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In The Hobbit Gollum lives in a cave deep under a mountain next to a lake. Yet he has a boat.

Where did he get it from?

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  • nice question, be interested to see what cannon answers come for this. I believe it did say I LOTR that when he first came to the cave he left it a few times, so it's possible he brought it back from one of his trips, it's also possible that he built it... – AidanO Apr 3 '12 at 7:26
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I don't believe there is a canon answer (though I'm happy to be proven wrong). I have always assumed he built a coracle-type boat himself out of hides (Orc skin?) and other bits and pieces. After all he grew up next to the Great River and fished frequently so it's not implausible that he could build one.

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  • I agree with this. There is no canon answer, but the skills and materials were available. – Schroedingers Cat Apr 3 '12 at 8:49
  • Another possibility is he stole it. – Plutor Apr 3 '12 at 13:15
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    I agree with building. It would have rotted out eventually so that probably isn't his first. – Kevin Apr 3 '12 at 13:25
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Canon

Canonically, there's no answer provided in the books. He just has a boat.

He had a little boat, and he rowed about quite quietly on the lake

The Hobbit: Chapter 5 - Riddles in the Dark

Guesswork

Gollum made it

Gollum is a Stoor (a breed of hobbit or hobbit-like riverside dwellers). It seems that they're perfectly capable of making their own boats from fresh materials.

'Long after, but still very long ago, there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people. I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds.

Fellowship of the Ring: Chapter 2 - The Shadow of the Past

Gollum stole it

The Great Goblin periodically sends his minions to bring fish back from the lake. Since they know that there's water down there, it's hardly a stretch of the imagination that one would bring a crude boat with them, or the materials to whip one up.

They had come on the lake, when they were tunnelling down long ago, and they found they could go no further; so there their road ended in that direction, and there was no reason to go that way-unless the Great Goblin sent them. Sometimes he took a fancy for fish from the lake, and sometimes neither goblin nor fish came back.

The Hobbit: Chapter 5 - Riddles in the Dark


Films

In the Hobbit film trilogy, Gollum's coracle was constructed of goblin hides and bones (as well as twigs and scraps of goblin leather)

Props may often have a reference point in our world while, at the same time, having some aspect to their design or construction that is uniquely Middle-earthly. One such example would be Gollum's coracle. 'It is.' says Paul [Tobin], 'a small one-man boat in the ancient style traditionally used in parts of Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The significant difference, however, is that Gollum's coracle happens to made out of the skin and bones of his Goblin victims!'

Limited availability of Goblin body-parts meant that the prop department had to simulate those gruesome materials as well as making it possible for Gollum to use it in order to paddle across his underground lake.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Official Movie Guide

and

Gollum’s coracle is made of bits of Goblin skin, bones and a few twigs. He has very limited materials down there so he's made quite a serviceable little vessel with what he had at hand. It’s unclear in the book exactly what his boat was made of or how it got there, but this felt to us like a good, practical alternative to something more traditional. (Alan Lee: Concept Art Director)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Chronicles I: Art & Design***

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    It's clear from the Prologue to the Lord of the Rings that Stoors are hobbits, not simply "hobbit-like" - although one "akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors" might not be considered a hobbit. – Matt Gutting Nov 1 '16 at 16:19

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