A hobbit of the Shire, son of Hamfast Gamgee and Bell Goodchild,
Samwise Gamgee a.k.a. Sam, born in T.A. 2980, is a friend of the Ring Bearer, Frodo
Baggins, as well as his man-servant and side-kick. After the end of the War of the Ring
he was made the Master of the Shire seven times.
Sam spent his childhood and adolescence at Bag End, Bilbo Baggins’
estate. Bilbo Baggins, an old and wise hobbit, taught Sam to read and told him stories
of his many journeys outside the Shire. Sam took great liking to those stories and dreamt
of meeting elves, dwarves and other beings in real life. Like Pippin and Merry, he liked
adventure and was very inquisitive. At the beginning of the trilogy when Gandalf was telling
Frodo about the Ring, outside Sam happened to be working in the garden. Gandalf, of whom
Sam was terribly afraid at first, pulled him out by his ear. As a punishment the wizard gave
Sam a special task – to accompany Frodo on his quest to Rivendell. But that only made Sam happy.
In “The Lord of the Rings” Sam is presented as the embodiment of faithfulness,
simplicity and decisiveness. He does not come from a noble family like his friends Frodo, Merry and
Pippin. But that in no way prevents him from gaining fame and honour.
More than once he saved Frodo’s life and helped him on his quest to
Orodruin. But at first Sam wasn’t chosen to be a Member of the Fellowship of the Ring. He was not
even allowed to be present at the Council of Elrond, but was hiding himself in a secluded corner and
heard everything that was going on. When Frodo made his fateful decision, Sam could not remain
in the shade any more and asked Elrond not to separate him from his Master.
If Sam hadn’t been nearby Old Man Willow from the Old Forest would
have killed Frodo, as well as Merry and Pippin. Sam didn’t leave the Ring Bearer alone even
after the Breaking of the Fellowship and bravely went with him to Orodruin. He helped Frodo
to escape from the orcs in Mordor.
Sam is a very practical hobbit. All the time he is worrying about a forgotten
rope. “Rope!” he muttered. “No rope! And only last night you said to yourself: “Sam, what about
a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it: Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.” In Mordor this
rope proved to be very useful.
As to his appearance, it is usual for a hobbit-servant. Compared to Frodo,
he looked plump and had wavy hair. He was clad in typical clothes for a fairly well off hobbit. He
was armed with a dagger which he found in the Barrow-Downs.
A journey through Mordor wasn’t that easy for Sam. When he thought
that his Master Frodo was dead, he took the Ring and decided to bring it to Orodruin himself.
The Ring didn’t dampen his spirits, didn’t tempt him with riches. For he knew nothing of those
riches. He was a common hobbit and never strived for luxury.
When saving Frodo from the Tower of Cirith Ungol, being tired, he continued
to pursue the orcs frightening them with the light of Sting. Sam was a brave warrior who almost
alone managed to kill all the orcs from the Tower.
In that gloomy land Sam constantly lifted “Mr Frodo’s” spirits and didn’t
allow him to surrender at the last moment. But the Ring Bearer gave in and Sam did something
next to impossible. “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.”
Sam hated Gollum, the Ring’s slave and their guide in Mordor, more than
Frodo did. He didn’t believe this loathsome creature for a second. And this distrust would save the
hobbits’ lives again.
After the end of the War of the Ring, Sam returned to the Shire and married
Rose Cotton. They had 13 children. Till the end of his days, Sam remained a faithful servant and
at the end of the trilogy asked his Master’s permission to marry. Of course, Frodo gave his blessing.
Frodo let the young family live at Bag End. He left Sam all his property and asked him to put in order
some records and to finish off the Red Book of Westmarch. Like his Master, Samwise Gamgee
had a literal talent. He composed remarkable poems.
In F.A. 7 he was elected as the Master of the Shire, after
that he was re-elected to this position six more times. When his wife died
– in F.A. 82 – he sailed away.
So, who is Samwise Gamgee? An ordinary servant, gardener or a warrior
able to defeat the Enemy? Obviously, one does go well with the other. 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.”
If a small but brave hobbit like Sam could make his land
blossom, then he is really worth the wizard’s laurels. Even if he doesn’t belong
to the Council of Istari.