Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gollum the Baptist

From an early age, Gollum loathed water. This unfortunate fact was no less irksome to him despite it sounding exactly like the kind of thing a careless biographer might make up in order to juxtapose it with the shocking revelation that he was born into the River Folk. In the history of appalling sentence constructions shamelessly devised for comic effect, only the disclosure of FDR’s polio on the eve of his first college track meet would be more devastating. And polio’s never funny. 

And Gollum was an angry child river-person-thing. He typically responded to his friends’ taunts with his catchphrase warning “you won’t like me when I’m angry!” Historians believe that Gollum’s perpetual failure to transform into the Incredible Hulk only stoked his humiliation, but his Catwoman costume can’t have helped.

“I kept telling him ‘if they bully you, they’re not your friends’,” remembers Gollum’s mother. “He always defended them, saying how they didn't mean it and they were his friends and they genuinely liked him, and that I didn't know what it was like not being popular, just rambling on with these tedious excuses and never ending run on sentences. I think he got it from his father.”

And then there was the speech impediment.

“It was lisp this and lisp that,” she recalls. “It was so infuriating. When he reached ten and he couldn’t pronounce his esses anymore, I actually started bullying him too. ‘Your sspecial sspaghetti ssure wass ssuper tonight!’  he used to say. I haven’t cooked passta ssince… Damn it!” 

For whom the bell… rings

But it was the incident with the Ring that saw the bullying reach fever pitch and paved Gollum’s path from then on. Moviegoers who saw Peter Jackson’s heavily biased The Return of the King will recall the introductory scene where Gollum strangled his friend Déagol in order to claim the Ring for himself, saying “it’s mine! Give it to me!” What Gollum actually said was “it’s fine, I give it to thee.” That Déagol continued to allow himself to be strangled after receiving the Ring from Gollum is regrettable, but it was his decision and he did know the risks.

By bravely shouldering the burden of the evil Ring, Gollum prevented his kinsfolk from suffering its mental and physical abuses. In effect, he saved them from having to commit the insidious campaign of thievery and brutal murder he would undertake by doing it himself. To them. Gollum then, was something of a Middle Earth Jack Bauer.

“CTU... I have a visual on the Precious. Over”

Instead of thanking him, however, they escalated their bullying. Cynically anointing him Gollum the Baptist, the River People both painfully recalled his fear of water and ridiculed him for being a fat black man who liked to sing on Sundays. Had the Ring’s corrupting influence not already caused him to become a hideously skinny wretch, we like to think this vicious slander would have given him anorexia, and from there, who knows? A record deal, two movies, premature bibliography and signature perfume. One can only guess.

Ring of fire

Gollum is frequently reviled for his alleged interference with Frodo’s mission to destroy the Ring, and yet his deeds deserve another look. After all, it was Gollum who showed Frodo the way to Mordor, when the ominous orange glow on the horizon, fetid smell of rot, and ‘Mordor This Way’ signs couldn’t. That Gollum tracked the Fellowship and pursued Frodo so enthusiastically is thought to be the earliest recognition of Frodo as the Messiah. And while Sam might not have eaten the food that Gollum disposed of in order to frame him, at least Gollum didn’t eat it. And look at him – he’s starving!

Dead ringer

Gollum is nowadays remembered as the Baptist for his anointment of Frodo in the Dead Marshes. Frodologist baptisms are today largely unchanged: stagnant water, a careful shove for the hesitant, and a heaping dose of holiness! If that doesn’t sound like much fun, don’t worry, initiates have no idea they’re about to baptized right up to the moment they’re tearing the riverweeds away from their throats. We’re second only to the Mormons for unwitting baptisms!

In any case, it’s clear that Gollum’s solitary, abject ascetic lifestyle in the caves below the Misty Mountains was a sign of his holiness. He was a prophet for Frodo before prophets were cool, and before anyone had heard of Frodo. With a mission recently dispatched to Mount Doom to recover the specific piece of magma that engulfed Gollum when he plunged to his death, we expect to finally give Gollum the recognition he deserves by worshiping him in as macabre a fashion as possible.


piggymceatsalot said...

Forgive me for being off-topic (although it's macabre as hell, so maybe you won't mind)...but a Photoshop effort I'd really like to see is CTU agent Gollum interacting with Kim Bauer.

Eternal Critic said...

Just recently discovered your site... but i had to tell you just how awesome it is.

FrodoSaves said...


'Photoshop effort' ... um, what are you talking about?


Eternal Critic,

Thanks, I appreciate it!

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Eternal Critic said:

Just recently discovered your site... but i had to tell you just how awesome it is.

This being the case, perhaps you should change your Blogger profile -- clearly, you're only a Half-Eternal Critic, at best.


Dani' El said...


Gollum is the AntiFrodo and is in the lake of fire forever.

Right? :D

Vitamin R said...

You had me at: “CTU... I have a visual on the Precious. Over”So that's Sega, and what some might term an encyclopedic knowledge of Fox' "24". . . .

Sir, I'm starting to think you don't have a handlebar moustache at all--real or otherwise!

FrodoSaves said...

How did you get 'encyclopedic knowledge' from a Photoshopped picture of Kiefer Sutherland and a single quote? I could have got those from watching a single episode, which sounds to me like exactly the kind of thing a handlebar-mustachioed gentleman might do by way of diversion.