Saturday, February 28, 2015

MEMM - Day 14 - Lord of the Rings character you understand the least


Movie Faramir’s actions are so inconsistent and outside how I would behave, that I just spend the movies puzzled and frustrated by him.  I like him, but I do not understand him.  He’s all over the board.  His personality jumps from competent captain (in guerrilla warfare, anyway), to falling prey to that overwhelming need to be praised/loved by his father, to being cruel, to being gentle, to self-destructive sadness -- and all without ever getting angry.  Faramir never once loses his temper or even raises his voice. I think people who have every right to be angry... and who aren't, bewilder me.

One of the most heart-breaking scenes for me in all the movies is when Gollum is at the Forbidden Pool and Frodo is forced to betray Gollum’s trust.  This scene rips me to pieces every time I see the movie, and I have sometimes left the room and returned when it’s over.  I understand why things have to go down this way, but I don’t understand why Faramir seems to treat the whole thing as a bit of game.  He knows full well when he takes Frodo out there that Frodo will tell him who Gollum is and what he wants to know in order to save Gollum’s life, but he plays it up and gets all smirky anyway.  Be serious, at least, man!  There’s a life at stake!  That, and he way he lets his men treat Gollum.  Why?  Just because Gollum has an ill-favored look?  Gollum’s done nothing to them but fish in the pool (yes yes, that bears the penalty of death, but sheesh!  Kill him, then, don't abuse him.).  Then there’s the weird way Faramir says “I think we finally understand one another” at the end of Two Towers, as if everything that happened up to that point was to make Frodo understand Faramir’s side, not like it’s a two-way street.  I KNOW that’s not what he means, but that’s how it comes across in the way he delivers the line.  It’s not the words themselves, it’s his delivery.  I always shake my head there and make a face at him.

And I don’t understand why he stops thinking whenever he’s around his father.  Denethor tells him to reclaim Osgiliath... he does not say “ride out there in broad daylight right this second.”  In fact, Denethor gives no strategy or battle commands whatsoever, so it is Faramir’s choice as captain, therefore, to interpret his father’s orders.  And he chooses to do it that particular way?  Nope, I don’t get Faramir.  He just makes me shake my head.  Now, I’m all for following suicidal orders when your death will gain something.  I’ll be the first to go do something dangerous that might result in my death if it will buy precious time, or result in some tangible benefit.  No problem there.  But I’m not one for following suicidal orders that will gain zero positive results.  And dying only for the sake of following orders?  No... I’m afraid I’m traitor material...  I would not have obeyed my king.  I do respect Faramir for doing so.  It’s his prerogative.  But I respect Gandalf more for knocking Denethor out and taking over the defense of the city.

I also think he frustrates me so much because I want to protect him from his own self-defeatism.  He’s Boromir’s little brother, and I respect and love Boromir a very great deal.  (I also equate Faramir with my own younger sister.  She and I have a bit of Boromir/Faramir going on, and she reminds me of him... And I don’t understand her a lot of the time either.  Maybe it’s a younger sibling thing?  LOL.)  I believe Faramir simply belongs in a peacetime environment. War is not his strong suit.  He does it by necessity, but he lacks the skill and heart for it (he has no shortage of courage, mind you, but that’s different).  I suspect, if I got to see him after Return of the King, in Ithilien with Eowyn, I might understand him a lot better.



    Ahem. Sorry. I'll be rational, I will. But I must be allowed to defend Faramir against the charges laid at his door;)

    (By the way, you should know that Faramir is my favorite LotR character, and happens to be my favorite hero in all of fiction, so that'll mainly be the viewpoint of this comment, hehe.) Okay, first of all, the scene at the Forbidden Pool. I get why that frustrates people. It frustrates me that they twisted that scene in the movies, because there really is no point in warping a perfectly wonderful character from the books into doing some questionable things there in the movies. Urgh. PETER JACKSON!! (No, really, Peter, you did wonderfully. But not there.)

    Secondly, Denethor. Let's put this in perspective, no? Faramir, who has basically been told his entire life by his sick and twisted excuse for a father that he is a failure, has just been told by aforementioned revolting specimen that revolting specimen would rather Faramir have died in place of his brother. TO HIS FACE. And he might not have actually told Faramir to ride out immediately, but for all intents and purposes…yeah. That's basically what he said. He accused Faramir of cowardice for leaving Osgiliath in the first place, and…*sigh*. I'll stop. I really shouldn't start going on Denethor, because he is so much the embodiment of hideousness that I can hardly speak of him in a rational way.

    Whew. But, nonetheless, it was cool to hear someone else's view on Faramir;)

    1. Hee. Yes, I knew you would jump in on this one, and I've been rather dreading posting this! LOL! :-D But as I said, I do like Faramir. A lot actually. It's just his way of thinking and approaching life is just so different from how I would do it, that I simply have a hard time putting myself in his shoes and trying to envision the world from his point of view, that's all. I've even had a fair bit of experience being told I'm a failure most of my life (nothing so extreme as Faramir, of course), but I just react completely differently than Faramir.

      (And yes, I have no issues with book Faramir. He is consistent and understandable. It's just movie Faramir who I don't get.)

    2. *sheepish Bilbo nose-wrinkle* Yeeersss...

      Sorry for such an explosive comment, I really did enjoy reading this! And I admire you for posting it, haha:)

      Ohh, I get it! Haha I'm a bit slow... That makes sense!

      Oh, I'm sorry:( I think we've all let someone tell us we're a failure--whether it be the culture or, more painfully, a loved one. I know I have as well, but YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!

      Yes, you're right, in the movies he is quite a bit different.

    3. Hee! No need to apologize! I LOVE when people are passionate about characters. I am the same way about the ones I love. Really, I grinned when I read your first post and went "awww!" because you love him so much, and I just dig that to pieces.

      And thank you! :-D I'm a very confident person (and happy in my own skin) 95% of the time. Until I'm in PMS, in which case, the world can fall to shreds very easily for a few days. Curse you, hormones!!! ROFL!

    4. Haha, thanks:)

      Good, I'm glad to hear that! Ugh, yes, PMS makes everything dreary and hopeless, doesn't it? You're going along your merry little way, and then PMS happens and suddenly you feel like a failure if you mess up a candy recipe, hehe;)

  2. Because I came to LOTR backwards, first seeing the movies and then reading the books, I have had a really hard time loving Faramir. Not because he doesn't make sense, but because in the movies, he's just sort of... wants-to-be-helpful-but-gets-in-the-way. Like an over-eager golden retriever.

    And it took me until my most recent (sixth!) reading of the books to finally love Book Faramir. Because I had to unzip him from the movie version once and for all, and when I did, I could see how splendid Book Faramir really is.

    1. Yeah, I do have a few issues with a couple characters if LotR, where my issues come specifically from being introduced to book first/movie second. "unzip from the movie version" - love that turn of phrase.

    2. I remember how angry one of my college friends was over how Faramir is handled in TTT whenit first came out. I was really happy not to be attached to the books yet so I didn't have that issue.

      And thanks -- it seemed to describe exactly what I had to do.