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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The One Ring and split personalities

CaptainFaramir13
The Shire

Mar 23 2013, 7:34am

Post #1 of 14 (411 views)
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The One Ring and split personalities Can't Post

I am sorry if this has been discussed before but I could not seem to find anything, also I think this is in the right place, sorry if it is not.

I was thinking about Gollum today, and I thought of something that I had never thought of before. It seems that the whole Gollum persona of Sméagol’s personality is there because of the Ring. Does the Ring create a new personality in people? Perhaps this is a part of its corruption process, that it takes the darkness within you and strengthens it until it develops into a personality of its own, a personality completely dependent on the Ring. So could anyone who has the Ring long enough develop the secondary personality like Gollum/Sméagol? Are there any signs of a secondary personality developing, due to the Ring, in other characters?

If so, would the Ring-generated personality be the same as the Gollum personality, or would it be different depending on the person? I would think it would be different as the Ring tempts different people with different things. It would seem that if you had the Ring long enough, the personality it develops remains even in the Ring’s absence, as the Gollum persona is still there even though he no longer has the Ring. I thought this would make an interesting first topic, so what do you guys think? Does the Ring create a new personality in others, or is Gollum unique is this regard?


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 23 2013, 7:50am

Post #2 of 14 (268 views)
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Too few samples! [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, Sauron (who developed The One Ring) and Gollum are the only people who possessed it for an extended period of time. We don't have enough data on Sauron's personality/ies to judge. Certainly, after 60 years, Bilbo showed no signs of such a pathology.

Frankly, 500 years in what amounts to solitary confinement would produce a pathological personality in anyone, and the Ring couldn't have helped. Poor Gollum!








Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Mar 23 2013, 11:32am

Post #3 of 14 (253 views)
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funny you should post on this... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... for it has also been in my mind.

i've been musing on the nature of gollum's personality.

is "stinker" the ring, or is personality through the lens of the ring? is "slinker" the last refuge of his original nature (gandalf thought so, as he explained to frodo in fotr). if so, it is not his original nature uncorrupted, for slinker has some unsavory habits of his own.

perhaps this is is just how smeagol's psyche decided too deal with the pressure of being consumed by the ring. another psyche might not have gone in that direction.

like elizabeth (upthread), regarding this and other questions on how the ring worked, there are too few examples from which to observe as a reader, and the characters themselves are largely in the dark, considering their access to the ring and to sauron's knowledge of its workings.

very interesting post, thank you, captainfaramir (and welcome).


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 23 2013, 9:36pm

Post #4 of 14 (211 views)
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Yes, Smeagol was no innocent [In reply to] Can't Post

...even before he got the Ring. His is an example of a highly corruptible personality that provides a fertile field for the Ring's evil influence.








Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Mar 23 2013, 9:47pm

Post #5 of 14 (204 views)
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by the way [In reply to] Can't Post

  
... don't know if anyone remembers this passage, but i'm in the middle of rereading fellowship, and this was sick-making...

"Through Mirkwood and back again [Gollum's trail] led them, though they never caught him. The wood was full of the rumor of him, dreadful tales even among beasts and birds. The Woodmen said that there was some new terror abroad, a ghost that drank blood. It climbed trees to find nests; it crept into holes to find the young; it slipped through windows to find cradles."

... perhaps just an inflated rumor of fear, but gollum is credited with sneaking into houses and stealing babies out of cradles. and presumably eating them.

of course, he does this as gollum and not smeagol, but still.


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Mar 23 2013, 9:48pm

Post #6 of 14 (200 views)
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i wonder if the ring had second thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... and wished it had hitched its pony up to deagol.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 24 2013, 12:21am

Post #7 of 14 (192 views)
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Good example of how scary Gollum really is [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

... don't know if anyone remembers this passage, but i'm in the middle of rereading fellowship, and this was sick-making...

"Through Mirkwood and back again [Gollum's trail] led them, though they never caught him. The wood was full of the rumor of him, dreadful tales even among beasts and birds. The Woodmen said that there was some new terror abroad, a ghost that drank blood. It climbed trees to find nests; it crept into holes to find the young; it slipped through windows to find cradles."

