Friday Read 21/10/11 (Catch Up) – Favourite Supporting Character

Your Favourite Supporting Character in a Novel

Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings has so many characters and storylines going on that it’s hard to say who is the hero, but there is no doubt that Tolkien created numerous superb supporting characters.  Samwise Gamgee is my favourite of these.

Sam is an incredible example of loyalty, friendship and courage throughout the books, supporting Frodo on his quest to destroy the Ring of Power no matter what they encounter.  He has no interest in personal glory, just to help Frodo achieve his aim.  Everything he does is geared towards this, from his refusal to leave Frodo, to his attempts to expose Gollum’s true motivations, to his concern to save food for the journey home, to his rescue of Frodo from the orcs.  His selflessness is shown by him being the only character who appears untouched by the “pull” of the ring – he does not want it for himself even when he has the chance to take it.  The scene where Gollum turns Frodo against Sam, and he sends Sam away, makes me cry.

For me “Samwise the Brave” is absolutely the best example of a supporting character, who has a great personality, brings needed humour and humanity to some of the darker parts of the story, and has a relationship with the “hero” that defines the book.  And, at the risk of upsetting LOTR book purists, I also think he is played with real heart and skill by Sean Astin in the film adaptations.

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