Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Gollum

Stuff We Love: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' haunting 'Gollum’s Song'

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May 17, 2018, 1:58 PM EDT (Updated)

Composer Howard Shore's music in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to life, whether it was transporting audiences to the Shire or Lothlórien. Beyond the amazing score, though, and capping off each movie-going experience, was a credits song that sealed everything together. Out of the three credit songs in the trilogy, the one at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers may stick with you most, though, because of its poignant look at the character Gollum.

The second film ends with “Gollum’s Song,” performed by Icelandic artist Emilíana Torrini with music by Shore and lyrics written by Fran Walsh. We’re treated to this after watching Gollum and Sméagol debate what to do with Frodo and Sam at the end of the film, ultimately deciding to take the ring from them. It’s here that the music turns ominous and the song starts and the credits roll. The scene is the perfect lead in to the song. Seeing the two sides of the character argue serves as a reminder of how corrupted Gollum is, and as much as Sméagol might try to be good, he can’t escape the other side.

Over the course of The Two Towers, it’s hard not to grow at least somewhat sympathetic towards Gollum and what happened to him, as Frodo realizes what the ring might do to him despite how hard he fights it. It all makes “Gollum’s Song” that much more moving.

The lyrics of the song offer us a look at Gollum’s struggle as well as what he’s been through in his overly long life, thanks to the ring. He feels hurt and betrayed at the end of the movie, as shown in the beginning with lyrics like “don’t say I didn’t try” and “for all the lies you told us, the hurt, the blame.” You can feel his loneliness in lyrics like “we are lost, we can never go home,” and “no loyal friend was ever there for me."

"Gollum's Song" mixes uses of “I” and “we” to acknowledge the different parts of the character, and then becomes creepier as it turns to accusations. It states that “you didn’t try” and it becomes about how the other person will “face the end alone” and “never go home.” It’s not hard to imagine Gollum thinking this about Frodo and Sam after that last scene — as well as, perhaps, talking this way about himself.

“Gollum’s Song” encapsulates the character’s inner pain while still acknowledging his corruption, the way he hurts others, and how he continues to hurt himself. It’s a short song that manages to perfectly capture what’s going on with Gollum.