Most people that I have talked to see Faramir as an unblemished ray of hope in his interactions with Frodo and Sam. I, however was not very optimistic when the hobbits met Faramir. He and his men sneak up on the hobbits, ambush them, and abduct them, taking them to a secret cave. To me, these were not the actions of an ally, they were the actions of an enemy. The interview between Faramir and Frodo in the cave heightened my suspicions of Faramir before it alleviated them.
The way that Faramir talks to Frodo in their first discussion conveyed mistrust and ultimately foreshadowed conflict to me. It was frequently confrontational and on the verge of being rude. I applauded Sam when he interjected, claiming that
‘He has no right to talk to you so’ (TT, IV, V, 665).
Sam’s perspective closely mirrored my own here. The fact that Faramir checks his bravery and then reveals that he is Boromir’s brother seemed ominous to me. I thought that certainly the corruption which drove Boromir to desire the Ring (remember, I though Boromir a ‘fallen’ man until his death redeemed him) would certainly also claim someone so closely related. This news was foreboding.
In their second, more private conversation, Faramir began to win me over with his fair words. He seemed to have a good sense of the struggles in the world, he lamented the loss of Gandalf, and he showed true compassion for his brother, even though he admitted his brother’s pride and arrogance. Once again, Sam encapsulates my perspective on Faramir:
‘He may be all right…and then me may not. Fair speech may hide a foul heart’ (TT, IV, v, 675).
I have to say that, throughout their encounter with Faramir, I held with Sam’s opinions very much Indeed, I would say that I identified with Sam the most in this encounter with one exception: when he lets slip the fact that the Ring is with them and is Isildur’s bane.
Faramir’s monologue which follows this revelation felt the same as Galadriel’s to me in my first reading. He says:
‘So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring that was thought to have perished from the world. And Boromir tried to take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way — to me! And here in the wild I have you; two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A pretty stroke of fortune! A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality! Ha!’ (TT, IV, v, 680-1)
Just like with Galadriel’s monologue, I thought that this speech was the Ring influencing Faramir. He was tempted to take the Ring and use it for his own, to complete the quest of his fallen Brother. When he holds true to his earlier promise to leave the Ring with Frodo, I thought he had managed to overcome his temptation, just as Galadriel had. In all, this interaction was quite an emotional journey for me!
Where Do We Go From Here?
In the remainder of TT, I want to talk about Shelob, Smeagol, and Sam’s Meta Moments.
What Do You Think?
How did you react to Faramir when you first met him?
When did you first trust Faramir?
Did I miss anything? Let me know!