I've just reached the part of The Two Towers where Faramir makes his first appearance. I know I will be able to judge for myself soon enough, but even with the cursory glance I've gotten of Faramir, I'm a bit surprised by what I have seen, and more than a little annoyed at the films. In the films, Faramir is a bit sulky and weak-willed, quick to try to seize the Ring, slow to trust Frodo, desperate to please his father, and far too willing to hang his head in shame when his father scolds him, like a beaten dog.
In the brief initial encounter I've just had with him in the book (although it took place in less than two pages), he is nothing of the sort! He is confident, capable, gives Frodo the benefit of the doubt rather quickly, and shows him a significant degree of guarded, wary trust almost as soon as Frodo proves that he knew Boromir.
This Faramir is nothing like the one I know from the movies. I have thus far been inclined to forgive Peter Jackson for his alterations and dramatic liberties, but I have an uneasy feeling that he sullied the good name of a noble and virtuous character. I say this despite the fact that since I first saw the films, I have always thought Faramir a far better man than his brother Boromir... And so did Frodo:
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
Is my initial impression correct? Are the depictions of Faramir in the books and the movies, respectively, really as contradictory as I fear they are? If so, why?