This is more like it! Finally, we're talking about Boromir again!
Okay, honestly, even if Boromir wasn't mentioned, I would be so happy with this chapter. A brief reprieve from wandering around in the grey dismality of Almost-Mordor. Food and rest for poor Sam and Frodo. Whew.
And hello, Faramir! It's weird, but I've never paid a whole lot of attention to Faramir before this reading. I tend to just think of him as Boromir's little brother, and isn't it nice how much he loved his brother, etc. But this read-through, I was really struck by just how grand Faramir really is. He's like a knight out of a King Arthur story, chivalrous and honorable to a fault.
And he listens better to the old stories than Boromir, for Faramir says of Lothlorien, "few of old came thence unchanged, 'tis said" (p. 652), while Boromir said, "it is said that few come out who once go in; and of that few none have escaped unscathed" (p. 329). Aragorn, of course, corrected Boromir thus: "Say not unscathed, but if you say unchanged, then maybe you will speak the truth" (p. 329).
He's something of a paradox, this Faramir. He's obviously a good warrior, since his followers told us in the last chapter that "he leads now in all perilous ventures" (p. 645), yet he himself says, "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory" (p. 656). Unlike Boromir, he doesn't enjoy deeds of valor for their own sake, but does them out of necessity.
I used to feel like, if I liked Faramir a lot, I was somehow being disloyal to Boromir. Yeah, I know -- they're fictional! Machts nicht. That's how I felt. This is probably because I had friends who, when I saw the second movie, seemed to expect that I would suddenly throw off my love of Boromir and see that Faramir is far the superior person, blah blah blah. And I've got that fiercely loyal thing going on -- Boromir was my favorite, he was going to stay my favorite, and if that meant dismissing Faramir as not particularly interesting, so be it.
But that's just lame! I'm not Denethor, I don't need to be all "Boromir is awesome, and since Faramir is different, he's not awesome." I despise Denethor for that very attitude! So, from now on, I'm a fan of "this grave young man, whose words seemed so wise and fair" (p. 657). I'll place him around Aragorn in my list of favorites. Which now looks like this, then:
3. Gandalf and Eomer
4. Aragorn and Faramir
5. Merry and Pippin
6. Legolas and Gimli
7. Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth
Which makes that my top eleven now, but round numbers are overrated. I cannot leave Prince Imrahil off! He's so full of shiny awesome. And yes, I have two people for four places because I like those two characters equally well and can't place one above the other.
Oh, and... Faramir has grey eyes! Pattern still holds.
And then Faramir makes me want to hug him because he says of seeing Boromir's body: "Whether he erred or no, of this I am sure: he died well, achieving some good thing. His face was more beautiful even than in life" (p. 654). Aww. Very sweet. And then he says Boromir was "a man of prowess, and for that he was accounted the best man in Gondor" (p. 664).
Okay, okay, I'll quit. I just get so happy in this chapter over how appreciated Boromir was at home, especially since I keep feeling like a lot of people write him off as "a bad guy."
"We are a failing people, a springless autumn" (p. 662).
"Your heart is shrewd as well as faithful, and saw clearer than your eyes" (p. 666).
"...the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards" (p. 667).
He planted himself squarely in front of Faramir, his hands on his hips, and a look on his face as if he was addressing a young hobbit who had offered him what he called 'sauce' when questioned about visits to the orchard (p. 650).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Faramir says, "We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt" (p. 665). Does that differ from what Eomer said back in "The Riders of Rohan," when he claimed that "the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived" (p. 424)? Why does Tolkien place this great emphasis on truth-telling?
Anyone want to write a character post about Faramir? It's been a while since we had a character post.