Now comes the great debate: Sméagol versus Gollum, nicely contained almost in its entirety on this one page. There’s not much to report in the actual content. Gollum wants the ring, but fights with himself because of the promise he made to Frodo. However, he can’t bear the thought of Sauron regaining the ring, so he must take it from Frodo before that can happen. But no! Promise! Screw promises. Take the ring, run away, and be all powerful. Right? That’s how it works. Sam watches this whole thing go down.
Today’s Gollum Meter: 27 – “BIG PLUMMET. The murderous nature shows its ugly head yet again. Look out.”
Ick. Bad things are afoot, especially with Gollum ending on the thought of: “She might help.” Who’s she? Just a friendly spider down the way. He’s planning that already.
But, my main focus today is to look at the structure of the conversation itself. How does Tolkien establish the two different characters inherent in Gollum at once?
Well, it looks quite simple, really. First of all, each personality is given its own new paragraph when speaking, much like two different characters would in any other context. Going a step further, the quotation marks (or, Tolkien actually uses single quotation marks – apostrophes – instead of the usual doubled variety) are bracketed to define two different characters. What do I mean, exactly? Normally, when a character is speaking for a long time, there end up being separate paragraphs and thoughts in the speech. If the same character continues speaking for a second (or further) paragraph, there usually isn’t a quotation mark at the end of the previous paragraph. Like so:
“But Narsil was broken and its light extinguished, and it has not yet been forged again.
“Fruitless did I call the victory of the Last Alliance?”
See there, taken directly from Elrond’s speech at Rivendell. At the end of that first paragraph (and there is more to that paragraph, of course), there isn’t any quotation mark. It picks up again in the second paragraph. When he finishes speaking (long after this), there is a final mark at the end of that last paragraph.
Anyway, this defines the two characters of Gollum as separate, even though, technically, they’re the same person. It’s the little things. That, and also Gollum’s evil personality speaks with much worse grammar and more made-up words. Being evil will do that to you.
Words My Computer Didn’t Like:
Guess which side says that? The evil one! THREE TIMES.
No one dies today.
“Each time that the second thought spoke, Gollum’s long hand crept out slowly, pawing towards Frodo, and then was drawn back…”