The "Lord of the Rings" series is, to me, fascinating in the sense that people read into it what they want. To some it has religious connotations; to others it's merely a story and nothing more. One of the main aspects that runs through all the stories in the "Lord of the Rings" that I've seen is the concept of true friendship: the friendship between Frodo and Sam. In the beginning he's ordered by Gandolf not to leave Frodo alone; as their adventures continue, Sam becomes a pillar of strength that keeps Frodo grounded to reality. A true friend, however, Sam also is a hindrance in his efforts to prevent Frodo from succumbing to the temptations in his path put there by Golem and others. For his efforts Sam gets treated much as a true friend is when someone doesn't want to hear or acknowledge the truth; he's picked on by Golem and Frodo. "The Lord of the Rings" series is more, to me, a testament to the value of friendship which is priceless than a story about a journey to destroy a ring and its consequences for those involved. While people might read anything they want into the series, the image that I'll always see in my mind's eye is the strength of the friendship between Sam and Frodo: enduring, persistent and sincere, characteristics that, in this time of upheaval, our society could use more of.