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Thread: Tolkienīs Flaw

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After reading Tolkienīs work over and over, I think I discovered the first flaw Ever in the Lotr compilation. Well, that is why I think feedback from people like you is required, for you are peers to me in this journey:
It is said, and clearly depicted in The Return of the King (even in the movie) that Bilboīs age caught up with him after departing from the One Ring. In his Years of having obtained it in March of the year 2941 and leaving it to Frodo on the night of the Long Expected Party, on his eleventy-one birthday, Sept. 22, 3001, Sixty years had passed. So, after delaying that 60 years burden, those years wore heavilly on Bilbo, who, when he left over the seas on 3021, had barely the strenght to talk. No problem there, I hope you follow me still.
Now, the Ring was found in the River Isen on the year 2463 and came to Smeagol that same day. If Gollum parted from the One Ring in the year 2941, he had it for 478 years. 478 that should catch up with him the same way as with Bilbo. Probably even worse. By March 25, 3019 whe he fell after fighting Frodo for the Ring, 78 years had passed. This means that not only Gollum had to be 78 years older than when he lost the Ring. That ammount of years alone is tiresome. Now add those 478 years of catching up..! He shouldnīt have been able to walk, least run and escape from Aragorn, the Elves, Gandalf, and Morgoth himself.
Thinking this throughly, I came to the question of state of mind, but Gollum is as much a Hobbit as Bilbo. And eating raw fish and young Goblins surely doesnīt prolong life.
So, there. I dropped it on your laps now. Forgive me if there is a mistake, I am hazy on the dates.
Hmmm.... very interesting! Very interesting indeed! Great post!
My guess is that since Gollum/Smeagol had the Ring for so long, and it currupted and changed him over such a long period of time, that the effect took longer to wear off then it did for Bilbo, who only had it for a short period of time compared to Gollum.

Now let us hear from those who know more of this matter than I do. Smile Smilie
I've always looked at it from the point of view of the Nazgul and the Nine Rings. They only became wraiths after the rings had prolonged their lives beyond their natural lifespan. I think the same is possibly occuring here with Gollum. While Bilbo lived longer than any other Hobbit, he rid himself of the ring while he was still living within his alloted natural lifespan. Gollum obviously didn't. Though he wasn't a wraith, he did resemble a kind of a ghoul. By keeping him alive beyond his alloted mortal years, the Ring had turned Gollum into some kind of quasi-undead from which there was no return.
Awesome observation!!!!!! I think kind of the same as Amarie, Gollum having the ring for so long gave him unnatural long life and he had the ring for so long he wasn't neccesarily a hobbit anymore he was a creature. Also maybe since he was so close to Frodo during most of the quest that it still poisened his mind and kept giving him that unnatural long life, while Bilbo was far away in Rivendell turning back into old Bilbo. Now heres a completely diferent thought what if Tolkien meant the after the ring was destroyed Bilbo's age caught up with him (I don't know because I've just started reading The Return of the King so correct me if I'm wrong). We don't know about Gollum after the ring because he sizzled and died, the ring from far away could still be poisening Bilbos mind so he stays alive and this would make sense for Gollum to still be alive after so long of not having the ring! So my thought is that the ring kept Gollum and Bilbo alive and when it was destroyed their ages caught up with them, and Gollum of course died but not because of my theory!! So there you go!!
I agree with the prvious posts about Gollum having had the One for so long and the effects it had on him. I would also add that his lustful desire for the ring filled him with purpose, whereas Bolbo had retired. The overpowering need for Gollum to recover the ring could help drive him to keep going until he could reclaim it.
Sorry for the shocking spelling in my last post, I forgot to read it before hitting send.

I wll tri nott to lit itt hoppen againn.
Bilbo recovered from having the ring while gollum did not. Since Bilbo was able to get over it (rom not haveing it that long), he went back to a normal* way of life.
Azadhel, there are more errors. In the Council of ELrond, as you all remember, Elrond said that the foundations of Barad-dur
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were made with the ring, and while it survives they endure.
or something like that, and in the tale of years in the appendices it says that Barad-dur started getting built a hundred years before the Ring was made, and it was finished the year it was forged. How? (I'm sure even Sauron couldn't build the foundations last.)

