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There’s one part which never ceases to move me, and many of us – it’s Sam’s Speech, regardless of whether it’s from the book or movie. I was thinking about it for a while, but couldn’t help but feel that the difference between Sam’s speech in the books and movies stuck out to me like a sore thumb.
The first time I heard about it was when I went back to school (the first one as a huge fan of the series) and was so glad to see a couple of students talking about it as well. One of them provided an interesting take, in that this speech was redone in the movies, which I completely overlooked.
I thought they were in both. Many thought otherwise – you’ll see TONS of posts out there saying that this eye-opening speech was added in the movies, but not in the books.
But I beg to differ – there is a book equivalent as well. It adds so much richness to it that the movie paraphrases. Though I do understand why they had to paraphrase it to an extent.
But it has the same message. When I watched Sam’s speech the first few times, I didn’t skip to the end but noticed it a lot – where he said:
I cited the movies as I initially thought the above quote was exclusive to the movies. While the quote above was in the movies, it is unknown whether it was in the books. I know it sounds a bit nitpicky for such a great quote though.
Some may say that Sam’s speech was a feature added onto the movies that wasn’t in the books. But I disagree – there is still at least an element of Sam’s speech in the books, which I think it seems more like a dialogue.
But for the sake of this post, I’ll focus on the book adaptations of Sam’s Speech – in which you could say it’s a dialogue. As it does provide for more of a conversational tone in it.
Usually, it’s the message I’d turn to during tough times. When things aren’t going as we expected, there are definitely a lot of things we can turn to from here.
It sometimes just gives us a sense that someone is talking to us in that way, especially when we feel isolated and alone like the only ones in the situation we’re in right now.
I also think that for a speech this powerful, the book adds so much richness to it – especially as Frodo and Sam didn’t know what was going to happen. It mentions all the stuff that happened in the First and Second Ages, as well as part of the Third Age – Beren and Luthien, Bilbo’s Journey, etc.
While it’s certainly different in the movies, I believe they’ve paraphrased Sam’s speech very powerfully. It’s a wonderful message we can take to current times.
Furthermore, it also adds a lot more meaning to current times, as we deal with the COVID crisis, disagreements with those you love, and some other things as well – which shine a new light on our personal lives not going as we had hoped or expected.
Maybe you’re expecting for something to go a certain way, or are in a situation where you have to put your ideals and dreams on hold to take care of your health, your family, or your sanity.
It’s definitely easier said than done – to accept the hardships big or small, in our lives.
Which is why, when I hear from many fellow LOTR/Tolkien fans, they tend to say something similar: that they wanted to better distinguish what happens in the movies vs books, and I’m happy to do just that with Sam’s speech as well.
Sam’s Speech: Analysis in the Books
I recently just made a poster on Sam’s speech! It was a bit longer than I expected, but nevertheless such a joy to create and inspire you in your life’s obstacles.
But in order to digest Sam’s speech, we will break it down one section at a time. I hope to provide more sizes and layouts of this, as it definitely works as an inspiration for all of us at times.
So…here, I think Sam opens up with a situation we’ve all been in: one in which you realize that you weren’t expecting the kinds of hardships you were facing.
But it’s also that Frodo didn’t just show up for the ring without any guidance. There was an entire chapter about the ring, (which was the second one) and it was supposed to be one where Gandalf tells him about the history of the ring.
But despite many hesitations, Frodo goes all in to be the ring-bearer.
So it wasn’t all unexpected. There was some conscious decision. But I’ve always viewed some parts of the book as a (whether conscious or not) message from the Christian belief that God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.
So the quest always reminded me of the meaning of doing something we don’t want to do. But it’s also not really a forceful call – more like he was nervous of what would happen along the way. And I think during this part, he was wondering if his reservations were true after all.
But I suppose it’s often that way.
Yes – it’s often that there are times along the journey when we figure if we had to go all the way back over again, we wouldn’t have gone through it.
Then after this, he references the other journeys, for example, the one that Bilbo went on in The Hobbit. I wonder if that last part there was alluding to the last chapter.
Bilbo went out, and came back home with a changed heart – but he was presumed dead, and had his possessions missing. While he started to not have such a good representation among the hobbits after the adventure he took, he didn’t really mind the fact. He started to embrace this new season of life – the new ideal of being friends with the dwarves and elves.
Frodo wasn’t sure. And this is the part where the movie lines and the book lines start to go together – as they mention that there are some times where you don’t really want to know what will come of it. Though there’s a minor (or major, depending on how you look at it) difference – in the movies, it was Sam that was reminding Frodo of that fact.
And that definitely holds true in our everyday lives. When times are trying, we don’t know what we’re holding onto or what we are meant to do.
Maybe you’ve traveled along a path in your life thinking something will go one way, but it ends up going another. Maybe there could be a season in your life you weren’t expecting.
Sam mentioned Beren’s journey – one thing you may or may not notice just by reading Sam’s speech, until you’ve read The Silmarillion or maybe Beren and Luthien. But if you haven’t read it yet, you definitely get at least a glimpse of it there.
But why, sir, I’ve never thought about it before!
I think what Sam is trying to say is that while he doesn’t know exactly what will happen at the end, he knows there’s some good out there. And this can sort of just relate to the movie quote – “there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
And he’s trying to tell Frodo that they’re both in some sort of tale and the temporary discomfort they’re feeling at the moment is a result of being in the middle of it. It’s the struggles or the pitfalls.
After Frodo doubts things – I think he was just trying to say, “it is what it is.” So here, he’s saying that the people will just come along, and then go, and they don’t know when their part will end.
He’s probably also saying that the story doesn’t have to end as tales intentionally, and we’ll never know if we would be living in a tale or not. But that’s another story.
Then, in the interest of seeing good in the world (I think), Sam starts to list things to look forward to, mainly rest and sleep and waking up to a morning’s work in the garden. He’s also craving this ‘sense of normalcy,’ which we can attest to with the ever changing times.
He then says that whatever goes through, people will want to know more about and remember Frodo and the ring. He’s essentially saying there are tons of stories, but that’s the one that people would want to hear the most about eventually.
Note that at the time, it hasn’t really happened yet – so we’re thinking from the perspective of them not knowing what will eventually happen in Mount Doom.