Faramir in the books rejects the ring with seemingly a lot of ease and later on Gandalf tells Pippin that the blood of Westernesse runs true in him.

So did having the blood of Numenor help him in rejecting the Ring of Power?

  • 3
    Quite possibly. Tolkien was, unfortunately, more than a little bit classist – Joe L. Jan 19 '15 at 17:32
  • 27
    @JoeL. - riiiiight... which is why his brother Boromir and his father Denethor end up behaving so "upliftingly"... or why a gardener's son Samwise Gamgee is the main hero of the book. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 19 '15 at 19:36
  • 9
    @DVK But Denethor wasn't the rightful king of Gondor (since he was in the line of stewards, not kings). Moral: Only people related to kings can make good kings. Also, Sam is Frodo's (hereditary) servant, and his positive aspects can all be summarized as, "loves doing whatever Frodo wants". Characters in the Lord of the Rings tend to be good guys when they "stay in their place" and bad guys when they don't. – Brendan Long Jan 19 '15 at 23:01
  • 9
    @BrendanLong - Sam's place was to prune trees, not to attack Orcs, Shelob, and carry Frodo up the mountains. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 19 '15 at 23:20
  • 12
    @MatthewNajmon - he was a gardener, not a servant. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '15 at 6:49

No.

The blood of Westernesse is completely irrelevant when it comes to matters relating to temptation by the Ring. Let's look at the passage in question:

He is not as other men of this time, Pippin, and whatever be his descent from father to son, by some chance the blood of Westernesse runs nearly true in him; as it does in his other son, Faramir, and yet did not in Boromir whom he loved best.

From this we see that the same applied to Denethor, but yet Denethor was tempted by the Ring:

Boromir was loyal to me and no wizard's pupil. He would have remembered his father's need, and would not have squandered what fortune gave. He would have brought me a mighty gift.

So this is merely down to greater wisdom on the part of Faramir (and perhaps being a "wizard's pupil" rubbed off on him a bit too).

  • 17
    "same applied to Denethor" ...not to speak of Isildur. – leftaroundabout Jan 20 '15 at 12:05

The emphasis is on the "true."

Boromir had the same "blood," after all, but could not reject the ring. What Gandalf is saying here is that Faramir is a worthy descendant of Numenor and would have made his ancestors proud.

  • 6
    -1; Boromir doesn't have the same blood: "He is not as other men of this time, Pippin, and whatever be his descent from father to son, by some chance the blood of Westernesse runs nearly true in him; as it does in his other son, Faramir, and yet did not in Boromir whom he loved best." – user8719 Jan 19 '15 at 18:13
  • 12
    Boromir has the same blood if "having the same blood" is to mean anything. He was Faramir's older brother, and a direct descendant of Numenor no less than Faramir was. The difference is that his character made him a less "true" representative of Numenor than Faramir. Even Gandalf's quote in your own comment supports that. – Misha R Jan 19 '15 at 18:35
  • 3
    Well, the answer is made to address the question, which refers to blood - so i'd rather it use the same word. Literary device and all that. A compromise: I'll leave blood where it is, but put quotes around it :) – Misha R Jan 19 '15 at 18:57
  • 3
    Actually... Representing Numenor is a bit iffy too. After all, there's a reason Numenor sank. Perhaps a slightly better way of putting it is that Faramir represents the best of Numenor. – Misha R Jan 19 '15 at 19:43
  • 1
    And which child inherited those "distinctive" traits? As I said, there's a reason Numenor sank. Could be Faramir handled it better because there is less Numenor in him. I propose that we stay away from scientific explanations of fantasy. If genetics worked that way in Middle Earth, we would also have elves occasionally born from two people of Numenorean descent, and an occasional human born from two descendants of Elrond. Concepts such as "blood" as Tolkein uses them relate more to medieval literature than to genetics. – Misha R Jan 20 '15 at 18:51

I think the answer is "Yes".

Race/species mattered a great deal for all Ring dealings. Hobbits were especially resistant to the One Ring (the most powerful of all), Men were quickly ensnared and became the Nazgul when given less powerful rings, Dwarves didn't fall but were turned to greed and darkness, Tom Bombadil was immune, etc.

I think that Gandalf was saying Faramir's Numenorean blood was partly responsible for his ability to reject the Ring. Denethor, we recall, was corrupted by Sauron directly through the unwise use of his Palantir, so that's not a fair test. Boromir, even if his blood was somehow lesser, did come to his senses before he died, although if he had actually taken the One Ring it would have undoubtedly enslaved him.

The Numenoreans were a special sub-species of Men, and the royal house was specifically gifted because of their Half-Elven founder. Recall that Aragorn was able to wrest control of his Palantir from Sauron because, in part, of his blood right. He was much older than Faramir or even Denethor, the implication being he had prepared for the moment and had developed mental strengths and virtues that normal mortal men could not match. His blood was much "purer" than Faramir's (the Steward line was not descended from the royal house). So it seems plausible that Aragorn could have destroyed Sauron if he wielded the One Ring, and then replace him as a Dark Lord.

