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I think he was just pulling Sam's leg; they both knew Sam had neither the intelligence to become a wizard nor the brawn to become a warrior; and also that he had the disposition of neither. Sam's wisdom was plain common sense, he knew right from wrong and when push came to shove, was able to choose the lesser of two evils.

In light of the above quote, I suppose it is rather ironic that later Sam thrice accepted the mantle of warrior when it was thrust upon him: 1) when he picked up his sword to successfully defend Frodo's body from Shelob; 2) when he overcame his fear and stormed the Tower of Cirith Ungol to rescue Frodo from the Orcs; and 3) when he took part in the last great battle in The Shire. And I guess we could even call the work he did with 'The Lady's Present', "wizardry".
In Tolkien's words:
Letter #72 to Christopher
' Samwise (Old english- Halfwit)'

'My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 War, and recognised as so far superior to myself' (J R R Tolkien: a biography. Carpenter, Humphrey)

When Tolkien created Sam, I don't think he knew at the time how loyal and brave Sam would become as the story developed. In the end he saw Sam was not really a samwise but indeed a man that reminded him of the enlisted men who served him during the war.
I love the irony too, Grondy.
BTW: I took the LOTR personality test and apparently I have a lot in common with Sam.
Kindred spirit, I guess. In Love Smilie
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In the end he saw Sam was not really a samwise but indeed a man that reminded him of the enlisted men who served him during the war.


Aahh. Now that's nice. I always saw Sam that way. A brave servant, foolish enough to do anything to protect his master. Big Smile Smilie
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... foolish enough to do anything to protect his master. Big Smile Smilie
I thought that was "loyalty" not "foolishness" Big Smile Smilie
I don't think we should mistake loyalty for foolishness even if our loyalty leads us to foolish actions - loyalty is at least something to respect - even in evil. That's why we despise Saruman so much... he wasn't even loyal.
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In light of the above quote, I suppose it is rather ironic that later Sam thrice accepted the mantle of warrior when it was thrust upon him: 1) when he picked up his sword to successfully defend Frodo's body from Shelob; 2) when he overcame his fear and stormed the Tower of Cirith Ungol to rescue Frodo from the Orcs; and 3) when he took part in the last great battle in The Shire. And I guess we could even call the work he did with 'The Lady's Present', "wizardry".


Grondy, I think you forgot to mention his attact on the watcher in the water by the gates of Moria. If I remember well, in the book Sam was the only one to come to Frodo's help when the tentacles grabed him. All the others stood like frozen.
Yes, and there Sam had to make the choice of who to save, Bill the pony or Frodo. Luckily for the story he chose Frodo and drawing his knife, attacked the tentacle that was pulling Frodo towards the water.
I think he should have saved Bill, Bill would have been less wimpy in Mordor, a much better choice of ringbearer I reckon.
Very Big Grin Smilie

I didn't say loyalty = foolishness, I just meant... Oh well, I can't explain what I meant cos I can't really remember... Tongue Smilie
Who was the great servant that felt himself unworthy to bear the ring: it was Sam.

Who willingly surrendered the ring after having worn it repeatedly: it was Sam.

Who carried the ring up Mount Doom: it was Sam.

Who was the only ringbearer who had no regrets: it was Sam.

Who bore the ring but had done nothing wrong with it: it was Sam.

Who got to return home and live the good life: it was Sam.

Who was the greatest hero in the story: it was Sam.

These ideas came from Orson Scott Card's essay, 'How Tolkien Means' found in Meditations on Middle-earth (edited by Karen Haber.
I like Sam because he is not only devoted to Frodo he is devoted to getting the job done. Obviously he is devoted to Frodo but he is still able to see the bigger picture and take hope. Also he is possibly the most courageous of all the hobbits being willing to follow Frodo whereever he goes, not really having much control over what they do, just doing his best whatever the circumstances.
You just like him 'cos he's your husband, Rosie. Wink Smilie Sorry to be the one to inform you that Plastic poured acid on him in Gondolin. Mwahahaha! Very Evil Smilie

