Author: GamgeeFest

Nominator: Larner

2011 Award Category: Post-Ring War and Beyond: General

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes

Summary: Smeagol and Gollum debate Frodo's role in their demise. Written for the LOTR_Community's Two Sides to Everything challenge.

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

Gollum had retrieved his precious and fallen and now finds himself—where? No light, nothing to touch, no body to touch or see or otherwise perceive with. Where he is and how he got there is debatable, and he does indulge in a debate—with the Sméagol side of his nature. His anger creates dissonance that somehow he can perceive; when he is honest with himself there is sweet harmony. Who is to blame for his current situation, and how did it come to be? And how is Master somehow to blame? Or, just perhaps, he is not to blame for anything! Written for the “Two Sides to Everything” challenge issued by the LOTR Community Challenge group, GamgeeFest has given us an intimate look at just how even such a creature as Gollum can perhaps find redemption and reunion with those he once loved most, as well as a return to what he was intended to be rather than what his choices, influenced by the Ring’s malevolence, made of him. This is well written and truly thought-provoking, attributes I particularly love to find in a tale that I’m reading and that I would recommend to others. Of the many excellent stories I’ve seen generated in response to challenge sites, this is one of the best, and is one I truly feel needs to be shared with others. And I hope that others read it and find they enjoy it as much as I have done!

Author response: Thank you very much, dear Larner! Of all the stories I've written for challenges, or for any other reason, this is the most unusual. It was an interesting process to see how Gollum and Smeagol would work out this debate and who would win. But of course, Smeagol had to prevail in the end, for he's paid his penance and then some.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 6

Is there a better character to write about for a "Two Sides" challenge than Gollum? Both books and films accentuate his bifurcated personality: there is the Gollum-Smeagol disconnect, Sam's "Slinker" and "Stinker," and of course Gollum's charming way of talking to himself. No surprise that his death-by-volcano occasions a lonnng chat with himself over who to blame. His inner turmoil and fury are reflected in his surroundings - though he sees and feels nothing, echoes, intermittent thunder and a terrible wind are roused by his angry thoughts. They rise and fall with his anger, at first shaped by and then shaping his mood as, slowly, Smeagol gains control and begins to understand. A moody piece about a bodiless soul's growing self-awareness.

Author response: Thank you so much, Lauderdale! I had a hard time thinking how to approach this challenge until I thought of Gollum-Smeagol. It seemed quite natural that they would be giving this subject serious consideration after their unexpected demise. This was a departure for me in many ways. I'm thrilled it was so well received.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

What a brilliant story! Unlike most stories about sin, redemption, and forgiveness, it is not simplistic. The use of Gollum/Smeagol is more than appropriate for the challenge upon which this story is based, "Two Sides." The story is written with consummate skill, especially in view of the fact that this story does not utilize a multiplicity of characters. Very perceptively written.

Author response: Thank you so much for your high praise, Darkover! Of all the stories I've written, this is certainly the most different. Self-awareness is never easy, especially when one no longer has a physical self. With only himself for company, Smeagol came to understand what he always overlooked before and what the Ring never allowed him to consider. I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 3

This is a wonderful story about understanding what went wrong and who did it and accepting responsibility, asking for and receiving forgiveness and receiving redemption at last. It would be great if it truly did come to pass this way. Bravo!

Author response: Thank you so much, Antane! Enlightenment can only come by casting aside blame and accepting your own faults. It was an interesting process to write this and see how, and if, it was possible for Smeagol. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

In a challenge to show two sides of an argument, GamgeeFest chose the difficult task of showing one arguing with himself. The road from self-deception to self-enlightenment is painful, and there are some whom we might think beyond taking it. This is beautifully done.

Author response: Thanks, Dreamflower! This story was certainly different for me, and one I never would have even thought about if not for the challenge. It was an interesting process. Tolkien had such hopes for Gollum, so it was nice to see that he could indeed be redeemed.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 1

A nice looked a Gollum and his state of mind.

Author response: Thank you, Adonnen! I'm glad you enjoyed it!