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Old 05-28-2019, 08:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
I think the key difference between Grima and Gollum is that Gollum's near-redemption was the result of kindness. He was treated well by Frodo, and the spark of Smeagol within him responded to that; it was Sam's unthinking actions that ruined it.

Grima, though, was moved to a kind of false repentance by cruelty. As you say, he's not sorry for most of his actions (possibly Lotho's death), but he hates Saruman. What he's tempted by doesn't seem to be redemption, but defection. Had he somehow been able to take Frodo's offer, he would have rested, had food and shelter for a while - then headed off to, like as not, take up some other unpleasant occupation.

It is to Tolkien's credit as a writer that he makes us feel pity for a character who has really been a stereotypical evil minion the entire time we've known him. But ultimately, Grima kills Saruman out of personal, selfish anger, not to make the world better, but simply to get him out of his face. I don't think that's a redemption arc.

Defection is the perfect word for it. Thank you for helping me phrase the difference in words. And I agree that up to this point there has not been redemption. But I think there might have been a possibility of one. You think that after resting up Grima would be off with other shenanigans, but I had a feeling that this was a turning point for his life in two ways - to escape cruelty directed at him, and also to avoid cruelty he was forced to inflict on others. He clearly has no joy about whatever it was he did to Lotho. His mode of evil in in intrigue and high state affairs. If he stuck around, he might have taught some hobbits to cheat on taxes. But I think when he saw kindness at the critical point he might have had a Gollum moment, and may have answered with kindness too. But that's all speculation, annd based more on Frodo's line of successes in the business of forgiveness than on Grima himself.
"Surely you donít disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?" - Gandalf
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