The ring of power has a strange power to deceive people. There are many characters from "good" races who the ring is successful in polluting their heart. Isildur, Sméagol, and Boromir are among them. They are our gray characters. Obviously those who show resistance in front of the power of the ring are our white characters. For example Galadriel, Gandalf and Aragorn deny the chances to catch the "precious" for their own. But what about Frodo? Is he really a white character?

Note that the ring finally deceives him and he is not the one who threw the ring into the fire (it was just an accident during his struggle with Sméagol). One of the final scenes shows Sam and Frodo in a corresponding situation with Elrond and Isildur after defeating Sauron during the great battle. One can conclude that Frodo is just another Isildur in the present time. Beside Frodo we can see Samwise (the brave) who "never" wants the ring even when he has it in his hands. Even when the huge spider bites Frodo, Sam takes the ring for a while and gives it to Frodo peacefully. His character is whiter than other white characters because Galadriel, Gandalf, and Aragorn avoid even touching the ring. They know if they touch it, the ring can easily deceive them.

Question 1: Who is our hero in this film? Frodo or Sam?

Question 2: Why does Frodo deserve immortality by going to the Undying Land? Why is Sam not qualified for this journey?

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    "Why does Frodo deserve immortality by going to undying land?" - He doesn't, as stated here - "Why is Sam not qualified for this journey?" - He doesn't want to anyway, as he is happy in the shire, in constrast to Frodo. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 21 '13 at 22:13
  • @ChristianRau: Ah! It seems better now. Thanks for your guidance. – user6796 Nov 21 '13 at 22:26
  • Interesting question, though. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 21 '13 at 22:41
  • @ChristianRau: ...and more interesting answer. I had a bad feeling about the story for many years and now I am at peace!!! – user6796 Nov 21 '13 at 22:49
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    iirc, Sam did go to the undying land after Rosie died as that was an honor offered to all ring-bearers (which he was, thanks to the events at Cirith Ungol) – amflare Nov 29 '16 at 19:17

Question 1: Who is our hero in this film? Frodo or Sam?

You are right in that Frodo could at the end not withstand the power of the ring and was corrupted like all the others. Only once the ring was destroyed was he free of his desire for it. This way Sam could indeed be seen as the true hero, always loyally holding to Frodo and not falling to the power of the ring.

Yet I'm not sure this matters so much. Yes, if seeing it that formulaic you could maybe call Sam more a hero than Frodo was. But then again Frodo was the Ring-bearer (and not the "ring-carrier") and suffered heavily from this burden, carrying it all the way to Mordor (to its final destruction). Does that weak moment at the end where he finally couldn't stand the influence of the ring anymore make him not a hero and annihilate all his achievements? I for myself don't think so. He contributed as much to the destruction of the ring as all the others.

In the same way Frodo or Sam are not alone responsible for the victory over Sauron. Many others were too, be it Gandalf, Aragorn, Merry, ... There are just many heroes in the whole story, and not any of them is without flaws or weaknesses. I therefore would not see the whole story (even though it is pretty much about good vs evil in its purest essence) in such a narrow way as to who is more of a hero than others. But if you want to see it that way, I could agree that Sam might be considered the true hero of this story.

Question 2: Why does Frodo deserve immortality by going to undying land? Why is Sam not qualified for this journey?

First of all, as explained in this question and its answers, Frodo and Bilbo were not going to live forever in the Undying Lands, they just got a very nice retirement place. Neither do I think it was for their achievements in general, but rather because they were Ring-bearers (as well as the other people on the ship, if considering the three Elven rings, too). After all, Bilbo didn't directly contribute that much to the Ring's destruction either.

But even if Sam would have been offered the chance for that journey, I'm not sure he would have gone. He had a very happy life in the shire to look forward to, together with Rosie and their family.

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on... when in your heart you begin to understand... there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend... some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold. [...] My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

It was Frodo whose soul was struck by his journey deeper than it could recover (and who in this way probably paid a much larger price for the victory than Sam did, no matter what exactly happened at Mount Doom) and who didn't see much of a future for himself in the shire (and maybe the ones that granted him his place on the journey sensed that, but this would be speculation):

Frodo: We set out to save the Shire, Sam. And it has been saved... But not for me.

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    Good answer Christian. It seems the production team noted to this point that Sam is the true hero of this story and an accessible pattern to follow by audiences. The film ends by Sam not Frodo or other characters. Also he says the last dialogue of the film which is a meaningful sign. – user6796 Nov 21 '13 at 22:44
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    @SaintGeorg I'm not sure this is so much a decision from the movie, but rather from the book (don't remember, though). But one could also argue that the book itself portrays Sam as the true hero there instead of Frodo. In fact you are not the first one to bring up this view, I think. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 21 '13 at 22:47
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    @Paulster2 Could be, in fact also the book places more emphasis on the Hobbits and their role, I think. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 21 '13 at 23:58
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    I may be viewed as wholly ignorant to the whole pantheon of Tolkien's works, but in my mind the Undying Lands and the retreat of the elves has always been allegorical to death. Thereby, Bilbo and Frodo are not being granted gifts, but are more surrendering to damages from which they cannot recover. This as the elves as a class make reference to surrendering the lands before the more fecund races and the matter that Frodo's physical wound seemed to be diagnosed as terminal. Bilbo had become frail enough of body that the damages to his psyche were no long subsumed, but plain and damaging. – EFH Nov 22 '13 at 19:19
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    @ChristianRau - Well, yes. From a quasi-theological standpoint, is that not death. Not the ending of a being, but removal of their influence from the present world and/or state of existence. The trip is one-way. It is clear they are not returning, nor will they have any active influence in the 'world' they are leaving. Just a thought. I appreciate your insight. – EFH Nov 22 '13 at 20:32

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