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Topic: Was Smeagol evil?

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Orc captain of Morgul - Rank 5
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Date: May 17, 2006
Was Smeagol evil?

Do you think that Smeagol was evil before the ring even came into his life? After all, it was Smeagol  who killed Deagol, not Gollum.


I think he must have had an evil side, or at least the seeds of evil implanted into his personality. Others who encountered the Ring were able to resist its power, and were only corrupted after prolonged use/exposure. But Smeagol immediately covetted it, because it was pretty, and because it was his birthday. Smeagol seemed to already have a mean streak in him, which the Ring took advantage of and amplified it. So even if 'Smeagol' survived and 'Gollum' perished, I think the 'Smeagol' personal could still, potensially, be just as treacherous.


What are your thoughts on this?



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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‘I think it is a sad story,’ said the wizard, ‘and it might have happened to others, even to some hobbits that I have known.’


 


There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came through it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past. It was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things.


 


Certainly he had never “faded”. He is thin and tough still. But the thing was eating up his mind, of course, and the torment had become almost unbearable.


 


‘Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.’


‘I am sorry,’ said Frodo. ‘But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.’


‘You have not seen him,’ Gandalf broke in.


‘No, and I don’t want to,’ said Frodo. I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.’


‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it."


(All quotes from lord of the Rings, The fellowship)


 


He is not an evil creature and according to Gandalf he is to be pitied. His actions, though they may seem evil are just the Ring corrupting his mind. You say that he killed Deagol. This was also becuase the Ring had driven him to do so for desire of it.



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Orc captain of Morgul - Rank 5
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I'm not exactly saying that Smeagol was evil. I'm just making the point that maybe somewhere in his mind there was an evil side that had never come out before until the ring took advantage of it. Otherwise why would the ring have such an affect on him like it did, and not on the others who came accross it? Even the ringbearers! Smeagol had not even touched the thing and he killed his best friend for it. 

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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he wasn't evil...just very vulnerable to such a thing.
we know how much hobbits like to get presents, especially on their birthdays.
but Smeagol was even worse.
we are told he always was looking around for hidden treasures so the Ring was a huge attraction for him, anyway.
if you add the fact it was the One Ring it isn't hard to imagine why he killed Deagol.

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Orc captain of Morgul - Rank 5
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You may be right TM but I personally don't think that those things would be enough to drive a good hobbit to do a thing like murder your best friend like Smeagol did. I don't think that Frodo for instance, would have killed Bilbo for the ring, even if he did like treasures and it was his birthday. I still feel that deep down in Smeagol there was a darker side from the start.



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Gondor civilians - Rank 1
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Well, in my humble opinion, every one has different sides to them "Evil" (quote unquote) is miost certaintly one of them. So yes, in a way Smeagol was evil, but then so are we all. The ring could have implanted it's seeds anywhere. Frodo, one of the purist characters in the book (so I think) was even effected briefly by the ring. He never showed any signs of "evilness" before, not really. Mischeivious, perhaps, but not evil doing. Still, he was effected.
Just the phrase "The one ring" should have brought around the end of the discussion.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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well, remember...as I said Smeagol was particularly fond of finding treasure
not like usual hobbits
but especially let's driven to find treasure

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Smeagol did not have to touch the Ring to be corrupted by it. The Ring can 'Call' to soemone I believe and can make them want it without having to have Phisical contact. What about Boromir, he did not have contact with the ring but it drove him mad.

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Elf of Rivendell - Rank 2
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I do not think that Smeagol was originally evil (although I think the word evil is used in the wrong context here)  but had weaknesses which were brought to the fore when he came into contact with the ring - which he wanted because it was pretty and not because he realised it had power for evil doings.  The weakness that was in him as a being was therefore enveloped by his desire for this pretty object.



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Rohan peasant - Rank 2
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I see Smeagol as a "parted" creature. He has two sides, a good one, Smeagol, and a bad one, Gollum. So I don't think that Smeagol was evil, he just was too weak to resist Gollum and couldn't do anything against Gollum's actions.


On the other hand, I don't quite know who of them has killed Deagol, was it Smeagol or already Gollum?



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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It was when Gollum was taking over Smeagol. The Rings corruption was enough to begin to Kindel Gollum within Smeagol when he first saw the Ring. Thus  Smeagol killed Deagol, but only becuase Gollum was beginning to take hold. Smeagol would not have killed him had there been no corruption in the Ring to start off Gollum.

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Rohan peasant - Rank 2
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Okay, I wasn't sure about that. I did pretend that it was already Gollum, but I was questioning myself, how the ring could have so quickly power over him!

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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wrong
Gollum appeared after the death of Deagol, because it was not the evil second personality of Smeagol, but simply the name for it
now, indeed, the evil personality was beginning to appear, but the name Gollum wa given only after the start of the guttural swallowing noises this creature habitually made...which was some time later.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I think your wrong The Might.


