Letters from Faramir
XV: The Beginning of Madness and the Pain of Peregrin Took
My body felt so tired last night and even though my stomach was full,
my mind kept telling me it was hungry. Too long has my poor stomach
been empty or near to empty. My own Mum won’t recognize me if I keep
this up. I wonder how much longer we have to go?
Another river to cross, but this one will be different. The elves have
thrown ropes across it and we must walk them. Such fun. It will be like
the games during the Free Fare on the White Downs. Yes! I am across,
but look at poor Sam, clutching the ropes, his face full of fear.
Hooray! He is across too. Maybe next year I can talk him into joining
me in the games. Next year – that sounds so strange. Where will we be
next year? Well, that’s a thought for another time.
Gimli is extremely upset. The elves want to blindfold him. Why? What
has he done? I turn to Strider to ask him to do something but he seems
to be part of the agreement. Gimli is our friend. Why are they doing
this to him? Who has lit all our fires? Who has been steadfast during
all the bad times? Who gave council and direction and support to
Gandalf while we were in Moria? Who did Gandalf turn to while we were
in that dark place? It was Gimli – our friend.
He has raised his axe and the elves have drawn their bows. I can’t
believe this is happening. Legolas is saying Gimli is stiff necked. How
can he say this? I thought they were starting to be friends. At last,
Strider has spoken. We will all be blindfolded. Poor Legolas, he so
wants to see this place, every moment of it, but now Strider calls him
stiff necked! What a horrible day this is turning into. Boromir was
right. There must be evil in this place if it is turning us against
each other. The elf, I think his name is Haldir, is so sad. He says it
is the evil of Sauron that has turned brother against brother, but he
must obey the law of his land and so Gimli must be blindfolded. So we
all are blindfolded and I’m glad. I’ll do this for Gimli. I hope I
don’t stub my toe.
As we walk, Merry and Haldir are talking about the Shire and the places
beyond and the sea. Haldir’s surprised we haven’t seen the sea. Who
would want to see the sea? If not for my love for Frodo, I wouldn’t
have left the Shire at all. Merry is telling Haldir the same thing and
the elf is shocked, I think. I suppose elves don’t know much about
My feet love walking on this forest floor. It is spongy in places and
soft and cool and somehow, healing. I almost feel as if I'm in the
Shire again. I can hear the birds singing and Boromir is close behind.
There is a safety in that man. I can walk along knowing, even
blindfolded, he is aware of me and ever vigilant. What an odd feeling.
I haven’t needed vigilance in a long time - after all, I’m well past my
tweens, almost full grown. Yet – there is a joy in my heart for his
presence. I must be more tired than I know. I wish I could take his
At last we stop and this time, we will sleep on the ground. My mind
goes back to the song Merry and I made up for our starting from
Crickhollow and I begin to hum. Merry picks it up the tune and starts
‘Farewell we call to heart and hall!
Though wind may blow and rain may fall
We must away ere break of day
Far over wood and mountain tall.’*
We two thought we were only going to Rivendell and look where that road
has taken us. And we thought we would sleep under the stars and instead
we have slept in Elven halls, dark mines, tree flets and finally,
peacefully, thankfully, here on the ground under the stars.
We have walked again all morning. There are other voices around us now;
I can hear them. Elves are on their way somewhere. Haldir says we can
remove our blindfolds. Oh, this feels so good – to see again. Yes,
Merry is here and Sam and Frodo, and Gimli even has his blindfold gone,
and Strider and Legolas and Boromir – the Fellowship is still together.
We’re at the bottom of some hill and have decided to rest here. Frodo
and Sam go off with Haldir. Boromir lies on the grass and Merry and I
join him to look up at the sky. It is so blue. It feels so good to see
again – to be free. I didn’t realize I had felt like I was a prisoner.
