Literature Study GuidesThe Lord Of The RingsThe Two Towers Book 4 Chapter 5 Summary

The Lord of the Rings | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings | The Two Towers (Book 4, Chapter 5) : The Window on the West | Summary

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Summary

Faramir returns from battle and questions Frodo more, especially about Isildur's Bane. Frodo tells him that Isildur's Bane, if it belongs to anyone, belongs to Aragorn as the heir of Elendil. This seems to be significant news to Faramir.

Then Faramir asks Frodo if he considers Boromir a friend, and would be sad to find out he was dead. Frodo says he would be sad, but then realizes Faramir is telling him Boromir is dead. Faramir says Boromir was his brother, and he believes him to be dead because of a strange dream he had in which the corpse of Boromir floated down the river in a strange boat. In addition, he'd heard the horn of Boromir sounding several days before, and the pieces of it had washed up on the bank of the Entwash River. Frodo realizes all of this must have happened just after he left the Fellowship.

Faramir, having curtailed his curiosity about Isildur's Bane so as not to speak more of it in front of his Men, takes Frodo aside and presses him for more information. He reveals he and Boromir are of the line of Stewards of Gondor—leaders who rule the land in the absence of a king. Boromir, for all his virtues, was ambitious, and may have resented that Aragorn might claim the kingship. Faramir, however, tells them he does not share this ambition.

Frodo and Sam are led to the place where Faramir's Men live. They must go blindfolded, because it is the law that any outsider who knows the way must be killed. But Gollum sneaks behind, following them.

Later, after dinner, Faramir, Frodo, and Sam again discuss matters, and Sam accidentally divulges that Isildur's Bane is the One Ring, and that Boromir had tried to take it by force. Frodo and Sam, afraid Faramir might try to take the Ring as well, get ready to defend themselves. But Faramir "show[s] his quality" by refusing to take the Ring, and by pledging to help Frodo and Sam in any way he can. Frodo is relieved.

Analysis

This chapter focuses on Faramir and his temptation. So far, both Gandalf and Galadriel have resisted temptation by refusing to take the Ring when it was offered or in their power to do so. Boromir was unable to hold out against the Ring's temptation. But when Faramir does find out about the Ring, he does not try to take it. Instead, he offers Frodo help. This is similar to the actions of Galadriel who helped Frodo on his quest after resisting the Ring's corrupting influence.

Like others that have some ancestry going back to the Númenóreans (Men of Númenór), Faramir has a prophetic vision of his brother, which gives him knowledge of Boromir's death. He sees a gray boat surrounded by a pale light, with Boromir lying in it—his horn missing and around his waist an Elven belt. Faramir knows it is a vision: "Dreamlike it was, and yet no dream." The influence of Númenóreans is also evident in Faramir's knowledge of lore about Isildur's Bane and other topics. Tolkien definitely paints the Men of Númenor as being more gifted, more intelligent, and more intuitive than other Men. Those with Númenórean blood tend to have gifts beyond those of average humans.

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