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Faramir: The other Brother

Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 13 2013, 2:18am

Post #1 of 16 (583 views)
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Faramir: The other Brother Can't Post

Well, having talked at length on Boromir, I think it only fair to discuss the other half, Faramir.

First impressions as a Movie-Firster:

He was quite a minor character, an obvious callback and means to ramp up tension. What were the odds that Frodo and Sam were going to meet Boromir's brother? As his part went on, I began to glimpse the nobler side of him, the one I have come to miss in the movies, by reading the books, but I am getting ahead of myself. He came across as quite similar to his brother. A leader, strong, somewhat brutal, but of more morally integrity. He had his chance to take the Ring, but conspiring events taught him that he could not hope to use it, with a little help from Sam. (You have to love Sam!) After passing on, he plays little part in the story for his own right. He serves to provide tension with his father, and be the catalyst for his madness. He seemed somewhat loyal, but more guilty...guilty for his brother's death. He seemed to go to the opposite extreme of Denethor--to take desperate action, rather than crippled by despair. In the end, he provided the distraction to get Eowyn away from Aragorn. (He prevented a wedding crashing!)

Reading the books, I became an avid supporter of Faramir. He became my Middle-Earth ideal. He was quite analogous to Aragorn, one who could have been a good king, or at least a great Steward. His character and compassion really hit home. He did not need to use force, he hated it. He was wise and noble, and had the ideal of Knighthood indeed that Boromir typified in appearance. He would never have taken the Ring, or Sam and Frodo to Osgilliath. He had great sorrow for his brother's death, but had the wisdom to see his downfall. Fiercely dutiful, he took a desperate mission to stall the forces in Osgilliath, before they reached Pellenor. He was more sensitive, I think. His father's words did more harm to him than the Nazgul. He had always accepted the second place in his father's love, but the shunning wounded him deeply. His duty was deeper, and he committed to it. Finding Eowyn, he had compassion on her. His wise words healed her, and that was what he was, not a warrior and killer, a sage and healer. I was totally crushed by the way he seemed shafted in the Films, but I could always imagine Book Faramir there instead.

What are your thought on this wonderful character?

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Dec 13 2013, 2:20am)


demnation
Rohan

Dec 13 2013, 7:41am

Post #2 of 16 (361 views)
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Agree with everything you have to say [In reply to] Can't Post

 A few more thoughts:

Faramir is probably the only person in the story who could rightly be called a pacifist (and isn't it quite strange that Tolkien said that Faramir is the character most like himself?)

Plus, he (and Eowyn) get all the best lines. This:

"Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back."

Never fails to move me to tears.

Hello!


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 13 2013, 1:39pm

Post #3 of 16 (378 views)
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In violent agreement [In reply to] Can't Post

I learned that term at work recently, when "strongly agree" just isn't enough.

As a book-firster, the movie-Faramir is so far from the book persona that they should have given him a different name just to be fair about it. The twist is that I think the movies gave more depth and humanity to Boromir than the books did and I prefer movie-Boromir over his print twin.

Book-Faramir is akin to Galadriel in that neither gets a lot of print time, but they still loom over the story with their nobility and wisdom. Each also exemplifies the best traits of their race, another reason for the looming large.

So I agree violently with everything you said, and I too think of Faramir as almost a twin to Aragorn in nobility and ability. Eowyn really didn't have to settle for 2nd best with Faramir, even if he modestly made that comparison himself.

One funny thing about Faramir and Aragorn is that though we see Aragorn as early as Bree, I have a stronger emotional connection to Faramir. I think that's because Faramir is not quite as lofty and fate-driven. Book-Aragorn is in love with a woman that's perpetually unseen, whereas Faramir falls for the girl in the hospital bed next door. Faramir falls under the Black Breath, has lost a brother he was close to, has his father go crazy and die, and he's going to lose his ruling position, yet still he's not bitter or full of self-pity. Isn't it remarkable that he takes the high road with Eowyn? How many real-life people would say, "I can't handle her. I've got too many issues of my own right now," and friends would nod in agreement.

Another tidbit to throw in is that in the Faramir-Eowyn love story, Faramir has the superior social status. That's a departure from the other standout love stories like Beren/Luthien, Idril/Tuor, Aragorn/Arwen, and even Sam/Rosie. For a change, you feel like he's giving up something by marrying someone below his standing. Usually it's the women doing that.

PS to Dem: great passage that you cited!


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 13 2013, 5:03pm

Post #4 of 16 (348 views)
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Well there's pacifists and then there's pacifists [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't really see Faramir as a pacifist, not an absolute one anyway. He will fight, but he doesn't want to for for fighting's sake.

I suppose I am a little biased. When I think of pacifists, I think of Neville Chamberlain and 'peace at any price'.

