Erik MH:

blog entry


original date2017-09-10 21:18 utc
republished2024-06-05 01:34 utc
topicshealth; family; orig. on PostHope

‘But you’ve left out one of the chief char­ac­ters: Sam­wise the stout­hearted. “I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?”’ 1 The Lord of the Rings, §4.08.065

Those of you who know Tolkien’s story best from Peter Jackson’s treat­ment really don’t know Sam as Tolki­en por­trayed him. Humphrey Car­penter quotes Tolki­en as say­ing that “his”

‘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. 2 J.R.R. Tolki­en: A Bio­graphy, p. 81

Though Frodo is the “hero” in our book, everything was harder for Sam. With the sole excep­tion of the bur­den of the ring itself, Sam had to face everything Frodo faced: enemies, fear, priva­tion, loneli­ness. In addi­tion, as Frodo’s ser­vant he was respons­ible for meals, plan­ning, keep­ing Frodo’s spir­it up, guard­ing against Gollum’s tricks, … and hav­ing that all-import­ant bit of rope, or salt, or what­not, care­fully hid­den away.

And of course, now, I’m really talk­ing about Kar­en — my Sam. Kar­en has kept my spir­its up, got­ten me to appoint­ments, kept my vari­ous med­ic­a­tions straight, encour­aged me to keep feed­ing through my j‑tube, kept track of who I’ve told about the can­cer and who I haven’t yet, … all while she con­tin­ues to work her dif­fer­ent-every-week assort­ment of gigs, call our loc­al con­tra dance, aid Timothy’s course selec­tion at Brown, work out sched­ules for Cameron’s last col­lege vis­its, and pick up my slack by mow­ing the lawn, clean­ing the bird cage, &c., &c., &c.

I can­not ima­gine a bet­ter com­pan­ion through all of this, and though I would nev­er wish any of this on her, I am per­petu­ally and deeply humbled and grate­ful that she is here and that she is who she is.

“Thank you, Sam.” 3 The Lord of the Rings, §6.03.056