|Gollum, also known as Sméagol, a name he bore when he was a hobbit, is
one of the key characters in John R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again"
and "The Lord of the Rings."
Gollum is a short, very emaciated creature with big glowing eyes. His skin, according to "The Hobbit," is shiny and black. In "The Hobbit" it's mentioned that in the past he had lived on the surface, but it says nothing about Gollum once being a Hobbit:
Who or what he was is unknown. Gollum is everything.
Probably, it was the author's original intention that Gollum was some kind of creature of an unknown breed. He is depicted as such in Bakshi's animated film – simultaneously like a spider and starved frog. In Jackson's film version, the skin, on the contrary, was shown very pale. Gollum is fairly strong, but a coward and a liar. Gollum's biography and personality are revealed far more completely in "The Lord of the Rings": he no longer appears in the trilogy as a dimwitted monster but as a miserable former hobbit, a victim of the Ring. He begins to suffer from a split personality, talking to himself, becoming both the naive, cowardly Smeagol and evil Gollum (owing to this, Samwise Gamgee calls him "Slinker" (Smeagol) and "Stinker" (Gollum)). He is adversely affected by Light Elves' magic: he is unwilling to eat lembas bread, and the Elven Lorien Rope with which Sam binds his legs causes Gollum excruciating pain by his own mere touch. He hates any light, both from the sun and the moon. His main food is raw fish or meat, but evidently Gollum has no aversion to carrion either; in "The Hobbit" it was mentioned that he killed and ate the goblins in caves. However, his favorite food is still fish.
One of Gollum's distinguishing features is his manner of speech. He speaks about himself in the first person plural and uses modified versions of ordinary words in speech, such as "hobbitses" in place of "hobbits," "birdses" instead of "birds," etc. He got the nickname "Gollum" itself for his horrible swallowing sort of sound "Gollum!" in his throat, which was often repeated. (Emphasizing this characteristic feature of him, in one translation Sam angrily said before meeting Gollum: "Well, I'll shove 'gollum' down his throat, he's getting to me!"). His speech is full of synonyms, which he replaces by forgotten words: for example, he calls the sun "Yellow Face," in Mureveva and Kistyanovsky's translation, "Yellow Muzzle." Gollum speaks about himself mostly in the third or second person, sometimes in the plural ("we"), though occasionally, especially when the personality of Smeagol awakes in him, he calls himself "I." Sam and Frodo consider this a sign of sincerity of his speeches. Gollum is especially known for the saying "My Precious." He called the Ring this (and himself in "The Hobbit").
In the last millennium of the Third Age, hobbit Smeagol lived in a small settlement located on the banks of the river Gladden, a tributary of the Anduin. It was on the banks of the Gladden in year 2 of the Third Age that Isildur and his three oldest sons were killed, and the One Ring was lost.
In T.A.2463, Deagol, a hobbit from the tribe of Stoors and relative of Smeagol, by chance came upon the Ring in the river. Having barely seen the Ring, Smeagol immediately demanded it from Deagol as a "birthday gift," but Deagol, also having come under the Ring's power, refused, which led to a fatal fight. Smeagol killed his kinsman and took the Ring for himself.
The Ring quickly made Smeagol subservient to it and changed his character for the worse, and the hobbit was banished from the tribe for the crime. At this time he earned the nickname "Gollum" because of unintelligible throaty swallowing sounds "go-ll-um" that he uttered. In T.A. 2470, he goes to the Misty Mountains, hoping to find a new life at the roots of the mountains. From that time he began to call himself "we" and to name the Ring "Precious." The Ring greatly prolonged his life, and for almost 500 years he lived on an island in the middle of a subterranean lake, having finally become a slave to the Ring and having lost the appearance of a hobbit. |