But seriously, I don't think that he sees the bigger picture at all. Or if he seemed to, it's not intentional. He's too...provincial... to be that smart.
Sam is your practical 'Sod of the Earth', knowing that he can't control his destiny, that the weather and others have all the power, he lets little faze him, just rolls with the punches, making the best out of life that he can.
Yeah, making the best out of the situation for him & his friends, but at the same time making life miserable for the less fortunate. He could have been nicer to poor old Gollum, you know. Sad Smilie
First of all, Gollum is definitely one of my favorite characters. He was completely obsessed with the ring and completely under its power but at the same time I couldn't help but feel that there was really good person...er...hobbit deep down inside him. In the end, I think Gollum was far and away the most tragic character in LotR. Having said that, I still can't really blame Sam for the way he treated Gollum. In a way, Sam was far more perceptive than Frodo because, after all, Gollum did try to feed them to Shelob. Sam simply didn't trust Gollum with his and Frodo's life and his distrust was well justified.
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In the end, I think Gollum was far and away the most tragic character in LotR. Having said that, I still can't really blame Sam for the way he treated Gollum

I can. Gollum was unstable, true, but he tried hard to keep true to his promise to the Precious. Sam was distrustful of Gollum from the start - and although you might say that the trust had to be earned, I believe that he didn't give Gollum a chance. A kind word or an accepting gesture would hae been enough, and if Gollum still betrayed them after that, then I'd say that Sam was justified. But not before, and he certainly didn't give Gollum any encouragement to improve himself. Tragic, true, but I see it happening all the time in real life, which is why I'm so p*ssed off with Mr. Gamgee.

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In a way, Sam was far more perceptive than Frodo because, after all, Gollum did try to feed them to Shelob. Sam simply didn't trust Gollum with his and Frodo's life and his distrust was well justified.

Sam pushed him over the edge - and even then, Gollum didn't totally betray them. He only planned to feed Sam to Shelob, not Frodo, and was worried & distraught that Shelob might hurt the Master & Precious. Big distinction there, Prog.

As for being more perceptive than Frodo...true on occasions (when he blabbed to Faramir), but not this one. He just didn't see the bigger picture. Frodo had a whopping big heart and could forgive those who tried to hurt him. Sam was mean-spirited, and unkind to those who were 'different'.
Sam was also distrustful of all of the non-elven 'big people', as well of anyone else who might pose a threat to Frodo; consider his initial meetings with: Farmer Maggot, Aragorn, and Boromir, and Faramir. Frodo was the big innocent who was just looking for help where ever he could find it. Sam's job was to screen that help, to ascertain if they were indeed, trustworthy.
Well, there's nothing wrong with that - Sam was sensible in being cautious at first, and anyway he soon warmed up to the characters you mentioned once Frodo or Gandalf okayed them.

Unfortunately Sam still treated Gollum badly even after Gandalf appealed for pity (at Bag End, when Sam was eavesdropping). And then after they captured Gollum, and Frodo himself gave Gollum a chance to prove himself, Sam was still very harsh and judgemental towards him. Sure, Gollum had a past, and had commited many crimes - but maybe, just maybe, he could have been redeemed had he received enough encouragement and kindness from Sam as well as Frodo? What happened to being innocent until proven guilty? What happened to compassion, forgiveness & understanding? Or are they only reserved for those with unblemished reputations? There's no redemption for the weak and the fallen then?

To be fair to Sam, he did say, "Poor wretch," when he observed Gollum returning after a meal. So maybe he did feel some form of pity for Gollum - but certainly enough not to make him a true hero, IMHO. And he's certainly not blameless for Gollum's last act of betrayal.

[Edited on 16/9/2002 by Ungoliant]
Well I just watched FOTR again, and I loved, I just loved that last scene when Sam and Frodo are on their way to Mordor, and Frodo says: "I don't think we'll ever see them again." And then Sam says: "We may yet, Mr. Frodo. We may yet."

