Hating someone over their favorite character is a weird concept to me. I don't really get it. I think it's interesting to see who people identify with! And Gollum is such an fascinating and complex character. I always wonder what he would have been like if he'd never found the Ring and lived out his days by the Anduin with his family. Tolkien has taken him in some very telling directions, and even after 500 or so years with the Ring gnawing at him, he still has a little bit of himself left. How strong do you have to be to have anything left after all that time? I mean, egad!
And hey, you like him for whatever reason. It doesn't really matter why, it's just fun to wonder and debate. I rather like Gollum myself, though I admit I wouldn't let him near my cats. O_O
Elves and great kings are something noble to aspire to, but I love Tolkien's world for its variety, including the dwarves (whom the elves referred to as "unlovely" ) and the hobbits which were overlooked by Middle Earth's history precisely because they don't perform great deeds. In the end, I would rather be a hobbit than an elf. I'm not sure which character I identify with most, though. I mean, I have my favorites, but I'm not sure I'm like any of them. But the hobbits are the easiest to identify with as a whole, which I am sure Tolkien intended. They are closer to the English country gentlefolk that Tolkien was associated with than all the great folks they ended up associated with, and that's what matters most, I think. Like you, though, one can even understand Denethor. Like Smeagol, and even Saruman, he was in some ways 'possessed' by the power of Sauron (through the palantir, over which Sauron had control) . But they all had their choice, more or less, and in the end it affected them and all of those around them. One can understand Denethor without liking him. His sons loved him, at least, and by teh time he tried to burn Faramir alive, along with himself, he'd lost his mind. He paid with his life. (I can't say I identify with him myself…but yeah. )
Smeagol could have been so many things, and that's what's so sad and tragic. The Ring destroyed him, just as it destroyed everyone in its path. Even Frodo was, in many ways, destroyed. He could never have the peace he'd fought for. It's so very sad that Smeagol was destroyed so young. It's just incredible that he survived as long as he did. Even the noble and great like Gandalf and Elrond were amazed by that. I love that the hobbits continually surprised everyone XD
I admit that the only fan 'likings' I don't really understand is not so much the characters the fans like, but why. And that happens seldom, but I have met a fan or two who liked and admired a villain because they were vicious and cruel and took power. That I admit I don't understand. Empathizing with them, feeling pity for them, I do understand, but wanting to emulate their worst traits…that's beyond me, I fear. Like those who get Dark Mark tattoos because they think Voldemort is 'cool' and they want to be like him…. I don't know, I just… But I don't get into arguments with them, either. I just nod and smile and quickly leave the room. Empathizing, though, I totally get. I think it's vital to understand and empathize even with the villains of stories.
Hahaha! That sounds like my cats- they'd roll over and ask to be fed and petted if there were burglars in the house. They're pretty silly XD
It's interesting that Tollkien gave some of the archetypal characters a bit more grey than they usually got in the great sagas. They're still archetypes, but they seem almost real.
The hobbits were always supposed to be stand-ins for the reader, to a certain extent. They are the Everyman, easily overlooked, yet somehow tough enough to stand with the greats. But fans can identify with anyone in the books, and that's what's awesome about them!
Yeah, I just don't get admiring evil in characters… I really don't understand it. I mean, I understand intellectually because the U.S. as a nation is very violent, and we're taught to be that way. I just think it's a bad idea, and will come back to bite us in the end (it has already) .
I love my cats XD They are adorable and kind of nuts...
I love that, even with the great and good, there are shades of grey. They choose the right even when it's hard, but they often stumble and make mistakes.
Tolkien makes it pretty clear that Smeagol is an addict, so by that time he had lost almost all his self-control (as happens with addicts) . He's continuing to survive not because of the joy life brings, but because he has to get back to the Ring. That's why Frodo and Bilbo pity him, and even Sam does in the end, after he's carried the Ring himself. It's important to note that Smeagol's first act when under the Ring's influence is to commit murder- I always found it interesting that the Ring was able to find that in him and use it. Clearly, before that he was just an average proto-hobbit (from before the time of the great migration) , but whereas Bilbo and Frodo reacted with pity when they first had the Ring, Smeagol went straight to murder. I always wondered about the ramifications of that difference. Smeagol also sought to blame Deagol for the whole murder, (It was our birthday, he should have given it to us) and when he returned to his home afterward, he used the Ring to hurt others, until he was driven out by his grandmother. Then, when he left the Misty Mountains after Bilbo took the Ring, it's heavily implied that while journeying through Mirkwood he killed and ate the babies of not just birds and beasts, but humans. (The woodsmen and cottagers' children) . He was so twisted by then that it was all just to survive, but even Gandalf says that Gollum played at riddles with Bilbo because there was some of his old life left. But Gandalf also made it clear (and Aragorn and Bilbo would know it as well) that Gollum had become a compulsive lair, and refused to take any of the blame for his own deeds. He blamed everyone else for his condition. Originally, he had a nice, comfortable life, and the Ring- and his own choices- destroyed that. However, I don't know that a being like him, coming in contact with an ancient evil relatively close to its birthplace, would have been able to resist it anyway. The jury's still out on that one.
The Ring has an incredible power to corrupt, so it's not entirely clear how accountable Smeagol was in the end. Even Bilbo, Sam and Frodo were affected, though they held out surprisingly long. Of course, Smeagol also physically survived the influence of the Ring longer than any other mortal being probably would, without disappearing into the realm of the unseen, and that says a lot about him and hobbits in general. There was just something in him that the Ring was able to use for its own benefit, and once he committed that first act, the murder of his cousin, the Ring had him. The Ring probably would have done something similar to Bilbo had he not spared Gollum, and the cycle would just have continued.