But guys, lord of the rings is 1137 pages long, and all th enarratives on Middle-earth much much much much much much much much longer. Read Smilie so, come on, Tolkien's human as well, isn't he? I certainly couldn't make up that stuff at all, let alone do it without contradictions, and I'm sure it's the same for you.
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or something like that, and in the tale of years in the appendices it says that Barad-dur started getting built a hundred years before the Ring was made, and it was finished the year it was forged. How? (I'm sure even Sauron couldn't build the foundations last.)

Sauron used to be the Necromancer. He can do pretty much everything.

Anyway, maybe it's only a mistake in the appendices then, instead of the story of LOTR itself. A minor inaccuracy.
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And eating raw fish and young Goblins surely doesnīt prolong life.


Ungoliant lived a loong life doing that. (Though it was young orcs and no fish) So why wouldn't it be the same for Gollum? Maybe it's the only good thing about the orcs and goblins. Wink Smilie

Back to the original point that Aza raised about Gollum. Well i'm with Val on this, i think the corruption of body and soul is what's important in establishing the exactitudes of the ring-bearers future longetivity.

My opinion is a variation on Val's theme, and focuses more upon the actual physical and spiritual constitution of Hobbits as compared with Humans (that became Nazgul/wraiths). Their constitutions(hobbits), inferred by Tolkien all the way thru the trilogy, are described as being intrinsically different and better suited to bear the vicissitudes of entropy(in this case the corrupting influence of the Ring of Power)
By way of example, little or nothing is mentioned on what became of the seven Dwarven Kings who, having similar constitutions, did not become wraiths (were killed outright in most cases) but succumbed to corruption( classically; in the form of Greed for mithril, gems and gold) - and the thing of central importance IMHO is Tolkien's focus on the "Doom of Men" - their mortality, their lust for power, and spiritual weaknesses!This sets Men apart from Elves, Dwarves and even Hobbits, and is of seminal importance in the Silmarillion, but only hinted at in the trilogy.
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My opinion is a variation on Val's theme, and focuses more upon the actual physical and spiritual constitution of Hobbits as compared with Humans (that became Nazgul/wraiths). Their constitutions(hobbits), inferred by Tolkien all the way thru the trilogy, are described as being intrinsically different and better suited to bear the vicissitudes of entropy(in this case the corrupting influence of the Ring of Power)


I think it'd be wrong to compare the corruption power of the One Ring and the other rings, the ones given to men, dwarves and elves. The one ring was Sauron's own creation,a part of him and was completely evil. The other rings were not completely Sauron's own work. They had Elvish craftsmanship on them. So i think the corruption of the one ring was much greater than the other rings. So before comparing the constitution of men and hobbits, i think we should focus on the power of the rings.
In my opinion , if a man found the ring instead of Smeagol, he would end up just like Gollum. Because Smeagol is not an ordinary hobbit. He has the malice in his soul, unlike most of the hobbits. As an example, he can be so evil sometimes that he can kill his own cousin for a beautiful ring. Which is more likely for a man to do instead of a hobbit.

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IMHO is Tolkien's focus on the "Doom of Men" - their mortality, their lust for power, and spiritual weaknesses!This sets Men apart from Elves, Dwarves and even Hobbits, and is of seminal importance in the Silmarillion, but only hinted at in the trilogy.


Their mortality ; Dwarves were mortal too, maybe their lives were not as short as the men, but they died too.
Their lust for power ; again, dwarves had a very similar weakness, the lust for gold and precious gems.
Their spiritual weakness ; the dwarves of Khazad-Dum are the first example of weakness among the dwarves i can think of, they dig so much that they released the Balrog in the end.

So basicly, i don't think men are that apart from the dwarves. I think there was a different reason for Dwarves' corruption to be different from mens.
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The other rings were not completely Sauron's own work. They had Elvish craftsmanship on them. So i think the corruption of the one ring was much greater than the other rings. So before comparing the constitution of men and hobbits, i think we should focus on the power of the rings.

The Three Rings of the Elves didn't corrupt at all, because Sauron never put his hands on this ones. He only laid hands on the Seven and the Nine. It was easy to make the Kings of Men, to whom he gave the Nine, turn into the Nazgul as they were already kinda corrupted by their lust for power, immortality, etc.

Anyway, the power of all Rings are connected with the power of the One Ring. Of course, the One Ring is the most powerful. The Nine and Seven were able to corrupt because of the power of the One Ring. The Three didn't corrupt, but as soon as the One Ring was gone, the power of the Three was gone too.

