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Old 02-22-2003, 12:55 PM   #1
balrogman
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Pipe I think i found another hidden meaning...

I was just thinking about this the other day, does it sound like the one ring was sort of like a drug? I mean if you have it, your happy but also your not, and when it is taken away from you(ex/ Gollum)you go crazy for it and need it back at any cost. Any thoughts?

P.S. I dont know if this has been brought up yet, i did a really quick search cause i have to work in 15 mins! [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 02-22-2003, 01:25 PM   #2
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Andy Serkis did say he was trying to portray Gollum like a heroin addict. The Ring does seem to act this way a lot. Didn't it say that Frodo still felt somewhat restless even after it was destroyed? (I might be making that up)
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Old 02-22-2003, 01:32 PM   #3
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Tolkien

I've always thought that the One Ring was like a drug myself. Also, another interesting thing to think about is the role of pipe-weed in the books. Gandalf seems to have thought highly of it, but Saruman had an air of bitterness towards it and alcohol(even though he was hoarding it at Isengard).
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Old 02-23-2003, 02:48 AM   #4
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1420!

Yeah, I always thought of it like a drug. There are some threads that discussed this, but maybe when you did your search you only checked Novices and newcomers, and not the book section. Here's the thread, Do you wish gollum had lived?. And here's what I basically said
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Gollum usually was just tricked by the ring. And the reason he killed to get the ring was because of the overwhelming desire to posess it. Gollum did not hate everything. Remeber, there was a part of gollum's mind that was still gollum (or I should say Smeagol) and I think that gollum did want to change, even though it would take long. When he didn't have the ring, there were parts of him that showed that hadn't in ages. Also, even though he was quite bitter, when he didn't have the ring anymore, I think that a very (ok, not very but extremely) slow rehabilitation process began in him. You say that he hated the ring. Yes he did. He loved it and yet he hated it. This is the one thing that tore him apart. He loved it like a drug- he was addicted. But he loathed it. He had an instinctive hatred for the ring, and I think that's why he became kinder at times after he lost the ring. He realized how much he hated it and wanted to let it go but it was so hard. It was like a drug to him and very hard to quit, but even though it may not look like it, I believe that he was trying to quit; to let the ring go.
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Old 02-23-2003, 02:55 AM   #5
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Ring

Interesting topic, maybe in a way Tolkien was putting in a message (he had a lot of messages in the books). Because isn't the ring supposed to kind of represent technology and industry, and you know how we can kind of get addicted to technology and things like that. So maybe Tolkien was kind of saying that kind of stuff is bad for you, and if you get addicted to it than it can cause you major problems. I know other people could probably do a much better response to this than me, and I probably made a lot of mistakes, but this was just the first thing that popped into my head.
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Old 02-23-2003, 03:07 AM   #6
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Begging your pardon Mr Frodo, but's it's me sir, your Sam. Old Gaffer used to tell me, that once you let trouble in, trouble don't let you out. If you take my meaning, sir.
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I believe that he was trying to quit; to let the ring go
Then why did he hunt for it all the way to Mordor TWICE through Moria TWICE? Perhaps his draw to it was weakened in the later years because the Ring didn't want him anymore rather than the other way around? So sad, the ultimate rejection.

Sam knows what's best Mr. Frodo, I'm not so dull minded as not to see what I see, if you take my meaning, sir.

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[img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ February 23, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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Old 02-23-2003, 03:16 AM   #7
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Because isn't the ring supposed to kind of represent technology and industry, and you know how we can kind of get addicted to technology and things like that.
I've heard this as well and it's got a good backup, if you will. After all, how many of you could just give up your TVs or computers? Microwaves? Dishwashers? Electric lights? Electric heating or cooling? Power drills? I mean, c'mon, technology is the ultimate pull on the earth. If it were to be destroyed, imagine how many Gollums would be in the world.

Ooh... pleasant thoughts of Goldeneye just flashed before my mind's eye. *goes into a trance*
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Old 02-23-2003, 04:26 AM   #8
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Sting

Regarding technoogy....

I think it was not technology by itself that was evil and addictive, but rather how it was used. Tolkien seems to say that the bad thing about technology was that it often epitomized our desire to control or master things, rather than simply to appreciate them by studying or learning about them. You can have technology that is "not bad"--just look at the Shire--Tolkien mentions in passing things like fireworks and clocks, and these aren't portrayed as "bad". Look at the Noldor Elves....their desire to create things verges very close to what we view as technology, and that creation could be good or bad, depending on how it's employed.

For this same reason, JRRT makes a distinction between magic and enchantment. Enchantment is the good stuff the Elves do which flows naturally from their soul; magic is the bad stuff that someone like Saruman tries to wield when he attempts to manipulate everything and everyone about him.

I think what Tolkien was really saying about addiction was this. It's when man tries to set himself up in God's place, to change the innate natural order of things that he gets into real trouble. Man is supposed to learn and appreciate within that natural order and not attempt to distort it. So whether it's bad magic or bad technology, it can be addictive and hurtful to our souls.

[ February 23, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 02-23-2003, 09:23 AM   #9
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Silmaril

There is a very interesting and active discussion related to this topic on the Books forum. For those who are interested, please read THE RING and corruption .
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Old 02-23-2003, 09:35 AM   #10
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Sting

Thanks for the distinction between magic and enchantment, Child, though there's another thing that's so beautiful enchantment that I'd like to point out (it's something I got from the dvd). From what I remember, the word itself comes from "chant." "Enchanting" or "enchantment" therefore is a result of a chant: a spoken word whose meaning becomes actual out of its repitition. So having enchanment come innately from elves in the way they use their creativity makes sense. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Kinda like "The word became flesh."

