OK - Some New LOTR questions

First - Does it make sense that Faramir sends Frodo & Sam off to Mordor with Gollum? He knew about the Fellowship - that folks were sent along with Frodo to help him. Well, I know the story’s better the way it was written, but for the sake of discussion - Why didn’t Faramir take Boromir’s place and go along with Frodo? Too wary of the ring?

Secondly - Fans, should Tolkien have inserted the Aragorn/Arwen story into the main story? Would it have detracted from the quest story to have also included it?

and - I’ve always wondered how the resurrected Gandalf came to be in Fangorn and meet up with the 3 hunters? I know after he threw down the Balrog at the top of the mountain, Galadriel sent an eagle to pick him up. But I’m vague on how he happened on Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas’ location.

If any others have questions or comments, join the fun. I recently re-read the books & am surprised at the power the books still have over me. Ripping good yarn by a master storyteller.

(1) Aside from the idea that Faramir is, in spite of his father’s opinion of him, not an idiot and recognized that something which could destroy Boromir could destroy him as well, no, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is one of the things that I think the way PJ made the movies actually clarified–in the books, he just says “Oh, hey, the Ring. Go figure;” pats them on the head and sends them on their way.

(2) The story of the LOTR was originally submitted to the publisher as one novel and even with that, he pushed a lot of backstory off into the appendices, which is where the bulk of the love story went. I don’t think it would have detracted from the story so much as it would have made an already staggeringly long and slow-moving story even longer and more slow-moving.

(3) Well, it is more relaxing to walk south… it feels like walking downhill.

1: Faramir had his own duty to fulfill. He helped the hobbits as much as he could, but he couldn’t abandon his duty for them.

2: The story we have is basically all from the point of view of the four hobbits. Most of the story of Aragorn and Arwen was in private, or at least outside the view of the hobbits. What was in their view, we saw: Aragorn pining a bit at Rivendell at the beginning of the quest, and the wedding.

3: He got there riding Shadowfax. Unless you’re asking how he was able to find them?

Chronos - of course. the whole story works because of hobbits and their POV. right.

and yes. how did Gandalf know to go Fangorn from Lorien?

Ethelrist - your points 1 & 2 I agree with also.

Southward and onward!

  1. Faramir’s got responsibilities. He commands the advance guard/intelligence service/scout patrol of the entire armed forces of Gondor, frevvens sake. He can’t just go lolloping off into Mordor with a bunch of strange halflings and leave his men to their fate. And that’s not even taking into consideration what his dad would say about it.

  2. No, I think it’s much better that the reader doesn’t really know or find out much more about Aragorn than the hobbits do over the course of the story. I remember when I first read the books as a pre-teen not really picking up on any of the hints about Arwen and Aragorn, and then suddenly getting the whole picture when the wedding happened, and that was great.

  3. Gandalf would have learned from the Eagle that Galadriel sent that the Company had made it to Lorien, so he would have had a fairly good estimate of how far south they had gone. And remember that once he got back to that region he picked up Shadowfax again, so he could have covered a lot of ground pretty quickly. He probably spotted their tracks following the Orc band towards Isengard.

One thing we do know is that Gandalf was at Fangorn *ahead *of Aragorn and co, he didn’t follow them. By the time he met up with those three, he already knew that the hobbits had met up with Treebeard and had been taken away by him.

The book mentions that Legolas had noted an Eagle had been following them for several days, and Gandalf explains that he sent the Eagle ahead of him to keep an eye on things. However that isn’t how he knew where to find Aragorn et al. He sent the eagle *ahead *of him, so he already knew where he would be going.

More tellingly, he brought messages from Galadriel to Aragorn and Legolas that would only be useful if delivered before they reached Minas Tirth. IOW both Gandalf and Galadriel knew that Gandalf would meet up with those three companions, and only them, in the very near future.

How exactly they knew this is left deliberately mysterious. Galadriel’s mirror would be the obvious explanation, but Gandalf noted after his resurrection he could see everything that was happening in the entire world, form the lives of animals to the movement of mountains. He also knew where Frodo was just before he left Fellowship and got into a fight with Sauron to hide him. So Gandlaf at that stage had some pretty gnarly psychic powers himself.

In short, either Gandalf himself or Galadriel spied out where Argaorn and Friends were using magic. They then sent Gwahir ahead to keep an eye on the details, and Gandalf cut them off and arrived at Fangorn ahead of them.

Also, wouldn’t Gandalf want to go back to settle things with Saruman, that is, to take him and his influence out of the picture so that the West could focus its energy on the coming fight with Sauron?

This would lead him to Fangorn, in search of information (although not necessary if he can see everything, I didn’t remember that!) or for allies.

I don’t think Gandalf could see everything because when he met up with Faramir in Minas Tiriith he asked about his meeting with Frodo & Sam.

