Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

HA: #1 of 7 ~ Faramir questions Frodo and Sam....


Henneth Annun, Pt. 1: Faramir questions Frodo and Sam.

This is the first of seven, yes, seven entries for the Henneth Annun screencaps. The Henneth Annun screencap entries will be the last for TTT.

I will post the book quotes where I think they can fit. This is not as easy as it might be, since the film version of this sequence differs so much from Tolkien, but I will try.


With the exception of Pt. 6 ("The Goons of Gondor"), I will try not to dwell on negative things in this series. The Henneth Annun sequence has some of the most arresting, most beautiful images of Frodo in all of the trilogy. I think the whole section—both the theatrical and extended versions—works well as film story-telling. It is beautifully shot, well-acted, and makes for engrossing screen drama. I try always to bear in mind that the films are the films and book is the book, but much violence was done to Tolkien's story in this section, with noble characters savaged along with the values and themes their actions embodied.

In this first scene, the hobbits, hands bound and blindfolded, are handed into the cave behind the falls. Once inside, their bonds are cut and their eyes uncovered. Rubbing their wrists they stand nervously before Faramir. Most of the lines are taken from the book scene in the forest prior to the ascent to the falls. But although many of the words are the same, the character of the scene is altered by the changed behaviour of Faramir. In the book, Frodo is questioned very closely (the questioning taking place in the woods), but is allowed to walk freely with Faramir, talking with him as they go, until they reach the secret path. There Frodo and Sam are apologetically blindfolded. In the film the hobbits are roughly accosted in the woods, bound, and force-marched before being blindfolded and carried into the hideout. No talk, no respectful treatment.

In the book, Faramir is a subtle, persuasive interrogator. Frodo is hard-pressed to keep the core of his mission secret, both because Faramir is so acute and because his captor is so good at inspiring trust. The interrogation is never physical, nor is violence ever threatened. It is the interrogation of a person of rank by another person of rank. In the film, the frightened hobbits stand before Faramir like miscreants before a case-hardened investigating officer inclined to look at all his suspects with a bit of contempt. This attitude falls away when Faramir begins to hear of his brother. His eyes narrow with suspicion, then rising emotion. He tries to keep up the front of emotional inaccessibility, but his eyes become moist and his voice catches as he says, "He was my brother". The EE flashbacks (Fararmir seeing Boromir drifting by in the boat, and the remembered scene at Osgiliath that shows the brothers' mutual love, but the father's inequitable feelings for the two) flow perfectly from Faramir's heightened feelings.

Again, this is an excellent scene dramatically, but it does involve changing the portrayal of Faramir considerably, which necessarily changes the relationship portrayed between him and Frodo. No longer is this tense, wary first meeting between Gondor's finest son and the best Hobbit of the Shire, two virtual princes of their people. In the film scene, Faramir is the harried and troubled special services officer of Gondor, who stumbles fortuitiously upon the one small person who bears, unlooked for, the means to securing the promotion he has long desired. A great scene, but not Tolkien's.

Book scene, from Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit. Faramir and his rangers have captured Frodo and Sam in Ithilien, having seen their cooking fire.

‘We have not found what we sought,’ said one. ‘But what have we found?’

‘Not Orcs,’ said another, releasing the hilt of his sword, which he had seized when he saw the glitter of Sting in Frodo’s hand.

‘Elves?’ said a third, doubtfully.

‘Nay! Not Elves,’ said the fourth, the tallest, and as it appeared the chief among them. ‘Elves do not walk in Ithilien in these days. And Elves are wondrous fair to look upon, or so ‘tis said.’

‘Meaning we’re not, I take you,’ said Sam.* ‘Thank you kindly. And when you’ve finished discussing us, perhaps you’ll say who you are, and why you can’t let two tired travellers rest.’

* It goes without saying
why this line was cut
from the screenplay.

The tall green man laughed grimly. ‘I am Faramir, Captain of Gondor,’ he said. ‘But there are no travellers in this land: only the servants of the Dark Tower, or of the White.’

’But we are neither,’ said Frodo. ‘And travellers we are, whatever Captain Faramir may say.’

‘Then make haste to declare yourselves and your errand,’ said Faramir. ‘We have a work to do, and this is no time or place for riddling of parleying. Come! Where is the third of your company?’

