Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Frodo (not Sam) [nor Gollum] is the hero of Lord of the Rings
Naive first-time readers of The Lord of the Rings regard Frodo as the hero.
Sophisticates, who have read the book a few times, or read the secondary literature; regard Sam as the hero - noticing that the point-of-view switches to Sam not long after the Fellowship is broken, Sam has the last words in the book; and that Sam is indeed heroic in multiple ways - especially in fighting Shelob and rescuing Frodo while alone.
(Some weird people - who are profoundly out of sympathy with Tolkien, and haven't read LotR carefully - regard Gollum as the hero, because... well, you know the kind of stuff.)
However, Ultra-sophisticates such as myself (!) realise that Frodo was the hero all along!
Why? Well, because the book is primarily about the destruction of The One Ring, and Frodo is the only character whose primary priority is the destruction of The Ring. This is not vitiated by the observation that Frodo was unable purposively to complete his task - the fact is that he gave the job his everything.
Most important job, gave it everything: Frodo is the hero.
By contrast, Sam's priority is Frodo - and when he temporarily tries to put The Ring first, and leaves Frodo for dead - he deeply regrets having done so, and berates himself for having failed to stick by his proper task.
(Gollum is the person who actually destroys the ring, but does so by accident - assisted by providence; so he isn't the hero.)