Frodo's Remembrance of Gollum

Author: jan-u-wine

Nominator: Antane

2011 Award Category: Poetry: Drama - Third Place

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Among the many bearers of the Ring were two who experienced the horror (and pleasure) of Its possession in a ....resonant manner. Now that Gollum's story has ended, Frodo remembers their shared Road.... (note, the secondary URL will take you to Mechtild's LJ, where the poem is a companion for her screen-caps of the Sammath Naur)

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 7

The obligatory disclaimer: I am a terrible reader/critic of poetry. Just bad at it, so I can't possibly do justice to this. Jan-u-wine's writing of this relationship is complex and brutally honest, and it shows the way these characters were mirrors of each other through the Ring in some important ways. The poem shows a survivor marked by his survival of that bond, who isn't rejecting it, but seeking an ethical remembrance of Gollum: I love this parenthetical, which testifies to the importance of Sam in his life, when he thinks of staying as a companion on Gollum's journey: [(for one should never make such a journey alone) ] And who else could find the moment Frodo finds and mark it as an authentic break-through of Sméagol's/Gollum's personality? The line breaks and spacing in this free-form verse help highlight and punctuate the emotional points so well - the hesitations and astonishments and horrors, as well as the intimacy. Well done, Jan-u-wine!

Author response: Dear Dwimordene.....there is a reason I write (mostly) poetry. Well, two reasons: I lack the time to write prose, and I find that poetry, which to me is a distilled form of story-telling, is a much more powerful form (for me, at least) than any prose I could write. Having said that, I will also say that poetry requires a great deal of work from me. And from the reader, as well. For me, it is like the best of music: there is a clear and wonderful frame, with ....spaces left for the 'hearer' to interpret, fill, appreciate. Even the 'rests' should have meaning. I thank you for going into territory that you normally wouldn't and writing such a fine review. I especially enjoyed ".....seeking an ethical remembrance of Gollum". I never thought about it that way. Last night, I happened to be listening to the cast commentary of the moment of Gollum's fall/death, and Andy Serkis' comments were very interesting and telling. All unknowing, I *got* this moment right. (i was very pleased!) thank you again for your very kind review!

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 5

One of the hidden-in-plain-sight love stories in this tale is between Frodo and Smeagol-Gollum, a love based on pity, compassion, charity, being 'my brother's keeper'. This shows that bond well, especially at the end, and his desire to remain with Gollum even though death so they would take that journey together. It also shows the link they had as Ring-bearers', loving and hating the same thing. In some ways only an addict can understand an addict. Frodo also had the spiritual discernment to see Smeagol behind Gollum. That was who he loved and who loved him back until the Ring come between, but here at the end, Frodo's love returns. A touching, moving piece.

Author response: dear Antane, thank you once again. I am not certain I should call their relationship a love story, for I am not certain it qualifies as such. But I do believe there was love there, at least on Frodo's part: the love that he seemed to have for all things, the empathy that he bore like a wound, itself. He was noticeably not empathetic nor sympathetic to Gollum in the early days of his own possession of the Ring...his pity developed as his hard education proceeded, along the Road, and as his familiarity with the person who should have been his enemy grew. Gollum truly amazed me. That he should have started off wicked and become much more-so with his possession of (and by) the Ring, and then had any sort of good feelings left is astounding. How much good-will did he actually bear to Frodo, and how much was just a 'con'? I have to assume there was some good in him yet, and Frodo enhanced it, by his own example of grace and goodness while under the most terrible of pressures. Did they love one another? This I cannot say. But I think they shared the same sort of understandings as the soldiers of WWI who engaged in the Christmas Truce in 1914 (all pertinent, surely, and not lost on JRRT). In our own age, marked by brittle brutality, this would appear the most saintly love. It qualifies, no matter what, as a great understanding of the toll of being a soldier in a war of sadness. It qualifies as magnificently "human". Which, in the end, and at the bottom-most of themselves, both Frodo and Gollum *were*. I think that the fact that Frodo saw that, and Gollum knew that he *saw*, was probably the most beautiful and telling thing, ever, in Gollum's life. That Frodo might have wished, shortly after the Ring's destruction, that he might have accompanied Gollum on his Long Journey is not so surprising, then, on many levels.

Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 5

A great deal of compassion for one's antagonist is envisioned here. Frodo's careful reflections show insight, and the desire for yet greater insight, and, through insight, hopefully, confirmation that the one who took the Ring into death has achieved some sort of peace, a peace the Ring-bearer still has not found. Sam once saw these two, in their struggle, as somehow joined, or their fates joined, however dissimilar their person and character. Perhaps the peace Frodo thinks he sees in Gollum's eyes is the peace Frodo hopes will be found in his own eyes, when the hour of his death draws near.

Author response: this is another piece that, in the end, i didn't think i quite 'nailed'. In that moment, I should imagine that Frodo did wish to go with Gollum, and not so much for the kindly reason he states here.....I should think that, in that moment, he was still so filled with desire that he might have gone to his death if only to touch It once more. At least, that is the clear idea that I get from film!Frodo. But I do think that he recovered from this base immediacy quickly (although even months and months later, he says that "it is gone forever and now all is dark and empty". However he felt in the actual moment, I think that he would have assigned other values to that moment, when writing about it later. I guess what i wanted was to show that 'split', that fissure in him that balanced him horribly between kind intent and out and out lust. I missed doing that. In the end, I should imagine that Frodo was at peace long before he died, having processed his place in the tale, the greatness and smallness of it all. It's funny how things, whether they are Rings or just....*stuff*, lose the power to make you unhappy when you stand outside of yourself and observe the honour you have in being a simple note in the grand music. It's humbling AND triumphant, all at once. It is life, and we get to sing a note in it! And it is up to us what note we sing and how high it may soar and how long it might resonate. How beautiful and clear Frodo's song is, and how it rises, like a star, everlasting.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

What might Frodo have thought as he remembered Gollum after the destruction of the Ring? This glimpse of his possible thoughts and feelings is poignant and oh, so likely. And I suspect Frodo's almost-wish that he might have fallen with Smeagol, hand in hand, glad that he had at last found himself with the possession of the Ring, is a definite possibility. Well chosen words for the images and rhythms displayed.

Author response: Dear Larner.....thank you yet again. There are those pieces which are just *natural* to write, the ones that just spring up as inherent parts or probable appendices to the story. And then there are these sorts of things, which are not so apparent. I should call this my punk-rock piece. Perhaps it is not written in a dissonant way, but it surely is echoingly dissonant in theme. How lonely and unstrung that moment must have been: Frodo watching as the one person who surely knew and appreciated his torment found his rest, and (tellingly) at the same moment when Frodo supposed that he should never have any. What a life of irony Frodo had. thank you again, dear Larner.