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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Smeagol's name in the Dead Marshes
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FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 3 2012, 4:14pm

Post #1 of 28 (1579 views)
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Smeagol's name in the Dead Marshes Can't Post

Sorry if this question has been asked before! This is my first post here Smile

There's a great moment in the Two Towers film where Frodo calls Gollum "Smeagol" (a name he has heard from Gandalf), and Gollum reacts as if he hasn't heard that name for hundreds of years. Indeed, in the 'discovery of the ring' opening of the Return of the King, he explicitly states "We even forgot our own name".

As far as I recall, in the book, Gandalf found out Smeagol's name when he and Aragorn were following him around, and listening to him muttering to himself. However, film-Gollum wouldn't have said anything about Smeagol if he'd forgotten the name, so how does film-Gandalf know the name?

[Note: I do not expect all answers to this question to be completely serious Wink though if there is a good reason someone can come up with or if I've missed something obvious I'd like to know]


Delrond
Rohan


Sep 3 2012, 5:17pm

Post #2 of 28 (1070 views)
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First of all, welcome to TORn! [In reply to] Can't Post

Film Gandalf does not say how he learned Gollum's name. The first instance Gandalf mentions Gollum is when he discusses the ring with Frodo in Bag End. "There was one other who knew Bilbo had the ring. I looked all over for the creature Gollum..."

The next mention is in Moria where Frodo notices him lurking around. Gandalf says, "It's Gollum." He goes on to say that Smeagol's life is a sad story. A brief discussion ensues about the pity of Bilbo, with Gandalf concluding that it may rule the fate of men.

My answer would be that movie-Gandalf learned of Smeagol's name at some point in the past that was not relevant enough to capture on film, or any reference to it. Even in the FOTR Prologue, Galadriel says the ring came to Gollum, not Smeagol, as we find out how in the ROTK Prologue.

Clear as mud?Smile

A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


Spaldron
Rivendell


Sep 3 2012, 7:32pm

Post #3 of 28 (1050 views)
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Slightly off topic. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
as we find out how in the ROTK Prologue.


The scene mentioned in the OP (the "my name" scene) was originally supposed to cut to the Smeagol/Deagol scene as flashback that eventually ended up as the ROTK prologue.

Its obvious as if you look closely it suddenly jumps from night to day in a split second where the flashback was supposed to happen. Its one of those easy to spot gaffes.

Just a random thing I thought I'd share.

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Sep 3 2012, 10:14pm

Post #4 of 28 (1081 views)
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There's a more important issue, though [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't see any way that film-Gandalf could have ever learned Smeagol's name. But putting that aside, the really big question for me is how film-Gandalf found out that Sauron tortured Gollum and Gollum blurted out the names "Shire" and "Baggins." That's a huge point in terms of motivating Frodo's realization that the Shire is in danger and that he must leave with the Ring. Of course, book-Gandalf interrogates Gollum for three full days after Aragorn has captured him, and that's how he finds out the whole sad story of Smeagol, his murder of Deagol, etc. There are other causal gaps in the LOTR film, but to me, this one about Gandalf's inexplicable knowledge of Gollum's doings is perhaps the biggest.

Welcome to the Message Boards, FlyingSerkis!


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 3 2012, 10:37pm

Post #5 of 28 (1010 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
My answer would be that movie-Gandalf learned of Smeagol's name at some point in the past that was not relevant enough to capture on film, or any reference to it.


Any ideas as to when/how then?

Maybe Gandalf was around at the time, and heard about this hobbity-person killing his best friend for a 'birthday present' (it surely caused quite a stir in the local community Wink), and then eventually when he heard from Bilbo about Gollum referring to his precious as a birthday present, and he began to suspect more danger in the ring, he started putting the pieces together.... I'm sure PJ thought this through completely Tongue


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 3 2012, 10:43pm

Post #6 of 28 (1028 views)
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Good point, but... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Of course, book-Gandalf interrogates Gollum for three full days after Aragorn has captured him, and that's how he finds out the whole sad story of Smeagol, his murder of Deagol, etc.


...film-Gandalf could still have interrogated Gollum (thankyou for reminding me what actually happens to book-Gandalf). While he couldn't have found out the name this way, he could have found out "Shire" and "Baggins". It is never stated that this interrogation doesn't happen in film-verse, it just never made it to the script/screen. It is unfortunate, though, that this is never explained, so the viewer will of course be left wondering, which is a shame.


In Reply To
Welcome to the Message Boards, FlyingSerkis!


