Tolkien Lectures: Week 10


These notes were originally written by Erik Tracey, transcribed to MS Word by Erik Tracey, and HTMLized by Scott Powers. Enjoy!


Sam the "Warrior Gardener" as a delusion of the lure of the Ring.

Evil working towards ggod ->the fact that the two factions of the orcs in the tower of Cirith Ungol kill each other allowing Sam to rescue Frodo.

Sam is the fairy hero with his magic and luck.

Role reversal: Sam is peternal/maternal and takes care of Frodo in the Tower. Also, Sam leads and the story changes to Sam's point of view.

Sam turns to Galadriel for strength, and prays to her [Galadriel=Mary, lembas=communion]

It is important to remember that all the plots/efforts of all the characters must be played out for the overall Quest to be achieved: Great things are achieved by many interconnected events.

Sam's personality splits into two - kind of like Gollum: Hopeful/Hopeless Sam.

Frodo's curse to Gollum: Speaks from the fire ->Frodo speaking from the domination of the Ring because its a voice without pity.

Evil robs you of free will, enentually it makes the choices for you.
[Note Frodo's words in Sammath Naur - I will not do this thing, the Ring is in control at this point]

After the Quest notice the conspicuous loss of Frodo's Ring Finger; it signifies that the Wise would have known that Frodo claimed the Ring. But he is forgiven. And he is broken - but he shows Pity and Mercy even to Saruman because he knows the horror and guilt of doing evil (Frodo claimed the Ring).

Gollum's death is the penultimate example of evil turned to good. [Possible only by Frodo's pity]

Sam has three wishes that come true:

  1. light in Mordor
  2. water in Mordor
  3. the Tale of Frodo Nine fingered and the Ring of Doom.

After the destruction of the Ring there is alot of Spring imagery:

Gimli=Galadriel Eomer=Arwen
Morning Evening
Elder Days Dominion of Men

Isengard = Iron yard/ward (Germanic)
Treegare = garden garth

Tolkien leaves no answers about if the good go to a "good" place and the bad go to a "bad" place [Heaven and Hell]

The subject is open to conjecture. But remember, this is supposed to be "history" and it is PRE-Christian ->and so no one can get to heaven w/o Christ therefore, maybe Men and Elves go to a holding place i.e. Limbo because Tolkien's world would have to develop into a Christian one.

Contrast Frodo's spiritual growth vs. the physical growth of Merry and Pippin.

One gets the sense of contriteness at the moment of Saruman's death that he realizes his downfall as his spirit faces the West before being denied and blown East on a wind.

Sam plays fertility god in the Shire and he becomes the Fisher King of the Shire; as he prospers so does the Shire.

Sam is the hobbit hero -not Frodo; Sam gets all the rewards:
Aragorn = High Hero
Frodo = Mythic Hero
Sam = Fairy Tale Hero/Low Hero

A prophet has no honor in his own land (straight from Bible) Sam was upset that Frodo got no honor in the Shire

Arnor, Cardolan, Rhudaur = Charlemange's Kingdom split


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Scott Powers
NCSA X Mosaic Lead