Recognized as one of the most tragic and unfortunate figures of Third Age, Gollum was an anomaly. Mean or vicious Hobbits were extremely rare, for while they could endure spells of wrathful and bitter feelings, and their children were often adventurous to the point of appearing obstreperous to some, almost none were truly aggressive, cruel, or wicked. But the Stoor Sméagol was sneaky, greedy, manipulative and obsequious from his early life, and despite his noble background, his interests in youth were strange and mischievous. These traits, and no small amount of fate, drew the sinister little fellow to Sauron's lost Ring of Power, which he took with an act of murder, and its affects on him were quick and dramatic. For five hundred years Sméagol lived only with his Precious and owned nothing else, obsessed by it and becoming a murderous and corrupt Ghoul in his miserable existence. However, Sméagol lacked the ability to fully wield the Ruling Ring, being of a kind which could not exploit its power, and though he avoided the fullness of its curse, he could not relinquish it, yet it could relinquish him. When it did, he was already cursed by it, and his tie to it was the death of him.
Sméagol the Stoor was born circa T.A. 2430 to a large and wealthy clan of Hobbits governed in matriarchal fashion by his Grandmother, whose people lived near the Gladden Fields on the banks of the Anduin. These people were Stoors, the heartiest of the Hobbit-tribes and the most interactive with Men, but Sméagol's people, unlike the others of their race, had returned to the Anduin vales through the Gap of Rohan after dwelling for a while in rather wild regions of Eriador. Sméagol was strong, quick, and clever early on, and one way or the other, would go far. His youth was spent in the common activities of his village: fishing and boating.
On one fishing expedition, his friend and cousin Déagol discovered the One Ring on the bottom of the Anduin after a large fish pulled him into the river. The Ring had lain in the silty bed of that river for over twenty-four centuries since Isildur had lost it there, with his life, in T.A. 2. When Déagol returned to the surface and showed his cousin his find, Sméagol was immediately overwhelmed with lust for the thing, and strangled Déagol for it, claiming it as his birthday present. Returning home, Sméagol learned quickly that the Ring's gift of invisibility was very handy for helping him commit little larcenies. The Ring, as it always did, enhanced Sméagol's own nature; in this case, that of a petty thief. But naturally, his constant thievery earned him the dislike of his community. He became cruel, as well, and pranked and toyed with his kin, young and old. Slowly the affects of the Ring became more prominent, and more hindering. He began to physically assail and threaten his own people; he bit his companions and brothers, and when they kicked him, he bit their feet. He began to act in a wild fashion similar to a beast, crawling about, and developing a nervous habit of frequently gobbling and gulping in the back of his throat. The community named him Gollum for these glottal noises. Eventually, his own Grandmother, who had apparently raised him like a son, felt compelled to evict him from her hole and banish him from their community.
Wandering alone and homeless, Gollum chanced to find an entry along a submerged stream deep into the Misty Mountains. By this time, he had already grown to loathe the light of the Sun and the Moon, and he sought security in the roots of the mountains, below the Orc-holds of the High Pass. During the centuries that followed, Gollum's life was radically lengthened, and he became a strange, Ghoulish creature, his body thin yet unnaturally strong, his few teeth fanged, and his toes and fingers webbed; his eyes enlarged as his night vision increased; his feet became flat as paddles, and his hands abnormally long and distended; his normal vision became poor but his hearing excellent, and he gained the capacity to climb like an insect and swim like a fish. But all Elvish things became intolerable to him, their ropes burning his skin, their lembas tasting like dust in his mouth. For almost five-hundred years, Gollum stayed in his nest, miserably eking out his existence, seldom leaving his cave and never venturing outside of the mountains. All of this changed and his shamble of a life collapsed when, in T.A. 2941, Bilbo Baggins of Sùza accidentally (or rather, providentially) stumbled into Gollum's hole during his own fearful escape from the Orcs. Fate was with him that day, for the Ring had fallen from Gollum while he hunted for stray and small Orcs, and in the tunnel it lay for any passerby to collect. But no Orc came to claim it and bring it closer to its master; it was Bilbo who did this, groping about in the dark and discovering it by divine gift. The Ring accepted its finder as master, knowing that as long as it belonged to Gollum, it would never escape the bowels of the Misty Mountains. The Hobbit encountered Gollum in his caves, and after a stalling game of riddles, the creature came at him in vengeance for his lost treasure. The Ring slipped on Bilbo's finger, and with it, the Hobbit followed Gollum on his way to the Orc's "Back-Door," where he thought that he might find the fleeing Halfling. He did not, and Bilbo escaped Gollum unseen, but not unknown; Gollum felt his exit, and swore vengeance and hatred as long as he lived against the Hobbit and any other creature that laid hands on his treasure.