About technology, I think it's a sad thing that people have become so dependent on their cell phones, and even on their cars. When my pastor's wife found out that I walk to my dentist's instead of taking the jeep (I'm from Manila, and jeepnyes are everywhere), her eyes and mouth were agape. And I was like "It's just a 5-minute walk, and a tricycle away--nothing much" (A tricycle's another part of our commuting culture--riding it gives me no choice, though). And I've got this friend who, a few days ago, attempted to send her twin sis on the ground floor an SMS just to come up to her on the 2nd floor! *gasp*
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Old 02-23-2003, 09:39 AM   #11
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It seems many people who have had an addiction really relate to this story. The ring is a drug nearly impossible to break. I have always likened the ring to a very negative habit or "sin" if you will, that has a hard hold on your being.
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:09 PM   #12
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Pipe

I always thought of the ring as a bad habit too (maybe a little worse than that). Something like temptation; when your resisting its bad, but its worse when you look at yourself after you've given in. It did seem as if Tolkien didn't like all the technology in our world, the way he described Sauruman and how he murdered the forest comes to mind. I myself appreciate technology. I think that it is how addicted you are to it and what that technology does that decides whether it is good or bad. For instance the medical leaps and bounds we've taken. But sadly its moot whether we appreciate technology, because although we ourselves can live simpler lives, the world can't go back. Which is why I retreat to ME.
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:35 PM   #13
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Sting

Wow, I never really looked at the One Ring as being a drug, but it does seem like it is.
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Old 02-24-2003, 10:16 PM   #14
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1420!

Well Samwise, the thing with Gollum searching was that he tried to let the ring go, even though he couldn't. He couldn't because as you said, he went to great lengths looking for his precious. And he got more desperate the closer they got to Mt. Doom. However, the reason I say that he was trying to quit was because he had a chance to take it, but chose not to. Many times he could have done away with Sam and Frodo and taken the ring. Like at Ithilien. Gollum is very cunning and crafty. He could have strangled Sam first, or came up with another way of ending his life, while Frodo was separated from him. And then Gollum could have killed Frodo and taken the ring. Do you recall the steps at Cirith Ungol? When it said
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Gollum looked at them. A strange expresssion passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass , shaking his head as in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee-but alost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried hmi far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.

But at that touch Frodo stirred and cried out in his sleep, and immediately Sam was wide awake. The first thing he saw was Gollum-'pawing at master,' as he thought.

'Hey you!' he said roughly. 'What are you up to?'

'Nothing, hothing,' said Gollum softly. 'Nice Master!'

'I daresay,' said Sam. 'But where have you been to-sneaking off and sneaking back, you old villian?'

Gollum withdrew hmiself, and a green light flickered under his heavy lids. Almost spider-like he looked now, crouched back on his bent limbs, with his protruding eyes. The fleeting moment had passed, beyond recall.
I strongly believe that Gollum was debating whether he should really take them to Shelob or not. Smeagol was fighting the addiction of the ring right there. He was wieghing the worth of his drug, the ring versus the power of friends, acceptance, love, compassion, etc., which he had not been offered in over 500 years. And he found that friends and the other stuff was more important than having the ring. His battle was was hard fought and well deserved. It was a major step forward in the right direction. But then because of Sam, he was knocked backed 5 steps in the opposite direction; too far to ever recover from.
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Old 05-19-2003, 12:09 PM   #15
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Quite coincidentally - in PSE (personal social education) we were learning about drugs. being the LOTRaholic i am, i drew a picture of some of the LOTR characters. And gollum was there saying "heroin, my preciousss... we wantsss it." to his ring
And id never even thought of the ring as a drug before!
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Old 05-19-2003, 01:09 PM   #16
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Sting

Good question. I suppose the ring could be viewed as a drug. The thought has even crossed my mind before. So Gollum is the crazed junkie, Boromir takes a fatal overdose, and Aragorn is the sensible one who prefers to study rather than do that stuff behind the bike sheds.
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Old 05-19-2003, 03:28 PM   #17
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Sting

I think you have all made legitimate points regarding how the desire for the Ring resembles the kind of pull a drug addict feels. In the context of our own society, we're constantly exposed to the problem of drug addiction whether through the media, lessons students are taught in school, or even the examples that some of us have seen among family and friends. Because of this, it's easy for us to understand the addicting power of the Ring if we think about it in terms of drug addiction.

This is also the model that PJ used in the movie, in the way that he portrayed both Gollum and Frodo. Gollum was a full blow "addict", with Frodo gradually falling under the influence. I even remember reading an early interview where PJ stated that this was the conscious model he planned to use. Just looking at Frodo when he thinks about the Ring, how his face sweats and his face distorts, certainly confirms this.

Yet, I'm not wholly comfortable with this image. Drugs have been around a long time, but I don't think this is mainly what JRRT had in mind when he thought about the Ring. Growing up in the Edwardian era, and spendng years studying and teaching philology, he had a frame of reference that was different than ours. I think he thought more in terms of paradigms from ancient Norse myth, the Bible, and other things that were close to his heart and experience.

Things like Man's desire to dominate and to escape death were central to his mind. To put it in old fashioned terms, I think he felt Men were irrisistably flawed and drawn to evil, and could overcome that only with enormous effort (and they would never completely succeed!). Drug addiction is one example of that, but it's not the whole picture.

The wider picture is our fallen nature which made us prone to whatever addicting evil comes along--whether the desire to dominate through magic or technology that JRRT depicts in LotR, or the modern instance of drug addiction. It is Man's general nature rather than a specfic evil that accounts for the lure of the Ring.
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Old 05-19-2003, 04:12 PM   #18
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Sting

I agree. The power of the ring is more subtle than just addiction to a chemical substance.
And I also think that the film suffered from the analogy assumed by its makers, particularly by making Frodo act like a junkie. It got very one-dimensional and tedious.
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