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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The new take on old schizo-Gollum


Sep 22 2012, 5:23am

Post #1 of 23 (1625 views)
The new take on old schizo-Gollum Can't Post

It seems from the two Gollum portions of the trailer (one being in the alternate ending dedicated to him) that we are getting a revised take on his split personality. This time around, the Smeagol/Gollum (or Slinker/Stinker) duality from LotR seems to have been softened into a Nice/Nasty relationship—almost like the old Angel and Devil on either shoulder gag—with the Nice side being downright cutesy. No doubt this duality is going to be played for as much humor as possible, a-la the "I wasn't talking to you" joke from the alternate ending.

While Jackson and Serkis greatly amplified the schizophrenic self-conversations of the character in LotR, the kernel was there in the text. In TH, however, even though Gollum does talk to himself, there is little indication of an actual multiple personality disorder. Even in the revisions to the "Riddles in the Dark" chapter made to bring the character into line with its later incarnation, the closest we get is Gollum addressing both himself and the Ring as "Precious."

However, I'm wondering if Jackson is actually trying to capture something of both versions of the text, here—with Nice Gollum being closer to the 1st edition character who really does intend to give the Ring to Bilbo as a present (helpfully offering to show the way out when he can't find it) and Nasty Gollum being the post-LotR transformation who intends to murder and eat Bilbo no matter what the outcome of the riddle game. I'm also wondering if the "theft" of the Ring will be depicted as the event that pushes Gollum finally over the edge and dispels Nice Gollum for good.

I guess most of you know that I don't care much for Jackson's overstated take on things (and any performance that reduces Gollum to a Howie Mandel impersonation grates on me,) but I'm trying to find something promising, here.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

Registered User

Sep 22 2012, 6:25am

Post #2 of 23 (672 views)
stinker/slinker [In reply to] Can't Post

I noticed that too...I never got the impression from the text of TH of duality of good/evil gollum, he seemed mostly stinker to me. Calling oneself "my precious" doesnt mean he had a good/evil side, to me it just meant he talked to himself or was just so bound up in the ring he didnt see it separate from himself. Is there any hint of a good/evil nature in TH? I dont know. *Maybe* the hint of him being something else a long time ago (ie him remembering daisies or eggs from a previous life above ground), but just because he lived above ground doesnt mean he wasnt a stinker.

I took PJ's interpretation more as trying to tie him in with the character we know so well from the LoTR movies.

Nevertheless, interesting conversation, thanks for bringing it up!



Sep 22 2012, 7:50am

Post #3 of 23 (636 views)
My take was diffferent to PJ's [In reply to] Can't Post

Rather than having multiple personality disorder, I saw the debate as between good Smaegol, who had started to emerge AFTER meeting Frodo, and old evil ring dominated Gollum.

I was also of the view that rather than falling into the Crack of Doom, good Smaegol briefly regained control and threw himself in, to be finally rid of the ring.

I think PJ decided that Smaegol was a bit of a nasty piece of work even before the ring got hold of him.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...

Valandil ed Imladris

Sep 22 2012, 8:42am

Post #4 of 23 (558 views)
I think [In reply to] Can't Post

that smeagol is nicer, of course, but he wouldn't give the ring to Bilbo. Both Smeagol and Gollum are bound to the ring..

But I do think that they can play with nicer smeagol and mean gollum, because he is not yet as confronted as in LOTR. In the old trilogy he had to choose between the two, first Smeagol winning, then Gollum.

Now in the hobbit, he can be pretty much sometimes Smeagol, being glad that he has someone to talk to, and being gollum, reminding him that the "precious" is the most important thing and that the nasty Baggins is a danger -> "So we eats it".

(This post was edited by Valandil ed Imladris on Sep 22 2012, 8:44am)


Sep 22 2012, 10:19am

Post #5 of 23 (570 views)
i don't like that gollum so far [In reply to] Can't Post

i expected the "riddles in the dark" to be darker. with a mad, obsessed and spooky gollum, like we have seen him in the FOTR snippets.

I suppose "riddles in the dark" will have a lot of running-gags...which is really sad.

And Gollum looks too cute and again, there's too much light. i guess andy serkis wanted a well visible Gollum...


Sep 22 2012, 12:12pm

Post #6 of 23 (505 views)
Gollum will be evil and SScary! [In reply to] Can't Post

Go to approximately 2:14 (or 2:03 in some cases) in the trailer. Look at Gollum's face and just hear him hiss! Now imagine that you are Bilbo and try to ignore the scenes that come right before and after this clip. Gollum was somewhat nice and funny before wasn't he? Now as he turns around you see and hear a monster! Trust me...this will be a scary scene, especially after we are guided into a false sense of security with the funny Smeagol.

