Gollum is a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was once a hobbit named Smeagol, but was corrupted by the One Ring that the dark lord Sauron once wore as his own. As his obsession with the ring grew, Smeagol eventually lost his will to the evil it had harnessed; he was transformed into the creature known as Gollum after years of the ring's burden taking a toll on his physical appearance as well as his sanity. In the film adaptations of Tolkien's works directed by Peter Jackson, Gollum is portrayed by actor Andy Serkis.
Gollum first appears in The Hobbit, in which a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins becomes separated from his companions in the caves deep under a mountain. Gollum plots to kill Bilbo so that he can eat him, but acquiesces to Bilbo's desire for a riddle contest and promises to lead him out of the cave should the hobbit defeat him. He ultimately loses the contest to Bilbo when he fails to correctly answer the hobbit's question "What do I have in my pocket?" Gollum has no intention of actually helping Bilbo, however, and returns to his hideaway to collect his ring in order to claim an easy kill. When Gollumn can't find the ring, he becomes angry, and realizes that the ring must be the item that Bilbo had in his pocket. He pursues Bilbo through the cave, but when the ring slips on Bilbo's finger, making him invisible, Gollum loses the trail as Bilbo successfully escapes.
In The Lord of the Rings, Gollum pursues the ring's new bearer, Frodo Baggins, and during the course of events attempts to ingratiate himself into the company of both Frodo and his friend Samwise Gamgee so that he might have an opportunity to reclaim the ring for his own. At the top of Mt. Doom, Gollum manages to finally reclaim it, but only moments later plummets into the mountain's molten fires, where he dies as the ring is destroyed.
In Video Games
Gollum appears in many of the games based on the Lord of the Rings films and books. He is often an enemy to the player in games such as The Return of the King, but is a playable unit in the real time strategy games Battle for Middle-earth and Battle for Middle-earth II.