Gollum is the most mysterious and contradictory character in the fantasy adventure "The Lord of the Rings". He got his nickname from a clicking sound he made from time to time with his throat which sounded like "gollum". Such noises could express practically anything: excitement and delight, sadness and fury, and other feelings.
Gollum's life can be divided into several periods, although gathered information is not that reliable. Before the Ring came into his possession, Gollum was a hobbit of the tribe of the Stoors, who lived near the Gladden Fields. His actual name was Smeagol, a translation of his Westron name, which means "burrow-deep". Once Smeagol with his friend Deagol went fishing and they fished the One Ring out of the Anduin. No one suspected its destructive force at that time. But the ring perniciously worked on the hobbit's consciousness and Smeagol even strangled his friend in order to get the Ring. However he called the Ring his birthday present and said it came from his grandmother, who had lots of beautiful things of that kind.
Smeagol came from a big and well-off family, where grandmother, strict and faithful to old customs, was a matriarch. Smeagol was rather strong and crafty. But he never aimed to be first at anything, "his head and his eyes were downward". Possessing the Ring, it corrupted him in such a way that Smeagol even became an outsider and, hating the sun and its warmth ever more, took refuge in a cave under the Misty Mountains. His constant telling of lies became one of his main qualities, which he wouldn't part with throughout the story. Only fear and Sauron's tortures made Smeagol say something close to the truth. Here what Gandalf says about Gollum: "Gollum is a liar, and you have to sift his words".
Being a hobbit, Gollum got a kind of absolute power which entirely seized his thoughts. He found that no one in his family could see him, when he was wearing the Ring. He was very pleased with his discovery and he concealed it; and he used it to find out secrets, and he put his knowledge to crooked and malicious uses. Because of this, his relatives were not too fond of him. "His grandmother, desiring peace, expelled him from the family and turned him out of her hole". After that Gollum lived in a cave, dreading the sun light. The Ring made him its slave.
Gollum's favourite food was fish and goblins, which could be found in the Misty Mountains. He dwelt on an island, as slithery as he was, near a mountainous cold lake. Although the Ring was sucking his energy out, it extended his life but changed his appearance completely. Gollum became wild, he himself looked black, with big shimmering eyes and big paddling feet.
More than anything he liked Riddle-games. Once, a very long time ago, before the Ring came into his hands, he liked to give them to his friends. When Bilbo accidentally met Gollum in his cave he gave Bilbo some riddles but eventually lost the contest. At that time Bilbo could easily do away with this creature, but didn't do that. As though Providence itself prompted Bilbo not to kill Gollum.
Gollum played his own special role in "The Lord of the Rings". He showed Frodo and Sam a secret way to Mordor. If he hadn't been on Orodruin at the right time, Frodo would have become a new Master of the Ring. However, Gollum bit off Frodo's finger along with the Ring, but, having slipped, fell into the fire.
It is difficult to judge Gollum and his acts unequivocally. "Even Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proved tougher than even one of the Wise would have guessed - as a hobbit might. There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came through it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past. It was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things. But that, of course, would only make the evil part of him angrier in the end - unless it could be conquered. Unless it could be cured." - says Gandalf; it is difficult not to agree with him.
His longing for the Ring made Gollum wander through the lands of Middle-earth. In T.A. 3017 he was caught by Sauron. Having being tortured, Gollum told him about the Ring's fate. What Sauron learned from Gollum was the name of Baggins and the Shire.
Shortly after that Aragorn caught Gollum and brought him to Gandalf. Gollum was terribly afraid of everything and his tale was incoherent, "together with much snivelling and snarling". He had strange hopes towards Evil and thought he "had good friends now, good friends and very strong. They would help him. Baggins would pay for it".
Gollum's primary objective was to take revenge on Bilbo Baggins and regain the Ring. During the journey of the Fellowship of the Ring, he followed them and traced "his precious". Gollum even escaped from the realm of the elves, into whose guard he was given. Being a slave of the Ring, hating the sun, he stealthily followed the Company.
Gollum wormed himself into Frodo and Sam's confidence. He did all that he was asked to do, although reluctantly, uttering creaking sounds. Gollum brought the hobbits to Shelob's web, to a huge and wicked spider whom Gollum had promised to bring victims. He hoped that the monster would get rid of the things, including "his precious". However, Sam saw a trap in that and everything turned out to be fine.
We cannot but admire Gollum's restlessness. He reached Orodruin and there took "his precious" into his possession ... that time for ever.
Of course, Gollum is a negative character. Although, he hates both Good and Evil, he takes neither side. In the War of the Ring he plays for himself, strives to reach only his aims. He can be tamed, but, for the sake of what?
We can only sympathize with Gollum. During all his life he was under the Ring's influence. Together with it, celebrating the regaining of his precious, he falls into the fire. This outcome is rather predictable. He successfully accomplishes the Company of Nine's mission, although not desperately wanting to save the world.