I believe you nailed it with this line Phibbus:

I'm also wondering if the "theft" of the Ring will be depicted as the event that pushes Gollum finally over the edge and dispels Nice Gollum for good.

As for the Nice/Nasty Angel comparison. Something my sister noticed is that Smeagol, not Gollum, is the one who says, "Well if it loses, precious, then we eats it!" Not exactly a perfect little angel if you ask me. :)

Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Sep 22 2012, 12:13pm

Post #7 of 23 (507 views)
I'm not sure diagnosing [In reply to] Can't Post

Fictional characters is all that useful.

"In TH, however, even though Gollum does talk to himself, there is little indication of an actual multiple personality disorder."

That said the kernal of Gollum having multiple voices, (if not personalities), is also in the TH. I hope we can excuse the extended quotation, although I have edited it as much as possible.

"After a while Gollum stopped weeping and began to talk. He seemed to be having an argument with himself.
“It’s no good going back there to search, no. We doesn’t remember all the places we’ve visited. And it’s no use. The Baggins has got it in its pocketses; the nassty noser has found it, we says.”
“We guesses, precious, only guesses. We can’t know till we find the nassty creature and queezes it..........It doesn’t know the way out It said so.”
“It said so, yes; but it’s tricksy. It doesn’t say what it means. It won’t say what it’s got in its pocketses. It knows. ...........To the back-door, that’s it.”
“The goblinses will catch it then. It can’t get out that way, precious.” “Ssss, sss, Gollum! Goblinses! Yes, but if it’s got the present, our precious present, then goblinses will get it, gollum! .........Not even our clever eyeses will notice him; and he’ll come creepsy and tricksy and catch us, gollum, gollum!”
“Then let’s stop talking, precious, and make haste. If the Baggins has gone that way, we must go quick and see. Go! Not far now. Make haste!”
With a spring Gollum got up and started shambling off at a great pace"

The important thing to note here is the punctuation, which Tolkien uses just as if there were two separate speakers (complete with line separation, indents etc). I cannot imagine that this is co-incidence or mistake but it is certainly unusual and Tolkien does not use punctuation in this way to break up single sepaker's words anywhere else in the book.

Given that this comes at Gollum's moment of crisis, I can only see the punctuation as an indication that the reader is being pushed towards perceiving multiple "voices", arguing with each other before coming to a resolution and taking action.


(This post was edited by Lacrimae Rerum on Sep 22 2012, 12:16pm)


Sep 22 2012, 1:13pm

Post #8 of 23 (470 views)
I think you're right about the text indicating 'two voices'... [In reply to] Can't Post

..in Gollum and would share your reservations (if I'm reading you correctly) about the idea that two personalities are in play here. Gollum debates with himself - which isn't that uncommon. In him, though, it's more pronounced: in large part, perhaps, because he has been on his own for so long. Later the debate will become more polarised as Frodo's kindness calls out echoes of the old, pre-Ring Smeagol.

I wouldn't use the term 'multiple personality disorder' because I don't think it's helpful. It refers to something observable in human beings in the real world. I can't imagine how this could relate to an imaginary being whose life has been artificially prolonged down the centuries by a magic ring.


Sep 22 2012, 2:45pm

Post #9 of 23 (366 views)
Noted [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I was hesitant to use either "schizophrenia" or "multiple personality disorder" to describe what's being depicted, and both are inaccurate (especially the former.) In cases of MPD, the various manifested personae rarely, if ever, actually come into contact with one another. However, the terms are rather loosely applied in non-clinical, casual discussion, and I was mainly trying to avoid repeating "split personality" (which, I think, is a synonym for "multiple personality disorder," at any rate.) Even though what is being depicted is a common device, I don't know if there is an accurate name for it, or if it is a clinically observed phenomenon.

I hope that I did not offend anyone, here, and that certainly was not my intent. Sincerest apologies, if so.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

The Shire

Sep 22 2012, 3:00pm

Post #10 of 23 (371 views)
The text Lacrimae quoted... [In reply to] Can't Post

... it to my mind the best evidence for a multiple personality interpretation of Gollum. It's quite clear, really.


Sep 22 2012, 3:25pm

Post #11 of 23 (343 views)
Ageed to all of the Above [In reply to] Can't Post

Didn't Andy say in a Vblog that it was the first Scene Shot
and MF's first day on Set?
13 minutes of continuous RiddleGame..
Sure this Chapter will be worked long&Hard..

Too much rides on this scene.

