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January 9, 2003

Was That Supposed to Be Me?

While there have been endless discussions of how the films and the novels differ, I find the first installment of Faramir insulting to fans of this important character. Peter Jackson's Faramir is so different as to be the same character in name alone. Obviously I expected that the films would not mirror the novels, and I was thrilled with the extended FOTR - even getting over that Aragorn had a full sword, or that from the party to Bree seemed to encompass about a week in the life of Frodo, not 17 years.

I have read the explanation posted that Philippa Boyens stated that Faramir was too static a character, not facing enough temptation by the ring that led to the downfall of his brother. Perhaps there is more to the Third Age of Middle Earth than simply whether or not the One Ring is a temptation to someone. I find the contrast of Faramir to Boromir - in both their treatment of Frodo, as well as in the eyes of their father - to be quite compelling. While Boromir was a proud and valiant man, Faramir is a learned man of Gondor, wise in the mythology and history of his people, a true Numenorean. I would challenge Ms. Boyens to explain how anyone should care for Faramir in the face of the challenges I assume we will see him face with his father in Return of the King. If the Denethor/Faramir/Boromir story does not for the screenwriters define the internal struggle faced by Faramir, than perhaps another read is in order.

Where exactly do they get off having their Faramir bring Frodo & Sam to Osgiliath? I know there are several elements in their film that didn't actually happen in the novels, but for me none was more troubling than Frodo in Osgiliath assumedly offering the One Ring to a Nazgul. What part of the book is this from?

Even if the filmmakers wanted their Faramir to present a greater challenge to Frodo, HE DIDN'T BRING HIM TO OSGILIATH, PERIOD - it is troubling to see this made up stuff where the fictitious actions taken by Faramir lead to the totally presposterous action taken by Frodo. "Here you go Nazgul, I quit, take the ring." He won't begrudge Sam to even look at it, but the Nazgul, sure, why not? Perhaps if he had encountered the real Faramir - one who would risk his own life to free him from Ithilien, not Osgiliath; a Faramir who would offer Frodo counsel should he seek it, not simply imprisonment and rudeness. Were I the filmmakers, I'd reconsider my portrayal of Faramir lest moviegoers for Return of the King hope Denethor succeeds in lighting the pyre. Or will that just be cut out to make more room for a seen with Arwen?

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