A Man of Quality: Faramir, Captain of Gondor

Author: Antane

Nominator: Linda Hoyland

2010 Award Category: Genres: Non-Fiction: Character Essays

Story Type: Non-Fiction  ✧  Length: N/A

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: An essay written for the LOTR Community April Non-fiction challenge that gives “A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality!”

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Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 10

Ah, I do so very much like reading Antane's essays, and this one does not disappoint, either. It was, as always with her essays, an engaging read. Mostly I agreed with her points, though once or twice I shook my head (but only a little, dear cousin). For instance, I did think that the blood of Númenor ran only ‘almost true’ in Faramir, not that it was pure, but mayhap I misread that (which wouldn’t be the first time). In another point, Faramir did indeed learn much from Gandalf, of lore and wisdom. His pity, though, I believe was more inherent to his own nature, given his own experiences in earlier life (the loss of his mother at so young an age, living for years with the barely concealed derision of his father whilst watching Denethor bestow his entire affection on the more gregarious, glory-seeking Boromir) than learned from another; though Gandalf’s influence would surely have fanned it to greater heights. I like her reasoning on what may have befallen Frodo (and by default, the West) had it been Faramir who had joined the Fellowship, and (poor, dear) Boromir who had taken him hostage to Henneth Annûn. It was plausible and well thought out. I was also tickled by the Faramir-as-a-hobbit theory, moreso because I have noted this myself (he seems like a Man-sized version of both Frodo and Sam - though with a significantly lesser appetite!). The quote of Merry and Pippin [being placed exactly where and when they need to be] - each protecting Faramir and Éowyn in turn - made me think of the rascally duo as some sort of hobbitty guardian angels; which they were, really. Or they were at least for Faramir and Éowyn (and each other, of course). It was a delightful thought that still has me grinning! Whereas I agree that Denethor offed himself because he despaired at the thought of bowing to Sauron, I’m not so sure that would have been the case where he to do the same before Aragorn. True, he did not wish to have a Ranger of the North thrust upon him as king, having become accustomed to and enamoured of his position of power. Yet I think in that moment Denethor was more affected by the darkness that had been growing in his heart ever since his wife’s death, and also his own, constant, exposure to the Palantir. He (I believe) was a man who saw only war and defeat approaching, and - rather than submit the rule (or death) by another (Sauron) - he chose to order that one thing which he felt was left to his control: his death and the burning of his last remaining son’s ’corpse’. But when even that was denied him … Well, we all know what happened next. Of course, that is just my opinion, and my opinion is by no means law (which is an excellent thing. The world would be in chaos otherwise). As always with one of Antane’s non-fiction essays, this tribute to Faramir is well-researched, engaging and encourages debate. Where the reader may disagree with a point or two, it is nonetheless an interesting, thought-provoking read which is well worth perusing. Faramir has always held a special place in my heart. He is thoughtful, wise, brave, learned and utterly, utterly noble. This essay was clearly written with love and admiration for the author's chosen subject. And so it ought to have been! For (in my opinion) the younger son of Denethor is truly one of the more intriguing and honourable characters in the entire LoTR trilogy. Very good work, cousin!

Reviewed by: Mechtild  ✧  Score: 7

It was a pleasure to re-visit Faramir's story line in this fully-limned way, complete with commentary that is thoughtful and warmly given. The theme that impressed me most, reading the piece, was how Tolkien's concept of providence played out in the seeming mis-steps and near-disasters in the story. If Faramir had gone to Rivendell instead of Boromir, he would surely have been a member of the Fellowship. But would Frodo have had the impetus he needed to part from the company and go off on his own before the orc attack, and And if Pippin hadn't naughtily looked into the Palantir, Gandalf would not have had to remove him to Minas Tirith. In Minas Tirith, Pippin met Denethor, whom he offered to serve on account of Boromir's redemptive death to save him. If Pippin hadn't served Denethor, he wouldn't have been in a position to save Faramir. And so on, plot point after plot point, demonstrating how throughout all of LOTR a power other than Sauron's was working, for good.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 6

This is a fascinating essay which should appeal to everyone who loves Faramir. I especially like the fact that this thought provoking essay studies the spiritual side of Tolkien's work which is all too often ignored or overlooked in this materialistic age. Although Tolkien was writing about a pre Christian era, his own Christian ethics and spirituality imbue his work and to ignore them leaves the Reader devoid of fundamental layers of meaning. Faramir is a warrior prince in a pre Christian society, but he is richly endowed by Tolkien with virtues which we nowadays recognise as Christian. He is gentle, merciful, modest patient and concerned about doing right whatever the consequences to himself. Antane's thought provoking essay helps the reader to the better understand and appreciate Faramir and a character worth of the readers admiration.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

A most thorough examination of the nature of Faramir son of Denethor and brother of Boromir, Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien, and the one who would in time serve Aragorn as his Steward and would wed the White Lady of Rohan. Antane has studied the literature that discusses his personality and spiritual nature, and offers comparisons between Faramir and his brother, his father, Frodo, Sam, and his Numenorean ancestors. Excellently reasoned and designed, this article is perfect for those who love Faramir--which includes almost everyone! Antane is to be congratulated for the clear, cogent thought she put into this!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

This is an excellent essay exploring the spiritual underpinnings of Faramir and his character. By what we know of JRRT's writings from his Letters and from HoMe, Faramir was his favorite character, the one with whom he most closely identified himself. Little wonder that Antane is able to find within Faramir the values of his sub-creator. A very well written essay.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

Interesting treatise of my favorite human character in LOTR, Faramir of Gondor. Antane emphasizes the spiritual/religious aspect of Faramir, his attunement with the forces that guided the Fellowship towards the fulfillment of the Quest, and his Numenorean affiliation with the grace of religious observation. Antane brings up some very good points about Faramir; especially when she discusses the character's refusal to despair even in the worst of times. A thought-provoking essay; thanks, Antane!