i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 22, Volume 2, February 20th, 2003.Staff:
Editors: Perian, Xara.
Primary Reporter: Ivy Brandybuck.
Chief Corespondent: Prongs.
Contributor(s): Shelly, Angel.
In this issue: Samwise Gamgee.
Introduction: The Search for Samwise by Xara.The Many Reasons We Love Samwise Gamgee by Prongs.S! True Middle-Earth Story: Samwise Gamgee by Shelly.
The True Hero by Ivy.
How to Fall in Love With Samwise Gamgee in Eight Steps by Xara.
The Last of the Ringbearers by Perian.
In every issue:Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Chapter Four by Ivy.
Ask Samwise: Not available, as we gave Samwise this issue off in honour of its topic.
The Search for Samwise
"Ok we're doing a Samwise issue for the newsletter so I want to Sam articles on my desk Monday morning, pronto," said Perian. Ok you got me! Perian never said anything like that at all. But she did give me the news when I got back that we were doing a Samwise issue. "Great!" I thought, "Samwise is one of the key characters! Sauron would never have been defeated without Sam to help Frodo! That pair compliment each other perfectly." I sat down in front of my trusty keyboard, opened my word processor, adjusted the font settings to my article norm and thought...and thought. I'd never realised how difficult it would be for me, a Frodo fan, who of all people should appreciate Sam as the backbone of the quest for Mount Doom, to come up with two measly articles about him! It was completely absurd!
But no matter how absurd, it was happening. This called for desperate measures. I looked Samwise Gamgee up on the encyclopedia of Arda; a family tree, and one sentence. It didn't even mention that he was seven-times mayor of the Shire! Disgraceful! But I knew who could help me, Samwise fans! I went to Google and typed in "Samwise Gamgee". Not a single Samwise fanlisting was there to be seen! I was shocked! Horrified even, to realised that we had been going for all this long time taking Sam for granted.
Poor, long suffering Sam who never complained and even forgave Frodo for those two horrible "PJ made me do it!!!" moments in The Two Towers and Return of the King. Samwise Gamgee who defeated Shelob and saved Frodo from torment in the tower! Samwise Gamgee who carried Frodo up Mount Doom! Samwise Gamgee who made us laugh when he said that famous line, "If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been." Samwise Gamgee who wore that silly felt bag which he called a hat on his first night of their quest leaving Bag End (it's in the books). Samwise Gamgee who stopped Frodo three times from putting on the Ring and getting caught. Samwise Gamgee who...the list goes on! And all that time we've known everything that he did, but how much have we really appreciated dear Sam? And that, I realised, is why we are doing this issue in the first place! So I better get to it and write something, maybe I should borrow Samwise's thinking felt-bag-cap.
The Many Reasons We Love Samwise Gamgee
While every fan of the epic trilogy has a differing reason as to which character is the hottest, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Samwise Gamgee is the most endearing character. In this investigative piece, your roving reporter invites you to answer the question "What is the one word that comes to mind at the mention of the name, Samwise Gamgee?"
A number of readers wrote of Sam’’s loyalty towards Frodo. "I mean," says Ivy, "he followed him all the way into Mordor, you know?" Viggo’s Girl chips in her two cents, "[Sam] looked after Frodo even after they returned to the Shire." Prancing Unicorn adds that even though Frodo mistrusted Sam a few times, Sam never deserted him. Indeed, these examples are a testament of Sam’s devotion towards Frodo but, wonders this reporter, are there any other qualities that people find appealing about him?
Nienna believes that the one word that should be associated with Sam is hope. She surmises that Sam never gave up hope in the quest to destroy the ring, even when the path ahead looked bleak. ". . .[E]ven towards the end of the books when he started losing hope, his ‘hobbit sense’ took over and he decided [that] he didn’t need to be thinkin[g] like that. He was Frodo’s source of hope, too!"
Perian describes Sam as being stalwart, an adjective that your reporter had to look up in her dictionary before proceeding with this paragraph. Why stalwart, Perian? Because "it is the only word I know which combines faithful, brave, and sturdy." Nice one! And if sturdy is a synonym for strong, then Hula‘n’ agrees, only she considers Sam to be strong in spirit as well as in demeanour since he was not tempted by the lure of the ring and protected Frodo when need came.
Xara describes Sam as being "the perfect friend, the very essence of friendship personified". She believes that "his friendship and unfailing loyalty towards [F]rodo is what gav[e] him his incredible strength, courage, determination and will to carry on" and this, in her opinion, makes Sam a hero in her eye.
