The Pity of Gollum

A Theme for Gollum


PITY OF GOLLUM  a theme for Gollum, is the lyrical, slow, sad music which is used exclusively for Gollum in FOTR. It is still evident in TTT, as Gollum and Sméagol take turns with the creatures intentions, but by ROTK, the two have agreed: Frodo and Sam must die. The Pity of Gollum is only hinted at until a final aggressive variant is heard.

Historically, this theme has also been called Slinker and Sméagol's Theme.


HS COMMENT (TTT Audio Commentary)
HS COMMENT (TTT Appendices Comments)



Places this theme is heard in FOTR:

  • In the prologue when Gollum first finds the Ring

  • When Bilbo refers to the Ring as, “My own. My Precious.” in Bag End.

  • As Frodo realizes that the One Ring that Gandalf is telling him about is the one Bilbo found in Gollum’s cave HS COMMENT

  • When Gandalf and Frodo discuss Gollum in Moria

  • A very quick variant is played when Aragorn identifies the ‘log with eyes’ as Gollum (FOTR EE)

Places this theme is heard in TTT:

  • As Frodo and Sam are sitting in the rain in Emyn Muil... and Gollum lurks above. (TTT EE)

  • When Sméagol offers the deal, "We be nice to them if they be nice to us." A moment later, a short variant is played when Sam shows his distrust of Sméagol's vow on the Ring.

  • After Frodo uses the name Sméagol with Gollum in the Dead Marshes. Gollum is startled to hear the name he hasn't heard in a long time.

  • As Frodo calls Sméagol to him so as to keep Faramir from killing him at the Forbidden Pool.

  • Suggestions of the Pity theme is heard as Sméagol and Gollum argue about how they've ended up in the clutches of Faramir's men.

  • As Faramir leads Frodo, Sam and Sméagol out of Osgiliath. Sméagol is hobbling behind the others, apparently injured.

  • Gollum's Song is an "exploration of the Pity of Gollum harmonies" (DA CR-TTT Liner Notes, pg 5)

Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • Music was scored for Sméagol's transformation into Gollum (opening scenes of ROTK) but not used. Within that music, Adams reports, are the "earliest incarnations of The Pity of Gollum." (AS-ROTK) (Can be heard on the CR-ROTK, Disc 1, Track 1, Roots and Beginnings)

  • As Gollum and Sméagol discuss their options while gazing in a lake, the Menace of Gollum is heard. But at the very end, the Pity of Gollum creeps in as Sméagol agrees with Gollum, "Yes... the stairs... and then... up, up, up the stairs we go."

  • A vague hint at the Pity theme is heard as Sméagol urges the Hobbits not to dawdle at site of the Fallen King. It's not 'really' Sméagol here. Sméagol has given over to Gollum. (EE scene)

  • After Gollum accuses Sam of stealing the Lembas, Sam loses all patience and attacks Gollum. Adams describes the music here as "a sharply warped reading of the Pity of Gollum."


Doug Adams in a post at

The theme heard for Gollum in film one is the Pity of Gollum Theme. When Bilbo displays Gollum-like traits, this theme is either combined with the Shire music or played outright. The Pity theme appears through the majority of the Gollum scenes in TT, though varied and and twisted into all sorts of shapes. (As stated by others, Gollum also gets his cimbalom music in Two Towers, primarily to represent the side of him that is not piteous—-the side that is a greedy, murderous river Hobbit.)

The Pity of Gollum theme is also combined with the History of the Ring music in Two Towers because the two have such an intertwined past. You’ll notice that the Ring is rarely related to a history prior to Gollum in Two Towers, so the History theme is usually combined with the Pity of Gollum Theme when it appears. This also masks some of the Pity melody and makes it a bit harder to recognize.

The Pity of Gollum theme does form the basis for Gollum’s Song, though more through a certain vein of harmony than direct melodic pieces. Gollum’s harmony is pretty unique in the scores—-very loosely related chromatic minor chords.