by elenna

In “The Two Towers”, specifically in the chapter ‘The Taming of Sméagol’, Sméagol makes a promise to Frodo. After a bit of back and forth between Frodo and Sméagol as to what this promise might mean, Sméagol is ordered to ‘speak’ his promise to Frodo:
“’We promises, yes I promise!’ said Gollum. ‘I will serve the master of the Precious. Good master, good Sméagol, gollum, gollum!’” (TTT, page 225)
By using the ‘I’ instead of ‘we’, it is Sméagol making this promise.

It is a known fact that Professor Tolkien wrote many double meanings into his works. So, we see here Sméagol swearing service to Frodo in appearance and actuality. As his actions will take them down paths they do not wish to tread, in a sense he is swearing service to the Dark Lord even though he hates and fears him. By these paths I am referring to bringing the Ring to Mordor and the Ring’s power over Frodo. Sméagol is also swearing service to himself as he was also the ‘master of the Precious’ at one time.

Frodo understood Gollum’s need for the Ring:
“’No! Not on it,’ said Frodo, looking down at him with stern pity. ‘All you wish is to see it and touch it, if you can, though you know it would drive you mad. Not on it. Swear by it if you will. For you know where it is. Yes, you know, Sméagol. It is before you.’” (TTT, page 225)
Gollum sees the Ring as something pretty and desirable to have, but he doesn’t want the power associated with it or at least does not understand the power that is in it. He would be more than happy to have a full belly and his ‘precious’ to gaze upon.

Gandalf said that Gollum would have a part to play before the end. Sméagol did serve well in getting Frodo and Sam to Mordor. When Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger bearing the Ring in his attempt to repossess the Ring, he played his role as an unwitting means to an end in the act of mercy in saving Frodo from his fate and thereby met his own doom. There may be those who are upset with the notion of Frodo’s failure. I did not write the material. It is in black and white written by Professor Tolkien. He meant this. The point here is ‘mercy’.

As Ring-bearers, Frodo, Bilbo and Sam were each accorded a blessing in being allowed to take the ship from the Grey Havens and pass over the Sea to live out their days. As Sméagol/Gollum had also served as a Ring-bearer for some time and played a strong role in getting Frodo and Sam to their destination and was used in saving Frodo, if he had not been killed and if Frodo had been able to cast the Ring into the fire, is it possible that the elves would have given him the same honor? Would he have been denied out of principle for the nature in which he obtained the Ring? Would there have been mercy for Sméagol in the end? Maybe his mercy was that he met his end there and then as opposed to the torment that would have awaited him at Sauron’s hands, if he had been captured while in possession of the Ring to say nothing of what would have happened to him if he had tried to wield it