Gollum: Hero?

Discussion in 'Debates' started by Radagast, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    (*****Spoilers Within******)






    Would you say that Gollum was the hero of the story? Gollum destroyed The One Ring. Gollum saved Middle Earth from an ultimate doom. Gollum saved millions of lives. Gollum accomplished what Frodo could not do.

    It was by accident. Gollum did not mean to destroy the ring. But where does is it said that it needs to be out of goodwill for a hero to defined a "Hero". Unintentionally, he did what seemed the impossible. Others helped along the way, and through secondary actions, they also are heros, yet none of them actually destroyed the ring. Only Gollum did that.

    Thoughts on this worthy debate?
     
  2. Asgath

    Asgath Heavy-metal dwarf

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    You could say he was a hero, but I'd think him more of a Villian doing something to his disadvantage...he's a hard character to contemplate, being originaly good, for it is the rings fault...

    A good thread if I say so myself:)
     
  3. Lady_of_Shalott

    Lady_of_Shalott Weaving the Magic Web

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    Tough one. I think a hero can be someone who does something good unintentionally. But, Gollum had an intention, and that was to get the Ring for himself. He tried to fight off the temptation of the Ring, and he did for a while, but it crept back (i.e. Shelob and that whole plot). People who have evil intents and purposes are not heroes, even though something good may come from what they did.

    Gollum did accomplish what Frodo had set out to do, but, again it was unintentional. If Gollum had been in Frodo's place, he would have done the exact same thing that Frodo did.
     
  4. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Hmm.

    Gollum's intent to get the Ring for himself:
    Does that point not help reinforce the thought that his actions were unintentional? His main motive wasn't to try and destroy the ring, it was to keep it. The outcome was obviously good...
     
  5. Strider

    Strider Eccentric

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    Remember also he said they must not let Sauron have the ring. Tolkien stated himself in a journal that if Gollum had not fallen in, he would have tossed it in eventually. The nazgul were on the way and apon seeing them and knowing Sauron would get the ring he would jump in on his own will.
     
  6. Lady_of_Shalott

    Lady_of_Shalott Weaving the Magic Web

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    *thinking hard*

    Good point, Radagast. I'll have to think about that one for a while. I just find it hard to think of him as a "hero".

    Strider, I had no idea about that. Interesting. He really might have in the end, then. *sits and ponders*
     
  7. Strider

    Strider Eccentric

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    Yah Radagast quoted it on another forum we're on. I think it sums it all up right there!


    Also take a look at this

    So Gollum also saved Frodo from killing himself.
     
  8. Doyler

    Doyler King of Dragons

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    Hmmm..Interesting. But then again Sam probably would have come to Frodo's rescue in the end in some unusal way, even if he was indisposed (If I remember correctly, I am starting to read it again before this thread).

    But for some strange reason I felt that gollum or smaegol rather did have some part in 'throwing' the ring into the crack of doom. But gollum wanted the ring smegol didnt want it.

    And on Sauron, he didnt fear the ring was going to be destroyed, he feared Aragon and so he is also at fault for letting the ring and himself be destroyed.
     
  9. mithrandir

    mithrandir Gentleman Scholar

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    Even before getting to Mount Doom, consider the tenacity of Gollum in tracking the fellowship and his efforts to lead Frodo and Sam through nearly impossible terrain (much of the time being bound by rope that caused him real pain). Both could be considered heroic feats.
     
  10. Strider

    Strider Eccentric

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    But Sam couldn't see Frodo at that time. It would have taken a lot of doing for Sam to aid Frodo. So in a way Gollum also saved Sam.
     
  11. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    My opinion . . . slipping on some stones and falling into some molten rock does not make you a hero. Nothing else he did remotely resembles the statement. Gollum lost his inner battle, he had every intention of killing whoever was in his way to get the ring for himself.
     
  12. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    How does his intention of trying to get the ring for himself affect the decision? Should it not be based on what was accomplished, rather than what was supposed to be accomplished? Where is it said that it has to be out of pure intent, and not accidental, for someone to be aknowledged for their deeds. Certainly there has been a fair share of accidents in our world that have resulted in a great outcome.
    ie: Alexander Fleming
     
  13. mithrandir

    mithrandir Gentleman Scholar

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    I'm with Radagst on this one. Does being a hero require that you succeed or win? Many heroic efforts have ended in defeat - especially in times of war.
     
  14. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    I'm not disputing the fact that the outcome of his actions was for the best, and should be remembered as such.

    Accoring to Webster " Hero: a figure in mythology and legend renowned for exceptional courage and fortitude."

    I don't see those qualities in Gollum.
     
  15. mithrandir

    mithrandir Gentleman Scholar

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    I think I do:

    - Continuing an inner struggle (though he ultimately loses) when it would have been much easier to simply kill the hobbits as they slept. Add to that being bound by rope that he can't tolerate, being betrayed by Frodo to Faramir - at least Gollum saw it as betrayal, and being constantly assaulted/accused by Sam
    - Leading Frodo and Sam through treacherous country - back to a place where he was tortured and through much danger and fear
    - Tracking the fellowship through Moria, Lothlorien, etc without the aid of powerful wizards, elf lords, or anyone else

    I think those things show both courage and fortitude

    Frodo did far less and no one would argue that he is a hero in this story.
     
  16. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    Frodo's goal were notably different than Gollum's.

    Yes Gollum tracked the Fellowship through all those places, why do you suppose he did that? It wasn't so he could aid Frodo in destroying the ring, it was so he could claim it for himself.

    He led Frodo and Sam through treacherous country and directly into a trap where he intended to loot their dead bodies and reclaim the ring.

    Ya he fought an inner battle and lost and all that other stuff . . why is that heroic again? O yea, 'cuz he was tortured, tormented and all that other stuff. Well Heck, that is how I felt after I fell off of my roof last weekend . . . does that make me a hero?!?
     
  17. mithrandir

    mithrandir Gentleman Scholar

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    It does in my book. :) Hope you're OK Turin.

    Still, this brings us back to the question, does motive determine heroism? The definition that was quoted earlier makes no mention of motive, but I think most would agree with you that intent is key part of whether we consider something or someone heroic.
     
  18. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    I'll have to ponder it a bit to become conclusive on my opinion. Maybe I'll look up some more definitions later. ;)
     
  19. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    BTW thanks for callin' me a hero (kinda) lol
     
  20. Strider

    Strider Eccentric

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    motive has absolutely nothing to do with heroism. Look at how many times people have ended up being hero's without wanting to be. Sure Gollum wanted the ring for himself...but to him the Ring was the world. Without it, he was nothing. He is just like everyone else. Think about how you would feel if your whole world was torn apart? You really cannot blame Gollum for his actions. Sam wanted to kill Gollum...but hey thats perfectly fine isn't it? Why is that any different? Gollum never originally planned on taking them to Shelob's lair. It was after he felt like they had betrayed him that he came up with that idea. So maybe things would have been different if maybe Sam was a little nicer to him, or if he hadn't been jumped by Faramir's men. When you feel betrayed it is perfectly natural to feel like getting revenge...Gollum just had the perfect opportunity. And you never know what Gollum would have done once he got the ring back. More than wanting to ring himself he wanted to make sure Sauron did not get it. He most likely have sacrificed himself before he saw the ring in Sauron's hands again.