This week, I finished the Lord of the Rings. The entire thing!
Now, that is a long book(s). But it was worth it. I had always loved the movies and I am happy to say, the book is even better. While I think there are many reasons for this, I will stick to three reasons I adored the books and all of them are characters.
Three of my favorite characters have always been Faramir, Eowyn, and Sam. Each one of them has an even more fleshed out backstory, gripping emotional struggles, and acts of bravery that make these characters some of the best I’ve ever read.
1. Tolkien himself calls Sam the true hero and I can see why. Sam is utterly loyal to Frodo, hopeful in the darkest of times, and is willing to die for his cause. He fights on even when it seems impossible. In the Two Towers, he goes to rescue Frodo, knowing there were hundreds of orcs guarding him. In the Fellowship, he realizes Frodo’s plan to run off and refuses to let him go alone. And initially, he is the one who alerts Merry, Pippin, and Fatty to Frodo’s plans to leave the Shire so that they can come with him. It wasn’t simply that Sam was caught and commissioned by Gandalf. No, Sam chose time and again to walk into unthinkable danger because of his loyalty and his desire to do what was right all while keeping an ember of hope alive. Though he was sure of death, Sam convinced Frodo to go out from the Cracks of Doom. Sam had no idea, but this let the eagles rescue them. It was his hope that saved them.
2. Eowyn is a strong character, that cannot be denied. But we get to see another side to her after the Battle of Pelennor Fields. After the battle, she is hurt and healing in Minas Tirith (she just killed the king of the Nazgul, she deserves some rest). But she doesn’t want to rest. She wants to go fight. In reality, while she is strong, she was also hurt emotionally and distant. Faramir draws out the softer side of her, reminding her that being fierce and strong doesn’t always mean riding into battle to win glory in death. He pulls out the Eowyn who is strong and protects her people, not just by wielding a sword. Don’t get me wrong, Eowyn as a fighter is amazing and I love that she can do both. But, the end of the Return of the King shows us that it is both. She isn’t just a fierce warrior ready to lay down her life, but a strong, wise, and gentle woman who cares about her people and will love with all her heart.
3. Faramir, as you can see, is kind and gentle with Eowyn. He falls in love with her and that shows his great compassion and care. But, Faramir wins my heart before that, when he meets Frodo and Sam. He realizes Frodo has the ring and he does not suffer the same fate as Boromir, being overcome to take the ring to Gondor (which is how it goes in the movie). Instead, he beats the temptation and shows his strength, fortitude, and wisdom. Then he lets them go. He gives them all the advice and supplies he can and then he lets them continue their journey, even sparing Gollum, who broke their law. This was utterly breaking the rules. They should have been brought to Minas Tirith as no one was allowed in Ithilien without the Steward’s leave. But, Faramir risks personal punishment for these two hobbits because he has faith in them and believes in what is right.
What do you think? Have you read the books and have a different opinion? Are there things you liked about the book more than these characters? Share below!