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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Gallifrey. I need a Jelly Baby.
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    Question for my British cousins about Sam and Frodo

    This is a question for our British cousins across the pond. I'm currently on my yearly vigil of reading LOTR(I'm where Faramir tells Sam to be quiet and let his master talk), and I was wondering what is the English equivalent of Sam's relationship to Frodo? I know when he calls him master it's not from any kind of slavery.

    When Gandalf tells Sam that he has to go with Frodo Sam is pretty happy, in fact he yells "Yippee!" So I can see that Sam has no problem being Frodo's servant. In fact, he pushes Frodo to keep going when he is on the verge of giving up. And he aways calls him Master Frodo.

    We have nothing like this in the States. I've read of similar relationships in WW1 when a British Officer would take his servant with him to the trenches, and the servant would keep pushing the officer not to give up when feeling down.


    If someone could explain the relationship to me I would be grateful.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
    Continuing the never ending battle to keep Lobelia Sackville-Baggins in check

  2. #2

    Sam was Frodo's batman

    The relationship is something very specific to World War One (where Tolkien first conceived LOtR), specifically the officer and servant (or batman as they were known). Tolkien wrote in a letter, “My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English solider, of the privates and batmen I know in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself.” At the start, class and social barriers divide them; but, according to John Garth, writer of 'Frodo and the Great War', “Tolkien maps the gradual breakdown of restraint until Sam can take Frodo into his arms and call him ‘Mr Frodo, my dear.’” In addition, their hierarchy inverts, with Sam turning into the leader, which is also modeled on experience; C.S. Lewis said that his sergeant, who was the one who actually knew what he was doing, turned their “ridiculous and painful relationship into someting beautiful, became to me almost like a father.”
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/072060000001283c6/01005/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]

  3. #3
    as Bruce Wayne might say ... "I'm batman"

    Seriously.... during WW1 it was common for an officer to have a 'batman' who was a soldier who ran errands and did any number of misc. tasks for the officer. Most had great loyalty to their officer and it was a desirable position compared to the life and duties of an everyday soldier, not to mention danger.
    "You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Gallifrey. I need a Jelly Baby.
    Posts
    18,596
    Thanks for the quick responses! I thought it might be something from history but wasn't sure.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
    Continuing the never ending battle to keep Lobelia Sackville-Baggins in check

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    England
    Posts
    328
    Quote Originally Posted by Nymphonic View Post
    This is a question for our British cousins across the pond. I'm currently on my yearly vigil of reading LOTR(I'm where Faramir tells Sam to be quiet and let his master talk), and I was wondering what is the English equivalent of Sam's relationship to Frodo? I know when he calls him master it's not from any kind of slavery.

    When Gandalf tells Sam that he has to go with Frodo Sam is pretty happy, in fact he yells "Yippee!" So I can see that Sam has no problem being Frodo's servant. In fact, he pushes Frodo to keep going when he is on the verge of giving up. And he aways calls him Master Frodo.

    We have nothing like this in the States. I've read of similar relationships in WW1 when a British Officer would take his servant with him to the trenches, and the servant would keep pushing the officer not to give up when feeling down.


    If someone could explain the relationship to me I would be grateful.
    It's also to do with the British class system that was around during Tolkiens day, the upper class and lower working class. Masters (upperclass) and servants (lower working class) each knew their role in society, and as such servants knew their place, but even so deep respect and friendships could be formed, but were always defined by the servant never trying to be equal to the master. Tolkien never had any working class friends he met with regularly, but his experiences during WW1 demonstrated to him the bravery of the everyday Englishman whom Sam (not highly educated) represents. Today, the class system is on the way out in the UK, and certainly not as defined or separated as it still was in Tolkeins days when he was writing the LOTRO saga. Ofc it's more complext than this, but hopefully this provides a basic outline sketch of the society Tolkien was writing in.
    Last edited by Nakah; Feb 19 2013 at 11:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,129
    Quote Originally Posted by Nakah View Post
    It's also to do with the British class system that was around during Tolkiens day, the upper class and lower working class. Masters (upperclass) and servants (lower working class) each knew their role in society, and as such servants knew their place, but even so deep respect and friendships could be formed, but were always defined by the servant never trying to be equal to the master. Tolkien never had any working class friends he met with regularly, but his experiences during WW1 demonstrated to him the bravery of the everyday Englishman whom Sam (not highly educated) represents. Today, the class system is on the way out in the UK, and certainly not as defined or separated as it still was in Tolkeins days when he was writing the LOTRO saga. Ofc it's more complext than this, but hopefully this provides a basic outline sketch of the society Tolkien was writing in.
    This is more specific that earlier posters, because that what Tolkien specifically states later on in his writtings about it. in those times servant class was more or less really loyal to their Masters be the master of keys, masters of garden, etc all under a "High class citizen who owned a state".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Gallifrey. I need a Jelly Baby.
    Posts
    18,596
    This has been very informative. I never knew this.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
    Continuing the never ending battle to keep Lobelia Sackville-Baggins in check

 

 

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