This darkness will not endure: The Houses of Healing Pt. 2, plus new poem by jan-u-wine.
This is another beautiful EE scene. The way it's filmed, lit, scored, acted, it's gorgeous. Best of all for me, the scene restores the character of Faramir. It makes it seem as though the anti-Faramir, anti-Tolkien things he was made to do in TTT and earlier in RotK were just a dream -- or as if he'd been on drugs before -- or gone off the meds he was supposed to be taking. Here Tolkien's Faramir returns: strong and steady and utterly dependable, plain-spoken yet poetic, contemplative and tender. Here with Éowyn, in this short scene, is depicted the bright spirit, depth of perception, beauty of character and core decency that explains why, in the book, Faramir is so admired, loved and respected. This one little scene is enough to make Éowyn's shift in affections from Aragorn to Faramir convincing. And all because David Wenham was permitted at last to let book Faramir shine.
For this entry, Faramir's voice is added to Éowyn's in the conclusion of Jan-u-wine's two-part piece. See for yourself how beautifully their words and the film's images inter-relate.
Note: the sets of screencaps are separated by blocks of text. The first images come from the end of the scene in which Éowyn is healed, the remainder show Faramir and Éowyn on the terrace in a subsequent EE scene.
Book scene:The Steward and the King.
The Lord Faramir was walking alone in the garden of the Houses of Healing, and the sunlight warmed him, and he felt life run new in his veins; but his heart was heavy, and he looked out over the walls eastward. And coming, the Warden spoke his name, and he turned and saw the Lady Éowyn of Rohan; and he was moved with pity, for he saw that she was hurt, and his clear sight perceived her sorrow and unrest.
'My lord', said the Warden, 'here is the Lady Éowyn of Rohan. She rode with the king and was sorely hurt, and dwells now in my keeping. But she is not content, and she wishes to speak to the Steward of the City.'
'Do not misunderstand him, lord,' said Éowyn. 'It is not lack of care that grieves me. No houses could be fairer, for those who desire to be healed. But I cannot lie in sloth, idle, caged. I looked for death in battle. But I have not died, and battle still goes on.'
At a sign from Faramir, the Warden bowed and departed. 'What would you have me do, lady?' said Faramir. 'I also am a prisoner of the healers.' He looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.
'What do you wish?' he said again. 'If it lies in my power, I will do it.'
'I would have you command this Warden, and bid him let me go,' she said; but though her words were still proud, her heart faltered, and for the first time she doubted herself. She guessed that this tall man, both stern and gentle, might think her merely wayward, like a child that has not the firmness of mind to go on with a dull task to the end.
'I myself am in the Warden's keeping,' answered Faramir. 'Nor have I yet taken up my authority in the City. But had I done so I should still listen to his counsel, and should not cross his will in matters of his craft, unless in some great need.'
'But I do not desire healing,' she said. 'I wish to ride to war like my brother Éomer, or better like Théoden the king, for he died and has both honour and peace.'
'It is too late, lady, to follow the Captains, even if you had the strength,' said Faramir. 'But death in battle may come to us all yet, willing or unwilling. You will be better prepared to face it in your own manner, if while there is still time you do as the Healer commanded. You and I, we must endure with patience the hours of waiting.'
She did not answer, but as he looked at her it seemed to him that something in her softened, as though a bitter frost were yielding at the first faint presage of Spring.
Éowyn says she can't bear to stay longer abed, especially with no window looking east. Faramir, pitying her, promises to amend her view and invites her to spend time in the gardens where they might walk and look east together, "where all our hopes have gone". It would ease his care.
'How should I ease your care, my lord?' she said....
'Would you have my plain answer?' he said.
'Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back.'
'Alas, not me, lord!' she said. 'Shadow lies on me still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle. But I thank you for this at least, that I need not keep to my chamber. I will walk abroad by the grace of the Steward of the City.' And she did him a courtesy and walked back to the house. But Faramir for a long while walked alone in the garden, and his glance now strayed rather to the house than to the eastward walls.
When he returned to his chamber he called for the Warden, and heard all that he could tell of the Lady of Rohan.
'But I doubt not, lord,' said the Warden, 'that you would learn more from the Halfling that is with us; for he was in the riding of the king, and with the Lady at the end, they say.'
And so Merry was sent to Faramir, and while that day lasted they talked long together, and Faramir learned much, more even than Merry put into words; and he thought that he understood now something of the grief and unrest of Éowyn of Rohan. And in the fair evening Faramir and Merry walked in the garden, but she did not come.
Transitional film scene following Éowyn's healing:
Book Scene, cont'd:
And so the fifth day came since the Lady Éowyn went first to Faramir; and they stood now together once more upon the walls of the City and looked out. No tidings had yet come, and all hearts were darkened. The weather, too, was bright no longer. It was cold. A wind that had sprung up in the night was blowing now keenly from the North, and it was rising; but the lands about looked grey and drear.
Faramir has wrapped the dark blue mantle of his mother, Finduilas of Amroth, about Éowyn to keep her warm. She shivers nonetheless, looking north.
'What do you look for, Éowyn?' said Faramir.
'Does not the Black Gate lie yonder?' said she. 'And must he not now be come thither? It is seven days since he rode away.'
'Seven days,' said Faramir. 'But think not ill of me, if I say to you: they have brought me both joy and pain that I never thought to know. Joy to see you; but pain, because now the fear and doubt of this evil time are grown dark indeed. Éowyn, I would not have this world end now, or lose so soon what I have found.'
'Lose what you have found, lord?' she answered; but she looked at him gravely and her eyes were kind. 'I know not what in these days you have found that you could lose. But come, my friend, let us not speak of it! Let us not speak at all! I stand upon some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there is any light behind me I cannot tell. For I cannot turn yet. I wait for some stroke of doom.'
'Yes, we wait for the stroke of doom,' said Faramir. And they said no more; and it seemed to them as they stood upon the wall that the wind died, and the light failed, and the Sun was bleared, and all sounds in the City or in the lands about were hushed: neither wind, nor voice, nor bird-call, nor rustle of leaf, nor their own breath could be heard; the very beating of their hearts was stilled. Time halted.
And as they stood so, their hands met and clasped, though they did not know it. And still they waited for they knew not what. Then presently it seemed to them that above the ridges of the distant mountains another vast mountain of darkness rose, towering up like a wave that should engulf the world, and about it lightnings flickered; and then a tremor ran through the earth, and they felt the walls of the City quiver. A sound like a sigh went up from all the lands about them; and their hearts beat suddenly again.
'It reminds me of Númenor,' said Faramir, and wondered to hear himself speak.
'Of Númenor?' said Éowyn.
'Yes,' said Faramir, 'of the land of Westernesse that foundered, and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.'
'Then you think that the Darkness is coming? ' said Éowyn. 'Darkness Unescapable?' And suddenly she drew close to him.
'No,' said Faramir, looking into her face. 'It was but a picture in the mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Éowyn, Éowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!' And he stooped and kissed her brow.
And so they stood on the walls of the City of Gondor, and a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out, mingling in the air. And the Shadow departed, and the Sun was unveiled, and light leaped forth; and the waters of Anduin shone like silver, and in all the houses of the City men sang for the joy that welled up in their hearts from what source they could not tell.
High up in a courtyard of Minas Tirith, Éowyn looks east.
Éowyn: The city has fallen silent. There is no warmth left in the sun. It grows so cold.
Faramir: It’s just the damp of the first spring rain. I do not believe this darkness will endure.
Faramir takes her hand and she rests her head upon his shoulder.