When the movie Lord of The Rings: Return of the King opens, it begins with Smeagol and his cousin, Deagol, fishing together. Deagol is pulled into the lake by a big fish he snags and as he is pulled across the bottom he discovers “the ring.”
The attraction of the ring’s power instantly affects them both. “Give it to me,” Smeagol says, but his cousin won’t let go of it. Soon Smeagol’s insatiable thirst to possess the power the ring wields causes him to attack his cousin and choke him to death.
Standing over his beloved cousins body, he murmurs “My precious,” with an evil tone and sinister look on his face. As the scene unfolds, the viewers see the effect the ring has on Smeagol in the days ahead. His obsession with it’s power transforms him, driving him mad and turning him from a normal Hobbit of the Stoor strain into a grotesque form.
Alone in misery and living in a gloomy den under the Misty Mountains, he reflects on his plight, “It cursed us. It drove us away. We want the precious. We want to be so alone. But we forgot the taste of bread, the sound of trees, the softness of the wind. We even forgot our own name.” However, in the depths of his depraved misery he groans in an insanely wicked voice, “My-y-y-y precious.”
The ring represents absolute power. When Smeagol gains possession of the ring it has a hideous metamorphic effect on him. He becomes evil and sneaky. He forgets the taste of bread, the sound of trees, the softness of the wind. He even forgets his name and becomes known as Gollum.
Although a fantasy tale, what happens to Smeagol isn’t so far removed from what happens to man in his desire to become God. “I will be like the Most High,” declares Lucifer before he is cast down from heaven. “You shall be like God” was the promise Satan would later make to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Since Eden, unregenerate man has had the insatiable desire to be Lord of the Ring, to be the one who has power over his own destiny and even that of others. To the extent that he seeks that power, he becomes increasingly transformed into a grotesque caricature of man as God created him.
His lust for power is his craving to be a god. It corrupts him completely, leaving him in total depravity. It leaves him miserable, yet still clutching the power for which he longs as he moans in his misery, “My-y-y-y precious.”
Jesus Christ came to free us from our plight. It is when we forfeit our right to own the ring that we find life, that we remember our name and once again eat from the tree of life. By his victory, we have been set free from the curse of the ring and find our world made right again. For the believer, the time of the dominion of sin has ended. The King is on His throne and He makes all things new.