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Ten Thousand Years Will Not Suffice  by Agape4Gondor 5 Review(s)
LarnerReviewed Chapter: 29 on 7/11/2010
Eavesdropping, is he? Poor Faramir!

SurgicalSteelReviewed Chapter: 29 on 11/16/2006
Oh, dear - poor Faramir...

French PonyReviewed Chapter: 29 on 7/13/2006
Ah, it's happened. Denethor has turned into his father. He's got the inconsistency, he's got the paranoia, he's got the snap judgement that refuses to let itself be swayed or mitigated by actually looking at the person being judged, in this case Faramir. But Denethor seems to be aware of this aspect of himself in a way that Ecthelion never was. He can see perfectly well that he is treating Faramir the way his own father treated him. He can see that it hurts Faramir and that it hurts him. And yet he keeps on behaving as his father did. I think that, ultimately, is what keeps Denethor from greatness. Had he struggled against his behavior patterns, or had he never been aware of what caused them in the first place, that would have been something different. But here, he is cruel to Faramir, recognizes that he is being so, recognizes why he is being so, and still neglects to do anything about it. That is a man who deserves what he has coming to him.

Author Reply: I think you have hit it on the nose here, French Pony. He will still be trying to not be his father's son, he will still be trying to change, but Faramir's actions (whether right or wrong) lead to tragedy - for they are viewed askance by his father and cause a deep rift. Again, we go back to the trust issue.

I sincerely wish it was different for my beloved Steward.

xiaoweisanReviewed Chapter: 29 on 7/4/2006
LOL. Why did my(our) sweet little Faramir suddenly grow into a young man?? He met an elf in the last chapter, and now he was fifteen! Moreover, the clash between Faramir and his bad-tempered father had begun. Denethor might not be a monster, but he was a terrible father to Faramir. In the first place, I cannot imagine any father with more sense than a donut would become angry just because his son asked about the purpose of a riding. Second, Denethor favored his first-born too much, and I find the unfairness is hard to tolerate. If my own father does that, I will simply ignore him and refuse to speak to him for at least one day.

Besides, it's really, really bad to have a parent who confuses CONTROL with LOVE. I never love Denethor, but tonight I am sick of him.

Author Reply: I was tempted to write every year of this age - but really have to cut off some parts. Life goes on and children grow up. Yes, Faramir is now 15 and in the service of Gondor. Once again, time will fly.

I am so very sad that you feel that way about Denethor - I have tried my best - but must be failing writing this miserably - if you are sick of Denethor.

His anger about Faramir's questioning is because he needs (due to his own upbringing) support from those he loves. Any questioning of his motives reduces him to Ecthelion's unloved, unaccepted, useless son. He has tried to overcome this - but he cannot. He thinks he has.

As for Boromir - the fate of Middle-earth (in Denethor's eyes) rests on Boromir. Unfortunately, one man cannot hold the entire world's destiny in his hands. It will be a task that is too great, even for Boromir.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 29 on 7/4/2006
Ah, now we're approaching more familiar territory. I always thought that the trouble between Denethor and Faramir would have started in his early-to-mid adolescence. The teenaged years are difficult enough for most kids, but it was there, as you write, that I saw two elements appear that would trouble Denethor, though they are not in themselves dangerous: 1. Faramir's independance of mind would surface and stay, he'd be starting to ask questions and think for himself instead of just assuming that his father is always right in everything - though he would not break the bounds of loyalty or fealty that he owed his father; 2. Mithrandir's relationship with Faramir (which I see as beginning somewhat earlier) would start to really bother Denethor - I see Mithrandir as taking pains not to alienate Faramir from his father, but liking the kid and seeing him for himself, a bright boy with an inquiring mind, not just as the Steward's second son, and Faramir would instinctively respond to the wizard, and learn what he had to teach (which would be mostly lore, old tales, languages) in Mithrandir's limited visits to Minas Tirith.

I meant to correct, or at least to append my review of your Author's Notes at least in my statement that Denethor was not a benevolent, kindly father to Faramir. I meant to say, or should have said, that I don't consider Denethor to have been a benevolent, loving father to Faramir when the entirety of Denethor's parental role is considered. At some point, Faramir has to have felt love from his father, and returned it - or else, he wouldn't have called on his father in his delirium, and his father's love (and withholding of that love in ROTK) wouldn't have mattered to Faramir at all - and we know that it did. I think Denethor cared for Faramir, and would have been a distant kindly presence in the boy's childhood. Perhaps they might have had a few years, when Boromir was spending more time with training and Faramir was still mostly a child, where Denethor exulted in his second son's intellect and took a little time to guide it.

But Denethor seems to me to have a fatal flaw that the Palantir over-usage exacerbated but did not create - he clings too tightly to the things and people he values, he will not share, those he loves must cleave to him alone - hence his dislike and jealousy of Thorongil because Ecthelion, and the people of Gondor, loved him. And that's why Faramir's listening to Mithrandir angers Denethor, despite Faramir's never evincing any disloyalty.

I don't see Denethor ever beating Faramir, though corporal punishment might have been an accepted means of parental discipline in Gondor, he would never have gone out of control with it. But I think Denethor consciously favored Boromir throughout his firstborn's life, and that Faramir was always a poor second in his father's eyes. And I do believe that Denethor verbally bullied Faramir, or at least frequently found unjustified fault with him (or exaggerated minimal faults), over a long period of time. (Tolkien also established that Denethor preferred, and expected, total obedience to his will, and I see Faramir as someone who might have occasionally disagreed with his father - and been verbally pecked and gutted for it) But Faramir himself is, emotionally, a very strong and resilient man, and developed strong emotional shields, control, and occasionally ways to verbally defend himself when it got too bad. However, it is noticeable in The Siege of Gondor chapter of ROTK, that Faramir is a bit nervous (he doesn't telegraph his emotions, it's only if you study his words that you see that slight nervousness "I hope I have not done ill"). And Denethor accuses Faramir of bearing himself "lowly" in Denethor's presence, which, since we never see Faramir skulk or stutter, I take to mean that Denethor had been picking on Faramir over a long period, and Faramir would hold himself aloof and that Denethor, super-perceptive as he was, could read the conflicts in his son's heart, especially since Faramir had probably conditioned himself not to disagree with his father unless it was absolutely neccessary.

One could go on for pages and pages debating and discussing Faramir and Denethor's relationship. You've done a good job in developing it here, and showing their similarities, and the roots of the eventual mess they're in in ROTK. (I also think that another reason for the conflict between them is that Denethor did not want an intellectual rival, and Faramir was probably the only man in Gondor who could be that rival).

But there never was doubt in my mind that Denethor had at least some love for Faramir, and that Faramir definitely loved his father. Denethor was not a monster, just a man really not cut out for single fatherhood and not very good at it, and someone also weighed down by greater responsibilities, and, sadly, by his own confusion of control with love.

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