Facts About Gollum From The Lord Of The Rings

Two images of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings

Even though he only played a major part in two of three movies and was a monster, Gollum is undeniably the dark horse of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Besides Andy Serkis’ amazing performance and Weta FX’s groundbreaking special effects, Gollum became an icon in his own right because of his characterization and tragic story.

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Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Ringsmovies did a great job at translating Gollum for the big screen, but they left out some important details from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books. These changes and omissions don’t ruin Gollum, but they’re significant enough to make the live-action Gollum seem like a completely different character from the one in the novels.



10 Gollum Was An Indescribable Creature

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It’s common knowledge that Gollum used to be a Hobbit named Smeagol. The Lord of the Rings movies made this clear by designing Gollum to look like an unnaturally emaciated and gaunt Hobbit. Although Gollum was still a cursed Hobbit in the books, he was so corrupted by The One Ring that he barely resembled one.

Gollum had black skin (or clothes) and lamp-like eyes. Nobody could agree on what Gollum looked like. Some compared him to a frog, while others saw a squirrel. Before Tolkien rewrote The Hobbit, there was disparity regarding Gollum’s size. Some artists interpreted him to be a giant, while others made him as tall as a human.

9 Smeagol Used The Ring For Petty Crimes

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Smeagol holds The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings

After Smeagol killed Deagol to get The Ring, he immediately lost himself to its dark powers. Smeagol ran away from his home, wandered the wilderness, and settled in the dank caves of the Misty Mountains. There, Smeagol gradually devolved into Gollum. What The Lord of the Rings and their extended editions skipped was Smeagol’s crime spree.

In the books, Smeagol used The Ring’s powers to steal from his neighbors and spy on them. He’d also use it to mess with them violently. When Smeagol’s grandmother disowned him and the villagers had enough, they exiled him from his home. The movies skipped this and summarized Smeagol’s descent through a haunting montage.

8 Gollum Didn’t Give Himself His Name

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Smeagol chokes out his new name in The Lord of the Rings

Even by the fantastical standards of The Lord of the Rings, “Gollum” is not a natural name. The movies revealed that “Gollum” was basically the sound that Smeagol made when he coughed and retched. As time passed, Smeagol forgot everything about his previous life. He then renamed himself “Gollum.”

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The etymology of “Gollum” was generally the same in the books, but Smeagol didn’t give it to himself. Instead, his neighbors did. Smeagol kept making choking noises that sounded like “gollum.” His angry neighbors gave him this insulting nickname when he wouldn’t stop antagonizing them with The One Ring.

7 Sam Renamed Smeagol & Gollum

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Gollum and Sam argue in The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings movies made it obvious that Smeagol was somewhat childlike and reasonable, while Gollum was a cruel monster beyond redemption. In the books, however, Smeagol and Gollum had another set of names.

Samwise Gamgee hated Gollum so much that he made up insulting names for Gollum and Smeagol. Sam referred to Smeagol as “Slinker,” who was desperate for Frodo’s approval. He referred Gollum as “Stinker,” who was so vile that he couldn’t bear to look at him for too long.

6 Gollum Really Hates Elves

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Legolas attends the coronation in The Lord of the Rings

In the books, Gollum was so consumed by The One Ring’s darkness and evil that he actually hated Elves. Despite their flaws and dark past, the Elves were Middle-Earth’s kindest and purest races. When Gollum was in their care for a while, he schemed with Orcs to escape because he couldn’t stand how nice they were to him.

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The Lord of the Rings movies never showed this side of Gollum. The closest they got to doing so was in The Two Towers, when Gollum cried out in pain because Frodo and Sam lashed him with Elfish rope. However, the movies didn’t specify that the rope was Elfish. Only those familiar with the books would know this.

5 Gollum Was Basically In Love With Shelob

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Shelob stalks Frodo in The Lord of the Rings

Shelob could be best described as a wild and dangerous animal in The Lord of the Rings movies. Gollum and the Orcs knew of Shelob, and they knew that they shouldn’t cross her territory unless they had a death wish. However, Shelob was her own character in the books, and Gollum even saw her as something.

During his exile, Gollum wound up in Mordor’s outskirts. Here, he met Shelob and was awestruck. Gollum offered to become her spy and find food for her. Later, Gollum alerted Shelob to Frodo’s and Sam’s presence in her lair. The movies never confirmed if Gollum met Shelob beforehand; instead, the films implied he knew of her through rumors.

4 Gollum Crossed Paths With Aragorn & Gandalf

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Aragorn and Gandalf talk to each other in The Lord of the Rings

The Two Towers and The Return of the King were split into two parts: the Fellowship’s adventures across Middle-Earth, and Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom. Gollum was exclusively part of Frodo’s arc, and he never interacted with Gimli or anyone from Rohan. At most, Gandalf told Frodo what he heard about Gollum during a flashback.

Gandalf questioned Gollum about The One Ring by Gandalf in the books, and Aragorn also captured him. Gollum was caught after he escaped torture in Mordor and was held in Mirkwood. Legolas even knew of Gollum’s capture and escape. Since the movies, including The Hobbit prequels, didn’t adapt these earlier interactions, only book fans know about this fact.

3 Gollum Didn’t Scheme To Split Up Frodo & Sam

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sam, Frodo, and Gollum watch the Haradrim in The Lord of the Rings

In one of The Lord of the Rings’ saddest moments, Frodo, under Gollum’s manipulations, falsely accused Sam of wasting their supplies and cast him away. As it turns out, Gollum was behind everything. Gollum did this to get Sam out of the way when it came time to get Frodo killed, thus leaving The One Ring up for grabs.

Gollum and Sam still hated each other in the books, but he never caused a schism between Sam and Frodo. Instead, he plotted to get them both killed in Shelob’s lair. Because of this, Gollum’s final attack was different. In the books, Gollum only reappeared in Mount Doom. In the movies, he’s seemingly killed at Cirith Ungol before returning in Mount Doom.

2 Gollum Was Less Sympathetic In The Books

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Smeagol exiles Gollum in The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings trilogy depicted Gollum as a tragic monster. Not only was Gollum clearly another victim of Sauron’s evil, but the childlike Smeagol clearly wanted to overcome his darkness. Unfortunately, Gollum’s capture by Faramir’s soldiers at the Forbidden Pool erroneously convinced him that Frodo was using him.

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Gollum also had shades of humanity and sympathy in the books, but they were less pronounced than they were in the movies. Even if he came close to repentance, Gollum spent most of the books antagonizing whoever he met. In the movies, Gollum was a more neutral figure who only became aggressive when The One Ring was near.

1 Gollum Accidentally Fell To His Death In Mount Doom

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Gollum burns in Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings

Gollum finally got what he wanted in The Return of the King’s climactic moments, only for Frodo to tackle him and The One Ring into Mount Doom’s fires. Frodo’s and Gollum’s scuffle was unique to the movies, since Gollum’s death in the books was unintentionally hilarious. Here, Gollum got The Ring and slipped into the Crack of Doom.

Gollum was so overjoyed about reclaiming The One Ring that he excitedly danced at the Crack of Doom’s edge. He then fell after he lost his balance. This emphasized just how pathetic Gollum was. Sam cursed Gollum in death, but Frodo forgave him. To add insult to injury, the movies omitted Frodo’s sympathetic eulogy.

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