Lord of the Rings : The Towering Read - Book 4, Chapter 5

There's a lot that goes on in this chapter, with the interview of Frodo, the accidental test of Faramir's character, the history lesson, and the revelations.

I have to be honest, I'm pretty team Samwise at this point.  To me he's the real hero of the story and the reason the Ring isn't lost a dozen times over.  Frodo has more polish... and that often referred to "light" or "Elvish air," but he's of limited effectiveness.  Frodo changes over the course of the story, is forced to change, but never really grows.  Sam, on the other hand becomes far more than just a gardner.

This chapter really brings to light how things might have gone differently had Faramir gone to Rivendell, not Boromir.  Faramir has far more respect for the history of Middle Earth, the rise and decline of the Numenorans, the lessons to be drawn from it, and even holds the grace of Lothlorien sacred.  He knows of Isildur's Bane and desires it not, both as an abstract and when presented it directly.  It says something to me that when presented with the Ring Faramir laughs.  He also has respect for Mithrandir, deliberately seeking out knowledge he knows Gandalf himself researched.  Boromir on the other hand had pride and a desire for power even as a young boy, expressing frustration that his line were but stewards of Gondor, not kings.  He bears more similarity in personality and temperament to Aragorn than to his brother.

Much of the news Faramir shares comes as a shock to the hobbits, particularly the death of Boromir and what peril that implies for the rest of the Fellowship.  I can't blame Faramir for his suspicions of treachery.  And there was treachery, just not in a way that could be protected against.  Likewise, the hobbits bring Faramir knews to fill in some gaps in his knowledge (even if the loss of Gandalf wasn't quite correct).

I clearly don't know enough about the Rangers, as it stuck me as odd that Faramir refers to "this Aragorn" with doubt.  I had the impression that the Rangers are not large in number, so one such as Aragorn should be at least known of.  I'm also left wondering exactly what sort of squirrels they're used to...

The movie pares this whole chapter down to the essential events without the world building or insight on character history.  Faramir talking strategy with another Ranger.  The hobbits are hooded, but without context beyond their captivity.  The suspicions of the hobbits as orcish spies.  Frodo is a shit liar, and really should have stuck with something closer to the version told in the book.  But going right into the Fellowship membership does cut down on a bit of back and forth.


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