Now that's Sam! And that is I think one of his most important goals: cheering up Frodo whenever necessary, thus taking a cloud from his heart and making him feel a little less depressed. Only realised that thoroughly when I saw that scene again.
I liked Sam. He is not, however, better than Frodo. Equal maybe...will think on that.
I like how through him Tolkien demonstrated different classes of common people. Sam is Frodo's servent, and you can see that, he has bad grammer, for one thing. And yet he does get Bag End in the end, what does this tell you...I am rambling. Will stop now.
That's right Samwise--welcome to our forum, by the way Smile Smilie --Sam proved that hard work and a helping hand up can lead a commoner to become a member of the ruling class, or at least the gentry; he was elected Mayor of Hobbiton seven times, two of his daughters married in to the aristocracy, while one of his sons maintained the family vocation, which showed that the Gamgees didn't let all that fame and fortune go to their heads. Big Smile Smilie
Absolutely right, both Sam and Grondy!

Hurray for the Gamgees! Pary Smilie
...boo, hisssssesssssss Tongue Smilie Wink Smilie
We hates the nasssty hobbitses, we hates it forever.
Very Big Grin Smilie
Big Laugh Smilie That makes two of you. No, three, sorry. Very Big Grin Smilie
i like sam. he was kind of like a comic releif almost. he seemed to make the most jokes in the book. Smoke Smilie

[Edited on 28/9/2002 by Grondmaster]
Jokes? Must have missed 'em. Very Big Grin Smilie
But Sam is just one BIG joke surely Tommy?
From Letters of J R R Tolkien Letter#246:
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Sam is meant to be lovable and laughable. Some readers he irritates and even infuriates. I can well understand it. All hobbits at times affect me in the same way, though I remain very fond of them. But Sam can be very trying.


I believe the character of Sam is getting just the reaction that Tolkien was looking for. I did not like the potrayal of Sam in the animated movie. He seemed too stupid ( for lack of a better word) to be of any use to Frodo at all.

BTW: Welcome to the PT forum inderjitsanghera. I hope you enjoy yourself here and be sure to explore everything we have to offer. Big Smile Smilie


[Edited on 13/10/2002 by Rednell]
I'm totally with you inderjitsanghera, Sam sucks, bigtime, welcome and enjoy.
I agree with you inderjitsanghera. There are many kinds of friendship, but perhaps what the postAuthorID of the quoted post meant was simply that Frodo could not have completed the quest without Sam. But good point anyway, I enjoy reading your posts.
no one loved Frodo like Sam did - that was the entire point of their relationship! Sam didn't sacrifice for the quest, he sacrificed for Frodo - that was his one great flaw. He was not dedicated to the quest = some people are converted to the missionl, and others to missionaries - it's not the same thing.

Frodo couldn't have made it without Sam. I think being Frodo's protector was Sams calling - he only did what was required of him - but he rose so splendidly to the occassion. I believe that is what Tolkien was trying to point out with his character - that we can all rise to the occassion, some have to rise a little bit higher, but they are of no less value in the big picture.
Hey! Swampfaye, welcome back. We've missed you. Happy Elf Smilie

And I agree with you.

[Edited on 4/11/2002 by Grondmaster]
I think that if Frodo had truly been dead Sam would have completed the quest without him. If you recall, after he retrieved Frodo from the orcs he spent pretty much the rest of the way to Mount Doom practically dragging Frodo. For that reason, Sam deserves at least as much, if not more credit than Frodo for the destruction of the Ring, even though Frodo bore (and eventually succumbed to) the burden of the Ring.
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I think that if Frodo had truly been dead Sam would have completed the quest without him. If you recall, after he retrieved Frodo from the orcs he spent pretty much the rest of the way to Mount Doom practically dragging Frodo. For that reason, Sam deserves at least as much, if not more credit than Frodo for the destruction of the Ring, even though Frodo bore (and eventually succumbed to) the burden of the Ring.


