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THE SMEAGOL AND GOLLUM WITHIN April 1, 2007

Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Showbiz.
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Who could forget the fictional character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings? Once a happy Stoorish Hobbit, Smeagol (a.k.a. Gollum) demanded the ring from his relative Deagol as a birthday present and he strangled him to death when he refused to give it. He was then forced to live in the far, far misty Mountains.

During the centuries that he spent in the Misty Mountains, he developed a certain kind of split personality – the good Smeagol and the bad Gollum. The good Smeagol remembered acts of goodness like friendship, trust, compassion and love. On the other hand, the bad Gollum was a desperate monster who would kill to have his most “precious” possession, which is the ring.

Come to think of it: everyone of us has a Smeagol and Gollum within. While we always strive to be good and value things that are good, within us are also crippling deeds of betrayal, envy and gluttony. But we could not deny the fact that we are first Smeagols, I should say, creatures created in the image and likeness of God. But we sinned and the Gollum inside us came out.

However, even with the character of Gollum, with all his dark side, it is undeniable that he has a spark of goodness inside him. Mister Frodo saw that. That is why, he never gave up on him.

I believe that no person is totally evil. I have never seen a person who did all wicked things throughout one’s life. One thing is sure, we are all sinners, but like Gollum, there is always a good side that cries out for liberation. And behold, God sees this spark of goodness in us…and He never gives us on us until we let this goodness shine through us.

Poor Gollum, when they were on the Mount of Doom to finally destroy the ring, he attacked Frodo and they had a big fight. He bit Frodo’s finger and his most precious possession was on his hands once again. He was too elated and too late for him to notice it, he lost his balance and fell into the fires of Mount Doom. Then, he made his last cry, “My Precious!”

While mercy abounds for us, our choices in life will have a great bearing on what is at stake for us in the future. Whatever we do in life echoes in eternity. Gollum was already confronted with the two choices – redeeming his original Smeagol self or slavery with the ring of darkness. He chose the latter and he spent his eternity in the fires of Mount Doom.

Think about it…. Your choices and decisions matter. God never gives up on you. Let your inner goodness shrine through!

JO5L0051

____________________

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - April 1, 2007

beautiful post that penetrates the soul. very fitting for holy week! i will be visiting your blogs often…

2. Anonymous - April 2, 2007

This is a very contemporary parable. The good and the bad in every man is a mystery which only God can unfold before us. He has the monopoly of cleansing every filthy soul of all the debris from the worldly concerns. We hope and pray that the goodness in every man’s heart prevails. Thanks for this meaningful insight.

3. amadesk@yahoo.com - April 2, 2007

I found it very apt for these days of Holy week when we contemplate the mystery of the death and resurrection. This is the mystery and pattern that goes on in our daily lives – if we remain with Christ we will experience resurrections through our deaths thus allowing and letting our goodness shine.

4. mh84 - April 3, 2007

Could you enlighten me by telling me why Catholics are big fans of The Lord of the Rings. I liked all of the movies – I saw all three I think (i have a bad memory). Is it becasue J.R.R Tolkien was a Catholic.

5. Wisdom - April 3, 2007

Kind of reminds me of Mel Gibson’s version of Judas who goes mad after his betrayal of Christ.
Gollum is a mad man who has sold his soul to the ring as Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver and other motives not discussed in Scripture. Judas like Gollum was a regular disciple or regular hobbit enjoying the good life until temptation bekons and they snap and become mad men ultimatly killing themselves over a ledge Iin one of the gospels anyway) in a suicide of sheer madness.
The Gospel says Satan entered into Judas as we see evil enter into Gollum once he is tempted by the Ring this is the obvious corollation. Though in no way are the characters are identical but there are some simililarites and he is the closes fit in my book anyway.

6. Eileen - April 3, 2007

Gollum is the residual effect of Original Sin. It is the opposite of our Guardian Angel urging us to sanctification, it is the dark side of our nature urging us to self-gratification.

7. Jonathan PIppenger - April 3, 2007

I copy anonymous, this is a great contemporary parable. It reminds us that even those that have been most corrupted can be put to God’s use and do good. We’re it not for Gollum, the ringbearer may never have found his way. Plus, Frodo in the end, Frod had lost the will to cast the ring into the fire, were it not for greed and corruption within Gollum, Frodo may have walked off the mountain and the ring would have fallen into Soron’s hands.

