JRR Tolkien's iconic Lord of the Rings character has two names, Smeagol and Gollum, as a nod to the character's monstrous transformation.
Throughout the history of The Lord of the rings, the character is known as Smeagol and Gollum, and each name has a different meaning: One is his birth name, while the other represents the monster he became, born of greed and tragedy.
Smeagol started life as a simple Hobbit. He discovered the power ring when he was fishing with his cousin, and both hobbits were immediately attracted to him. Smeagol killed his cousin for the ring, and his negative power began to deform his body and mind. One way he transformed was by constantly making a horrible gurgle, which sounded like the word "gollum." When he started to change, his friends and family made fun of him and kicked him out of his house, calling him Gollum. The name stayed and that's how the protagonists of The Hobbit and The Lord of the rings.
The name is a cruel and mocking onomatopoeia. But as the author of The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien Known for using multiple fonts and styles for his naming conventions, Gollum actually has a deeper meaning as well as being just a nod to the sound he makes.
This particular name is widely believed to be a reference to Tolkien's deep religious background.
Some fan theories of The Lord of the rings about the deeper meaning of the name Gollum, but one of the most common is that the nickname is a nod to the word "golem". Tolkien was known for his love of the language, and Hebrew was one of the many languages he had studied. The phrase can be found in Jewish and Christian folklore. A golem is an artificially created being that is given life through supernatural means. This creature is generally meant to blindly serve its creator. It can be a villain or a victim. All of this is reminiscent of Smeagol's transformation into Gollum and his subsequent behavior towards and around the One Ring.
It has never been confirmed, but given Tolkien's training as a devout Catholic, the religious background of the name makes perfect sense. His faith was so strong that he convinced his friend and fellow author. C.S. Lewis for him to convert. There are no open mentions of Christianity in The Lord of the rings, but his religion was a constant source of inspiration and guide in his life. It is no coincidence that Gollum's name and characteristics are so similar to those of a golem. The layered meaning behind its naming convention only proves that Christianity's fingerprint is on all of Tolkien's work. Even in a saga as big and successful as The Lord of the rings.
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