  • 2
    But: "Yet Sauron was ever guileful, and it is said that among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of Númenórean race" (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age) - so if purer Númenóreans of the Second Age were susceptible to the lesser rings, then surely a more-mixed Númenórean of the Third Age would be more susceptible to the One. – user8719 Jan 19 '15 at 23:57
  • True, they were given those Rings by Sauron, presumably they put them on in his presence and so were lost because he still had the One in his possession and used it for its intended purpose. Perhaps other great lords had refused Sauron's gifts out of caution or wisdom; we aren't told that. So not quite apple-to-apples there. – ohmi Jan 20 '15 at 0:15
  • The book doesn't say anything about hobbits being especially resistant to the One Ring. The closest it comes to saying that they are special in any way is Gandalf saying that hobbits always amaze/surprise him. However, that doesn't seem to me to be in reference to the ring. In fact, according to him it was Bilbo's compassion, rather than any heritage, that prevented him from being as susceptible to the ring as he could have been. As for other hobbits, well - Gollum was something of a hobbit. And Frodo, of course, very much fell to the ring's influence in the end. – Misha R Jan 20 '15 at 0:58
  • Still, it's difficult to argue against the book placing some emphasis on Numenorean heritage as being generally significant, whether or not it was the deciding factor in Faramir's case. Important point, so I'll +1 this thing anyway. – Misha R Jan 20 '15 at 1:11
  • Tolkien in one of his notes said galadriel with the ring would still be destroyed by sauron so even with the ring aragorn has no chance, tolkien said he would expect gandalf the white with the ring would destroy sauron. – user31546 Jan 20 '15 at 12:27

The content of the novels give no evidence that having any particular 'blood' had any particular value in dealing with the One Ring - or, for that matter, for much of any other test of moral character. I'm excluding Orcs and such.
If anything, the content of the novels suggest the complete opposite: it tends to set up comparisons between people of quite similar genetic and/or cultural background, and then show how they make very different decisions; Faramir/Boromir, various Bagginses and, if you go beyond the novels to the other books, an endless sequence of battling Elves.

The net conclusion seems to point to neither a genetic 'nature' nor a cultural 'nurture', but rather some sort of intrinsic moral character. Nature and nurture give the characters gifts, but then they choose the use of these gifts by intrinsic free will. For a small rhetorical flourish, c.g. Galadriel's gifts. For a completely out-of-universe theological comparison, consider the notion of a 'grace'.

I think blood does not matter. Faramir has seen Gollum. That alone is enough to avert anyone away from the temptation. All Ring's victims did believe that it could be tamed. Faramir did know it could not. He first tried to keep the Ring in Gondor only to please his father, but then (after seen black rider) understood it was a bad idea.

No, Faramir's resistance to the Ring had nothing to do with his heritage. It was a result of his personality: he was humble and modest, where his brother Boromir was vainglorious and proud. His ability to reject the Ring may also have been related to the fact that Tolkien identified with Faramir more than any other character.

Frodo saw it:

Yet [Frodo] felt in his heart that Faramir, though he was much like his brother [Boromir] in looks, was a man less self-regarding, both sterner and wiser.
- The Two Towers; Book IV; Chapter 5: The Window on the West

Beregond saw it:

"[Faramir] is bold, more bold than many deem; for in these days men are slow to believe that a captain can be wise and learned in the scrolls of lore and song, as he is, and yet a man of hardihood and swift judgement in the field. But such is Faramir. Less reckless and eager than Boromir, but not less resolute."
― Beregond, The Return of the King, Minas Tirith

Tolkien saw it:

I think you misunderstand Faramir. He was daunted by his father: not only in the ordinary way of a family with a stern proud father of great force of character, but as a Númenórean before the chief of the one surviving Númenórean state. He was motherless and sisterless (Eowyn was also motherless), and had a 'bossy' brother. He had been accustomed to giving way and not giving his own opinions air, while retaining a power of command among men, such as a man may obtain who is evidently personally courageous and decisive, but also modest, fair-minded and scrupulously just, and very merciful. I think he understood Eowyn very well. Also to be Prince of Ithilien, the greatest noble after Dol Amroth in the revived Númenórean state of Gondor, soon to be of imperial power and prestige, was not a 'market-garden job' as you term it.
- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #244

From the article on Faramir on Tolkien Gateway:

Faramir was, in the words of Tolkien, "modest, fair-minded and scrupulously just, and very merciful" [Letter 244]. His appearance toward the end of The Two Towers apparently was as much of a surprise to Tolkien as it is to his readers. "I am sure I did not invent him," he wrote. "I did not even want him, though I like him".

Faramir in many ways speaks for Tolkien, who was a soldier in World War I, when he says, for example, "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness... I love only that which they defend" [The Two Towers, Window on the West]. Much later, Tolkien would write, "As far as any character is 'like me', it is Faramir".[Letter 180]

Faramir himself actually explains why he doesn't want the Ring (in fact, he orders Frodo to not even show him the Ring):

"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".
- Faramir, The Two Towers, Window on the West

This echoes Tolkien's disgust, late in WWII, at what he described as the allies' attempt to "conquer Sauron with the Ring":

An ultimately evil job. For we are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. And we shall (it seems) succeed. But the penalty is, as you will know, to breed new Saurons, and slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs. Not that in real life things are as clear cut as in a story, and we started out with a great many Orcs on our side.
- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #66.

For more information about why the Ring corrupts some people but not others, see this answer.

Not at all. His pride, kindness and reverence for his kingdom, lineage and Middle earth helped him in rejecting the ring. The Blood of Numenor is no matter which could have been the cause for was not Isildur, a true Numenorean from heart and by blood. You can instead say that he was indeed great and kind like the stewards of Gondor and a worthy Numenorean.

Being a Dunedain did not help Faramir. Sauron had used the Ring while in Numenor to make the people spazz out while he was there. If he could do that to so many Dunedain in their natural homeland then being Dunedan is not a prerequisite to resistance of the Ring. Some of the Nazgul used to be Dunedain themselves. Faramir's brother Boromir is also a Dunedan and the Ring effected him, the Ring effected Saruman, the Ring effected Isildur who was Aragorn's ancestor. He could not bring himself to destroy it when the time was ripe to do so. You can see that the Ring did effect Dunedain of various periods from the Royal house (Isildur, Ar-Pharazon) to the Steward's house (Boromir).

Your Answer

 
discard

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

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