Thursday, February 26, 2004

I just reached the end of The Two Towers, which leaves Sam out alone in the darkness...Frodo has been stabbed by Shelob, and he is alive, but captured by Orcs and locked in their tower. Sam had been holding the Phial of Galadriel aloft while Frodo cut their way out of Shelob's lair, and when he thought Frodo has been killed by Shelob, he also took the Ring, intending to finish the Quest since his master could not. This speaks volumes about Sam's development along the journey from the Shire, and even since Lothlorien. It is true that our trials often have a more strengthening effect upon us than our blessings. Sam's pleasant, easy life as a gardener in the Shire did not prepare him for anything like Nazgul or the One Ring or creeping through the lands of the Enemy, but the troubles that began as soon as they left Bag End have made him stronger and more resilient. He never would have dreamed of being the original Ring-bearer, had the choice been put upon him; but now, when all hope for the Quest seems lost, he finds strength to take up the Ring and finish the journey himself. Readers of the trilogy know, of course, that he does not have to finish it alone; but this part of the story makes Sam more able to sympathize with Frodo in his struggle.


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