Nonetheless, it was three years before the desparate Gollum had the courage to crawl from his cave and seek his Precious, but long though it was, leave he did. Carefully avoiding the Orcs, he passed back into the wilderness, and while he struggled to adjust to the feeling of wind on his face again, he found food wherever he could. He would catch small birds, and fish from pools, and small worms and insects. Through the Vales of Anduin on the trail of Baggins he hunted, smelling for him and sensing for the Ring. He bypassed the house of Beorn, and into Mirkwood he plunged. He thieved from the Woodmen, frightening their children and stealing their goods, and still he ran on, as well as he could, along the trail of his treasure. By now, his sharp ears had informed him of the Battle of Five Armies, and the queer Hobbit in the service of the Dwarves there. His crawling hands pulled him to Dale, where he learned of the land of "Shire," where dwelt Baggins, and he knew almost like instinct that in that land lay also his treasure.
But he never reached the Shire. Other news, of the great Shadow of the East, its hatred of the powers of the Westlands, and its rewards for any of their foes that would serve it, drew him south. "Fine new friends!" he said, in his folly; and the wretched fool crawled his way southwest to the mountain-fences of Mordor. On the borders of that land, he lurked for some time, spying on travelers and prying for secrets, and in his prying he made one dastardly discovery; sheltering in a particularly dark (and in his opinion, comforting) hole, he encountered a monster which no man had suffered the misfortune of witnessing for many long years: Shelob the Great, Spider-Demon and spawn of Ungoliant, last of the dread-spiders of Nan Dungortheb. But she did not slay him; nay, for Gollum gave no fight or struggle, but seemed to love Shelob in all her wickedness, and he bowed before her and worshiped her as a godess, and promised to bring her food. Whether of not he did, in fact, find immediate food for her was unkown; there were no inhabitants of nearby Ithilien for him to kidnap and send to her, and neither could he capture Orcs for her consumption, so it is likely that at this time, he turned his attention elsewhere, and sought to pry on the borders and discover further secrets about the Great Shadow. Unwise for him, for shortly before the War of the Ring, he was captured by agents of Sauron as he lurked before the Morannon, and after briefly holding him prisoner and receiving word for his delivery to the attention of Sauron himself, he was brought, bound and chained and in torment, to the gates of Barad-dûr.
In his fortress, Sauron had Gollum brought before him, and quickly deciphering that the creature had once possessed a Ring of Power, the Dark Lord had him tortured, and personally tortured him as well, searing the sight of his deadly eye into Gollum's heart. Naturally, Gollum told (or more accurately, squealed and screamed) all that Sauron desired to know, and at last the Dark Lord discovered what had become of his artifact. Deeming him useful, Sauron released Gollum from Mordor, instructing him to seek out the Ring on his behalf. Gollum fled through Cirith Ungol, visiting Shelob again and renewing his promise of food, before sneaking through Ithilien and lurking for a time in the Dead Marshes, soothing his pain and trauma with their sullen and haggard mists. He had little respite here, of course; for he was soon captured by Aragorn, and dragged northward none too gently by the Ranger-chieftain. He was imprisoned by the Elves of Mirkwood, who agreed to shelter this important prisoner on behalf of all the Free Peoples. In the dungeons of Caras-e-Dwarwaith, he was interrogated by Gandalf, who resolved to show mercy to the pathetic creature, despite the very reasonable possibility of slaying him. The Elves tended and herded him like a domestic beast, but with as much kindness as they could provide. Undeserved, it seemed; for Gollum escaped the Elves in an Orc-raid planned for his rescue, and continued his search of the Ring. But he was hunted by the servants of Sauron and by the Elves, and in desperation, fleeing all the length of Rhovanion, he came at last to the East-Gate of Moria. That he intended to use as a passage westward, but finding it garrisoned by Orcs and the West-Door locked and shut, he despaired. He may indeed have starved there, if the The Company of the Ring had not set forth by this time. Soon, when they came and hastily entered Moria, Gollum followed the travelers, spotting Hobbits among them and sensing the power of his Ring upon the tallest; Frodo Baggins.
