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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Why did Gandalf not mention Gollum earlier to the Fellowship?

GreenHillFox
The Shire


Jul 8 2021, 11:50am

Post #1 of 8 (1245 views)
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Why did Gandalf not mention Gollum earlier to the Fellowship? Can't Post

Referring to the following text from book 2 ch. 9 (“The great river”), after Frodo informed Aragorn about having noticed Gollum:

‘Ah!’ said Aragorn. ‘So you know about our little footpad, do you? He padded after us all through Moria and right down to Nimrodel. Since we took to boats, he has been lying on a log and paddling with hands and feet. I have tried to catch him once or twice at night; but he is slier than a fox, and as slippery as a fish. I hoped the river-voyage would beat him, but he is too clever a waterman. […] . He is very dangerous. Quite apart from murder by night on his own account, he may put any enemy that is about on our track.’

I hope I won’t upset anyone here, but I think this part is absurd! Aragorn confirms he has long noticed the lurking danger to the Fellowship, yet although being their leader he had not informed them and had not warned anyone!

Can anyone make any sense out of this?


GreenHillFox
The Shire


Jul 8 2021, 4:55pm

Post #2 of 8 (1211 views)
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I meant Aragorn, not Gandalf, in the previous message. Apologies. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


squire
Half-elven


Jul 8 2021, 6:17pm

Post #3 of 8 (1217 views)
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There is no good answer, other than the writer's craft [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien is as guilty as any writer of adventure fiction of withholding information from his characters that, in real life, would certainly be shared for practical purposes. Here the effect is to impress us that Aragorn is no slouch as a Ranger, and that's as far as the prof seems to have thought it through.

I've long wondered at the hobbits' incredible ignorance of the world outside the Shire, when they actually visit the various countries in Books III-V after having traveled for weeks with the more experienced and wise members of the Fellowship. You have to talk about something around the campfire or while on watch or even while just plain walking during a several-hundred-mile hike, and tales of the wide world and its inhabitants would be an obvious way to entertain and inform each other. But no one has ever discussed Rohan, Fangorn, Isengard, Ithilien, Gondor, or Mordor with the four hobbits. Of course, that's so they get the fun (as do we) of discovering what these places are only as we enter them.



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InTheChair
Rohan

Jul 8 2021, 9:49pm

Post #4 of 8 (1204 views)
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Gollum's a bit of an enigma. Fate maybe has him just showing up in Moria [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if Aragorn did not mention it to Gandalf, and the two decided to keep it quiet, so as not to unecessarily worry the others, or divert the company from their mission to spend time trying to kill or capture Gollum. Difficult to say.

Aragorn did not want to go into Moria, and perhaps reasoned the best thing was to get out of there as soon as possible, though afterwards he had to mantle the responsibility or leadeship of the Fellowship and may again have thought it better not to alarm anybody.

Legolas who was also in the fellowship, could have had an issue, with leaving this escaped captive unhunted.

I am also curious to:

Why Legolas, whose sight senses and hearing would be probably as good as Aragorns, is not mentioned to have known about Gollum following them. Elves may be at disadvantage under mountains perhaps? Though this Elf did live under a hill himself.
What Aragorn thought he would do with Gollum if he had captured him?
If Aragorn told the Elves of Lorien about Gollum?


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jul 9 2021, 7:35am

Post #5 of 8 (1188 views)
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I think that was an issue in general at the time [In reply to] Can't Post

In that many societies in ME withdrew into themselves and had little contact or interest in the outside world. Look at Lorien or even Rivendell.


GreenHillFox
The Shire


Jul 9 2021, 9:21am

Post #6 of 8 (1187 views)
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How useful could Gollum be? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What Aragorn thought he would do with Gollum if he had captured him?


I was wondering about that, too. Especially because at the same occasion Aragorn remarked:

I wish I could lay my hands on the wretch. We might make him useful.

What use... maybe to serve as a guide, as he would later do? Just guessing.


Cirashala
Valinor


Jul 14 2021, 9:25pm

Post #7 of 8 (1090 views)
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Exactly! [In reply to] Can't Post

It blows my mind that Legolas didn't know Gollum was there.

Methinks the professor forgot that Legolas was an elf, with keen eyes and ears, who also happened to live underground (or, at least, sleep there) in his own home. Surely he would have noticed their little foot-pad??? Possibly before anyone else? Remember, Legolas was presumably involved in Gollum's previous incarceration in his father's halls, so he knows more about him than it appears, and perhaps took pity on him on his own? Which would be odd, considering Gollum somehow collaborated with his "rescuers", and got some elf guards killed or taken in the process.

Maybe he did notice him (the guy heard ROCKS in Hollin speaking of an elven city that had been ransacked, their people killed, or sailed over sea THOUSANDS of years prior), and informed Gandalf discreetly that they were being followed, and Gandalf told him to shut up and ignore him for now, stating that he might serve an unforeseen purpose? Or, perhaps Legolas told Gandalf, and he told him to not worry about the miserable creature because he was harmless against the 9 of them?

That is the only plausible explanation, in my mind. There's no way that Legolas couldn't have known Gollum was there, IMHO.

(An aside- Aragorn later reveals that he knew Gollum was there, too. So maybe he, Gandalf, and Legolas noticed, and decided not to say anything to the others in order to avoid an unnecessary scuffle that might be overheard by orcs, or worse? Then, when Frodo did, Gandalf basically told him not to worry about it, too).

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Happy reading everyone!


(This post was edited by Cirashala on Jul 14 2021, 9:32pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jul 15 2021, 5:43pm

Post #8 of 8 (1037 views)
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...which could cause a problem [In reply to] Can't Post

...which could cause a problem, since Gollum is very much needed alive.(It does however allow a nice gag in the "DM of the Rings" web comic, which imagines LOTR as a disaterous Dungeons and Dragons game http://s:/...entysidedtale/?p=780 )

~~~~~~
"You were exceedingly clever once, but unfortunately none of your friends noticed as they were too busy being attacked by an octopus."
-from How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book, by Austin Gilkeson, in 'The Toast', 2016 https://the-toast.net/...-a-jrr-tolkien-book/

 
 

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