Recognized as the most tragic figure of the entire Third Age, Gollum was an anomaly. Mean or vicious Hobbits were so rare as to be considered virtually nonexistent. But the Stoor Sméagol was sneaky, greedy, and obsequious from the start, and very quickly became murderous. Fate drew this sinister little fellow to Sauron's own Ring, and its affects on him were quick and dramatic. For five hundred years Sméagol lived with his Precious, obsessed by it, in a miserable existence. However, since Sméagol never learned how to fully make use of the Ruling Ring, he never fell under the fullness of its curse. He could not relinquish it, yet it eventually discarded him. He was cursed by it, and his tie to it was the death of him.
Sméagol was born about T.A. 2430 in a large and wealthy matriarchal clan of Hobbits who lived near the Gladden Fields on the banks of the Anduin. These Stoors, unlike the others of their race, had returned to the Anduin vales after dwelling for a while in the sometimes difficult land 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. In addition, the Ring had some unusual secondary effects on Sméagol. It caused him to develop a nervous habit of constantly making unpleasant gulping sounds in the back of his throat. The community named him Gollum for these glottal noises. Eventually, his own family felt compelled to evict him from their hole and banish him from their community.
Wandering alone, 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, his body made thin yet unnaturally strong. The Ring exacted further alterations on Gollum's increasingly wiry frame: he grew fangs and webbings between his toes and fingers; his eyes enlarged as his night vision increased; his feet became very flat, 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, without ever leaving the cave. However, in T.A. 2941, when Bilbo accidentally (or rather, providentially) stumbled into Gollum's own nest during his fearful escape from the Orcs, the Ring chose him, knowing that as long as it belonged to Gollum, it would never escape the bowels of the Misty Mountains. So Bilbo managed to escape Gollum with the Ring.
It took three years for the desolate Gollum to work up the courage to leave his cave and seek his Precious, but when he did, he searched high and low for it more than seventy years. During this period, shortly before the War of the Ring, he was captured by agents of Sauron, who learned from him what had become of the artifact. Sauron released Gollum from Mordor, instructing him to seek out the Ring to bring it back to him. Gollum was later also captured by Aragorn, interrogated by Gandalf, and imprisoned by the Elves of Mirkwood, who could have slain him yet resolved to show mercy to the pathetic creature. Gollum escaped the Elves during an Orc raid and went off to continue his search of the Ring. He found Frodo and the Company outside the West Gate to Moria. From then on, Gollum was almost always close to the Ring-bearer, stalking Frodo from Lothlórien, down the Great River, and across Emyn Muil.
In the Emyn Muil. Frodo and Sam captured Gollum. Again and again, Frodo had the opportunity and the provocation to slay the vile creature, and Sam more than once urged him to do so. However, Frodo stayed his hand and mercifully let the wretch live. Gollum cooperated partly out of fear of the Ring-bearer, but mainly to prevent Sauron from recovering the Ring. Later, it was Gollum who revealed the Hobbits to Shelob, hoping that the monster might make lunch of the two and that he could recover his Precious afterward. When this plan failed, he stalked the two all the way to Orodruin, where he was too haggard by his long journey to perform a successful ambush against Frodo and Sam. Perhaps the strangest paradox 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 at the very last, the One overcame Frodo at the mouth of the Crack of Doom, and the noble Hobbit finally succumbed completely to its evil.
Slightly before reaching the summit, Frodo had obtained the Ring's power of command, and had successfully wielded it against Gollum. This brief victory was, in fact, a sign of imminent defeat; because with his growing mastery of the One, Frodo was becoming more and more mastered by it. Then, Samwise followed Frodo to the very mouth of the Sammath Naur, and looking up, saw him shadowed, framed in the horrid fires of that place. Frodo's own will broke and he declared that he now chose to wield the Ring rather than destroy it as he had intended. At that precise instant, 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, and the victory was gotten. So, pitiful Gollum paradoxically completed the Ring Quest, ending Sauron's power and saving the world from its longest evil night. As Gandalf had once told the Council of Elrond, "But he may play a part yet that neither he nor Sauron has foreseen".
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