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 Post subject: Sam as Frodo's Garner
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:49 pm 
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Question on Sam as Frodo's garner. Was he paid for this service? did he do it for free? how did it come about?





thanks.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:53 pm 
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Given that the Shire was rather based on rural English villages of the time, I think it almost certain that not only was he paid, but that it seems to have been a sort of a generational job - Sam would have some day taken over for "his old Gaffer" and continued the service.

Even before the Hobbit, Bilbo seems to have been rather well-off and in the category of a gentleman, given the size of his 'estate', which Frodo being his heir would have been too. So Sam was his employee, no matter how friendly they were, Sam worked for Frodo and was of a distinctly lower class.

(Edit to add: Sam even calls him Master Frodo)

I will point out that being his employee did not diminish the love Sam felt for Frodo in the slightest. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:27 pm 
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elengil wrote:
Given that the Shire was rather based on rural English villages of the time, I think it almost certain that not only was he paid, but that it seems to have been a sort of a generational job - Sam would have some day taken over for "his old Gaffer" and continued the service.


Yes, the tradition goes back to Sam's great-great grandfather, Holman the Greenhanded, who started the tradition in Tighfield, which was the Gamgee's home before they came to Hobbiton. It was Holman's grandson, his namesake Holman Greenhand, was the first gardener for Bilbo at Bag End, and then Hamfast (the Gaffer), his nephew, took over for him. It was Holman Greenhand's description of Bilbo that helped convince Gandalf that Bilbo was the right person to accompany Thorin on the Quest of Erebor.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:37 pm 
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Thanks for the great information and clarifications. Great forum.

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“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:12 pm 
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As for the question of how Sam (and his father and the other gardeners in his family) were paid, I don't think that Tolkien ever made that clear, or if he did, I don't recall it. The only specific reference to money that I can think of was the sale of Bill the Pony by Bill Ferny for 12 silver pennies, which was three times his "worth" at the time (though of course Bill the Pony turned to be of incalculable worth), and while that was in Bree, not the Shire, and Butterman actually paid the price himself (and also reimbursed Merry for the loss of his ponies), it is noted that Frodo wondered whether he could afford it, suggesting that he brought some money with him, though not much. It is an interesting question to consider, though I don't know that a proper answer is possible.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:22 am 
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Interesting! I never noticed the lack of money in the book before this.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:25 pm 
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elengil wrote:
Given that the Shire was rather based on rural English villages of the time, I think it almost certain that not only was he paid, but that it seems to have been a sort of a generational job - Sam would have some day taken over for "his old Gaffer" and continued the service. ;)


Based on England in the late 1800s, yes, certainly the “Gardner” job would have been paid. But not well paid - labouring gardeners of that era were among the poorest workers. You had to be landscaping whole estates like Capability Brown to get well off.

But kitchen gardeners were often allowed to sell excess produce from the gardens they tended at the local market, which would have brought in a few pennies. And they wouldn’t be going hungry.

Also, accomodation was often provided or subsidised. The Gardners probably didn’t own their hole in Bagshot Row. Pure speculation, but the Bagginses might have owned it and rented it out cheaply or for free to the Gaffer


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:39 pm 
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scirocco wrote:
Also, accomodation was often provided or subsidised. The Gardners probably didn’t own their hole in Bagshot Row. Pure speculation, but the Bagginses might have owned it and rented it out cheaply or for free to the Gaffer


Either I read it once, or I have just assumed it, that Bagshot Row was like (nicer) tenant housing, owned by BagEnd and rented out to those who likely worked at the estate. Now I will have to figure out if I really read that somewhere...

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:53 pm 
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Tolkien really just glossed over the economics of the Middle-earth. Shire appears to have no manufacturing and minimal trade, no cities of any size, no financial institutions. Their lifestyle is of a countryside that in real world could only exist (to the extent that it ever did) thanks to its relationship with the city and global trade.

By contrast I'm reminded of a critic who commented on Dumas that he always knew to a penny how much his characters had in their pocket.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:38 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
Shire appears to have no manufacturing and minimal trade, no cities of any size, no financial institutions.


[Gandalf voice]The Shire. [/Gandalf voice]

I'm reminded of G.R.R. Martin complaining that Tolkien does not say what Aragorn's tax policy would be in his rule of Gondor. To that I say, "Thank goodness!"

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:04 pm 
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Shire! Baggins!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:43 pm 
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I don't like being reminded of the absurdity of The Shire's economics.

I think Aragorn would have cut capital gains taxes.


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