Episode 191 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

Jumping up from the corner:
  • While Frodo’s volunteering was what prompted Sam to speak now, it’s unclear just how long and when he had restrained himself from speaking before, such as Boromir’s interruptions.
  • In the early parts of the Council, Sam would probably not have been tempted to speak up, as he would have been one of the most interested in Elrond’s stories and lore of the Elder Days.
  • How transgressive does Sam believe that he is being? While he wasn’t specifically invited, he is Frodo’s servant, and in that role, he may have been noticed but not included most of the time.
  • Elrond’s immediate response shows that he knew Sam was there and is couched in hobbitry.
  • It’s possible that Sam may see his attendance of Frodo is acceptable, but that his speaking isn’t.
  • Elrond knows that Sam’s asking about going himself, which he would expect as Frodo’s servant.
  • Note: It’s likely that Frodo is responsible for any descriptions of Sam actions and talk, but Sam wouldn’t have removed any of those references either, out of respect for Frodo or Bilbo. Any internal dialogue would have been based on Sam’s descriptions to Frodo later, after the story.
  • It’s clear that Sam is not being disrespectful to Elrond or anyone else, but just spontaneous.
Turning towards him with a smile:
  • Elrond is not rebuking Sam, even jokingly, and doesn’t seem to think that Sam has overstepped.
  • Sending Sam with Frodo is set within the hobbitry of admitting that he couldn’t separate them.
  • Note: As modern Americans, many may see Sam’s treatment as a servant as distasteful, but that is his role in this story and his society and would be less distasteful to Tolkien who understood these kinds of historical and social hierarchies, including those people’s attitudes towards them.
  • The way that Elrond has been hinting about Hobbits was probably also intended for Sam’s ears.
  • Gandalf and Elrond would have walked into the Council fully expecting Sam to follow Frodo there, and Elrond would have seen Sam’s devotion to his master during Frodo’s convalescence.
  • Since the “small hands” of humility have been held up as what is needed for this quest, Sam would be the most qualified of all the hobbits, as the humblest and least presumptuous of them.
  • Therefore, Elrond and Gandalf would probably always think of Frodo and Sam as a pair, which would also provide for a second candidate to take the Ring if anything were to happen to Frodo.
  • This would prevent anyone more powerful from being tempted to take up the Ring in that need.
  • In the Woody End, the Elves, who were Noldor and from Rivendell, perceived Sam’s devotion to Frodo and willingness to go with him until the end, but still made Sam promise to do so.
  • In the same way that Goldberry could perceive that Frodo had been named an Elf-friend, Elrond likely could see in Sam the charge that Gildor’s people have laid on him and acknowledges it.
  • Therefore, Elrond has anticipated this and is fully prepared for it and includes it in his plans.
  • What Sam has actually accomplished with his outburst is to be appointed now rather than later.
  • While Sam isn’t oath-bound to Frodo, Sam has sworn himself to Frodo as clearly as with an oath.
A nice pickle we have landed ourselves in:
  • Sam seems to be unprepared for the hobbitry from Elrond, unlike Bilbo, who is willing to banter with Elrond in the Hall of Fire. The simple fact that Elrond spoke to him could be overwhelming.
  • Why does Sam mutter this aside to Frodo? He doesn’t actually respond to what Elrond has said.
  • While this is probably not the first time that Elrond has spoken to Sam directly, that still doesn’t remove the awe in which he would hold Elrond is, especially after hearing all of Bilbo’s stories.
  • Sam doesn’t grumble about them being in this situation, nor does he blame Frodo, as evidenced by the use of “we” and not “you”, but he does acknowledge the fact that he has volunteered.
  • Note: While Sam in the films is ready to go home before the Council, in the book, Sam is not.
  • Sam seems to have always understood at some level that this would be how things worked out.
  • While Frodo may vainly hope that his journey was done at Rivendell, Sam is prepared to go on.
  • After listening to the Council, Sam would be even more convinced that they will be going on, especially after the qualifications for the Ring-bearer are spoken, and only Frodo can fulfill them.
  • While Sam may not fully understand what possessing the One Ring means, he does understand the story that he is in and their role in it and is probably the least surprised of the councilors.
  • Note: Sam will show that he understands these affairs most plainly throughout the whole book.
  • The overall tone of Sam’s statement seems to be his embarrassment and breaking the tension by saying something. He may be thinking about what the Gaffer would say to him right now.
  • This would definitely qualify as getting involved in the affairs of the betters of the Gamgees.
  • Note: The expression of a “pickle” is not an anachronism, as the literal use of pickling and its metaphorical associations with trouble have been part of western cultures for many centuries.
  • Sam is not making comic relief but is acknowledging their shared sacrifice and the implications.
  • While what both Frodo and he have done is truly heroic, but this downplays it in the Gaffer’s voice in order to bring things back down to a Hobbit level, reminding them of the Shire.
  • As a humble Shire-hobbit, Sam has no words for an occasion as auspicious as what’s happened.
  • Elrond may know enough of Sam that if he had made a speech about Sam’s importance in the way that he acknowledged Frodo’s, Sam would probably crumble under the embarrassment.
  • In this way, Elrond does a kindness to Sam by teasing and making light of his volunteering.
  • Sam’s concern for Frodo has overruled his awe at the Elves, but Elrond helps soften it for him.
  • So far in the Council, everyone has been elevated by being revealed in their true natures, such as Aragorn, but with the exception of Bilbo and Frodo, though Sam would consider them great.
  • Though Sam is also being elevated, he is not aware of the effect that this has had on him yet.
  • Note: While one can speculate on how Sam might have fared at the Cracks of Doom if he had been forced to replace Frodo as Ring-bearer, but Tolkien was explicit that no one could have done better than Frodo did. When he thinks that Frodo is dead, this has a big impact on Sam.
The hobbits hold a meeting of their own:
  • Given that the Council takes place in late October, even if the Council started at dawn, they would only have five or six hours before noon to have completed the discussion as described.
  • Note: Does time behave differently in Rivendell the way it does in Lothlorien? Bilbo will say that time doesn’t seem to pass in Rivendell, but that seems to be Bilbo’s subjective experience living there. This is different from the experience that Frodo and Sam discuss after leaving Lórien. Mortals seem to be unaware of the passing of time in Lothlorien, while in Rivendell, they experience time cycles, but that Rivendell is unchanging. Also, Bilbo has a different relationship with time considering the effect that the Ring has had on his aging, and in which he is preserved. Aragorn’s mother Gilraen lived out her days in Rivendell, and she was probably not the only one of the Dúnedain to do this, but they also don’t experience time the same way as normal Men.
  • While the Council was held in secret from the Enemy, within Rivendell, it seems to be openly discussed with those living there after it has ended, including the other two hobbits.
  • Merry and Pippin’s comment about Sam creeping into the Council seems to be more about their own point of view about their exclusion from the Council, and they would have had to creep in.
  • They may also be jealous of Sam’s skills as an investigator, which they’d used in their conspiracy.
  • Pippin may be suggesting that had he crept in himself, being kicked out is what would happen.
  • This kind of hobbitry exchange is typical of Hobbits in making light of these important events.