All I Have Is Christ

Dragon-sickness: a term for delusional greed coined by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit.

We hear of it first when Tolkien describes the dragon as “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm called Smaug” (23), who, he later says, dreamed “dreams of greed and violence” (177). But once Smaug has been slain, the sickness endures. As the dwarf prince Thorin Oakenshield claims his throne as King under the Mountain, the dragon-sickness falls on Thorin. Which is powerfully captured in the final Hobbit film Battle of Five Armies.

Greed first blocks Thorin’s compassion. In the opening scene, his company of dwarves stand in horror looking out over the distance toward Lake-Town with compassion on those enduring the wrath of the dragon which the dwarves have awakened. Meanwhile Thorin has his back turned to the tragedy, and his gaze is fixed on the now unguarded Lonely Mountain and the massive treasure hoard within.

Greed also makes him fearful. When Smaug has been slain by the brave bowman of Lake-Town, Thorin barricades himself and his men into the mountain, fearing others will seek some portion of his gold. Once he had been a man of his word, but now he refuses to keep his promise to repay those who had helped him on his journey. He then becomes suspicious of his most loyal men, suspecting irrationally that they are hiding from him his most precious jewel, called the Arkenstone.

And greed blocks his love — as he even abandons his own kin, his cousin Dain, who greatly outnumbered, fights the enemy for him at Thorin’s own threshold.

via All I Have Is Christ | Desiring God.