Saturday, December 15, 2012


As our last tip of the hat to the Tolkien classic "The Hobbit", we're having a rerun.  The ASOTV showcase featured Gollum from Skitlandia early in the year.  But here he is from the Tooniverse:


"The Hobbit"

J.R.R. Tolkien

Brother Theodore

The Tooniverse:

From Wikipedia:
Gollum first appears in "The Hobbit". He lived on a small island in the centre of a lake at the roots of the Misty Mountains. He survived on cave fish, which he caught from his small boat, and small goblins who strayed too far from the stronghold of the Great Goblin. Over the years, his eyes adapted to the dark and became "lamp-like", shining with a sickly pale light in the dark.

Bilbo Baggins stumbled upon Gollum's lair, having found Gollum's ring in the network of caves leading down to the lake.

At his wits' end in the dark, Bilbo agrees to a riddle game with Gollum on the chance of being shown the way out of the mountains. In the early editions of "The Hobbit", Gollum was characterized as being less bound to the Ring than in later versions; he offered to give the Ring to Bilbo if he lost the riddle game, and he showed Bilbo the way out of the mountains after losing. But to fit the concept of the ruling Ring that emerged during the writing of "The Lord of the Rings", Tolkien revised later editions of "The Hobbit": the version of the story given in the first edition became the lie that Bilbo made up to justify his possession of the Ring to the Dwarves and Gandalf.

In the new version Gollum pretended that he would show Bilbo the way out if he lost the riddle-game, but he actually planned to use his ring to kill and eat the hobbit. Discovering the ring missing, he suddenly realized the answer to Bilbo's last riddle — "What have I got in my pocket?" — and flew into a rage.

Bilbo inadvertently discovered the Ring's power of invisibility as he fled, allowing him to follow Gollum undetected to a back entrance of the caves. Gollum was convinced that Bilbo knew the way out all along, and hoped to intercept him near the entrance, lest the goblins apprehend Bilbo and find the ring. Bilbo at first thought to kill Gollum in order to escape, but was overcome with pity, and so merely leapt over him. As Bilbo escaped, Gollum cried out, "Thief, Thief, Thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!"

In the first edition of "The Hobbit" Tolkien made no reference to Gollum's size, leading several illustrators to portray him as being very large. Tolkien realized the omission, and clarified in later editions that he was of average Hobbit size. "The Lord of the Rings" characterizes him as slightly larger than Sam.

Tolkien describes Gollum as either dark, bone-white or sallow (pale yellow); at one point the Men of Ithilien mistake his silhouette (seen from a distance) for a tailless black squirrel. In a manuscript written to guide illustrators to the appearance of his characters, Tolkien explained this by saying that Gollum had pale skin, but wore dark clothes and was often seen in poor light. "The Hobbit" states he has pockets, in which he keeps a tooth-sharpening-rock, goblin teeth, wet shells, and a scrap of bat wing.

"The Hobbit" describes him as thin, with only six teeth sharpened into points. Comparing him to Shelob, one of the Orcs describes him as "rather like a spider himself, or perhaps like a starved frog."

Gollum is described as "a small slimy creature" (in "The Hobbit"), and emaciated and gaunt, but possessing a vicious, wiry strength.

It would appear that the character designer took that description by the Orc of Gollum being a starved frog and ran with it. Tolkien implored illustrators not to depict Gollum as a monster, but this goes beyond that; he's a totally different species instead of the Stoor Hobbit who was "stretched thin" by long exposure to the Ring.

This Gollum is the second worst realization of a character from "The Hobbit" and is only saved from the absolute nadir by the casting of Brother Theodore as the voice of Smeagol/Gollum.


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