Gollum’s appearance had never included any description of his size

Thursday, January 4th, 2024

The Swedish language edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit from the 1960s was illustrated by famed Moomins creator Tove Jansson (and edited by noted children’s author Astrid Lindgren). It turns out that Gollum’s appearance had never included any description of his size, so Tove produced this:


Tolkien went on to amend the text, adding a description of Gollum as “a small, slimy creature.”


  1. Wanweilin says:

    I recall that Gollum was formerly a hobbit so he would be about the size of Bilbo Baggins.

  2. Bert says:

    “I recall that Gollum was formerly a hobbit”

    But that wasn’t revealed until LOTR.

  3. Phileas Frogg says:

    One wonders at how many things we believe or imagine from fiction and history are mere normalizations based on a particularly vivid interpretation from some remote point in the past.

    What percentage of history is, when we’re being honest, apocryphal?

    I’d wager a good chunk, though not the key bits, but most of the parts in between almost certainly are.

    Was Caesar murdered on the Ides of March? Certainly. Did he ask, “Et tu Brute?” Almost certainly not, but thanks to Shakespeare millions of people have that scene fixed in their minds when they envision the moment. And that’s just one of the events we know to be a fictionalization. How many have eluded that identification?

  4. Bill says:

    When Frodo escapes from Gollum’s cave, Gollum is crouching in a doorway that is described as being seven feet tall. Frodo is using the ring, so he is invisible. He runs toward the doorway and jumps over him.

    Frodo and Gollum are about the same height, as tall as young human boys, about 3.5 to 4 feet tall.

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