Lord Of The Rings Icon Sean Astin Explains Why He Thinks Fans Connect With Sam So Much

Sean Astin as Sam in The Two Towers
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Although Frodo Baggins was the official ring-bearer of the Fellowship, many Lord of the Ring fans argue that Samwise Gamgee is the real MVP. Bilbo’s gardener-turner-adventurer is beside Frodo every step of the way, right until the very end in Mordor. But why do fans love Sam so much? Twenty years after The Fellowship of the Ring was released, actor Sean Astin still has a few ideas. 

In a recent interview with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sean Astin reported that The Lord of the Rings is one of the top projects he’s asked to recount, and for good reason. Many fans have claimed that Sam’s tenacity has helped them endure periods of upheaval in their own lives. Sean Astin ascribes Sam’s importance to his unflappable spirit and comforting presence. He said: 

Some of the speeches Samwise gets to deliver, there are just certain phrases that just feel like home. They feel safe, warm, protective. There’s something about the way they come out and the context that is like a song. It’s like a warm blanket sitting by the fire for people.

Sam has many memorable speeches throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but none, perhaps, more compelling than his monologue at the end of The Two Towers. It is a moment when all seems lost, and Frodo laments that he will never be able to reach Mount Doom and destroy the Ring. Sam soothes Frodo’s fears by assuring him that even the darkest night will end, and that there are still things worth fighting for. Sean Astin’s character doesn’t just talk the talk, either. Every time Frodo feels tempted to give in to the Ring’s power, Sam is there to remind him of the importance of their mission. 

It only takes a look at the comments section on videos of Sam’s monologue to gauge his impact. Most of those clips are over a decade old, and yet many comments were posted during the pandemic. It’s clear that Sean Astin’s performance gave heart to many fans who were tired, burnt out, or frustrated by the situation. A recent repeat viewing of The Two Towers proves that, while the film was released almost two decades ago, the powerful message behind Sam’s speech is truly timeless. 

And don’t think Sean Astin takes the fans’ adoration for granted. The actor is fully aware of Sam’s impact, and he views his role with a healthy dose of reverence. He said: 

I got to do that. What a blessing.

Sam was speaking out ahead of an appearance at the Steel City Con, but if you can't make that, you can relive the magic of Middle Earth by streaming The Lord of the Rings trilogy in its entirety on HBO Max. Feeling adventurous? You can also queue up the full extended edition of The Return of the King

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.