Following Orders

Author: EdorasLass

Nominator: annmarwalk

2006 Award Category: Times: The Great Years: Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlets - First Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: Possibly disturbing imagery

Summary: Faramir thinks on the guards' role in his near-immolation. A rarely-seen side of Faramir.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Branwyn  ✧  Score: 6

The "Pyre of Denethor" chapter is problematic for many readers (including this one). Why did only one of the servants and guards who were present defy Denethor's last orders? In this drabble, Faramir shares our reaction of disbelief. Edoraslass points out that these men would have known Faramir for years and would have regarded him with at least the respect and affection due to a comrade in arms. Though I think that Faramir would eventually be able to forgive the guards, his initial rage is entirely believable. Not only were they willing to murder him, but they stood by as his father commited suicide (their duty to protect the steward does not seem to have extended to protecting the steward from himself!) Tolkien says that Faramir can read the hearts of men; he would easily discern self-serving cowardice disguised as loyalty. An interesting take on this scene from Faramir's point of view. [Note: Suffering from caffeine deprivation, I hit the wrong button and didn't save my review. So this is my second draft, a pale imitator of the first draft which was smoothly eloquent and full of profound insights.]

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

In all my years of reading LOTR fanfiction, I don’t think I’ve ever before come across this scene: Faramir wondering why men he had known all his life would have allowed him to be murdered so brutally. Edoraslass has brilliantly conveyed, without a touch of angst or pathos, Faramir’s sense of bitterness, yes, and anger. Pippin’s soft voice is heard in the background, trying to explain, trying to defend those who are not worthy, really, to be defended; yet there’s still that ominous touch of coldness, of carefully controlled fury in Faramir’s voice.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

A well-written, thought-provoking drabble on a subject rarely tackled in fanfiction - Faramir's feelings towards the servants who enabled his father to nearly burn him alive. [Men I had known since I was a child, men I trained with or helped train – all but one would have let me burn.] I'm not sure that Faramir would have trained with these particular servants - Tolkien calls them "six men of the household", which implies that they are household servants. Yet he also has them bearing swords in the "Pyre" chapter. Tolkien never calls them men-at-arms, only 'servants'. I also wonder whether Faramir expresses this anger towards the servants because it is easier than being angry at his father. Very good work, especially in the framework of only 100 words.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

One always wonders about the relationship between the guards who had assisted Denethor on his final descent and Faramir, who was nearly the innocent victim of their inability or unwillingness to refuse the steward's orders. Excuses from the perpetrators and explanations of them from others who had resisted (Pippin) cannot undo the betrayal Faramir feels that people he had known and trusted all his life were prepared to allow his father to kill him. Rage, indeed--one wonders what would come of so dramatic and awful a breach of all trust.

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion  ✧  Score: 4

This is all so very true and something so seldom reflected on - the 'only following orders' defence may not have been something that Tolkien himself was familiar with, after all in his day orders really were not to be questioned - but that was then. We are entitled to critique Faramir from our perspective and the reaction you show is real and human and valid - this man was not and could not have been a milk and water saint. Yes, he would forgive but that doesn't prevent him from being bitter, if only in private.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

Poor Faramir indeed. I had never thought about this side of thing? The "just following orders" felt ever-so-slightly modern, but even with that this piece was really well done. So tied to Tolkien's world, but with so much to say to our own age, too.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 3

A nice, creepy drabble about something I've wondered about from time to time. Poor Faramir-insightful as he is supposed to be about the hearts and minds of Men, it's very logical that he would have anger about the people who tried to kill him.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

Something I always wondered about myself--how did Denethor have all these men so intimidated that they did not dare to protest his insane orders? I can easily believe Faramir's anger--I'd like to see him confronting some of them. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 3

Reminds me of a play I read at school - where the soldier talks of doing his duty. Yet - look at Beregond's protracted ordeal - where he faced death as a result of protecting Faramir. It's not surprising that there were some who feared to disobey Denethor. Even when he was quite clearly demented.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 3

Grim and chilling. I wonder how these men faced Faramir, once all was over, and to what duties they were set. Such callous, blind obedience is ignoble and dangerous, driven by fear or not.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 3

Edoraslass manages to clearly show the mix of anger, pain, and disappointment that Faramir must have felt when confronted with Denethor's "faithful" servants. He has to forgive these men, as much as he had to forgive his father, in order to move on into a new life of happiness. Hopefully Pippin's gentle counsel and Eowyn's love will help him in this.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 2

Sigh! This is the age old excuse people use when they are too afraid or don't want to think. Faramir is right to be angered by this excuse.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 2

Such an oft-used an infamous excuse! Bravo for finding it here in Middle Earth and reminding us all of where we have heard it at home. A truly new image of Faramir.

Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen  ✧  Score: 2

An interesting drabble. However, it seems to try to take in more than it can and so seems imcomplete.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 2

How sad that people Faramir had known all of his life would have been so blind! I would very much like to read about their next meeting with the new Steward.