Somewhere I read S/G is considered English Languages
Greatest villain ..
Sure Scared the B-Jesus out of me as a. KID!

wendy woo

Sep 22 2012, 3:29pm

Post #12 of 23 (410 views)
I was ALWAYS dissatisfied with the ending! [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien, in my mind, was leaving the outcome to fate rather than a choice. I guess it's the part of me that wants to believe, like Frodo wanted as well, that Smeagol could come back, i.e. that Smeagol could be redeemed, and he would do what was best for both of them and destroy the ring on purpose.

"It's a queer country out here", Pa said. "Strange things happen."
"Yes", said Ma. "I'm thankful that so far they don't happen to us."

wendy woo

Sep 22 2012, 3:32pm

Post #13 of 23 (344 views)
He has to be cute and sweet! [In reply to] Can't Post

In the end, we have to believe that Bilbo will feel sorry enough for "Smeagol" that he won't "Gollum" , even though Gollum deserves it. Get it?
And I also think, that once infuriated, Gollum can turn the scene dark and dangerous in a hurry. So we need not think that this light will permeate the whole scene.

"It's a queer country out here", Pa said. "Strange things happen."
"Yes", said Ma. "I'm thankful that so far they don't happen to us."

(This post was edited by wendy woo on Sep 22 2012, 3:35pm)


Sep 22 2012, 3:49pm

Post #14 of 23 (311 views)
Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

The passage you quoted is mainly what I was thinking of when I said that Gollum does talk to himself. Both "sides" however, are pretty equally unappealing, although you can certainly make a case that one is more forceful and one more fearful. But there is little hint of the wide swing between opposite poles that is indicated in the trailer. If anything, the division between Good/Bad sides is less accentuated than in LotR rather than further exaggerated (the main point i was getting at.)

My impression is that this conversation is characteristic of Gollum's manner when he is alone, with no one else to talk to—which is consistent with LotR, when the Slinker/Stinker conversation only occurs when Gollum thinks Frodo and Sam are asleep—and that he puts aside the behavior when directly addressing others (whereas in the trailer, it appears that he is alternating back and forth between the two personalities throughout his interaction with Bilbo.)

It is interesting to note that the self-conversation is, indeed, one of the LotR continuity additions to the chapter and was, I believe, meant to deliberately echo and foreshadow (after-shadow?) the similar one that occurs in "The Passage of the Marshes" in LotR. For comparison's sake, take a look at Gollum's character from near the same moment in the original text:

I don't know how many times Gollum begged Bilbo's pardon. He kept on saying: "We are sorry; we didn't mean to cheat, we meant to give it our only pressent, if it won the competition." He even offered to catch Bilbo some nice juicy fish to eat as a consolation.
"Never mind!" [Bilbo] said. The ring would have been mine now, if you had found it; so you would have lost it anyway. And I will let you off on one condition.
"Yes, what is it? What does it wish us to do, my precious?"
"Help me to get out of these places," said Bilbo.
Now Gollum had to agree to this, if he was not to cheat. He still very much wanted just to try what the stranger tasted like, but now he had to give up all idea of it. […]

The main thing I was wondering was whether this original-text characterization might be the source for some of the Nice Gollum aspects.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

Kristin Thompson

Sep 22 2012, 3:56pm

Post #15 of 23 (333 views)
Gollum must have been somewhat better before [In reply to] Can't Post

You mention that passage where he remembers his life above ground. Part of it reads: "But these ordinary above ground everyday sorts of riddles were tiring for him. Also they reminded him of days when he had been less lonely and sneaky and nasty, and that put him out of temper." Not to say that remembering his less-nasty former self fully motivates the Smeagol/Gollum split as shown in the trailer, but at least we know that in the book he gets upset at thinking of that better time.

Valandil ed Imladris

Sep 22 2012, 4:41pm

Post #16 of 23 (282 views)
Now [In reply to] Can't Post



and that


is both mean Gollum that will scare both Bilbo and us.

He'll also try to hunt Bilbo and "eats it". It will be dark, too.

Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Sep 22 2012, 5:11pm

Post #17 of 23 (272 views)
Yes and this goes towards Dormouse's point too. [In reply to] Can't Post

I would say that there is a the idea of a dialogue rather than a monologue (very possibly linked to the Gollum developing in LOTR's drafts). But as you say the "personalities" here are not quite as distinct in tone from one another as in the later work.

I think it is hard to know much about what is typical for him at this point, given the very small glimpse of him we get. The dual voices/ iselves may be typical, occasional or even have started just then, as some sort of cataclysmic response to the loss of the ring.

The film will no doubt have its own view on Gollum's state of mind at the time of TH but I can see the notion of linking the dual voices/selves of TH to the dual selves of LOTR given the order of the release of the films (I.e. with most of the audience familiar with the latter, an alternative set of dual selves/ voices might be complex).

