Lord of the Rings-Fellowship (True Friendship)
Main Point: The best friends are those that keep their promises and stick with us no matter what.
Movie Clip: Don’t You Leave Him Samwise Gamgee
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the film that started it all in 2001. Based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels, it chronicles the diverse group of men, dwarves, elves, and hobbits who band together to save Middle Earth from the evil Sauron by destroying the One Ring in the fires of Mordor.
At the center of the journey is Frodo, a young hobbit who must be the ring bearer. He is tasked with holding on to the ring until it can be destroyed. His journey is a very dangerous one, so he is given several powerful friends to help him. But none are as close to him as his beloved Samwise Gamgee.
Sam is his life-long friend, and will prove invaluable to Frodo many times during the course of the story. The clip below centers on their friendship and how Sam keeps his promise to Frodo.
Introducing the Clip:
You’ve all probably seen the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, but let me show you a powerful clip taken from the end of the movie when all hope seems lost. The mighty Boromir has been killed by evil Orcs and the Fellowship of heroes has been broken apart. In this desperate moment, Frodo, the ring bearer, feels that he is a threat to his friends, and that he can spare them by going on the trek alone. He leaves the safety of his friends and makes his way down to the waiting boats, intent on sparing his friends from their certain doom. But he can’t seem to shake good old faithful Samwise Gamgee, his best friend in the whole world. Take a look.
Show the Movie Clip:
(If you own the DVD or rent it, you can cue it up to the spot listed below. Or you can use the YouTube embedded clip above.)
BEGIN CLIP AT CHAPTER 46 (The Road Goes Ever On)
(This is a long clip, so only the key dialogue will be supplied below. But here is a synopsis of the entire clip.)
The clip opens with Frodo standing by the water contemplating his task of returning to ring to Mordor so that it can be destroyed. Meanwhile, his friend Sam races through the woods to try and catch him in time. Frodo hears the voice of Gandalf, and it strengthens him for the task ahead. He jumps into the boat and pushes off, headed to Mordor alone. Sam still continues to chase him, trying to catch up with his friend.
Sam: Frodo, no! Frodo! Frodo!
Frodo: No Sam. Go back Sam. I’m going to Mordor alone.
Sam: Of course you are. And I’m coming with you. (Sam begins to wade out into the deeper water, requiring him to swim.)
Frodo: You can’t swim! (Sam begins to gurgle and sink beneath the water.) Sam! (Sam finally sinks all the way beneath the water.) Sam!
(Frodo begins to paddle back over to the spot where Sam went under. In a desperate move, he reaches beneath the water and pulls Sam to the surface. Sam is then pulled into the boat.)
Sam: I made a promise Mr. Frodo. A promise! ‘Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to.
Frodo: Oh Sam. (They hug.) C’mon.
Don’t you wish you had lots of friends like Sam? This guy would rather DIE than break his promise to his friend! He was willing to risk his life to stay with his friend, Frodo. Not many of us have friends as loyal as Sam was to Frodo. Not many of us have friends that always keep their promises…no matter what. But that’s the kind of friends we need. We need friends in life who are willing to keep their promises and stick with us no matter how tough life gets. Let’s take a look at another set of friends, a couple from the Bible, to see how we can learn to choose our friends more wisely.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite character from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- ASK A FEW: What impressed you most about Sam’s actions in this clip?
- ASK A FEW: How important was it to Sam to keep his promise? Why do you think he felt that way?
- ASK A FEW: What does it say about Sam that he was willing to die to be with his friend?
- ASK A FEW: Which of these friends (Frodo or Sam) do you think loved the other the most? Why?
- ASK A FEW: How do most friendships today compare to this one?
- ASK A FEW: How do you know if you’ve got a friend like Sam?
Read the following passage:
1 Samuel 20:1-42 (NIV)
NOTE TO LEADERS: This story needs to be understood in its context. Your students will need to know that King Saul is a chump, nothing more than a sniveling shadow of a man. He was once great, but now, his jealousy of David has caused him to try and kill David on multiple occasions. Jonathan, David’s best friend, is also King Saul’s son. Unlike Jonathan and Saul who are royalty, David is a humble shepherd. But David has been chosen by God to be the next king, and Jonathan, the man who “should” have been king, loves his friend enough to let him have the throne. Here is what Jonathan is willing to do for David.
Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?” 2 “Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It’s not so!” 3 But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.” 4 Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.” 5 So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6 If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. 8 As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the LORD. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?” 9 “Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?” 10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 “Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together. 12 Then Jonathan said to David: “By the LORD, the God of Israel, I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family– not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD call David’s enemies to account.” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. 18 Then Jonathan said to David: “Tomorrow is the New Moon festival. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the LORD lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the LORD has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed– remember, the LORD is witness between you and me forever.” 24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean– surely he is unclean.” 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.” 30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!” 32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. 34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the month he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David. 35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing of all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.” 41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together– but David wept the most. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.
Tonight, we got a chance to watch a powerful scene from a great movie. In it, we saw one friend almost die to keep his promise to his friend. There was no way Sam was going to let Frodo venture off to Mordor alone. He was going to go with Frodo, even if it killed him. That’s a great friend.
But that’s make-believe. Sam and Frodo are fictitious characters. That makes many people wonder if that kind of tight friendship can even exist. The answer is YES! We know that because of the TRUE story about Jonathan and David taken from the Bible.
In the story we read together, we see Jonathan taking risk after risk to make sure his friend David lives long enough to be the king over God’s people. The really cool thing about that is that the prince (Jonathan) is risking his neck to save a poor shepherd (David). By the way, this is only PART of David and Jonathan’s story. In the chapters prior to the one we read, we find Jonathan making other sacrifices for David, and being generous with him…just because he’s his friend.
I hope that you have friends like Sam and Jonathan. I’m not saying anything about Frodo or David; they’re great guys, too! But Sam and Jonathan were willing to face death to save their friends. That’s the kind of friends I want to have with me when life gets difficult.
Let’s face it: lots of us have “friends” who will abandon us because they got a free movie ticket. Almost all of us have “friends” who will abandon us in difficult situations.
So, let’s take a few moments and ask God to give us friends likes Sam and Jonathan. Let’s also ask God to help US become friends like Sam and Jonathan.
(Leaders – Pair the kids up into groups of 3-4 students, and lead them through an exercise of prayer. Begin by having them thank God for their friends. Instruct them to ask God for even more friends who love them deeply and sacrificially. Tell them to humbly ask God to help them become this kind of friend. Finally, tell them to thank God for being the “friend that sticks closer than a brother.”)
None of us are facing Orcs and wizards and evil armies, but we could all use a friend like Sam. None of us are facing wicked kings bent on killing us, but we could all use a friend like Jonathan. Let me pray and ask God that He will give you those kinds of friends.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.