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Old 10-09-2002, 09:14 PM   #1
Nar
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Sting In praise of Sam's Pans

Quote:
Sam ... took out all the things in his pack. Somehow each of them had become dear to him, if only because he had borne them so far with so much toil. Hardest of all it was to part with his cooking-gear. Tears welled in his eyes at the thought of casting it away.
'Do you remember that bit of rabbit, Mr. Frodo?' he said.' 'And our place under the warm bank in Captain Faramir's country, the day I saw an oliphaunt?'
...
'Talking won't mend nothing,' he muttered to himself, as he gathered up all the things that they had chosen to cast away. ... 'Stinker picked up that orc-shirt, seemingly, and he isn't going to add a sword to it. ... And he isn't going to mess with my pans!'

With that he carried all the gear away to one of the many gaping fissures that scored the land and threw them in. The clatter of his precious pans as they fell down into the dark was like a death-knell to his heart.
Sam loves his pans like a carpenter loves his tools, like a sculptor loves his chisel. Sam's craft and art is caretaking, and far away from his garden and grandfather, with Frodo his only charge, Sam's pans are his most treasured tools ... his 'precious', you might say. The cloaks may be more useful, but Sam's pans seem nearest his heart-- most representative of who Sam is in himself.

Smeagol's 'precious' is only useful to him, Sam uses his 'precious' to take care of his master, such is the difference between them. And yet like Smeagol with his precious, Sam's treasured pans go into a 'gaping fissure'. Sam willingly casts them away for the mission and for love of Frodo. Both Frodo and Sam lose everything but each other --and this seems to be neccessary for the fulfullment of the quest. Agree or Disagree? Why or why not?

For that matter, do you have anything to say in praise of Sam's pans? Or Sam himself?

I hate to think of those pans lying in that dark fissure until the end of time. Maybe someone found them just as someone found the ring. If Sauron's 'precious' gets to be found and found again, I think Sam's 'precious' should be found.

[ October 09, 2002: Message edited by: Nar ]
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:22 PM   #2
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Sting

(Now there's an idea for the TTT Missing Story contest! Go for it, Nar! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] )

Yes, I, too, love the fact that Sam carried his pans all the way out to the middle of nowhere, on his way to impending doom (or is that impending Doom?)! This is the sort of thing that gives Middle Earth its class. Hobbits didn't have religion? Pish-posh! They had proper meals and proper manners, come Orodruin or high water! Good call, Nar!
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Old 10-10-2002, 01:22 AM   #3
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Silmaril

What interesting thoughts, Nar! Aragorn's words to Pippin upon giving back his leaf brooch are the first thing that occurred to me:
Quote:
Pippin: 'It was a wrench to let it go; but what else could I do?'
'Nothing else,' answered Aragorn. 'One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters. You did rightly.'
Can't say it better than that. Pippin is lucky - he gets his treasure back. Sam doesn't, but he gets new pans back in the Shire, I'm sure. Only Frodo loses his 'precious' forever.
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Old 10-10-2002, 04:31 AM   #4
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Think "symbolism".
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Old 10-10-2002, 04:36 AM   #5
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I think Sam kept hold of his pans and they had such sentimental value because in the midst of a dark world and a dangerous journey, the slightest homely comfort would bring warmth and light to the heart, in Sams case, his pans.
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Old 10-10-2002, 05:45 AM   #6
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Sting

For me, Sam's sacrifice of his pans is another example of his unfailing pragmatism. To anyone with any common sense, something which Sam possesses in abundance, the situation is hopeless: alone in the middle of hostile countryside and surrounded by an overwhelming enemy force, lacking the food and water for the return journey the most logical outcome for him and his master is death. It's not just his beloved pans that Sam is giving up, but the very hope of survival: he has accepted that all he and Frodo can realistically hope to achieve is the destruction of the Ring, and that anything that isn't going to aid them in this aim is dead weight. Tolkien is setting up an atmosphere of hopelessness so that the eventual rescue is as welcome a surprise to the reader as to the characters themselves.
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Old 10-10-2002, 05:57 AM   #7
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I dont remember much from this part every time I read it the events run together in tears
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Old 10-10-2002, 09:45 AM   #8
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Shield

