The upcoming Lord of the Rings: Gollum game provides yet another iteration of the iconic fantasy character, furthering Sméagol’s evolution from the early illustrated artworks inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical novels, but how will its character appear compared to the movies and books? The protagonist of Lord of the Rings: Gollum is one of those characters that some love, some hate, and some feel that Gollum is an overused character in need of a revamp that the upcoming game may provide. The game will follow Gollum’s activity throughout Middle-earth before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies, giving an insight into the background of this character and Sméagol’s descent further into madness.
Specifically, the gameplay trailer for Lord of the Rings: Gollum reveals that the action will kick off with players controlling Gollum as he tries to escape the Mordor fortress of Barad-dûr. The game will follow Gollum along his seemingly endless journeys following his acquisition of the One Ring and players will be able to explore much of Middle-earth in faithful, beautiful landscapes and scenes, from Mirkwood to Moria. Lord of the Rings: Gollum will combine stealth and parkour gameplay features, as well as choices for the player to control Gollum’s battle with his inner self and split personality.
Although it may be hard to sympathize with Gollum as a protagonist, Lord of the Rings: Gollum promises to be a cinematic stealth action-adventure game within which players can explore Tolkien’s world through the huge eyes and twisted personality of this iconic character. The game developers, Deadalic Entertainment, have much to live up to in portraying this troubled individual, as this quintessential Tolkien character is one of few persons to appear in all six of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster adaptations, alongside the huge figures of Gandalf, Galadriel, and Sauron.
Lord Of The Rings: Gollum Looks Most Like Peter Jackson’s Adaptations
From the trailers, it appears that Lord of the Rings: Gollum‘s protagonist is most visually similar to Peter Jackson’s film adaptations. As the game is set before the events of the movies, Lord of the Rings: Gollum could explore plots the movies rushed or skipped, such as Sméagol’s corruption and transition from a Hobbit to Gollum. Performed by Andy Serkis, Peter Jackson’s version of Gollum is probably the most recognizable and explains Daedalic’s design choice in mimicking this character.
Gollum first appeared as pale eyes following Frodo and his companions in 2001’s Fellowship of the Ring and persisted throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy as Frodo and Sam’s nefarious guide. Serkis reprised his role in The Hobbit movies beginning in 2012 with the same ghostly white skin, toothless smile, and enlarged blue eyes, matching Tolkien’s description of “lamp-like” and “luminous” eyes set in a pale thin face.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum’s Protagonist Is Not Entirely Different To Bakshi’s Gollum
Due to the game’s temporal setting before the movies, Frodo won’t be in Lord of the Rings: Gollum despite Gollum’s huge role in Frodo’s story as the ring-bearer. Frodo and Gollum appear together in the much-loved animated Lord of the Rings film released in 1978. This movie has some interesting character designs, and most notable is the bone-thin, dark gray portrayal of Gollum.
Similar to Lord of the Rings: Gollum and Peter Jackson’s adaptations, Ralph Bakshi’s Gollum is gray, mostly hairless and toothless, and has distinct glowing eyes; yet, the character seems considerably darker in color, has an exaggerated boniness and a protruding ribcage with taught skin drawn over it. Bakshi’s Gollum also seems to be considerably larger than the two Hobbits he is accompanying and has large hands and feet, perhaps referencing Sméagol’s ancestry belonging to the stockier Stoor Hobbits.
The Rankin/Bass Gollum Looks Like A Weird Frog, Not Like Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
Although Frodo will not be in the game, there is mention of other classic characters appearing in Lord of the Rings: Gollum. Gandalf the Gray is amongst those that could appear, another pivotal character that appears alongside Gollum in the Rankin/Bass studio animated films of The Hobbit (1977) and The Return of the King (1980). In this animation, Gollum looks particularly different from the Peter Jackson adaptations and Lord of the Rings: Gollum rendition of the character.
Gollum first appears to exchange riddles with Bilbo in The Hobbit and seems dark in color and frog-like in features, with a wide nose and mouth, large ears, and huge pale eyes. Due to the darkness of the cave, this creature is dark gray in the animated art, but in the later Return of the King movie, he is clearly green-toned, appearing even more frog-like. Yet again, Gollum is missing several teeth and has the same large, pale eyes as seen in other versions of the iconic character.
Gollum In The Hobbit Graphic Novel Is Reminiscent Of The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
Some of the revealed Lord of the Rings: Gollum character designs seem confusing and different from the representations seen in the blockbuster films, possibly because the game may be placing more emphasis upon descriptions from the book. However, at a glance, Gollum seems to be pretty similar between the upcoming game and Jackson’s adaptations, as well as book descriptions and official illustrations.
The Hobbit graphic novel released in 1989 contains illustrations of Gollum by David T. Wenzel that are largely reminiscent of the later movie portrayals of the character. Bilbo meets this creature with large eyes, missing teeth, and pallid skin under the mountains, with the only real difference to Lord of the Rings: Gollum‘s version being the short white tufts of hair across his body, rather than long, thin strands of dark hair similar to Serkis’ portrayal.
Concept Artwork & Illustrations Bear Similarities To Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
Peter Jackson worked with Concept Artist, John Howe, and Tolkien Illustrator, Alan Lee, to produce concept art for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies that were close to the novels. This included producing character and landscape concepts that are true to the source material, an aspect important in the recreation of Middle-earth’s various locations in Lord of the Rings: Gollum. Alan Lee also illustrated Gollum and other characters in the 1990s illustrated editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
The early illustrations and concept art for Gollum differ, but hold true to the same characteristics seen in other versions of the character: large, luminous eyes; toothlessness; pallid skin stretched over long thin bones. This is all evidence of his adaptation and dwelling in the dark for many years while he pondered over the One Ring, and is true to Tolkien’s description of the creature.
Overall, the evolution of Gollum throughout movies and books that has led to the version seen in Lord of the Rings: Gollum is long and convoluted, but the main aspects of the iconic character remain in his large pale eyes, pallid skin, and lack of teeth. The upcoming game promises an exciting opportunity to see the world of Middle-earth through the eponymous character’s huge eyes before Frodo is even born. With player choice at the center of gameplay mechanics as the dichotomy of the Gollum/Sméagol split personality can be explored, it may be best for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum to avoid the issues of Tolkien’s canon material altogether.
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