“Come on, Mr. Frodo! I can’t carry it for you! But I can carry you!”
– Samwise Gamgee
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Outside that scene when the Rohan cavalry is charging into the orkish host of Mordor, this is one of the best scenes in the entire trilogy. Coming right at the climax, where Aragorn and the others are leading an army of men against a much bigger army of orcs, just to distract Sauron at the critical moment, so Sam and Frodo can move safely into the very heart of Mordor itself, this scene is simple and powerful.
Overcome by the burden of the One Ring, Frodo has finally collapsed, just when they’re so close to their goal. He is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted beyond the point most people can withstand. Sam is there, talking to him, trying to bring him back, remind him what they’re fighting for. But Frodo can’t even remember anything beyond this moment, this feeling of desolation, of being laid bare and vulnerable to one of the most malevolent forces the world has ever known. And Sam, brave and loyal, literally picks him up and carries him! Up the side of a burning mountain! Step by slow, careful, resolute step, with hot wind blowing in his face, Sam closes the last distance which Frodo cannot do himself.
That is freaking epic!
And throughout this film, especially, Frodo has been unable to even let go of the One Ring. Sam tried to ease the burden earlier, offering to carry it for a time, but that proved too dangerous for several reasons. Not only would Frodo go nuts and hurt him, but the Ring could have corrupted even noble Sam, who did not know, at the time of his offer, the insidious weight Frodo bore around his neck. Now, however, he knows better. So he knows what he must do for his friend, and he does not shrink from it, no matter how superhuman, or super-hobbit, it must be to carry a limp body on your back when he himself is already exhausted.
But that’s what friends do, isn’t it?
When you fall, they catch you, carry you, help you get back up. A friend is someone you can trust and rely on, someone who will be there for you. It’s not always convenient, of course. In fact, it’s usually very inconvenient. So be sure to treasure them, and do for them as they do for you.
I am most blessed to have a number of wonderful friends, and I am grateful for each of them. I know they will carry me when I need them to, because they already have. I only hope that I prove as good a friend to them as they do to me. They are the part of my family I am not related to, just as my family are the friends I am related to. 😉