How did Gollum not become a Wraith despite having the Ring for so long?

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by BalrogRingDestroyer, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    He had the One Ring even longer than the Nazgul men had the Lesser Rings yet didn't become a Wraith. From what I'm reading, Gollum didn't wear it all the time (maybe he came to hate it) and had only had it on when he had lost it to Bilbo because it was ideal to wear the Ring when attacking goblins.
     
  2. Merroe

    Merroe Member

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    I'll try an answer since you haven't had a reply yet. Gandalf was knowledgeable in hobbit-lore; he had discovered i.a. that hobbits were resilient to evil, in particular to the power of the Ring:

    Among the Wise I am the only one that goes in for hobbit-lore: an obscure branch of knowledge, but full of surprises. Soft as butter they can be, and yet sometimes as tough as old tree-roots. I think it likely that some would resist the Rings far longer than most of the Wise would believe.

    Gandalf also found out that Gollum was originally either a hobbit or else very closely related to hobbits:

    ‘I can’t believe that Gollum was connected with hobbits, however distantly,’ said Frodo with some heat. ‘What an abominable notion!’
    ‘It is true all the same,’ replied Gandalf. ‘About their origins, at any rate, I know more than hobbits do themselves. And even Bilbo’s story suggests the kinship. There was a great deal in the background of their minds and memories that was very similar. They understood one another remarkably well, very much better than a hobbit would understand, say, a Dwarf, or an Orc, or even an Elf. Think of the riddles they both knew, for one thing.’

    Based on this, and also on Gollum’s infrequent use of the Ring, Gandalf explained that Gollum's mind was still not entirely overcome by the power of the Ring:

    Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proved tougher than even one of the Wise would have guessed – as a hobbit might. 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 long since he had worn it much: in the black darkness it was seldom needed. 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.
    […]
    He was altogether wretched. He hated the dark, and he hated light more: he hated everything, and the Ring most of all. […] He hated it and loved it, as he hated and loved himself. He could not get rid of it. He had no will left in the matter.

    PS - Maybe I recite a bit much from JRRT texts but I think that this helps to remain close to the author's original thoughts.
     

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