The Last Hours

Author: jan-u-wine

Nominator: Antane

2011 Award Category: Poetry: Character Study - First Place

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: The bitter Choices of Master Samwise have given way to the Sad Surety of Master Gamgee..... Please note that the second URL will take you to Mechtild's LJ, where the poem serves as a companion to her Gorgoroth screen-caps.

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 10

This poem reminds the reader, vividly and starkly, that fanfiction about Sam and Frodo need not be mushy or sentimentalized to be powerful. If Sam once rejoiced to be part of the Quest from youthful high spirits, seized with excitement to see the strange folk and far-away places of tale and song (along with wanting to serve his beloved and somewhat idolized master, of course), he now knows as well as Frodo ever did that they are on a mission of critical importance, so critical the world hangs in the balance. They are on that mission to the death, that now seems certain. Sam sees Frodo is diminishing, physically and spiritually. Sam is grieved to the core, but he also sees that he must carry the Quest through, if it be possible, whether Frodo is able or not, and whether he is grief-stricken or not. No longer can Sam imagine the possibility of staying by Frodo's body to weep while the world slides into the abyss, as he did in Shelob's tunnel. Sam has become Frodo's heir already, this side of death or the Grey Havens: if Frodo's determination has drained away, it is not lost but has passed into Sam. Their fates no longer are their private concern, the loss of Frodo no longer only a personal sorrow: Sam now knows, he says, ["I am not here just to be your Friend"].

Author response: My dearest well you have 'got' the intent of this piece. I love it when you say (and had not thought of it, but it is so very true!): "Sam has become Frodo's heir already". He really had, had he not, when he realized (joining Frodo in the realization) that this Quest was more important than either of them and that he must complete it, if Frodo could not. I only ever had inklings of this in bookSam, so I sort of extrapolated, but I do think these might have been his thoughts. They are soldierly thoughts, equal to those of the batmen of the War, who were practical soldiers, no matter how they felt (or didn't feel!) about their charges. For Sam, however, I don't believe it was a matter of "it's us or them". No, I think that when the epiphany came upon him, it was for the same reasons as Frodo's: that he saw a moral responsibility to save his world. And I think that it came about because of Frodo. Sam saw the goodness there, saw the morality, the love that embraced all, even the wretched Gollum. And he got the sense of the whole thing. In not being there 'just' to be Frodo's friend, he became his friend more than he was, ever, before.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 5

Dear Sam. So canny, sage and selfless. He's not daft in the slightest; he knows this journey could be the end of them, but he's wily enough to play his part and manipulate Frodo into carrying on 'to please his Sam', because there's still a job to be done, for all that Frodo believes Sam doesn't realise they won't be going back home afterwards. Yet Sam knows it'll be enough for his master simply to complete the current task at hand, and what comes after that ... comes after that. Simple. Touching and eloquent, as always. The author has the very winning ability of capturing great depth of emotion in few words. This poem is yet another of her triumphs. Well done, jan-u-wine.

Author response: Dear Kara's Aunty: thank you so much again. Yes, *our* Sam was not-so-'Simple'-Sam, was he? I'll never cease to be amazed at the wonderful ying and yang, the lovely and natural balance of Tolkien's Frodo and they complemented each other in the truest and deepest sort of way. I read an essay once (wish i could find it; long gone, I'm afraid) where, most memorably,(to me, at least) the author said, "Frodo loved everything, but Sam simply (there's that word again!)loved *Frodo*". Any person who loves with an agape sort of love, one that embraces entire worlds and people known and unknown, would, perforce, need a *Sam*...another person who loves *them*, is dedicated to their well-being, who knows them like no other. How I love these two people, their careful *care* of each other, their perfection as characters, the way they simply shine. thank you again for your lovely comments!

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 4

Even better than 'Another Sunless Dawn' does this portray Harthad Uluithiad and Bronwe athan Harthad. Sam is indeed right I fear that Frodo may have given up if he knew Sam had lost hope. I love the thought he was only going on to please his beloved guardian angel and gardener. If we could all love this deeply and purely, giving our all for that one treasure in our lives beyond price.

Author response: my dear Antane, your review speaks not only to the struggle of Frodo and Sam, but also of your own (and to all our own, I should say). I believe we *can* love this deeply and purely: we have only to try. It sounds simplistic, but it is not, for in the trying lies the Quest: a putting of one foot after the other, day after day, in joy or sorrow, whether or no. It's a matter of education, a matter of taking the good from the bad, until all that remains is a distillation of self. Thank you, dear Antane, always, for your appreciation of my words. And keep on your Quest. Do not lose Hope, either the sort beyond endurance, nor that which is unquenchable.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

This is an excellent poem from Sam's POV, depicting his thoughts and feelings as he and Frodo draw ever nearer to Mordor. It indicates that Sam was not always the optimist he seemed, and the last few lines--portraying his understanding that he is here not just to be Frodo's devoted friend, but that he, Sam, is just as necessary to complete the quest as the Ringerbearer himself, is quite insightful and poignant.

Author response: thank you, once again, Darkover! I kind of call this my "no bathrooms on the Enterprise" poem. That is....we mostly *see* only the positive sides of characters (and not just in LOTR), which, I suppose, is why it is so easy to admire and love them. They don't have bad hair days, they don't spill red wine on their last clean white shirt, they don't have crusty undercrackers from walking all the way to the (forgive the expression at this juncture) Cracks of Doom with no bathing room and no fresh undies. What transpired between Sam and Frodo during those last days we have some idea of, since the books at least out-line it. But what transpired internally (and most esp. with Sam, since he really was the person with the task of keeping Frodo going), we aren't told much of. I can well imagine Sam's thoughts being much darker than this, had he had the time to think them, and had he not been so compromised himself. Hope Unquenchable, indeed. Dear Samwise. I think i'll just write another..... thank you again!