The Fellowship Of The Ring's Powerful Ending Was Written Very Late In Production

When Samwise Gamgee almost drowns at the end of "The Fellowship of the Ring," so begins a long trend of suffering by a Hobbit who refuses to abandon his friend Frodo Baggins. In both J.R.R. Tolkien's book and Peter Jackson's esteemed adaption, it's a scene that establishes the unshakable bond that exists between the two friends. But despite being such a crucial and stirring scene, it was also one written late into the film's production — part of the many rewrites that flooded actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and the rest of the cast, but also helped keep the story as close to the books as possible.

With Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings" series promising to transport fans to the Second Age of Middle-earth and the first film in the trilogy celebrating its 20th anniversary, it's worth revisiting the Third Age as well. After all, is there a more hallowed, more beloved example of friendship in literature or film than Frodo and Sam?

Samwise's Enduring Loyalty

Keen readers of "The Fellowship of the Ring" know that for the most part, the ending for Jackson's film follows Tolkien's manuscript. One glaring difference being the sizable action Jackson gives fans at the end of the film that Tolkien chose to withhold. And while the skeleton of the scene between Frodo and Sam in the movie follows the book, the actual dialogue varies quite a bit. Which might explain why the scene wasn't written for so long into the film's making. Astin told The Wrap:

"When Frodo and Sam go off on their own at the end of the first film, that scene wasn't written until well into the production. Like well, well, well into the production. And [director] Peter Jackson, [and writers] Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens wanted Elijah [Wood] and I to come and have a meeting with them, and we were like, 'Well this is new.'"

In the book, as in the movie, Frodo saves Sam from drowning in the river Anduin, but is slightly more harsh in admonishing him for being so reckless. But that annoyance eventually melts to gladness in the presence of Sam's undying optimism. The scene that ended up being written, and going down as one of the Jackson trilogy's most emotionally powerful moments, cut a lot of the dialogue the two Hobbits share in the book. All Sam sputters between sobs to his friend is the same thing he's been reminding him throughout the film: his promise to Gandalf to not leave Frodo's side. It's such a simple line that cuts deep and imparts all the poignancy of Tolkien's original words. Frodo might carry the One Ring, but it's because of Sam's support that the two Hobbits ever make it to Mordor and defeat of the dark lord Sauron. And don't even get us started on the fact that Frodo pulling up Sam out of the water mirrors the way he saves Frodo from on Mount Doom!

No, we're not crying. We just fell into a river like Sam. Now go spend 11 hours streaming the extended versions of the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.