As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We also participate in other affiliate programs and are compensated for referring traffic and business to them.
For those who have read The Lord of the Rings or seen the movies, Frodo Baggins seems to be the obvious choice for the hero of the saga. He is the one who carries the Ring to Mordor and ultimately destroys it, thereby defeating Sauron. But, a lot of fans keep wondering, and we are definitely part of that group, whether Frodo really was the hero of the story, or was it his best friend and companion, Sam? Well, keep reading out text to find out.
Despite Frodo being in the forefront of the story, there is more than enough evidence that Sam is the real hero of the story, mostly because he was the one who helped Frodo fulfill his task and carried him throughout the whole journey. Even Tolkien suggests it being like this.
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English writer J.R.R. Tolkien. Set in the fictional Middle-Earth, the series consists of several books and tells different stories from the past, present and future of Middle-Earth. The chief narrative was presented in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which follows a Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and the Fellowship of the Ring, on their quest to Mordor, where Frodo has to destroy Sauron’s ring and finally defeat the evil tyrant. It is among the most popular fantasy franchises ever and has been adapted several times, as an animated film, as a feature film trilogy and as a series of various video games.
Who is Frodo Baggins?
Frodo Baggins is one of the principal characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He is a Hobbit who is chosen as the bearer of the Ring to Mordor, where he has to destroy it in order to defeat Sauron. In the movies, he was portrayed by Elijah Wood.
When he was twelve years old, his parents were killed in a boat accident. From then on he lived with his uncle Bilbo Baggins, who later made him his adoptive son and heir. When Bilbo leaves the Shire again on his hundred and eleventh birthday (which is also Frodo’s 33rd birthday), he leaves Frodo his property and also entrusts him with his Ring of invisibility, which he found during his journey.
Seventeen years later, Frodo learns, to his horror, from Gandalf that the ring is the One Ring of Sauron. Gandalf explains to him that the ring must be destroyed. A while later, Frodo and his friends Sam, Merry and Pippin set off for Rivendell to keep the ring safe from the Nazgûl. Frodo is wounded on the right shoulder during the journey, while fleeing, but with the help of Aragorn and the Elf Legolas, he reaches Rivendell just in time, where he is healed.
Later – after the decision of the council of Elrond – he sets off with the Fellowship of the Ring to Mordor to throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom and thus destroy it. He wears an armor made of mithril, which saves his life several times. The armor was given to him by Bilbo, who in turn received it from Thorin Oakenshield. At the Rauros Falls, he is separated from the rest of the Fellowship after Boromir tried to forcibly take the Ring from him.
Together with Sam he crossed the Emyn Muil and the Dead Marshes and finally reached Mordor under the guidance of Gollum. Sam and Frodo are eventually betrayed by Gollum, who lures them into the trap of the terrible spider Shelob. After being stung by the spider, the unconscious Frodo is captured by orcs and taken to the Tower of Cirith Ungol. From there Sam rescues him; Sam also, believing that Frodo had been killed by the spider, took the Ring with him.
The Ring becomes more and more of an unbearable burden for Frodo, despite the surprising tenacity of the Hobbits, which previously only Gandalf suspected. Despite the unshakable loyalty and help of his companion Sam, the journey is on a knife’s edge until the ring finally reaches the Mount Doom. Finally, Frodo is so influenced by the power of the ring that he is unable to throw the ring into the fire and claims it for himself. Gollum, himself a former ring bearer who followed the hobbits to Mount Doom, relieves him of the decision by greedily biting off his ring finger and, in a rapture of joy, plunging into the fires of Mount Doom over the regained ring.
This is how the great War of the Ring ends – with Sauron’s annihilation. Frodo and Sam are rescued by the eagles from Mount Doom and taken to the victorious army under the leadership of the future king, Aragorn, where they are celebrated as heroes. Finally Frodo returns to the Shire. There he freed the Shire from Saruman’s power with his friends Pippin, Merry and Sam. Two years later, still burdened by his various injuries from his adventures, Frodo and Bilbo get permission to sail with the Elves and Gandalf from the Gray Harbors, the last port of the Elves, to the Undying Lands (Valinor).
Who is Samwise Gamgee?
Samwise Gamgee is one of the main characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He is a Shire-based Hobbit and the best friend and companion of Frodo Baggins on his journey to Mordor. In the movies, he was portrayed by Sean Astin.
Samwise is actually Frodo’s gardener and later his constant companion on the way to Mount Doom. Originally intended by Gandalf as Frodo’s companion only on his journey to Rivendell, he is appointed by the Council of Elrond as a member of the Fellowship and follows his master through Moria, Lorien and ultimately (as the only one of the companions) to Mordor.
As a humorous, courageous and loyal friend and servant for Frodo, he contributes a great deal to the fulfillment of the task. Sam feels responsible for Frodo in a special way and cares for him attentively. He is the first to distrust Boromir, and he is more than suspicious of Gollum, who accompanies you more or less involuntarily on part of the way as a guide.
When Frodo is lured into an ambush by Gollum at Shelob’s lair, Sam first fights with Gollum and shortly afterwards with Shelob, the giant spider that poisoned his master. Believing that Frodo, stunned by the spider venom, is dead, Sam takes the ring, the little elven sword, and Galadriel’s vial to complete the task on his own. When he learns that his master is not dead, he saves him from the captivity of the orcs, gives him back the ring and accompanies him to Mount Doom.
The orcs consider him a great Elven warrior because of the injuries he inflicted on Shelob. After the end of the War of the Ring and the liberation of the Shire, he married Rose Cotton, with who he had 13 children. After Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf leave Middle-Earth, Sam becomes mayor for seven terms and has lived in the Shire for many years. Only after the death of his wife does he leave Middle-Earth as well and, as one of the ring bearers (even if only for a short time), is given permission to sail to Valinor as well.
Apart from Bilbo, Samwise is the only person involved who has voluntarily renounced the possession of the One Ring.
Who is the real hero – Frodo or Sam?
Now that we know everything you need to know about Frodo and Sam, we can answer the question from the title of this article.
As far as Frodo is concerned, he is the “chosen one” of this story and is therefore – in a way – predestined to be the hero. He is the bearer of the One Ring and he has to bring the Ring to Mordor and destroy it, so that he can get rid of Sauron. Along with that, he has a lot of heroic traits and is certainly the protagonist of the story, earning his place among the greatest characters in Tolkein’s Middle-Earth.
Yet, Frodo was a very difficult character to bear with. He had a lot of crisis-like moments, he was seduced by the Ring on more than one occasion and at the final moment, just before destroying the Ring, he chickened out. So, while knowing all of this, one cannot but wonder – how did Frodo even achieve his task, then? Well, thanks to Sam, of course!
Sam was the real, true, completely loyal companion to the nominal hero of this story. He was always there for Frodo, he helped him along his way, carried him through all the problematic situations and finally pushed him to do the right thing in the end. Samwise was not only a friend, he was also some sort of a babysitter for Frodo and he basically took care of everything, ensuring that the Ring was destroyed. So, is Samwise the real hero? In a manner, he certainly is and even Tolkien himself corroborated that, because without Sam – it is doubtful whether Frodo, the nominal hero of the story, would’ve been able to fulfill his task.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!