“I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.” –Sam from The Fellowship of the Ring
“I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, or course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: “Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!” And they’ll say: “Yes, that’s one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave. wasn’t he, dad?” “Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.“‘–Sam from the Two Towers
Who: Samwise “Sam” Gamgee
From: The Lord of the Rings
Written by: JRR Tolkien
Date Published: July 21, 1954
Why: Sam is the heart of the novel. The Lord of the Rings is essentially a quest/buddy story with a 9 member fellowship of adventurers trying to get the Ring to Mt. Doom. It is hard to stand out in a group of nine when you are small, socially unconnected and unskilled. Sam isn’t a wizard (Gandalf), he’s not a prince (Boromir, Aragorn), he’s not a warrior (Legolas, Gimli), and he’s not even a well-born Hobbit (Frodo, Meriadoc and Pippin). He’s just Frodo’s servant. Yet his character arch from simple Shire gardener to determined hero is one of the 20th Century literature’s most endearing.
Pros: Loyal, Brave, Selfless, Kind, Modest, Inquisitive, Humble, Optimistic,
Cons: Occasionally slow-witted and jealous, Sam can also holds a grudge.
Shining moment: Sam has several shining moments in the books ( saving the Frodo, Merry and Pippen from Old Man Willow, his fight with Shelob, keeping Frodo fed, sane and going thru Mordor, singlehandedly battling the orcs at Cirith Ungol to rescue Frodo among them) but I think his most shiny moment is when he carries Frodo up the side of Mount Doom…
“Come, Mr. Frodo!” he cried. “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.” [The Return of the King]
Least shining moment: Like all of us Sam has his doubts, and Gollum is a master manipulator who plays on those doubts. Sam doesn’t trust Gollum or his alter ego Sméagol, and he doesn’t treat the creature kindly.Conclusion: Sam manages to stay true to himself while evolving into a wonderful hero. He has just as much chance to take the Ring as bigger, more powerful characters, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t need the Ring (or its power) to make him happy. It tempts him with visions of greatness, but he knows himself. “The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.” [The Return of the King] So he carries it but never puts it on his finger.
In “The Lord of the Rings” it is difficult to find a more honest character. During the journey Sam was to Frodo what Sancho was to Don Quixote – confident, conscious and supportive…Sam is a pledge for the prosperity of Hobbiton both in the literal and figurative sense of the word. When in Lyrien, he received a box with the blessed soil, which would fertilize the land in every corner of Middle-earth. This is what Galadriel said: “Well, Master Samwise. I hear and see that you have used my gift well. The Shire shall now be more than ever blessed and beloved.” [Lord of the Rings.org]
For more on Sam, The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien go to Tolkien Gateway HERE
Thank you to: Bill, Maggie, John and Margie for contributing their thoughts to this blog post.
- For more on Sam, The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien go to Tolkien Gateway HERE
- What Lord of The Rings Teaches Us About Integrity (noellecampbelldotcom.wordpress.com)