Best of The Lord of the Rings: Many Partings

If you have already read the books, you will probably recognise the title of this post. However, I meant to use it only to convey that this shall be the last post of the series and it seemed fitting to borrow an actual chapter title from the book.

Did you celebrate Hobbit Day yesterday by any chance? I just couldn’t find the time to bake the customary lembas and watch the trilogy again, so mine was pretty low-key. This has been rescheduled to Sunday because my college is working on Saturday (I think you can imagine the sad emoji that would accompany this sentence). The only significant thing I did was wear my Arwen necklace replica that I got as a birthday gift this year and gush over a friend’s acquisition of the One Ring (I’m still not sure if that’s a replica; I shall watch for the signs much like Gandalf did and post my observations on Twitter).

I initially thought this post would be about two things: the best relationship and the best villain as a bonus, but then I realised that I had so many things to talk about that I just couldn’t leave it at that. So I’ll be discussing several other favourite moments here. Is your elf-boat (or hobbit feet, if that’s your thing) ready? Then let’s be on our way!

Best of LoTR Header

Best Relationship: Frodo and Sam

I don’t ship them as a couple, because canonically Sam has a wife and several kids to speak of, but I enjoyed the dynamics between Frodo and Sam more than the friendship of Merry and Pippin or the romance between Faramir and Éowyn or Aragorn and Arwen. The simple reason being that it gets more emphasis than the rest and it changes from beginning to end drastically. In the initial stages, Frodo looks at Sam as his loyal and trusted servant. When Sam is caught eavesdropping on Gandalf and Frodo’s conversation, he is ‘punished’ with the task of accompanying Master Frodo on his mission. (Quest. Thing.) We, however, learn that there is more to Sam than just his loyal and resourceful side. He is revealed as a vital member of the conspiracy in A Conspiracy Unmasked, which goes to show that he sometimes steps out of his role as a servant but is always looking out for Frodo.

I really like how Tolkien develops more of Sam’s personality with each stage of the journey. But he doesn’t just stop there. As Sam’s character rises through the classic positive arc, it is sharply contrasted with the steady downfall of Frodo’s as his mind begins to crumble under the burden of the Ring. The beauty of the narrative and this relationship is that although Frodo is appointed the Ring-Bearer at the Council of Elrond, he could not have done it without Sam.

However, Sam has his share of faults. He inadvertently reveals the nature of Frodo’s task to Faramir and puts them in a tight spot. Frodo has his own flaws as he sees a part of himself in Gollum and begins to trust him. Ultimately, Samwise chooses well (the best part of Sam’s character development can be seen in the chapter The Choices of Master Samwise towards the end of The Two Towers) and proves his worth many times over in the dark wastes of Mordor. When Frodo has lost all his strength and will, he relies on Sam’s. When they return triumphantly, Sam is meant to continue from where Frodo left off. Although they come back to the Shire, none of them are the same again and neither is their relationship.

Best Antagonist: Gollum

I think most readers feel the same way. Although Sauron is a real threat and his Nazgûl scare the living daylights out of every creature on Middle-Earth, they seem remote compared to the relentless and sneaky Gollum. Ever since Moria, he doggedly pursues the Fellowship, seeking and lusting after the one thing that consumes his mind – the Ring of Power. His plan is simplicity in itself – steal it from Frodo when he’s vulnerable and run off with it where nobody can bother him again. He doesn’t care for wrong or right or good or evil. He has no thoughts other than surviving and the Ring.

Things get more interesting when we learn that Gollum has a past, a humble one at that, much similar to the hobbits from the Shire. From Book IV onwards, after The Taming of Sméagol, he begins to go back to those deeply buried memories of his past. His old identity, before the Ring corrupts his character and he changes into Gollum, resurfaces. Frodo recognises the change and sees in Gollum what would become of him if he lets the Ring rule his thoughts. Gollum gains his trust by acting the part of the loyal servant, which Sam resents. Things finally come to a head at Mount Doom, where Gollum’s sad story ends with a plunge into the fiery chasms, with his beloved Ring clutched in his hands as a final consolation. The most interesting part in the narrative is his switching back and forth between the personalities of Sméagol and Gollum, who rely on each other throughout the story, whereas it is seen at different times that one takes over the other.

Also, Andy Serkis does an AMAZING job as Gollum in the trilogy. Some must-watch clips from the movies are:

Suggested reading:

Why Do We Fear Gollum More Than Sauron?

A Precious Case from Middle-Earth

Other

Best scene from the movie: (From the arrival of Gandalf the White)

Best chapter from the book: The Grey Havens

Best Man: Faramir

Best Dwarf: Gimli

Best Elf: Galadriel (sorry, Legolas!)

Best Hobbit: Bilbo Baggins

Best actor from the movie cast: Sir Ian McKellen

Best story in the Appendices: The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen


Phew! I ran out of ideas after that (and reached a grand total of 10 ‘bests’ for the post), so it was time to say farewell and end it there. As I type this, I feel satisfied at having successfully completed this series without missing a post as well as a little sad as my outlet for fangirl feels drew to a close. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I loved writing them. If you have any suggestions or opinions, do head over to the comments section just below and type out your thoughts. If you loved the series and want to see similar content more often on the blog, do let me know and I might just turn into a genie and make your wish come true and we can have loads of fun discussing other books I have loved (Not sure what they are? Check out my Goodreads profile). Well, that’s it. Have a great weekend, folks!

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2 thoughts on “Best of The Lord of the Rings: Many Partings

  1. Whenever I think of literary friendships, Sam and Frodo are always the first two I think of. (In fact, my next DIY MFA article focuses on friendship as a literary theme, and Fellowship is one of my two case studies. *wink*) The way that Sam looks after Frodo, especially as Frodo falls under the One Ring’s influences, is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once.

    Also agree with you on Gollum being a truer antagonist than Sauron. Because of the time he spends with Frodo and Sam, we see the “human” side of Gollum and learn about his past. We can, in some sense, relate to him better than we can to Sauron, so that helps with forming that love-hate relationship fans have with him.

    And YES to Andy Serkis. This and his role as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot are why he’s the King of Motion Capture (well, in my opinion *lol*).

    Very nice wrap-up, Nandini!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. 🙂 I’m actually listening to the OST as I reply to the comment. 😛
      Oh, I’d love to read that post! 😀 And of course Serkis is the king! I can’t get enough of him in such roles. 😛
      Another friendship I really liked was the one between Gimli and Legolas. It was very heartening that they put years of discord aside and became so close. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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