LOTR Read-Along: The Return of the King August Post or, An Ode to Sam

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Many, many awesome things have happened in The Return of the King since last month.

(I think it may even have replaced The Fellowship of the Ring as my favorite LOTR book. Which, if you know me, is kind of a big deal).

Some of the awesome:
* Eowyn and Merry destroying the Witch King, especially after he tells them they can't kill him because it has been prophesied that "no man" ever could.

* Aragorn correcting the Rohan healer about which herbs have healing powers. As a nurse, I can appreciate this. Also, the grace and power with which he ascended the throne. He did it by healing the people around him. He refused to take glory for himself. In earlier posts, I have suggested Gandalf as a Christ-like figure, but in this case, Aragorn is certainly sharing some attributes with Christ. I love the development of Aragorn as a whole throughout the series. He is certainly human, but he develops so much throughout the battle to become the perfect king.

* Honestly, the level of character development in general. In Fellowship, we were getting to know the situation. Everything was urgent. In The Two Towers, things were just happening - everything was rushed and there were myriad journeys and I didn't feel like I got to know anyone. However, here in The Return of the King, where the time has come for all these characters to stretch themselves and give everything we have, we see what they are really made of. We learn their ultimate reserves of strength (or in some cases, like Denethor, their lack). We learn the capacity they have for friendship and heroism. And that is amazing. That is why this story is the most epic of all fantasies.

* Sam needs his own post, honestly, and if I wasn't still in my scrubs hoping to be in bed in the next two hours he would have it. He is the humblest of characters. Frodo has the most important quest of all - to destroy the Ring; Merry and Pippin are servants to kings and commit great acts in battle. Sam is just the humble servant, consistently placing Frodo's needs above his own. When he is tempted by the Ring, it is to make all the world a garden that he can control - probably the least sinister ambition the Ring could possibly spawn. However, at the crucial moments, he acts. He is willing to take the burden of the Ring when he fears that Frodo is lost. He walks through orcs and searches dead bodies for disguises. He does everything that needs to be done so simply, without a word of complaint. I am currently with Sam and Frodo as they make the final trek to Mount Doom, and the way Sam takes care of Frodo is amazing. He offers to drink the water first to make sure Frodo isn't poisoned; he apologizes for needing to take a few hours of sleep. He is the best friend anyone could hope for, and he is the real hero of this part of the story because without him, everything would have been lost.

If you are participating in the read-along, please feel free to link-up below!

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely right about this book bringing a lot of insight in the character development, there are so many things that come clear that it is impossible to mention them all. I agree with you on Sam, too, I think he is wrongly underestimated character. One can just wish to have such a strong, devoted and unselfish friend as Sam. Great post again!


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