In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth writings, the One Ring of Power corrupted many who encountered it. Its most tragic victim was the hobbit Sméagol, who killled his friend Déagol for the Ring and descended into evil.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick summary: Sméagol was a Stoor hobbit corrupted by the One Ring after murdering his relative Déagol to obtain it. The Ring elongated his life but turned him into the twisted, ring-obsessed creature Gollum.

Sméagol’s Origins

Hobbit Society and Culture

Sméagol, a central character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” was a hobbit who lived during the Third Age of Middle-earth. Hobbits, also known as Halflings, are a small and unassuming race that typically reside in the Shire.

They are known for their love of peace and quiet, simple pleasures, and their aversion to adventures.

In hobbit society, family and community are highly valued. They live in close-knit communities, where everyone knows each other and personal relationships hold great importance. Hobbits are generally content with their comfortable and predictable lives, enjoying good food, pipe-weed, and gardening.

However, Sméagol’s story takes an unfortunate turn when he encounters the One Ring, an ancient and powerful artifact created by the Dark Lord Sauron. This encounter leads to his corruption and transformation into the creature known as Gollum.

Sméagol’s Family History

Sméagol was born into a relatively ordinary hobbit family. His parents were average and unremarkable, and he had several siblings. His family, like most hobbits, lived a peaceful and uneventful life in the Shire, far away from the conflicts of the outside world.

Little is known about Sméagol’s specific family history, as Tolkien did not delve into it extensively. However, it can be assumed that his family played a role in shaping his character and values. The influence of his family’s love and care, as well as the influence of the larger hobbit society, likely contributed to Sméagol’s initial innocence and simplicity.

Friendship with Déagol

One fateful day, Sméagol’s life took a dramatic turn when he encountered Déagol, his cousin, while fishing in the Gladden Fields. Déagol discovered the One Ring at the bottom of the river, and their friendship was forever changed by this discovery.

The One Ring quickly revealed its corrupting influence, as Sméagol’s desire for the Ring overwhelmed him. He became obsessed with possessing it and resorted to violence to claim it for himself. This act of greed and betrayal marked the beginning of Sméagol’s descent into darkness.

It is worth noting that while Sméagol’s initial corruption was due to the Ring, his inherent flaws and weaknesses likely contributed to his vulnerability to its power. The Ring merely amplified his worst qualities and drove him to madness and obsession.

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Acquiring the One Ring

The acquisition of the One Ring by Sméagol, later known as Gollum, is a pivotal moment in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This powerful artifact, forged by the Dark Lord Sauron, holds immense power and corrupts its bearer over time.

Let’s delve into the details of how Sméagol came to possess the One Ring.

Finding the Ring in the Gladden River

The journey to acquiring the One Ring began when Sméagol and his cousin Déagol stumbled upon it in the depths of the Gladden River. Just imagine the astonishment on their faces as they laid eyes on this mystical object, glimmering in the water. It was a moment that would change their lives forever.

It is said that the One Ring has a will of its own, drawing its potential bearers towards it. Sméagol, already possessing a weak moral compass, succumbed to the allure of the Ring and became obsessed with it. This obsession would eventually lead him down a dark path of corruption and madness.

Sméagol’s Murder of Déagol

Tragically, Sméagol’s desire for the Ring drove him to commit a heinous act. Consumed by jealousy and greed, he murdered Déagol, his own cousin and closest friend, in order to claim the Ring for himself.

This act of violence marked a turning point in Sméagol’s life, as he became completely consumed by the power and influence of the Ring.

Gollum, as Sméagol would later become known, was now bound to the Ring, both physically and mentally. He developed a split personality, with the innocent Sméagol constantly battling with the corrupted and malevolent Gollum.

This internal struggle would torment him throughout the rest of his existence.

Initial Effects of the Ring

Once the Ring was in Sméagol’s possession, its influence over him began to manifest. The Ring has a corrupting effect on its bearer, amplifying negative traits and desires. Sméagol’s obsession with the Ring grew stronger with each passing day, consuming his thoughts and driving him to protect it at all costs.

The Ring also extended Sméagol’s life unnaturally, causing him to become twisted and wretched over time. He became emaciated and pale, losing touch with reality and the world around him. The once-hobbit-like creature had transformed into the pitiful and dangerous Gollum, forever bound to the Ring’s power.

Understanding the journey of acquiring the One Ring is crucial to comprehending the depths of Sméagol’s corruption. It serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating the dangers of power and the tragic consequences that can befall even the most unsuspecting individuals.

Corruption and Transformation

Sméagol, a once innocent and curious hobbit, fell victim to the corrupting power of the One Ring. This tragic tale of corruption and transformation serves as a cautionary lesson about the destructive nature of power.

Exile and Life Under the Mountains

After discovering the One Ring, Sméagol’s life took a dark turn. He was exiled from his hobbit community and forced to live under the Misty Mountains. Isolated and consumed by his obsession with the ring, Sméagol’s descent into corruption began.

Living in the depths of the mountains, Sméagol’s mind was slowly twisted by the ring’s influence. The ring fed off his desires and insecurities, amplifying his worst qualities and driving him further into darkness.

