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Old 04-03-2005, 11:45 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril LotR -- Book 4 - Chapter 05 - The Window on the West

This is the chapter for Faramir fans! He is definitely the most important character in it; we learn much about him, but also much (Gondorian history, etc.) from him.

It is interesting how the feeling of danger and safety in Ithilien goes back and forth in this chapter. At first, it seems that Frodo is in danger, on trial by Faramir. Then, when his suspicion is allayed, a feeling of security returns, only to be dispelled by the knowledge that travelling is dangerous following the raid. At the close of the chapter there is a haven, brief though their stay there is.

Faramir is another of Tolkien’s good characters who is yet dangerous. He is shrewd in his assessment of the situation and has knowledge that enables him to combine facts and jump to the right conclusions quickly. He is loyal to his city, his people, and his family, showing his love for Boromir though he is aware of his failings. In that, and in his judgement of Frodo and Sam’s character, he shows his ability to make good evaluations of persons.

He shows his truthfulness in several statements:
Quote:
I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood.

We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor.
And he lives up to his words. By the end of the chapter, he has convinced even Sam of his trustworthiness.


Tolkien’s skill in story-telling is shown in the connection between the threads of the tale – Frodo and Sam find out about Boromir’s death, though they were no longer there to know of it. And interestingly, looking ahead, Faramir’s experience with the two hobbits will come into the other thread later on, in Minas Tirith, comforting Gandalf and Pippin somewhat.

There is also a connecting element in Faramir’s telling of past experiences he had with Boromir and Gandalf. We find out more about them, their personalities, and the history of Gondor in his conversation with the hobbits (a skilful way to weave ‘facts’ into the narrative). We also hear more about Rohan’s history and its connection with Gondor, including some general history of the race of Men.

I find it rather amusing that Sauron is called “He whom we do not name” or the “Nameless One” by Faramir – shades of Harry Potter!

The description of the waterfall in the setting sun is gorgeous, isn’t it?!

It is interesting to compare the conversations of Frodo and Sam, respectively – the difference between them is shown vividly, and we get to know both a bit better from what they say.

There are too many wonderful lines in this chapter – I can’t even begin quoting them, at least if I did, there would be nothing left for anyone else to quote! I do want to mention Sam’s description of Galadriel though – he may apologize for its lack of poetic quality, but I think there is a good deal of poetry to it. Wouldn’t I love to have someone describe me that way!


This introduction has only scratched the surface of this fantastic chapter. I look forward to a great discussion with many of you!
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:47 PM   #2
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Getting in quickly......

I am sure that I will shove my oar in frequently on this chapter as I am, as some of you are only too aware, a devoted fan of Faramir. Alas this will not be a detailed post as the books are not with me, but there are two points that I want to raise.

Firstly, though I have often posted on various threads and in various contexts, here about how Faramir seems to be a true Numenorean but it was only when looking at this chapter specifically that I realised that the title "The Window on the West" could be a description of Faramir as well as the translation of Henneth Annun. There is more I could say on this - but I would prefer to be able to refer to the text - in the meanwhile anyone so inclined is more than welcome to pick up this ball and run with it

The second point may belong elsewhere, but I have just reread the biography,I came across the extract from Tolkien's diary on Faramir's arrival, ‘I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking through the woods of Ithilien’. So who did?
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Old 04-03-2005, 02:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn
I find it rather amusing that Sauron is called “He whom we do not name” or the “Nameless One” by Faramir – shades of Harry Potter!
I've seen the reluctance to 'name' an evil character or being in several books, and it is also a feature in our own world. There is the saying "speak of the devil", which must come from a belief that to name a being could result in an invocation of that being; hence the alternate names for the devil, such as Old Nick or Old Harry.

What is interesting is that it is Faramir who refuses to name Sauron. Perhaps it is because he and his men are in such constant peril from Sauron's minions and allies. People in the military are often superstitious and pay great heed to omens and portents, which is possibly a way of clinging to hope in the face of real danger, although it can also have a negative effect when the omens are bad. Later on, we see Frodo and Sam on the edge of "the Nameless Land" when about to pass into Mordor, showing that the sense of foreboding has rubbed off on them.
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Old 04-04-2005, 07:28 AM   #4
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Boots Things that are named indirectly

Like Mithalwen, I will make just a short stop here for a first post. I think Estelyn picked up a good point about naming:

Quote:

I find it rather amusing that Sauron is called “He whom we do not name” or the “Nameless One” by Faramir
A point which Lalwendë has rightly explained in terms of traditional injunctions not to name an evil thing.

Such veiled allusions abound in this chapter and acrue particularly to the Faramir character. It is part, I think, of Tolkien's way of suggesting the spiritual nature of his tale without using dogmatic, direct statement.

For instance, consider the style of the grace which Faramir enacts and then explains at the dinner:

Quote:
Before they ate, Faramir and all his men turned and faced west in a moment of silence. Faramir signeled to Frodo and Sam that they should do likewise.

"So we always do," he said, as they sat down: "we look towards Númenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is behong Elvenhome and will ever be. "
Compare this with the Catholic prayer called, I believe, the "Glory Be":

Quote:

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be,
world without end.
Was this part of the "consciously so in the revising" of which Tolkien spoke?
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:32 AM   #5
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V . quick point...

Also worth bearing in mind that it is not only evil things that are not named - think of God being referred to as Lord rather than Yahweh in translations of the bible after the practice of Hebrews not to say God's name out of reverence.
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:20 PM   #6
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And so to Faramir....

