First Age too (...make that a separate question...) in which case Thranduil, as his father, definitely does. –  Jimmy Shelter Dec 28 '13 at 22:07
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It is possible that Thranduil lived in Doriath during the War of Wrath. However it is very unlikely that he would have participated in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears or the final battle when the Valar and host finally defeat Morgoth. In the former the dwarf king kills a dragon as it crushes him. In the latter winged and non winged dragons appear as a last reserve for Morgoth and bring great destruction on the host of Valar and great eagles before they are defeated.

So it could be that the surviving dragons of the last battle were scattered in defeat and possibly one or more of these could have ended up near Thranduil at some point.

However I think it is far more likely this is just a liberal representation in the movie of the great battles and woe experienced by the ancient elves. Just hinting to the non-read movie goers that elves had in fact fought dragons and many other horrific creatures through the millennia. Much the same way the elves showing up at the battle of Helm's Deep in the movie adaptation of The Two Towers was just a representation of the elves involvement in the War of the Ring.

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Actually nobody lived in Doriath during the War of Wrath as it's Ruin was before then. There were no dragons active between the WoW and TA2570, but that still establishes plenty of time. –  Jimmy Shelter Dec 28 '13 at 21:06
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king thranduil is described as having lived in the original elven city with his father which would make his birth in the first age. In that light it seems likely that dragons would have been more abundant and in sheer speculation I would imagine that the elves would have done battle with them at one point or another. Since thranduil is a son of kings it would be more than a good chance he would have been some brand of warrior and present during any significant conflict. Thranduils scare reappearing may simply be that since dragon fire is magic it cannot be fully healed and therefore he conceals it with some sort of glamour charm. Most people seem to have this questioning as to how thranduil would have such a power but if he's as old as the scriptures suggest " first age" it seems likely that he may have developed unusual abilities not common to lesser elves. Galadriel for instance can somehow magically appear out of thin air, and elrond seemingly has the ability to see the future so I can only surmise that thranduil being every bit as ancient as any elf in existence had developed some illusion based magical abilities which would seem fitting since murkwood can disorient the mind.

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" is described" - a quote from a book or movie script would improve this answer –  DVK Jan 12 at 18:30
    
Much of this reads like guess-work which is really inappropriate for this site. –  Jimmy Shelter Jan 12 at 22:57
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Who is to say, or even know, if in his young years he led or was part of an expedition that came into contact with some dragons up north? He didn't even have a name in The Hobbit book and the history of him isn't written about in too much detail. Having been born in Doriath, this puts him quite close to where many dragons of those northern mountains would have been. It's easily plausible to say that he came across a dragon on an expedition and was injured by its fire breath.

Also even if he was not too old while in Doriath, after the fall of it (in the S.A.) they traveled East, meaning they came into contact with more mountain ranges (the blue mountains). Knowing that two of the greater dragons Smaug and Scatha came from the Withered Heath, it wouldn't be hard to imagine them travelling the short distance west to the Blue Mountains.

Lastly with all Dragons basically having come from Morgoth, they'd have left Angband and gone in many directions meaning many of those mountain ranges in the region of Doriath and the rest would probably have housed their fair share of dragons.

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There is a lot of dragons left in Middle-Earth, in the mountains. They were mainly drakes. How he got the scar was he went in the mountains an tried to slay a fire drake which burned his face.

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Apart from your very last sentance this doesn't actually appear to answer the question; can you maybe elaborate on that part and trim the extra stuff? –  Michael Edenfield Jan 10 at 14:25
    
Michael sorry I was talking about dragons an there types if u wann know how he got its from the serpent from north a drake I should said its in the similar not much of it but some an in the lost tales an in the war of the ring –  Zack127 Jan 11 at 5:30
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