Good vs. bad. Positive against negative. However you describe it, there are always two polar opposites. As they exist on a global scale, so do they also reside within us. To know what is right and what is wrong is sometimes not that visible or palpable. Sometimes it is a matter of perspective, of self-reflection and decision.
Angel vs. devil
There are always arguments for both sides of the specter. We could choose to react badly and look at things in a negative way, or we could try and evolve a strategy to be more positive. This is never easy because both sides are heavily represented. In a given moment of grief or joy, the decision might be easily made. But that reflects only the current situation we find ourselves in.
However, if we want to make a decision and stick to it for a longer period of time, then we need all our resources to keep positive even in times of trouble. To not let ourselves delve too deeply into anything that might negatively influence us, courage and strong will are essential.
In order to bring ourselves to this point, we need to self-reflect. This in its purity means being honest with ourselves, accepting ourselves for what we truly are, as opposed to who we think we are, or more dangerously, what other people think of us. Now, this is the hardest process we can ever go through. It is the basis of all self-improvement, to discover our integrity and uniqueness.
Keeping every thought inside our head could lead to overdrive, a condition of being burned out. If shared with other people, our thoughts might not be welcomed or understood, which could, in turn, make us feel weird. A conversation with ourselves alone could be a good solution.
Talking to ourselves for the first time feels uncomfortable, may also leave us feeling mad. The trick is to persevere. Getting over the self-consciousness in this process and let our thoughts run free out of our mouth is the goal. Have the freedom of mind to let go of any restraints that may be hindering the process.
The problem may arise when the negative overtakes the conversation. Speaking out of my experience, I understand how powerful the negative words about ourselves can influence the soul. The key is to keep in mind all the beautiful attributes about ourselves that make us who we are.
When in doubt, keep it simple, start with work abilities. Coupling them with what it means for us to be productive and how it makes us feel. This will lead to a path to our own building blocks – our integrity.
To know, accept and love ourselves is the most important lesson we will ever learn. It is the starting point for every other relationship in our lives. For if there is no self-love and self-respect, then we cannot feel it for others either.
To love ourselves brings fulfillment and utter joy to all aspects of our lives. To share this feeling with others, multiplies it, thereby increasing the feeling of joy and happiness.
We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little Hobbitses. Wicked. Tricksy. False.Gollum
While Sam and Frodo argued by the river, Sméagol was trying to feed himself by catching fish. He appeared to be having fun in his endeavor. He seemed as carefree as any child could be, not a worry in his mind. The need for the Ring was overshadowed by his need for food. For that single moment, he was acting on pure human instinct.
As night fell and Sam and Frodo went to sleep, Sméagol changed his tune. Frodo`s hand clutches the Ring next to his body as he sleeps, giving Gollum a chance to appear and the need for its possession to take hold. So close, yet so far away.
A want for change
But what holds him back from taking it while Frodo sleeps? He may be scared of Sam waking up and hurting him, for trying to steal the Ring. Or, he just might be respectful enough towards his “master” as not to even attempt to take it. That would of course then mean that his side of the relationship between him and Frodo, is affecting him, in a positive way for once.
Sméagol: “No. Not master.”
Gollum: “Yes, precious. False. They will cheat you, hurt you, lie!”
Sméagol: “Master is my friend.”
The mere fact that he considers Frodo his friend proves his sense of humanity. After all the years of hiding in caves of the Misty Mountains, he has finally found a friend. It is only natural that his only friend in the world would be someone who could understand his plight better than anyone else. For anybody else, he would be a burden, a creature, not a being.
Frodo considering him as an individual in his own right, whose feelings are taken into consideration and whose life is worth something, has given Sméagol a new lease on life. Frodo has given him the opportunity to see the positives within himself and struggle to maintain them, even when his other persona uses every means possible to underestimate it.
Gollum: “You don`t have any friends. Nobody likes you.”
