In the Lord of the Rings, you could argue that the big hero is the little hobbit gardener Samwise Gamgee. His loyalty to Frodo and perseverance in the quest mark him as a commendable character. Tolkien’s descriptions of The Shire as an untouched pastoral wonderland always represented innocence and a hope for peace to me as I read the books. It’s a place worth going to great lengths to defend and protect.
Tolkien’s own hobby of gardening bled into the narrative in interesting ways. If you think about it, all of the “good” characters in Lord of the Rings are represented directly or indirectly with trees or planting. Sam is a gardener. Aragorn’s symbol is a tree. Faramir is a Robin-Hood-esque character living in a forest. And so on…
From the Party Field in Hobbiton, you walk down a little lane to Samwise Gamgee’s house with its lovely yellow door. The scene filmed here at the end of Return of the King shows Sam and his wife Rosie and their two kids. Those children in real life are the actor’s daughter and the actress’s daughter (playing a boy) with each of their spouses. It’s a little jarring to think those kids are in their late teens now.
From Sam’s house, you get to go on a bit of a ramble through a little forest bit and between fields. It reminds me (as it’s meant to) of walks in the English countryside since the landscape is similar. As you come around the lake, you see the mill, and the mill wheel actually turns!
As you cross the bridge next to the mill, you come to the Green Dragon where you can get a half-pint of your favourite brew. Check back tomorrow for my own experience at the finest pub in the Shire.
Title quote: J.R.R. Tolkien