ah... but without Frodo, there would be nothing but the mission to be dedicated to in his memory - Sam would still only be doing the mission for the sake of Frodo. I agree with you ab out deserving the credit/ as much as Frodo, but I still think that if Frodo HAD become Gollum Sam would be trying to save Frodo FROM the ring, not save Middle Earth from the ring...
I see your point. Sam's priorities were Frodo first, and THEN the destruction of the Ring. Otherwise, perhaps Sam would have just taken the ring from Frodo and completed the quest on his own. You have to admit, Frodo wasn't much more than a big PITA near the end there. And Sam seemed largely unaffected by his short time in possesion of the Ring. Perhaps he would have simply strolled up to the cracks of doom and tossed the ring in without hesitation...

Re Rednell's quote from Letters. This really confuses me. I honestly don't understand why people dislike Sam so. Now I hear that even Tolkien found him "Trying." I always figured it was simply contrary people who disliked Sam, ie, they hated him because so many people liked him. Can someone please spell out for me what is that they find so "infuriating" about Sam? Is it the Gollum thing? Or is it simply Sour Grapes?
I think it comes down to personality. Some of us like the sidekick, some of us like the hero. I think sidekick lovers have personalities that match the hero more and people that hate the sidekick detest them because they share so many traits with them. THis is just my opinion based on my many years reporting at scifi conventions and relations with fan clubs.

Tolkien may have said Sam was trying, but he also indicated that Sam was dedicated to the loving memory of the common men in the trenches he served with in WWI - simple folk can often be trying to "intellectuals" especially men, who don't have to deal on a daily basis with children. How many intellectuals/college professors from ivy league schools - do you know that are actually patient with * anyone* who doesn't understand what they are trying to do or say??? I know none...
I agree with you swampfaye, on your first point, that Sam didn't sacrifice himself for ME but for Frodo. However, I think as the quest went on he was learning to see the 'big picture', and if Frodo had died I think he would have completed the quest. Certainly I think he could have thrown the Ring into the fire. But I also think he would have thrown himself into the fire too or killed himself in some way after the Ring was destroyed because life without Frodo would have been unbearable for him.
I think Sam's treatment of Gollum was a reason why many people didn't like him, because if you think about it, it really was a wee bit unfair.
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I think Sam's treatment of Gollum was a reason why many people didn't like him, because if you think about it, it really was a wee bit unfair.


I happen to think his treatment of Gollum absolutely justified (how many English WWII grunts do you think wanted a Nazi along with them during a raid?) and in forsight he was obviously correct about his first impressions of Gollum
Sam's a moron, he has no idea what he's doing, and he's totally implausible, and a horrific reminder of the old Master Servant relationships of Victorian England. That's why I hate him, nothing to do with his treatment of Gollum. If he'd had any balls at all he'd have topped Gollum and not given a toss what Frodo thought of him for it.
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Sam's a moron, he has no idea what he's doing, and he's totally implausible, and a horrific reminder of the old Master Servant relationships of Victorian England.


those relatioinships will always exist, with or without slavery - it's called co-dependance - but I do very much resent you calling Sam a Moron. MOron's have limited learning capacity, and I think Sam showed he could learn whatever was presented to him. Even Frodo was amazed at his capacity...
If Eru wiled it, then he also willed Sam to accompany Frodo - if everything happened according to plan - Sam was all the more invaluable...
Sam wasn't a numskull(a person lacking intelligence) and I liked him. He adds diversity to characters too.
But one thing bugged me all the time - he all the time was calling Frodo 'master'. That was realy freaky. But I gues it is just some sort of 'english butler thingy'.
I always just thought of it as showing respect. Not unlike calling him Mr. Frodo.
Ok, I have just read this thread all the way through. There have been some really interresting comments for both sides. Some of us like him and some of us don't. On the whole I like Sam. However, he was kinda irritating at times too. I understand both sides of the arguement. The 'Master' thingy was really grating on the nerves. If I had been Frodo, I would have looked at Sam, the 1st time he called me that and said don't do that again. My name is Frodo! Not Master!

