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The second of Denethor's two sons, Faramir was a Steward of Gondor after his father. Upon the arrival of the true king, King Aragorn Elessar, he laid down his office as Ruling Steward, but Elessar renewed his hereditary appointment as Steward and advisor to the King. Faramir was also appointed Prince of Ithilien.
Role in the War of the Ring
Faramir, a captain of Gondor, had a prophetic dream counseling him to see the Sword that was broken in Imladris, which was identified as the Elvish name for Rivendell. His older brother Boromir, who had also had the dream (though Faramir had the dream several times and Boromir only once), claimed the right to the errand and travelled nearly four months to Rivendell, arriving just in time for the Council of Elrond where he reported the dream and its prophetic verses. Aragorn, then a chieftain in hiding serving as a mere Ranger, turned out to be the subject of the verse—the Sword that was broken was an heirloom of his line, Narsil, the sword of Elendil. Yet the news of this revelation was late in coming to Faramir, due to Boromir's long detour and untimely death.
Faramir continued to lead his men in the desperate struggle against the forces of Mordor—they were the Rangers of Ithilien, harassing Sauron from right outside his walls. During a battle with Southrons, Faramir encountered the Hobbits Frodo and Sam, who were on a mission of great secrecy and importance: the destruction of the One Ring.The Hobbits brought news of the appearance of Isildur's heir, but they were not aware of Boromir's death, which Faramir himself had seen in a vision. He guessed at the cause of the estrangement between his brother and the two Hobbits and through intelligent questioning and intuition he determined that Frodo was carrying some great weapon. At this point, he showed the crucial difference between him and his proud brother: "I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway," he declared. Later, when he discovered that the weapon was the One Ring, he repeated this statement. He released the Hobbits, enabling them to speed on their quest to destroy the Ring.
Frodo allowed Faramir to briefly take as prisoner their guide to Mordor, the creature Gollum, for questioning about the Ring and Sauron (a former Ringbearer, Gollum had been captured and interrogated by Sauron years earlier.) Angered, Gollum later betrayed Frodo and Sam to the giant spider Shelob, which set in motion a chain of events resulting in the Ring's destruction. Therefore, Faramir indirectly helped Frodo fulfill his quest.
Upon his return to Gondor prior the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in defense of Minas Tirith, Faramir was gravely wounded. While he was in the Houses of Healing, injured by too much exposure to the Black Breath of Sauron, he was healed by Aragorn. There he met Éowyn of Rohan, who lay languishing and unfulfilled despite having killed the Witch King. He turned her heart from despair and the two fell in love and later married. At Aragorn's coronation, Faramir—who very briefly served as Ruling Steward—gladly passed the rule of Gondor to the rightful King. He then became an advisor to King Elessar, fulfilling the traditional role of the hereditary office of Steward. He was appointed as the first Prince of Ithilien, a position which would have made him warden of Gondor's easternmost outpost and responsible for the rehabilitation of the territory reclaimed from Sauron. Faramir was, in the words of Tolkien, "modest, fair-minded and scrupulously just, and very merciful" (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, 244). His appearance toward the end of The Two Towers apparently was as much of a surprise to Tolkien as it is to his readers. "I am sure I did not invent him," he wrote. "I did not even want him, though I like him" (Letters, 66). Faramir in many ways speaks for Tolkien, who was a soldier in World War I, when he says, for example, "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness....I love only that which they defend" (The Two Towers, "The Window on the West"). Much later, Tolkien would write, "As far as any character is 'like me', it is Faramir" (Letters, 180)
Role in the films
In the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, Faramir does not at first let Frodo, Sam, and Gollum go, but decides to bring them and the Ring to Gondor. He takes them west to Osgiliath, crossing the river Anduin, and not until the Ringwraiths attack the city does he release them. Many fans of the book criticize this change, saying that it seriously damages the character. Peter Jackson's explanation is that he needed another adventure to delay Frodo and Sam, because the episode at Cirith Ungol was moved to the third movie, and so a new climax was needed. Another explanation often cited is that it was felt that for dramatic reasons it was necessary to show character development, which meant that Faramir had to go through some kind of struggle or difficult decision. Jackson also argued that it was necessary for Faramir to be tempted by the Ring because everyone else was tempted, and letting Faramir be immune would be inconsistent, at least in the eyes of a film audience, and would weaken the films' portrayal of the Ring.
In the extended edition of The Two Towers, Jackson has included a new flashback scene showing that Denethor has been neglecting him and favoring Boromir, so that Faramir wanted to please his father by bringing him the Ring. (The relationship is similarly strained in the books, but there his father's favoritism does not seem to affect his decisions in Ithilien.) On the whole, however, new Extended Edition scenes with Faramir brought the character closer to the sympathetic treatment of the books (the line he is given regarding a fallen Southron belongs to Sam in the books, but is not out of keeping with Faramir's character).
Faramir is played by David Wenham in the films. A minor change is that in the book, Faramir and his brother are dark-haired, but in the movie, they have blond hair.
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