The featured image you see above this text is a beautifully portrayed depiction of Gollum in his cave. You might already have an inkling of whose hand this image was drawn by. If not, I will reveal it to you.
Up close and personal
You may have noticed some of her other work in my other blog posts for the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers. She has taken to drawing like a fish to water, striving to better her skill with every new drawing. I think that her portrayals of Gollum are masterfully done. There is a deep well of feeling in the character’s eyes. The feeling of empathy it communicates to the beholder is remarkable.
One’s opinion of Gollum may sway this way and that, but when she portrays his face, one can see the complexity of the character within. He is not just a wretched creature set out to hinder Frodo on his way to Mordor. He is a character whose own journey has taken him through hell, but never back again. There might have been a few moments of clarity in which the innocents of a once prosperous Hobbit may have come to light, but the overall tenor of his thoughts is one of slithering malice.
Nevertheless, the few bright moments that make this character one of the most intriguing and complex characters in the genre of fantasy, can be plainly seen in the images that Ana has drawn of him.
Gollum/Sméagol by Ana
In this particular image above and, the moving one below, one can plainly feel the loneliness, as well as the beauty of solitude that has encapsulated Gollum for hundreds of years. Gollum’s cave in the Goblin Tunnels of the Misty Mountains was his permanent home as the Ring took hold of him. Though in just a mention of his humble abode nasty images of bones and dirt and foul smell come to mind, Ana has managed to depict it as an oasis for this particular character’s way of life.
He is bound to a life in the cave as he is bound to the Ring itself. The warmth of the sun, the sound of the wind passing through the trees, the feel of grass beneath his feet, all of this he cannot recall. The Ring has dulled his senses to the point where not even his memory recalls the feelings such things invoke. Though it was his own greed that led him down this wretched path, there still remains a strong sense of empathy when viewing the character.
Ana’s depiction of Gollum’s cave in the Misty Mountains, as well as his own silhouette, against the ragged backdrop of the cave, awakens a sense of the character’s other-worldliness, his lonely existence as well as a feeling of captivating slavery to the Ring.
Though there is but a slight light of the moon reflecting against the water in the cave in An Unexpected Journey, Ana has depicted the cave as semi-open to the world outside and Gollum staring at the full moon. This particular choice of character placement gives the image a deeper and slightly different perspective than the one in the film. A lone wretched creature staring into the moon from the cave he cannot escape is almost poetic. I imagine him thinking of freedom, longing for it actually, and at the same time taking comfort and a bit of happiness in the presence of the moon.