Sam felt that he could sit like that in endless happiness; but it was not allowed. It was not enough for him to find his master, he had still to try and save him. He kissed Frodo’s forehead. ‘Come! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!’ he said, trying to sound as cheerful as he had when he drew back the curtains at Bag End on a summer’s morning.

This heavily suggests that Sam commonly "drew back the curtains" in Frodo's room back home, to wake him up, in the manner that one would assume that a butler/servant would for a rich person who has them hired to do all sorts of tasks to help them in general.

It does not sound like a pure gardener who is just keeping Frodo's garden trimmed.

This seems to conflict with what I thought I knew about Sam, and even with posts I've read here in the past.

What actually is Sam's relation to Frodo?


1 Answer 1


The early chapters of LoTR have a fairly strange depiction of Frodo's life in Bag End, which clearly dates from their origin as a sequel to The Hobbit rather than the much more serious work that it later developed into.

The initial chapter of The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party", notably has Bilbo running around ragged trying to fetch food and drinks for all the dwarves that turn up; no sign of any servants at all. And similarly "A Long-Expected Party" in LoTR makes no mention of any servants in Bag End, just that the Gaffer looked after the garden and Sam was starting to take over.

But already by chapter 3, as part of Frodo's purported move to Buckland he is to be accompanied by Sam who will "do for Mr Frodo and look after his bit of garden". If Frodo in a small cottage in Buckland needs someone to "do for" him, why did he not in the much bigger Bag End?

And in the final chapter, The Grey Havens, Frodo encourages Sam and Rosie to move in with him, where they are basically the housekeepers, and it is noted that "there was not a hobbit in the Shire that was looked after with such care". Again, there is no reference to why Frodo needed "looking after" at that point and not before.

So, there isn't really any answer to your question from the book itself; it's just an inconsistency.

  • 7
    I don't think servants for the gentry were on Tolkien's mind any more than the immense amount of labor -- close to half the population's -- needed to clothe people in the pre-industrial era. The small inconsistencies are myriad, but inconsequential.
    – Mark Olson
    Jul 27, 2022 at 19:28
  • 13
    It's just an excuse to bring Sam with Frodo. It doesn't have to be perfect. Apparently Frodo wasn't planning to live in Buckland. People's lifestyle changes, I didn't need a sitter, now I need one, having suffered too much. It doesn't sound like inconsistency to me.
    – Eugene
    Jul 28, 2022 at 2:47
  • 11
    I don't think Frodo asked Sam to move in because he "needed looking after". Frodo offered Sam a big Smial and in the end made Sam his heir. Sam and Rose looked after Frodo in return. And I don't think Sam and Rose would let Frodo do the cooking, laundry, and stuff, even if he used to. Frodo got looked after as a consequence of living with a married couple.
    – Eugene
    Jul 28, 2022 at 2:53
  • 12
    "Again, there is no reference to why Frodo needed "looking after" at that point and not before." I would argue that Frodo needed help after his ordeal with the ring. It did take a while between the Scouring of the Shire and this point, but Frodo could have been insistent that he could take care of himself (though I may be projecting frustrations with an elderly parent doing the same).
    – sharur
    Jul 28, 2022 at 5:24
  • 12
    The Hobbit "notably has Bilbo running around ragged trying to fetch food and drinks for all the dwarves that turn up; no sign of any servants at all." But Bilbo, while a land owner, was not fabulously wealthy until he came back again (i.e. with chests of silver and gold). So perhaps his economic fortune allowed him to subsequently hire servants?
    – Lexible
    Jul 28, 2022 at 16:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.