‘The third?’

‘Yes, the skulking fellow that we saw with his nose in the pool down yonder. He had an ill-favoured look. Some spying Orc, I guess, or a creature of theirs. But he gave us the slip by some fox-trick.’

‘I do not know where he is,’ said Frodo. ‘He is only a chance companion met upon our road, and I am not answerable for him. If you come on him, spare him. Bring him or send him to us. He is only a wretched gangrel creature but I have him under my care for a while. But as for us, we are Hobbits of the Shire, far to the North and West, beyond many rivers. Frodo son of Drogo is my name, and with me is Samwise son of Hamfast, a worthy hobbit in my service. We have come by long ways—out of Rivendell, or Imladris as some call it.’ Here Faramir started and grew intent. ‘Seven companion we had: one we lost at Moria, the others we left at Parth Galen above Rauros: two of my kin; a Dwarf there was also, and an Elf, and two Men. They were Aragorn; and Boromir, who said that he came out of Minas Tirith, a city in the South.’

‘Boromir!’ all the four men exclaimed.

‘Boromir the son of Denethor?’ said Faramir, and a strange stern look came into his face. ‘You came with him? That is news indeed, if it be true….”

Faramir leaves Frodo and Sam under guard while he leads an ambush against the Southrons. It is late afternoon when Faramir comes back. Sam has dozed and wakes to see Frodo is not there. No one notices as Sam creeps out of the fern. Quietly he watches as Frodo, standing in the middle of a ring of Men like a prisoner on trial, is questioned by Faramir, seated on the ground before him.

Sam soon became aware that the Captain was not satisfied with Frodo’s account of himself at several points…. In particular he returned often to Isildur’s Bane. Plainly he saw that Frodo was concealing from him some matter of great importance.

‘But it was at the coming of the Halfling that Isildur’s Bane should waken, or so one must read the words,’ he insisted. ‘If then you are the Halfling that was named, doubtless you brought this thing, whatever it may be, to the Council of which you speak, and there Boromir saw it. Do you deny it?’

Frodo made no answer.

Faramir presses Frodo further, asking why Boromir was not leader of the Company. Frodo tells of Aragorn and the sword of Elendil.

‘Maybe,’ [Faramir] said. ‘But so great a claim will need to be established, and clear proofs will be required, should this Aragorn ever come to Minas Tirith. He had not come, nor any of your Company, when I set our six days ago.’

‘Boromir was satisfied of that claim,’ said Frodo. ‘Indeed, if Boromir were here, he would answer all your questions. And since he was already at Rauros many days back, and intended then to go straight to your city, if you return, you may soon learn the answers there. My part in the Company was known to him, as to all the others, for it was appointed to me by Elrond of Imladris himself before the whole Council. On that errand I came into this country, but it is not mine to reveal to any outside the Company. Yet those who claim to oppose the Enemy would do well not to hinder it.’

Frodo’s tone was proud, whatever he felt, and Sam approved of it; but it did not appease Faramir.

‘So!’ he said. ‘You bid me mind my own affairs, and get me back home, and let you be. Boromir will tell all, when he comes. When he comes, say you! Were you a friend of Boromir?

Vividly before Frodo’s mind came the memory of Boromir’s assault upon him, and for a moment he hesitated. Faramir’s eyes watching him grew harder. ‘Boromir was a valiant member of our Company,’ said Frodo at length. ‘Yes, I was his friend, for my part.’

Faramir smiled grimly. ‘Then you would grieve to learn that Boromir is dead?’

‘I would grieve indeed,’ said Frodo. Then catching the look in Faramir’s eyes, he faltered. ‘Dead?’ he said. ‘Do you mean that he is dead, and that you knew it? You have been trying to trap me in words, playing with me? Or are you now trying to snare me with a falsehood?’

‘I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood,’ said Faramir.

‘How then did he die, and how do you know of it? Since you say that none of the Company had reached the city when you left.’

‘As to the manner of his death, I had hoped that his friend and companion would tell me how it was.’

‘But he was alive and strong when we parted. And he lives still for all that I know. Though surely there are many perils in the world.’

