Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Lord of the Rings, Is Sam Real?

Postmodernism is about looking into a story or a piece of art and finding a meaning to it that is deeper than what is first noticed. The Lord of The Rings written by J. R. R. Tolkien is a prime example of this. The book/ movie is specifically about Frodo Baggins, the protagonist of the story, and Sam Gamgee, frodos best friend. the story is about their journey to destroy a powerful ring that people have been fighting over for for many generations. Throughout the story these two characters overcome many obstacles in their pursuit to complete this task. This is truly an exciting story, however when looking at this from a postmodern point of view one big question begins to form. Is Sam real?

Sam is an important character and is mentioned many times in the story, however he is nothing more than Frodos conscious. Although this is a bold statement to make there is more than enough evidence that proves this theory. In one part of the story Frodo and Sam get into a heated argument about who ate the remainder of their food. After they finish arguing Frodo tells Sam to go home, causing Frodo to lose his conscious and begin to become evil. This is what caused Frodo to almost die in the cave.

Another Example of how Sam represents Frodos conscious is at the end of the movie when Frodo is nearly dead and can't take another step Sam lifts his spirits and saves him. Even after Frodo admits that he has been completely overcome by evil Sam helps him complete his task by carrying Frodo all the way to the end of the journey. “I can't carry it for you. But I can carry you.” Sam couldn't carry the ring because Frodo had to. However Sam, acting as Frodos conscious, was able to give Frodo a boost to help him complete his journey.

“It is going to be very dangerous, Sam. It is already dangerous. Most likely neither of us will come back.”
“If you don’t come back, sir, then I shan't, thats certain,” said sam [The Elves told me] ‘Don't you leave him!’ Leave him! I said. I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon; and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they have Sam Gamgee to reckon with.” (J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, P.96)


  1. Interesting theory. We rarely look at art this critically. Interesting to think how many ways stories like this can be interpreted.

  2. I agree it's an interesting theory, but I don't think this theory is specific to a postmodern viewpoint, and I have trouble seeing why the Lord of the Rings specifically is postmodern. It falls on many assumed stereotypes (good vs evil, etc.). Also I believe the justification for Frodo's turn to evil is the ring's inherent malice, and Frodo is the only one carrying the ring. By the way it's conscience, not conscious.