Story: Even Dragons Have Their Ending
An Evening Stroll
When spring returns the long missing warm air and the sun stays up to visit a little longer, a relaxing stroll through the park rejuvenates the walker. If he desires a companion, he can roam with a loved one, saunter with a friend, or trek with a pet. Together they can take in the evening’s gentle breeze and watch the sun slouch beneath the horizon. As relaxing as this scenario may sound, one could hardly call it an adventure, for, as Tolkien states, “it simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.”
From the moment Gandalf first disturbed Bilbo’s supper, the adventure carried dangerous stakes. The band of homeless dwarves longed to reclaim their lost mine and its scintillating treasures. Driven from their home by a fearsome dragon named Smaug, the would-be adventurers set their eyes on slaying the winged serpent. Dwarves are by no means brave on the whole, but they have a “great idea of the value of money” (Tolkien). Even the hottest dragon-flame would not separate them from their hallowed treasures.
When Bilbo and his troop arrived at the dwarves’ occupied mountain abode, they almost unanimously elected their hobbit burglar to snoop out the cave. Slipping on his magic ring, the invisible thief stole away into the shadows. When he entered the cavernous treasure room, he was drowned by awe at the deep piles of gold. Staunching his wonder, however, was sudden terror at sighting the beast slumbering atop the dwarven fortune.
Despite his fear, Bilbo purloined a single golden cup to show the awaiting dwarves. Smaug, however, noticed, for a dragon with gold is more astutely aware of his hoard than an IRS accountant in tax season.
When Bilbo sneaked back into the treasure room to procure more valuables, the awakened dragon was waiting for him. Though Smaug could not see the invisible hobbit, he could smell the pilfering burglar. The dragon, both enraged and curious, engaged the hobbit in a fierce verbal joust. During the heated exchange of trickeries, Bilbo duped Smaug into disclosing his weakness: a single chink in his hide, near his heart. Possessing a wit equal to any hobbit, the dragon also pilfered some clues from the thief: he surmised that the men of nearby Lake Town were somehow involved in the heist of the golden cup. When the hobbit relayed to the dwarves his cleverly acquired information, an eavesdropping thrush carried the info to Bard, an archer in Lake Town.
How the Dragon Was Slain
Armed with his own ill-gotten knowledge, Smaug flew off to level vengeance on the thieving Lake Town. A dragon will happily take all one values, yet he will never suffer the retrieval of the smallest bit. In his anger, the aerial beast unleashed a torrent of flame upon the water-bound city. Though suffering ensued, the eavesdropping thrush relayed to Bard Smaug’s vulnerable spot. In the storm of the dragon’s fire and ash, the archer unleashed an arrow into the beast’s hide. The monster was slain.
The Diabolical Dragon
The Hobbit reminds us of an indispensable truth : we are on an adventure. Though we desire ease and comfort, Christ calls us to a journey, which happens to include a diabolical dragon.
Satan, the dragon who fell like lightning from heaven, invaded the beautiful garden God planted for us. As the devil slithered in the trees, he schemed for a way to steal our God-given gold. After his Genesis 3 success, the evil serpentine creature perched atop our inheritance. A dragon will happily take all one values, yet he will never suffer the retrieval of the smallest bit.
“Even dragons have their ending”
Though an adventure necessarily includes a dragon, it also includes a great dragon-slayer. Speaking hope to humanity enslaved by the diabolical dragon, God gave us this gospel promise:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
Christ, the promised seed, sharply pressed his heel against the chink in Satan’s hide. Having crushed our draconian adversary, Christ now freely offers us the riches of his perfect righteousness. Nothing can purloin the wealth of this divine warrior. Reflecting on this, Paul wrote:
“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
What God offers us in his victory can never be stolen again by the crushed dragon. “So, comes snow after fire,” Tolkien heralds, “and even dragons have their ending!”