Originally Sméagol, a Hobbit of the Stoor branch, residing in the GladdenFields, killed Déagol (ca. ThA 2463) when the latter refused to give Sméagol the ring he had just found in the river as a "Birthday Present". The ring was the mightiest of the Rings of Power, the OneRing, and when Sméagol found out that wearing the ring on his finger would make him invisible he used it to cause mischief and hence was driven out the Stoor community. Smeagol hid in caves under the MistyMountains, fell more and more under the control of the ring and became Gollum.
The name "Gollum" comes from a swallowing noise, "yarr-wom", Smeagol developed as a nervous tick.
The OneRing reached the limit of corruption it could drive a Hobbit, and it rejected Gollum when he showed no signs of leaving an underground lake. In ThA 2941 Bilbo Baggins found it.
Gollum tried to find the ring, got captured by Sauron's servants, and thus Sauron learned, that the Ring which had seemed lost since Isildur's death, was found again.
Escaped Sauron (or was set free) and continued to search for Bilbo and the OneRing, was captured by Aragorn and Gandalf and imprisoned in Thranduil's realm in Mirkwood, where he could escape during an Orc raid.
The wise could not tell from debriefing Gollum whether he was set free, because Sauron had to let him believe it was his own cunning. However, the semi-wise Master Samwise overheard the orcs who guarded the pass he used discussing "orders came down from above that he was to be let thru."
Continued to search for the ring and came across the FotR in Moria. Followed them and after the splitting of the FotR he pursued Frodo and Sam and was captured on his descent from EmynMuil. Led them through the DeadMarshes to the Morannon and lateron to Mordor on a small path near MinasMorgul over the EphelDúath. At CirithUngol he betrayed them to Shelob and after they could escape from the tower of CirithUngol he followed them through Mordor . At MountDoom, in an attempt to get the ring, he bit off Frodo's finger, tumbled and fell into the Crack of Doom. Thus the OneRing was unmade and Sauron defeated.
Speculation on the "Escape from Mordor":
Sauron, like Morgoth, could "daunt with the eyes" a captured foe, to put a spell on them. It would make them do the dark lord's bidding after he seemed to set them free or allow them to escape.
Sauron tried to do this to Gollum; to enchant him to "go forth and seek thy Precious, and bring it to me that I might reward thee."
But this contested Sauron against the power of his own Ring - the Ring that he had invested the greater part of his own native strength in. The Ring's bond on Gollum remained stronger than Sauron's curse.
Ever the survivalist (another skill owed to the Ring), Gollum won a ticket out of Mordor when he convinced Sauron that the evil spell had worked. And with this one lapse, Sauron began the series of mistakes that lead to his own downfall.
|Gollum on the edge of the abyss was fighting like a mad thing with an unseen foe. To and fro he swayed, now so near the brink that almost he tumbled in, now dragging back, falling to the ground, rising, and falling again. And all the while he hissed but spoke no words. The fires below awoke in anger, the red light blazed, and all the cavern was filled with a great glare and heat. Suddenly Sam saw Gollum's long hands draw upwards to his mouth; his white fangs gleamed, and then snapped as they bit. Frodo gave a cry, and there he was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm's edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle. It shone now as if verily it was wrought of living fire. 'Precious, precious, precious!' Gollum cried. 'My Precious! O my Precious!' And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell.
|The Return of the King; Mount Doom
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