Well, I suppose you either love him or hate him. Or rather you’re convinced by him or you’re not. Obviously the movie makers weren’t, so they decided this ‘goody-goody’ had to be made more ‘realistic’. I’ve never found him not to be ‘realistic’. He is wise, compassionate & concerned to do the right thing, even if he loses all in the process. As Anne C Petty has pointed out Tolkien’s Faramir is the perfect Steward for Aragorn, & clearly that was Tolkien’s intent. The incoming age of Men will need men like Aragorn & Faramir if it is to have any chance of both retaining the best of the past & of building a future which the inhabitants of Middle-earth (& we the readers) can have hope in.

Yet many readers seem to have a problem with Faramir - how can anyone simply walk away from the Ring, feeling no temptation?
Quote:
Alas for Boromir! It was too sore a trial!" he said. "How you have increased my sorrow, you two strange wanderers from a far country, bearing the peril of Men! But you are less judges of Men than I of Halflings. We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt.Not if I found it on the highway would I take it I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take those words as a vow, and be held by them.
But that’s the point - he doesn’t simply walk away from it:

.
Quote:
"But I am not such a man. Or I am wise enough to know that there are some perils from which a man must flee. Sit at peace! And be comforted, Samwise. If you seem to have stumbled, think that it was fated to be so. Your heart is shrewd as well as faithful, and saw clearer than your eyes. For strange though it may seem, it was safe to declare this to me. It may even help the master that you love. It shall turn to his good, if it is in my power. So be comforted. But do not even name this thing again aloud. Once is enough."
Faramir knows the power of the Ring. He also well knows what it offers. And that’s the point - he knows what it offers, but he doesn’t want that.

Quote:
"For myself," said Faramir, "I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of many slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves. War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Numenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.
He knows, perhaps, that he could be tempted by it, in the right (or wrong) circumstances, so he turns away from it, rejects it before it can take a hold of him, & he finds the strength to to do this in his idealism. Its the very thing that some readers find makes Faramir unbelievable that enables him to turn from what the Ring offers. Without such high ideals he too would have fallen to its lure.

Two slightly contradictory statements are made by Faramir in this chapter. The first:

Quote:
"For so we reckon Men in our lore, calling them the High, or Men of the West, which were Numenoreans; and the Middle Peoples, Men of the Twilight, such as are the Rohirrim and their kin that dwell still far in the North; and the Wild, the Men of Darkness.
'Yet now, if the Rohirrim are grown in some ways more like to us, enhanced in arts and gentleness, we too have become more like to them, and can scarce claim any longer the title High. We are become Middle Men, of the Twilight, but with memory of other things. For as the Rohirrim do, we now love war and valour as things good in themselves, both a sport and an end; and though we still hold that a warrior should have more skills and knowledge than only the craft of weapons and slaying, we esteem a warrior, nonetheless, above men of other crafts. Such is the need of our days.
So, Faramir’s idealism is rooted in the past. He looks back to what was, to the heights from which Men have fallen, & he wishes for the old days to come again. Nostalgia? Of course, but again, it is this nostalgic idealisation of the past which gives him the strength to reject the Ring & what it (seems to) offer.

Yet in this passage we see also, perhaps, a slightly less admirable side to Faramir - a side which perhaps Eowyn will play some part in redeeming him of - his classification of Men into three ‘classes’ (with his own people in the ‘top’ class). He judges other men as being ‘high’, ‘middle’ & ‘lower’ - the Class system we know so well in all its glory!. Yet Faramir, through his love of Eowyn, will marry one of a ‘lower’ class & so learn the error of his ways. Don’t tell me there’s no character development in Faramir!

But there is also something else going on in this classification of Men into three kinds - it is the same classification that we find in the Elves of the First Age - the ‘High’ Elves who went to Valinor, the ‘Middle’ Elves, the Elves of the Twighlight, the Sindar, who began the journey but left off part way, & the Avari, the Unwilling, Elves of the Darkness, who refused the Light. Faramir is projecting the history (& the choices) of the Elder Children upon the Younger. Again an idealisation of the past to the detriment of the present. Even the ‘Blessing’ he proclaims before meat looks backwards:

Quote:
"So we always do," he said, as they sat down: 'we look towards Numenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be. "
But as I said, there is another statement of his which seems to contradict what he is saying here:

Quote:
'Yet there are among us still some who have dealings with the Elves when they may, and ever and anon one will go in secret to Lorien, seldom to return. Not I. For I deem it perilous now for mortal man wilfully to seek out the Elder People. Yet I envy you that have spoken with the White Lady."
He idealises the past, to the extent that he has prejudices based upon his interpretation & understanding of it, yet he ‘deems it perilous’ to seek out the living embodiment of that past. Mortal men must leave the past behind & move forward. Perhaps he knows in his heart that too much contact with the past is fatal - those who have willfully sought it out have been lost in it, never to return. He is at the point of ‘waking up’ & moving forward, leaving behind his old prejudices. Frodo & the Ring will be one catalyst, Eowyn another. He has the makings of a truly great Steward, a man of the future, not of the past.

