The Fellowship of the Ring
How we cite our quotes:
That night they camped on a small eyot close to the western bank. Sam lay rolled in blankets beside Frodo. "I had a funny dream an hour or two before we stopped, Mr. Frodo," he said. "Or maybe it wasn't a dream. Funny it was anyway."
"Well, what was it?" said Frodo, knowing that Sam would not settle down until he had told his tale, whatever it was. "I haven't seen or thought of anything to make me smile since we left Lothlórien."
"It wasn't funny that way, Mr. Frodo. It was queer. All wrong if it wasn't a dream. And you had best hear it. I saw a log with eyes!" (2.9.14-6)
That "log with eyes" that Sam observes in the Anduin is, of course, Gollum, who has been tracking them all the way from Moria, through Lothlórien, to the Anduin. Now that's perseverance. The frightening thing about Gollum is his uncanny similarity to the Hobbits. He is about the same size (though skinny and wasted with hardship) and Gandalf speculates that his people were probably distant Hobbit relatives. Gollum's desperation to be reunited with the Ring has two narrative functions: (1) it heightens our sense of the Ring's incredible power, since lust for the Ring drives Gollum to cross hundreds of miles on foot, alone, hunting after the Company. And (2), it foreshadows one possible (and hopefully avoidable) future for Frodo: Gollum's mind has been almost completely destroyed by the Ring, a risk that Frodo runs throughout the Lord of the Rings series. Having Gollum around increases our suspense over what will become of our favorite Ring-bearer.