Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tolkien and Sam

In the fourth book of The Lord of the Rings everything becomes incredibly dark and somewhat hopeless. It's in these times that Sam talks about hope or dreams of oliphaunts, always sticking loyally to Frodo. When I first read through the novels, Sam was the only reason I kept reading through this book. It was difficult to push through this darkest part without his part of the narrative. Having read many of Tolkien's letters, I am led to believe that Tolkien himself probably felt the same way. The darkness of the plot is necessary to emphasize what's at stake, the power of the Ring, and the way it has touched all of Middle Earth. However, I believe Sam embodies Tolkien's love of the Shire and its peoples - a certain innocence and hardiness that is influenced by his experiences of England and war. Though touched by darkness or hopelessness, Sam acts as a walking talking reminder that home, light, and happiness still exists. For that reason, I'd be willing to make the argument that Tolkien included Sam's character and narrative because he needed that hope to exist in his created world, just as he needed it in reality.

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