Yes, Nar I often thought of the pans as well. And to think of them lying at the bottom of some crevasse until the end of time breaks my heart. I only hope that maybe they were found and put to good use.
I only wish I were not "in fetters" as Strider says, and that I were not so selfish and had the ability to cast away a 'precious' when someone I love is in great need.
(Drat! I never have a kandkerchief when i need one!)
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Old 10-13-2002, 06:40 AM   #9
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Sting

*Tinnu muses that some very lonely Orcs must have found them, and spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what they were used for - putting saucepans on their heads, using lids as shields...
Then finally they getting the picture, and sit down to a nice civilized meal! *heh* talk about an oxymoron... [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 10-13-2002, 04:59 PM   #10
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just think....by sam tossing his pans a goup of civilized orcs might of formed [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 10-13-2002, 06:03 PM   #11
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Sting

Evenstar1:
Quote:
This is the sort of thing that gives Middle Earth its class. Hobbits didn't have religion? Pish-posh! They had proper meals and proper manners, come Orodruin or high water!
[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Are you saying Miss Manners was actually a Hobbit? I suspected as much! I just loved the stewed coney at the gates of Mordor (well, practically at the gates) And that detail of the treasured salt in a little wooden box! I'll bet Sam kept the salt, and it was carried out of Mordor with him when the eagles rescued them! Hobbits know how to live. Even when staring death in the face, one must have standards!

Estelyn:
Quote:
Pippin is lucky - he gets his treasure back. Sam doesn't, but he gets new pans back in the Shire, I'm sure. Only Frodo loses his 'precious' forever.
Very insightful, Estelyn. I was thinking the same -- the Shire is Frodo's precious. I think that the new pans would not be the same for Sam, because it was how Sam deployed those pans that made them precious -- they were his focus for memories of normal life in a strange place with his only companion withdrawn and in pain, and therefore stood in for the Shire, as I think towards the end of the quest, Sam himself stood in for the Shire in Frodo's mind. One thing to consider: insofar as Sam summed up the Shire for Frodo, and I think he did, Frodo got it back when Sam crossed the sea.

Sharku: yep. You are correct.

Arwen:
Quote:
homely comfort would bring warmth and light to the heart
Well-put! I think that's exactly how they served -- like prayer beads, when used properly they triggered a much-needed frame of mind in Sam-- as well as being useful!

Squatter of Amon Rudh:
Quote:
unfailing pragmatism common sense
Yes, that's Sam all right. I certainly think that's why he threw the pans away. I think the story was very well-served by Tolkien's ability to imagine the practical details of that journey. Aside from the moving symbolism of throwing away something of such sentimental value, and the reader's feeling that this quest business is becoming serious if Sam's throwing away his treasured pans -- the 'atmosphere of hopelessness' as you put it -- throwing the pans away contributes to the verisimilitude of the journey-- it's HARD to get to the end, that's what exhausted travellers would do.

Taure: RE: tears: me too.

Frodo:
Quote:
I only hope that maybe they were found and put to good use.
I only wish I were not "in fetters" that I had the ability to cast away a 'precious' when someone I love is in great need.
I think I could, couldn't you? That kind of thing one can't know until it happens. It's a good thing to think about. And as to your 'good use ... '

[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Tinnu and Taure ... of all the answers I expected, ranging from 'symbolism' to empathic discourse on all Sam's pans meant to him, I NEVER expected that one! You two are FUNNY!

You know there'd be one crusty orc holdout ... ''S a HELMET I tells ya! The lot o' ya's are cracked, ya's are! Be some motherless Tark's DANDRUFF in that Fellbeast-egg omlette, Ar!' Thus civilization comes to the benighted! But it'll take more than elegant dining to turn them good, I fear. Still, it's a start. --but Sam would be horrified. Still, Sam doesn't know everything; he was wrong about Smeagol, at least for a while.
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Old 10-14-2002, 06:50 PM   #12
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Sting

I always thought of Sam's pots as really heavy things i would have tossed earlier. It makes more sense to think of them as his link to the Shire. I think I would have found something smaller. This post has been very insightfull thanks for making me think of Sam's pots as a more noble choice then before. I hope he got a nice new set for his family. As for me I will keep carring my Fellowship of the Ring copy until need arises for me to discard it.
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Old 10-14-2002, 07:34 PM   #13
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[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] elfling:
Quote:
As for me I will keep carring my Fellowship of the Ring copy until need arises for me to discard it.
Let us hope your need is never that desperate, that you would have to throw your copy of the Fellowship of the Ring into a dark and cheerless gorge! [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] Even if it might later civilize a band of wandering orcs!

