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Re: [mythsoc] A Blogger says:

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  • David S. Bratman
    Here s what I wrote to a friend who posed that question to me some time ago. Borrow as you will: No definitive answer to the Gollum/golem question, but I
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2003
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      Here's what I wrote to a friend who posed that question to me some time
      ago. Borrow as you will:


      No definitive answer to the Gollum/golem question, but I doubt strongly
      there's any connection.

      "Golem" in Hebrew implies a dead lump of clay, animated only because it's
      enchanted and has Hashem written on its forehead. None of this has any
      parallel with Gollum.

      In _The Hobbit_ it is said that the word "gollum" is "a horrible swallowing
      noise in his throat" that the creature makes, and that "that is how he got
      his name."

      I expect Tolkien tried making a horrible swallowing noise to hear what it
      sounded like, and then transcribed it. The resemblance to "golem" would be
      coincidental - there are only so many phonemes in the world.

      At the Borderlands panel - which went quite well: there were about 20
      people present, as many as could fit, and they asked some good questions -
      someone wondered if the name Gandalf was Italian, because of the actor's
      name Gandolfini. An interesting guess, but it's actually a Norse dwarf name.

      - David Bratman


      At 07:52 AM 1/2/2003 , Stolzi wrote:
      >"Has anybody read anything on what the source of the name "Gollum" is? I was
      >wondering if it's supposed to allude to Golem -- i.e. the Jewish mystical
      >creatures. I don't remember reading anything about this, but we do know that
      >Tolkien took words and language very, very seriously."
      >
      >It's my impression that Gollum is simply a reproduction of gurgling throat
      >noises, and has nothing to do with the Golem. But can I tell him this,
      >confidently?
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