So I watched this tonight. Helluva lotta movie, but I watched it. Glorious battle scenes, deeds of daring, some humor, hot chick with pointy ears. Gandalf finally figures out how to dps. The Ents kick orc ass. I dig it.
But why is Captain Whatshisface’s life forfeit for releasing Frodo & Sam?
Faramir’s life is forfeit because he’d be disobeying his father, the Steward of Gondor. Apparently the punishment for disobeying the orders (in this case, to bring the Steward anything that would help defend Gondor) is death.
Also, in the movie, Denethor is a total asshat who pretty much despises poor adorable Faramir anyway, so even if the law weren’t that strict, it would still be a pretty bad thing in Denethor’s eyes if Faramir disappointed him yet again by letting Frodo/Sam go and thereby proving that he’s just as big of a wuss / Gandalf’s Pet as Denethor always thought.
(Glances hopefully at Qadgop, Elendil’s Heir, TWDuke and everyone else who led me by the hand through the trilogy last summer) Did I get it right, guys? Did I?
I have no idea about Gondor Law, but that sounds completely reasonable, asshat or not. The ring is (correctly afaik) understood to be a weapon of great power that will turn the war around to whichever side possesses it, and Faramir effectively turns it over to the enemy. Two crazy hobbits intend to walk into Mordor on foot, carrying the ring. I think that would warrant a firing squad even in most civilized countries.
I was under the impression that the ring would allow them to win the war, but only in the sense that the new wielder would then supplant Sauron as the dark lord, so probably not in their best interest all things considered.
In the book (ahem) there’s no law that has anything to do with the Ring, but it’s wartime, and strangers can’t go wandering about Gondor without permission, and if Faramir takes it on himself to make that decision and things go badly as a result, his ass gets nailed. “Things going badly” would normally mean enemy armed forces or spies, but he has to think seriously even about two harmless-looking hobbits, and that’s before he knows about the Ring.
Not Gondor as a whole; Ithilien. Historic pre-Mordor Gondor was a nation seated athwart the Lower Anduin, plus outlying land suitable for agricultural development (Lebennin, Calenardhon, etc.). The capital, Osgiliath, sat directly on the river. Anorien was “Gondor heartland” west of the river, Ithilien east. After the fall of Earnur the last King of Gondor before Aragorn, Minas Tirith’s opposite number Minas Ithil was taken over by Sauron’s forces (and renamed Minas Morgul), and Ithilien as a whole became unsafe to live in. Faramir, the King’s second son, was named the Captain of the forces defending what was left of Ithilien from attack from Mordor and Minas Morgul. That’s why Faramir was seen as having screwed up badly in letting Frodo and Sam go.
And I completely agree that Denethor’s characterization in the movie was written by a 13-year-old D&D player who never had a serious conversation with an dult about anything to do with the world of human affairs. Denethor in the book was much better written – the man who’s devoted his life, as had his ancestors before him, to standing firm against stronger and subtly evil forces, finally despairing, and with a desire to preserve his family heritage as hereditary Stewards. The movie turns him into Generic Insane Despot, Type IIB (saving throw 20).
Is it supposed to seem like the remaining Companions just missed getting reunited in Gondor? The riders inadvertently freed Merry & Pippen from the orcs, then just happen to bump in to Legolas, Strider, and Gimli, and then managed to snag Frodo & Sam.
Kinda wondering why Gandalf apparently didn’t reveal himself to Merry & Pippin in the woods, but immediately did so to Strider et al…
Nope; those were two different groups. Eomer’s group of riders were the ones who inadvertently freed Merry and Pippen, then ran into Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli, in Rohan (on the edge of Fangorn Forest). Faramir’s rangers were the ones who found Frodo and Sam, in Ithilien, many hundreds of miles away, and some weeks later, IIRC.
Denethor had already become partially unhinged, through unwise use of the Palantir, which allowed Sauron to poison his mind. So I think it’s safe to say that the Ring itself would have destroyed him. Of course, he himself didn’t believe that.
Also, this partly explains his descent from Wise Steward to USDA Douchebag in such a hurry…TRM
My impression from the movie (no, I didn’t read the book) was that Gandalf DID reveal himself to Merry and Pippin. It just wasn’t revealed onscreen yet that the White Wizard was Gandalf in an attempt to keep some tension for the scene where Aragon and company meet up with him.
In the book Gandalf never says why he didn’t reveal himself to the hobbits, but he does say that he knows that they are with the Ents, and getting things stirred up with them. He leaves the impression that there wasn’t any need to get himself involved with that, since the hobbits were doing what they were supposed to. He told Aragorn and the others to forget about the hobbits, and get to Rohan, since that was the road they were supposed to follow. I guess he was just directing traffic where he felt it was necessary.
Well, by the time that Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas meet up with Merry and Pippin at Orthanc, the hobbits have seen Gandalf - but they didn’t see him before Aragorn and Co. They do get a glimpse, IIRC, of him in Fangorn Forest, but they don’t recognize him and mistake him for Saruman; in fact they may actually have seen Saruman. I think Merry and Pippin’s meeting up with Gandalf again is handled off camera, so to speak.
The Dwarves of the Iron Hills were apparently too few, and the Dwarves of Erebor had their hands full (alongside the Men of Dale) fighting off Sauron’s attack. King Dain II Ironfoot was killed in combat there, as was King Brand of Dale.