Disclaimer: everything I’m writing is solely based off of the Lord of the Rings MOVIES, not the books. For a long time Faramir has been my favorite character in the Lord of the Rings franchise, and it’s taken me awhile to be able to analyze why exactly that is and put it into words. The conclusion I’ve come to is that he represents everything that the story preaches: hope against all odds. In the entire series, humans are portrayed as weak, easily corruptible, and are ultimately the reason the Ring still exists in the first place. Faramir’s character proves all of those stereotypes wrong in the long run and changes drastically, even though he is not one of the more prominent characters. Even when comparing him to Aragorn, who represents many of the same things, Faramir’s development is much more drastic. Aragorn is human, but a) was raised with elves and as such knows of the inherent “weakness” of humans, b) has always had the leadership and representation of hope within the Fellowship and the series as a whole, c) is of a more powerful bloodline, and d) never changes his mind about the Ring. Faramir completely changes to emulate all of the positive qualities Aragorn displays throughout the entire saga. This is even more significant considering that his brother Boromir gave in to the power of the Ring, so it would be expected that Faramir would do the same. However, Boromir challenges Aragorns cynicism regarding Gondor and its greed for power, recognizing that there is still strength, the kind that Aragorn ultimately wants to see in his future kingdom. Boromir’s strong relationship with Faramir would suggest that the strength he is referring to is within his brother, even though he might not realize it yet.
Sam’s speech in The Two Towers is the turning point for Faramir. Before then, he is determined to deliver Frodo and the Ring to his father Denethor and is willing to allow it to be used as a weapon. Furthermore, his tense relationship with Denethor makes him view the deliverance of the Ring as a chance to redeem himself and become an actual son to his father. However, Sam’s words that “there is some good in this world… and it’s worth fighting for” seem to truly resonate with Faramir, who clearly has seen almost too much war to believe in that, especially being stationed in Osgiliath. Sam reminds him of the simple feeling of hope and how powerful it can be. Faramir sees what men should strive to be in the hobbits: still flawed, but there is still some purity and innocence to them which produce hope and goodness. He has also already seen how obsessive and violent Frodo can get while corrupted by the Ring, another stepping stone to him changing his mind about the Ring. Ultimately, Faramir is able to put aside his own desires and strive for the greater good of Middle-Earth, which means resisting the power of the Ring and embodying the qualities that Frodo and Sam are fighting so hard to preserve.
This connection to the hobbits is probably why Faramir is able to form a relationship with Pippin, who by no coincidence tells Faramir that he “has strength of a different kind, and one day your father will see it,” referring to the hope and idealism that has formed within Faramir, unlike Denethor and Boromir. As a hobbit, Pippin is able to recognize that, and his words come at a time when Faramir is still developing what this means for how he will serve Gondor. Faramir’s “suicide charge” to Osgiliath is fueled not by his allegiance to what Gondor and Denethor are, but rather what Gondor as a whole can be since he now sees that kind of strength to resist darkness is possible. He still is proud to be Gondorian and wants to mean something to his country, just in a different way than his father.
As Pippin predicted, Denethor realizes what he has lost after Faramir’s “death”: hope. It’s something that he had not dealt with, and immediately after finding out his second son has also been killed (even though he hadn’t been) with an enormous orc army at the gates of Minas Tirith, he orders for the Gondorian armies to retreat and refuses to believe that there is any chance for victory in the war. Later, before attempting to burn himself and Faramir, Denethor says “there is no hope for man,” which could be directly referring to the loss of his personal hope, Faramir. Denethor’s death represents the transition of power. Since Aragorn becomes king, him ruling with Faramir by his side represents a huge change in Gondorian culture, probably a more prosperous culture.
Faramir’s idealism is ultimately what allows Eowyn to fall for him when they are both in the hospital after the battle in Pelennor Fields. She is able to see the same qualities of hope and goodness she sees in Aragorn, and thus is able to get over him and be with Faramir. Faramir tells her that he does”not think this darkness will endure,” and that endurance of evil is one of the things that Eowyn fears most. Both characters were injured fighting against that evil, and for the hope that Frodo’s quest represents. Honestly I didn’t think the movies did a great job of setting all of that up, but looking into it a little more really helped me at least.
Well, that was it. I indulged my dorky side and decided to do a different kind of blog post. Hopefully I didn’t ruin any characters for you or anything, but I liked piecing everything together finally! I love the series, and being able to explain why I appreciate Faramir as a character so much feels great. And now he can be your favorite character too!