This article, written by Rtr. Randima Fernando of Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School under the theme “A write-up based on a quote”, was awarded second place at Write Out Loud 2019, the English article writing competition organized by Rotaract Mora.
If ever there were a sequence of words or phrases that was able to evoke a plethora of the most profound emotions within me in an instant, it would be those of Samwise Gamgee, spoken beneath the shadow of Mount Doom.
“Come, Mr. Frodo! I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.”
In so many ways this bold declaration made by Sam at arguably the most trying part of their journey, serves as a wake up call to those of us that dream of being heroes. Those of us whose inner heroes choose to remain at a state of slumber brought forth by our own doubt and inconfidence.
J.R.R. Tolkien himself has claimed that the character of Sam was an allusion to the many privates and batmen he used to know while serving as an officer during the First World War, many of whom he deemed to be far superior to him in spite of rank and social background. Much like those men he served with, Sam’s heroism does not come from anything extraordinary, on the contrary it was begotten by something very ordinary. Samwise Gamgee embodies the virtues of loyalty, love, fortitude and courage. Much like Sam, we may not be able to charge into a fray of orcs wielding Anduril, or take down massive Oliphaunts single-handedly, but we can help a friend. I believe it is for this reason that Tolkien himself has explicitly stated that the true hero of his story is Samwise Gamgee, who stood steadfast by his friend when all hell broke loose. It is important to note that within the Tolkien legendarium hobbits were among the weakest races that dwelled in Middle Earth. Yet, it was by the hands of hobbits that the fate of Middle Earth was ultimately determined. The beautiful notion conveyed by this is the fact that heroism isn’t formed by the inherent capabilities one possesses, but by the choices one makes to be courageous, selfless and compassionate in the face of adversity.
Sam’s words to Frodo which has echoed for decades among the literary enthusiasts and the various nooks and crannies of pop culture is a powerful metaphor for real life. Oftentimes when we come across friends or family that are dealing with an arduous situation, we do not always possess the capability to resolve their difficulties or “carry it for them”, but more often than not we can “carry them”. For those of us living in Earth rather than Middle Earth, life itself is our journey to Mount Doom, and each of us have our very own One Ring to bear. At times some of us stumble and fall. We
are the Frodo of our own individual stories and in that regard we are all heroic to some extent, but it is Sam that we really look for in our story and we often find ourselves at a difficulty in becoming our own Sam. Yet, we all possess the ability to be the Sam for someone else, and we all possess the ability to say “I can carry you” to a loved one. Sure, we might not exactly perceive ourselves as heroic in our own eyes, but in the stories of countless others who we have carried up the burning slopes of Mount Doom, we already are.