Room Enough in Bag End

When all was at last ready Frodo said: “When are you going to join me, Sam?”

Sam looked a bit awkward.

There is no need to come yet, if you don’t want to,” said Frodo. But you know the Gaffer is close at hand, and he will be very well looked after by Widow Rumble.”

“It’s not that, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, and he was very red.

“Well, what is it?”

“It’s Rosie, Rose Cotton,” said Sam. “It seems she didn’t like my going abroad at all, poor lass; but as I hadn’t spoken, she couldn’t say so.  And I didn’t speak, because I had a job to do first.  But now I have spoken, and she says: “Well, you’ve wasted a year, so why wait longer?” “Wasted?” I says. “I wouldn’t call it that.” Still I see what she means.  I feel torn in two, as you might say.”

“I see,” said Frodo: “you want to get married, and yet you want to live with me in Bag End too? But my dear Sam, how easy! Get married as soon as you can, and then move in with Rosie.  There’s room enough in Bag End for as big a family as you could wish for.”

It’s been so long since I read Lord of the Rings, that I had forgotten Rosie was in the book at all.  I had taken her as one of Peter Jackson’s additions, specifically for the point of demonstrating that Sam and Frodo weren’t gay.  I do remember reading that Jackson felt obliged to play her up a bit, and I think the difference is in our culture, rather than the needs of the plot.  Today the assumption is, that if a man isn’t think a certain way about a woman, then he is most certainly thinking womanly thoughts about another man.  Tolkien’s assumption, that he puts in Sam’s mouth is that, if a man isn’t thinking about a woman, it’s because he has some more urgent business to attend to, and that it isn’t nice to burden a lady with commitments and then forbid her to fulfill them because of other requirements.

So Claudio says:

O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I looked upon her with a soldier’s eye,
That liked but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love.
But now I am returned and that war thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying I liked her ere I went to wars.
Today, of course, we think both more and less of the cornerstone act of making families.  The act itself is sacred: nothing more important, to be fulfilled on earliest occasion.  But the commitment, the promise, the house itself, is fleeting, unimportant, effervescent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s