During his exile, Sméagol’s social connections deteriorated as he became increasingly withdrawn. The corrupting power of the ring isolated him from the world, leaving him with only his own thoughts and desires for company.

Physical and Mental Decline

As the years went by, the corruption of the ring took a toll on Sméagol’s physical and mental well-being. His once youthful and vibrant appearance deteriorated, replaced by a gaunt and haggard figure.

The ring’s influence on Sméagol’s mind became more apparent as he became increasingly obsessed with it. His thoughts and actions were consumed by the ring, leaving little room for anything else. The once jovial and carefree hobbit became a shadow of his former self.

The toll of the ring’s corruption on Sméagol’s mental health cannot be overstated. He developed a split personality, with the alter ego known as Gollum emerging as a result of the ring’s influence. Gollum embodied all the negative traits that had been amplified by the ring’s power, representing the ultimate manifestation of corruption and transformation.

Emergence of ‘Gollum’

Gollum, the twisted and tormented alter ego of Sméagol, became the dominant persona as the corruption of the ring reached its peak. Gollum was consumed by his obsession with the One Ring, living in a constant state of fear and paranoia.

The emergence of Gollum marked the final stage of Sméagol’s transformation. He had become a slave to the ring, completely consumed by its power and unable to escape its grasp. The once innocent hobbit was now a creature driven solely by his desire to possess the ring.

It is through the story of Sméagol’s corruption and transformation that we are reminded of the dangers of unchecked power and the impact it can have on an individual’s psyche. The tragic tale of Sméagol serves as a powerful reminder that even the strongest among us can fall victim to corruption if we are not vigilant.

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Role in The Hobbit

Sméagol, also known as Gollum, plays a significant role in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, The Hobbit. His character is a tragic one, as he is corrupted by the power of the One Ring. Throughout the story, his actions and obsession with the Ring drive the plot forward and create tension between him and the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins.

Encountering Bilbo Baggins

Sméagol’s first encounter with Bilbo Baggins occurs deep within the Misty Mountains. After Bilbo accidentally stumbles upon the Ring, Sméagol becomes fixated on it and is convinced that it is rightfully his.

This encounter sets the stage for the ongoing struggle between the two characters, as Sméagol becomes increasingly desperate to reclaim the Ring.

Losing the Ring to Bilbo

In a game of riddles, Bilbo outwits Sméagol and obtains the Ring. This loss devastates Sméagol, as the Ring has become his obsession and source of power. Losing the Ring to Bilbo marks a turning point in Sméagol’s character, as he becomes consumed by hatred and a desire for revenge.

Pursuing Bilbo and ‘Thief Baggins’

After losing the Ring, Sméagol becomes determined to track down Bilbo and retrieve what he believes is rightfully his. He refers to Bilbo as ‘Thief Baggins’ and relentlessly pursues him throughout their journey.

This pursuit adds a sense of danger and suspense to the story, as Bilbo must constantly be on guard against Sméagol’s cunning and desperation.

It is worth noting that Sméagol’s role in The Hobbit foreshadows his eventual transformation into the treacherous creature known as Gollum. The influence of the Ring on his character is a central theme in Tolkien’s works, illustrating the corrupting nature of power and the toll it takes on those who possess it.

Legacy in The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of fantasy literature ever written. J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece takes readers on an epic journey through Middle-earth, filled with memorable characters and a richly detailed world.

One such character whose legacy is particularly intriguing is Sméagol, also known as Gollum, whose transformation from a hobbit-like creature to a corrupted being is a central theme in the story.

Tracking the Fellowship of the Ring

From the moment the One Ring falls into the possession of Frodo Baggins, Sméagol becomes obsessed with retrieving it. He relentlessly stalks the Fellowship of the Ring, hoping to reclaim the precious artifact that has consumed his mind and soul.

His presence serves as a constant reminder of the power the Ring holds over its bearer and the devastating consequences it can have on even the purest of hearts.

Serving as Frodo’s Guide

Despite his corrupt nature, Sméagol inadvertently becomes a guide for Frodo and Sam on their quest to destroy the Ring. His knowledge of the treacherous paths and hidden dangers of Mordor proves invaluable to the hobbits.

This unlikely alliance between Sméagol and the Fellowship demonstrates that even the most unlikely of characters can play a crucial role in the battle between good and evil.

Destruction of the Ring and Sméagol’s End

In the climactic final chapters of The Lord of the Rings, the fate of Sméagol is sealed. As Frodo and Sam inch closer to Mount Doom, the weight of the Ring’s power becomes too much for Sméagol to bear. In a moment of desperation, he bites off Frodo’s finger, reclaiming the Ring for himself.

However, his triumph is short-lived as he loses his footing and falls into the fiery depths of the volcano, bringing an end to his tortured existence.

The legacy of Sméagol in The Lord of the Rings serves as a cautionary tale about the corrupting influence of power. It reminds readers that even the most innocent and kind-hearted individuals can be lured into darkness.

The transformation of Sméagol from a timid hobbit into the twisted creature known as Gollum is a powerful reminder that no one is immune to the allure of power and the destructive consequences it can bring.


As a hobbit corrupted and consumed by the One Ring, Sméagol/Gollum provides a sobering example of the Ring’s ability to twist even simple, innocent lives into unrecognizable evil.

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