On a personal note, while this reporter agrees with all of the aforementioned adjectives, she is struck above all else by Sam’s decency. Maybe she is just being biased, but in her opinion, Sam is the most honest, humble and thoughtful hobbit of the bunch. This opinion that has stayed with her throughout the years that she has read the books. She is thrilled to have this opportunity to honour her favourite hobbit, Samwise Gamgee. As Frodo Baggins said, towards the end of the Two Towers, "Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam". You know what Frodo, you are so right!
S! True Middle-Earth Story: Samwise Gamgee
We all know Sam as the loyal companion to his dear Mr. Frodo. Aiding him in whatever way possible, he did some extraordinary things. Like rescuing the ring bearer from Cirith Ungol bare-handedly (well, with the help of some rather fed-up orcs of course) and being with Frodo at "the end of all things." But who really is this spider-killing Samwise of a Gamgee?
It all started on that glorious morning (I think) when our Sam was born to the two proud Gamgee parents. One of the first things the old Gaffer said of his new chap was, "Well, he's a big one, and no mistake." And, my, was that old Gaffer right.
Growing up, Sam and his parents found he not only had a knack for gardening (the family tradition, as it were) but also had some skill with "the pan and the tater," if you follow me. Sam was quite the little cook. Baking, and eating mind you, everything in his path. So it was no surprise that it was Samwise who took all the credit for baking the mouth-watering ribs and pies for the shire picnic eating contests- and for winning them.
But as they were in the Shire, being "pleasantly plump" was looked upon as a gift, so Sam had a wondrous childhood. But, unfortunately, that was all about to change.
A little into his tweens, Sam was struck with blow after blow of hideous and quite painful rashes. They were so bad that Sam's complexion turned from a "fresh rose" to a devilish magenta. "We were at the brink of locking him up!" says a still-disturbed elder of the Shire. "The marks on the poor boy were so ugly that the little children would run away in terror! Never saw anyone run so fast in my life." We had a chance to speak with Sam's current wife, the former Rosie Cotton, on the subject. "Sure, it was gross. Horrifying really, but look at him now! Good as new! He only has a few break-outs now and then, but, personally, I like a little color in a hobbit."
As the rashes ceased, new troubles lay ahead for the young Shireling. Was there trouble in the Gamgee household? A love rumor, spread my the infamous Pippin, concerning Mr. Baggins and Sam? Stay tuned for more, S! True Middle-Earth Story- the Samwise edition.
The True Hero
Mayor of Hobbiton. Gardener. Father of thirteen. Husband of Rosie Cotton. Member of the Fellowship. And last but not least: Our Samwise.
Throughout The Lord of the Rings, Sam contributed many skills and talents, not to mention a companionship and loyalty no one can ever forget. He followed Frodo to the very last and back again, saving him countless a time. Yet for all of this, Our Samwise (As I have now dubbed him) is not given the full recognition he deserves. Given time to ponder, you will come upon one fact? Sam is the true hero.
While this will get many a raised eyebrow and many, many protests from Frodo fans and Aragorn fans... Even Legolas fans alike, it is the truth. If not for Sam the Ring would have made it to the enemy's hands, and all would have been lost.
Samwise, when translated from its original form means "Half-Wise". That may be true at some point, but there is always a reason for his half wittedness. For example: After Frodo was stunned by Shelob, Sam took him for dead, then attempted to continue on, on his own. Were you in his position, would you not have thought (And done) the same? Taking that into consideration, if Sam had known Frodo was alive he would probably have made an attempt to save him, possibly leading to both their captures by the orcs. Then the Ring would certainly have been taken.
In doing what he did in that case, Sam was able to save both the Ring and Frodo. Speaking of the blue-eyed (At least in the film) hero brings me to my next point. Without Sam, Frodo would have either died or claimed the Ring for himself long before he even entered Mordor. Sam was like a father-figure to him at the time; guardian might even be a more suitable term for it. He helped to curb the temptation of the Ring itself and still managed to keep Frodo on his feet.
Now, having said my piece and perhaps bringing into light Sam's accomplishments, we can add even more to his title: Protector of all that is good, and true hero of our tale.
How to Fall in Love With Samwise Gamgee in Eight Steps
1. Gather all the Samwise pictures you can find (ATLOTR currently has 188 *coughblatantadvertisingcough*) and save them to your computer. Then run them as a slideshow whilst playing "Samwise the Brave" from The Two Towers soundtrack. NOTE: The same technique can be used for other characters such as Frodo (his song is "May it Be") and Pippin ("The Steward of Gondor"). I have yet to discover the songs for the other characters. WARNING: Using this technique with Gimli pictures and "A Journey in the Dark" may result in disturbing infatuation with hairy dwarf, not advisable.
