Samwise the Brave or Boromir, Hero of Gondor
I just got back from a retreat where I was asked what my favorite character was in the Lord of the Rings series. It made me think about some things. Unlike Game of Thrones, which has few likable characters, perhaps mainly because they either get killed off, or it shows a truer picture of humanity – deeply flawed beings who may or may not try to do the right thing.
I’ve realized that while my ideal is Sam, I often end up Boromir, a character who because of his passion and belief for what was saw as right often alienated those he cared for, and didn’t realize it was so until it was too late. However, as he is honorable, he often atones for it in ways no other person could.
Definitely one of my favorite characters.
Probably, because I am so much like him.
But this got me thinking, why do we all like Sam. Samwise the Brave. Always positive, understanding the reality of the situation yet remaining optimistic of its passing. I think he’s most remembered for two quotes. I’ll focus on one, the second is added on the bottom just for additional reading!
This one is often titled, “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo.”
In the movie, Frodo is severely dispirited, and Sam is trying to encourage him.
Sam was an amazing encourager.
And he says in the movie, “I know, it’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here, but we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing. The shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you and meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something… That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
One of the things that Tolkien was amazing with was his ability to relate to humanity with an absolute good and evil sense. I think at some point, we have all been a Frodo or a Samwise. And I think it has to do with our choices.
Yes, Frodo was carrying the weight of the ring, and yes Frodo was struggling with something Sam could never understand. But that didn’t keep Sam from saying anything.
In fact, it made what he said more powerful.
Because he was able to look at the situation as a greater story.
But, he never diminished Frodo’s struggles.
Thank back to a time when this quote would work perfectly… how did you respond to the situation? What encouraged you? What encouragement did you give if it was happening to another person? I’d love to hear it in the comments!
While, if not for Boromir, the book would have ended differently, without Sam, and Sam’s role in the book, there would be no resolution or ending we could care about.
How can you give hope to someone in spite of the situations?
This is my other favorite Sam quote, one, from the actual book:
“Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, or course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book… And people will say: “Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring! ” And they’ll say: “Yes, that’s one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave. wasn’t he, dad?” “Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.”‘
“It’s saying a lot too much,” said Frodo, and he laughed, “Why, Sam,” he said,”to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. 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? ” ‘
“Now, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam,”you shouldn’t make fun. I was serious. ‘
“So was I,” said Frodo, ‘and so I am. We’re going on a bit too fast. You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: “Shut the book now, dad; we don’t want to read any more.” ‘ (You can watch a segment from the movie here)