I would use Faramir's quote,' I love those things that they defend.' He disliked fighting, but he would( And was quite good at it!!) when there was no other choice. It all plays into the aspect of wisdom. In the words of Movie-Gandalf, 'True courage is knowing, not when to take a life, but when to spare one.' There is a time to take a life, but the true courage tells you when enough is enough.

I like to think of the Mirkwood Elves. They would have been wiser, some would have said, to have killed him, but their pity stopped them. It could be said that their pity was misplaced and wasted, but in the end it repaid itself.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Dec 13 2013, 5:03pm)


squire
Valinor


Dec 13 2013, 6:34pm

Post #5 of 16 (341 views)
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That's an excellent point about male/female status [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think I ever noticed that before in just that way, but you are so right. For once, in Tolkien's stories, it is the guy who is "marrying down" for love!



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Plurmo
Rohan

Dec 13 2013, 11:44pm

Post #6 of 16 (323 views)
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A twin of Aragorn! I agree with CuriousG completely. [In reply to] Can't Post

This is an aspect that comes to my mind all too often, but in ways I find difficult to express.

So, yes, a twin, but not in a human sense. To me the twinhood of Faramir is a very peculiar one. I could call it a twinhood under the Gift of Eru because I see it as a mortal twinhood inside an immortal one.

I always think about how Elrond, through the ages, must have found the likeness of Elros in many a true numenorean that he happened to meet. A smile here, a voice there two hundred years later, a movement with the sword, a light in the eyes. Unlike a common elf, Lindir for instance, who could easily dismiss matters mortal, to Elrond the part of the powerful maiar-elven-edain bloodline threading through Time under the Gift of Eru must have presented a succession of unexpected familiarities. Always incomplete, like a human life is, compared to an elven one. Always fleeting. Its fate unexplained, its meaning lost, unless you are the one witnessing hundreds of generations working their ways through many dangers, many mistakes, heroic deeds, a long decline, many a sudden awakening that to one with foresight would speak of vain hopes.

And then, at the end of the Third Age there's this true numenórean Faramir who lives under the protection of Ulmo as if he was a born arvernienian, dreaming of voices beside flowing waters. He, the "window on the west." He, in whom Sam discern Maiar wisdom (thanks, Lady Melian!) Instead of Elros, that man is so much like his twin brother that I suspect that he is the only man in Middle-earth that could have 'found it on the highway' (that is Sador and the Ring!) as many times as Elrond and equally never succumb to it. It is he who would eventually hand Aragorn the Crown of Ëarnur that was in his custody, while his immortal equal would do the same with the Sceptre of Annúminas, after all "she shall not be the bride of any Man less than the King of both Gondor and Arnor," so, in a way, it is Elrond in a confluent immortal and mortal expression, symbolically asserting that Aragorn, as the spearhead of the line of Elros, is worth of being the founder of Fourth Age Númenor. And while the People accept Faramir's testimony I believe elvendom accepts Elrond's.

But if Aragorn is like Elros it is only to the extend that a man, even a numenorean, can resemble someone greater, someone who chose between the gifts of Elves and Men. Aragorn requires his pairing to Arwen (and the meaning of her Choice) so they as one become like Elros. But to Faramir, for him to become like Elrond in terms of this second self of twinhood what is still required is the pain of losing a true beloved brother. So that Faramir is indeed a twin, a twin of Boromir, Aragorn and Arwen under the light of the Gift of Eru.

That may seem strange. Too many on one side of this twinhood, and to few on the other. But what is the exact measure of a man who is so wise as to refuse exposure to the call of the Ring of Sauron while leading men at war under the threatening shadow of the Ephel Dúath? I think I could measure him by thinking again of Elrond in Rivendell and how in the eyes of the Rangers of the North he would be a living reminder of lost Númenor by virtue of kinship. He alone the sole brother of a whole bloodline. He alone a humble steward protecting the fleeting mortal flowers of the line of kings. He alone in his his refuge at the feet of the fence of Melkor, an embodiment of the Promise of Númenor, "its memory, ancientry, beauty and present wisdom."

And so is Faramir. The embodiment of that which he protects as seen under the light of the Gift. Not a smile, not a voice, not a movement of the sword, not a light in the eyes, but a principle. A principle so powerful and so enduring, that in the Music of Eru it never ceases, so that we can hear it to this day, though we Rangers of the Nought require Faramir to be its embodiment and in so doing, turn him into our very own beloved, literary immortal, twin brother.

With apologies for too much talk.


