And the answer: Samwise.
Sidekick and best friend to protagonist Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee is a hobbit known for his loyalty and emotional strength. He began as Frodo’s gardener, but grew into his fierce protector and best friend. Samwise was also one of the few characters able to resist the Corruption of the One Ring, demonstrating his incredible fortitude and virtue.
When Fellowship of the Ring hit the shelves in 1954, there was nothing to compare it to. In creating the mystical world of Middle Earth and filling it with non-human creatures of their own reality, Tolkien inadvertently paved the way for a new genre: epic or high fantasy. While low fantasy genres are based in the earthly realm, and involve the use of fantastical elements like magic and other supernatural forces, high or epic fantasy is a subgenre that is based in a whole other dimension. In high fantasy, the world created by the author often will have a complex narrative arc in which the protagonist embarks on a heroic quest to save the world from collapse.
Interestingly, Tolkien’s inspiration for Lord of the Rings was drawn from real life: the bubbling streams, lush pastures and dark forests are all characteristics of the British landscape from which Tolkien hailed. What’s more: Tolkien actually engaged longstanding myths and ideas of otherworldly creatures, and solidified them in one single realm. As a result, the looks, personalities, and traits we expect when we hear a story with elves, dwarves, or orcs, can be traced back to Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Did you know?
Yesterday was J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday! This year marks 130 years since the birth of the fantasy writer, who is remembered in the massive impact of the Lord of the Rings book trilogy and later highly-popular movie series. As the Tolkien Society suggests, raise a glass to his memory and utter the simple phrase “The Professor!” to remember J.R.R Tolkien’s legacy.
Learn more about Lord of the Rings here.