Last edited by davem; 04-04-2005 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 04-04-2005, 02:25 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=davem
Yet in this passage we see also, perhaps, a slightly less admirable side to Faramir - a side which perhaps Eowyn will play some part in redeeming him of - his classification of Men into three ‘classes’ (with his own people in the ‘top’ class). He judges other men as being ‘high’, ‘middle’ & ‘lower’ - the Class system we know so well in all its glory!. Yet Faramir, through his love of Eowyn, will marry one of a ‘lower’ class & so learn the error of his ways. [/QUOTE]


I think that this is too harsh. Stating the division made in lore is not condoning it - in fact he points out how meaningless it has become. And he is hardly slumming it by marrying Eowyn since they are cousin to some degree through Morwen of Lossarnach - not close kin, but close enough for the relationship to have been acknowledged by Imrahil, another "true" Numenorean type....
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mithalwen
Stating the division made in lore is not condoning it - in fact he points out how meaningless it has become.
He does, but he points it out with regret - men have fallen from their height & have become less than they were. I bow to no-one in my admiration of Faramir, but my point is he is not without faults - I don't think Tolkien wouold have written a 'saint'. Numenor, by its end, had descended into what we might term 'fascism' (whether its a coincidence that Tolkien came up with the story of Numenor at the time of the rise of Fascism is another question), & Faramir speaks of the way even the decendants of the 'Faithful' in Middle earth fell into the ways of their 'Unfaithful' forefathers. For all his kinship with Eowyn he doesn't speak too highly of the Rohirrim, & sees Gondor's tendency to emulate their warlike ways as a failing of his own people.

Basically, Faramir is an idealist. As I said, his idealism is what enables him to reject what the Ring offers - he will not have Gondor Mistress of even willing slaves - but he has the faults of those virtues. Principal among those faults is a pessimism - 'It is long since we had any hope.' - about Mankind. All have fallen from grace. There is no hope even in the decendants of Numenor. So, he needs a lesson or two, not in humility as his brother did, but in hope. He too will fall under the spell of the Black Breath. He has lost hope & immersed himself in long lost ideals of the way things were.

I think seeing the desperate struggles & sacrifices of Frodo, Sam & later Eowyn enables him to redsicover his lost hope, which ultimately manifests in the Figure of Aragorn.

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Old 04-04-2005, 03:06 PM   #9
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Tolkien

Ah, Faramir...sigh. That's enough silliness.

One thing I immediatly noticed was the difference between Faramir and Boromir. Now that we get to know Faramir better we see that he doesn't want the ring at all. Boromir however, had to struggle with himself because of his lust for the ring.
Therefore, Faramir seems more confident then his brother. He didn't have to struggle with lust for power and Boromir did. Doubtlessly this struggle made Boromir very unsure of himself. But upon meeting Faramir I get the impression of a man who is confident about himself and what he has to do. He knows what to do with the task that is given to him,which is to keep Osgiliath of being overrun. He also knows that eventually there is nothing that can be done. This of course causes conflict between him and his father. (but that is later in ROTK)
One of the most obvious differences is the fact that Faramir is more learned then Boromir and that his blood seems to go back to the Numenoreans. That is another reason why I like Faramir so much. He is far from ordinary and as has been said earlier he would be a great steward for Aragorn.
In this chapter Frodo and Sam have to cope with the news that Boromir is dead. Of all the members in the fellowship they are the most ignorant of the goings on because they are cut off from the rest of the world. In Ithillien they are also able to come in touch with the rest of the world before they enter Mordor. It must be agrivating when you don't know what is going on. This is yet another thing Sam and Frodo have to deal with.
I like the fact that Tolkien gives the reader some time to learn more about ME. It just adds so much more depth to the world. Plus its a chance to show off as to how deep he(Tolkien) went into creating this world. These aspects make some people think of LOTR as a historical novel rather than just a fantasy novel.
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
Basically, Faramir is an idealist. As I said, his idealism is what enables him to reject what the Ring offers - he will not have Gondor Mistress of even willing slaves - but he has the faults of those virtues. Principal among those faults is a pessimism - 'It is long since we had any hope.' - about Mankind. All have fallen from grace. There is no hope even in the decendants of Numenor. So, he needs a lesson or two, not in humility as his brother did, but in hope. He too will fall under the spell of the Black Breath. He has lost hope & immersed himself in long lost ideals of the way things were.

I think seeing the desperate struggles & sacrifices of Frodo, Sam & later Eowyn enables him to rediscover his lost hope, which ultimately manifests in the Figure of Aragorn.
These thoughts on Faramir's nature bring me to a very fascinating question - are the virtues and faults attributed to him by Tolkien JRRT's own virtues and faults? We do know this from the Letters (Footnote to Letter 180):
Quote:
As far as any character is 'like me' it is Faramir - except that I lack what all my characters possess (let the psychoanalysts note!) Courage.
What autobiographical elements do we detect in Faramir? I would definitely see the author as an idealist, as davem describes Faramir, and his biography tells us that he had a strongly pessimistic strain to his character. What about the humility, the truthfulness, the connection with a high, mythological past? I think those elements are all visible in JRRT. What others do you notice?
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Esty
What autobiographical elements do we detect in Faramir? I would definitely see the author as an idealist, as davem describes Faramir, and his biography tells us that he had a strongly pessimistic strain to his character. What about the humility, the truthfulness, the connection with a high, mythological past? I think those elements are all visible in JRRT. What others do you notice?
I think Farmir certainly seems to have adopted an 'Elvish' approach to the past. He seems to desire Gondor to become not what Numenor actually [I]was[/I, but rather what Numenor should have been. He holds up the ideal of Numenor, & wishes to make it real - almost as the Elves hold up their ideal past & seek to manifest it in the world in places like Lorien & Rivendell. In other words they are seeking to make the world what they feel it ought to be.

