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Re Gollum - For Those More Learned than I

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Aug 12 2013, 1:23pm

Post #1 of 4 (379 views)
Re Gollum - For Those More Learned than I Can't Post

Does anyone happen to know what or whom may have influenced Tolkien's invention of Gollum? Was he at all, meaning even his appearance, inspired by an actual person? Also I'd love to hear any background or speculation as to why he gave the character his signature hissss?

Many thanks!

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Aug 12 2013, 3:47pm

Post #2 of 4 (249 views)
Glip [In reply to] Can't Post

Douglas A. Anderson writes in The Annotated Hobbit of Glip, a character similar to Gollum, who shows up in a poem of the same name that Tolkien probably composed around 1928. The poem was part of a series of poems called "Tales and Songs of Bimble Bay."

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Aug 12 2013, 3:48pm)

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Aug 13 2013, 9:44am

Post #3 of 4 (207 views)
The concept of Gollum does seem to change [In reply to] Can't Post

In the Hobbit he is really just a creepy guy in a cave with no other desire than to eat Bilbo. It's not even like he doesn't have another supply of food that's what he wants to do, no subilties. It's only the movie that shows up the other side of him. And come on, in the Hobbit, how is anyone supposed to guess that Gollum is a Hobbit! In Lotr, Tolkien seems to have decided to flesh out this character making him more sympathetic dare one say it.


Aug 14 2013, 11:21am

Post #4 of 4 (214 views)
well... [In reply to] Can't Post

I almost didn't reply, not seeing myself as learned in all this.

I haven't read any commentary from Tolkien on the original question but I think the evolution of the character of Gollum actually shapes the story. In TH, Gollum is almost a plot device, a weird creature who threatens Bilbo in a cave. The One Ring was written in after the fact to connect the story to that of LOTR.

But that connection ended up driving much of the story in LOTR. Gollum's finding of The Ring connects the story we read with the events of three thousand years before. The fact that Gollum was a Hobbit or "Of Hobbit-kind" is a graphic depiction of the effects of The Ring. Frodo's decision to spare Gollum sets up the ending of the story and it's ultimately Gollum who, "by chance if chance you call it", brings about the conclusion.


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