The Return of the King

The Return of the King

by

J. R. R. Tolkien

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Samwise Gamgee (Sam) Character Analysis

Samwise Gamgee is Frodo’s companion on his journey to Mount Doom. Formerly Frodo’s gardener, Sam, like most hobbits, has a love for simple, concrete pleasures, particularly cooking and eating. Sam is responsible for rescuing Frodo from the orcs at Cirith Ungol, and his practical and optimistic attitude allows him, in this moment and throughout the journey that follows, to keep searching for solutions even in the face of hopelessness. Sam is the practical, buoyant foil to the introspective Frodo, and finds himself offering all of his strength and hope to ensure that Frodo survives long enough to complete the quest. Though he finds himself tempted by the Ring and its promise of strength and grandeur, he is able to resist it and freely offer it back to Frodo. Sam is deeply motivated by the idea of home and all its joys, including Rosie Cotton, the girl he thinks of often when he dreams of his return to the Shire. His devotion to Frodo is so heartfelt that after marrying Rosie, the couple moves into Bag End with Frodo instead of finding their own home. Sam is heartbroken when Frodo leaves for the Undying Lands, but his final act in the novel—which is also the novel’s final scene—is to return home to his family, a cooked dinner, and a fire in the hearth, epitomizing the static and comfortable ideal of a hobbit’s life.

Samwise Gamgee (Sam) Quotes in The Return of the King

The The Return of the King quotes below are all either spoken by Samwise Gamgee (Sam) or refer to Samwise Gamgee (Sam). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
).
Book 5, Chapter 1  Quotes

“But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”

Related Characters: Gandalf (speaker), Denethor, Shadowfax, Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Frodo Baggins
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 5, Chapter 9 Quotes

“We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it may well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands; so that even if Barad-dûr be thrown down, we shall not live to see a new age. But this, I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless—as we surely shall if we sit here—and know as we die that no new age shall be.”

Related Symbols: The Ring
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 1 Quotes

In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need a due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Sauron
Related Symbols: The Ring
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

Though here at journey’s end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.

Related Characters: Samwise Gamgee (Sam) (speaker), Frodo Baggins
Related Symbols: The Shadow
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 3 Quotes

Sam guessed that among all their pains he bore the worst, the growing weight of the Ring, a burden on the body and a torment to his mind. Anxiously Sam had noted how his master’s left hand would often be raised as if to ward off a blow, or to screen his shrinking eyes from a dreadful Eye that sought to look in them. And sometimes his right hand would creep to his breast, clutching, and then slowly, as the will recovered mastery, it would be withdrawn.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Sauron
Related Symbols: The Ring
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

Sam’s hand wavered. His mind was hot with wrath and the memory of evil. It would be just to slay this treacherous, murderous creature, just and many times deserved; and also it seemed the only safe thing to do. But deep in his heart there was something that restrained him: he could not strike this thing lying in the dust, forlorn, ruinous, utterly wretched. He himself, though only for a while, had borne the Ring, and now dimly he guessed the agony of Gollum’s shrivelled mind and body, enslaved to that Ring, unable to find peace or relief ever in life again.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Gollum
Related Symbols: The Ring
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 5 Quotes

“Turn your face from the green world, and look where all seems barren and cold!” said Gandalf.

Then Aragorn turned, and there was a stony slope behind him running down from the skirts of the snow; and as he looked he was aware that alone there in the waste a growing thing stood. And he climbed to it, and saw that out of the very edge of the snow there sprang a sapling tree no more than three foot high. Already it had put forth young leaves long and shapely, dark above and silver beneath, and upon its slender crown it bore one small cluster of flowers whose white petals shone like the sunlit snow.

Related Characters: Gandalf (speaker), Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Aragorn/Strider, Arwen
Related Symbols: The White Tree, The Shadow
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 7 Quotes

Then the hobbits suddenly realized that people had looked at them with amazement not out of surprise at their return so much as in wonder at their gear. They themselves had become so used to warfare and to riding in well-arrayed companies that they had quite forgotten that the bright mail peeping from under their cloaks, and the helms of Gondor and the Mark, and the fair devices of their shields, would seem outlandish in their own country.

Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,” said Merry. “We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.”

“Not to me,” said Frodo. “To me it feels more like falling asleep again.”

Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 8 Quotes

This was Frodo and Sam’s own country, and they found out now that they cared about it more than any other place in the world. Many of the houses that they had known were missing. Some seemed to have been burned down. The pleasant row of old hobbit-holes in the bank on the north side of the Pool were deserted, and their little gardens that used to run down bright to the water’s edge were rank with weeds. Worse, there was a whole line of ugly new houses all along Pool Side, where the Hobbiton Road ran close to the bank. An avenue of trees had stood there. They were all gone. And looking with dismay up the road towards Bag End they saw a tall chimney of brick in the distance. It was pouring out black smoke into the evening air.

Page Number: 307
Explanation and Analysis:

“But I’ve a bone to pick with you, in a manner o’ speaking, if I may make so bold. You didn’t never ought to have a’ sold Bag End, as I always said. That’s what started all the mischief. And while you’ve been trapessing in foreign parts, chasing Black Men up mountains from what my Sam says, though what for he don’t make clear, they’ve been and dug up Bagshot Row and ruined my taters!”

“I am very sorry, Mr. Gamgee,” said Frodo. “But now I’ve come back, I’ll do my best to make amends.”

Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:

“No, Sam!” said Frodo. “Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.”

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Saruman/Sharkey
Page Number: 325
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 9 Quotes

“Use all the wits and knowledge you have of your own, Sam,” said Frodo, “and then use the gift to help your work and better it. And use it sparingly. There is not much here, and I expect every grain has a value.”

So Sam planted saplings in all the places where specially beautiful or beloved trees had been destroyed, and he put a grain of the precious dust in the soil at the root of each.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Galadriel
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:

“But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Samwise Gamgee (Sam)
Related Symbols: The Ring
Page Number: 338
Explanation and Analysis:
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Samwise Gamgee (Sam) Character Timeline in The Return of the King

