Lord of the Rings: The Ring Worked Differently For Gollum And Bilbo

The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy directed by Peter Jackson which is an adaptation of the novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. The story is about the hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and the Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring. Recently, one user on Quora posted a poster questioning the Ring’s effects on the user wearing it when it comes to aging. On one hand, Bilbo Baggins wears the Ring for decades and ages slowly while wearing it. But when he lets it go, he starts aging quickly. On the other hand, we have Gollum who was deprived of the Ring for decades. But he didn’t suffer any effects of aging. Why does this happen? Check it out:

The One Ring in Lord Of The Rings
The One Ring in Lord Of The Rings

Why Did Gollum Not Age Quickly Without The Ring And Bilbo Did?

Here's why the Ring worked differently for Gollum and Bilbo
Here’s why the Ring worked differently for Gollum and Bilbo

Gollum possessed the Ring for over 500 years before he lost it to Bilbo in The Hobbit. During the opening voice-over by Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, he explained that the Ring granted him “unnatural long life“. In his novel The Silmarillion, Tolkien explains the process as shifting from the land of the living to Sauron’s “realms of shadows”. This happens to everyone who falls under the influence of the Ring. The Ring simply acts slowly, taking years or decades to do what the Morgul-blade did within hours.

Gollum didn't age quickly without the Ring in Lord of the Rings
Gollum didn’t age quickly without the Ring in Lord of the Rings

Another key reason for Gollum not aging as quickly as Bilbo is his status as a creature “not so very different from a hobbit”. Hobbits are inherently humble creatures unconcerned with power and rulership. Under the Ring’s influence, a human might fade quickly. Whereas, a Hobbit or a near Hobbit would take considerably longer.

Bilbo aged quickly without the One Ring
Bilbo aged quickly without the One Ring

As compared to Gollum, Bilbo has the Ring only for a few decades, instead of centuries. This gives it far less time to work its will on him. Furthermore, he is far more principled than Gollum, who murdered to get the Ring. Therefore, he’s less prone to fall under the influence of the Ring. Moreover, Bilbo didn’t use the Ring often. He pulled it out when he wanted to avoid someone. Whereas, Gollum used to wear it for say, for centuries. It was a key to his survival in the Misty Mountains. There he would hunt goblins for food and needed to avoid attention. Moreover, Gollum obsessed over the Ring extensively and would go to any lengths to get it back!

That’s how the Ring worked differently for Gollum and Bilbo.

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