2. Buy or make a hat-sized grey felt bag. Wear it as a hat in front of the mirror and notice how loveably silly you look. Now imagine Samwise with the hat on. It may help to make Samwise expressions in the mirror.
3. Of course, watch Lord of the Rings, this time focussing on Samwise as the centre of every scene. Watch with a cuddly soft toy, the closer to hobbit-size the better.
4. Tape record Samwise saying all your favorite lines and listen to this as you go to sleep. If you have a DVD player on your computer, a CD burner and a recording program with the "Stereo Mixer" recording option you can create a Samwise Quotes CD. Play this on repeat as you sleep.
5. Watch and read as many Sean Astin interviews as you possibly can, trust me, it does help.
6. If you have not already read the LOTR books, do so.
7. Choose your very favorite picture of Samwise, print two small copies of it and stick them over your glasses/sunglasses lenses. Spend half an hour each day wearing these. WARNING: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery whilst wearing the Samwise glasses.
8. Get a dart board with a picture of Rosie Cotton pinned on the bullseye.
The Last of the Ringbearers
Ringbearer. What names come to the mind when that word is invoked?
Bilbo, obviously. We were introduced to him in childhood, we all will remember his exploits with the Ring in Mirkwood, Laketown, at the Lonely Mountain. There is his famous farewell speech as well, and his ultimate coercion into giving up the Ring which had possessed him for over sixty years.
Frodo is another who may be the first in thought. He was the first to be given the actual title. He was the keeper of the Ring over seventeen years, followed by a brief interval in which he bore it through many perils and with great personal loss, to Mt. Doom.
Gollum and Smeagol, we never forget them. More than three hundred years with the Ring, the first person of the third age (save the unfortunate Deagol) to bear it. The riddling game, and his loss of his precious, is incredibly intriguing and fortunate, yet tragic. Who can forget that monumental moment when he brings about the Ring's final end?
Isildur holds another prominent spot in Ringbearerism, as he was the first to possess it after it was taken from its maker, and the first killed for it.
Last the mind may turn to Sauron, maker of the One Ring and of the Nine. That evil entity who is responsible for so many of our beloved characters being certified insane. Sauron, who is so rarely acknowledged for creating one of the most hideous languages (as inscribed on the Ring) ever heard. The Original Ringbearer.
But there is one, small and humble, who almost never is thought of in association with the word "Ringbearer" unless it is followed by "-'s helper, surrogate mother, and former gardener." Yes, I'm sure you have already guessed, if only by knowing this issue's theme. I speak of Samwise Gamgee.
Sam's claim to fame in the matter of being one of those who bore the Ring is not immediately apparent. He did not bear It as a mortal for the longest time (Smeagol) nor the shortest (Deagol). He was not the first other than its creator to bear the Ring, nor the last. He did not resist the urge to put it on, nor was he the only one to go against Its hold over him and give it up. But he was unique. Why?
On the night of the 12th of March, after battling the spawn of Ungoliant, besting Gollum, and finding the apparently dead body of his master and only friend east of the Anduin, Samwise took upon himself the quest to distroy the Ring. In a matter of hours he nearly turned back, considered suicide, and finally decided to go on alone to Mt. Doom. He was the first person in the Third Age to bear the Ring into Mordor ... at times wearing it, no less! The visions he had in the Ring-induced world of sound and shadow were not of riches or dominion, but of gardens and peace. He bashed himself unconscious against a stone, made it past the Watchers, battled the orcs who remained in Cirith Ungol, and impersonated a bloodthirsty elf. Beyond all this, he was the first and only who after bearing the Ring gave It up of his own free will, without use of force or need for coercing.
He went through so much in the period of what he guessed to be a single day. Yet he came out all right, utterly unaffected by the Ring, and weeping only for the fact that Frodo lost his temper. How? How could one hobbit, who admittedly had his less than savoury side (as seen in his relations to Smeagol), hold such a power and strength of will over himself? Over, of all things, the One Ring? Sam was, as Frodo pointed out, a marvel.
