Samwise
An emotional Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. (New Line Cinema)


In the following speech, delivered by an emotional Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin; pictured) in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, a hopeful hobbit argues for faith in what is right. But, in this difficult world of many conflicting interests —Middle-earth —what is right?

'It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo—the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end . . . But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you; that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't because they were holding on to something . . . That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for.'



This is a compelling speech. However, Samwise only reveals what he subjectively wants to see; some political leader has to keep harmony between his interests and everyone else’s. In Middle-earth there are all kinds of people and they will not share Samwise’s political vision, if we can call it that. His speech is instilled with poetry but devoid of political philosophy.

Elsewhere, we’re simply informed by the story’s author, J.R.R. Tolkien, that King Aragorn’s power is good and brings peace in the end and that Dark Lord Sauron’s power is corrupt and brings evil. Things are very binary.

Tolkien had a way of simplifying morality in Middle-earth like this: he often left us without much detail on how things ought to be. Then again, why should he? His epic fantasy tale, imbued with wonderful romanticism, leaves us inspired—inspired enough to form our own personal notions of how things ought to be.

Tell us: what good are you holding on to which is worth fighting for?