And read along below to see who our courageous readers are and which lines they are rocking. Thank you so much, all my lovely friends, family, and mysterious-but-so-cool volunteers! And special thanks to composer Michael Gordon Shapiro (also one of the readers) for letting me use his beautiful music in the background.
Toby: The Hobbit.
Molly: By J.R.R. Tolkien. This section is from Chapter Twenty-Two, "Inside Information."
Kevin: The dwarves were still passing the cup from hand to hand and talking delightedly of the recovery of their treasure, when suddenly a vast rumbling woke in the mountain underneath as if it was an old volcano that had made up its mind to start eruptions once again.
Shay: The door behind them was pulled nearly to, and blocked from closing with a stone, but up the long tunnel came the dreadful echoes, from far down in the depths, of a bellowing and a trampling that made the ground beneath them tremble.
Phoenyx: Then the dwarves forgot their joy and their confident boasts of a moment before and cowered down in fright. Smaug was still to be reckoned with.
Paul: It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession; and Smaug was no exception.
Peggy: He had passed from an uneasy dream (in which a warrior, altogether insignificant in size but provided with a bitter sword and great courage, figured most unpleasantly) to a doze, and from a doze to wide waking.
Zac: There was a breath of strange air in his cave. Could there be a draught from that little hole?
Katy: He had never felt quite happy about it, though it was so small, and now he glared at it in suspicion and wondered why he had never blocked it up.
Ben: Of late he had half fancied he had caught the dim echoes of a knocking sound from far above that came down through it to his lair.
Amanda: He stirred and stretched forth his neck to sniff. Then he missed the cup!
Rich: Thieves! Fire! Murder! Such a thing had not happened since first he came to the Mountain!
Michael: His rage passes description - the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted. His fire belched forth, the hall smoked, he shook the mountain-roots.
Shmuel: He thrust his head in vain at the little hole, and then coiling his length together, roaring like thunder underground, he sped from his deep lair through its great door, out into the huge passages of the mountain-palace and up towards the Front Gate.
Lily: To hunt the whole mountain till he had caught the thief and had torn and trampled him was his one thought.
Kris: He issued from the Gate, the waters rose in fierce whistling steam, and up he soared blazing into the air and settled on the mountain-top in a spout of green and scarlet flame.
Michelle: The dwarves heard the awful rumour of his flight, and they crouched against the walls of the grassy terrace cringing under boulders, hoping somehow to escape the frightful eyes of the hunting dragon.
Justin: There they would have all been killed, if it had not been for Bilbo once again. "Quick! Quick!" he gasped. "The door! The tunnel! It's no good here."
Andrew: Roused by these words they were just about to creep inside the tunnel when Bifur gave a cry: "My cousins! Bombur and Bofur - we have forgotten them, they are down in the valley!"
"They will be slain, and all our ponies too, and all our stores lost," moaned the others. "We can do nothing."
Dougie: "Nonsense!" said Thorin, recovering his dignity. "We cannot leave them. Get inside, Mr. Baggins and Balin, and you two Fili and Kili--the dragon shan't have all of us. Now you others, where are the ropes? Be quick!"
Beth: Those were perhaps the worst moments they had been through yet. The horrible sounds of Smaug's anger were echoing in the stony hollows far above;
Molly: at any moment he might come blazing down or fly whirling round and find them there, near the perilous cliff's edge hauling madly on the ropes.
Carina: Up came Bombur, puffing and blowing while the ropes creaked, and still all was safe. Up came some tools and bundles of stores, and then danger was upon them.
tallfemalemanta (LJ): A whirring noise was heard. A red light touched the points of standing rocks. The dragon came.
Lynn: They had barely time to fly back to the tunnel, pulling and dragging in their bundles, when Smaug came hurtling from the North, licking the mountain-sides with flame, beating his great wings with a noise like a roaring wind.
Joan: His hot breath shrivelled the grass before the door, and drove in through the crack they had left and scorched them as they lay hid.
Cara: Flickering fires leaped up and black rock-shadows danced. Then darkness fell as he passed again. The ponies screamed with terror, burst their ropes and galloped wildly off.
Runefurb: The dragon swooped and turned to pursue them, and was gone.
"That'll be the end of our poor beasts!" said Thorin. "Nothing can escape Smaug once he sees it.
Anka: Here we are and here we shall have to stay, unless any one fancies tramping the long open miles back to the river with Smaug on the watch!"
Judith: It was not a pleasant thought! They crept further down the tunnel, and there they lay and shivered though it was warm and stuffy, until dawn came pale through the crack of the door.
Jed: Every now and again through the night they could hear the roar of the flying dragon grow and then pass and fade, as he hunted round and round the mountain-sides.
Jos: He guessed from the ponies, and from the traces of the camps he had discovered, that men had come up from the river and the lake and had scaled the mountain-side from the valley where the ponies had been standing; but the door withstood his searching eye, and the little high-walled bay had kept out his fiercest flames.
Frank: Long he had hunted in vain till the dawn chilled his wrath and he went back to his golden couch to sleep - and to gather new strength.
Kate: He would not forget or forgive the theft, not if a thousand years turned him to smouldering stone, but he could afford to wait.
Steve: Slow and silent he crept back to his lair and half closed his eyes.