Peter Jackson’s interpretation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is home to some of cinema’s best monologues. In rare moments when the characters get a respite from their adventures, their reflections offer viewers touching insight into their emotions.
Though it can be especially captivating to hear monologues from the “bigger” heroes, it is characters like hobbit Sam Gamgee whose words truly touch the viewer. Sam is unused to adventure and simple in his ways, which lends an innocence to his infrequent monologues that is missing from those of the more worldly characters.
The best example of this is near the end of the second film in the trilogy, The Two Towers, as Sam struggles to keep a failing Frodo on track. Frodo is falling farther under the influence of the evil Ring of Power as the two draw nearer to Mt. Doom. The closer they get, the harder it is for Frodo to fight the Ring’s power.
For Sam, the journey has been an ongoing battle between what must be done to destroy the ring and the effect he sees it having on his friend. He does not speak at length often, which is what makes his monologue all the more poignant.
The monologue is sparked by an exhausted Frodo declaring that he no longer feels he has the will to complete the journey to destroy the ring. At first, Sam tearfully offers agreement rather than comfort. But as he looks out on the war-ravaged city of Osgiliath, he waxes nostalgic, reflecting on stories he heard as a young hobbit, “the ones that really mattered.”
“Sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy?” he asks. “How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?”
In wondering this aloud in his monologue, Sam expresses his own fears of what the war may mean for the home he loves and, ultimately, for Middle-Earth. He is more open about his fears than other characters in the trilogy, whose monologues tend to focus more on what they hope to see come out of the growing conflict.
Sam’s monologue, however, serves to remind viewers of the power of perseverance, even in the face of the darkest adversity. “Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something.”
The monologue concludes with Frodo asking Sam what they, two hobbits in the midst of a war, are holding onto. Sam replies with the hope that good still remains in the world, “and that it’s worth fighting for.”
Sam’s monologue describes the sort of journey that all of the characters in the trilogy are making. He reminds viewers that, no matter the circumstances, if they endure to the end, the sun “will shine out the clearer.” His innocent insight is what makes this one of the best monologues in cinema history.