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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Faramir's sacrifice scene, made in parrallel to Jesus sacrifice?


Sep 27 2013, 10:44am

Post #1 of 8 (492 views)
Faramir's sacrifice scene, made in parrallel to Jesus sacrifice? Can't Post

I was just wondering after watching the movie.
in the sequence where the gondorian knights are marching out the city, it reminds me a lot about Jesus carrying the cross to cavalry. Faramir is the Jesus. Both of them are sacrificing their lives for the good of the people. Also another point out, is that a lot of woman seem to be upset. When Jesus carried the cross this was the same scenario. Giving the knights flowers kinda reminded me of palm sunday.
the only non relation, Is an old wizard trying to stop Faramir from his sacrifice.
either way what do you think of my observations?

"fingolfin looked up in grief to see what evil morgoth had done to maedhros"

Tol Eressea

Sep 27 2013, 1:59pm

Post #2 of 8 (311 views)
Universal truths [In reply to] Can't Post

The LotR and the Gospel story are rich with universally true themes. Love, redemption, sacrifice, duty, honor, and others, figure prominently in both. Given Tolkien's beliefs, I would expect someone would bring this up, and I think that it is not so much amazing as it would be if we were blissfully unaware of his beliefs. I think that once we know about them, we somewhat color our own expectations and vision. Not to say that it is wrong, but that it might not be of such a great importance as one might think. Tolkien himself wanted his works to stand on thier own, apart from himself, perhaps for this reason. He was not shy in sharing his profession, birth, and beliefs, but anything past that he was chary to dispense. Perhaps because we know that he hated the Nazis sone read LotR as allegory for WWII and other purported 'meanings' may have been constructed in this manner.


Sep 27 2013, 7:19pm

Post #3 of 8 (288 views)
Fallen Angels and Middle Earth [In reply to] Can't Post

This is an interesting thought. I honestly never really considered it before. Faramir is definitely a heroic figure, willing to sacrifice for his people. I have always looked at him to be somewhat of a martyr. A person willing to die for what he believed in. In this case, his people his honor, and Gondor. It almost seemed as though he was not just willing to die, but believed it was his duty. In many of Tolkien's works you see this as a re-occurring theme, people willing to die for something greater than themselves. Think Fingolfin challenging Morgoth to one-on-one battle in the Silmarillion. I do not believe that Fingolfin thought he could win this battle. Or Glorfindel at the fall of Gondolin. Tolkien was definitely concerned with themes of sacrifice and those that sacrificed in Tolkien's works were always hero's.

That being said, I believe that there are many themes of Christianity which run through Tolkien's books. I see more parallels in the Silmarillion however. The whole concept of Melkor being the mightiest Valar, corrupted through his own pride, becoming the ultimate deceiver and the Morgoth (foe of the world). Does this remind you of a certain fallen Angel who is a major presence in the theme of Christianity? These are just my thoughts. Interesting question and perspective that you have.


Sep 28 2013, 2:12am

Post #4 of 8 (252 views)
If You Know the Gospel Stories [In reply to] Can't Post

then it is not hard to find parallels. Sam the suffering servant (and hero of the work); Aragorn the Christ King; Gandalf the Holy Spirit. An argument has been made (I don't remember where) that the Fellowship is an embodiment of the person of Jesus Christ.

But if one believes that there is only One Story -- that being the story of man's fall and redemption -- then every myth, legend or fantasy story has elements of the One Story in it. Yes CS Lewis for a further look at this concept.


Sep 28 2013, 11:05pm

Post #5 of 8 (247 views)
Not Jesus. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think, although sacrifice is the theme of this scene that Jesus may not be the right parallel here. Jesus' sacrifice is an inevitable one leading to the salvation of mankind (in christiantity). Faramir's suicide mission, however, is a basically pointless one (both from a military and a citizen-assurance point of view). Not only Denethor's but also Faramir's decision and motivation are questioned - by Gandalf saying "don't throw your life away". It is a deep and powerful moment, as it does not just portray a dutiful captain following his lord's command, but also shows in a subtle way that this kind of blind order-fulfilling and desperate command-giving without faith or hope leads to bad things happening and ultimately defeat.

A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of mens imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold. J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.