Hullo! Cool


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Sep 3 2012, 10:46pm

Post #7 of 28 (1068 views)
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But film-Gandalf says specifically [In reply to] Can't Post

that he looked everywhere for Gollum, but Sauron found him first. Surely he would have mentioned if he had somehow later found Gollum. I don't think important plot points like that are left for audiences to somehow ponder and then just assume for themselves.


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 3 2012, 10:57pm

Post #8 of 28 (1014 views)
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Yup, definitely something of a weak point in the script [In reply to] Can't Post

When he says "the enemy got there first", it could mean "I got there second". But you're right, it shouldn't be left for us to ponder... as I say, shame - while IMO they did most things brilliantly in the films, and there are many things where it's a matter of opinion as to whether they're good things or not, they did leave a couple of unnecessary but undeniable holes. I try desperately to cover each one in my head, as I'm doing now with this Sly


Delrond
Rohan


Sep 3 2012, 11:38pm

Post #9 of 28 (1023 views)
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The enemy found him first. [In reply to] Can't Post

To me, that is a strong implication that Gandalf did find Gollum afterwards and was able to piece together what happened there. "Amidst the screams and inane babble...". The only way he could know this is by talking to Gollum.

So perhaps in PJ's telling of the story, that's all that is needed for the viewer to connect the dots. Not my preference, but that's how I see this fitting together.

Regarding Gandalf knowing Smeagol's name, I'm not sure how he would know it either. Perhaps, between Galadriel, the Mirkwood elves and Gandalf, they were able to work backwards once it was determined that Bilbo found the ring in Gollum's cave. But I don't necessarily correlate Galadriel's prologue with personal knowledge she had at that time.

A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


Fardragon
Rohan

Sep 4 2012, 12:09pm

Post #10 of 28 (980 views)
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Interrogation methods. [In reply to] Can't Post

Under hypnosis, people can remember things that the conscious mind has forgotten. Perhaps Gandalf drew the information about Gollum's true name, and the murder of Deagol, from his subconscious.

In a sense, Gollum never really forgot his name, he blocked it out.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 4 2012, 12:21pm

Post #11 of 28 (949 views)
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Like it! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


TheHutt
Gondor


Sep 4 2012, 12:37pm

Post #12 of 28 (975 views)
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It always bugged me... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that the piece about Gollum's name (Smeagol) was omitted in the theatrical version of FOTR (and was reinstated only in the SEE), but in the "Towers", Frodo suddenly seems to know it from somewhere.

PS: why does PJ always pronounce "Smeagol" as "Shmiegel"?

Russian LotR/Hobbit Site: henneth-annun.ru


Loresilme
Valinor


Sep 4 2012, 4:42pm

Post #13 of 28 (968 views)
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heh heh [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome FlyingSerkis - love your nick :)! Is that a bit of a LOTR/Monty Python mash up?


Loresilme
Valinor


Sep 4 2012, 4:46pm

Post #14 of 28 (1017 views)
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I thought it was implied by the word 'first' [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf starts by saying he looked everywhere for Gollum and then says "but the enemy found him first". I took that to mean, he (Gandalf) found him after that. Because there's no reason for someone to say "first", except to imply that there's an "after that", which in the context of Gandalf looking for Gollum and then having this knowledge of his torture afterwards, I took to mean, he found him 'second', after they tortured him.



P.S. Hi Kristen! Loved your book "The Frodo Franchise" Smile!!


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 4 2012, 4:52pm

Post #15 of 28 (962 views)
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Cheers! [In reply to] Can't Post

The name was inspired by a recent Hobbit production video, in which members of Andy Serkis' second unit team were seen wearing T-shirts which had the slogan "Andy's Flying Serkis" on them Laugh

So I can't take credit for the idea I'm afraid Wink


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Sep 4 2012, 5:45pm

Post #16 of 28 (988 views)
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Somewhat ambiguous, no doubt [In reply to] Can't Post

I suppose you could interpret "first" that way--that Gandalf found him second. But that isn't the way well-constructed Hollywood narratives are told. If a plot point is important--and this one is, I'd say--the filmmakers spell it out, not just vaguely imply it. It wouldn't take much time for Gandalf to add something like, "By the time I tracked Gollum down, he had already been tortured into giving the names 'Baggins' and 'Shire.'" I mean, this is Peter Jackson we're talking about, not Michelangelo Antonioni. Wink

Thanks much for your kind words about The Frodo Franchise!