Gandalf mentioned in The Shadow of the Past, that the Ring will affect a person according to their own inclinations. Smeagol was of a dark, grasping sort down deep, and such he became. Frodo was doubtful of himself and of the world, dragging him into a quagmire of depression and futility. Isildur, of noble and fame-seeking stock and sort, gained renown for keeping the Ring, and was killed for it. But the Ring did not change Sam, save to give him insight and compassion into the plight of his adversary. This says something profound about his character. There was no evil in his heart, and nothing which could be twisted into such. Even his bias against Smeagol/Gollum formed from protectiveness and caring. Evil cannot mar someone who has none within.
Samwise Gamgee is and was the last great Ringbearer.
This Fortnight: Chapter Four
The next morning, two bleary-eyed hobbits stumbled down to the stables of the Pony and headed off. The morning was still grey, the fog clinging to grass damp with dew. The two kept to a meager conversation, steering as far as possible from the subject of where hey were headed and what would happen once they arrived. Now, not meaning to sound like Gollum, they moved across the landscape as soft and quick as shadows. The days wore on until the blended into a blur of light and dark. On the eve of their arrival to Rohan, as they sat at the fire (Made by Merry.), the stars twinkling above, Merry asked a question for the first time.
"What made you join Gondor's services, Pip?"
The hobbit in question looked a bit startled, but answered nonetheless. "Boromir had died for me... For us. I thought there was no better way to repay it than with my own life, no matter how less the value may be." there was a brief pause before "What about you and Rohan?"
Merry thought long and hard before answering. "Everyone I knew had done something, or was in the process of doing something great. Frodo and Sam were going to destroy the Ring, you and Gandalf had gone to Minas Tirith to raise the alarm and to go to war, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli went to Gondor to save it and return Aragorn to his rightful place as heir. I wanted to be remembered as well. I wanted honour." With that they both fell silent for what seemed to be the millionth time. They each had quite a sufficient supply of things to think about, and the silence was an odd comfort. Perhaps not the comfort of home, or that of a soft blanket, but the comfort of having your best friend beside you when you're going through a crisis. No words are used, yet you're speaking just the same.
Slowly they drifted into sleep. Though they knew what the new day would bring, they slept peacefully, even more thankful for the other's company than usual. Dreams of home passed through their minds, filling them with a suddenly heavy sense of homesickness, even in sleep. Their days were coming, and they knew it.
Xara: You are travelling through the Barrow Downs when suddenly an unearthly fog descends upon you and you can no longer find your way. What do you do?
Angel: Well, seeing I'm an Angel, I'd fly up above the fog! But if I can't do that for whatever reason, then I'll find a nice tree to sit under, start singing and polish my halo, and wait for my prince to rescue me - good if it was the Prince of Mirkwood
Xara: When you are halfway through writing a book of your adventures your ink well runs dry! You're in a particularly inspired mood and it is ten miles to the nearest store that will sell you some! You can't wait that long or the inspiration will pass! What to do?!
Angel: Well....it's obvious isn't it? I'd jump up and down, scream, yell, kick anything in my path, throw a tantrum, pull my hair and more jumping around! Hehehe, so graceful. And if I'm writing somewhat of a gruesome story... I'd go and find a poor animal of some sort and well... let's just say red ink isn't too bad.
Xara: You are in the middle of a drunken singing display when lo and behold you disappear into thin air. That's odd, I wonder what happened?
Angel: Frodo....I know you want to marry me, but Legolas is the one who's stolen my heart! Here...take your Ring back.
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Of Places and Geological Features, Part II: (Key: q. = Quenya, s. = Sindarin.)
band: (s., noun) prison, duress. As in Angband.
bar (s.), mar (q.): (noun) dwelling, home. As in Brithombar, Dimbar, Eldamar, Valimar, etc.
barad: (s., noun, plural beraid) tower. In Barad-dur, Barad Nimras, Emyn Beraid.
brith: (noun) gravel. Brithiach, Brithombar, Brithon.
Is it just me, or did all the articles this week have a theme to them? We actually had some real news this time! Exciting times! And I never thought of Bill the Pony that way, but you're right Ivy! I just got a mental image of a very dejected looking Fellowship sitting around the campfire munching on some unidentifiable meat with Bill noticeably absent. You know the Fellowship really should have been The Ten what with Bill's most noble self-sacrificing function it's not fair he was left out! Prongsie, all I can say is: AGREED!!! And Perian, how did you know me and Emma spend most of our maths lessons reciting LotR because someone mentioned the word 'precious' or said something that vaguely sounded like a line?! Huh? Huh?! hehe...
Did it have a theme? I seem to have missed it.
Oh, deary me, but I did forget to pass along your letter to the others. For myself... well, shall we say it is universal? Thank you muchly for all your work!Perian.