Haldir had tried to be so kind, but I did feel like a prisoner. What
must Boromir have felt having that blindfold put on his face? Here he
is – a captain of men, son of the Steward of Gondor and yet – not one
word did he say when they blindfolded him. He is a riddle to me. It
seems he tells his concerns, and when nothing can be done about them,
he puts them aside as if they don’t matter any longer. How does he do
this? When I am upset about something or curious about something, like
that dark well in Moria, I can’t seem to let it go until I do something
about it. I wish I could do as Boromir and just let it go. I think he
must be a great captain. If I were from Gondor, I should surely want to
be a soldier under his command.
I turn towards him and see tears falling and tangling in his hair. My
friend. ‘What is the matter, Boromir?’ I ask as my own throat chokes
with tears. He turns towards me and smiles. ‘I’m sorry, little one. I
have been caught up in the beauty of the day and my mind turns towards
my city and my people. They are dying as we lie here in peace. Perhaps
my own brother is dying as I lie here, bound in a place I do not want
to be. I must be off and soon. My heart grows heavy and a worry is upon
me. I am sorry. I did not mean to burden you with my sorrow.’ How can I
comfort my friend? Merry turns towards us and says that we are getting
close to the Anduin. He remembers it from the maps we were supposed to
study in Rivendell. This makes Boromir smile again. He tells us of the
White City and the White Mountains that ring it and the Great River
that goes by it. His smile is so wide that it breaks my heart. His face
shines and his voice lifts me up and fills me with joy. Never have I
heard anyone with such love in his voice for a place. It puts my love
for the Shire to shame. His city is his life. We must go soon. I can
feel his excitement, his need to go and it fills me too. To see Minas
Tirith. He makes it feel like home. Bless dear Merry for remembering
It is getting dark as we come to a clearing in the trees. Haldir steps
forward and points ahead. It is beautiful, Faramir. ‘Caras Galadhon,’
Haldir says, ‘the home of Lord Celeborn and Galadriel the Lady of
Lorien.’ I can see it in my mind’s eye even now, Faramir. A grassy land
lay before it that still seems touched by the sun, though it has
already set. A great green wall surrounds a great green hill. Never
have I seen such beautiful shades of green. The Mallorn trees are so
beautiful. I can’t even describe them. Legolas says they are more
beautiful in the summer, but they are beautiful now. I hear the same
love in Haldir’s voice as there was in Boromir’s and I am surprised. My
love for the Shire is deep, but men and elves have a different love. I
don’t know how or why. Perhaps it’s because I know the Shire will
always be there – forever. Perhaps these two don’t believe that of
their cities. Gondor is under attack and the elves constantly talk
about leaving Middle Earth. I’m glad I have the Shire.
The trees seem to go up beyond the sky even. Their tops get lost in the
stars. And there are lights – different colored lights – all through
the trees, sparkling, like stars that have lost their way and have
fallen into the trees, there to live forever. It is most beautiful.
We are all so excited that we fairly run to the gate though it’s a long
way from where we first caught sight of it. We enter and start climbing
the hill. The grass under our feet seems to lift me up as I walk. We
finally come to a very great tree in the middle of them all and here
Haldir tells us is the home of his Lord and Lady. There is a long
flight of stairs – I can’t see where it ends. A lovely, clear horn is
sounded near us and it is answered by three calls from above. Haldir,
Frodo, then Legolas and the rest of us start to climb the stairs.
Faramir, how do I tell you that my friend, your brother, was changed?
Something happened in Lothlorien – something dreadful. Boromir was
right in being afraid. I don’t know when he discovered it or when it
started to gnaw on his mind. But he wanted the Ring. Sam saw it before
I did. I couldn’t face the truth though. I saw the change in him, saw
the smile leave his face, saw the look of fear in his eyes, felt him
draw away from me. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep,
Faramir. No matter what I did, he fell further and further away from
me. I had considered him as close as a brother and now all of that
I think it began when Galadriel looked into his eyes that first night.
