And yet, a major villain--and arguably the scariest of the series--was just a giant spider. I think it says something about their inherent creepiness that, when a writer who could clearly use his imagination to invent just about anything needed to come up with a frightening hobbit-eating character, he ultimately went with a bigger version of a creature that actually exists. And you know what? It worked. Just look at this picture. It's terrifying.
I know what you're thinking, and yes, this is a great way to start a conversation if you're on a first date. Provided you don't want a second one. You could also ask whether or not Gandalf could beat Dumbledore in a fight.