Orcmaster: So they fled Khazad-Dum...
Band: Fled? FLED? Ya made it up! Kilt, they were, kilt, th' filthy trespassers!
Orcmaster: I tells ya they escaped! Who's readin' this inkscrawl anyway!
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Old 10-14-2002, 07:59 PM   #14
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Pipe

I think I read in Appendix "T" or something like that, that Sam's pans got blown sky high in all the volcanic upheaval and landed in the Anduin somewhere near the Gladden Fields and sat at the bottom of the river for 500 years and were later found by a pair of boys named Dagle and Bagle. They fought over them and Bagle practically drowned Dagle and kept the pans for himself....
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Old 10-14-2002, 08:25 PM   #15
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Oh yes, LMP, I think I read that appendix. It's included in HoME 17.5, is it not?

'Show me the precious pan!' Greatgulf said.

Oddly reluctant, Lodo extracted the ancient pan from his capacious back waistcoat pocket. Usually the pan was marvelously balanced, the perfect flapjack flipper, but now it felt oddly heavy in his hands. The tin was bright and apparently unscratched.

Suddenly Greatgulf seized the pan and held it over the fire. Lodo gave a cry and snatched at it, burning his fingers.

'Hold!' Greatgulf said sternly. Dexterously, Greatgulf used his free hand to crack two hen's eggs he kept handy, dribbling them into the pan, where they bubbled merrily ...

[ October 14, 2002: Message edited by: Nar ]
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Old 10-15-2002, 01:28 AM   #16
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Ya'll are a hoot!!! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] hehe "The Lord of the the Pans" [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] That's an interesting idea......
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:36 AM   #17
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Thanks! I was actually planning to call it 'The Omlette of Doom'. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 10-16-2002, 07:27 PM   #18
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Sting

Ah, to enlighten orcs may be a just cause to loose my precious book but to make room for Omelette of Doom may be a more noble reason.
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Old 10-19-2002, 08:36 AM   #19
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Sting

I've always thinked the pan-part to be one o the most tearful events in he book.

But now I'm happy again, knowing their divine faith.

"An he hid deep under th mountains, preparring meals with he precios pan"
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Old 10-20-2002, 06:22 PM   #20
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Elfling, I'm glad you approve. I think your precious book would do those orcs more good.
[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Thanks, Gildor, I like that! The Omlette of Doom, the Mushroom Mysterians and the Pancakes of Ultimate Peril, coming soon to a Food Channel near you!
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Old 10-27-2002, 07:51 PM   #21
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Tolkien

....Middle Earth on the food network. It should play right after the Iron Chef. :-D But yes, poor Sam and his pans. I always pitied him. Sam gives up everything to be with Frodo, but it seems at times that Frodo doesn't even notice his sacrifice. Sam gets rewarded for his much more than Frodo does. He gets to live out his days in the one place that Frodo loves and doesn't get to because he has been hurt too much. It's rather sad for Frodo because Sam stayed dutiful and got his reward when Frodo who didn't in the end didn't stay faithful. Oh well, I feel for the both of them. They would have been happy little hobbits if the ring had never come to the shire. But then if it didn't, we would never have the great story we have. *sighs* I don't think there is an answer. Sam was right to bring along his precious things, his pans. He got to use them to help his master along the way, got rewarded in the end.
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Old 10-31-2002, 05:03 AM   #22
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Sting

Though those pans proved to be indeed Pans of Doom for a poor coney
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Old 10-31-2002, 10:13 AM   #23
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Sting

Yes, Sleeping Beauty, happy little hobbits if the Ring had never come to the Shire.....

"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All they have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to them."