Yet, like Tolkien himself, they believe that there is an ideal which should be striven for: 'A man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for?' The strange thing is that while Tolkien himself seemed to hold this belief he also seemed to believe that it was an impossible ideal - all his characters & races fail to live up to the standards they set themselves, perhaps because they are fallen beings. Yet they never forsake the ideal. They never reach a point where they decide, 'Right, we've tried & failed, so we may as well give up now.' They 'fight the Long Defeat', but its as if they are not fighting an external enemy, but rather their own fallen natures. I wonder if this is the cause of their pessimism & lack of hope - they will not shrug their shoulders & walk away from the ideal, but keep on striving to live up to it.

If we take Sam for instance - Sam rises in the 'hierarchy' of society, not just the hierarchy of the Shire, but also within the hierarchy of the greater society of Middle-earth under the returned King. There is no 'revolution' within Middle-earth, no casting away of the old ideals, merely a continued striving to live up to them. The social structures remain but it becomes possible to rise above what one had been. Middle-earth becomes a meritocracy.

This makes me wonder about Tolkien's own life experiences & how they shaped his thinking. The old ways will not just magically re-establish themselves, they will have to be built up by struggle & sacrifice. But the old ideals will not themselves be sacrificed, they will remain like a light on the mountaintop, something to guide the struggling traveller. Novelty for its own sake, new ideaologies, will not be considered, because they are (in Middle-earth at least) not 'right'.

As I've said before, the Gondorians, & Gondorians like Faramir in particular, are not simply fighting against evil in the person of 'He whom we do not name', they are fighting for their ideals. So we seem to have a 'tension' - the ideals of the past provide them with a reason to fight (even if they are fighting a 'long defeat'), but they must face reality - the reality that the past was not itself ideal. Life is an eternal struggle for an ideal which will never be attained (not in this world) but that does not justify ceasing to struggle, still less changing the goal.

So, the more I consider it, the more Tolkien does seem like Faramir. So, my answer to Mithalwen's question:

Quote:
The second point may belong elsewhere, but I have just reread the biography,I came across the extract from Tolkien's diary on Faramir's arrival, ‘I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking through the woods of Ithilien’. So who did?
would be, Tolkien didn't 'invent' Faramir - anymore than he 'invented' himself. He had something to say, experiences & realisations to communicate, & in Faramir he discovered a 'spokesman', wandering in the woods of Ithilien...
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Old 04-05-2005, 05:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Davem
they are fighting for their ideals
This is a major theme of the book. They fight against evil not only because it will destroy everything they hold dear. But also because what evil stands for goes against what they believe in. The people of west believe in freedom,are against slavery,treachery etc.
If evil won it would destroy all their ideals.
This is why every character is willing to endanger themselves. They want their believes to live on and don't want them to be destroyed by Sauron. Of course Faramir is a good example of this. He stays in Ithillien, even though it is almost certain that he will be defeated,because he doesn't want evil to come any closer to the city of Gondor. The city of Gondor is very dear to him because it represents the greatness of the older days which he admires so much. Why is he so fascinated with events that happened so long ago? I think its because he admired his ancestors for what they did and accomplished. Plus, getting back to the idea of guarding you believes,his ancestors certainly did just that and were able to keep their believes safe and alive for many years.He respects them because he knows that if they hadn't fought as fiercely and unrelentlessley for their believes he would not have the freedom he has now.

Anyway I'm beginning to ramble. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by davem
Tolkien didn't 'invent' Faramir - anymore than he 'invented' himself. He had something to say, experiences & realisations to communicate, & in Faramir he discovered a 'spokesman', wandering in the woods of Ithilien...
It is entirely possible that Faramir represents something of Tolkien's own personality, and maybe he was aware of the similarities. By saying that he did not know who Faramir was or where he had come from, Tolkien may have been attempting to add an air of mystery about the origins of the character. Yet there is also much of Tolkien in other characters such as Bilbo, so it would be a mistake to think Faramir is the only one. Maybe he represents Tolkien's 'depths' while a character such as Bilbo simply shows similar behaviour - if that makes sense!

One question has occurred to me, and that is whether Faramir is the only example of a Gondorian who is like this? The other prominent Gondorians, Denethor and Boromir, we know to be different in their outlook, though in his own way, Boromir is also something of a dreamer. We do not really see enough of Imrahil to discern if he is like this, and Aragorn does not seem to pontificate on the nature of war. If Faramir is the only example of such a Gondorian then how far could it be said that his yearnings/thoughts are in any way typical?

Faramir does have an opposite force, and that is Eowyn, who is seemingly different in every way; together they make a 'whole' and complement one another perfectly, and it could be argued that Faramir and Eowyn are anima/animus figures, an argument I shall leave to greater experts on Jung .
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:13 PM   #14
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I would have happily had a lot more Imrahil ... but I have always felt that he and Faramir are cut from similar cloth - and there is evidence to support this (though inconveniently mainly not in this chapter) for a start Faramir and Imrahil both have an "elvish" quality

I still think that it is harsh of davem to paint Faramir as, for want of a better word, a snob for his regret that the men of Gondor have declined. One can seek equality at a high level rather than that everyone be reduced to the lowest common denominator. If you think of the descriptions of the various troops of the lords of Gondor, those of Gondor are portrayed as the "noblest" - but this includes the men at arms rather than just the knights and the prince. Yet I do not assume that necessarily that a plain soldier of Belfalas would rank higher than a lord of Lamedon say.

