In the Extended Edition of The Return of the King, at about the 1:15:00 mark, Faramir returns to Denethor to inform him that he let the Frodo and Sam (and the One Ring) go, and the following conversation takes place between them:

Faramir: I did what I judged to be right.

Denethor: What you judged to be right. You sent the Ring of Power into Mordor in the hands of a witless Halfling. It should have been brought back to the Citadel to be kept safe. Hidden. Dark and deep in the vaults not to be used. Unless at the uttermost end of need.

Faramir: I would not use the Ring. Not if Minas Tirith were falling in ruin and I alone could save her.

These quotes as they are said in the scene seem very unsubtle and on-the-nose in making an analogy between the One Ring and nuclear weapons, so I'm wondering whether this is just an example of Peter Jackson using his creative license or actual quotes from the books. How exactly is this scene treated in the books?

  • 4
    Denthor does say that, but to Gandalf, not Faramir. And Faramir does say essentially that last bit about "I would not use the Ring" - but he says it to Frodo, not to Denethor. (Found via knowing that a lot of what goes on between Faramir and Denethor in the film isn't in the text + quick search of the text for keywords: "witless", and "I alone could")
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 29, 2020 at 19:11
  • 1
    Worth pointing out, as it’s my least favourite change between the book and films, is that in the book Faramir is not once tempted to use the ring and does not try to drag Frodo back to Minas Tirith.
    – Darren
    Jun 30, 2020 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


The quotes are fairly accurate and so I think you can give Jackson a pass.

Here is the larger context for the quote in the book. As mentioned in the comments, Denethor is speaking to Gandalf, not Faramir

'Comfort yourself!' said Gandalf. 'In no case would Boromir have brought it to you. He is dead, and died well; may he sleep in peace! Yet you deceive yourself. He would have stretched out his hand to this thing, and taking it he would have fallen. He would have kept it for his own, and when he returned you would not have known your son.

'The face of Denethor set hard and cold. 'You found Boromir less apt to your hand, did you not?' he said softly. 'But I who was his father say that he would have brought it to me. You are wise, maybe, Mithrandir, yet with all your subtleties you have not all wisdom. Counsels may be found that are neither the webs of wizards nor the haste of fools. I have in this matter more lore and wisdom than you deem.'

'What then is your wisdom?' said Gandalf.

'Enough to perceive that there are two follies to avoid. To use this thing is perilous. At this hour, to send it in the hands of a witless halfling into the land of the Enemy himself, as you have done, and this son of mine, that is madness.'

'And the Lord Denethor what would he have done?'

'Neither. But most surely not for any argument would he have set this thing at a hazard beyond all but a fool's hope, risking our utter ruin, if the Enemy should recover what he lost. Nay, it should have been kept, hidden, hidden dark and deep. Not used, I say, unless at the uttermost end of need, but set beyond his grasp, save by a victory so final that what then befell would not trouble us, being dead.'

'You think, as is your wont, my lord, of Gondor only,' said Gandalf. 'Yet there are other men and other lives, and time still to be. And for me, I pity even his slaves.'

'And where will other men look for help, if Gondor falls?' answered Denethor. 'If I had this thing now in the deep vaults of this citadel, we should not then shake with dread under this gloom, fearing the worst, and our counsels would be undisturbed. If you do not trust me to endure the test, you do not know me yet.'

'Nonetheless I do not trust you,' said Gandalf. 'Had I done so, I could have sent this thing hither to your keeping and spared myself and others much anguish. And now hearing you speak I trust you less, no more than Boromir. Nay, stay your wrath! I do not trust myself in this, and I refused this thing, even as a freely given gift. You are strong and can still in some matters govern yourself, Denethor; yet if you had received this thing, it would have overthrown you. Were it buried beneath the roots of Mindolluin, still it would burn your mind away, as the darkness grows, and the yet worse things follow that soon shall come upon us.'

Faramir's last line is actually spoken to Frodo in the Two Towers

‘But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.’

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.