Carrying Other People

I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.
-Samwise Gamgee

That quote comes from my very favorite moment in the Lord of the Rings Films. Frodo can’t go on and Samwise carries him up the last slope. It is a moment in time when the quiet assistant character gets to be a hero. It is when the audience sees that without support failure is imminent. Every time I see the scene, I cry.

I thought of the scene this morning when my daughter was frantically typing away at a homework paper and remembered that she needed to bring treats to class. Cheesecake, she declared. She had promised cheesecake. I dropped what I was doing and began making a quick batch of cookies. I couldn’t run to the store for cheescake and return in time, but I could bake cookies. My daughter was not pleased with the substitution. Then she was surprised and contrite when I got upset about her ingratitude. Only in the face of my tears did it occur to her that me dropping work to make cookies was a gift rather than something to be expected.

Carrying someone else is beautiful and heroic. Carrying the same person over and over is exhausting. How many times could Samwise have carried Frodo up the same slope if Frodo kept slipping back down? And what if there were three Frodos or five? At what point would Samwise collapse and need to be carried himself? There are times when carrying another person is the best and only solution. However it is not the only possible solution for most things. Sometimes Frodo just needs to realize that Samwise is tired too and offer to carry his pack for awhile.

4 thoughts on “Carrying Other People”

  1. I think part of what makes the scene so poignant is also the fact that it is at the end of three films where Frodo has done everything he possibly can to keep the burden from others. He left the safety of the Fellowship so that it wouldn’t tempt the others, he tried to leave Samwise, and he had to place his trust in an unreliable guide to make it to Mordor. It was only after he has suffered betrayal, hunger, miles and miles walked on his own two feet, capture by orcs and the ring twisting his mind so badly that it would never be the same again, that he reached this point. Frodo had not slacked on the journey, and after prodigious effort he could no longer go on. Sam had come knowing that Frodo’s burden was heavier than his own, and for that reason was there every step of the way not only to give comfort and friendship, but finally to finish the journey when Frodo no longer could. Sam’s dedication and love is shown in many ways through Frodo’s own; their dedication to the task and each other worked together to create a friendship and a display of love that is the trilogy’s capstone.

    1. I agree. I love the self sacrifice after going beyond the end of hobbit limits. I wouldn’t want to change the film for anything. I just need to stop applying the same tactics in my own life when they aren’t necessary.

  2. Things have been difficult in our home and my husband and I have made a practice of switching off. Each gets a chance to be carried and being the main burden of the family holder, then the rested one takes over.

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