"The Lord of the Pans" sequel to LOTR. hahahahahahahaah!!!!
Thats good!
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Old 10-31-2002, 01:47 PM   #24
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The idea of a Lord of the Pans make me giggle! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 10-31-2002, 06:46 PM   #25
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Silmaril

Three Pans for the Pastry-chefs baking the pies,
Seven for the Sous-chefs with their pots of stock,
Nine for Short Order Cooks doomed to fry,
One for the Bleu Chef - it's his hot wok
In the Land of Larder where the Foodstuffs lie.
One Pan to boil them all, One Pan to stew them,
One Pan to broil them all and in the butter brown them
In the Land of Larder where the Foodstuffs lie.

EDIT: Changed 'with his hot crock' to '- it's his hot wok' (the Lord of pans).

[ January 10, 2003: Message edited by: Lostgaeriel ]
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Old 10-31-2002, 07:25 PM   #26
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[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Yeah! Beautiful, Lostgaeriel! I'm inspired! The Land of Larder! Aieee! How fearsome! The wise, merry pastry-chefs! The nine doomed to fry! The Bleu Chef and his hot crock!
'He's been stabbed ... with a nonstick spatula!'

Lavine, Frodo, thanks. HerenIstarion-- don't mention rabbits-- I had a pet rabbit! I had to read that section with my eyes closed.

Sleeping Beauty -- Food network? Iron Chef?? -- that's just another name for THE ENEMY! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Welcome to the Downs. I have one disagreement with your post:
Quote:
It's rather sad for Frodo because Sam stayed dutiful and got his reward when Frodo who didn't in the end didn't stay faithful.
According to Tolkien, Frodo stayed as faithful as it was possible for anyone who was not Eru himself to be. No mortal could have done as well, not even Sam. It just wasn't possible to resist the ring at the Crack of Doom itself. All a mortal could do, be it Man, Dwarf, Elf, Hobbit, or (Incarnate) Wizard, was get the Ring there while remaining faithful in a way that enabled grace and mercy. So, both Frodo and Sam made some mistakes but remained as faithful as possible.
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Old 10-31-2002, 09:23 PM   #27
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What has it got in its capaciousssss pocketses, we wonders, yessss, we wonderssss?

Ack! Hobo! We hates it forever! My panssss, my panssss, my precious panssss!!!!
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:33 PM   #28
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I absolutely love Sam and how he's willing to give up his pots and pans for Mr. Frodo. BTW, i love the use his pots and pans get in Moria in the movie. YEA SAM! Knock out some orcs before you have to give up your pans.
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:07 PM   #29
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Sting

Quote:
some very lonely Orcs must have found them, and spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what they were used for - putting saucepans on their heads, using lids as shields...
Then finally they getting the picture, and sit down to a nice civilized meal!
Promo for a 4th Age daytime TV show: This week on Cooking with Grishnakh, we'll make a Hearty Warg Stew. This traditional favorite was enjoyed by our ancestors on many a cold winter's evening in the days of Angmar... [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 12-03-2002, 06:50 PM   #30
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mithril maiden said...

Quote:
YEA SAM! Knock out some orcs before you have to give up your pans.
Just hope he washed them before using them again... [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

That part, where Sam gives up his pans, always really brought home the total hopelessness of Frodo and Sam's situation to me. I remember thinking "Geez, if Sam's tossing his pans, there must really be no chance of them getting out." I guess that was the intended effect, but it REALLY worked on me. It also emphasized Sam's loyalty and, to some extent, his practicality. What's the last thing to go? The cooking equipment. Everybody's got to eat.

Heh, I guess I'll finish this later, gotta run.

Continued...
Everybody's got to eat indeed. But I'm back now. And as I was saying, I think that Sam's giving up his pans showed a lot of aspects of his character: his devotion to Frodo (in giving up something that was very important to him to follow Frodo), his practicality as I said before, and, ultimately, his determination. He lost his pans, and it did seem like a symbol of despair. But what did he do afterwards? He got right back up and saw the mission through. It was like a "death knoll to his heart", but he didn't let it keep him down. He struggled right on to Mount Doom, no matter what. That's what I love about him.