Sep 29 2013, 3:12am

Post #6 of 8 (221 views)
Interesting idea [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a complicated subject. I do see similarities to Jesus carrying his cross with the women weeping for him, as you have pointed out, and I also see parallels to Jesus's entry into Jerusalem as you said; flowers instead of palm branches and cloaks being laid out on the road. Only, Palm Sunday is joyful, and the Passion is very sorrowful, so one could say that the scene with Faramir is like a combination of these two critically important scenes in the Gospel.

However, I do not think this was done completely deliberately. It could have just been an unintentional parallel caused by his deep beliefs that always seem to spring into his writings. Or it could be something significant. Tolkien disliked allegory, which means that Faramir isn't supposed to be Christ, and neither is Aragorn. The Fellowship is not supposed to be the group of Christ's Apostles. Galadriel isn't Mary, and Eowyn isn't Martha. However, all these characters hold very strong similarities to Jesus and his followers, unique in their own way. As Idril was saying, Aragorn is like Christ the King, Gandalf is a spirit, and so he often instructs the others with his Wisdom, like the Holy Spirit and defends others somewhat like angels. Now this sort of thing, I do believe was done on purpose. Tolkien made his characters similar to Jesus or to his followers because, as is the case with all those striving to do Christ's will, they become more like Him as they increase in goodness and virtue.

So Tolkien disliked allegory, but he did incorporate faith into his works in this way. He says so himself: "The Lord of the Rings is, of course, a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." - J.R.R. Tolkien (Letters, 172.) So rather than being somewhat allegorical versions of the Gospel, the LOTR is much like our present time. The characters are just like us, on a great journey to overcome evil and ultimately live in peace with our God who helps us along the way. In this light, your theory about Faramir makes a lot more sense. He is trying to be noble and give up his life for what is right; ready to give the ultimate sacrifice. However, he is human and can make mistakes. This is a somewhat rash decision, done in a way, out of frustration with his father's commands and desires. So Faramir here displays both our virtues and our weaknesses, as all the characters do throughout the legendarium. Even Gandalf is not invincible in his power or in his faith in the quest. Only Eru, Iluvatar, is perfect, and that is because he is supposed to be the true God in a fictional tale.
Anyway, thank you for bringing this up. I love this topic, and I like to spot out these types of things in the books and the movies. Thanks for sharing this new one that I hadn't really noticed before. Smile

"I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because Im afraid, and he gives me courage. - Gandalf the Grey.

"Do not be afraid Mithrandir, if ever you should need my help, I will come." - Lady Galadriel.

(This post was edited by burgahobbit on Sep 29 2013, 3:13am)


Oct 9 2013, 6:06pm

Post #7 of 8 (167 views)
In the case of Faramir's sacrifice... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it can't be an allegory intended by Tolkien, because Faramir didn't go on a suicidal, sacrificial charge in the book. Wink But anyway, I think some people are too eager to read Christ parallels into any story involving sacrifice. Obviously Tolkien's religious beliefs influenced his stories in various ways, but I'm skeptical of claims that Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf, or Faramir were intended as Christ-like figures. The role of Tolkien's religion in his writing as well as the internal role of Iluvatar and the Valar in Middle-earth was much more subtle than that.

There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...


Oct 17 2013, 6:05am

Post #8 of 8 (164 views)
Very interesting idea [In reply to] Can't Post

It is an interesting thought experiment, and one I certainly had not considered in terms of the way it is shot or portrayed in the film, versus portrayed in the book. As several have mentioned, it is not deliberate on Tolkien's part, though his personal faith could be seen, fairly consistently across the whole of his written works. As burgahobbit mentioned, Tolkien called it a Catholic work, so themes from Catholicism are going to appear.

It isn't crazy to see such parallels, but they are just parallels, simply because Tolkien never felt like the story of Christ needed to retold or reimagined in any way. To perform an allegory, from what I've read of Tolkien's point of view, is t diminish the original work to some degree.

Also, Faramir's sacrifice, while noble, is still done in part, to win his father's favor, even though his father scorns him. Another parallel could be better described as the relationship with David and Saul. Saul sends David out to "win his favor" by doing impossible feats, and expecting David to die. David does so, trying earn a wife and Saul's favor at the same time, yet never achieving that.

Maybe not the best parallel. Smile


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