8. Newdad - April 3, 2007

LOTR is a Catholic fantasy. No, it’s not always obvious, but Christian idea is always in the subsurface of the story. Just to give you one example. Towards the end of _Return of the King_, Frodo is overcome by the burden of the ring. When he can collapses, Sam is there (as he always was) and Sam knowing that the burden of the ring is Frodo’s alone, frets over what is to be done. He can’t carry Frodo’s burdern, but he
resolves that he can carry Frodo. When Sam makes this decision, he is suprised by just how easy it was to carry Frodo. How well does this echo with Matthew 11:28-30? “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

9. Bobby Jim - April 3, 2007

I think Tolkien was clear that LOTR is not allegory, the way, for example, Chronicles of Narnia are. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between elements of the story, and elements of the faith. There are points of contact, e.g. the elven bread is Eucharistic, but it is not the Eucharist.

I think Gollum is someone who is completely twisted and perverted by evil and lust, and yet even still has some flicker or faint remembrance of goodness, which Frodo tries to reach out to. But Gollum is Gollum, and not specifically anyone in our Christian history.

10. Della - April 3, 2007

Not because Tolkien was a Catholic but because LOTR is a Catholic story.

Catholics can more readily pick up on the Catholic elements in the story because they are familiar to them–at least Catholics who understand how mythological story telling works. Not every Catholic is attuned to such writing, just like everyone else–some only like real life stories or other kinds of fiction.

As to Gollum’s place in the Christian view of life, he’s a complex character who is both good and evil, but the evil has all but consumed him. He was no saint before he killed his cousin to get the ring from him. He was a thief and one who liked to pursue the occult side of things, looking into dark holes and wanting to be admired for his arcane knowledge of such things.

I believe that with or without the ring he would have come to no good, but the ring brought out the very worst in him, as it brought out the very best in others, like Aragorn or Faramir for whom the very thought of owning the ring was anathema.

11. Anonymous - April 3, 2007

Gollum’s life shows that good can come from evil. His motives are dark and twisted, but when all is said and done, his help along the journey was invaluable to Frodo and Sam. They needed him as their guide. That’s why Frodo cannot kill him. He knows Gollum still has a part to play.

His story reminds me of Judas. God was able to bring good out of his betrayal.

Elizabeth Anne

12. newdad - April 4, 2007

was pondering the questions pose by MH84: “Could you enlighten me by telling me why Catholics are big fans of The Lord of the Rings. I liked all of the movies – I saw all three I think (i have a bad memory). Is it becasue J.R.R Tolkien was a Catholic.”

Everyone here has had a great answer to the questin, but there is a side of this story that we forgot to address. True, LOTR is a Catholic Story, but we forget one thing. It is plainly and simply a well written story in a thouroughly crafted world. I thought back to my first time reading the story. I was in the eight grade and though I did have a Catholic background, I had little presumption about what stories I ought to like. I read something and I either liked it or I didn’t. That was before I read Tolkien. Tolkien had spent so much time creating the history, the languages, the mythology of the world, that I was convinced the Middle Earth existed–part of our world, but removed.

The world was so real, that the story was born from the history. This is far different from most stories of fantasy, which take the opposite approach. Usually the world is created to host a story.

13. Rob - May 21, 2008

No, no. Everyone has missed it here. The bible says in Romans 3 that “there is none good, no not one.” When Adam sinned, mankind was ruined. We don’t have a Smeagol inside at all. We have only Gollum. You don’t believe this? Look at young children. Do we have to train them to lie? To steal? To hate? No, it is their nature, our nature. We have this nature, and therefore we need a savior to deliver us from our own selves. There is absolutely nothing in us that is good. But Jesus paid the price for our sin. If we believe there is some good in us, we trample over the blood of Jesus. We deny our need for a savior. We reject salvation by grace alone.

14. Anonymous - May 30, 2008

A very apt parable concerning the consequences of enslavement to the passions in life. Money is not the root of all evil, rather the love of money is. The wages of sin is death, just as Smeagol’s avarice transformed him into Gollum.


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