Few first meetings could be more dramatic. When Pippin first sees Faramir he is standing on the walls of Minas Tirith with Beregond looking over the unnaturally darkened fields beneath him towards the great river. Faramir is riding with four companions towards the city when they are attacked by five of the Nazgûl from the sky. Faramir is able to master his horse even amidst such terror but the others are not able to do so. They are thrown by their maddened horses who flee for their lives. Bravely, Faramir returns to aid his men but despite his courage all would have ended tragically had it not been for Gandalf’s intervention. Revealed in light, Gandalf rides to their aid and is able to drive the Nazgûl away and together all return safely to the city. Faramir’s men will never forget that he went back to them.
Pippin is among the crowd that greets the heroes calling out their names. He looks upon Faramir’s face and sees it as the face of “one who has been assailed by a great fear or anguish, but has mastered it and now is quiet”. He is reminded immediately of Boromir who he had always liked for his “lordly but kindly manner” but in Faramir he sees something more, “one of the Kings of Men born into a later time, but touched with the wisdom and sadness of the Elder Race” and his heart goes out to him. Pippin knows that Faramir is one that he would be prepared to followed even under the wings of the Nazgûl.
Last week we thought together about the great masculine archetypes of king, magician, warrior and lover and the role that they play in the journey towards wholeness and maturity. We saw that the least developed of these in Pippin is the magician. The immature boy magician is usually expressed as the trickster and we have certainly seen that in him. He needs Gandalf at this point in his life if he is to grow up. But now we see the most developed of the archetypes within him. Pippin is a lover and from this moment onwards Faramir is the object of his love and devotion.
The ancients knew that eros is the energy of life and the Fathers of the Church were to take that insight and develop it in their wonderful reflections on God and reality at a time when theology was mysticism and mysticism was theology. Occasionally we see an elder in whom eros is wonderfully alive but sadly we often see its absence in a barrenness or its twisted presence in the well known caricature of the “dirty old man”. When it is mature and alive it is seen in a profound love for life, in a compassion that reaches out to all and a warmth, even a fire, that transforms everything about it. How wonderful it is when we encounter an elder like this.
Readers may have noticed that I have said nothing here about sex and the lover. Of course eros is profoundly connected to sex but not primarily to sexual intercourse. When the two become interchangeably one we are left with a destructive immaturity. Eros is reduced to sexual conquest and the Other, whether male or female, merely to the object of conquest. This is usually linked to the immature bullying warrior archetype.
The mature expression of eros is a wild desire for the blessedness of the Other.
So when we say that Pippin loves Faramir, and he does love him, we do not mean that Pippin wanted to go to bed with Faramir. What we mean is that Pippin wishes with all his heart to be the cause of blessing in Faramir and to be blessed by him. Quite simply he would die for Faramir and regard it as gain. And soon Pippin will be able to show his love by saving Faramir’s life.
How vitally important it is that we learn eros in this way and that we teach it in this way to our young people. It is not only we who learn who will be transformed but the whole of reality too. All life will have a fruitful and a joyous energy about it.
2 thoughts on “Peregrin Took and Faramir of Gondor.”
Thanks so much for this post! One of the greatest lessons from the Red Book is how to love properly – Sam for Frodo, Frodo for all Middle-earth, the sacrificial love of Gandalf and Boromir, Faramir’s love for Aragorn, Aragorn’s love for Frodo (“if by my life or death…” and this to someone he just met) and for the people he serves either as Ranger or King. Pippin’s love saves Faramir so the man can love and save Eowyn. We so desperately need this love in the world, which only understands the shallowness of selfish sex and lust and calls it love, blind to the richness and depth of true love.
Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 🙂
Thank you, once again, for your thoughts here. I particularly liked your emphasis on the way in which, in each character, love is called forth for another and that this love brings life. Often the one who loves has no idea what his love will produce. I am so glad that you included Boromir in your list of lovers. His act of penance in laying down his life for Merry and Pippin is beautiful and the music composed by Howard Shore that is used in the scene of his death is spiritually insightful. It depicts, not an act of despair but a “good death”.
I would add one to your list simply because we have spoken of it recently and that is that Eówyn, at the darkest moment of her life, reaches out in kindness to Merry.
It is probably inevitable that many, when they read The Lord of the Rings or see the films will not be able to see beyond an ability to perceive life as a game in which one gains power over another. But perhaps each time they return to the story again a small seed will be planted each time they come across one of these stories of the giving of love. We can pray so.
Blessings be upon you as well.