I re-read the Lord of the Rings, and I realized why I didn’t like it very much. I don’t hate it, I just have some problems with it.
I loved the Hobbit. I loved Bilbo and the elves and dwarves. But when I was a kid [12 or 13] I just didn’t like Rings as much, but I couldn’t decide why.
Part of it is Frodo. He’s just too serious. That’s one thing I didn’t like when I was a kid. When I read it again I understood why he was more serious; he was on a more important mission and Bilbo was just goofing around.
But, then I started seeing the subtext.
Sam is Frodo’s ‘servant’ all through the books he’s the servant. Even after he saves Frodo’s life a few times and they go through a lot of shit together.
It’s so old world. No matter how many times Sam saves Frodo’s ass he’s never more than a servant. If Tolkien had been American then Sam might have started out as a servant but it wouldn’t have been long before they were partners. Equals. But that never happens in LOTR.
This made me think about the quintessential American film, the buddy picture. Butch and Sundance, Bonnie and Clyde, Top Gun, True Romance, Lethal Weapon, even Thelma and Louise. Maybe not all of those are great movies, but the partnership theme is in a lot of American movies.
But, in Lord of the Rings, it never happens. Sam can’t rise above his class because he was born a servant and the son of a servant. He should be able to rise above his station his these modern times. He even bore the ring, but does that matter? No. All that matters is that he is a servant and always will be while Frodo is the lord of the manor.
Also, on another note, Frodo and Sam are gay. That whole British tradition of the ‘bachelor lord and his loyal manservant’ thing. They’re just way too close.