If you re-read some posts you would see that 'Gollum' has been used to signify the side that the Ring was corrupting.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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no I am not wrong
I said the same thing
I said only the term Gollum was used a name for that side after the creature started to make the guttural sounds.
And that was not immediately after finding the ring, it was after some time
so if are talking about Smeagol in the moment of Deagol's death you can't use the name Gollum as it didn't exist at the time

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I think you don't know what we are actually using the word 'Gollum' for The Might. We are not refering to the Gurgles in his throat later on but his new corrupted side that was being Kindled. I know that side is not called Gollum yet, but there is no reason not to use it.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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no, the problem is Gollum is the name for the whole creature, not only for the dark side
the only known name for the dark side is Stinker

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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We only use Gollum to represent Smeagols dark side - whether thats right or not we just use it becuase there's naught else, unless you'd rather we use 'Stinker'?



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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No we don't because Tolkien didn't
Tolkien NEVER EVER said the dark side is called Gollum
the creature itself, with both sides was called Gollum because of the sounds.
Smeagol turned into Gollum, which had 2 sides Stinker and Slinker.
the only name for the dark side is Stinker

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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THE MIGHT!!! - Re-read my last post! We are not saying that gollum was the name for Smeagols dark side - we are just using it for that purpose.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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why should we use it?
Tolkien never used it
why should we?
he used Stinker
so I say we should use Stinker as well
after all we should keep correct about lore shouldn't we?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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I refuse to keep posting the name 'Stinker' here! I will call the Dark side Gollum and the good side Smeagol whether right or not and I think the majority who participate will do the same.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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ok, if that is your decision then I will respect it.
but keep in mind if you use this is an advanced lore forum don't use the name Gollum for the dark side nor Smeagol only for the good side
anyway, now I know what you mean by "Gollum"

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Well in a way you could think of Gollum as a name for Smeagols dark side.


The only reason Smeagol started Gurgling 'Gollum' was becuase of the corruption of the Ring. Therefore 'Gollum' originated from Smeagol by means of the Evil power of the Ring. So Gollum only came about becuase of the Dark side the Ring was impressing upon Smeagol. So in a way you could say Gollum was a name for Smeagol's dark side although Tolkien did not say this.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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yes you could
I am not saying you can't also I don't say you shouldn't
name him as you will
I just drawn your attention on the fact it is not entirely correct

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Agreed.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I think that Smeagol/Gollum was never evil, exactly. I think that he can be very well understood and deserves sympathy because it is the Ring that changed and corrupted him so, and not of his own accord did he do terrible things, but that was his dark side most influenced by the Ring.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Still ... murder casts a giant shadow ... what about Deagol and Smeagol's grandmother?

The Ring is a powerful force that even Frodo falls too.  And Gandalf and Galadriel wouldn't even touch it!

Good observation PLLovechild!

And nice to see you posting.

Hope we see more of you!

Bear



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Don't forget that while in Dale, Smeagol stole an infant or two in the night. That is how Aragorn began to track him. They spoke of a ghost or a demon? I can't remember...but I'm sure that act of kidnapping wasn't commited so the creature may try his hand at nurturing a child lovingly. Only the most horrific images can be conjured here. I think that was one of the most chilling accounts Tolkien wrote of that I can think of....I shutterdoh



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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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But by that time Gollum had already endured centuries of the One Ring. Is it reasonable to say that there is a case to be made for drastically diminished responsibility?

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I agree Bilbo

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Diminished? But not in capacity or motivation!  This critter is evil, ring or not ... he had the opportunity for redemption and choose lust instead.

He was cast into a fiery inferno by his own actions.



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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Even before Deagol found the Ring and was killed for it, Smeagol was a nasty little sneak thief and liar. He was already playing cruel, dirty jokes and spying on those around him and tattling or at least spreading rumors and innuendo. The Ring seemed not to cause his already inherent small minded meanness but grabbed hold and enhanced it. Smeagol used the Ring as much as it used him in the end.

Was he evil? Could things have been different for him if the Ring had not been found? He was already on that down hill slide and for all his seeming affection for Deagol, he was self centered and greedy. How long before he turned on his cousin and only true friend.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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What Anorlas brings up of "Inherent small minded meanness" reminds me of another certain Hobbit: Bill Ferny of Bree Village. It could be guessed that his "small minded meanness" was due to greed and lust for power in his own measure. Had someone like Bill Ferny had possession of the Ring I think his fate would have been the same as Gollum. Or because he was outwardly greedy, maybe he would of tried to ascend to power early on drawing Sauron's attention sooner than the sneak and recluse that Smeagol was...just a thought. Smeagol was a sad and mean creature which was a seedling that the Ring caused to sprout and flourish in the dark places of the world that became too big for the small minded creature to control and thus was born Smeagol's duality. The slinker and The stinker..

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Jaidoprism7,
I appreciate your point my friend but let me add a small correction.
Bill Ferny was a MAN of Bree. Bill gave news of the Hobbit's activities in the Prancing Pony to the Nazgul and later became one of the leaders of the ruffians who occupied the Shire.

 

But I think your point about Gollum as"The slinker and The stinker" is important. Anorlas' point of "Inherent small minded meanness" applies to "The slinker and The stinker..." especially!

In many ways it is conclusive of the inate "evil" present through out Gollum's life.



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Thanks Bear.
I don't know why I assumed Ferny was a Hobbit this whole time. Good call.

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