Sam Gamgee Sees Something More Real Than the Shadow.

Whether it is day or night in the ever dark land of Mordor Sam and Frodo hardly know but the darkness seems to be deepening and they are weary and in need of rest. Frodo falls asleep almost immediately but Sam remains wary and stays awake. And it is in this state of exhaustion that he experiences a moment of absolute clarity of vision.

“Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a bright star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.”

As we saw last time “the blind dark” is getting into Frodo’s heart and he can no longer see as Sam can see. The Ring exercises an ever greater hold upon him and so Sam must see for them both. So often we mistakenly believe that we walk alone not realising that at all times we bear one another’s burdens. Frodo must bear the Ring, not just for Sam but for the whole world. This is his destiny and in order to fulfil it he must remain in desolation. We do not blame him for the moments of anger or the growing silence that is taking hold of him. Our hearts go out to him just as Sam’s does.

For even as Frodo falls into “the blind dark” Sam’s heart becomes ever more compassionate and his capacity for the vision of beauty grows. We have reflected on more than one occasion on how Sam’s adventures begin with a desire “to see Elves”, but it is one thing to be able to see, and to long for, beauty in the Shire, it is another thing to be able to see it in Mordor. Sam does see it and sees it as something that is deeper and more real than the “small and passing thing” that is the Shadow.

In the seeing of the beauty of the star Sam is able to carry Frodo through Mordor; in the bearing of the burden of the Ring Frodo carries the hopes and fears of the world.

And there is something more and this is what Sam is able to glimpse for a moment and that is that it is neither Sam’s vision of beauty nor Frodo’s ability to bear the Ring that matters most but that there is “light and high beauty” for ever beyond the reach of the Shadow. That such light and beauty should be matters more even than the success or failure of their mission. It matters even more than whether they live or die. There is a Love that holds and cradles Frodo and Sam of which they are only dimly aware, catching glimpses of it when they find water in the Morgai, attributing their good fortune to the favour of the Lady of Lothlórien but that there should be such a Love for them matters less than the reality that the Love, the Beauty, the Goodness and the Truth simply are.

And Sam does what such a vision always calls those who see to do. He puts away all fear and casts himself into a deep untroubled sleep. It is not that he feels safe in the land of Shadow. It is a still a place of danger as he will soon find out but he has seen something deeper than the danger and that is enough.

8 thoughts on “Sam Gamgee Sees Something More Real Than the Shadow.

  1. Thank you for your thoughts on Sam. I will always remember reading this passage for the first time. Total surrender to fate and knowing that there is a greater good beyond all our troubles that helps us. Gotta love Sam.

  2. Love this! What a cool picture. Is it possible for you to add bigger pictures on your blog? I’ve started posting these on a great new Middle-earth Facebook site (Legends of Endore) but the pictures don’t show up because they are too small for Facebook.

    This is what people need to see as they toil in blackness and despair and do not have the strength or even the desire to look up. But if they do find the courageous ability to defy that which seeks to destroy them by drowning them in the darkness, they will look up and see the stars and their own defiance. The stars are not crushed by the black, they use it to show their own brightness. How blessed are those who heed their example and Sam’s and gain the strength to shine also. Love also your remarks about the Love that holds them close and honors their endeavors.

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 😉

    • Thank you for letting me know about your Facebook page. I will certainly be taking a look later today. I am still learning about the skills of creating a really good blog post. At heart I am a writer who reluctantly recognises the need to think about presentation.
      Thank you too for your thoughtful reflection. This is another inbreaking of Glory into Mordor that reveals the Land of Shadow for what it truly is. Next week I want to write a piece on the allies of Sauron who send food into the dead land. Some attach themselves to the illusion of the power of darkness. Those who say yes to the Light see the illusion for what it truly is.
      As always, I thank you for your encouragement and pray God’s blessing on you and yours.

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