Faramir brings news of Frodo and Sam to Minas Tirith
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 10, 3019
An event in the prelude to the Siege of Minas Tirith; see that entry for an overview:
So at length they came to the private chamber of the Lord of the City.... [At] the beginning Faramir... brought tidings of Ithilien and of movements of the Enemy and his allies; and he told of the fight on the road when the men of Harad and their great beast were overthrown: a captain reporting to his master such matters as had often been heard before....
Then suddenly Faramir looked at Pippin. 'But now we come to strange matters,' he said. 'For this is not the first halfling that I have seen....'
At that Gandalf sat up... but he said nothing, and with a look stopped the exclamation on Pippin's lips. Denethor looked at their faces and nodded his head, as though in sign that he had read much there before it was spoken. Slowly,... Faramir told his tale, with his eyes for the most part on Gandalf....
As his story was unfolded of his meeting with Frodo and his servant and of the events at Henneth Annûn, Pippin became aware that Gandalf's hands were trembling.... [Suddenly] with a thrill of fear Pippin knew that Gandalf... was troubled, even afraid.... At last when Faramir spoke of his parting with the travellers, and of their resolve to go to Cirith Ungol, his voice fell, and he shook his head and sighed. Then Gandalf sprang up.
'Cirith Ungol? Morgul Vale?' he said. 'The time, Faramir, the time? When did you part with them? When would they reach that accursed valley?'
'I parted with them in the morning two days ago,' said Faramir. 'It is fifteen leagues thence to the vale of the Morgulduin, if they went straight south; and then they would be still five leagues westward of the accursed Tower. At swiftest they could not come there before today, and maybe they have not come there yet. Indeed I see what you fear. But the darkness is not due to their venture. It began yestereve, and all Ithilien was under shadow last night. It is clear to me that the Enemy has long planned an assault on us, and its hour had already been determined before ever the travellers left my keeping.'
Gandalf paced the floor. 'The morning of two days ago, nigh on three days of journey! How far is the place where you parted?'
'Some twenty-five leagues as a bird flies,' answered Faramir. 'But I could not come more swiftly. Yestereve I lay at Cair Andros.... As the dark drew on I knew that haste was needed, so I rode thence with three others that could also be horsed. The rest of my company I sent south to strengthen the garrison at the fords of Osgiliath. I hope that I have not done ill?' He looked at his father.
'Ill?' cried Denethor, and his eyes flashed suddenly. 'Why do you ask?... Your bearing is lowly in my presence, yet it is long now since you turned from your own way at my counsel. See, you have spoken skilfully, as ever; but I, have I not seen your eye fixed on Mithrandir, seeking whether you said well or too much?....
'I can see and hear...; and little of what you have half said or left unsaid is now hidden from me.'....
'If what I have done displeases you, my father,' said Faramir quietly, 'I wish I had known your counsel before the burden of so weighty a judgement was thrust on me.'
'Would that have availed to change your judgement?' said Denethor. 'You would still have done just so, I deem. I know you well. Ever your desire is to appear lordly and generous as a king of old.... But in desperate hours gentleness may be repaid with death.'
'So be it,' said Faramir.
'So be it!' cried Denethor. 'But not with your death only, Lord Faramir: with the death also of your father, and of all your people, whom it is your part to protect now that Boromir is gone.'
'Do you wish then,' said Faramir, 'that our places had been exchanged?'
'Yes, I wish that indeed,' said Denethor. 'For Boromir was loyal to me and no wizard's pupil. He would have remembered his father's need, and would not have squandered what fortune gave. He would have brought me a mighty gift.'
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor
Elena Tiriel 21Sep05