Werde Spinner
Rohan


Dec 13 2013, 11:49pm

Post #7 of 16 (388 views)
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*bows in awe of the superior eloquence of everyone else* [In reply to] Can't Post

I was going to add some thoughts of my own about Faramir, but Plurmo and CuriousG have said everything I wanted to say in much better words than I could have ever done. Well written, truly. Smile

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 14 2013, 5:08pm

Post #8 of 16 (261 views)
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Wow--bravo!! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Brethil
Half-elven


Dec 14 2013, 6:13pm

Post #9 of 16 (262 views)
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A pleasure to read Plurmo! [In reply to] Can't Post

A simply fantastic point: how does he valuate the bloodline of a beloved brother...? How can any ever equal Elros and the twin that Elrond knew? Another insight into the loss of Arwen to this penultimate Numenorean, Aragorn: how much Elrond loses through his life, and in Arwen's case rather sacrifices for Middle-earth. Almost his entire family...more than ever it makes me hope his boys made it to the West.
You expressed it all wonderfully. Angelic

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





Na Vedui
Rohan


Dec 14 2013, 11:30pm

Post #10 of 16 (259 views)
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A lovely post, [In reply to] Can't Post

full of insight. Thank you.


Ethel Duath
Valinor


Dec 15 2013, 7:16pm

Post #11 of 16 (255 views)
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This is the best description [In reply to] Can't Post

of book-Faramir I've read anywhere so far: Hits that proverbial nail dead center for me. I've had imaginary "conversations" with Denethor, taking him to task for his favoritism! Oddly, the response was less than satisfying . . .CrazyWink Having read the books numerous times for many years before the movies, I was very upset by Faramir's portrayal in the movie (even though I love the LOTR films over all).

"Reading the books, I became an avid supporter of Faramir. He became my Middle-Earth ideal. He was quite analogous to Aragorn, one who could have been a good king, or at least a great Steward. His character and compassion really hit home. He did not need to use force, he hated it. He was wise and noble, and had the ideal of Knighthood indeed that Boromir typified in appearance. He would never have taken the Ring, or Sam and Frodo to Osgilliath. He had great sorrow for his brother's death, but had the wisdom to see his downfall. Fiercely dutiful, he took a desperate mission to stall the forces in Osgilliath, before they reached Pellenor. He was more sensitive, I think. His father's words did more harm to him than the Nazgul. He had always accepted the second place in his father's love, but the shunning wounded him deeply. His duty was deeper, and he committed to it. Finding Eowyn, he had compassion on her. His wise words healed her, and that was what he was, not a warrior and killer, a sage and healer. I was totally crushed by the way he seemed shafted in the Films, but I could always imagine Book Faramir there instead."

I think what Gandalf said, which was something like (concerning Denethor and Faramir) "the blood of Numenor runs nearly true" is an indication, along with his actual description in the books, that Faramir was meant to be something of an ideal. And I believe he typifies the human qualities Tolkien held dear. This also brings up that recurring question of free will vs. fate (or genes?). I believe Tolkien may have been trying to convey that heredity only provides the raw material, however "noble." Choices consolidate and establish the true character, since both Denethor and Faramir had the characteristics of the "true Numenorian blood," but Denethor eventually went off the track; and according to the appendices, never demonstrated the kindness and empathy and even the charisma that Faramir possesed. And in addition, Faramir was remarkably consistent, character wise, despite the humiilation and pressure of his own father's contempt and rejection, which to me lends itself to the idea that Tolkien most likely believes in a combination of heredity/destiny and free will.



Ethel Duath
Valinor


Dec 15 2013, 7:22pm

Post #12 of 16 (242 views)
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I'm saving this on my desktop. Thank you. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Plurmo
Rohan

Dec 16 2013, 12:49am

Post #13 of 16 (237 views)
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I sure thank you all [In reply to] Can't Post

I must have done something wrong because my English is usually so good that I at least could join Bert, William and Tom without them ever noticing that I'm not exactly an ill favoured speaking brother troll. But should they start calling me a twin with the same largesse I did here, then I will become rather worried.Blush


Nimloth9
The Shire


Dec 17 2013, 10:48am

Post #14 of 16 (221 views)
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Faramir! [In reply to] Can't Post

my favourite character!!

I'm a movie-firster, and thinking back it's strange, but when I first watched it when I was 13, I actually loved movie-Faramir. Maybe it had something to do with him being so pitiful or something... But of course, after I read the books, I was appalled at his character defamation by the movie makers.


In Reply To
He was quite analogous to Aragorn, one who could have been a good king, or at least a great Steward.

Definitely! He is truly the ideal man in the history of Arda! Honestly, I don't see why Aragorn just didn't leave Gondor's rulership to Faramir's perfectly capable hands and return north to rebuild Arnor, which I think could have used much more work and help.


In Reply To
His father's words did more harm to him than the Nazgul. He had always accepted the second place in his father's love, but the shunning wounded him deeply.


