How anyone could hold that Gollum voice for long enough to read any distance into The Hobbit is hard to imagine, but the narrator does a great job reading this far and might need a throat lozenge after it’s all said and done. Plus, just imagining Gollum reading this story it’s easy to think that the little sneak would be less than thrilled when reading about Bilbo Baggins, who became the bane of his existence at one point when he ‘stole’ the ring of power that Gollum had coveted for so long. As one of the more interesting characters of the entire Hobbit and Lord of the Rings tales, Gollum has become one of those individuals that people love to emulate, mock, and joke about even though he had a rather big part in the story and was very essential despite his otherwise troublesome manner. If you remember in The Fellowship of the Ring he was given little screen time, just enough to remind people that he was there and that he was part of the story, while in the second and third movies he came on even stronger as it was finally revealed just who he was and what part he had to play in the epic. Those that had already read the Hobbit and LOTR would have known right away just who he was, but for those that watched the movie without reading the books he was likely an odd character that didn’t appear to have much of a place in the story until he forced his way in. The funny thing about that is the fact that Gollum predates a good number of characters in LOTR.
Obviously he’s not older than Gandalf, many of the elves, or even the dwarves, but he definitely predates Bilbo and the other hobbits since granted him a long but tortured existence as it slowly warped his mind over the many years he held it. Thinking back to how the ring was affecting Frodo over the course of the movies it’s almost horrific to think about how the ring was affecting Smeagol/Gollum, over the course of his unnaturally long life. Almost six centuries old by the time he died, Gollum was once a hobbit-type individual that lived under a matriarch but obviously fell under the sway of the ring rather quickly upon noticing it and killed his own relative, Deagol, in order to possess it. Scott Meyers of Go Into The Story has more on this topic. Cast out by his own people and forced to reside in the Misty Mountains, Smeagol slowly but surely went made, giving rise to Gollum, which was a disgusting noise made in the back of his throat and thereby the cause of the new name. This creature, Gollum, was a nasty and aggressive sort that would kill anyone for pretty much any reason, but most of all if they ever even laid eyes on his ‘precious’, the ring of power that was his ‘birthday present’. Gollum was and still is a good example of obsessive-compulsive behavior in some of the worst ways imaginable and through literature became one of the most reviled characters ever while also gaining a good deal of popularity with fans since to be fair he’s fascinating in his own way. To hear someone reading a book in his voice is kind of interesting since the guttural tone is kind of difficult to achieve and much harder to maintain for a period of time given that it’s not exactly a natural way to talk. But the narrator does a great job all the same and manages to push through to the end of the clip.
It’s not hard to figure out that Gollum is kind of a divisive character since some people might actually want to feel sorry for him while others might want to state that he’s little more than a pest that had a use at certain points in the book. But while it’s obvious that Tolkien had a plan for Gollum it’s also just as obvious to think that might have stumbled with Gollum a bit since the character does feel like someone that an author might question time and again as to his relevance and the need for his continued involvement with the overall story. It’s just as well that Gollum was kept though since he went on to decide the fate of Middle Earth in a big way, even if it was accidental and wasn’t something he intended. This is where the book and the movie coincided really since despite the differences the fact is that Gollum still fell into Mount Doom with the ring, thereby ending the threat of Sauron. As a character Gollum did have a purpose all along, even if some folks couldn’t see it at all times, but as a voice and a pop culture reference he’s bound to have a purpose for a lot longer than the book or movie intended.
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