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Old 05-03-2002, 08:21 AM   #1
ElanorGamgee
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Silmaril Gollum's Aging

Ok, I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but this has been bothering me. Gollum was around 500 years old when Bilbo came into possession of the Ring. Yet he does not seem to age at all from the riddle contest to his encounter with the Fellowship, 61 years apart. When Bilbo gives the Ring to Frodo, it takes just 17 years for him to age noticably when Frodo sees him next. By the end of The Return of the King, he seems to have lost much of his memory. It seems like Gollum, who has already lived much longer than he ought to have compared to Bilbo, should have aged more quickly of the two. Was it his malice and lust for the Ring that kept him alive?
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Old 05-03-2002, 10:46 AM   #2
Orodhromeus
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What makes you think that Gollum lost much of his memory? As for the aging, 500 years in the company of the Ring makes you very lustful of it. Gollum was merely alive after Bilbo took the Ring from him because he had become a kind of wight - fully corporeal, but very close to an evil-serving shadow. He was only motivated by the hope that he'd find his Precious. So I'll agree with you that Gollum stayed alive just because of the Ring. Just as the Mouth of Sauron had probably lived longer than the casual Númenórean because he served Sauron too much & too long, the Ring's lure to the 'Dark Side' elongated Gollum's life.

Also, Bilbo had nothing more to motivate him in life. He abandoned his writings to charge Frodo of them, and he only wrote casually songs, which are shorter & can be done faster. Biblo lived amid happiness, he had found his dream in Rivendell, among Elves. He had nothing to prove anymore, and nothing to take from life anymore. For example, in the Grey Havens chapter, when Frodo & Bilbo meet again, Bilbo seems as relieved that he reached the age of the Old Took. This bet was a small burden, the only thing keeping him in life. The travel to the Blessed Lands was the last thing he could possibly desire. I don't say that Bilbo was tired of life, but that he had seen enough of life, so much that he couldn't ask for more.
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Old 05-03-2002, 11:30 AM   #3
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Gollum had held the ring for much longer than Bilbo, so it's effects may have been stronger and taken longer to wear off. This was why Gollum wanted the ring so much but Bilbo did not find it too hard to give it away. This and a combination of Bilbo's loss of the will to live, so to speak, would explain why Bilbo aged so much and Gollum so little.
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Old 05-03-2002, 03:16 PM   #4
ElanorGamgee
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Silmaril

Quote:
What makes you think that Gollum lost much of his memory?
I meant that Bilbo lost much of his memory, not Gollum. Sorry if the wording was confusing. Anyway, your explanation that Bilbo had nothing more to motivate him makes a lot of sense.
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Old 05-03-2002, 05:56 PM   #5
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It seemed to me that the power of the ring was the main (only?) reason for Gollum's long existence. He was a halfling-relative species so he was a mortal being with halfling-length lifespan. I think his memory was shot by the time of his loss of the ring. His only base memories were of evil deeds and greed and murder. Oh, and fish! Aside from his "precious", his pitiful life was wretched survival in brutal conditions alone and unloved. If he was alive for 500 years in this horrid state of being, no wonder he was the way he was. A pitiful shade of a wretched life form, twisted and corrupted by the ring of Sauron.
I wonder if others of his race existed in Middle Earth during the time of the Fellowship. If so, I wonder if Tolkien ever expanded his creation of the people of Smeagol. Lembas for thought....
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Old 05-04-2002, 10:58 AM   #6
Orodhromeus
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Quote:
I meant that Bilbo lost much of his memory, not Gollum
Oh, ok! Agree on that. That can be explained with the loss of motivation, as I stated previously.

Wormtongue, Sméagol was a Hobbit. A primitive form of them, at least. Their descendants were the people of the Shire.
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Old 05-05-2002, 12:27 AM   #7
Child of the 7th Age
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There were originally three main branches of hobbits. Smeagol was one of the Stoors. The Stoors were the only hobbits to enjoy water, boats, fishing, etc. which explains some of his later activities as Gollum.
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