Forbes seems to have hit upon a can’t-miss new media model, downplaying its role as a source for business and investment information, and embracing a future as a near-weekly compendium of blog-baiting lists of wealthy famous people. And just like its recent forays into which actors and hip-hop artists make the most money, we also totally fell for their annual ranking of the 15 richest fictional characters, because we’re not made of stone, and our own job is to provide this sort of ephemera so you don’t have to consider the terrible shit that’s happening in Japan for a few minutes.
Anyway, Scrooge McDuck is this year’s fake-wealthiest, with an estimated fortune of $44.1 billion based on the rising value of gold—a formula that also factored into placing newcomer Smaug, Tolkien’s fire-breathing dragon, whose vast sums of gold and other precious metals, as well as the jewels embedded in his underbelly, were taken into account and calculated to an exhaustively specific degree that must have provided a welcome distraction from thinking about the stock market. Others new to the list include The Office’s Jo Bennett, while Mr. Monopoly has returned after what Forbes says was his “release from prison…with a ‘Get Out Jail Free’ card.” Wocka wocka. You may also be surprised to learn that Twilight’s Carlisle Cullen is the faux-world’s second-wealthiest, his estimated worth far outstripping people like Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, C. Montgomery Burns (who apparently had a bad year), and even Richie Rich, whose supposed richness is right there in his name. Here’s the complete list.