I like all the different opinions here. Make LOTRs more interesting. Next time I read it, I will have a different perspective. Thanks for the insight everyone.

Mellie
OK, since Sam is my favourite character and almost THE reason to keep reading LOTR over and over again, I wanted to try to get this discussion started again. And what Prog wrote here seemed a good point to start from.

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I see your point. Sam's priorities were Frodo first, and THEN the destruction of the Ring. Otherwise, perhaps Sam would have just taken the ring from Frodo and completed the quest on his own. You have to admit, Frodo wasn't much more than a big PITA near the end there. And Sam seemed largely unaffected by his short time in possesion of the Ring. Perhaps he would have simply strolled up to the cracks of doom and tossed the ring in without hesitation...

Re Rednell's quote from Letters. This really confuses me. I honestly don't understand why people dislike Sam so. Now I hear that even Tolkien found him "Trying." I always figured it was simply contrary people who disliked Sam, ie, they hated him because so many people liked him. Can someone please spell out for me what is that they find so "infuriating" about Sam? Is it the Gollum thing? Or is it simply Sour Grapes?


Why do so many people dislike Sam, or say they dislike Sam? Sam is brought forward as a rather simple person, not complicated. He doesn't look so well, he thinks very low of himself, he's very emotional and has a very big heart. What would happen to a person like that in this world? Most likely.....they would be pushed aside, laughed at, run over, they would be considered weak. So if you ask me, some people don't like Sam because those characteristics aren't accepted in this world. Or maybe they recognise a part of themselves in Sam, the more emotional part that makes you vunerable, and they don't like being vunerable. Maybe they do like him, but are afraid to admit it, afraid to be laughed at. Because heros like Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, yes even Gollum are cooler.
My opinion......They way Sam is....that's not being weak.......that's being very strong! To live your life intense and show the feelings you have inside is being strong. It would be much easier to hind behind a mask, shutting everybody out. And what makes Sam so wonderful to me is his deep friendship for Frodo, a pure love, without asking anything in return, being there for his friend no matter at what cost. And the second thing that makes him so special..... he didn't change. He is the only one of the Fellowship that returns to the Shire like he had left it. The heavy trip, nor the Ring had any effect on him, exactly because he's so simple and pure.

Take Sam out of LOTR, and I won't read it ever again. He's the magic for me.
SAm is awsome! Ive read his show down with shelob and gollum a million times!
The movie Sam (Sean Astin) plays a character named Mister Smith (to whom God talks) in this the second season of 'Jeremiah' on cable. The story comes from a comic book series and is about life in post-plague times. I like it.
I have just finished the LOTR (and am in the processs of re-reading them) and I like Sam I think that he possess some wonderful qualities that I think are lacking in too many people these days. He was the one that in the end got Frodo all the way to Mt. Doom and he kept him alive on the trip there all the while through Mordor, I think that had it not been for Sam I often wonder if Frodo would have made it all the way to complete his journey?? I would love to have a friend that is that loyal to me. I think that the relationship with Sam and Frodo is more than employer/employee I think that Sam genuinely loves and respects Frodo and I think that Frodo feels the same way about Sam. In a series of books that are full of heroes I think that of all the heroes for many reasons Sam is the biggest hero becuase he makes the sacrifice to leave the only home that he knows to go out to places that he has never been. I mean yeah Gandalf caught him "dropping eves" but I think that Gandalf being wise chose Sam the same reasons that I like Sam he is loyal, he loves Frodo and Gandalf knows that no matter what Sam will never leave Frodo or "lose him". I also think that it is Sam that keeps Frodo going there are many times that save for Sam, Frodo would have given up the journey becuase I think that towards the end Frodo was starting to succumb to the Ring and it was Sam that kept him going with the knowledge that they were doing something for the greater good, and they had to keep going no matter what the cost. I think that Sam was a wonderfully written character and his love and loyalty for Frodo were the most beautifully written things that I have ever read. I think that Sam's love for Frodo was one of the reasons that I instantly loved this series of stories.

Thanx
Sorry to Ramble
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