His bravery. This little hobbit literally walked into Mordor (haha) on a hopeless quest. He charged a gigantic, ravenous spider with only a little sword and willingly took on a burden he’d seen slowly crushing his master. He walked into an erupting volcano. This timid, shy little being defied great lords -- not to mention fighting his way through orcs.
His sensitivity. He’s so determined most of the time that it’s easy to forget that he is quite sensitive and intuitive. He senses Faramir’s and Aragorn’s worth, and he sees beauty in everything. I love that he notices a star in Mordor even when he’s hopeless and in pain.
His sense. He may be sensitive, but he’s extremely sensible as well. He counts out rations, asks for supplies, and usually looks to the practical things first. His “good plain hobbit-sense” helps him to resist the lure of the Ring. And speaking of resisting the Ring, another thing I admire about him is his humility. He never considers himself anything extraordinary, and he’s willing to accept help when he needs it. He’s courteous to everyone he can afford to be, and he apologizes when he knows he’s in the wrong.
His optimism. He’s so cheerful all the time; I’m constantly (delightedly) surprised by how resourceful he is, and how determined he is to make everything come out all right. Even when he loses hope entirely, he refuses to give up the quest; instead, he decides that he is GOING to get to that mountain, and that’s that. He never, ever despairs and I think that’s one of the main reasons why the Quest succeeded.
His strength. He really is incredibly strong, both physically and mentally. I mean, he’s a gardener, so he’s probably done some heavy lifting, etc. But he walked all the way across Middle-earth, climbed several mountains, and carried Frodo up Mount Doom. This last is quite a feat, no matter how light Frodo is.
As to the mentally strong part…he went to a LOT of scary places and did a lot of frightening, difficult things. The fact that he kept going on through all this and fully recovered is a testament to his strength of will.
Of course, there are many, many other things that I love about him, but those are some of the ones that stood out to me most. Sometimes, if I’m having a bad day, thinking about Samwise Gamgee’s incredible example is all I need to encourage myself. Simple hobbit of the Shire, Ringbearer, Samwise the Stouthearted -- whatever you choose to call him, he’s an amazing hero.
(Hamlette's note: Thank you, Miss Jane, for your insightful guest post! Sam is my second-favorite character in these books, and I love everything you've said here!)