Samwise Gamgee was born on 6 April TA 2980 – to Hamfast Gamgee and Bell Goodchild. He had five siblings – Hamson, Halfred, Daisy, May and Marigold.
His father had tended the garden of Bag End for 40 years, and after growing old the job was carried on by Sam. They were on friendly terms with Bilbo and Frodo, living just below Bag End on Number 3 Bagshot Row, and would spend quite a bit of time at the Green Dragon Inn.
(On screen: Bilbo called him Master Hamfast consulting him constantly upon growing vegetables.)
Sam was meant to be lovable and laughable – much like most other hobbits. He was also taught by Bilbo – for he had instilled in him a fascination of poetry, and all things Elvish.
Tolkien also described Sam as “’cocksure and conceited’ [which was to be] transformed by his devotion to Frodo” (L 246). Aside from said devotion to his master, Sam did not think of himself as heroic or brave.
Leaving the Shire
Sam also had a longing for Elves – which was evident when he had found out that Frodo was to leave the Shire. This happened after eavesdropping on Frodo and Gandalf, when he would be summoned by Merry Brandybuck.
As a result he was forced to accompany Frodo at least to Rivendell – though eventually it would be the quest to destroy the One Ring.
Additionally, Sam seemed to be very excited to see the Elves – which was first suggested by Gandalf.
They would later go to Crickhollow, Buckland, Bree, Weathertop, before finally heading to Rivendell – first to avoid suspicion, and then the Black Riders and then at Rivendell where he would decide to go with Frodo to Mordor in the Council of Elrond – along with the Fellowship…
…and they will be going off to Moria, Lóthlorien, and then…
After reaching the Falls of Rauros, Frodo decides to go to Mordor alone, but Sam would not let him – continuing to pursue him.
“I’m coming too, or neither of us isn’t going,” he said. (FOTR, The Breaking of the Fellowship)
Thus, it would be Sam accompanying Frodo to Mordor.
Destruction of the Ring
To their dismay, Gollum would show up at around the Third evening since Sam and Frodo would have left the company whom at the time seemed to be headed off to Minas Tirith.
Frodo would start to show pity and compassion to Gollum. This would be due to having talked with Gandalf about him before they had left the Shire – much like Bilbo who also showed the same pity and mercy.
(On screen: “Many who live…”)
Sam was frustrated, not knowing what his friend and master was doing because he simply didn’t see Gollum as trustworthy. “[He] stared at his master, who seemed to be speaking to some one who was not there.” (TTT, “The Taming of Sméagol”)
“It is difficult to exclude [pride and posessiveness] from the devotion of those who perform [Sam’s services]…In any case it prevented him from fully understanding the master that he loved, and from following him in his gradual education to the nobility of service to the unlovable and of perception of damaged good in the corrupt.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 246
However, this didn’t seem to be any fault of his – as he could possibly just not have the understanding needed to show compassion to Gollum at this point, before he would have any contact with the One Ring…
(L246 cont.) “…[especially] in the incident of the Forbidden Pool. If he had understood better what was going on between Frodo and Gollum, things might have turned out differently in the end…Sam could hardly have acted differently.”
However, Sam did reach the point of pity at last for the good of Gollum, after reaching the cracks of Mount Doom.
Before this, Frodo would be caught by Shelob, and Sam would be the Ring-bearer for two days, wondering whether his friend was dead and he should go off alone.
He was later tempted – some including myself earlier would say by a large garden, however, when I looked more into it – he seemed to be tempted by a desire for power, which we know him to not have just before he had the ring, being dangerously close to claiming it as his own.
However Sam was able to hand the ring back to Frodo while they were close to Mordor – which was a tremendous feat.
He was also the first person to be able to fight and eventually stab Shelob.
After which he would carry Frodo up the slopes of Mount Doom, since the Ring was at its maximum power.
Letter # 131
Out of Sam and Aragorn, Tolkien referred to Sam as the ‘chief hero’ comparing and contrasting his rustic love for Rosie to Aragorn’s noble love for Arwen.
Thus, it would be an emphasis on simple lives of hobbits by putting Sam, a hobbit, as a major focus.
After the Ring went into the fire, Sam and Frodo were rescued by the Eagles to Ithillien before they were crowned by Aragorn.
Then they would go to the wedding and coronation of Aragorn and Arwen, then later they would end up staying at Tom Cotton’s in Buckland for a while before Bag End and Bagshot Row were restored. Then they would make their way eventually back to the Shire.
Sam and Rosie would move into Bag End after their wedding on 1 May 3020 TA (1420 SR) and they had their first child and daughter, Elanor the Fair, on 25 March 3021 TA (1421 SR) with whom he would later pass on the Red Book of Westmarch to. Elanor became known as “the fair” for her beauty, as she had looked more like an elf-maid than a hobbit.
On this day the Fourth Age began. 6 years later, Will Whitfoot would resign, and Sam would be the Mayor of the Shire.
Frodo and Bilbo would go off to the Undying Lands with the bearers of the Three Rings – Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond.
Initially, Sam was upset parting ways with his best friend, citing feeling “torn in two.” He wanted to stay loyal with Frodo, but also wanted to be loyal with his wife and family.
However, he comes back from the Havens with a renewed sense of joy, and had much to look forward to – and was indeed “one and whole.”
He and Rosie went on to have 12 more children:
- Elanor – first child
- Tolman (Tom)
4 whom were named after old friends. Sam would later become the Mayor six more times, 1434, 1441, 1448, 1455, and 1462 SR. and lastly 1469 SR, or FoA 12, FoA 19, FoA 26, 33, and 40, and 47. He resigned for good on FoA 55, at the Free Fair on the White Downs.
Sam would ride with his wife and daughter Elanor to Gondor for a year after the third time.
His wife, Rosie, passed on FoA 61, on Mid-year’s Day (Summer Solstice) – at the age of 98. Since Sam was also a Ring-bearer for a brief period of time, he would go to the Undying Lands.
Thus, on September 22, FoA 61, Master Samwise goes to the Tower Hills and would give the Red Book to Elanor, kept by the Fairbairns.
He would pass over the Towers to go to the Grey Havens, eventually making his way over to the Undying Lands to reunite with his friend, Frodo Baggins (or so I like to think).
Q- how likely would you say that Sam would be able to reunite with Frodo in the Undying Lands? While some, like myself, like to hold out on hope that they will reunite, others have cited the Fall of Númenor to predict shorter lifespans for mortals in Undying Lands – citing that Frodo would’ve been long gone before Sam sets sail.
[…] would eventually go along with his friend and gardener Samwise Gamgee, and his cousins and close friends, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, and also Folco Boffin […]
[…] Sam was frustrated, not knowing what his friend and master was doing because he simply didn’t see Gollum as trustworthy. “[He] stared at his master, who seemed to be speaking to some one who was not there.” (TTT, “The Taming of Sméagol”) […]