I don't recall any of the characters in Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit calling Sméagol Gollum in his face. It seems to be more of a private epithet. Is this correct? Does Gollum know that others call him Gollum?

3 Answers 3

  • ROTK - No mentions of him being addressed as Gollum (I searched entire book). As per @poke's comment, he was referred to as "Sméagol" instead.

  • Fellowship - obviously no, as we don't see anyone talking to Gollum yet.

  • The Two Towers - Yes. Here are a all the instances I found:

    But Frodo sprang up, and drew Sting from its sheath. With his left hand he drew back Gollum's head by his thin lank hair, stretching his long neck, and forcing his pale venomous eyes to stare up at the sky.
    'Let go! Gollum,' he said. 'This is Sting. You have seen it before once upon a time. Let go, or you'll feel it this time! I'll cut your throat.'


    'No, we won't,' said Frodo. 'But we won't let you go, either. You're full of wickedness and mischief, Gollum. You will have to come with us, that's all, while we keep an eye on you. But you must help us, if you can. One good turn deserves another.'


    Sam got out the rope. 'And where were you off to in the cold hard lands, Mr. Gollum?' he growled. 'We wonders, aye, we wonders. To find some of your orc-friends, I warrant. You nasty treacherous creature. It's round your neck this rope ought to go, and a tight noose too.'


    'Well, Gollum, or whatever it is we're to call you,' he said, 'now for it! The Moon's gone, and the night's going. We'd better start.'


    He took a few steps away and looked back inquiringly, like a dog inviting them for a walk. 'Wait a bit, Gollum!' cried Sam. 'Not too far ahead now! I'm going to be at your tail, and I've got the rope handy


    At last Sam could bear it no longer. 'What's all this, Gollum?' he said in a whisper. 'These lights? They're all round us now. Are we trapped? Who are they?' ... 'Come, Mr. Frodo!' said Sam. 'Don't look at them! Gollum says we mustn't. Let's keep up with him and get out of this cursed place as quick as we can – if we can!'


    'I don't like the sound of it at all,' said Sam. 'Sounds too easy at any rate in the telling. If that path is still there, it'll be guarded too. Wasn't it guarded, Gollum?'


    'Hi! Gollum!' said Sam. 'Where are you going? Hunting? Well see here, old noser, you don't like our food, and I'd not be sorry for a change myself. Your new motto's always ready to help. ...


    'Now, Gollum,' he said, 'I've another job for you. Go and fill these pans with water, and bring 'em back!'


    'Gollum!' he called softly. 'Third time pays for all. I want some herbs.' Gollum's head peeped out of the fern, but his looks were neither helpful nor friendly.


    'Wheew! Gollum!' Sam called and whistled softly. 'Come on! Still time to change your mind. There's some left, if you want to try stewed coney.' There was no answer.

    That's it.

  • 5
    In ROTK he is usually addressed as “Sméagol”.
    – poke
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 15:11
  • Sam calls his two personalities "Stinker" and "Slinker" IIRC.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 21:44
  • 2
    Followup: is Sam the only one to call him by that name? Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 17:27
  • @MooingDuck - during the time of the Fellowship, the quotes listed are a full an exhaustive list of every time someone addressed him with that name. Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 0:31
  • @MooingDuck in the first two quotes here from TT, Frodo calls him Gollum. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 5:46

Yes. The name "Gollum" goes back a long way, back to shortly after he found the Ring. See The Shadow of the Past:

They kicked him, and he bit their feet. He took to thieving, and going about muttering to himself, and gurgling in his throat. So they called him Gollum, and cursed him, and told him to go far away; and his grandmother, desiring peace, expelled him from the family and turned him out of her hole.

This establishes that not only is he aware of it, but that he also must have told Bilbo that "Gollum" was his name - since Bilbo was the only one he had spoken to (up to a certain time, of course), how else could others have known to use this name? How could Frodo have known during his discussion with Gandalf?

So - he wasn't only aware of it, he had accepted it as his given name by the time of The Hobbit.

  • 2
    Thank you. Re: him telling Bilbo, Gollum makes the same noises while speaking to Bilbo—especially when he is distraught—which might suggest that Bilbo could have arrived at the same decision that his ancestors did and called him Gollum. (When I first came across the aforementioned dialogue, I was actually under the impression that Gollum was a corruption of Sméa-gol.) Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 7:07
  • 3
    "Bilbo could have arrived at the same decision that his ancestors did and called him Gollum" - true, but I'd consider it unlikely - "Gollum" is pretty distinctive; why not "Gloop", "Arglebarglefargedarglegargle", "Glubglubglub" or otherwise? Of course, in the absence of WoG we're left with speculation, but I tend towards Occam's razor here, and Occam's razor says that Gollum gave Bilbo his name as "Gollum".
    – user8719
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 3:17
  • 3
    @Jimmy Shelter--in The Hobbit Gollum makes a distinct "gollum" sound when speaking sometimes (it's written that way), although it seems to be more of a nervous gulp than a word. And he does make this sound in front of Bilbo--after he loses the riddle contest and Bilbo demands to be shown the way out, he says "But what has it got in its pocketses, eh? Not string, precious, but not nothing. Oh no! gollum!" Later Bilbo asks what he lost, he says "Not its business, no, gollum! It's losst, gollum, gollum, gollum."
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 22:01

Yes, absolutely he knows about his name Gollum. From The Two Towers, book 4, chapter 2, The Passage of the Marshes, imagining the plan working and giving in to the delusions of power the Ring causes:

See, my precious: if we has it, then we can escape, even from Him, eh? Perhaps we grows very strong, stronger than Wraiths. Lord Sméagol? Gollum the Great? The Gollum! Eat fish every day, three times a day; fresh from the sea. Most Precious Gollum! Must have it. We wants it, we wants it, we wants it!

He calls himself Gollum.

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