Thursday, January 11, 2007

Smeagol & Gollum

Oh what a dreadful, mixed up world we have here. What dreadful, mixed up creatures we are.

Created free from sin, created with freedom to choose, and yet relishing the evil freedom permits.

When I was a teen I read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings several times. This amazing author, mentored by Dunsany (father of modern fantasy and a favorite of mine) and colleague of C. S. Lewis, spun an epic tale of good and evil, of the small and virtuous triumphing over might and supreme evil.

The greater struggle between the forces of darkness and the forces of light are echoed in the small wizened form of the creature Gollum.

Samwise the Brave does not trust him:

“Let’s just tie him up and leave him.”

“No! That would kill us! Kill us!," screeches Gollum.

“It’s no more than you deserve!”

Frodo turns pained eyes, gazing upon the wretch.
“Maybe he does deserve to die. But now that I see him, I do pity him.”

“We be nice to them if they be nice to us,” Gollum pleads. “Take it off us. We swears to do what you wants. We swears.”

“There’s no promise you can make that I can trust,” says Frodo.

“We swears... to serve the master of the precious. We will swear on... the precious. Gollum! Gollum!

“The ring is treacherous. It will hold you to your word.”

“Yes... on the precious. On the precious.”

“I don’t believe you! Get down! I said, down!”


“He’s trying to trick us. If we let him go, he’ll throttle us in our sleep.”

Despite the clear threat, Frodo has pity... sees the possibilities of what Gollum could have been.

We all have something of Gollum about us. And Smeagol as well. You see, once Gollum had been something else, a person with family, and friends. Someone who dwelt in the light.

The nasty little creature leading Frodo and Sam into the darkness of Mordor has two natures battling within.

The schizophrenic little beast argues with himself; Gollum bullies Smeagol, seeking to regain his evil desires, seeking to regain the ring.

There is something in all of us which deserves immediate punishment. I recognize the sense in Sam's wanting to just throw Gollum off the cliff and be done with it. We are dangerous. We don't change, not readily. But I suppose there is always the chance that we might find ourselves on the road to Damascus and be changed.

I think I'm a little like that. I want to be good. I want to be obedient. I want to serve my Lord. to be true. To be kind and loving and generous. But I am also seeking my comforts, my way, my own self-serving interests.

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
--James 4:4-5

I hurt my Lord. He who suffered and died and tore through the laws of the universe to rescue me, He who loves me more than I love myself, I continue to hurt Him with my selfish nature.

Oh, what shall I do? How shall I make right this continual disobedience?

I cannot.

I am not strong enough to rise up against my own nature.

I take joy in my sins. I delight in my weaknesses. I relish the taste of forbidden fruit. I hold it dear, deep within my heart; I call it my precious.

This is where I must touch my heart. There is where I lend my hand, my strengths, to those who whipped and cursed and tormented and crucified my Lord.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
--James 4:7-10

And in doing that I turn a new way, face a new day. Then a new day can come to me in turning to the Son, to watch the Son rise in my own heart.

“I can’t do this, Sam,” Frodo gasps.

“I know,” Sam says. “It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end... because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was... when so much bad had happened? ...But in the end it’s only a passing thing... this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you... that meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories... had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going... because they were holding on to something."

“What are we holding on to, Sam?”

“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

The good that is in the world entered in two millennia ago, and still whispers to me from within my heart. It's worth fighting for, even if the fight is with myself.

I must listen to that whisper as carefully as I possibly can.


Ame said...

wow . . .

this is incredible, CS, absolutely awesome. thank you for writing this post.

Anonymous said...

To fight oneself is the most difficult battle of all. Also the most noble. And the only fight that can ever truly have a "winner".

I believe once the battle is waged, Smeagol will always be the winner. The evil creature, the one with no heart or soul, only hatred, shall never prevail over those eager to do what's right (no matter how conflicted).
It's the Gollum with no Smeagol inside that we must beware.

Keep up the good fight Will. I know I'll never quit.

jel said...

Thanks !

Anonymous said...

I say thank you too...

Anonymous said...


Ame said...

a surprise? hummm . . . if so, a nice one :)

you have an incredible way of articulating difficult things in a very tangible way

Anonymous said...

