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    Male Friendship in The Lord of the Rings: Medievalism, the First World War, and Contemporary Rewritings
    (Tolkien Society, 2005-08-12) Smol, Anna
    My paper explores continuities in the institution of male friendship from the Middle Ages to the First World War and then looks at contemporary explorations and understandings of the central male friendship in The Lord of the Rings, that of Frodo and Sam. I look at some examples of medieval forerunners before examining the nature of male friendship in World War One through the perspectives of critics such as Sarah Cole, Santanu Das, Joanna Bourke, and Allen Frantzen. I focus my discussion of The Lord of the Rings on the Cirith Ungol scene, in which Frodo and Sam sleep together, and on the Mount Doom scene, in which Frodo asks Sam to hold his hands, a gesture that I argue mimics the medieval ritual of swearing fealty to a lord. I then examine the contemporary reception of the Frodo-Sam relationship in the Peter Jackson films and in reactions to them. I conclude by considering slash fan fiction and its version of male friendship.