Smaug (and all other dragons) were created by Morgoth as species as warfighting machines.

As such, the desire to amass bling seems to be a somewhat... tangential feature, to put it mildly. If I was implementing the dragon, it'd get cut as creeping featurism from any project plan.

So, is there an in-universe explanation from Tolkien on whether this desire for riches was:

  • A designed feature by Morgoth, somehow beneficial to the goals for making dragons
  • An inadvertent side effect of some other design decisions (e.g. he used Dwarf DNA, for lack of a better terminology)
  • An inevitable conclusion of his life history given some other features Morgoth designed
  • Just a random bug, unique to Smaug, not explained by anything

I'm only interested in in-Universe explanation. The fact that Tolkien was basing Smaug on typical fictional dragon-hoarding-treasure archetype (warning: TVTropes link. Enter at peril) is 100% obvious and doesn't need stating. Besides, please note that most of said archetypical dragons were NOT created as engines of war by sentient master.

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    Glaurung showed similar behavior in Nargothrond, so it's not specific to Smaug or The Hobbit. Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 18:36
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    another tidbit is that weve seen that the valar can not create perfection, only eru can, as weve seen with the dwarves created by another valar they also had unintended flaws. so while morgoth may have made them specifically to do X Y Z, he had not the power nor the ability to make them perfect.
    – Himarm
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 19:20
  • You've answered the duplicate with a pretty good answer to this one; scifi.stackexchange.com/a/27656/20774
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 22:23
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    commit: 0028f69d4da3e36c855eeb75c0cd3395e5b27269 Author: Melkor <[email protected]> Date: Hrívë 20 15:45:33 417FA -0200 Make dragons all greedy and bling-amassing Like me, muarhuarz! Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 10:45

1 Answer 1


I would comment, but I can't. The passage in the Silmarillion which describes the first Dragon creating the first hoard of gold is this one, in "Of Túrin Turambar":

But Túrin passed away on the northward road, and Glaurung laughed once more, for he had accomplished the errand of his Master. Then he turned to his own pleasure, and sent forth his blast, and burned all about him. But all the Orcs that were busy in the sack he routed forth, and drove them away, and denied them their plunder even to the last thing of worth. The bridge then he broke down and cast into the foam of Narog; and being thus secure he gathered all the hoard and riches of Felagund and heaped them, and lay upon them in the innermost hall, and rested a while.

No explanation of any sort - seems to just be something they do. The only worthwhile thing to mention would be, that Tolkien's Dragons are very sly and proud, so greed would not be too strange in such a character.

Also no explanation on why they were created this way:

[...] But thereafter there was peace for many years, and no open assault from Angband, for Morgoth perceived now that the Orcs unaided were no match for the Noldor; and he sought in his heart for new counsel.

Again after a hundred years Glaurung, the first of the Urulóki, the fire-drakes of the North, issued from Angband's gates by night. He was yet young and scarce half-grown, for long and slow is the life of the dragons [...]

So they kind of just spring into existence.

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