The Dwarves could indeed only be corrupted by awaking a lust, desire for gold and mithril in their hearts, although i don't think this is really corruption. Their lust for gold and mithril comes from their lust for creating things, which they got from their creater, Mahal. By giving them the Seven, Sauron intended to corrupt them like he did with Men, but he failed. The only thing he could do is increase the restlessness in their hearts, for instance like what happened with Thrain.

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In my opinion , if a man found the ring instead of Smeagol, he would end up just like Gollum. Because Smeagol is not an ordinary hobbit. He has the malice in his soul, unlike most of the hobbits. As an example, he can be so evil sometimes that he can kill his own cousin for a beautiful ring. Which is more likely for a man to do instead of a hobbit.


I disagree : i don't think Gollum was already evil before he took the Ring. It was the Ring that influenced his weak spirit and made him fall so he killed Deagol and took the Ring. You can compare this with Boromir : Boromir didn't take the Ring because he was evil, but because he wasn't strong enough to resist the temptation of the Ring. The Ring sensed he had a weak spirit, and influenced him from the day the Fellowship left Rivendell, perhaps beguiled him with visions of Boromir defeating the hordes of Mordor under his banner, etc.

In one word : the Ring tricked Boromir. I think it did the same thing to Gollum. Before Gollum had the Ring, he was just a hobbit who was a bit weird and perhaps slow-witted. Perhaps a bit like Samwise Gamgee, but without the strong will then. Furthermore, even the Ring wasn't able to make Gollum completely evil. The Ring partly mutated Smeagol into Gollum, and Gollum was able to dominate Smeagol, but Smeagol never completely disappeared.
Wise words Mr V... and you saved me the bother of responding at length to Asteroth's flawed analysis of my submission, to which he only seemed to reiterate what i had already said without adding to the discussion any salient points of his/her own.

Exploding Head Smilie
I know this is an older thread, probably considered dead, but how about this theory, weak as it is.

The Ring knew that Bilbo could not be easily corrupted, Bilbo had the Ring for 60 years and the best it could do was to make him addicted to it and lie to Gandalf. So when Bilbo willingly gave up the Ring, the ring dropped all hold on him, including stopping his aging. Gollum, on the otherhand, was corrupted enough (after 500 years of having the Ring even Bilbo could become as corrupted, IMHO) that the Ring actually kept him from aging even though he did not have it, in the hope that it would go back to him and he'd be caught by one of Sauron's agents. I believe we all know that the Ring only wanted to get away from Gollum because Gollum was pretty content living under the Misty Mountains and it knew that if it stayed with him, he'd never leave that hole. When Bilbo picked it up, the Ring's fate was really not much better (i.e. it was not getting any closer to Sauron's hand) so the Ring called to Gollum to come looking for it (as I believe that Gollum brooded in the caves long enough for Bilbo to get home safely, if I remember the timeline from LOTR correctly). I'm thinking that the Ring figured that if Gollum came and found Bilbo, he'd get the Ring from Bilbo (one way or another) and, as mentioned above, be caught by one of Sauron's servants.

BTW, if you want to discuss plot holes in LOTR, then one very small hole was Gandalf's concern over Sauron using Smaug against the Elves, instead of being concerned about what might have happened had Smaug taken the Ring from Bilbo (or had Smaug come on the Ring by another means) or leading the FOTR into Moria where he knew some evil creature lived there, even if he did not know about the Balrog. But that's the subject of a couple of other threads.
Another one:

I think I found a mistake in the book. In the chapter "Flight to the Ford" Frodo was obviously stabbed in the shoulder. After climbing a ridge Frodo lost all use of his arm. But...

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...every now and again a mist seemed to obscure his sight, and he passed his hands over his eyes.


It says he passed his hands over his eyes. How could he pass both his hands over his eyes when he has no capability to move his arm?

The excerpt is found about 8 pages into the chapter before they find the stone trolls.

I don't know if I am right or not but it seems curious.
And it is just one letter. S
I like Helmths analysis, though Vals is appealing to (always a good idea to pay attention to Val as his research and knowledge is impressive, and his positions thought out well.)

It's kind of inconvenient me to get to my copy now, but I remember it as "hand" so maybe it's something missed in the galleys for that edition.
Actually, it were Arwen's hands that passed over his eyes... Very Big Grin Smilie

Seriously, this i found in my copy of FOTR :

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The herb had also some power over the wound, for Frodo felt the pain and also the sense of frozen cold lessen in his side; but the life did not return to his arm, and he could not raise or use his hand.


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The spirits of the party rose again. Even Frodo felt better in the morning light, but every now and again a mist seemed to obscure his sight, and he passed his hands over his eyes.