Belfalas seems to be a microcosm of greater Gondor as it might have been. It maybe wrong to include reference to HoME, but one of the problems of Gondor was the failure of the kings to ensure the succession. At the time prior to the War of the Ring, even the house of the stewards is on shaky ground. Boromir, for all his desire to know how long it would take to turn a Steward in to a king, has shown no inclination to do his duty on the posterity front . Meanwhile from the HoME genealogies, the line of Dol Amroth has passed on in seemingly unbroken succession, and Imrahil has four children and a grandson. Furthermore, the Princes of Dol Amroth have never made a claim on the crown of Gondor, Imrahil has the wisdom to follow the guidance of Gandalf rather than assert his own authority and he recognises Aragorn almost instinctively and without rancour - just as Faramir will do. Belfalas, by the sea, is literally and metaphorically closest to lost Numenore and the west. And this noble gondorian line resulting from the union of a numenorean and an elf is an encouraging precedent for the union of a dunedain and a much nobler elf woman at the end of the book.

Imrahil fills the void left by Denethor in his nephew's life. It is he who rescues Faramir and bears him back to Denethor with the reproach "Your son, has returned after great deeds". He is proactive while Denethor is passive/negative. It is fitting that Faramir will become prince of Ithilien ( which is in different ways a mini Numenore) to paralel Imrahil's own principality and marriages between him and Eowyn and Eomer and Lothiriel further reinforces the ties - it is virtually siblings marrying siblings.

Oh dear I fear this should be elsewhere ... but Imrahil is second only to Faramir in my book and so I risk turning in to the bunny boiler of Middle Earth (but that was Sam, last chapter wasn't it) :P
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:57 PM   #15
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Some random thoughts....

Quote:
Sam crept out from the fern, but no one paid any attention to him, and he placed himself at the end of the rows of men, where he could see and hear all that was going on. He watched and listened intently, ready to dash to his master's aid if needed. ..

Frodo's tone was proud, whatever he felt, and Sam approved of it; but it did not appease Faramir. Sam had been getting more and more impatient and angry at this conversation. These last words were more than he could bear, and bursting into the middle of the ring, he strode up to his master's side....

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.
In fact the ‘tone’ of both Sam & Frodo is somewhat ‘proud’, but for different reasons. One can perhaps see the power of the Ring growing on Frodo. His tone is is proud in spite of his position. He (& the fate of Middle-earth itself let’s not forget) are in great danger here, but Frodo is no longer the humble hobbit we first met. He has already dominated Gollum, using the threat of the Ring to cow him. Now he stands before the Captain of armed warriors, defiantly attempting to put him in his place.

Quote:
‘’Yet those who claim to oppose the Enemy would do well not to hinder it."
Frodo is speaking to a man who has repeatedly laid his life on the line, & Frodo has just witnessed an example of this, yet still he can tell Faramir that he ‘would do well’ not to hinder him. This is a threat, & it is made by Frodo Baggins! Faramir’s response is entirely understandable, if a bit callous to our ears, after having followed Frodo’s long struggles:

Quote:
"So!" he said. 'You bid me mind my own affairs, and get me back home, and let you be”.
We shouldn’t forget that Frodo is a trespasser in Ithilien, during wartime.

But Frodo’s display of ‘pride’ is not the same as Sam’s. Sam stands up in defence of Frodo, willing to risk his safety in defence of his master, & one feels he is motivated more by frustration & desperation than by hubris.

Yet Frodo’s manifestation of pride is in the end replaced by something else - hopelessness & despair:

Quote:
"Will you not put aside your doubt of me and let me go? I am weary, and full of grief, and afraid. But I have a deed to do, or attempt, before I too am slain. And the more need of haste, if we two halflings are all that remain of our fellowship.
'Go back, Faramir, valiant Captain of Gondor, and defend your city while you may, and let me go where my doom takes me."
This volte face is almost as extreme as the one we have witnessed in Smeagol/Gollum, & it clearly shows that Frodo’s personality is being slowly broken down by the Ring itself - he is falling apart, wavering between extremes, highs & lows...

Quote:
Frodo had felt himself trembling as the first shock of fear passed. Now a great weariness came down on him like a cloud. He could dissemble and resist no longer.
"I was going to find a way into Mordor," he said faintly. "I was going to Gorgoroth. I must find the Mountain of Fire and cast the thing into the gulf of Doom. Gandalf said so. I do not think I shall ever get there."
Thus Frodo, who we see in this chapter running the gamut of emotions from pride, through humility:

Quote:
They were led then to seats beside Faramir: barrels covered with pelts and high enough above the benches of the Men for their convenience. Before they ate, Faramir and all his men turned and faced west in a moment of silence. Faramir signed to Frodo and Sam that they should do likewise.
"So we always do," he said, as they sat down: 'we look towards Numenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be. Have you no such custom at meat?"
'No," said Frodo, feeling strangely rustic and untutored. "But if we are guests, we bow to our host, and after we have eaten we rise and thank him."
"That we do also," said Faramir.
to hopelessness. He is humbled by greatness - by being exposed to a higher culture - as Merry will say to Pippin later, at least he now knows & can worship greater things than the Shire.

