Lord of the Rings
King of Dale
Bard was the slayer of Smaug; King of Dale. Bard was descended from Lord Girion of Dale, whose wife and child had escaped to Laketown when Smaug ruined Dale and took the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) in TA 2770. In TA 2941, when Smaug emerged from the Lonely Mountain and attacked Laketown, Bard led the defense of the town. He had the bridges cut and organized a company of archers to fight the Dragon.
Bard himself fired many arrows with his great yew bow. He was down to his last arrow when a thrush came and perched on his shoulder. Because Bard was of the race of Dale, he was able to understand the thrush’s words. The bird told him of the weak spot in Smaug’s armor that Bilbo Baggins had discovered. Bard fired his Black Arrow and struck the hollow by Smaug’s left breast and the Dragon fell from the sky, landing on Laketown and destroying it.
Bard escaped into the lake and swam ashore. The people wanted him to be their King, but he said he would continue to serve the Master of Laketown for the time being. Bard took charge of organizing shelter and aid for the refugees and sent messages to the Elvenking of Mirkwood asking for help. Then Bard and the Elvenking led their armies to the Lonely Mountain, seeking a share of the treasure.
When they arrived at the Lonely Mountain, they were surprised to find Thorin Oakenshield and his company of Dwarves still alive. Bard sought reparations from Thorin on the grounds that it was he who had slain Smaug, that part of the Dragon’s treasure had once belonged to Dale, and that the people of Laketown were suffering and needed aid. Thorin said that the destruction of Laketown was not his responsibility and he refused to parley with armies camped outside the mountain. Bard sent a messenger several hours later asking for one-twelfth of the treasure, but again Thorin refused.
Bilbo Baggins thought that Bard’s claims were reasonable, so one night he went secretly to the camp of the Lakemen and elves. The Hobbit had found the Arkenstone – the treasure that Thorin most desired – and he offered it to Bard and Thranduil to use to negotiate. He also told them that an army of 500 dwarves led by Dain II Ironfoot was coming from the Iron Hills.
Bard went to his ancestral home of Dale at the foot of the Lonely Mountain. He rebuilt the ruined town and in TA 2944, he became King of Dale. Bard maintained good relations with the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and trade flowed freely up and down the River Running. People came to settle in Dale from miles around and the land that had been withered by Smaug became bountiful once more.
Bard died in TA 2977. His son Bain succeeded him as King of Dale.