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Old 03-23-2002, 11:31 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Silmaril Gollum: poetic justice and shadow

Here’s the gist of a discussion that took place in the chat this afternoon (CET)between Shadowfax (topic suggestion), Miriel, and myself. (Unfortunately, the names haven't been included in the process of posting!) Before it began, Miriel told me of an earlier discussion on the fate of Frodo:

<Miriel> it was about whether Frodo really had to leave ME or whether he could have been healed and stayed
<Estelyn> which conclusion did you reach?
<Miriel> we never quite reached a conclusion
<Miriel> we were wondering if he had been hurt too profoundly or if he had outgrown ME, or if a 'hot shire chick' would made it more possible for him to stay
(Perhaps those who were there can share more details of that discussion.)

Then we began a new discussion:

<Shadowfax> does the fate of Gollum demonstrate poetic justice?
<Estelyn> You mean, did he have to die to atone for his "sins"?
<Miriel> Gollum. One of the most diverse characters in the whole of LotR
<Estelyn> Explain what you're thinking of with "poetic justice"
<Shadowfax> In the way that I view it, Gollum attempted to abet the Fellowship with his malicious greed
<Estelyn> abet?
<Shadowfax> hold back in progress, you know, aiders and abettors
<Estelyn> Do you think he was interested in the Fellowship or just the ringbearer? <Shadowfax> The ring. "He loved and hated the Ring as he loved and hated himself"
<Shadowfax> He was devious and treacherous in his plot to steal it
<Miriel> Gollum is really one of the most tragic characters in the story, isn't he?
<Shadowfax> the trap in Shelob's tunnels, the treachery at Mount Doom
<Shadowfax> yes. He's the antithesis of Frodo
<Shadowfax> Frodo is good, caring, smart but not especially shrewd
<Estelyn> Would you call Gollum tragic?
<Shadowfax> Gollum is sly, wicked, etc.
<Miriel> yes
<Estelyn> He's a bad guy, more so than tragic
<Shadowfax> Yes
<Shadowfax> He's was pretty doomed from the start
<Miriel> Gollum nearly reaches a point of redemption a few times
<Estelyn> Tragic seems to me to be more a good guy trying to do the right thing but it goes wrong
<Shadowfax> killing Deagol to possess the Ring cursed him
<Estelyn> So he was never really good......
<Shadowfax> in my opinion, anyway
<Miriel> he's more ambivalent than just being a bad guy - weak yes, inherently evil, I don't know
<Shadowfax> His multiple personalities make for interesting discussion matter
<Miriel> I don't think tragic is restricted to good guys
<Estelyn> "Inherent" I don't know, but he killed before even touching the ring!
<Estelyn> I mean, others had closer contact and didn't get bad!
<Shadowfax> Tragic, possibly, in the sense that he was attempting to tear apart what was right and good
<Miriel> others were stronger, yes
<Shadowfax> Frodo for example, and Bilbo
<Shadowfax> of course, Bilbo didn't know what he had
<Miriel> I mean, it's not that Gollum is my first choice of best friend either, but I feel sorry for him, too
<Estelyn> He might have had a chance to turn around, like Boromir did in the end.
<Shadowfax> yes, that's a good comparison
<Miriel> and there is the bit in Cirith Ungol, where he reaches out to pet Frodo, and Sam mistakes it, that breaks my heart
<Estelyn> True, Miri, there are tragic moments in Gollum, but at the end, evil wins!
<Shadowfax> the battle inside Gollum is the battle between Smeagol and Gollum
<Miriel> But without evil winning in that case, EVIL would have won, much worse
<Estelyn> With Gollum, I don't think his death was poetic justice - it was the only thing that could have happened - inevitable!
<Shadowfax> he was spiraling toward a timely end, then?
<Shadowfax> untimely for Gollum, timely for Frodo
<Estelyn> How could Gollum have survived without the ring if Frodo had destroyed it?
<Miriel> very badly...
<Shadowfax> very good point
<Estelyn> After that many years, his fate was bound with it!
<Estelyn> But I agree, Shadow - he was the "shadow" side of Frodo, the negative side that was needed to complete the job!
<Miriel> he was. and when you see what the ring did to people who only had it for a short time, there really wasn't much hope for any cure for Gollum
<Estelyn> See, Frodo couldn't do it by himself - he needed the help of Gollum
<Miriel> true
<Estelyn> = the energy the negative side gives!
<Estelyn> There's some great psychology in there!
<Shadowfax> Which is why pity steadied Bilbo's hand and spared Gollum
<Estelyn> From good came good
<Miriel> indeed
<Shadowfax> opposites attract
<Shadowfax> in more ways than one
<Estelyn> and opposites belong to us, both sides!
<Estelyn> I need my "Shadow"!
<Estelyn> Without shadow, no profile!
<Shadowfax> darkness and light blend to make a prolific spectrum
<Estelyn> Yes!
<Estelyn> And Frodo didn't *have* to destroy the ring - he only had to bring it there - that was his part
<Estelyn> Eru , fate or whatever you want to call it knew that he could do no more!
<Miriel> and without his shadow, Frodo couldn't really stay in ME (tying back to this morning's discussions)?
<Shadowfax> brilliant deduction!
<Estelyn> Wow, Miri!
<Miriel> [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
<Estelyn> I'm flabbergasted!!! that was absolutely brilliant!!!!!
<Shadowfax> quite so
<Estelyn> I'm absolutely amazed at where this brief discussion got us!!!
<Shadowfax> astounding!

(PS – Shadowfax is an outstanding example of a young teenager who uses her brain – my hat’s off to her for a great discussion!!)

