Monday, 12 January 2004
For those of you who have seen
Peter Jackson's screen
adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings", you know Gollum as the wretched creature
who bore the One Ring until Bilbo Baggins found it in the Misty Mountains.
Gollum is also seen following the party in the Mines of Moria. Who is Gollum
exactly? Where did he come from? Until the release of the third movie, you had
to go back to the book version to find any more details about Gollum and his
In the Book "The Fellowship of the
Ring", Gollum is found to be from a race that is a distant cousin of the
hobbits. His real name is Smeagol, and he found the
ring while fishing with his cousin, Deagol. The two were in a boat and Deagol accidently fell into the river. His
race was more adept at swimming than the portly hobbits, so this was not as life
threatening as it seemed. While underwater, Deagol's hand grasps the ring on the
river's muddy bottom, and he swims quickly to the surface to see his find. After
they discover it is a ring,
Smeagol claims it is his birthday and demands Deagol turn over the prize. A
heated argument starts over possession of the ring. The altercation ends with
Smeagol strangling his cousin and hiding the body under some submerged tree
roots. Soon after this incident, Smeagol finds that no one can see him when he wears the ring. His troubled mind gets worse as suspicion falls onto him for his friend's disappearance. He begins to talk to his ring as if it is a person, calling it "My birthday present," or the more famialiar, "My precious."
Smeagol begins sneaking out at night, and steals chicken eggs and other small items. He considers his nocturnal thievery as one big practical joke. The "joke" backfires as the village, already suspicious of his friends disappearance, blames Smeagol over it's new unexplained misfortunes.
Smeagol is cast out of the village. He begins a meadering trek across middle-earth until he reaches the Misty Mountains. He has developed a full blown hatred of the sun, calling it a "Cruel and burning eye." Smeagol travels deep into an underground cave system until his in the heart of the Misty Mountains.
By now he has become the creature Gollum.
Gollum stays in the underground caves for centuries. He survives by eating raw fish, and other small creatures. His only companion is the ring which he talks to incessantly. Then one day, the famous hobbit Bilbo Baggins enters the caves with a party of dwarves. Bilbo finds the ring and Gollum. Bilbo and Gollum engage in a battle of wits through riddles, and with a little help of the ring, Bilbo wins the contest and escapes. Bilbo is now the next ring bearer.
Gollum by far can be the most misunderstood and hated character in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga, "The Lord of the Rings" But as Gandalf said, "He may have a role to play yet."