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Timeline Event

Faramir rejects temptation by the One Ring

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 7, 3019

Description:

An event in the prelude to the Siege of Minas Tirith; see that entry for an overview:
'[Mithrandir] got leave of Denethor... to look at the secrets of our treasury, and I learned a little of him, when he would teach.... Ever he would search and would question us above all else concerning the Great Battle that was fought upon Dagorlad..., when He whom we do not name was overthrown. And he was eager for stories of Isildur....'

Now Faramir's voice sank to a whisper. 'But this much I learned or guessed, and I have kept it ever secret in my heart since: that Isildur took somewhat from the hand of the Unnamed, ere he went away from Gondor.... Here I thought was the answer to Mithrandir's questioning. But it seemed then a matter that concerned only the seekers after ancient learning. Nor when the riddling words of our dream were debated among us, did I think of Isildur's Bane as being this same thing. For Isildur was ambushed and slain by orc-arrows, according to the only legend that we knew....

'What in truth this Thing is I cannot yet guess; but some heirloom of power and peril it must be. A fell weapon, perchance, devised by the Dark Lord. If it were a thing that gave advantage in battle, I can well believe that Boromir, the proud and fearless, often rash, ever anxious for the victory of Minas Tirith..., might desire such a thing and be allured by it. Alas that ever he went on that errand! I should have been chosen by my father and the elders but he put himself forward..., and he would not be stayed.

'But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.'

'Neither did the Council,' said Frodo. 'Nor do I. I would have nothing to do with such matters.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

'Now I watched Boromir and listened to him, from Rivendell all down the road... and it's my opinion that in Lórien he first saw clearly... what he wanted. From the moment he first saw it he wanted the Enemy's Ring!'

'Sam!' cried Frodo aghast....

'Save me!' said Sam turning white...

'Now look here, sir!' He turned, facing up to Faramir with all the courage that he could muster. 'Don't you go taking advantage of my master.... You've spoken very handsome all along, put me off my guard, talking of Elves and all. But handsome is as handsome does we say. Now's a chance to show your quality.'

'So it seems,' said Faramir, slowly and very softly, with a strange smile. 'So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring that was thought to have perished from the world. And Boromir tried to take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way — to me! And here in the wild I have you: two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A pretty stroke of fortune! A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality!'.... He stood up, very tall and stern, his grey eyes glinting.

Frodo and Sam sprang from their stools and set themselves side by side with their backs to the wall, fumbling for their sword-hilts.... But Faramir sat down again in his chair and began to laugh quietly, and then suddenly became grave again.

'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 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.... Your heart is shrewd as well as faithful.... 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.'

The hobbits came back to their seats and sat very quiet....

'Well, Frodo, now at last we understand one another,' said Faramir. 'If you took this thing on yourself, unwilling, at others' asking, then you have pity and honour from me. And I marvel at you: to keep it hid and not to use it.'....

'Fear not! I do not wish to see it, or touch it, or know more of it than I know (which is enough), lest peril perchance waylay me and I fall lower in the test than Frodo son of Drogo.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 18Oct05

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