Fire burning in a forest clearing

Po-Ta-Toes

Frodo and Sam found a place to rest for a while before continuing on their journey. We see Frodo resting his eyes in the sun. Since his journey will lead him through sunless paths, poisonous fumes, ash and darkness, a bit of sun will do him good. Sam stands on the lookout for anything that might be stirring or coming to disrupt his friend`s rest.

Sharing happiness

Sméagol runs up to Frodo bringing two coneys he found for them to eat. He is as happy as he can possibly be. He has found a way to be useful and care for his master. It is an exhilarating feeling to have, finding a friend, changing your state of mind. Sméagol has been looking for something to convey his happiness to Frodo. And finding food is the best he can do in their surroundings.

When feeling happiness and fulfillment, the need to help or bring someone else joy is very prominent. If we have taken care of ourselves, chosen a more positive outlook and came to a personal breakthrough, then it really is time to celebrate. 

Frodo is very pleased with Sméagol, smiling at him and looking over in wonder at Sam. Sam, on the other hand, is somewhat disgusted by this scene. The happy path that the relationship between Frodo and Gollum has taken, makes Sam feel even more excluded and suspicious.

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Sam`s cooking methods

As is his nature, Sam takes the coneys away from Frodo as soon as he sees Sméagol eating them raw. He sees in Frodo`s facial expression that this particular way of eating makes his face twist in disgust.

Taking the conveys and cooking them for the three of them is a way Sam can feel included and feel fulfilled that he has contributed to the company. Sméagol, however, has a totally different view of food preparation. He belittles Sam for ruining these animals.

They squabble over their different eating habits. There can be no consensus reached, for Sméagol`s eating style cannot conform to that of Sam. However, I very much enjoy the two of them arguing over a boiling stew. 

Trust and goodwill

The fact that Sméagol has provided them with normal food, which they haven`t eaten in a while is a good sign for Frodo. He has now witnessed Sméagol`s goodwill toward them.

Sméagol only gives Frodo more proof that he is trustworthy and that he might still come back from his wretched ways. Frodo moves away from Sam and Sméagol`s discussion. A sound intrigues him, and he follows it. 

Oliphaunt sighting

Haradrim are moving toward Mordor to join forces with other servants of Sauron to prepare for war. Although in a hurry to leave their resting spot, Frodo and Sam remain looking at an Oliphaunt.

Since there was never a possibility to see one, they use this short amount of time to gaze upon its magnificence. Soon enough arrows start flying over their heads. The Haradrim are ambushed and so are Frodo and Sam.

Leaving master

Sméagol, with a face of fear, has moved away prior to the coming of the Oliphaunt. He went alone to run and hide, not giving the two any kind of heads up. Sméagol also in this particular moment didn`t care about his master and his fate. He was more worried about his own.

But why would he do that all of a sudden? He saved Frodo from the Dead Marshes, he gazed at him in awe when Frodo put his fate in his hands with his idea of another path to Mordor, and he used his master as an argument in his monologue. So, why leave him there?

He may have thought that they might not look upon him with pity as Frodo had and may separate him from his master permanently. Or it may only be his fear. When fight or flight instincts kick in, Sméagol chooses flight. Self-preservation takes over.

State of affairs

Warrior on a horse
Image by Devanath from Pixabay

There are no travelers in this land. Only servants of the Dark Tower.

Faramir

Faramir and his company catch the Hobbits escaping. They explain themselves as much as their mission permits them. However, there is no goodwill among Men.

Faramir is conveying the dire situation that has overtaken his land. It has become common practice not to trust anyone in the land of Gondor. They keep a watch over their land for trespassers, and they label these two Hobbits as such. All servants of Sauron must pass the land of Gondor to reach Mordor. With war brewing, people of Gondor can encounter only one kind of being – an evil one.

What lies beneath the surface

The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours I deem. I wonder what his name is, where he came from, if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. If he would not rather have stayed there….. in peace.

Faramir

A Haradrim soldier falls dead before Frodo and Sam. To them, he is the enemy, a servant of evil whose mission would have been to stop any who oppose him. His end came unsuspectedly. He might have given himself some time still before he reached his end.

A calm thought might have gone through him, thinking of home and his family he would see when the war is over. Thinking that this march towards Mordor was a light one, a stroll, without any danger to his person. He wasn`t even able to defend his life against the flying arrows. 

Sauron must have made threats and promises to the Haradrim to have them join his army. With that in mind, he must have felt responsible for his family or his country to stand against anything that might bring destruction to either.

The fear in him had taken center stage, and he acted as best he knew how in order to protect himself and all that he values. A sense of duty towards all that he values and stands for is perfectly understandable. In any normal situation, the same things would have been defended using verbal arguments. However, in a situation of war, words are moot. 

With only his presence among his fellow men, the same point of duty shows. A powerful statement without any need for words. The same goes for those who oppose him and it is only a matter of luck to still have a sense of duty after an ambush.

His sense of duty and all that he stands for is now passed, for he can no longer argue any side. He has been taken from that what he values most, without a second thought. 

In war, there is only one rule everyone goes by: if I don`t kill you, you will kill me. The killing is done for the same reason on both sides. To escape it, it is just a matter of timing and luck. 

Faramir – Captain of Gondor

Faramir is different than any other soldier. He sees the person behind the enemy and wonders what his story might have been. For it could have easily been him, lying there. And from his own perspective, he has many qualities he possesses and the integrity he stands by.

Therefore, it is only logical that he would look upon this Haradrim soldier with sorrow, rather than hate, for he isn`t to blame for this war, he was only a pawn. 

Faramir can discern between a person as he is and his sense of duty. Although inextricably linked, the two can also be seen as separate entities. Duty or responsibility one has for something of value is an admirable thing, and not a negative one.

If, however, used as a manipulative tool to evoke a fear of losing what one values most, then the sense of duty is tainted. A person is forced to overlook any negative sides to it, keeping only a single goal in mind, self-preservation, or that of others. A foul method used by war-mongers. 

Captain of Gondor understands more clearly what duty represents. He knows that it is the same for anyone with a purpose, be it for the “right” or “wrong” reason. However, in war right and wrong cannot be seen clearly.  

The innocent are those who don`t have a bone to pick with anyone but have found themselves in this situation nonetheless. It is a legitimate question Faramir asks and implicitly answers. 

Warfare

War is always fought between those who haven`t started it and who won`t profit from it, the same thing happens here.

Faramir is conscious of this notion and open-minded about every race. This is but one of his many qualities.

War will make corpses of us all.

Faramir

A powerful and, above all, true statement. It might only be a matter of time before anyone of his company dies in the oncoming war. This fact doesn`t make him any less empathetic towards those who have already suffered. He expresses resentment and sadness. Faramir has not let his emotional side to solidify and grow cold.

Although grief covers the land, it doesn`t mean his emotional self should shut down and only work on auto-pilot, providing him with only emotions of anger and violence. A noble character he is and his strengths will show soon enough.

People of Edoras have taken to the exodus. On their path to Helm`s Deep revelations occur. Follow me to my next post.

Featured photo by Nathan Lindahl on Unsplash.

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