How Much Is a Dragon Worth?

For aspiring knights and dames and hobbit-adventurers, Forbes staff writer Michael Noer does the analysis.

Last year, to quell lingering suspicions that we simply “make-up” the net worth numbers for the Fictional 15, our annual ranking of the richest fictional characters, I decided to publish the calculations behind my evaluation of Smaug’s fortune, the dragon from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (See “How Much is a Dragon Worth.”)

Taking into account a variety of factors including the estimated length of a dragon (64 feet), how many scales he has on his belly (822), the percentage of air in the treasure mound (30%) and the price of gold, silver and diamonds I estimated the ancient wyrm to be worth $8.6 billion.

The Internet disagreed.

Citing errors in everything from the value of the “Arkenstone of Thrain” to the price of mithril armor, Fictional 15 fans critiqued nearly every aspect of my calculation, usually concluding that I had vastly underestimated the old flamethrower’s net worth. One reader, gvbezoff, pegged Smaug’s wealth to be $870 billion, calling it a “conservative estimate.” For context, that’s about 12.5 times richer than Carlos Slim Helu, the planet’s richest non-fictional being.

Still, I am man enough to admit to making a few imaginary errors. So I carefully recalculated Smaug’s net worth taking into account the comments on last year’s post. And the Internet was right. He is worth a lot more than $8.6 billion. $53.4 billion more in fact. Let’s go point by point:

Click over for the point-by-point analysis if you wish.

1 comment:

ymarsakar said...

Forbes is better quality than others. For some reason, Forbes has writers that can maintain perspective on gaming, industry, economics.