Tolkien's Nordic Sources for Smeagol/Gollum

Essay by russellhUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2006

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Smeagol - Never a Simple Evil

Smeagol is a treacherous character, at war with his own identity and at war with his love for the ring.

His most deviant characteristics are uniform with that of the Norse god, Loki. They are most corresponding in their use of trickery to get what they want, specifically when it comes to the ring. Just as Smeagol takes the ring from Deagol, Loki forces the ring from Andvari in the Volsunga Saga. They are both deceitful to push their own agendas.

Smeagol is cunning, deceitful and intricately evil. These are all qualities that are specific to Loki in Old Norse myth. In the Lokesenna, Loki is exemplified as spiteful when his is deliberately unwanted at the banquet. Smeagol is consistently nasty and jealous because of his attachment to the ring. Tolkien's creativity pushes the theme further when Smeagol exercises his malice internally on Gollum.

Here, Smeagol and Loki are matched emphatically in their malevolence.

Resemblances in Smeagol and Loki's relationships with others are clear. Loki is Odinn's blood brother, and they share a connection in the knowledge of the end of the world. As, ring bearers, Frodo shares the same kind of bond and companionship with Smeagol that Odinn has with Loki. If Loki is the rationale of Odinn's doings then Smeagol must be the rationale of Frodo.

The connections that are drawn between the two characters, even when it is simply their malice, are consistent and genuine.