Samwise Gamgee Friend & Servant Part I
“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”
Inside The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there is no character quite like this one. There is no character that I adore, admire, or respect quite like Samwise Gamgee. For it is Sam alone who undertakes the task and goes with Frodo Baggins as far as the dark depths of Mount Doom. In that time he is under constant scrutiny and even suspected of acts that are preposterous. Despite it all Samwise Gamgee remains loyal, to the very end.
Samwise Gamgee too is a Christ Figure. The aspect of Jesus Christ this beloved character represents is Christ the Servant.
Who Is Samwise Gamgee?
Samwise Gamgee is a hobbit of Hobbiton, like his friend Frodo Baggins. He shares a common interest, that is notorious among hobbits, that love is for things that grow. What makes Sam stand out among the hobbits is his enjoyment of song, dance, as well as poetry. It is quite possible he favored elven pieces.
Samwise Gamgee is the son of Hamfast (aka Gaffer) and Belle Gamgee. He, like his father before him, is a gardener by trade. He acts on multiple occasions as friend, servant, as well as guardian angel over Frodo Baggins.
- Samwise’s constant vigil over Frodo that often leads him to follow his friend to secret meetings and eavesdrop. Day and night Sam watches over Frodo, acting as a strong support in a world riddled with souls that can be easily swayed as well as corrupted by the evil of The One Ring.
- His protectiveness of Frodo which brings him to have more regard for the well-being of his friend than himself. This attentiveness is much like a shepherd’s to his flock. Sam bravely faces anyone who could be seen as a potential threat to his master with a fierce courage.
These are but a couple of the qualities of Samwise Gamgee that give him a likeness to the very real and very much serving lord, Jesus Christ.
Christ The Servant
Jesus taught as well as ministered unto the disciples. Even more so, he did the same unto mankind, allowing all who sought Him to come to Him. He cared for the sick, the deaf, the dumb, the crippled, as well as the blind and outcast.
JOHN 9:1 -6
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
1A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum, and the news spread that he was at home. 2So many people came together that there was no room left, not even out in front of the door. Jesus was preaching the message to them 3when four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man to Jesus. 4Because of the crowd, however, they could not get the man to him. So they made a hole in the roof right above the place where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they let the man down, lying on his mat. 5Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Some teachers of the Law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7“How does he dare talk like this? This is blasphemy! God is the only one who can forgive sins!” 8At once Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to them, “Why do you think such things? 9Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, 11“I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 While they all watched, the man got up, picked up his mat, and hurried away. They were all completely amazed and praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Christ Jesus also saw to their daily needs. On more than one account, Jesus fed those that had been following him for days. Instead of dismissing them so that they might go their own way and provide for themselves, Jesus gave His hungry followers in both a physical life sustaining way, as well as a spiritual eternal life ensuring way.
John 6:1-14 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Tolkien’s beloved and fictional character of Samwise Gamgee bears a likeness to Christ in terms of his willingness to serve and his capacity for love towards Frodo Baggins which we shall examine more closely over the next week or so.