The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum

Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Movies
User Name
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-17-2009, 06:02 AM   #1
Mugwump's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Taconic Mountains
Posts: 111
Mugwump has just left Hobbiton.
Visual depictions of Gollum

"He was a Gollum - as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face."

Gollum is another Tolkien character who is is usually represented visually in a certain way regardless of what the text says. The following is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article about Gollum's appearance:
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. Despite these details, he is generally depicted wearing a loincloth or naked in illustrations and adaptations.
*citation: Hammond, Wayne; Scull, Christina (2005), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, London: HarperCollins, pg 447, ISBN 0-00-720907-X

Last edited by Mugwump; 12-17-2009 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Added citation links
Mugwump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Mnemosyne's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Between the past and the future
Posts: 1,166
Mnemosyne is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Mnemosyne is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Send a message via MSN to Mnemosyne Send a message via Yahoo to Mnemosyne
Does the Almighty Wiki say where this manuscript is found? I remember hearing a while back (on the 'Downs, I believe), that Hammond and Scull (or some other insane scholarly bunch) got their hands on an illustrator's guide in order to do their research. I'd just like to see the citation for that before I go around quoting it.

At any rate I know that somewhere in LotR (because on one of my more recent readthroughs I was specifically looking for visual cues for the characters) Tolkien casually mentions Gollum's "garment". Doesn't say what it is, but that seems to belie the full set of clothing. This honestly could be Tolkien attempting to explain away various inconsistencies if while he was writing the tale he didn't have a clear, consistent visual image.

If you do want a "darker" Gollum, you could always go with the Rankin-Bass version...
Got corsets?
Mnemosyne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2009, 12:25 PM   #3
Mugwump's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Taconic Mountains
Posts: 111
Mugwump has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by Mnemosyne View Post
Does the Almighty Wiki say where this manuscript is found?
I've edited my post above to add citation and links.
Mugwump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2010, 01:29 AM   #4
Posts: n/a
Because movie-adaptations of books become new works of art in their own right, they cannot be measured too strictly against their originals. Even so, we must ask whether a film retains the spirit if not the letter. The first two Peter Jackson film-renderings of The Lord of the Rings missed the moral and religious depths of Tolkien's epic fantasy, but still managed to capture the excitement of the plot and the grandeur of the scene. Yet the second movie began a trend that Jackson has unfortunately retained in the third—an obsession with outward violence. His version of The Return of the King converts the awful subtlety and complexity of evil into something so obvious as to be unserious.

This ethical and artistic failure becomes most evident in the third movie's depiction of Gollum, the wretched hobbit who, having possessed the Ruling Ring for five hundred years, has been virtually devoured by it. In The Two Towers Jackson revealed Gollum to be a conflicted soul even in his consuming greed. And here he powerfully depicts Gollum's original Cain-like murder in seizing the Ring. But Jackson soon removes our sympathy with the conflicted Gollum—and thus our complicity in his crimes—by turning him into a pathetically comic and merely devious figure. Jackson even allows Gollum to create a bizarre alienation between the utterly loyal servant Sam Gamgee and his heroic master Frodo Baggins. But instead of being emotionally wrought with concern that these two dearest of friends should suddenly be divided, I found myself sniggering at this outrageous violation of Tolkien's great book.

So is Denethor the steward of Gondor turned into a caricature of himself, a snarling and drooling oaf rather than a noble pessimist who has good cause for lamenting the loss of past glories that will never return. Tolkien clearly intends Denethor to be a man of our own time in his forlorn despair over the decline of his culture. Yet Jackson robs Denethor even of the logic of his death—his suicidal refusal to accept half-measures and partial triumphs. Instead, Gandalf's horse knocks Denethor onto the pyre he has built for his son Faramir! Set aflame by its fires, the maddened steward hurtles off a cliff. A scene that Tolkien intended to disclose the horror of hopelessness becomes yet another unintentionally comic display of flamboyant technical effects.

At the end of his arduous Quest, Frodo comes at last to cast the Ring back into the melting volcanic fires whence it was originally forged. Tolkien reveals that, even this most heroic of hobbits is finally overwhelmed by the coercive power evil. In his utmost act of resistance against the Dark Lord, Frodo is made into a virtual puppet of Sauron—defiantly refusing to destroy the Ring, thrusting it onto his own finger instead. After Gollum manages to seize the invisible Frodo and to bite the Ring from his hand, he then topples into the molten lava while dancing his jig of false joy. Thus does evil finally destroy itself, Tolkien teaches, while ruining much good in the process.

Rather than giving us this tragically defeated Frodo, Jackson transforms him into a thumping soap opera success. When Jackson's Frodo spies Gollum dancing victoriously with the Ring, he wrestles the wretched creature to the ground, until finally they tumble over the volcanic brink. But of course Frodo clings valiantly to a ledge as Gollum plummets into the river of fire. Nothing of Tolkien's profound sense of providence remains, nothing of his conviction that it was first Bilbo's and then Frodo's forgiveness of Gollum which enabled the final victory over evil. "But for [Gollum]," Frodo somberly confesses in the novel but not in the movie, "I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him!" The all-permeating presence of pity—the mercy that refuses eager condemnation—is the religious leit-motif of Tolkien's book. Yet it is totally absent from this final Lord of the Rings film.
  Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.