What Only Book Readers Know About Gollum

As is the case with every book-to-movie adaptation ever made, certain details about the individual characters in The Lord of the Rings have been lost in translation. Gollum is one of those complex characters who can be good or bad depending on how he is perceived, and Tolkien constructs him as a personification of a moral dilemma. Can a traitor be redeemed or can a broken person be healed? This message comes across in the movies, but it doesn’t tell the viewer much about Gollum’s backstory.

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Gandalf, who stands in for the exposition when he’s not a badass wizard, explains key moments from Gollum’s past in the books, and we see them in flashback scenes in the film. Those who have read the books learn more about this sad, repulsive, and frustrating character and how he came to be who he was when Bilbo met him.


6 A floor hobbit

In the early history of Middle-earth, there were three distinct types of hobbits; Harfoots, Fallohides and Stoors. Gollum was once a Stoor, and it was the Hobbits who lived in the low, fertile valley of the Anduin River. It was the natural place for the ring to end up after being washed from where Isildur fell, and it wasn’t exactly the first time Smeagol and Deagol had gone fishing.

After Gollum killed his cousin, he was exiled and found a home in dreary caves. By the time he emerged from the depths of the Misty Mountains to pursue Bilbo Baggins and his precious, it was nearly 600 years later, and his people were either long gone or extinct.

5 The Gladden Fields

Isildur chose his own fate, and it was unwise to trust the traitor ring. The place where he fell into the Anduin River was part of an area called Gladden Fields, and this area is significant but never mentioned in the film. Anyone looking for the ring always started here, where Isildur fell.

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By the time Smeagol and his matriarchal society still lived here, most of the other hobbit tribes had already moved west. Those areas that would eventually be settled as Buckland and the Shire, and by the time of the War of the Ring the Hobbits had left Gladden Fields entirely.

4 Was a harmless crook in the first version

Tolkien originally wanted Gollum to be a more benign character, similar to Tom Bombadil, in the sense that he could be troublesome with petty puzzle games or tricks but not dangerous. In fact, Gollum first offered the ring to Bilbo as a prize for winning a puzzle game with him in an early version of the story, so there was a time when he wasn’t related to it at all. the ring.

In later editions, Tolkien not only changed the nature of the ring, but also the character of Gollum. Its size also had to be spelled out, with early illustrators often interpreting it as a hulking troll or sea monster. Tolkien’s description of “resembling a frog” made him look smaller, and also explains animated depictions of him as green and low to the ground.

3 Befriends Shelob

If you can call it friendship, even if it sounded more like adoration, and Tolkien has the time and space to dig into this sordid relationship in greater detail. Gollum became acquainted with Shelob long before he reunited with Frodo and Sam, and with his remaining wits he was able to appease Shelob rather than be devoured by her.

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In the book, Gollum’s plan was simply to lead Frodo to Shelob, where he would be eaten, and Gollum would wait until she was finished retrieving the ring. In the book, however, Gollum actually made a deal with this descendant of Ungoliant, to bring him fresh meat in return for keeping the ring.

2 Also ate small goblins

It’s not explicit in the movies, and from Gollum’s appearance he certainly doesn’t eat much, so no further information is required. In the book, however, the reader gets additional information about Gollum’s life, and it gets much worse than raw fish.

Remember, there’s a whole community of orcs and goblins living in this mountain, and they can get lost just as easily as Bilbo. Once in a while, an unlucky smaller goblin wandered into the bowels of the mountain and never came back. Gollum didn’t deliberately hunt or hunt these unfortunate creatures, and he didn’t attack the Orcs because they were too big, but knowing he was still capable of wanton murder makes him all the more dangerous.

1 Hate elves and everything they make

It’s obvious in the movies that Gollum can’t stand the noose Frodo and Sam tie around his neck, and in the book he wasn’t any quieter about it even though it was tied around his ankle. Tolkien never explains exactly why, but the idea seems to be that what Elves do is inherently good and contrary to Gollum’s duplicity.

It’s not because he hates the rope itself. It’s an elven rope, and anything of elven origin causes it great pain. When he says “it burns”, it’s not just an expression. That’s also the reason why he doesn’t eat lembas bread. It’s not as simple as a personal bias, things hurt him just being around him.

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