Sméagol: “Not listening. I`m not listening.”
Gollum: “You`re a liar and a thief.”
Up to this point, Sméagol has managed to stay as positive as possible against Gollum`s arguments. He could simply ignore Gollum, knowing that he hasn`t lied to Frodo and hasn`t stolen from him. Therefore, there is nothing that Gollum can touch him with. Sméagol manages to deflect with ease.
This argument, however, is one that cannot be undone and is one that rings true. Sméagol`s expression changes into that of pain and guilt. This is a fact that he cannot outrun, ignore or outsmart. And Gollum knows that.
This is the argument that would turn the tables in Gollum`s favor. Or that is what he thought it would do. Even though Gollum`s smile while uttering it proves that he takes pleasure in Sméagol`s pain, knowing he had reached the breaking point of Sméagol`s transition, he is left surprised by his reaction.
Sméagol: “Go away.”
Gollum: “Go away?”
Sméagol: “I hate you. I hate you.”
Complete honesty. Sméagol hates Gollum. He finally utters his feelings toward this overtaking wretchedness. He doesn`t want it and he won`t accept it. It is a deep emotional scar to carry, confessing hate of a part of oneself. It is even worse when there seems to be no way of escaping it. Gollum is like a parasite attached to his back, never letting go.
Gollum: “Where would you be without me? I saved us. It was me. We survived because of me.“
Sméagol: “Not anymore.”
And Gollum has arguments to support his claim to Sméagol`s character. He fights to stay alive. The interesting thing is that Sméagol acknowledges Gollum`s argument, giving it the merit it apparently deserves. He is in agreement with this wretchedness.
Accepted and liberated
Sméagol is aware that this creature part of himself helped him survive all these years. As wretched as he may have become, he was still alive. And in a way, Sméagol may be thankful for that. He doesn`t scold Gollum for arguing or proving him wrong. He simply states that up until now, he was a great part of his personality. However, not anymore.
Gollum: “What did you say?”
Sméagol: “Master looks after us now. We don`t need you.”
Sméagol: “Leave now and never come back.”
Sméagol: “Leave now and never come back. Leave now and never come back! We told him to go away. And away he goes, precious. Gone! Gone! Gone! Sméagol is free!”
Gollum finds this unbelievable. How dare Sméagol think he doesn`t need him anymore? His surprise turns rapidly into anger. Although he is left without any further arguments, his anger grows as Sméagol`s demand for his leaving rises. Fortunately, good always conquers evil. And that is what happened here.
On the other hand, here we also get a glimpse into Sméagol`s co-dependent nature. He obviously needs someone to take care of him. As his trust towards Frodo has grown, so has his will to be free of the negative influences on his person. He is now able to choose who he wants to follow, and for the first time, he has chosen correctly.
The fact that he always needs someone to care for him, is a sign of his fragile and insecure nature. He is a childlike creature in more ways than one, and as such he is in need of companionship, comfort, and trust in others. All this he found in his new master.
This wonderful monologue we are privy to from Sméagol/Gollum is a clear example of good overtaking bad. This beautifully filmed inner struggle could actually be a monodrama onto itself. There is a clear line between the one side and the other.
He not only changes facial expressions between his two personalities but his mannerisms change as well. The way this scene was filmed, gives us as audience two perfectly separable beings. Peter Jackson and his creative team have done a beautiful job bringing Sméagol/Gollum`s inner world to the outside.
And Andy Serkis, well, he gave us a masterful performance. Although motion captured and at times rendered unnecessary in takes, Mr. Serkis fought his way through to be acknowledged as an influential actor as he is. Without his character study and depth of understanding, Gollum/Sméagol could have ended up failing on the silver screen.
Andy Serkis has given all of his energy, power of performance and ultimately voice, to do this wretched character justice. And, from myself personally, I thank you.
Let us see how long and how well Sméagol keeps his good humor. Follow me to my next post.
Featured photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash.