How Many People in the Council Had Never Seen a Hobbit?

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Actually, I think he is, to some extent at least; Gollum's lack of fading is remarked upon (by Gandalf, somewhere) as evidence that Hobbits are resistant to this effect of the Ring.
Yes. Gollum possessed the Ring for 478 years without becoming wraithified. I don't think that this is how Sauron intended the Ring to work on mortals. (If he 'intended' the Ring to have any effect on mortals - more likely effects on mortals were accidental by-products of other Ring-features.) At the time of the Council, Gollum has lived for 478 years with the Ring, and say 110 years without it (that assumes the birthday on which he acquired the Ring was his 33rd. No evidence, but it is a significant birthday for Hobbits, as it is then they 'come of age'). Even if Gollum did not age while bearing the Ring, he is still in pretty good physical shape for 110 years old.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
It's not that he isn't wraithified - he is what Bilbo described as stretched over too much time - another effect altogether. He is described as wiry and tough; he is black, though we don't know if he was black-skinned to start with, or if that is an effect of all that time with the Ring. Does he look good for 110 years old? Do we know how he looks? Does he have hair on his head or feet or anywhere? The Gollum of the films isn't what he is described as in the book.
 

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
Importantly, Bilbo doesn’t recognize him as a Hobbit when having the riddle game. Neither Frodo nor Sam recognize him as being a Hobbit when they meet him.

The confirmation of Gollum as a Hobbit comes from Unfinished Tales.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Gandalf says in Chapter 2:

'[Long] ago, there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people. I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds'

So that's where the supposition comes from. His people may have evolved differently, or their descendents may still live in that area. Might there be hobbits, perhaps with different skin-colors, in other parts of Middle-earth?
 

JJ48

Well-Known Member
Gandalf says in Chapter 2:

'[Long] ago, there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people. I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds'

So that's where the supposition comes from. His people may have evolved differently, or their descendents may still live in that area. Might there be hobbits, perhaps with different skin-colors, in other parts of Middle-earth?
Another relevant passage:

The Shire-hobbits referred to those of Bree, and to any others that lived beyond the borders, as Outsiders, and took very little interest in them, considering them dull and uncouth. There were probably many more Outsiders scattered about in the West of the World in those days than the people of the Shire imagined. Some, doubtless, were no better than tramps, ready to dig a hole in any bank and stay only as long as it suited them. But in the Bree-land, at any rate, the hobbits were decent and prosperous, and no more rustic than most of their distant relatives Inside.

It doesn't tell us anything concrete, but it does open the possibility of other hobbit settlements hidden away in places.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
It's not that he isn't wraithified - he is what Bilbo described as stretched over too much time - another effect altogether. He is described as wiry and tough; he is black, though we don't know if he was black-skinned to start with, or if that is an effect of all that time with the Ring. Does he look good for 110 years old? Do we know how he looks? Does he have hair on his head or feet or anywhere? The Gollum of the films isn't what he is described as in the book.
Hi Rachel, I didn't say he looked good. I said he was in good physical shape. He is wiry and strong. He can out-hike Frodo and Sam.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
It's not that he isn't wraithified - he is what Bilbo described as stretched over too much time - another effect altogether. He is described as wiry and tough; he is black, though we don't know if he was black-skinned to start with, or if that is an effect of all that time with the Ring. Does he look good for 110 years old? Do we know how he looks? Does he have hair on his head or feet or anywhere? The Gollum of the films isn't what he is described as in the book.
Rachel, Why do you think that Gollum was black-skinned? Here's what we know about what Gollum looked like: (We don't know that much. As the class has observed before, JRRT is not big on physical descriptions):

Big round pale eyes.
Large feet.
Pale lamp-like eyes.
Long fingers.
Long webby feet.
Wore some sort of clothes which included pockets. "He thought of all the things he kept in his own pockets."

Those are all the descriptions from 'The Hobbit'. except for these two: "He was Gollum - dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes," "He was only a black shadow in the gleam of his own eyes." (Both quotes in the utter darkness by Gollum's lake, lit only by the pale light from his eyes.)

He had a large head on a scrawny neck.
Long legs and arms (that wound round Sam and pinned his arms when Sam ambushed Gollum at the bottom of the cliff).
Horribly strong.
Sharp teeth.
Thin lank hair.
Long neck.
Pale venomous eyes.
Long hands.
Large flat hands.
Long arms.
White snapping fingers.
Heavy pale eyelids.
Sparse locks.
Bony brows.

That's all the physical descriptions I can find in 'The Two Towers' (I might have missed some), except for these two:

"Presently Frodo was aware of a small dark thing on the near bank." "A little black head appeared at the far end of the basin." (Both describing Gollum in the pool below Henneth Annun, at moonset.)

Lean.
Starved.
Haggard.
Sallow skin.

That's all the physical descriptions from 'The Return of the King'.

Now, the passages I singled out, from 'The Hobbit' and "The Two Towers' might lead one to assume that Gollum had black skin, but I think they are just that Gollum looked black because it was night and dark, and he appeared black (if he appeared at all, other than his pale and lamp-like eyes). There are three descriptions which pretty clearly indicate that his skin is not black: 'White snapping fingers'; 'Heavy pale eyelids'; and 'Sallow skin'.

Have I missed something Rachel? Where do you get the impression that Gollum's skin is black?
 
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Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
The soldier who reports to Faramir at Henneth Annun said he thought it might just be a squirrel, but it was black, so maybe there are black squirrels coming south from Mirkwood. That's what I was thinking of.

In The Hobbit, his thoughts about pockets is part of his memories that seeing Bilbo raises for him. It's highly unlikely that his clothes from 500 years ago have survived, and living alone under the mountain clothes would be unnecessary. All that is left of him is the drive to survive and the lust for the Ring, except for the remnants of memories of happier times many lifetimes ago. Clothes would not be needed for either of those basic drives. So it's not like the Nazgul with their black cloaks and hoods - they need them to give themselves form.

Also, somewhere in some class discussion of LOTR Corey Olsen says Gollum is black so not to picture him like he is in the movies. But that didn't surprise me.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
The soldier who reports to Faramir at Henneth Annun said he thought it might just be a squirrel, but it was black, so maybe there are black squirrels coming south from Mirkwood. That's what I was thinking of.

In The Hobbit, his thoughts about pockets is part of his memories that seeing Bilbo raises for him. It's highly unlikely that his clothes from 500 years ago have survived, and living alone under the mountain clothes would be unnecessary. All that is left of him is the drive to survive and the lust for the Ring, except for the remnants of memories of happier times many lifetimes ago. Clothes would not be needed for either of those basic drives. So it's not like the Nazgul with their black cloaks and hoods - they need them to give themselves form.

Also, somewhere in some class discussion of LOTR Corey Olsen says Gollum is black so not to picture him like he is in the movies. But that didn't surprise me.
The actual passage you are thinking of might be one of two. The first is Anborn, the scout, talking to Faramir. "I saw, or thought I saw, something a little strange. It was getting deep dusk, when the eyes make things greater than they should be. So perhaps it may have been no more than a squirrel... Yet if so, it was a black squirrel, and I saw no tail. 'Twas like a shadow on the ground, and it whisked behind a tree-trunk when I drew nigh and went up aloft as swift as any squirrel could." The second is Faramir, speaking to the guard. "Now, what would you say that it is, Anborn? A squirrel or a kingfisher? Are there black kingfishers in the night-pools of Mirkwood?" That comes right after "Frodo was aware of a small dark thing on the near bank."

Either Faramir's vision is not very good at this distance and in this light, as a kingfisher is a very small bird, much smaller than Gollum, or, Faramir is indulging in some inferior Gondorian form of 'hobbitry'.

I would suggest that both references were in the deep dusk, or at night. In the second, the setting moon is behind Gollum, silhouetting him. In those conditions, he would look black, whatever color he actually was.

Whenever Gollum is described as 'dark' or 'black' it is in dark or black conditions, when anything observed would be dark or black. I don't think the references to Gollum as dark or black are very compelling evidence that his skin is black.

Besides the evidence I found before, indicating that his skin is not black (of which, 'white snapping fingers' is the most compelling), I have since found another passage from 'The Two Towers' which I find definitive.

Gollum, Frodo and Sam are in the hollow outside the Morannon. "Not even an eagle poised against the sun would have marked the hobbits sitting there, under the weight of doom, silent, not moving, shrouded in their thin grey cloaks. For a moment he might have considered Gollum, a tiny figure sprawling on the ground: there perhaps lay the famished skeleton of some child of Men, its ragged garment still clinging to it, its long arms and legs almost bone-white and bone thin: no flesh worth a peck."

I think that makes it pretty definitive that Gollum's skin is white.

It also is clear that Gollum wears clothes, though they are ragged.

I also think that Gollum's reference to his pockets in "The Hobbit' indicates that he was wearing clothes with pockets at the time of the riddle game. "He thought of all the things he kept in his own pockets: fish-bones, goblin's teeth, wet shells, a bit of bat-wing, a sharp stone to sharpen his fangs on, and other nasty things."

When Gollum is remembering his distant past during the riddle game, this is usually explicitly clear. Here, Gollum thought of the things he kept in his pockets, not that he used to keep. Also the things, are things from his current dark and underground environment, not the things he would have kept in his pockets long ago.

I think the evidence suggests that Gollum's skin is not black, and that he does wear clothes (sometimes with pockets).
 
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