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: Estelyn Telcontar ]
'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
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Old 03-23-2002, 11:41 AM   #2
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nice gist esty, thank you....
sorry i missed it [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

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Old 03-23-2002, 11:52 AM   #3
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I wasn't there to discuss that, but I have had a few "simple" conversations with Shadowfax. And have joined in a trivia game or two. I agree, another polite and gifted person, who I will look forward to "chatting" with for some time to come.

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: zifnab ]
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Old 03-23-2002, 11:57 AM   #4
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The Eye

Could Gollum survive without the ring?
Hmm...interesting question, there are many that can be drawn out of this conversation. (I wish I was there [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] )I believe Gollum draws a kind of energy, or life force, from the ring. He is so attatched to it that it seems that he can't live without it, even though he can't live with it! It tears his body apart and makes him evil. Gollum could have survived physically without the ring, though mentally, I believe, he would be starved, depressed, and pretty much emotionally dead.

Was Gollum doomed from the start?
Another debatable question. Gollum did seem a little twisted mentally, seeing as how he killed his cousin for a glimpse of shiny metal even before he knew what the ring was. Maybe Gollum was put on ME for a reason, whatever it was, he seemed to carry it out well in the end. If you think about the very name Gollum, you can depict certain parts of his character. Although Smeagol was his real name, it does have a certain sneer to it. Authors will use names for indirect characterization, especially when the characters aren't people. Tolkien, as a brilliant proffeser, did this with Gollum. Gollum wasn't doomed from the start, but he was a little strange, in my opinion. Whew! [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: avarerniliel ]
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Old 03-23-2002, 07:55 PM   #5
Shadowfax Clawson
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Thanks for helping earn me a greatreputation! (I am, by the way, the famed prodigal horse, Shadowfax. It just so happens that there is another Shadowfax out there somewhere, so for all intensive purposes, I have taken on the identity of Shadowfax Clawson) Looking forward to another poignant chat soon...
"In buying a horse or taking a wife, shut your eyes tight and commend yourself to God."
-Tuscan proverb
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Old 03-23-2002, 09:32 PM   #6
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I was there for the first discussion, and although those of us who actually partook, enjoyed it. Others preferred to discuss how cute Legolas is and which way his hair looked better!
It was great to hear what happened after! Thanks for the post.
Discussing these issues in chat has been wonderful! Not all deadly serious, but fun and informative. Some of those in chat give thoughtful and insightful answers without being boring or derrogatory to others.
To me this is the purpose of BD chat. An opportunity to get to know others better, yes, but also discuss those deeper (?) Tolkien related topics which interest us. I have really enjoyed others opinions and banter.
I love story time with Bruce and Orald, too! Also informative and fun!
2A Balrog. A demon from the underpants (Gandalf)
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Old 03-23-2002, 09:40 PM   #7
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I love it that there are actually people on the 'Downs who understand the point of a chat--not to oogle about Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood. Gives me hope that in postponing the fall of the Western civilization! Thank you, those honorable few who really get it!
[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]null[/img]
"In buying a horse or taking a wife, shut your eyes tight and commend yourself to God."
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Old 03-23-2002, 09:49 PM   #8
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Oh yeah! and about the Gollum thing! I think that although it was mercy that stayed the hand of Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn etc. underlying it was the hand of fate(?) that kept him for the purpose of finally destroying the ring. I guess I tend to think of poetic justice in terms of revenge, as stated above, and feel that it was more the fulfillment of his role in ME.
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Old 03-23-2002, 11:14 PM   #9
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I refuse to believe that smeagol was evil. It is true that he killed his cousin during the first encounter with the ring, but we cannot know how strong the ring affected him. I'm not too certain of the nature of the ring, but its will could have been strong enough to get such a flawed character, as smeagol, to do something that irrational. Like Boromir, he wasn't a 'great' man (hobbit), so it would be understandable how vulnerable he was. We also need to know of the rings past against its other victims. The first Isuldor, which was the greatest of men. He fails almost instantly, even with the knowledge of what he kept, and with the guidance of elves.( im not exactly sure this happened as is but it still makes a point). After Smeagol, there was Bilbo. He lived in a very peaceful environment that was extremely safe, and with little to none competition. This does not include he under the constant supervision of Gandalf. Bilbo was also a very strong person(hobbit) in most conventional standards. (brave, moral, loyal, rich, etc...) Frodo was much like Bilbo. Even though his position was much more stressful, he recieved a lot of support. The greatest of ME had their eyes on him. Only Bilbo had the ability to defeat the ring because of Gandalf's insistence. The others failed for their respective reason. I think the point is clear. I think it is. I'm not goign to proofread.
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Old 03-24-2002, 02:04 AM   #10
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i read an interesting article about frodo's degree of 'hurt' - and why he couldn't stay in ME

no, i don't think it was poetic justice - justice where good is rewarded and evil is punished. i don't think gollum had any will of his own from his long exposure to the ring. he couldn't really will to do evil because he no longer had any reference to 'good'. i look at him as a shade of sauron, and both their fates are bound to the fate of the ring.
Eldest, thatís what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
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Old 03-26-2002, 02:19 PM   #11
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I do believe that Gollum would be doomed, for without the ring, he would have wasted away. He would probably either have killed himself or gotten killed or just died.

Gollum did have to die for the story because no being, except maybe Tom Bombadil, would have had the strength to actually destroy the ring. Frodo did not have the strength, so, Gollum falling over was the best solution I guess. I agree with his choice, and Gollum could not have lived without the existence of the ring, he was dependent on it for so long!
"I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each others dreams, we can be together all the time." - Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes
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