Whether this works as a technique we will see. It may do a good job of reflected the various dualities Gollum is imbued with in the book or may not (good/bad, internal/external, comic/threatening, pathos/revulsion etc) It certainly has an anchor in the text as I see it.


(This post was edited by Lacrimae Rerum on Sep 22 2012, 5:12pm)


Sep 22 2012, 11:08pm

Post #18 of 23 (190 views)
I dont think Gollum had [In reply to] Can't Post

any clinical mental illness, I think he was just a very lonely solitary creature, solitary people talk to themselves, they have a basic need to communicate and if they are alone for many years they express this by either talking to 'the wall' or to an object, if you saw that film with Tom Hanks marooned on an Island you will remember he used a coconut as a 'friend'. Gollum just talks things through out loud as if there is a 'friend' with him. He is also tormented by the Ring constantly which doesnt help matters.

Tol Eressea

Sep 22 2012, 11:29pm

Post #19 of 23 (223 views)
Honestly I think the Gollum we saw [In reply to] Can't Post

in the trailer is awful, simply awful. There is no sense of dread or danger while seeing him. My wife who is not a huge Tolkien/Hobbit/LOTR fan thought he looked too happy compared to the way he read in the book ( yes I made her read that chapter) Also I grew up with a neighbor who mumbled and talked to himself and answered himself but he didn't have multiple personalities. He was simply lonely. Gollum in my eyes was the same way lonely and just conversing with himself because no one else was there. The ring had twisted his mind over 400 years and his references to "we" meant himself and the ring, From my understanding he was always talking to his Precious, which was the ring. Even according to Peter Jackson's LOTR, Bilbo calls the ring his precious in Baggend.Wink Angelic Wink

But for Gollum to be all bouncing around and peppy and happy and smiling is totally wrong IMO. There is no sense of dread in what we have seen, just comedic nonsense. I liked the scene of Gollum in shadow peaking over the rocks in the first trailer and thought they might actually get it right but then this new "happy" Smeagol. just terrible. Bilbo actually was going to kill gollum but felt pity at the last minute. I think they should have played up the angry bitter side of Gollum only showing the sadness after thinking Bilbo had gotten away with his ring. Which his sadness is what stays Bilbo's hand. All this version of Gollum is for is to highlight the advances they have made in technology, and give Sirkis a chance to show off some more of his acting chops. But they never thought about making the character like Tolkien wrote him, dark and skulking, sticking to the shadows only coming close enough to get a better look at Bilbo because he was curious since he hadn't seen anything but Goblins in such a long time. And OH my God you mean Peter jackson couldn't write dialogue any different than what he wrote for the scene with Gollum telling Sam and Frodo about "showing Hobbitses a safe path" really ten years later he can't think of anything better? How about the dialogue that Tolkien wrote for that scene? which I think is fitting and much better than PJ's made up modernized nonsense.Shocked

Too light, too happy, and nothing to be afraid of. The audience will probably spend more time laughing at made up nonsense than being on the edge of their seats for what should have been a dark tense scary sequence.... Totally wrong feel IN MY OPINION OF COURSE Crazy


Sep 22 2012, 11:36pm

Post #20 of 23 (237 views)
Interesting point [In reply to] Can't Post

It is precisely that "desperate loneliness" that I don't see in this Gollum. I could see myself having a chat with this guy at a cocktail party. Too socially "with it" if you will.


Sep 24 2012, 7:46am

Post #21 of 23 (85 views)
Completely [In reply to] Can't Post

I completely agree with you. If this iconic scene will be dissapointing I will be very very sad.


Sep 24 2012, 7:48am

Post #22 of 23 (93 views)
But on the other side [In reply to] Can't Post

We only saw a small piece of the very beginning of that scene. At that moment Gollum was quite polite. Hopefully we are all wrong an this scene will be scary and epic

Tol Eressea

Sep 25 2012, 1:05am

Post #23 of 23 (112 views)
I agree we only saw a small portion [In reply to] Can't Post

of Gollum but is it really gonna get any better, or is it going to be more of the same stuff we saw in the trailer? I have a gut feeling they are gonna try and go for more laughs in that scene than it truly needs. Because they think they have a gold mine with Andy Sirkis doing a schizophrenic Gollum instead of playing it dark and spooky like in the book. Bilbo needs to hate or be scared enough of Gollum by the end of the riddle scene to want to kill him. But we also need to see a sad and pathetic Gollum so that Bilbo will pity him and stay his hand when he's about to kill him. We do not however need to see him all happy peppy and friendly smiling and acting like he wants to be Bilbo's friend. Polite doesn't have to mean smiling and happy. People can be ticked off hopping mad and full of disgust and still be polite...Smile


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