But what of Sam? In what is almost an ‘echo’ of Gimli’s confrontation with Eomer over Galadriel, Sam also comes to the Lady’s defence - but here the characters & situation are different, & Sam’s ‘teaching’ is more polite..

Quote:
"The Lady of Lorien! Galadriel!" cried Sam. 'You should see her, indeed you should, sir. I am only a hobbit, and gardening's my job at home, sir, if you understand me, and I'm not much good at poetry--not at making it: a bit of a comic rhyme, perhaps, now and again, you know, but not real poetry--so I can't tell you what I mean. It ought to be sung. You'd have to get Strider, Aragorn that is, or old Mr. Bilbo, for that. But I wish I could make a song about her. Beautiful she is, sir! Lovely! Sometimes like a great tree in flower, sometimes like a white daffadowndilly, small and slender like. Hard as di'monds, soft as moonlight. Warm as sunlight, cold as frost in the stars. Proud and far-off as a snow-mountain, and as merry as any lass I ever saw with daisies in her hair in springtime. But that's a lot o' nonsense, and all wide of my mark."

"Then she must be lovely indeed," said Faramir. 'Perilously fair."
"I don't know about perilous," said Sam. "It strikes me that folk takes their peril with them into Lorien, and finds it there because they've brought it. But perhaps you could call her perilous, because she's so strong in herself. You, you could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship on a rock; or drownd yourself, like a hobbit in a river. But neither rock nor river would be to blame.
Sam has learned a lesson, & sets about teaching it to Faramir! Sam has experienced the perilous ‘reality’ of the OtherWorld, & realised that that peril is within the traveller, not within the Other World. Which makes me wonder about his later resistance to the Ring ....
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Old 04-06-2005, 02:06 PM   #16
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These are nice reminders of some wonderful exchanges - I think that Sam and Faramir are two of Tolkien's most rounded, complex and developed characters (even though Faramir's development was at one remove ) And Sam lecturing Faramir is such a vivid image - you can just see it happening as you read. Despite the disparity in rank, their's are perhaps the most free and frank exchange of opinions in the whole shebang.
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Old 04-06-2005, 02:14 PM   #17
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Sam is one character who I cannot imagine being too afraid to challenge anyone. He questions Aragorn in the Prancing Pony, listens in to both the Council of Elrond and to Gandalf at Bag End, and remains suspicious of Gollum despite what Frodo tells him. He is a good example of the robust kind of character who is never afraid to speak his or her mind no matter what the situation may be, and pays no heed to rank or social status. I have to like Sam for this characteristic, though it has to be said that he is a benevolent example; in real life many such plain speaking characters can be, shall we say, 'difficult'?
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Old 04-06-2005, 02:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I have to like Sam for this characteristic, though it has to be said that he is a benevolent example; in real life many such plain speaking characters can be, shall we say, 'difficult'?

He is saved by his self deprecation and his good nature and humour - otherwise he might seem a tad negative. He know the situation but he gets on with it rather than whines.
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Old 04-06-2005, 02:23 PM   #19
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I would associate the kind of cheeky confidence Sam shows with youthfulness. Granted, he wasn't that much younger than Frodo, only 12 years, but certainly by no means old by hobbit standards. He is admonished by Faramir, who tells him that he (yet) lacks the wisdom his master has.
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Old 04-07-2005, 08:42 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by davem
But there is also something else going on in this classification of Men into three kinds - it is the same classification that we find in the Elves of the First Age - the ‘High’ Elves who went to Valinor, the ‘Middle’ Elves, the Elves of the Twighlight, the Sindar, who began the journey but left off part way, & the Avari, the Unwilling, Elves of the Darkness, who refused the Light. Faramir is projecting the history (& the choices) of the Elder Children upon the Younger. Again an idealisation of the past to the detriment of the present. Even the ‘Blessing’ he proclaims before meat looks backwards
I thought I’d go back to what davem posted at the beginning of the thread as it has started me thinking about the nature of Gondor as a state. The way Faramir categorises Men is indeed reminiscent of how the Elves are categorised. The Numenoreans are ‘high’ just as the Eldar are high, and the symbol of Numenor is used by Men instead of the symbol of Valinor.

Just as the different groups of Elves count themselves as ‘kin’ or not, so do Men, or at least, the Men of Gondor do this. The Rohirrim seem more concerned with their everyday existence, and though they revere and respect their ancestors, they see the past as very much behind them, as seen in Eomer’s wonder at meeting Aragorn. In Rohan the old stories are still simple tales, whereas in Gondor they seem to have taken on a scripture-like quality.

I definitely get the sense that Gondor at some point in history had been trying to follow the Elven ideal; Men seem to have been sub-divided in the eyes of Gondorians into various cultural categories, those who did not leave for Numenor are referred to as ‘refusing the call’, and then become ‘of the Twilight’. Most importantly for the eventual decline of Gondor, Men spend far too long devoted to preserving the past and not nurturing the future.

Quote:
'Yet now, if the Rohirrim are grown in some ways more like to us, enhanced in arts and gentleness, we too have become more like to them, and can scarce claim any longer the title High. We are become Middle Men, of the Twilight, but with memory of other things.
What has happened in Gondor is that the people have mingled with the ‘middle’ Men, and this seems to have been necessary, as their own peoples were diminishing, not raising families but spending their years contemplating the nature of life and death, the very notions which eventually destroyed the fabric of Numenor in the first place. It seems that even the spirit of Numenor would have been destroyed had the exiles not mingled with other Men.

