Today's Date in the Shire
T.A. 3018: The Company of the Ring stays in Rivendell preparing for the journey ahead.
Fun and Games
Walk to Rivendell
Malbeth the Seer
“Sam is the most closely drawn character, the successor to Bilbo of the first book, the genuine hobbit” (Letter 93).
Samwise Gamgee, the simple gardener of Frodo Baggins, his friend and master, was always an exception and a representative of hobbitry in the great events of the Ring War into which he was drawn.
When Frodo set out on his quest to destroy the One Ring, Sam’s motives for tagging along were considerably less lofty than saving the world: he always felt great loyalty towards Frodo, and did so until the very end; and he wanted to see those tales he liked so much come true and see Elves. Even after the great dimension of their journey had become clear to Sam, the things he fought for were smaller, but hardly less noble than those of most. Sam struggled on for the love of his master, the Shire, ale, and the whole pastoral, rustic surroundings from which he came.
Strider, whom the hobbits met in Bree, did not at once receive Sam’s full trust, unlike Bill the pony, which became a friend of his. Sam’s hobbit-typical sturdiness, common sense and mainly his devotion to Frodo (whom he would not had left anyway) made him an obvious choice to be one of the Nine Walkers formed in Rivendell. When the Fellowship broke at Amon Hen, Sam was the only companion to accompany Frodo eastward to Mordor and Mount Doom. After the capturing and taming of Gollum, it was still always Sam who had suspicions against him, and his harsh treatment almost wasted Frodo’s pity, such as in the incident at the Forbidden Pool with the rangers of Faramir, where Sam did not fully understand Frodo’s intentions of compassion (cf. Letter 246).
Thinking his master dead, Sam would have taken the Ring to finish the quest at Cirith Ungol, where Frodo was poisoned by Shelob, who in turn was wounded and forced to retreat by the courage of Sam. But he was able to rescue Frodo, and make their way across Gorgoroth, even though it meant parting with his cooking gear. In the final struggle between Gollum and Frodo Sam could only watch, but this did not lessen the praise he received after the War of the Ring was won.
After the scouring of the Shire, Sam married Rose Cotton, and became father of thirteen children, final co-author of the Red Book of Westmarch, seven times re-elected Mayor of the Shire, and Mayor Counsellor of the North Kingdom by decree of King Elessar. With the passing of his wife Rosie in 1482, the ties which held Samwise still in Middle-Earth were no longer enough, and so he gave the Red Book to his daughter Elanor, and headed to the Grey Havens, from which he sailed west, supposedly to Tol Eressëa, since he had borne the One Ring for a short time, too; and perhaps to a final meeting with Frodo.
All the while in the great events at the end of the Third Age, Sam had been especially aware that the adventure they were having was soon to become one of the legends and songs he enjoyed so much himself, that they were in a story. Through his simple point of view, and his rustic offsprings, the literary character of Sam has become a point of entry into Middle-Earth or even identification for many readers who were equally fond of him as his author – even though he “can be very ‘trying’” (Letter 246).
See also: Frodo Baggins, Gollum, Hamfast Gamgee, Bill, One Ring, Shelob
References: LotR, passim; Letters 93 & 246
b. = born d. = died F.A = Fourth Age fl. = flourished
T.A. = Third Age WoR = War of the Ring S. = Sindarin C.S. = Common Speech
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