One Is the Loneliest Number

Author: Dreamflower

Nominator: Cathleen

2011 Award Category: Character Study: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Gollum mourns his precious...(written for day 5 of B2MEM 2011)

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 9

You can always tell Dreamflower by her style - she's a fantastic mimic of Tolkien's style, with a well-developed ear for character voice. If you feel as though you're back reading [The Hobbit] again, you know you're in a Dreamflower story. In this story, she seamlessly inserts a scene from Gollum's perspective into the narrative, and deftly plays up his paranoia, resentment, and sense of abandonment and betrayal by others. The ambivalence of his relationship with the Ring is nicely played here: Precious is the only one he has to talk to, yet Precious is treacherous, too, and he both resents and adores the Ring by turns. The emphasis on the need for speech to me was interesting: speech has always been one of the hallmarks by which human beings distinguish themselves from an animal existence, and Gollum continually returns to the need or desire to have someone to talk to, even if it is only his Precious. Like his memory of riddles (a word game), his longing for speech seems to me a kind of symbol or sign of him holding on to some last shred of more-than-animal dignity. He's not completely gone yet. An excellent gap-filler, which I'm sure other readers will enjoy, Dreamflower!

Author response: Thank you so much for your kind words about my style! I do strive for a true character "voice", and am glad you think I achieve that! Poor Gollum, he never understood what his Precious had done to him.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 7

Dear Dreamflower, there are a few vague hints in Lord of the Rings that Gollum is suffering from a kind of schizophrenia induced by the Ring, and the Peter Jackson movies expanded on that very credibly. You have gone down the same road here and portrayed Gollum’s mental ill health with much insight. The obsession is only one aspect of it, the paranoia is at least as important, and then there is the delusion, the twisting and reinterpreting of facts in one’s own favour that we are all prone to do to a certain extend, but that only those with serious mental health problems take to such heights as we see here: Deagol betrayed Gollum! Sure, it was all Deagol’s own fault that he was robbed and killed, he absolutely brought it on himself. That he thinks he was not alone before the Ring left him is truly tragic. This is a well-observed and convincingly executed piece which I found interesting to read.

Author response: Thank you for this very insightful comment! That is just the kind of thing I was hoping to imply with this characterization of Gollum: he was deluded, and really could not separate the Ring from himself in his own mind, seeing it as his only "friend"-- a treacherous one, and one he could not resist.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

A juicy morsel of fanfiction served up by frequent hobbit writer Dreamflower. Here, she proves that she can write a personality far more twisted and tormented than the Baggins, Tooks, etc. of the Shire. Gollum rings very true, his loneliness and rage entwined in a single obsession for the Ring. Sometimes, when he speaks of the Ring, it's as if he's speaking of a wife who deserted him; which makes his tirade all the more chilling, and rather sad. The ficlet evokes simultaneous pity and revulsion for Smeagol-turned-Gollum,, who had a good life that he ruined for the taking of a pretty golden ring; a ring that was far more than a pretty bauble.

Author response: "Sometimes, when he speaks of the Ring, it's as if he's speaking of a wife who deserted him;" Good call! That was sort of the tone I was aiming for, as he both mourns and berates the object of his obsession. But the Ring was never a "person", and Gollum in his warped mental state was never anything BUT alone, and the Ring was more like an imaginary wife than a real one. I'm glad you liked it.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

I love this examination of Gollum’s thoughts in the aftermath of the loss of his Precious, as he realizes that the Ring has betrayed him. It is so close to what one sees in a sexual relationship gone sour, as he thinks on the Ring betraying him [“with the Baggins,”] realizing that It has deliberately chosen to seek another whose finger will now know It intimately. One feels sorry for Gollum, and finds oneself going “Eww!” even as one does so. One sees how self-absorbed he has become in the last five hundred years of constant company with the Ring, and how he refuses to see what it was he did to his cousin and his kindred that brought him to this place to begin with. Definitely a must-read!

Author response: Thank you so much, Larner!!! It really is hard to pity Gollum when he's so disgusting, but I tried very hard to get that reaction, as you say of both going "Eww!" and feeling sorry for him.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

A very well-written tale of Gollum, and of what the Ring has done to his mind. It is written from his own warped POV, and even as the reader feels revulsion, the reader pities Gollum as well--just as Tolkien intended. Impressive.

Author response: I'm glad that this managed to evoke both disgust and pity! It's that combination that makes Gollum so memorable as a character, but also hard to write. I can't stay for long in his POV!

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 2

I haven't seen many fics that really get into Gollum's point of view and do it well. This is one of them.

Author response: Thanks! It's not easy to get into his POV, but I am glad you thought I succeeded!