In essence, it is a good thing that the former Numenoreans are now long fallen from their high positions, as their culture would have died out long ago. This would eventually mean that Aragorn would have had no Gondor to return to, no people to lead. These people had to accept that fighting was necessary to their survival, that it was more important than learning, and perhaps they do indeed accept this; we have to remember we are hearing these words through Faramir, a man who would much rather be learning than fighting, who seems to yearn for the past, and who clearly has read more than most on the history of his country.

Quote:
It is not said that evil arts were ever practised in Gondor, or that the Nameless One was ever named in honour there; and the old wisdom and beauty brought out of the West remained long in the realm of the sons of Elendil the Fair, and they linger there still. Yet even so it was Gondor that brought about its own decay, falling by degrees into dotage, and thinking that the Enemy was asleep, who was only banished not destroyed.

'Death was ever present, because the Numenoreans still, as they had in their old kingdom, and so lost it, hungered after endless life unchanging. Kings made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descent dearer than the names of sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars. And the last king of the line of Anarion had no heir.
So Faramir acknowledges that the Numenoreans in exile declined and did not progress and so their culture eventually withered. Like the Elves, they sought to preserve, and like them too, they dreamed, but a little too much. Men are mortal and do not have the endless time that the Elves possess. By seeking to preserve the past, and indeed to live in the past, just as the Elves do, they brought about the decline of their own culture. And these scenes are played out in the damaged and derelict beauty of Ithilien with its forgotten water gardens, so even the surroundings talk of what once was. But these things, though works of art and beauty, are symbols of a culture which had turned its back on the ever present danger it faced.

I thought I’d pick up on this point as it brings up some interesting ideas about the state of Gondor, not just on the character of Faramir. This chapter reveals a lot about what kind of place Gondor is, and at this point in the narrative it is important to know exactly who and what we are rooting for; soon we will be plunged into the terror of the wilds once more, and before long we will be at Minas Tirith itself.

Quote:
Men now fear and misdoubt the Elves, and yet know little of them. And we of Gondor grow like other Men, like the men of Rohan; for even they, who are foes of the Dark Lord, shun the Elves and speak of the Golden Wood with dread.

'Yet there are among us still some who have dealings with the Elves when they may, and ever and anon one will go in secret to Lorien, seldom to return. Not I. For I deem it perilous now for mortal man wilfully to seek out the Elder People. Yet I envy you that have spoken with the White Lady."
I think that Faramir fully recognises exactly why Gondor declined, not all his words betray idealism, some betray hard facts about the history of his home, and he is also justified in thinking the Elves to be perilous if some who leave Gondor to seek them never return. Yet he sees that friendship with the Elves is something high and noble, and he can see that there is something essentially good in being more like the Rohirrim; at least his people still have the memory of older glories, and can move forward as Gondorians, not Numenoreans in exile.
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:22 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
I would associate the kind of cheeky confidence Sam shows with youthfulness. Granted, he wasn't that much younger than Frodo, only 12 years, but certainly by no means old by hobbit standards. He is admonished by Faramir, who tells him that he (yet) lacks the wisdom his master has.

I suppose this is true, but nevertheless, Sam always seems the most "grown up" of the hobbits to me becasue he has worked for his living and is far more in touch with the realities of life as experienced by most people, than any of the other hobbits - or perhaps indeed any other character. May be this is what gives him confidence - for in a sense, someone who works an honest trade is noone's inferior.

He has an inherent sense of what he feels is right and he does not let any rank or system of behviour to get in the way - although I can think of few people less anarchic. For all his "mister Frodos", he has no fear to speak out to Aragorn, Elrond, Faramir... (the young hobbit who was giving him "sauce"!).
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen
Faramir... (the young hobbit who was giving him "sauce"!).
Actually, I just remembered something: Sam and Faramir were born in the same year. I realise that that has pretty much nothing to do with anything, but it is interesting, is it not, that Tolkien's two most "flesh-outed" characters (to use other people's terms, not mine) were born in the same year?
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Old 04-07-2005, 01:59 PM   #23
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Two quotes strike me as significant in the light of what we've been discussing re: Faramir & his attitude to the past. First is his words to Frodo about his desire to see a reestablshment of the Gondor of the past:

Quote:
"For myself," said Faramir, "I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens
Second is Denethor's speech to Gandalf:

Quote:
'What then would you have,' said Gandalf, 'if your will could have its way?'
'I would have things as they were in all the days of my life,' answered Denethor, 'and in the days of my longfathers before me: to be the Lord of this City in peace, and leave my chair to a son after me, who would be his own master and no wizard's pupil. But if doom denies this to me, then I will have naught: neither life diminished, nor love halved, nor honour abated.'
Both father & son have a desire to see things revert to the way they were in the past once the war is over. Both are conservative (note small 'c') & neither of them desires novelty. Of course, while Denethor wishes the status quo he (& his Longfathers) had known - ie the Rule of the Stewards - to continue, his son wishes to return to an earlier time, when there was a High King of Numenorean descent on the throne. But both share the Numenorean trait of valuing the past above the present, & certainly above the future - which only offers any possibility of hope to the degree that it can be made as much like the past as possible.

