16 August 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 47: Faramir

David Wenham as Faramir in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films
TA 2983 – FO 82

Faramir, the second son of Denethor II, was a Dúnadan of Gondor, and Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien. Unlike his brother Boromir, Faramir was more interested in lore and music rather than battle and glory (which greatly displeased his father). Yet despite this and his gentle nature, he was a brave warrior, loved by his soldiers. 

Although Faramir’s relationship with his father was strained, the bond between Faramir and his brother was much stronger. Though five years apart, the brothers were close, and there was never any rivalry or jealousy between them (despite Boromir’s status as the favourite son). Instead, Boromir protected and looked out for his younger brother. 

During the War of the Ring

When Faramir encountered the hobbits Frodo and Sam in Ithilien, he soon learned that Frodo had known Boromir, journeying with him and seven others from Rivendell, and that the hobbit was carrying the Enemy’s most dangerous weapon. It was then that Faramir revealed his “true qualities” by allowing Frodo and Sam to continue on, rather than claim the One Ring for Gondor as Boromir had tried, and as Denethor would have wanted. When Denethor learned of this – combined with the death of his favourite son – he was outraged, and later admitted that he would have preferred the death of Faramir. 

Hoping to appease his father, Faramir went back to Osgiliath to aid in the retreat back to Minas Tirith. He fell under the Black Breath and was presumed dead; in his madness, the Ruling Steward, Denethor, nearly cremated his son – and probably would have succeeded, if not for the intervening of Beregond and Gandalf, who had been alerted by Pippin. Still mad with grief, Denethor jumped onto the lit funeral pyre, burning himself alive.

Faramir was taken to the Houses of Healing, where he was healed by Aragorn and soon after met and fell in love with Éowyn. At first, she did not return his love, for she desired nothing more than to go to war, where she hoped to find honour in death; eventually, her mind was changed, and following the War, the two were married. After the crowning of King Elessar, Faramir was made Steward of Gondor, Prince of Ithilien, and Lord of Emyn Arnen.


Foster, R. (2001). Faramir. In The complete guide to middle-earth: from the hobbit through the lord of the rings and beyond. New York: Del Rey.


  1. Hi! Great article! :-D I love your blog, it's always really interesting!

    Concerning Denethor's famous line about his wish to see Faramir died instead of his own favourite son; it seems that is the greatest reason for the hatred that almost all Tolkien fans have for him (me included)xD, since the movie has a so dramatic and powerful scene about it.
    But recently I have read in a blog one fragment from HoME that would reverse the meaning of Denethor's line completely. So, now I think I don't care about Faramir's fate, he didn't want to see him dead, that was only another way (a desperate way, obviously) to say he just wanted to see Boromir alive again; not Faramir dead, then, but just Boromir alive, it's different :-)
    What do you think?

  2. It's true that that scene really seems to define Denethor in the eyes of fans and casual viewers. I agree; I don't think he meant it exactly as "I want you dead." He just wanted Boromir back, and if he absolutely had to choose, he would've changed their places.

    I tend to think people give Denethor a harder time than he deserved. Sure, he was cranky and said some pretty harsh things to Faramir, but many people fail to see that he was under a tremendous amount of grief following the death of his wife, not to mention the pressure of ruling over the people of Gondor in the absence of the King (combined with his knowledge of Sauron's plans for the destruction of Gondor).

    Unfortunately, most people I talk to seem to think Denethor was a crazy jerk, just as the movie portrays him.