Samwise Gamgee


    Sam was a Hobbit of the Shire and the best friend of Frodo. He was a gardener with a peculiar affection for potatoes. Best known for his courage and loyalty, he played a significant role in the Fellowship of the Ring, protecting Frodo and helping him to destroy the One Ring.
    Throughout the story, Sam represents a common man, more heroic than he believes himself to be.

    “But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

    Sam’s bravery was tested many times during the journey and he proved that size doesn’t matter. One of the most memorable moments happened in Shelob’s Lair where Sam fought off the giant spider using the Phial of Galadriel and Sting. His determination never failed even when Frodo was captured by orcs; Sam took the One Ring and was ready to carry on with the mission. The relentless gardener also saved Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol and showed him the One Ring that Frodo thought the orcs had stolen. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo is one of the defining features of his character.

    In an extremely heroic moment, Sam athers his strength and carries Frodo up the mountain.

    After the destruction of the One Ring, Samwise returned to Shire and married Rosie Cotton. They had thirteen children and their daughter Elanor was a made of honour to Queen Arwen Evenstar. Sam was elected the Mayor of the Shire for seven consecutive seven-year terms. After Rosi’s death in the Fourth Age, Samwise went to the Grey Heavens and as a Ring Bearer, he was allowed to pass over the Sea. He reunited with Frodo in Valinor.

    Early life

    Samwise Gamgee was born 6 April TA 2980 to Bell Goodchild and Hamfast “Gaffer” Gamgee. He was the fifth of six children, with his sister Marigold being born after him. Sam grew up with Frodo since they were children and later learned how to read and write from Bilbo. He also had a secret crush on his childhood sweetheart, Rosie.

    A Chief-Hero of the Saga

    Tolkien considered Samwise the most heroic character, even though his origins are rustic.

    I think the simple 'rustic' love of Sam and his Rosie (nowhere elaborated) is absolutely essential to the study of his (the chief hero's) character, and to the theme of the relation of ordinary life (breathing, eating, working, begetting) and quests, sacrifice, causes, and the 'longing for Elves', and sheer beauty.
    J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 131
    My ‘Samwise’ is indeed (as you note) largely a reflection of the English soldier—grafted on the village-boys of early days, the memory of the privates and my batmen that I knew in the 1914 War, and recognized as so far superior to myself.
    J.R.R. Tolkien letter to H. Cotton Minchin (1956.)

    Lord of the Ring movies

    In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was played by Sean Astin.
    Samwise Gamgee’s daughter Elanor was played by Sean’s daugther Alexandra Astin in The return of the King.

    Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee

    Trivia: Why Gamgee?

    The choice of Gamgee was primarily directed by alliteration, but I did not invent it. It was caught out of childhood memory, as a comic word or name. It was in fact the name when I was small (in Birmingham) for 'cotton-wool'. (Hence the association of the Gamgees with the Cottons.) I knew nothing of its origin. 
    J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 257