Smeagol vs. Gollum

My ultimate favorite character of Tolkien’s middle earth has to be Gollum! The immensity of his character is amazing! And I have to say Andy Serkis pulls it off PERFECTLY!

Smeagol starts out as a humble creature, similar to a Hobbit, called a Stoor. He lived a life in a small place with a beautiful lake, which Stoors love. One day, while fishing with his cousin Deagol, the ring is discovered. Deagol stumbled on the ring in the middle of the lake. The power of the ring affected Smeagol to the point where he would kill to have it. And he does. His own cousin. This is where Smeagol’s story begins. Everything he once was is left behind and his mind is affected by that of another.

Well, it’s not quite another. It, in a sense, is still him. It seems that Gollum became an alternate personality for Smeagol. A bit of a side note: psychology research has shown that, those who suffer from multiple personality disorder received their other personalities as a result of a traumatic experience. I would say killing your cousin for a piece of jewelry would qualify as traumatic.

Smeagol’s new nearly permanent companion, Gollum, becomes the shoulder devil, in a sense. Every action Smeagol takes is controlled by Gollum, who is, himself, controlled by the ring. The ring represents temptation and power lust. In the hands of Gollum, it becomes a corrupting habit.

The relationship between Gollum and Smeagol itself is breathtaking. There is so much meaning, so much wonder to his characterization. The song by Emiliana Torrini says it all.

The first part of the song represents the good side of Smeagol, the part of him that wants to be good. Smeagol doesn’t want to be controlled, he simply doesn’t understand that there can be more to life than the reliance he built on the ring. He doesn’t want to accept that he can’t be saved, that he can be something else. Somewhere inside him, he doesn’t want to accept that this is the end for him.

The second part of the song is where his story becomes the most depressing. The Gollum side of him starts telling him it is too late for him. The devil has taken control of his actions and tries to make him feel worthless in order to suit his own plans. The inner struggle of Gollum and Smeagol shows what temptation and addictions can do to us. You give control to the Gollum side of yourself.

The devil is there to give us an inner conflict, he doesn’t stand up and shout in our faces, he slowly and carefully pulls us downward. He plans things out, makes us feel worthless, and brings us to his own desires. Gollum is the character meant to show us what will happen to us if we don’t try like Frodo did, if we don’t fight it. If we choose to fight the temptation, we don’t have to worry about becoming Gollum. Tolkien shows this beautifully!

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