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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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The hobbits find themselves in the midst of a battle
between some men of Gondor and an army of Southrons,
men from the south who have come to join forces with the
evil Sauron. Tolkien takes this opportunity to make a point
about the tragedy of war. One of the Southrons falls dead
near Sam. In a sudden moment of insight, Sam wonders
about the man's name and whether he fought only because
he had been deceived or threatened by his leaders. Maybe,
Sam reflects, he would have preferred to stay home and
live in peace. Is Tolkien hinting that the common men in
the enemy's armies really aren't all that different from those
who fight on the side of good?

When the battle ends, the hobbits meet Faramir, who is
captain of the Gondor army and also Boromir's brother.
Compare this meeting with the one between Aragorn,
Legolas, and Gimli, and Eomer, captain of a group of
Riders of Rohan. Eomer was under orders to detain all
strangers; Faramir is ordered to kill them. But like Eomer,
Faramir tempers orders with his own judgment. Neither of
them is likely to give the excuse that he was only following
orders if he should ever do something wrong, just as so
many Nazis pleaded after World War II. Here, Tolkien
introduces another aspect of free will: you must be willing
to accept responsibility for your own actions and not
blindly follow another's orders if you think they're wrong.

Faramir also serves as a contrast to his brother. Unlike
Boromir, Faramir does not love war; his only purpose in
fighting is to protect the home he loves. Also, unlike the
proud Boromir, Faramir is not tempted to take the Ring.
He's wise enough to know that Sauron's evil power can't be
used to bring about good.

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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