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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A question of hobbits...

GAndyalf
Valinor

Apr 3 2013, 11:27pm

Post #1 of 10 (410 views)
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A question of hobbits... Can't Post

Greetings, long lost brethren of TORn!
I mused a few moments ago on something I'd like your scholarly and whimsical replies to, if you please?
One of the critical parts of LotR is that Frodo is kind to Gollum/Smeagol and without the latter's help the quest would have been doomed to failure. During a moment when I mused about a life difficulty I quoted Gollum in my head, "We HATES it! We hates it! We hates it forever!" Even given Bilbo's considerable skills of kindness and getting even Thorin to grunt an acceptance to an apology, do you think that had Bilbo gone to destroy the Ring that he could have elicited Gollum's help or would the trap have been even worse than Shelob? Was this a clever case of because the bearer was different that Gollum had JUST ENOUGH left of himself to be persuaded? For purposes of this discussion let's assume that Bilbo would have had as trusty a companion as Sam was.
Thanks all!

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 4 2013, 3:41am

Post #2 of 10 (210 views)
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My vote is he'd kill him [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Gollum was always on the verge of murdering and eating anything he could get his hands on. He certainly followed Frodo with the intent of killing him, and he didn't even know him. I think if it had been Bilbo he was after (and he recognized him), his wild rage would have overwhelmed him and there would be no "Nice Massster." Just killing Bilbo, maybe even for revenge first, and Ring retrieval second.


Felagund
Lorien


Apr 4 2013, 6:29pm

Post #3 of 10 (190 views)
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Gollum vs Gollum [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure it'd even have got as far as Bilbo and Gollum meeting, and even if it did, violence would have been the outcome.

In my view, Bilbo had been a Ringbearer way too long already to cope with another stint. He may set off with the Fellowship from Rivendell in good faith but the corrupting influence of the One Ring would have driven him mad, and also likely to flee the Fellowship in a paranoiac rage long before they got anywhere near Mordor. If Bilbo and Gollum had met, it'd be more like Gollum vs Gollum - two corrupted creatures fighting it out for the Precious.

The passage describing Frodo's reaction to Bilbo's request in Rivendell to see the Ring again is illustrative:

"he [Frodo] found himself eyeing a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands. He felt a desire to strike him." [FotR, Many Meetings"]

Add to this Bilbo's insistence on calling the Ring his, despite having passed it on to Frodo, and Gandalf's warning that it "would do no good to you [Bilbo] or to others, if you tried to meddle with it again." [ibid.]. Neither bode well for a Fellowship of the Ring that substituted Bilbo for Frodo.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


GAndyalf
Valinor

Apr 4 2013, 8:25pm

Post #4 of 10 (162 views)
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If the timeline stayed the same... [In reply to] Can't Post

Then I quite agree. I was thinking more along the lines of within perhaps 2 years of the end of The Hobbit for the hypothetical I started this thread with and was/am interested in the question of how would it play out? Would Bilbo (and the notion of Eru working through the most unlooked-for things and people) have somehow managed to enlist Gollum's help as well or would it have been a case of because of the nature of their first meeting would Gollum not be the vehicle used to get Frodo into Mordor?
Overall I'm inclined to think that it would have to be a different means as you two have posted and for similar reasons, but in order for it to be Bilbo at all it really would have to be on a shortened timeline regardless as there simply wasn't any possible way for it to be him at more than one-hundred and thirty years of age.

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009


PhantomS
Rohan


Apr 5 2013, 2:28pm

Post #5 of 10 (137 views)
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The triggers weren't there yet [In reply to] Can't Post

we have to remember that the destruction of the One Ring was a culmination of a lot of things happenning at the same time- the Sword Reforged, the Balrog finally being slain and The Witch King finally dying by prophecy , plus Gandalf ascending to the White rank. These things didn't happen until Bilbo was really old and past his time. If Bilbo was suddenly chosen again to take the Ring to Mordor many things would work against him, Gollum being the least of his worries. Frodo was fortunate to live in a time of great upheaval, otherwise he would not succeed.


GAndyalf
Valinor

Apr 5 2013, 4:09pm

Post #6 of 10 (130 views)
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How much of that 'had' to happen when it did? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
we have to remember that the destruction of the One Ring was a culmination of a lot of things happenning at the same time- the Sword Reforged, the Balrog finally being slain and The Witch King finally dying by prophecy , plus Gandalf ascending to the White rank. These things didn't happen until Bilbo was really old and past his time. If Bilbo was suddenly chosen again to take the Ring to Mordor many things would work against him, Gollum being the least of his worries. Frodo was fortunate to live in a time of great upheaval, otherwise he would not succeed.


It was indeed a culmination, but how much of that had to happen at all and how much of it COULD have happened earlier in another imagining of the tale? I'm sure we agree that the way Tolkien wrote it was by far the better version of the tale as it greatly enhanced the story to have a different sort of hobbit to do the much more sombre task than the kind and light-hearted Bilbo and I'm certain that was part of the reason Tolkien did so. But what you're suggesting doesn't really preclude my question, it only requires re-imagining the story for events to occur earlier than they actually did, and the only significant factor there would be Sauron recovering and acting much earlier, suggesting a far greater curve for recovering his power. One thing I think many people lose is the sense of this recovery being a slow process. Had Sauron been much more patient, perhaps going directly to Mordor rather than linger in Dol Guldur, nearer to where the Ring was lost to regain as much of his strength as he could (and also remaining far more secret) the tale might have had a worse end but his arrogance had him acting before he regained enough power to find the Ring virtually unopposed. But that's another question that digresses quite far from this one.

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Apr 5 2013, 11:24pm

Post #7 of 10 (181 views)
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Bilbo would still have had Sting [In reply to] Can't Post

And presumably his best mate, maybe a Dwarf, to help him. And if Gollum blubbed enough, I suppose Bilbo would have showed him mercy again. Bilbo is the good guy after all. And as I can't imagine a death worse than been eaten by a giant spider I can only assume the plan would have been much the same. Maybe if Bilbo had known about the Ring he would have felt much the same way to Gollum as Frodo did.


will9090
Registered User

Apr 16 2013, 10:44pm

Post #8 of 10 (65 views)
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frodo and gollum [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always though that because Frodo wasn't the one to actually steal the ring from Gollum, that it meant that Gollum didn't hate him as much as he did Bilbo....


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 16 2013, 11:15pm

Post #9 of 10 (59 views)
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I'd agree with that [In reply to] Can't Post

and welcome to the Reading Room, Will!


GAndyalf
Valinor

Apr 16 2013, 11:31pm

Post #10 of 10 (70 views)
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I rather agree, Will... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's my contention that it confused Gollum mightily that Frodo didn't at all act the way he remembered Bilbo (plus the Ring's distortions over the many years). I believe Gollum had forgotten mortality and thought - at first - that Frodo was Bilbo and it only slowly dawned on him that Frodo was someone else entirely. As that happened and Gollum's trust grew in Frodo gave him real doubts as to whether Frodo was someone to be destroyed (Gollum/Ring wanted) or his last, best chance at a friend (Smeagol wanted). For those reasons I'm inclined to believe that it truly is important to the story that those years take place and Frodo is the bearer. I like most here, do not believe that Bilbo could have managed it without some of the nature of the Ring changing.

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009

 
 

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