Playing the dvds that come with the Extended Edition I have reached the
scriptwriters' discussion of Faramir, and the film-makers' reasons for
what someone here called the 'trashing' of Faramir.
Now PJ gave a couple of replies to questions on this subject in the
fanclub magazine; the first was defensive of the TTT version of
Faramir, saying that Faramir has no 'conflict' etc, so he was not
interesting enough to portray properly. The second was quite different;
PJ admitted that changing the character of Faramir caused problems
later on in the filming, and he admitted there was a lot of resistance
to the film by fans of the books simply on the basis of the damage the
film had done to the character of Faramir.
The interviews on the EEDVD hark back to the earlier replies, defending
the film's treatment of Faramir. They say that Faramir as a character
has 'no journey', that is he is the same at the end as at the start.
I love your films guys but this I am not buying, no way!
Tolkien himself went a journey when he wrote LOTR. He develops too, and
one thing he hones is his portrayal of character. Aragorn when the
hobbits meet him is pretty stiff and stern. By the time Tolkien comes
to portray Faramir he has had a truckload of experience showing
character; Saruman, Theoden, Wormtongue, Eowyn, Eomer. As a result
Faramir, as he admitted, was easy to portray; he just came walking into
the scene in Ithilien. But ironically this ease with which Tolkien
portrayed Faramir worked against the character when the filmakers came
to look at him, for he is so natural and restrained they missed his
progression throughout the story.
For Faramir definitely does develop. He is however a reserved,
self-contained character; he has to be, he has enemies all around, and
his father watches him for anything he can criticise. So when Frodo
meets him he is not going to give much away, but under that facade is a
man grieving for his brother, but also wanting to know how and why he
What Frodo tells Faramir increases his grief, for he learns that
Boromir broke his oath, something vital to Faramir and all the house of
Denethor. He also learns that Boromir communicated with Galadriel, and
wishes he could find out what the Lady said to his brother. But above
all Faramir learns to hate and fear the Ring, for he sees what it did
to his brother. This hatred cements Faramir's resolve to not take the
Ring 'even if it lay by the wayside'
The meeting with Frodo also refines certain aspects of Faramir's
character. He forms a bond with Frodo and wants to prevent him throwing
his life away. Faramir's compassion and generosity are brought to the
fore and he is given a chance to be merciful and supportive, instead of
just killing for his father, as he is doing when Frodo meets him.
Frodo's departure to what Faramir believes is certain death makes
Faramir realise how extreme the situation they are all in, and he
begins to think that he cannot survive this war, and that only
sacrifice lies ahead. He settles into an uncharacteristic fatalism...
Faramir's hostile reception by Denethor when he returns to the city
also brings about changes to his character. Now, at what he knows is
the last struggle, surely his father must relent towards him. Faramir's
long buried hope that Denethor will at last accept him comes to the
fore and he literally begs for his father's approval. Faramir is losing
his hope, becoming more desperate, even rash. When his father still
rejects him he marches out hoping to die in battle.
After the battle, recovering in the Houses of Healing, Faramir goes
another journey, reconciling himself to his family's loss of power and
himself to allegiance to Aragorn. And his battered heart learns to love
again, when he sees Eowyn....
Faramir a character with no development? Oh pull the other one!
Just musing, no offence to any fellow Faristas,