If Bilbo didn’t steal Smaug’s cup.

By: Kevin Bedford
J.R.R. Tolkien began The Hobbit while a soldier during World War I. In the late 1920s he wrote on a piece of paper, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.” This was the beginning of a world which would become the world known as Middle Earth. With The Hobbit completed and published in 1937, Tolkien was asked to write a sequel which would become The Lord of the Rings. But what if The Hobbit hadn’t ended how it did? Tolkien ended The Hobbit with a somewhat happy ending, but this would be just a minor adventure compared to the one Frodo would have after being told of Bilbos many adventures. Without these stories and other influences Frodo would have grown up in a somewhat normal way instead of the way he did. If, when Bilbo was sent by Thorin to earn his reward, he did not take the two-handled cup from Smaug the history of Middle Earth would be completely different. There are many different ways The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings could have turned out for that matter. Bilbo could have refused to go into Smaug’s lair, and if he Thorin would’ve chosen another dwarf to go, but Smaug would sniff him out, interrogate him until he told the others location and then killed the rest off. Bilbo also could’ve gone, and not taken the cup, as to not put Smaug on his trail, if this happened Bilbo wouldn’t know Smaug’s weakness, and so Bard the Bowman would’ve never been able to learn of it and kill Smaug. Also he could’ve just convinced the party to turn back, because there was “no treasure” which would rarely work with Dwarves, none the less Gandalf, but could still be a possibility.

Following each of these different endings, the whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy would be changed. If Smaug killed the party off, he would have the ring, meaning that when Sauron returned he would just send his ringwraiths to Smaug to get the ring, and offer an alliance to Smaug if he would help Sauron defeat the army of Gondor, and Rohan. It would be all the easier because Sauron would have the ring, and his army, Saruman, and Smaug. With this combination, it would be very hard to stop him from taking Middle Earth. Not only would Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry not have started their quest to destroy the ring, but Aragorn, Legolas and the others wouldn’t have all gone to the Council of Elrond to try to destroy the ring. The Armies of the free world would have never even had a chance to defend themselves. Sauron would muster an army unlike any seen before and wipe out those who would not follow his lead. If Bilbo had gone and not taken the cup, he would have also not learned Smaugs weakness to tell his companions so Bard the Bowman wouldn’t learn his weakness before he attacked Esgaroth. With Esgaroth destroyed, perhaps, the party would return without Smaug knowing of them even being there. Bilbo would’ve grown old, the dwarves would have gone on with normal lives, Gandalf would do what he does. Bilbo would like to revisit with Elrond so he would leave his possessions to Frodo, the events of The Fellowship of the Ring would have gone relatively unchanged, except along with the Ringwraiths, Smaug and perhaps other Dragons would be with them searching for the Ring. They would help Sauron bring darkness to Middle Earth and it would be up to Legolas’s eagle eyes to try and spot Smaug and the other Dragons weak points. During The Two Towers, when the

Ringwraiths have Fellbeasts, they would probably travel in groups of two Ringwraiths, and one dragon. When the Ringwraiths sensed the ring they would give out their screech and then have the dragon torch the general vicinity. That would especially work when they are in the Dead Marshes. With the death of Frodo, Sam and Gollum, and the Dead Marshes it would give Sauron plenty of time to wait and then send one of his dragons or Ringwraiths in to retrieve the ring, because the Dead Marshes would burn for quite a long time. With this ending Sauron would still win, even though it would take longer. If Tolkien hadn’t been effected by World War I and World War II the way he was living through both, and taking the ideas of a Dictator trying to take over the world, such as Sauron was. While Hitler and Sauron have a lot in common, you have to look at the time it was written. The first sketches for The Lord of the Rings were made around 1938 or so. Near when Hitler came to power. But J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t write it as a fiction that would be like World War II in a different world. He wrote it as a sequel to the events of The Hobbit. So while if he had a different ending in The Hobbit, the ending in The Lord of the Rings would probably stay the same, because Tolkien had written them as children’s fiction at first, but they got darker and darker as they were written. So he wrote the third one as if there was no hope for Frodo, because the events in the first half tell nothing of Frodo, and the second half has Frodo nearly dieing before casting the ring into the fire. Tolkien would figure out a way to make the ending the same. If it hadn’t been, the critics would have booed at it and His legacy would have died with that book.