It makes me wonder how alike Denethor & Faramir really were - though I seem to remember Gandalf remarking that both men had inherited more of the blood of Numenor than Boromir had. In fact, as an aside, it does seem that Boromir was more 'forward looking than his father or his brother - didn't Boromir ask Denethor why the family remained 'merely' Stewards, & had not claimed the Kingship?
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Old 04-07-2005, 05:20 PM   #24
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Maybe because Faramir and Denethor are so alike it is a reason why Denethor doesn't like his younger son. He might have seen too much of himself in Faramir.

A favourite part of this chapter is the description of the rangers hideout. It is the perfect place to stay when you don't want to be seen.

I would also like to add that I wouldn't mind living in Ithilien.(I peaceful times) It seems like such a wonderful place.
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Old 04-08-2005, 12:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Formendacil
Actually, I just remembered something: Sam and Faramir were born in the same year. I realise that that has pretty much nothing to do with anything,
Except that it was a good vintage... and maybe it was deliberate (not from the outset but when Tolkien drew up the tale of years) to draw paralels between them.
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Old 05-18-2005, 02:39 PM   #26
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Random thoughts of someone missing the chance of jumping the bandwagon...

... and running hard to catch up

Disclaimer first: I love Faramir. What to follow is not an essay in castin slurs upon him.

Now to one thing which struck me: Faramir is a bit of a play-actor and 'self-made man' (in a mental sense). He trains his mind as much as he supposedly trains his body, pursuing perfection. He tries on the mask of a better person, and lives up to the standard.

I refer to the following lines:

Quote:
'But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway
The general impression: Faramir is, of course, boasting and showing off, but, also, setting himself another standard, another height to conquer. (Just as good he manages to conquer it when the Ring presents itself)

Denethor is not blind. What I rather would praise in Faramir, Denethor states as case for indictment:

Quote:
I know you well. Ever your desire is to appear lordly and generous as a king of old, gracious, gentle. That may well befit one of high race, if he sits in power and peace. But in desperate hours gentleness may be repaid with death
Emphasis mine

Now I run ahead of things a bit (or even a lot, since it is the next book where the quote is taken from), but that is an accussation to strike where it will hurt, it seems, a blame of 'appearing', but not, in fact 'being' is what Faramir would fear most.

We are alike with him in this respect, only I fail to live up to the standard more often than not (I refer to 'Masks' thread as well here)

Denethor loves his both sons. He's desparate to find someone else besides himself to blame for Boromir's death. I suppose it is fairly unconsious too. But this also for later discussion

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Old 06-03-2005, 06:27 AM   #27
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Silmaril

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'But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway
Not to downsize Faramir's integrity or anything, but I have a feeling Faramir said this to strengthen himself against temptation at that moment and have something to hold him back from being tempted once he knows what that Thing really is. In this sentence alone we see the power of words...and that Faramir is an inspiration in fighting temptation.
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:38 PM   #28
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(whether its a coincidence that Tolkien came up with the story of Numenor at the time of the rise of Fascism is another question)
An old, old thread, I know: but I just recently reread The Lost Road; and the creepy situation in Numenor described there (in 1936) is chillingly like Germany or the Soviet Union at the time- full of fear and forbidden opinions, of secret police and informers and knocks in the middle of the night.
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:49 AM   #29
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One of the best passages in The Lord of the Rings is Sam's unwitting revelation of the Ring to Faramir. This chapter is all about Fararmir (and, by extension, about Gondor), and as Sam rightly notes, once Faramir knows the truth of the Ring, it is a chance for him to show his true colours, a test he passes just as Gandalf or Aragorn.

I read through this chapter a bit disjointedly, so I don't have a lot to say--though Faramir is the sort of character who provokes a lot of discussion and passion. I will say, though, that Henneth Annűn is probably the single most beautiful place in Book IV, one of the best in the whole trilogy--and perhaps just a bit dearer for having been left out of the movies.
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Old 10-14-2018, 02:34 PM   #30
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In this chapter, the reader finds Faramir so different from his late brother, it might be hard to reconcile the kinship. Faramir exhibits the best of Númenor, while seeming to avoid its vice of pride.

One thing I find moving is the "standing silence" facing the West.
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Old 10-21-2018, 05:31 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
One thing I find moving is the "standing silence" facing the West.
That is certainly a lovely detail. But I find it odd that Faramir asks the hobbits if they have a similar custom, and Frodo should feel ashamed not to. It's like asking someone from a different country if they celebrate your national holidays. Why would hobbits look to Numenor? Is this a bit of Numenorian cultural egocentrism seeping through even in a humble and open man like Faramir? Or was he asking in more general terms - is there a daily custom to connect people to their roots and their past.

Hobbits treat their past differently from Numenorians. It is there to be used, not silently commemorated. Their heroes and celebrities are selected by different criteria. Hobbit fame comes from being useful. Everyone honours Old Toby every time they smoke a pipe, yet harvesting pipeweed can hardly be called a great deed by Numenorian standards, nor smoking a way to honour an achievement. Frodo is a weirdo while Merry and Pippin are heroes of great renown, because Merry and Pippin look flashy and throw good parties and that's what people will tell stories about and imitate. Frodo's example just wasn't really applicable to the hobbits of the near future, and hobbits honour by applying. That is in contrast to Numenorians and their like, who would doubtless remember Merry and Pippin as catalysts in the War and probably would have some personal stories to tell about them, but will always give the greater honours to Frodo and Sam.

So I don't think it's uncouth of hobbits to lack a custom like this. Hobbits don't silently reflect on the distant past, just like Numenorians don't honour their gardeners while eating their fruit. Though I suppose an ideally balanced culture would have an element of both.
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