Apparently Aragorn's athelas made Frodo able to use his hands again, though it needed some time to work, as later he was able to ride Glorfindel's horse and draw his sword vs the Nazgûl :

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Suddenly the foremost Rider spurred his horse forward. It checked at the water and reared up. With a great effort Frodo sat upright and brandished his sword.
'Go back!' he cried. 'Go back to the Land of Mordor, and follow me no more! ' His voice sounded thin and shrill in his own ears. The Riders halted, but Frodo had not the power of Bombadi
In my opinion...Valedhelgwath hit the nail on the head. To me, that makes the most logical sense. And also...Bilbo was not as obsessed with it as Gullom was...I think Gullom's NEED to get the ring back was also some of his strength...and I even would venture to say that the ring, which had a mind of it's own, knew that if Gullom got it back...it WOULD get back to Sauron and so therefore did all it could to give Gullom strength.


Feel free to tell me if I've gone off on too weird a tangent... Smile Smilie
But i think in the shadow of the past gandalf tells frodo that the ring left gollum because it had nu more use from him and that if it remained with gollum it [the ring] would pass the rest of its life in a dark cave.
True. Gollum hardly used the Ring in fear of loosing it. So he mostly kept it on his island in the middle of the lake. If he got it back from Frodo, he surely would be even more protective of it. And the Ring would most likely be stuck there for another 500 years or more.
Forgive me but this may have already been mentioned...

Bilbo found the Ring when he was quite old already. Over the 60 years he had it he didn't much use it. The Ring's power had much less hold over him. Bilbo did age but just not very quickly.

Now Gollum found the Ring when he was much younger than Bilbo when he found it. Now becuase Gollum used the Ring far more than Bilbo have two theories:

1. It changed him into something that was able to age much slower even after the Ring was lost to him e.g. it had mutated him into something that could survive for longer.

2. If he had it when he was young and he used the Ring so much that he virtually didn't age at all during the 500 years he had it then when he lost it his true life cycle continued where it had stopped when he found the Ring. So 78 years added to his original age before he found the Ring would make him old but not as decrepid as Bilbo in the end.

PS: You say in the beginning post that Gollum escaped from Elves, Gandalf and Morgoth. Where did Gollum escape from Morgoth?
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Where did Gollum escape from Morgoth?


must be a confusion between sauron and morgoth by his part. Wink Smilie
The thing is I think, it would be important to know what other long lived Hobbits were like. Were they crippled and lame, or were they hale and hearty and could do the same as they did when they were middle aged. The Gaffer was getting lame from the rheumatism at a fairly young age really. The Hobbits overate, smoked and yet were a hardy folk. But what condition were the very longest living Hobbits in when their part of the tale was over.
Bilbo Baggins said that he was feeling' stretched' and was infinitely weary because of it. He gave up the ring and immediately began to show signs it seems of great age. By the time he was in Imladiris, despite its' being a place of healing and restoration, nothing offered there could change the fact he was now quite infirm and needed to sleep a lot. He still had an appetite , a definite healthy Hobbit trait; but his mind wandered and he got little accomplished except the odd poem here and there.
So if Gollum , a Hobbit by all standards really, if he had the ring so very very long, it would only stand to reason that, no matter how strong his will might be, his body could not bear the stretching any better than any other Hobbit. So, when he lost the ring, when it left him, I am in wonder why he did not die. The will can only do so much.
The only answer I have is that Sauron still needed him to spy and find out this and that and do his bidding, so it may have been that he did some sort of wierd thing to him so that, while he retained his will and thought, his body was in a state of suspension , after all Sauron was the Necromancer Other than that it makes absolutely no sense to me why he did not keel over and die as soon as the ring went away. He had lived countless lives of Hobbits.
For a more in-depth and blurred answer I would say the real reason is this:

Fate kept him alive. Just like fate allowed Beren to cross the Girdle of Melian when it really should have stopped him I think the same can be said here. Gollum's fate was to live as long as the Ring did and to be the one to destroy it eventhough he would be destroyed in the process. He would be the one to destroy the Ring, the thing that had cursed him for so long, yet he also would die with it. Frodo could not destroy it so Eru chose Gollum to.
Well i think youre right and gandalf being a maiar and thus part of the holy one may have known this because several times he mentioned that his heart told him that gollum has a part to play before the end.
That is a good answer.
It is an answer, yes. I'll leave it at that.