‘Many indeed,’ said Faramir, ‘and treachery not the least.’

Sam had been getting more and more impatient and angry at this conversation. These last words were more than he could bear, and bursting into the middle of the ring, he strode up to his master’s side.

‘Begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo,’ he said, ‘but this has gone on long enough. He’s no right to talk to you so. After all you’ve gone through, as much for his good and all these great Men as for anyone else.

‘See here, Captain!’ He planted himself squarely in front of Faramir, his hands on his hips, and a look on his face as if he was addressing a young hobbit who had offered him what he called ‘sauce’ when questioned about visits to the orchard. There was some murmuring, but also some grins on the faces of the men looking on: the sight of their Captain sitting on the ground and eye to eye with a young hobbit, legs well apart, bristling with wrath, was one beyond their experience. ‘See here!’ he said. ‘What are you driving at? Let’s come to the point before all the Orcs of Mordor come down on us! If you think my master murdered this Boromor and then ran away, you’ve got no sense; but say it, and have done! And then let us know what you mean to do about it. But it’s a pity that folk as talk about fighting the Enemy can’t let others do their bit in their own way without interfering. He’d be mighty pleased, if he could see you now. Think he’d got a new friend, he would.’

‘Patience!’ said Faramir, but without anger. ‘Do not speak before your master, whose wit is greater than yours. And I do not need any to teach me of our peril. Even so, I spare a brief time, in order to judge justly in a hard matter. Were I as hasty as you, I might have slain you long ago. For I am commanded to slay all whom I find in this land without the leave of the Lord of Gondor. But I do not slay man or beast needlessly, and not gladly even when it is needed. Neither do I talk in vain. So be comforted. Sit by your master, and be silent!’

Sam sat down heavily with a red face. Faramir turned to Frodo again. ‘You asked how do I know that the son of Denethor is dead. Tidings of death have many wings. Night oft brings news to near kindred, t’is said. Boromir was my brother.

A shadow of sorrow passed over his face. ‘Do you remember aught of special mark that the Lord Boromir bore with him among his gear?’

Frodo thought for a moment, fearing some further trap, and wondering how this debate would turn in the end. He had hardly saved the Ring from the proud grasp of Boromir, and how he would fare now among so many men, warlike and strong, he did not know. Yet he felt in his heart that Faramir, though he was much like his brother in looks, was a man less self-regarding, both sterner and wiser. ‘I remember that Boromir bore a horn,’ he said at last.


Film Scene: (lines from EE scene in green) "He was my brother."

Faramir: My men tell me that you are Orc spies.

Sam: Spies? Now wait just a minute.

Faramir: Well if you’re not spies, then who are you? Speak!

Frodo: We are Hobbits of the Shire. Frodo Baggins is my name, and this is Samwise Gamgee.

Faramir: Your bodyguard?

Sam: His gardener.

Faramir: And where is your skulking friend? That gangrel creature. He had an ill-favoured look.

Frodo: There was no other. We set out from Rivendell with seven companions. One we lost in Moria. Two were my kin. A dwarf there was also. And an Elf. And two Men. Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and Boromir of Gondor.

Faramir: You were a friend of Boromir?

Frodo: Yes, for my part.

Faramir: It will grieve you then to learn that he is dead?

Frodo: Dead? How? When?

Faramir: As one of his companions, I had hoped you would tell me.

Frodo: If something has happened to Boromir we would have you tell us.

Faramir: His horn washed up upon the riverbank, about six days past. It was cloven in two. But more than this I know it in my heart. He was my brother.

The EE continues with the two [excellent] flashbacks.


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Related Entries:

~ HA 1 ~ Faramir questions Frodo and Sam.

~ HA 2 ~ “Come with me!” Faramir tells Frodo.

~ HA 3 ~ Faramir asks, “Shall I shoot?”

~ HA 4 ~ “Trust Master!” ~ Frodo tries to persuade Sméagol.

~ HA 5 ~ “Don’t hurt him!” ~ Faramir’s men capture Sméagol.

~ HA 6 ~ The Goons of Gondor: the EE interrogation of Gollum.

~ HA 7 ~ “The Ring is taking me, Sam”.

Other screencap entries:

~ All Frodo and Elijah screencaps.


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