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Gollum AND Wormtongue. Twins?

pointy-eared

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i don't know if ever you found some similarities between those 2 miserable creatures that once were called a hobbit and ...dunno...
when reading 'the scouring of the shire' and Wortongue's way of moving and behaving (killing and eating hobbit's flesh, crawling on the floor like a dog, following 'a master'), in addition to his final deed, i cannot help thinking of gollum.

i cannot give you a good profile of these 2 characters. there are perhaps the 2 most complex and mysterious figures of the trilogy since they are far from embodying any clear archetype of the universal human being (good or bad) like Frodo (=courage, purity of heart and soul), Eowyn (passion and frustration), Theoden ('crouched tiger, hidden dragon', the eventual acceptation of dying -he just has to find the good way to do it to reflect how he led his life till this end)...
back to our anti-heroes, they have changed so radically and entirely (body + mind) -to remain still so changing and unpredictable
-Gollum returning to Frodo, how he deals with the struggle within himself -the open war between 2 minds, 2 selves, and his final return...is he the hidden hero of the whole thing:confused:?
-Wormtongue's life as a dog and slave, beaten and mistreated (who could endure Saruman's words and cruelty (not even an orc!!= he would finally burst out of rage from his hurt dignity, knowing nevertheless that he will die) if he wasn't attached so much to life from the first place (waiting for his 15 minutes of fame...) and his final deed (quite surprising (none -even gandalf- would have dared to kill the great saruman the white like THAT) and yet understandable

They are like animals: chaotic, dangerous and primal, and as so -according to me- whole entities that have no need to justify themselves or show their true identity. Why did they do that? Why did they come so low? Why and how did they find themselves enslaved by some superior force while they seemed to have known what they wanted since the beginning (power, the ring, some importance...)

Grima and Gollum :( ...they do the right thing at the right time and clear our mind and the story as never frodo or aragorn would have done with words or wars...they seem to represent our dark side, the animal side, they help us and the heroes from being flawed and stained with the poisonous blood of egotism and folly.

i wish i could say thanks to them...but it's hard to forget and forgive them somehow...
 

Lantarion

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I'm sorry I don't agree with you Pointy-Eared, but I find Gríma Wormtongue to be a pathetic, snivelling, idiotic lump of walking fish who does not have enough pride or goodness in him to be marked with Lord Sméagol. What did Wormtongue ever do to help anybody, except Saruman? He certainly didn't help Théoden; on the contrary! He caused the old guy to deteriorate and believe himself to be weak and feeble, which he damn certain was not.
Gollum had a goodness inside him, although he was very good at hiding that side of him. He was a mischievious character, but if it hadn't been for the Ring he might've turned out OK. There was nothing to corrupt or to 'gnaw at' Gríma: he was just a weak, pathetic cod looking for the easy way out. hmph!
*sharp sound of steam escaping through Pontifex's ears* Hmm, a bit too straightforward, perhaps, but I said it. Haha. :p
 

Ged

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The more I re-read LoTR the more "nobility" I see in Gollum's character, and the more I see him as a victim, perhaps the principle victim, of the story. Though he clearly did not even start out "good", murdering Deagol as soon as the ring was found, given the length of time he possessed the ring, and the torture and worse that he received when captured by Sauron, he remained incredibly resilient. True, he was consumed by the ring. The scene where Frodo and Sam first set eyes on him, crawling down the cliff in the gloom with him muttering and talking to himself continuously, even though as far as he knew he was entirely alone, is one of the best bits of writing in the whole book. But I am minded to remember Gandalf's comment about hobbits having powers of resistance that even "the wise" do not have. And Gollum had a hobbitry ancestry.

Wormtongue. Little is said of his background, and how Saruman came to dominate him. He, too, may be a victim, which I think is what you are
getting at, Pointy-eared. But the words that he uses in the presence of Theoden, Gandalf, Aragorn, et al do not fit in with that view. He comes across as altogether more "human", with all the vices we too easily recognise: greed, untruthfulness, cowardice and sloth. He may in fact be the most recognisably "modern" character in the whole book.
 
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Dhôn-Buri-Dhôn

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Hmmm... is anybody else wondering why Grima was shot and killed by the hobbits after he knifed Saruman? He was not clearly a threat to anyone else.

Did JRRT take an easy out, wrapping things up neatly rather than letting Grima survive? He was the last of the "bad guys", unless you count Bill Ferny and those of Sharkey's Men who were captured...

It might have been more in the spirit of the book to let him go free; expelled from the Shire, but otherwise unharmed.
 
