Original name Smeagol. A creature introduced in The Hobbit, who lost his ring of invisibility to Bilbo Baggins. The ring turned out to be the One Ring of evil power, which Frodo set out to destroy. Gollum tracked Frodo on the quest and played an ironic role in the ring's eventual destruction.

Gollum spent most of his life in the lightless caverns under the Misty Mountains. He was a wretched, evil thing, but somehow I always felt sorry for him.

Former Hobbit. He was born in the Valley of Anduin, and once carried the name of Sméagol. In the year 2463 of the third age his cousin Déagol found a ring while fishing and was killed by Sméagol. The power of the ring (the one ring) prolonged Sméagol's life, but it crippled him, so he couldn't be regcognized anymore. He hated the light and lived deep under the earth where he nourished from carrion. Five centuries he lived in a cave. In the year 2941 the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins entered the cave and stole the ring from Gollum.

In the year 3019 Gollum was able to find the new ring carrier in Frodo Baggins. But only when they arrived at the end of the path Gollum attacked Frodo and bit the ring off his finger. In the moment of his triumph he fell backwards into the vulcan and was gone.

I'm pretty sure that Gollum's is meant to be, at least in part, a retelling of the story of Cain from the Hebrew Bible. Not only because of the murder of Déagol, but also because of the legacy that both leave behind. Cain, who was given a mark by God and set to wander the Earth until eternity, was also the legendary father of vampires. Gollum, although not explicitly linked to the vampire legend, is reffered to as "a ghost that drank blood" (The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 57), and one cringes to remember his lack of distinction in selecting prey.

In the Lord of the Rings movies, Gollum is played by Andy Serkis who does an amazing job, despite the fact that he does not physically appear in the movie. Instead, CGI imagery appears in the final film, obscuring the physical form of the actor. However, all of his movements were captured by a motion capture system, and his voice is used, so in my opinion at least he acted the role of Gollum as much as, say, John Rhys-Davies acted the role of Gimli.

The thing that stood out the most to me when I watched the movie version of The Two Towers was how well the dichotomy between the nasty Gollum and the pitiful Sméagol (also known to Samwise Gamgee as Stinker and Slinker) was portrayed. In the novels this distinction was made, but it was very apparent in the movie, in a scene reminiscent of one in the Spiderman movie. I really felt sorry for poor Gollum in the movie, whereas in the books I tended to think of him more as an unpleasant creep whom Frodo and Sam had to put up with in order to make it into Mordor. In the movie, you genuinely got the sense that he was a hobbit who had possessed the ring for too long, and that Bilbo would have turned into something similar if he'd held the ring that long. Yet another example of Peter Jackson playing up the evilness of the ring.

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