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“My precious” quote in Lord of the Rings explained

Lord of the Rings didn't just give us some of the best movies ever, it also gave us an iconic quote. But you may wonder what's the meaning of "my precious".

My Precious quote explained: Bilbo holding The Ring in the first Lord of the Rings movie

What does the famous “my precious” quote mean in The Lord of the Rings? JRR Tolkien’s fantastical epic kicked off one of the best and most beloved movie franchises in existence, but besides giving us Hobbits and Orcs, the Lord of the Rings movies also gifted fans with some timeless quotes.

Every Lord of the Rings fan knows what quote I’m talking about. Let’s not lie; after watching all the Lord of the Rings movies in order, who hasn’t put on a funny voice and said “my precious” at one point in their lives? Gollum (aka one of the saddest and easily one of the best Lord of the Rings characters) made cinema history with his iconic catchphrase, becoming almost the mascot for Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

But did you know that there is more behind Gollum’s words? In fact, his quote has history, meaning and adds a layer of depth to what many already consider the best movies ever made. Well, if you aren’t a Middle-earth expert, don’t worry because below we fully explain the famous, my precious quote for all your adventuring convenience.

Why does Gollum say my precious?

Precious is the name generally given to The One Ring by all of its Ring Bearers, and Gollum calls it ‘my precious’ as he is wholly consumed by its power and covets it above all else.

The Ring’s power is enticing, and Gollum is the prime example of how it destroys and imprisons those that hold it. Gollum is wholly devoted to The One Ring, his life revolves around it, having had his mind destroyed and body deformed by its powers.

We also have to remember that Gollum has nothing to live for but The One Ring. He was banished by his family hundreds of years before the events of the fantasy movies, has no worldly possessions, and prior to meeting Bilbo in The Hobbit, he lived in dark solitude with only The Ring as his comfort and company.

So it is understandable why he constantly calls the evil piece of jewelry “my precious” since without it, there is no meaning to his life.

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Who else calls The One Ring precious?

Gollum wasn’t the first Ring Bearer to call The One Ring ‘precious,’ in fact, after it left the care of its true master Sauron, Isildur referred to it as such, as did Bilbo before leaving The Shire in the year TA 3001.

In Isildur’s case, he called The Ring precious in a document he wrote, where he also claimed it to be an heirloom of the North Kingdom, writing:

“But for my part, I will risk no hurt to this thing: of all the works of Sauron, the only fair. It is precious to me, though I buy it with great pain.”

Bilbo Baggins, on the other hand, heard Gollum referring to The One Ring as his “precious” when they met during the events of The Hobbit. He later repeated the phrase to the wizard Gandalf when he violently opposed leaving The Ring behind for Frodo before leaving the Shire.

Bilbo’s exclaim and sudden change in attitude is what led Gandalf to investigate The Ring and come across Isildur’s document. So really, without the phrase “precious” being used by the majority of the Ring Bearers as a calling card, Gandalf may have only figured out what evil force was in Frodo’s possession too late.

My Precious quote explained: Gollum holding The Ring in Mount Doom

Does Gollum call himself my precious?

Gollum has referred to himself as “precious” before but not enough to be noteworthy. We have to remember that his mind has been destroyed so that he may ramble on, but at the end of the day, it is The One Ring that Gollum awards that phrase to, not himself.

The most reasonable conclusion for Gollum’s confused self-imposed pet names is that years of loneliness have led to seeing The Ring as part of himself when they are together. Seeing himself as a “we” with his precious, as opposed to the solitude without it in his possession.

That may seem confusing but let’s break it down. Gollum has been by himself with only The Ring for roughly 400 years before it betrayed him and left with Bilbo. He is a wretched creature who talks to himself for centuries and develops a dual personality under The Ring’s influence. Besides saying “precious,” he has also called himself “love” on occasion. And it is easy to see where his ramblings and fractured state of mind may struggle with communication.

But ultimately, Gollum knows that The Ring is his master, more of his God than anything else. So, you can understand why he is so devastated when it finds a new Bearer and abandons him, can’t you?

For more on Middle-earth, here are our guides on the Lord of the Rings cast and everything we know about the new Lord of the Rings movies and the Rings of Power season 2 release date.

We also have explainers on Orcs, all of Sauron’s rings, and the best fantasy movies of all time. If you need a magical break, be sure to check out our articles on all the new movies heading our way this year and the best fantasy series of all time.