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Gollum is a very strange creature, even for The Lord of the Rings world, and one of the more intriguing questions about Gollum is if he is a cannibal, and does he eat babies in books or in movies?
Gollum is a cannibal that ate young orcs (goblins) for centuries.
Even so, there are some misconceptions, and it is unclear has he ever eaten human babies, so let us explain these interesting questions in detail.
Who or What is Gollum?
Gollum is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. He was introduced in the 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, and became important in its sequel, The Lord of the Rings.
Gollum was a Stoor Hobbit of the River-folk, who lived near the Gladden Fields. Originally known as Sméagol, he was corrupted by the One Ring and later named Gollum after his habit of making “a horrible swallowing noise in his throat”. Here you can find more about how did Smeagol become Gollum.
Sméagol obtained the Ring by murdering his relative Déagol, who found it in the River Anduin. Gollum referred to the Ring as “my precious” or “precious”, and it extended his life far beyond natural limits. Centuries of the Ring’s influence twisted Gollum’s body and mind, and, by the time of the novels, he “loved and hated the Ring, as he loved and hated himself.”
Throughout the story, Gollum was torn between his lust for the Ring and his desire to be free of it. Bilbo Baggins found the Ring and took it for his own, and Gollum afterward pursued it for the rest of his life.
Gollum finally seized the Ring from Frodo Baggins at the Cracks of Doom in Mount Doom in Mordor, but he fell into the fires of the volcano, where both he and the Ring were destroyed.
Did Gollum eat orcs?
Yes he did! We know that he killed and ate young orcs (goblins) for centuries when he lived beneath the Misty Mountains. The narrator tells us this in The Hobbit.
Why can’t Gollum eat Hobbit food?
Gollum is revolted by Lembas (Elven bread) because most evil beings have a hatred for all things Elven.
“Like other products of the Elves, it was offensive to evil creatures; Gollum refused outright to eat of it.”
As for the rabbit stew, it is believed that after years of living in a cave and eating only raw fish, he hates anything cooked, just like a wolf or other wild animal would if you gave it a stew made of potatoes and rabbit.
Sam cooking rabbit stew.
Gollum: What’s it doing? Stupid fat hobbit! You ruins it!
Sam: What’s to ruin? There’s hardly any meat on em. What we need’s a few good tators.
Gollum: What’s tators, precious? What’s tators?
Sam: P-O-T-A-T-O-E, boil em, mash em, put em in a stew. Even you couldn’t say no to that.
Gollum: Oh yes we could! Give it to us raw and wriggling! You keep nasty chips.
So you see, it’s not the food, it’s just the way it is served, in the case of the stew. He’d be happy to eat the rabbit if it was raw. Gollum just prefers his food as a primitive cave person would.
Does Gollum Eat Babies?
We know that he killed and ate young orcs (goblins) for centuries when he lived beneath the Misty Mountains. The narrator tells us this in The Hobbit.
On one hand, when something strange is in the woods, rumors do tend to get extreme. On the other hand, Gollum was not likely to change a centuries-old habit of cannibalism on helpless children just because he left the mountains and headed for the woods!
I don’t think we have evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt that he does eat babies, but we can assume so. He apparently killed and ate Ork-children, so it’s certainly possible that these rumors are true.
The description fits Gollum very well and why would the Woodmen suddenly start making stories up? In the end, the question boils down to “Would Gollum have any moral objections to eating babies?” and we believe the answer is “Not when he’s hungry enough”.
No one would see him, no one would notice him, till he had his fingers on their throat. Only a few hours ago he had worn it, and caught a small goblin-imp. How it squeaked! He still had a bone or two left to gnaw, but he wanted something softer.
This passage makes it even sound as if he enjoyed murdering that Goblin, so him eating babies (or at least trying to do so) wouldn’t surprise me. I think he also intended to eat Bilbo.
Middle-earth is a very dark and cruel place, Tolkien just doesn’t like to focus on these aspects very much.
Conclusion – Is Gollum a Cannibal
Gollum lives under the Misty Mountains for nearly 500 years, eating raw blind fish (which he catches in his small rowboat) and Goblins when he can get them. In later years, he finds Hobbit and Elven food repulsive.
Though he rarely acknowledges himself by his true name, Sméagol, Gollum does possess fragments of his old personality which occasionally surface.
An obvious trait would be his love for riddles, and when meeting with Bilbo underneath Goblin Town engages in a game with him which would either end with Gollum showing him the exit or him eating the Hobbit. Gollum appeared to enjoy fishing with his cousin, Deàgol and after his transformation, he was seen singing while grabbing a fish however this could be coincidental.
He has shown to be an adept survivor, able to escape an encounter with Shelob (which very few people are able to do) and even strike a deal with her to bring the spider food, earning his nickname “Shelob’s Sneak.”
He has no qualms against cannibalism, presumably due to forgetting or rejecting his Hobbit ethnicity, he was perfectly comfortable with eating Bilbo Baggins if he lost their games of riddles.