Those of us familiar with The Lord of the Rings will doubtless be able to recollect the names of most characters. But, there are certainly two Hobbits who walked their way into all our hearts on their quest through Middle Earth – Frodo and Sam. These two Shire companions stuck together through thick and thin and were the large part of the reason for Middle Earth’s success against Mordor.
People have long wondered about the merits of each character, and it’s time we went a little geeky and explored the case for each Hobbit. Who was stronger, who was better, who was more worthy? These are all subjective questions with subjective answers, but let’s have a look at each of them.
The Case for Frodo Baggins
Frodo is one of the most courageous and forthright Hobbits in the story and the one around whom the quest is based. At the Council of Elrond, Frodo is the only one to volunteer to take the Ring to Mordor, despite not being a warrior, and having no magical capabilities, showing incredible courage and selflessness. On the surface, Frodo is the focal point. He is, after all, the Ringbearer. This is his burden to bear.
Despite his humble background, the great danger he faces, Frodo is prepared to risk his life so that life can endure. He constantly displays the characteristics of a hero over the course of the journey. And his bond with Sam, his relationship with Sméagol, the fighting skills he picked up, and his bond with the Ring all help improve him as a character and allow him to fulfill his journey.
The Case for Samwise Gamgee
If there is one Hobbit who perhaps displays greater levels of courage and honor than Frodo, it is Samwise Gamgee. In fact, in many ways, Sam is the lead character in the novel. He is the only one who is not affected in any way by the power of the Ring. He is driven, and stalwart during the quest, and single-handedly drags Frodo through many trials and obstacles, both physically and metaphorically. He also gets the last line of the novel.
A story as rich in character as The Lord of the Rings is one that requires much interpretation. Aragorn is the most heroic character, but this is not his tale. Gandalf manipulates events, but this is not his tale. Sauron is the great evil threatening the world, but this is not his tale. Sam, however, starts the story as a humble gardener, and ends it as part of a legend; he is also the character we most relate to.
It might not have seemed it to begin with, but we have to give this one to Sam. There are so many examples of Sam taking on the role of the main focal point of the story, and a writer as skilled as Tolkien doesn’t do this accidentally. Sure, Frodo is the lead, the Halfling, the Ringbearer; Baggins of Bag End. But, the strongest and most enduring impact made across Middle Earth is reserved for one Hobbit: Samwise Gamgee, gardener!