Here, I think the Nazgul hurt him more than Denethor. I have to say, it would be unfair to judge the relationship of Denethor and Faramir by their only two conversations in 'The Siege of Gondor'. During that time, they were both under tremendous strain and in the worst possible circumstance: Boromir had just died, Gondor was facing a very imminent defeat, the Ring had been sent within Sauron’s reach, Mithrandir was present (a matter of conflict between the two), and importantly, Faramir was under the influence of the Black Breath (according to the following quote by Aragorn).


Quote
‘He is a man of staunch will, for already he had come close under the Shadow before ever he rode to battle on the out-walls. Slowly the dark must have crept on him, even as he fought and strove to hold his outpost.


Both Denethor and Faramir are stated to have almost pure Numenorean blood, being wise, keen-sighted, and could 'read the hearts of men' shrewdly. However, their conversations seem to be a little degrading for their high and noble characters, and I highly doubt they would have any similar conversations in other circumstances. Faramir is wise, perceptive, brave, strong, and has all the high qualities that everyone here expressed. If not for the Black Breath, I cannot imagine Faramir would be so hurt by his father’s obviously unfair words, much less be driven to grief and bitterness. Denethor trusted Faramir, at least enough to give the command of Gondor’s armies to him! And if Faramir followed his own counsel, at the least Denethor did not forbid them. If not for the Black Breath, Faramir would have perceived that despite his father’s harsh words, Denethor did love him. Well, I might be alone in this opinion, but just thought I say it.


Quote
He disliked fighting, but he would( And was quite good at it!!) when there was no other choice.

I don't think Faramir was a pacifist, either. If anyone it would be Frodo, I think. And seeing how very intent Faramir was in his duty of defending Gondor, and probably taught by Boromir, I think Faramir was a very deadly warrior.

I must add my absolute favourite quote concerning Faramir (thank you, Pippin!):

Quote
Yet suddenly for Faramir his heart was strangely moved with a feeling that he had not known before. Here was one with an air of high nobility such as Aragorn at times revealed, less high perhaps, yet also less incalculable and remote: one of the Kings of Men born into a later time, but touched with the wisdom and sadness of the Elder Race. He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings.



Annael
Half-elven


Dec 17 2013, 4:11pm

Post #15 of 16 (217 views)
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most of what I would say has been said, but [In reply to] Can't Post

since Faramir (book) is also my ideal, I would love to go on the record here.

I do see him as more like Aragorn than Boromir. I think Tolkien is so amazing at evoking that shadow side that lives within us all (he would, no doubt, call it Original Sin; as a post-Jungian I call it the shadow). The Ring is what calls the shadow into expression, and Tolkien got that right too: Jung says the brighter the light, the more the shadow takes form behind it, and the Ring is beautiful shining gold. (Aside: it just occurs to me that the Elves prefer to dwell in twilight, where light and shadow are equal - their greatest falls have to do with the Silmarils. . . hmmmm.)

But Silmarils or Rings aside, the shadow is there all the time, and the Numenoreans, bright shining Men that they were, have quite the history with it. Isildur's fall is just one example. Aragorn and Faramir, it seems to me, know this very well and are on guard against it. Book-Aragorn is always reproving people for prideful talk, for instance (in fact, sometimes he comes across as a bit of prig!) Denethor and Boromir are too arrogant, too sure that they have no shadow, to guard against it, and so they fall. When Faramir learns the true story of Boromir's death, he is not angry, he is simply sad - but I think not surprised - that his brother's pride was his downfall.

That I think may explain his reluctance to fight when nothing will be accomplished by it. He's as good a warrior as his brother, but he does not love fighting for its own sake as has been said here already. He does not take pride in his skill. I wonder how much of what looks like reluctance or repressed feeling in Faramir is simply that fear of hubris and what it could lead to. With his father's example before him all the time, I don't wonder that he's always on guard in himself.

As for marrying "down," again, he doesn't have the kind of ego that would demand "only the best." (One wonders whom Boromir would have considered a worthy bride!) Thus he is free to marry a woman whom he admires and loves, even though she is not Numenorean.

I do think Jackson and Wenham brought some of this out onto the surface. It's not like the books where it all goes on in Faramir's mind and we really have to guess at it. Same with Aragorn. I didn't like the movie characters as well because they didn't seem as noble to me . . . but in the end, you know, they really were, it's just that we saw more of the feet of clay that they were fighting all the time.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Ireth
The Shire


Jan 3 2014, 1:11pm

Post #16 of 16 (157 views)
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Faramir [In reply to] Can't Post

I absolutely agree with you! Faramir is sometimes a very overlooked character. But for me, he's my favourite Man in the book. Perhaps, even more than Aragorn(they're currently equal).
Faramir has 'the highest quality', according to Sam. He didn't take the Ring, and he risked his life many times to save others. Despite being overlooked by his father, he managed not to become resentful and evil. Faramir is the best.

 
 

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