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The Fellowship of the Ring

J. R. R. Tolkien
Characters

Sam Gamgee

Characters Sam Gamgee

The loyal Sam consistently serves as a foil to all of the grandeur and earthshaking events that take place in The Lord of the Rings. Some readers may find Sam’s folksy wisdom and extreme devotion to Frodo somewhat cloying, but these traits do allow Tolkien to keep a little bit of the flavor of the Shire with the Fellowship as it moves toward the dark land of Mordor. Sam is much more the typical Hobbit than Frodo, though Sam, too, displays a great curiosity about the world beyond the Shire, especially Elves. Sam is shy and somewhat awkward socially, but he is ferocious in a fight and clever and quick on his feet. His speech consistently has a modest, awestruck tone. Tolkien, for instance, speaks through Sam when he wishes to capture the particular grace of the Elves simply and directly. Sam also serves as a foil for Frodo’s melancholy and fatalism. When Frodo becomes increasingly preoccupied with the great burden of the Ring, he comes to rely more and more on Sam for help. Indeed, throughout even the lowest and most hopeless points of the journey, Sam remains relentlessly pragmatic and optimistic. If it is Frodo’s duty to “carry” the Ring, it is often Sam’s duty to carry Frodo.