She seemed to offer me long fishing trips, cozy nights by the fire with
Mum and Da, and laughter and singing at the Pony if I would leave Frodo
and the Quest and go home. My heart was tempted. I wanted all of that.
But I couldn’t leave Frodo, so I forgot about it and went on. But
Boromir couldn’t forget whatever she offered him. The first night after
our meeting with her, he said the men of Minas Tirith are true to their
word and that he didn’t even listen to what she had to offer. But I
know him, Faramir, and I felt that he was not telling the truth! He
said we couldn’t be sure of her purposes, but I believe he thought she
wanted the Ring for herself.
Faramir, if you could have heard him talking of Gondor and how much he
loved his city and how much he needed to be back in Minas Tirith and
take care of her. He was so very upset over what was happening to her
and to you, your father and his people. He just couldn’t seem to handle
the sorrow, the guilt of being away from her during her time of need,
of not being able to make everything right. We were in Lothlorien for a
full month and ever he talked of Gondor and her need. I had to get away
from him at times, just to breath.
He spent many nights with Strider and, after those times, he seemed
heartened and almost like his old self. Strider had promised, before
Gandalf fell, that he would go with Boromir to the White City and help
him defend her. I would sit by the fire and listen to them. Boromir
would tell Strider about the defenses of the city and what his father
had left done or undone, and his plans for making her great once again.
He would speak to Strider as if Strider was king already and he was his
Steward. And Strider would look at him warmly and I could see their
friendship growing and I was glad, but always, in the back of my mind,
I knew, somehow, that neither listened to what the other was saying. I
felt that Strider was going to put aside his own wish to go to Gondor
and do whatever Frodo needed. At the same time, I knew that Boromir was
hoping Strider would convince Frodo to take the Ring to Minas Tirith
and maybe let Strider, or Boromir himself, use it to defeat the Enemy.
Sam and I would talk and Sam felt sure that Frodo would never go to
Minas Tirith. Sam said he thought that Boromir was a fine man, but he
also told me he thought Boromir never accepted the decision of the
Council – that the Ring should be destroyed. Sam did everything he
could to keep Frodo away from Boromir.
I’m sorry this part of the letter is so mixed up, Faramir. In
Lothlorien, I was so mixed up. I would find myself walking alone trying
to think what to do, whom to speak with about Boromir. I missed Gandalf
so terribly. He would have helped Boromir. He liked him very much. Why
is there no one to talk to when you need someone, Faramir? There was no
one I could talk to. Not even Merry. I knew he was terribly upset for
me. He would try to take me for walks with him, but I was so consumed
with my dread, my fear for Boromir that I couldn’t leave his side. I
owed him my life many times over. I had received kindnesses from him
beyond measure. I was at a loss and I was lost.
One day I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t think anymore
about him. I was starting to not be me. No matter what I did, I
couldn’t help him. It was the saddest day of my life and I still look
back and wonder if it was right to leave him, to abandon him. Was I
being selfish, thinking of myself, trying to survive? I had become the
strong one and he the weak. How had this happened? I wanted it to be
the way it had been. I would go away and leave him for days and I could
see he was hurt and didn’t understand why. Or maybe he did understand
and he was sorry he couldn’t change – that he knew he was in the grip
of this awful thing, but didn’t know how to break away from it. My
heart breaks as I think of it. Could I have saved him, Faramir?
This dear, dear friend of yours. He has collapsed into my arms in
tears. How can I comfort him when my own heart is breaking? Somehow
through his wailing, he said he even tried to teach you how to smoke
pipeweed. I can see the look on your face as you tried to do as he said
and puff on the pipe he gave you. He said you hated it. The lengths he
went to trying to help you; the love he has for you makes me weep.
He asks me what do you do when you see someone you love shriveling up
inside, dying little by little, day by day? And yet this young Halfling
kept on until he could go no further. He has such guilt Boromir, how
can I help him see he saved you in the end, for that is what Gandalf
* FOTR – JRR Tolkien