From then on, Gollum stalked the Ring-bearer, following Frodo through the lightless passages of Moria (and avoiding the battle between Gandalf and the fortress's Balrog) on through the eves of Lothlórien, where he spied on him from the trees like an ape; down the Great River, floating on a log; and across the hills of Emyn Muil, where at last the Fellowship split into two parties, and Gollum pursued the Ring-Bearer and his servant Samwise Gamgee. But Gollum was foiled, for the companions together captured the creature, and Frodo laid him under oath to protect the bearer of the Ring and never to return it to Sauron. Gollum eagerly accepted, a foul plan brewing in his mind, and he offered also to guide the Hobbits out of the hills and past the Dead Marshes. This he did, and brought them to the Black Gate, where he suggested a secret way to the Hobbits of which only he, apparently, knew. The Hobbits reluctantly accepted, seeing no other option, but again and again, Frodo had opportunity to slay the vile creature, and Sam almost every time urged him to do so. However, even against the advice of Faramir and the Rangers of the South whom they encountered, Frodo stayed his hand and mercifully permitted the wretch life. Gollum feigned care and respect for the Ring-bearer, but in fact he obeyed him partly out of fear, partly out of fear of Sauron, and mostly out of desire for his wicked scheme. For leading them up the pass of Cirith Ungol, past Minas Morgul, Gollum sprung his trap, and led the the Hobbits into Shelob's lair, hoping that he could recover his Precious after the monster had consumed them. This scheme utterly failed, for while Frodo was drugged and captured by the Spider, Sam beat Gollum off and smote Shelob in his fury, and rescued Frodo from Orc-kidnapping. His plan in shambles, he stalked the pair all the way to Orodruin in rage, but on arriving he was too haggard by his long journey to make any successful ambush against Frodo and Sam. Perhaps the strangest paradox and miracle of the entire War of the Ring is that if Frodo (or any of the others who had the opportunity) had slain Gollum, then the Ring-quest would almost certainly have failed. For on the slopes of Mount Doom, Frodo had mastered the Ring's power of command, and successfully wielded it against Gollum. This brief victory in fact foreshadowed imminent defeat; because with his mastery of the One, Frodo was mastered by it. Then, Samwise followed Frodo to the very mouth of the Sammath Naur, and there, standing upon the great rocky platform of that fissure, his master stood shadowed, framed in the horrid fires of that place. In that moment, Frodo's will broke, and he declared that the Ring was his, and forsook the Quest. But he had no chance to act on his deed, for Gollum overran Samwise, grappled with Frodo, and seized his Precious, biting off Frodo's ring finger to obtain it. Dancing with glee, Gollum stumbled into the Crack of Doom, resulting in his death and the Ring's unmaking. At that moment, Sauron and all his works were finally undone, the Dark Tower fell, and victory was for the West for the virst time in a long. . And so it was that Gollum made the final stroke in the Quest of the Ring, ending Sauron's power and saving the world from its longest evil night. In this, the power of Eru was no doubt at work; it is said that at several key steps, and especially at the last moment of Gollum's deadly stumble, Iluvatar himself was active and miraculously interceded, to the purpose of destroying the accursed Ring. The death of Gollum and the Fall of the Dark Tower can thus be attributed to the One Above All, and identified as one of the great miracles of Middle-Earth.
Abilities and Powers
- Stealth - Gollum’s prime ability is that of stealth. He can easily sneak up on any unsuspecting opponent.
- Hand-to-hand combat - Though he is not a trained warrior, Gollum has snuck up on orcs and killed them with his bare hands.
- Tracking - He is very good at tracking people, following the Fellowship of the Ring for many miles, even through the Mines of Moria.
- Foraging - He is very good at living off of the land, finding and catching food to eat. Because of his long time of living alone, he has come to prefer his meat raw.
- Melisande - Great Grandmother of Sméagol and Mother of Sméagol's Grandmother
- Ildra - Grandmother of Sméagol
- Rithregol - Father of Sméagol
- Roselda - Mother of Sméagol
- Tilly - Sister of Sméagol
- Tulip - Aunt of Sméagol
- Violet - Aunt of Sméagol
- Old mad Ubb
- the Fish-Snatcher
- the Sneak