Mooseboy018
Gondor


Sep 4 2012, 10:33pm

Post #17 of 28 (941 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

Based on what we've heard about the Riddles in the Dark scene in the Hobbit movie, Gollum somehow remembers his name and tells Bilbo. So we can assume that Bilbo told Gandalf. And then Gollum forgot his name was Smeagol (again) after losing the Ring or something.

Knowing his name is Smeagol in the Hobbit just creates more problems...

I've brought this up in other threads (mostly to try to make sense of what looks like a relatively big oversight by PJ, Fran, and Phillipa). Here's how I see things working out based on the fact that Gollum uses the name Smeagol in the Hobbit movie:

-Gollum forgets his name is Smeagol after being corrupted by the Ring.

-talking with Bilbo brings back memories of his old life (which is actually true in the book), and he manages to remember his name too and shares it with Bilbo

-remembering his old life only makes the Gollum side of his personality angrier (which is also true in the book), and that along with losing his precious causes him to repress those memories and forget his name again

-Gandalf learns Gollum's name is Smeagol from Bilbo at some point

-Gandalf tells Frodo about Smeagol

-Frodo confronts Gollum in the Dead Marshes and forces him to remember his name (not that he know he had forgotten it)


(This post was edited by Mooseboy018 on Sep 4 2012, 10:43pm)


Plurmo
Rohan

Sep 5 2012, 2:46am

Post #18 of 28 (930 views)
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It can be assumed that he would talk about one Sméagol [In reply to] Can't Post

never relating it to himself. It is only when the Master of the Precious calls him Sméagol that he accepts that as fact.


weaver
Half-elven

Sep 5 2012, 3:14am

Post #19 of 28 (941 views)
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The gift of hindsight, maybe? [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile

Good question and if it's been asked before it hasn't been asked for an age, so good for you for asking it again!

My take on it is that Gandalf is shown to be pretty "suspectful" of Bilbo's ring, he connects it to Gollum in that bit where he mutters "Riddles in the Dark" and that when he was searching for Gollum he somehow found out his backstory.

It's implied more than explained, though, I'll grant you that!

Welcome to TORn and hope to see more of you!

Weaver




Spaldron
Rivendell


Sep 5 2012, 5:06am

Post #20 of 28 (943 views)
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That was a riff on... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The name was inspired by a recent Hobbit production video, in which members of Andy Serkis' second unit team were seen wearing T-shirts which had the slogan "Andy's Flying Serkis" on them


Monty Pythons Flying Circus

I think.

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Sep 5 2012, 9:45am

Post #21 of 28 (929 views)
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Yes, I think that's right // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Solicitr
Lorien

Sep 8 2012, 1:21pm

Post #22 of 28 (926 views)
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Too much information! [In reply to] Can't Post

A major problem throughout the movies is that everyone knows too much, about everything. T (a WWI signals officer, personally aware of the vagaries of communications) was very careful to point out how all involved, even (or especially) Sauron, were only privy to limited information, and that often out-of-date. I practically gagged over Denethor's "Elrond of Rivendell has called a council," for example.

T, by contrast, carefully worked out how long it would take from Moria for Orc-runners to reach Isengard and messenger-birds to reach Barad-dur, and how significant it was that Legolas felled the Nazgul-steed at Sarn Gebir (thus depriving Sauron of timely intelligence from Grishnakh's scouting party).


Yngwulff
Gondor


Sep 15 2012, 9:16pm

Post #23 of 28 (857 views)
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I think [In reply to] Can't Post

In the movies they should have shown or explained better how Aragorn captured Gollum, and Gandalf wringing the information out of him. It would have solidified the plot a little better.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Sep 15 2012, 9:51pm

Post #24 of 28 (862 views)
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Amen [In reply to] Can't Post

This is another aspect of the films that annoys me considerably. Add this to PJ's generally unsubtle approach to everything, and you have a nearly unwatchable set of films.

Nowadays, I occasionally pop them into the DVD player and skip around to scenes I enjoy. About one hour in total across the three films.


Elutherian
Rohan


Sep 16 2012, 2:10am

Post #25 of 28 (893 views)
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I am so glad [In reply to] Can't Post

That PJ directed LOTR. If someone directed something that was closer to the books, it would have failed, wouldn't have won 15 oscars, wouldn't have become the second most beloved trilogy of all time, and wouldn't have been successful enough to warrant a Hobbit trilogy.

For me, LOTR is the pinnacle of film-making. The hell with loyal adaptations!

The Grey Pilgrim, they once called me. Three hundred lives of men I walked this earth, and now I have no time...

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