H

Harad

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Perhaps it showed the further injury done to the hobbits, i.e. in the old days they might have let Grima live, but now they were so hardened that they shot first and asked questions later.
 

YayGollum

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I love this thread! Yay Pontifex! If we could still make those title things I would be Lord Smeagol! Yay Ged! Gollum is very noble, but he wasn't really evil in the beginning, see Deagol was always a bully to him and when he found the Ring he was like, "Hey, look at this cool thing I found! You can't have it!" and that's when poor Smeagol cracked. The Ring probably helped a little. Boo, Wormtongue, he's nothing like Gollum! Gollum was the hero of the book! Yaaaaaaaaay Gollum! :D
 

Gary Gamgee

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Smeagol began his journey of the ring with badness in mind he killed Deagol (who was probably his brother) and so the ring easily corrutted him and made him even more evil than he was. I dont think he was evil inherently but it grew he was always just weak

or not...
 

Gnashar_the_orc

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Twins? No way!

To be honest with you pointy-eared, I never ever sort of compared these two characters with each other. Up till now. Worm-tongue is a pathetic, evil, twisted man who has been corrupted ONLY by himself. Gollum on the other hand is a hobbit* corrupted by the Ring and so the reader is much sympathetic to Gollum than he is to Worm-tongue. Worm-tongue is evil while Gollum is corrupted by evil which is not really the same thing.

*Forgive me for not recalling the proper name of the type of hobbit but I believe Gollum is one of those river loving hobbits.
 

Bragollach

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Grima, it's worth noting, didn't fall under the sway of a ring of power, but he was subject to Sauraman's powerful voice. Sauraman's strongest power was his smooth, hypnotic voice. The ring is, obviously, far more powerful than Sauraman's voice which makes Gollum's resilliency that much more admirable and Grima's servility that much more despicable.
 

daisy

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I thought it was assumed that Grima was human - although I guess that is not what you meant by 'twin' - and I think Gollum was from an ancient ancestor of the Stoor hobbit kind - not sure though.

I agree with others on this thread that Grima was simply a shadowy, evil character whose motivation never seems entirely clear. i mean, he must have fallen under Saruman's spell and then went to spy on Theoden, but he then returned to Saruman willingly and the eventually killed him - so I don't get what was in it for him. Promise of power or something? And especially after he threw the palantir out the window i would have expected him to be strangled right there - sort- of a turned around Judas scenario!

Gollum was once a simple, if not slightly nasty little hobbit and was twisted by the ring - his motivation hinges on the ring and it is unclear as to whether he would have been evil without its influence.
 

Aldanil

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Mr President Pointy-Eared, I Rise in Support of the Right Honorables Pontifex and Ged

Quite a fine thread, as YayGollum pronounces above!

As I posted just a short while ago elsewhere, I'm struck by the echoes of Cain the first murderer in the story of how Smeagol came to possess the One Ring in a sudden lethal spasm of envy, but even as the One Ring came to possess him, and stretched out his wretched existence beneath the mountains for more than five centuries, there was yet a Stoorish resilience in his harrowed nature, which even after the torments of Mordor dared to challenge the will of Sauron, and still some deepest-buried memory of a birthday boy happy before the death of Deagol, which Frodo's kindness awakens and can almost rekindle. The moment in "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol" when Sam wakes to find Gollum watching Frodo as he sleeps and misunderstands so badly out of love for his master quite broke my heart the first time that I read it.

Ged's description of Grima as "modern" is right on the critical/analytic money, to my mind. Tom Shippey's new book, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, argues persuasively (pp. 75-76) that "Saruman is the most contemporary figure in Middle-earth, both politically and linguistically", and Wormtongue is utterly the creature of his corrupted master, bound to him by weakness, cowardice, and hatred.

Like Gollum's malice and lust for the Ring, Grima's attempt at evil redounds to a good unlooked-for; the Palantir that he hurls in his rage and spite from an upper window of Orthanc (whether at Gandalf or Saruman the tale leaves open) later proves to be crucial, forcing Sauron in his fear and confusion at seeing Pippin to strike too soon at Gondor, helping Gandalf to understand the despair of Denethor, allowing Aragorn to challenge the Dark Lord directly and show him the flame of the Sword Reforged. Despite the unintended assistance which he thus provides, the notion that the hobbit-bowmen who slay him after he slits the throat of Sharkey should instead have let him go free as being "more in the spirit of the book" seems extremely naive at best; Wormtongue well deserves his wretched and violent end, whatever cruelty of Saruman's may have led him to it.
 
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