But yeah, this is why these characters are so awesome! There's so much!
That is a very odd thing to say… I wonder what he could have been thinking? I probably don't want to know. But they're in every fandom, sadly. No one enjoys being despised- but I wouldn't worry too much about it. The Tolkien fandom has many good people in it. Don't bother with people like that- they're not worth the trouble. Remember- when he dies, he can't take any of that with him, so he'll have as much as you do. In the end we're all the same.
The Ring did possess Gollum, but Tolkien makes it clear that the possession is partly a matter of choice. The reason it took so long to affect Bilbo and Frodo, though they had the Ring for a long time, was partly because the Ring was further away from its source and there fore weaker, and partly because neither of them committed serious crimes/sins. The Ring didn't have much chance to corrupt them because they wouldn't let its influence in. But even they were affected in the end, for all that, so the Ring still had power to corrupt on its own. It's highly unlikely, for instance, that Smeagol would have killed his cousin if they'd found a regular ring in the Anduin. That's teh thing- Smeagol was just an ordinary proto-hobbit, who could have been good or bad, and the Ring corrupted him because he gave into anger at first. He's actually quite a parallel with Frodo, what Frodo could have become had he been in the same position. Frodo was also an orphan raised by a relative. Smeagol's grandmother was probably relatively well-off, as Gandalf indicated she was a matriarch of the hobbit settlement where they lived. But even so, being an orphan and raised by relatives would have some effect on the child. That's what's so interesting- Smeagol and Frodo were very similar in that regard, and also in their inherent curiosity. But there was some difference in them that the Ring was able to latch onto. I also think that there is a certain inherent strength of will in hobbits, which is perhaps strengthened in the land where they live. Gandalf mentions that there are "other powers in this world" and he names the Shire as one of those places. Perhaps that's partly what protected Bilbo and Frodo all those years, and by teh time Frodo left that protective bubble, so to speak, he already knew what the Ring was and was prepared against its temptations. (Actually, the Ring was given to Frodo when he came of age at 33, just after Bilbo left the Party for his 111th birthday. But he was in teh Shire, so yeah…it depends on whether or not my assumptions about the Shire's latent power to repel evil actually are true. ) I agree with you that the Ring seems to have used its power to see which of the two was more powerful and chose Smeagol. It seems to be the way it works. It certainly caught both of them by surprise. I doubt either of them were prepared to cope with an ancient, eldritch abomination. In the end, I don't know how accountable Smeagol was. I think that's why Gandalf was so loathe to have him killed- Smeagol was, after all, just a little hobbit against a terrible power.
Oh, trust me, I understand how you feel about being different. Even in a diverse place like Souther California I'm too different. I've been called names, too, most I would rather not repeat. As for Smeagol, it's entirely possible he had nothing to do with the death of the cottagers' babies, but the elves seemed to think so (and Tolkien hinted, and since he's the author… ) But it's never explicitly stated, so it can be taken either way. I doubt anyone would be sorry about all the orcs and fish he ate for hundreds of years. But remember he was willing to kill and eat Bilbo, and only postponed that because there was still a part of him that wanted to hear a friendly voice. But again, the killing and eating of babies was vague, so it could be taken either way.
I get teh feeling that you identify so strongly with Gollum that you take anything said about him as a personal attack. I hope not! I definitely don't mean personal attacks- I just love to discuss literary subjects. You seem very nice, but very sad and lonely, and that doesn't make you completely like him. And we've all been angry enough to cause harm. Every human being is capable of causing harm, but most of us keep ourselves in check. (We also don't have a powerful horcrux gnawing at us) . It's good that you can sympathize with the wretched and sorrowful. Pity is one of the most important personal traits anyone can have. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see the good in everyone, even a creature like Smeagol. There are lots of Smeagols in this world, and they need pity.
Yeah, very strange behavior. People are so odd sometimes I can't figure them out. I don't have time for people like that anyway, so I suppose I'll never understand them.
I'm glad you find my thoughts interesting and aren't confused by them- I do tend to ramble. My thoughts are only coherent-sounding in my own head. But yeah, not canon, just my take on things.
I'm not adamant on ether interpretation, so it doesn't matter to me too much. I just like to take things and ponder them and pick them apart. I can see both sides, which is probably why I made a dreadful saleswoman. Quite apart from the fact that I think Tolkien would be unhappy to see his books used in shouting matches. He seemed more in favor of reasoned debate.
That's understandable. We find something we love, and attacks on those things seem so personal. I also understand getting into the head of a character because I do it, too. You don't sound crazy to me, just passionate. I only wanted to make sure you didn't take my comments about Smeagol personally. ^_^ I'm glad I didn't come off as angry or anything. I'm also glad we can have reasoned debates- we need more of that in this world.
I hope you can excuse me for the personal comments, though. I hate for others to be sad, but I also tend to run my mouth. I don't always keep my observations to myself like I should. I just notice things about people. Also, I do tend to worry about people thinking they are the characters in books/movies/etc because that seems to happen a lot on the internet. BUt I'm also a champion worrier. I wouldn't take me too seriously ^_^
Ah, I once contemplated paleontology! I can certainly sympathize with Smeagol's traits there. I'm just dreadful at math, so there went that career. But I bet you still love to find things out, in spite of the lack of paleontology credentials. I always thought a modern-day Smeagol would have become a paleontologist. It would suit him, I think!
I can see Smeagol's addiction to the Ring as being like a drug addiction, but really an addiction of any sort that's harmful. I think part of that is the way Andy Serkis portrayed him- he said he was playing off the idea of a heroin addict. Really, anything internal and destructive and addictive works. An addiction to books doesn't count XD