The Hobbit, part five
Posted by: Sam Bosma
Book: The Hobbit
“What iss he, my precious?” whispered Gollum (who always spoke to himself through never having anyone else to speak to). This is what he had come to find out, for he was not really very hungry at the moment, only curious; otherwise he would have grabbed first and whispered afterward.
“I am Mr Bilbo Baggins. I have lost the dwarves and I have lost the wizard, and I don’t know where I am and I don’t want to know, if only I can get away.”
Part five of this series finds Bilbo separated from his companions and quite alone, down very near the roots of the Misty Mountains, where old Gollum lives. Our narrator is unsure of what Gollum is, only that he has lived in this cave a very long time, but that he did not start his life there. Gollum is curious as to whether he can eat Bilbo, and whether he wants to. Bilbo is curious as to whether Gollum wants to eat him as well, though with obviously more grim implications.
Gollum is an interesting character in The Hobbit, and becomes an even more interesting character in Lord of the Rings. Here he represents the absolute unknown in Middle Earth. Bilbo and his companions have recently and rather dramatically broken free from a hoard of goblins, which are the known evil, and all of a sudden Bilbo falls down into the darkness and finds the unknown evil. Gollum is strange and piteous, ancient but childlike. In order to buy time to figure out if he really does want to eat Bilbo, he engages the Hobbit in a riddle contest. In the previous scene, where Bilbo and the dwarves are interrogated by the goblins, both parties intentions are clear and understandable. The goblins don’t like the dwarves and the dwarves don’t like the goblins. Thorin wishes to hide the secret purpose of their journey from the Great Goblin, and that one wants to wrest it from the dwarves. The exchange between Bilbo and Gollum is not quite so simple, and is one of the more interesting parts of the story.
It also, of course, is the moment with the magic ring (which will be revealed as the One Ring), changes hands. The ring leaves the possession of Gollum, and indeed leaves him withered and mad, and finds a new bearer.
You can follow the progress of these Hobbit drawings, including sketch progressions and process posts (the accompanying process post for this drawing should appear in a few days) on my blog: sambosma.blogspot.com