Is The Lord of the Rings Really a Story of Samwise?

I’d like to give you a short thinker blog.

Have you ever wondered if the epic tale of Frodo and the Ring of Power is actually the frame for a much more intimate tale of the value of friendship and loyalty?

What if when stripped down, the real crux of the three books is perfectly shown in Samwise’s journey?


Samwise and Frodo photo credit: andy z via photopin cc

Could this awful carnage and waste, the trials and the pains of Middle Earth, been a picture painted by Tolkien of World War I, and Samwise a symbol, a glimpse of light, of what was still good in humanity holding secure during the great conflict?

Is the trilogy really a story about Samwise?

Give me some comments.

Be Sociable, Share!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Lucy January 2, 2014 #

    I think it could very well be argued that the book is about Sam. At least in the movies he is the character it focuses on last…I don’t know what it does in the books though 🙁

    • Drew Ellenwood January 2, 2014 #

      Hey Lucy, see my comment to Jessica.

  2. Jessica Worcester January 2, 2014 #

    I love that you wrote about this! I, like Lucy, never read the books, but I have thought at times that Sam was essential in the story, that he was an image of something much deeper than even Frodo and some of the others. I am not well-versed at literary discussion, but I did want to tell you that I agree and would love to hear more of your thoughts o the issue.

    • Drew Ellenwood January 2, 2014 #

      Thanks Lucy and Jessica. We remember that Sam was a ring-bearer, no matter how brief. Sam was the one that kept in view the goal even when Frodo lost hope and later when he lost his mind at the brink of Mount Doom and wanted to keep the ring. I’m not versed in literary discussion either. I just know what I like and I can think. That’s all literary discussion is… I think. I do believe you both have touched on the issue of Samwise. He is an image of something deeper, of hope, dogged steadfastness, and loyalty in friendship, of brotherly love that transcends to agape, that self-sacrificing love. But at a simpler level, he is an image of the Shire, of home, of family and friends and peaceful times, of what Frodo was really fighting for. I think Frodo would have lost that vision very quickly without Samwise at his side. And I think Sean Astin played Sam to perfection in the movies.


  1. The Problem with Invincibility | Drew Ellenwood - January 15, 2014

    […] did anyone wonder, once seeing Frodo and Samwise rescued from the lava-flooded slopes of Mount Doom by the eagles, why Gandalf didn’t use the […]

  2. 2 Battle Strategies against the Refrigerator Beast | Drew Ellenwood - January 28, 2014

    […] first battle strategy is toss.  Like in The Two Towers during the battle for Helmsdeep when Aragorn tossed Gimli the dwarf, you’ve got to […]

  3. 5 Essential Traits of Fantasy Heroes and Heroines | Drew Ellenwood - February 1, 2014

    […] Frodo Baggins is the epitome of endurance.  Through three long books he braves trials and tortures as he doggedly proceeds on his bleak assignment.  He endures, and so does Samwise.  Once the deed is done, the two wait for death and see from afar a better time for those who will come after. […]

  4. Romance in Fantasy and Science Fiction | Drew Ellenwood - February 19, 2014

    […] The Lord of the Rings is classic fantasy.  It melds great story to excellent character development and plunks the whole into a richly imaginative world. […]

  5. Justice League: Committed to Democracy or Oligarchy? | Drew Ellenwood - March 5, 2014

    […] I’d like to give you another short thinker blog. […]

  6. Who to Root for in Monster Movies | Drew Ellenwood - May 28, 2014

    […] that monster movies fall within the purview of fantasy and science fiction, I give you a short thinker-blog for consideration.  You go to Godzilla ready to cheer on humanity, but often times there’s more […]

  7. 7 Classic Fantasy Novels | Drew Ellenwood - January 24, 2015

    […] course from The Hobbit you can dive into The Lord of the Rings trilogy and, if ambitious, the ponderous and complicated […]

Leave a Reply