It goes back further than that. When he first met Aragorn, he told Aragorn that Frodo had decided to go alone to Mordor, but was surprised to be told that that Sam had gone with him, even though Frodo and Sam left together just minutes after Gandalf had magically located and spoken to Frodo. So he wasn’t literally omnicognisant all the time.

I imagine it was more of a case that he knew everything that was happening wherever he concentrated. The strian of the mental battle with Suaron presumably prevented him from following Frodo at that exact time, so he never knew about Sam even though he knew about Frodo’s decision.

How long that power lasted after his resurrection also isn’t clear.

New discussion question - years ago when I first read the books Frodo was indeed seen as the hero. Now most readers who come new to the story seem to see Sam as the biggest hero. Does this reflect a more modern egalitarian view of the characters? Wonder what Tolkien would think.

? Do most new readers really see Sam as the hero? I’m sure Tolkien wouldn’t mind Sam getting some more appreciation, but I don’t think we should lose sight of the fact that Frodo was the one who voluntarily accepted the burden of the Ring and managed to both protect it and resist it up to almost the very end.

Sam may have done more of the butch fighting-and-slogging stuff, at least in the last part, but he probably could not have done what Frodo did.

I don’t know what Tolkien would think, but I suspect everyone has a different character they see as their favorite. Indeed, are you conflating “favorite” with “hero”, and do you mean hero as “protagonist” or “most heroic” It gets a little hard to separate them.

My view – Aragorn was the most heroic character in the eopic sense.
Gandalf the most heroic in the spiritual sense.
Frodo the most heroic in terms of the one who suffers the most and endures against overwhelming odds.

Sam is Frodo’s support, and Frodo couldn’t have made it without him, but I don’t see him as a hero on his own. He wasn’t quite smart enough, and he couldn’t have stood up against the Ring if he had had to carry it for more than a few hour.

However, I think you could make an argument for Frodo and Sam as one hero. They represent different aspects of one heroic character. Frodo has the intellect and the spritual sensibility, and Sam has the humility, and the strength, and they both have a great deal of heart. It is the union of their qualities that make the quest succeed

I disagree.

Faramir is, by Tolkein’s own writing, a man of Numenor. Not just a descendant but one in whom the old blood ran almost true. I believe JRRT makes this point explicitly in the text.

Faramir’s role, storywise, is to prove to the reader that the world of men is worth saving. He has the strength of character and the courage to not be corruptible by the ring in short order and the wisdom to know that it COULD do so. Had he fallen to the ring it would have been a sign that men deserved to lose and that Middle Earth was hopeless. Faramir proved that was not so.

“Not if I saw it by the side of the road.”

That statement shows that he has the strength not to take the ring even if it were freely presented to him by fate. It’s not his responsibilities that prevent him from helping Frodo and Sam but rather his character and wisdom that do so. That’s why I object so much to his taking the hobbits and the ring to Osgiliath in the movies. By doing so he proves himself no better than the rest and that damages the argument that men are worth winning.

Sam was the only character who was able to freely and unrepentantly give away the ring. In that regard he is stronger even than Faramir, who knew it would corrupt him. Sam’s love for Frodo and his sense of what is good and right made him uncorruptable, and more heroic than any other.

Meh, he’d had the Ring for only a few hours at that point. I’m not dissing Sam’s good heart and his good sense, but come on, he was nowhere near as severely tested as Bilbo or Frodo, who had accepted “ownership” of the Ring for decades or years, respectively, when the time came for them to let go of it.

Dearly as I love Sam, I can’t help thinking that the Ring would have taken him over within months if he’d had to hang onto it that long.


Well, Faramir does the right thing in the end, after all. But he was only being prudent in keeping Frodo, Sam and Gollum for a little more intelligence-gathering. We also, this way, have more of a sense of Faramir’s internal conflict over what his father the Steward has ordered, and what he intuitively knows to be right.

Tolkien wrote in a letter to a fan that he considered Faramir to be the character most like himself, although he admitted he lacked Faramir’s courage.

Everyone says this, including Sam himself, but it’s not really supported by the text. When did we ever see a failure of either Sam’s reason or his sense? He does at least as much successful figuring-out as any other mortal in the story.

Sam was smart enough, maybe lacked some book larning and was a hayseed compared to the others but he was not dumb.

well he’s back, you have forgotten the usual questions (or maybe you already have an answer for these):

[ul][li]Why didn’t Elrond send Glorfindel along with the hobbits?[/li][li]Why didn’t the Company just get some eagles to fly them over from Rivendell to Mordor, throw the ring in Orodruin, and get back home in time for second breakfast?[/li][li]Why not just hand the ring over to Tom Bombadil?[/li][li]How could the Witch-king of Angmar be so dumb as to get pwn3d by simple linguistic semantics?[/li][li]Do female dwarves have beards?[/li][/ul]
(evil laughter)