It is a bit of a stretch to think of Smaug, that most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm, as a creature with whom you would want to share an adventure, but this past weekend we did just that with his 6″ Pop! Vinyl incarnation.
Destination: Windsor Park, in Dorval, Québec.
A team of creative and enterprising humans built a Hobbit-themed garden, complete with a Hobbit house and a fairly sizable Smaug-like creature, and installed it at the entrance to the park on Dawson Avenue. I first read about it on Mtl Blog, and pretty much immediately told Dave and the kids that we needed to pay a visit to it as soon as possible.
Here are some useful tips:
- To ensure that Petit Smaug doesn’t stage a rampage or join the kids in scrapping over the seating arrangements on the trip east, it is essential to keep him in his custom-built kennel. Give him window access from time to time, with the knowledge that you can give him a good view of the floor mats when he points out that the restaurant signage is not French-only and threatens to use your cell phone to contact the provincial language police.
2) As you would when introducing cats or dogs to others of its species, particularly in this case, when one has perceived himself for some time to be (one of) the last of his kind; the strictest of supervision is imperative.
3) Once positive acquaintance has been established, you can safely position Petit Smaug amongst the wildflowers while you tour the garden and snap other pictures.
4) On retreat, move backwards very, very slowly. Keep in mind that all are now exposed to not one, but two Smaugs in the open air.
5) More slowly, still.
7) … and take a moment to pause and contemplate the skill and artistry of its wings and head, from another angle.
8) You can also giggle evilly watching your youngest child, notorious amongst the humans for his destructive capabilities, try to wrench open the door to Bag End and come face to face with disappointment.
9) Petit Smaug will express annoyance with your foolery and inattention by baring his teeth, like this.
10) And with an imperceptible flap of his tiny wings, he will make himself at home elsewhere. Poor Dave. Does he sense something warm trickling down his spine? Bad Smaug!
11) Soon enough, it is time to move on. Petit Smaug will do his best impersonation of a dashboard statue, and perhaps bombard you with entreaties that he’ll do a better job of warding off oncoming cars than any old plastic Jesus or BVM. It is best to recall the words of Saint Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians in which he pleads
Paul probably wasn’t thinking of Middle Earth’s greatest living enemy, but his sagesse is timeless. (Back into your crate, despicable fire-drake!)
Following all that, you will make your way onwards, upwards, and there and back again, and feel like kicking yourself for forgetting to bring Petit Toothless. You know, being that he was already trained and all.