[ December 03, 2002: Message edited by: Orual ]
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Old 12-03-2002, 07:19 PM   #31
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Sting

Good point. Yes Tolkien showed that Sam was willing to cast those things most 'precious' to him if need be.
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Old 12-03-2002, 07:46 PM   #32
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1420!

I don't think that it was necessary for the fullfillment of the quest. It could have happened otherwise. But it does fit in nicely together. Maybe Tolkien did this to show that everyone must lose something in order to gain something, that is what taking risks is all about. But did they gain anything? Yes, the ring was destroyed. And in the end, Frodo is affected deeply by the journey (or the risk) and has to leave the Shire while Sam is fine and stays in the Shire. That shows another aspect of taking risks. Sometimes, even if you win you lose. Sam got to stay in the Shire and yes, he probably got new pans, so in a way Sam didn't lose at all. Frodo, he lost his 'precious' and he couldn't get another one, like Sam could. Also he had to leave the Shire because he was scarred for life because of the journey. For Frodo, this was a pyric victory. Even though he won the battle of the ring, he lost. He lost the ring, his youthfullness, and I'd say also his healthiness (the morgal blade wound). Sam didn't lose anything he couldn't reaquire (except Frodo, I think that Frodo leaving was a loss to him). I think that Tolkien purposely showed how you can lose even if you win. He showed us the downfalls to taking risks. And I think Tolkien also purposely showed us that you must give something up in order to gain something. Even though many characters suffered losses before/after the quest was completed, it was still worth the final result.

[ December 03, 2002: Message edited by: MLD-Grounds-Keeper-Willie ]
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Old 12-03-2002, 09:12 PM   #33
Orual
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Excellent point, Willie, I'd never seen it that way before. In a way, everybody lost something to gain something else. Arwen lost her immortality to gain Aragorn. Merry and Pippin lost some of their innocence to help save the world. Nobody came though the War unchanged or undamaged, though granted there was a lot that they gained, aside from the fact that they saved the world. But it was Frodo who lost the most. Sam is my favorite character, but I've always had a deep admiration and sense of respect for Frodo. I don't have RotK with me, but Frodo himself said something akin to this...for all to gain, someone must lose? I can't remember. I need that book back, but I lent it out...augh!

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Old 01-24-2004, 04:44 PM   #34
Elanor the Fair
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Well, Sam probally kept the pans so that if he ever found anything to eat along the way, he could cook it for Froto and himself.(jk tehe) No, really Sam gave them up so that he could carry the needed items for Froto. And plus there's not much to catch in Mordor!

After sam casted away the pans, I think that Elanor, Sam's daughter, would have gone back and find them. And they would forever stand in the Hobbit Museum of the War of the Rongd, right next to Pippin's favorite pipe.
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:48 AM   #35
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The leaving of the Pans always reminded me of stories from the Oregon Trail when people would leave all their treasures on the side of the road to lighten the load. Sam was kind of similar to them in a way. In the beginning the personal possessions where very important to and he would have never thought of giving them up. Then eventually after going through a part of the very difficult journey, he reaches a point where he finds that they really don't matter in the great story of things, and so they are left. But he keeps them till the last possible moment, because it is all that is remaining of his old life and his civility. I was very surprised thought when I read the books that he kept them as long as he did. But I don't personally think that Sam had given up hope of surviving when he gave up the pans. I think that he had reached a point where the ring was the main thing, and them living or dieing really didn't matter. If they survived they survived, and if they died they died.

<font size=1 color=339966>[ 4:14 AM January 25, 2004: Message edited by: Gorwingel ]
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:10 AM   #36
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It is definitely a case of throwing away a treasure at need - but more. If you've read such mediaeval literature as EVERYMAN, you may realise that this quest is, in effect, a journey towards death, and that you can't take anything with you, except your good deeds. They are living on nothing but the lembas by this time and need no pots or pans, but are sustained by what is probably the sacrament (I think Tolkien may have said that's what he had in mind with lembas). They don't expect to come back ... though I did like the way that, after the quest was fulfilled and Frodo was maundering on about this being the end, Sam started to hope again. (Off-topic! Sorry!)
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