The timeline below shows where the character Samwise Gamgee (Sam) appears in The Return of the King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 5, Chapter 4
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
...hands tremble while Faramir tells them of his meeting with Frodo and of Frodo and Sam’s plan to go to Cirith Ungol. Gandalf urges Faramir to tell him the exact time... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...Frodo. Gandalf tells him, “Just a fool’s hope.” He interprets Faramir’s news about Frodo and Sam to mean they may still be alive. But Sauron’s first signs of war are arriving... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 10
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...forward with a bundle which the Mouth of Sauron reveals to be Frodo’s clothes and Sam’s sword. Pippin cries out when he sees them, which proves to the Mouth that the... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...is alive before he agrees to the terms. The Mouth of Sauron refuses. Gandalf takes Sam and Frodo’s belongings, and he rejects the terms. The Mouth of Sauron, filled with fear... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 1
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sam picks himself off the ground and tries to remember why he fell: it was when... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Sam finds himself back at the outlet of Shelob’s tunnel. He looks up at Cirith Ungol,... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Sam sees Mount Doom in the distance and its spiral plume of smoke. The glow from... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Sam considers the Ring again, but he understands that its power is growing and it is... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
As Sam nears the gate, two orcs come running past before falling dead. Sam wonders what the... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Sam expects to be surrounded by orcs, but none come. He sees that the courtyard is... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Just when Sam feels he can’t climb any more, the stairs come to an end. He hears through... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Sam knows he won’t go unnoticed for long. He leaps out at Shagrat with a cry.... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
 Sam hears the crack of a whip and, filled with rage, follows Snaga up the ladder... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
Sam tells Frodo that he has the Ring. Frodo demands Sam give it back to him,... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo asks if Sam has any food or drink to offer. Sam remembers he hasn’t eaten for a long... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam descend the tower. At the gate, they find the statues’ resistance impossible to pass. Sam... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 2
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sam urges Frodo to run. A Nazgûl has descended beside the tower, and they hear its... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam hear the piercing cry of a Black Rider, but this time it’s full of grief... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
After several more miles, Frodo needs to find a place to rest. He and Sam scramble through thorny, fly-infested brambles until he becomes too exhausted to go further. They crawl... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam wake holding hands. They scramble up the rest of the brambly cliff to the innermost... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
It’s impossible to walk along the top of the cliff, so Frodo and Sam climb back down to the valley. Along the road, they duck out of sight of... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam understand from the orcs’ conversation that they’ve seen Gollum in Mordor and that he’s wanted... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The light grows clearer than they’ve seen it here before. Frodo and Sam look around them; it seems they’ve reached a dead end in the valley. Their only... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam set off again. After 12 miles they hear marching feet behind them, too close to... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 3
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam sleep restlessly on the hard stones. In the morning, Sam looks around at the flat,... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
...is so exhausted after a few miles of picking out a path that he and Sam decide to take the easier but more visible main road. At this point, Aragorn’s army... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
When Sam wakes Frodo again, Frodo tells him he has no strength to go on. Sam warily... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam turn at last towards Mount Doom. They’re no longer worried about hiding, only about moving... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
The next day, Frodo and Sam, exhausted and in excruciating pain, reach the foot of the mountain. As they approach, Frodo... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sam sees a path stretching up the mountain. Unknown to him, it’s Sauron’s road from his... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
The path is more treacherous than it first appeared. As Frodo and Sam turn a bend in the road, Sam is struck by a weight and finds Gollum... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Sam climbs on up the path and comes to a door in the side of the... (full context)
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
In the same moment, many things happen. Sam is knocked over from behind and hits his head on the floor. He blacks out... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...the ledge into the fire below. There’s a huge cacophony; the mountain begins to shake. Sam picks Frodo up and carries him out of the mountain to a scene of massive... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
Frodo says to Sam that this is the end. He’s totally spent, but his burden has been lifted and... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 4
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...to be carried by him, joined by a few other eagles, towards Mount Doom. Meanwhile, Sam encourages Frodo to walk just a little further down the mountain with him, but soon... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Sam wakes up on a soft bed as if from a long dream. Frodo is lying... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam follow Gandalf through a tree-lined grove and are heralded by a host of knights and... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam are led to a tent where they’re given noble armor to wear, including, to their... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 6
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
...lost it, but Bilbo wishes he could see it again. When Bilbo has fallen asleep, Sam tells Frodo that he doubts Bilbo will write their story. Bilbo wakes to say that... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 7
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
...the king will visit. Butterbur doesn’t understand what the king has to do with Bree. Sam tells Butterbur that the king is the same Strider that visited Bree a year ago.... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 8
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...the gate and have the gatekeeper unlock it, threatening him with their swords. Frodo and Sam pass through after them. (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...are Lotho’s ruffians, and that the rest has been taken away out of the Shire. Sam tells everyone to calm down and rest until the morning. (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
...a band of guards who list the many rules they’ve broken in the past day. Sam insults the guards further. The guards tell the travelers they’re taking them to the Chief’s... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Sam recognizes one of the guards and takes him aside. He tells the guard—Robin Smallburrow—that he... (full context)
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
...others to gather all the people they can at once: they’re going to fight tonight. Sam goes to the Cottons’ farm to gather his friends. While there, he makes sure the... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
When Sam returns, he finds more than a hundred hobbits have gathered with weapons. They’ve lit a... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...to do will be to call on the Chief in the morning. Farmer Cotton tells Sam that his father’s house was burnt down; he’s been moved to a newly built house... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...to pollute the Brandywine River. Cotton suggests that Sharkey, not Lotho, is really in power. Sam arrives at the farmhouse with his father, who accuses Frodo of having caused the demise... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...it’s time to deal with the Chief. Frodo heads to Bag End with Merry, Pippin, Sam, and two dozen other hobbits. They pass rows of ugly new houses and the new,... (full context)
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...placed so densely that they cut off all light to the hobbit hole’s windows. Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin go inside to find the house stinking and cluttered. They search for... (full context)
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
...to go, he tries to stab Frodo, but his knife hits the mithril-mail and breaks. Sam leaps forward and draws his sword on Saruman, but Frodo begs him not to hurt... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 9
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Sam keeps busy helping with repairs. By Yule, there isn’t a trace left of any of... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Sam grieves for the loss of all the trees. He remembers Galadriel’s gift to him: a... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
In early March, Frodo falls ill. Sam doesn’t learn about this, because he’s away on a gardening errand and Frodo tells him... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sam is saddened by the fact that Frodo disappears from the Shire’s social life and isn’t... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo asks Sam to tell Rosie he’ll be away for a week or two, because he wants Sam... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Frodo and Sam set out in September. Frodo begins to sing an old walking-song, which seems to be... (full context)
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Sam begins to cry. He thought Frodo would live in the Shire for many years after... (full context)
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War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Gandalf says that Sam’s journey back will be better with company. He says goodbye to Sam, Merry, and Pippin,... (full context)