... perhaps just an inflated rumor of fear, but gollum is credited with sneaking into houses and stealing babies out of cradles. and presumably eating them.

of course, he does this as gollum and not smeagol, but still...
That is a disturbing passage isn't it? Especially about the cradles. And I think what started it all was that Sméagol had a rather grasping, covetous "stooping" nature. And he killed Deagol before even touching the Ring - so very much as Sméagol. I think coveting and turning one's back on one's blessings never ends well in Tolkien's universe. Perhaps the weakness in character allowed the Ring to develop to the point of having its own voice - the Gollum voice. I like something I saw Andy Serkis say in one of the recent interviews - that you might be safer with Gollum in a way, because at least you know where you stand; where as with Sméagol, he might smile and stroke your arm and then take a big bite.

.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 24 2013, 3:52am

Post #8 of 14 (208 views)
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Gollum and mental health [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the Reading Room, Captain!

Gandalf's comments that Maciliel referred to shape my opinion here:


Quote
"Even Gollum was not wholly ruined... There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own...But that, of course, would only make the evil part of him angrier in the end..."


It seems the Ring does create and control a separate personality out of the evil it finds in its bearer. But I don't think that it creates the same personality in everyone. If you think of Frodo on Mount Doom when the Ring was consuming him, he seems ennobled by it as he defies Gollum and doesn't seem headed down the same path of degeneration.

All the same, Isildur called the Ring "precious," and it's no coincidence that Gollum and Bilbo did also. Somehow the Ring gave them all that word in common when they spoke of it. Even if Bilbo was imitating Gollum, why use that particular word?


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Mar 24 2013, 4:10am

Post #9 of 14 (181 views)
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just to say.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
just to say... i find this phrase +exceedingly+ funny:

"Gollum and mental health"


poor gollum. where in the dsm-4 are you?


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Mar 24 2013, 9:56am

Post #10 of 14 (181 views)
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Agree, creepiest part of Tolkiens writing [In reply to] Can't Post

and an example of the understated brutality evident in his stories, such as Celebrimbors body shot through with arrows used as a banner, Gelmirs mutilation and decapitation by the orc heralds to provoke the Noldor into the Ninarth Arnoediad, Hama corpse being hewed and Fingolfins body being broken by Morgoth. All examples of extreme desecration of helpless or fallen foes.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Mar 24 2013, 9:57am)


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 24 2013, 5:03pm

Post #11 of 14 (156 views)
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And siege of Minas Tirith--heads catapulted into the city. [In reply to] Can't Post

That one always bothers me. But with Gollum stealing babies to eat them, it's just as disturbing, if not more so: cannibalism and infanticide.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Mar 24 2013, 10:48pm

Post #12 of 14 (160 views)
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Precious... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
All the same, Isildur called the Ring "precious," and it's no coincidence that Gollum and Bilbo did also. Somehow the Ring gave them all that word in common when they spoke of it. Even if Bilbo was imitating Gollum, why use that particular word?


Perhaps it was also Precious to Sauron? Who knows how he addressed the Ring, when no-one was around. And it would certainly be precious to him (Sauron), as so much of his power and will was put into it. Intriguing...

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


RustyF
Registered User

Mar 28 2013, 9:24pm

Post #13 of 14 (131 views)
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Mental Health and Addiction [In reply to] Can't Post

I know that in the commentary to the movies, Elijah Wood stated that he wanted to play the power of the ring as an addiction (like a heroin addict).

Like an addiction, the ruling ring has a consuming, controlling nature to it. It eventually does take over a person's personality, which would create this duality of persons. Gollum / Smeagol is the battle raging between the ring, who desires to master and control Smeagol, and Smeagol's last hopes of his own free personality.

Every addict can relate to this and will even use language like, "My addiction really wanted me to go to the bar tonight."

As the ring takes control of Smeagol, it exerts its power and creates this base, impulse driven, obsessive compulsive personality named Gollum. Every once in a while, in a "moment of clarity," Smeagol still has his own voice, but it never lasts for long.

In other words, his addiction to the ring has created this duality of personality and character.

Just speculation.


CaptainFaramir13
The Shire

Apr 8 2013, 1:09pm

Post #14 of 14 (124 views)
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Some interesting responses! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is true that we don't have a lot of examples to work with, and that there could be other reasons (such as spending around 500 or so years alone) that could have been the cause. However, there does seem to be a tendency of those who have the Ring to drastically change behavior under certain circumstances. Perhaps this change in behavior is the beginnings of the new personality starting to form, and after years and years of changing behavior the Ring-influenced side starts to have a voice of its own, the voice that consideres the Ring to be "precious."

 
 

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