We as Christians fight daily battles such as you speak of don't we?.....nice post!

Anonymous said...

You articulated very clearly some thoughts and passages that have often struck me...

donna said...

very moving will...always inspired by your words and heart.

God Bless

Jada's Gigi said...

fabulous analogy!! I had some similiar thoughts as I viewed the films but you have stated them very well....
Yes, let us listen for that still small voice that enables victory!

Terry said...

Dear Curious Servant...I have finally taken the time to read this incredible post.
It is so true...So much struggle sometimes to be good. Wanting to do good but so often unable to!

Romans 7: 18-25, "For I know that in me[that is in my flesh]dwelleth no good thing:for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would, I do not:but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
OH WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The whole chapter of Romans 7 is so good and these verses, in particular are such a help....We are all the same and have the same spiritual battles to fight.
Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ our Lord Who is there to help us ALWAYS and make us understand!

Thank you once again Curious servnat. You are always such a help.
Have you ever visited David Fisher on "Barnabas Blog"? He is a helper and an encourager too. He also has the "Pigrim Scribblings Blog"

Take care my friend. I cannot tell you enough how much I am happy to have met you and Brenda...Have a blessed weekend....From Terry

curious servant said...

I'll probably get a post done by Sunday. Today is going to be a long day. I figure I will be spending 12 hours working with a group of kids who did very well at the Regional Lego Robotics Tournament. Today those kids are competing at the State Championship Tournament!

Go Team Robiki!

curious servant said...

Anonymous said...

YES! That's why I've always loved Lord of the Rings. It's my all time favorite epic book - because it comes again and again to the TRUTH. Thank you for this post!

Looney Mom said...

I got goosebumps reading this. I relate to what you're saying here. Isn't it so true that we really are conflicted like that? You're not alone in that struggle. I know we will suffer it until He comes back for us. I hope He comes soon!

Julana said...

I also identified with Gollum more than I would have liked to. That was the genius of Tolkien. Reminded me of Romans, sort of.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Dear Curious Servant,

Powerful…very powerful.

I find I am like Sam…my first want and instinct is to throw Gollum over the cliff…seeing the ugliness and evil and wanting to be done with it.

Yet there is a part of me…that also sees a thread, a remnant or promise of the good. I want to trust that…I want to believe in that too. To see that and believe that is to have eternal vision…and a long distance view.

It is only through the power of God…and through His strength and love within me that I am able to choose the later and not the former.

Wonderful piece. Very thought provoking…deep with many layers. Makes me want to pull out my Lord of the Rings videos…and watch them again. Or better yet also read the books again.

Thank you so much.

Lord bless…Susan

Anonymous said...

Hi Curious servant ~~ Thanks for your visit. Glad you enjoyed the jokes.
Take care, Cheers, Merle.

Anonymous said...

very good analogy, CS. you gave me a whole new view on that movie. i think i'll watch it again.

Jim said...

A nice post, C.S. I have read some of Lewis' books but just never did read these.

Live, Love, Laugh said...

wow! this post was incredible, and so refreshing. Sometimes I think we give in and don't pursue holiness, I know we will never be holy but as you said, we do need to listen to that whisper. Thanks for sharing have blessed me tremendously.

Anonymous said...

I go to Assisi once a year with a group of friends led by a franciscan who is stationed here. We are always so privileged to be allowed inside the monastery, in the area where religious studies courses are held. I was reading the bulletin board at one point and I noticed that one of the courses was on the Lord of the Rings as an example of Catholic literature. I was surprised, but I realize I shouldn't have been. :-)

Anonymous said...

Touched by your eloquent analogy here and would (if only I had more time) love to read through some Tolkien again. I'm reminded that flesh cannot cast out flesh, and how utterly reliant we all are, on the One who came to save us from this wretchedness--our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lynn Donovan said...

“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for..

This post is stimulating and true. Well written. I am sending the link to my 20ish son. He love these stories and this will hit home. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I love these stories so much. I think Sam is the real hero. He is simple but powerful and his love knows no limits. I think the juxtoposition of Sam and Gollum is a brilliant vision of how we are and what we can be in Christ, in love. See that even when he was sent away and mistrusted, he did not abandon his friend.

Lorna said...

read your entry over at into the Bible with interest. Thanks

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