When we fall in love it is good to have a friend to confide in. Faramir has never met Merry before but all his encounters with hobbits have been good ones and so he spends a whole day talking with him about Éowyn. Such a day will not have been a hardship to him but rather a delight. As Merry tells him the story of his ride with Éowyn to the Pelennor Fields the beautiful and mysterious woman that Faramir has just met in the Houses of Healing will take firmer shape in his imagination and when he learns of the moment when she stood between the Lord of the Nazgûl and Théoden’s broken body he will have been awed by her courage but not overawed for he would have done the same thing had he stood there in her place. And let us just mention Merry here also for in telling his story to one as wise and as gentle as Faramir he will have found a wholeness within himself in place of the confusion and sorrow of battle that is a great gift. True listening, as Merry finds in Faramir in this day is something that we rarely meet.
So it is in the days that follow when Éowyn and Faramir meet together and talk long as they walk or sit in the garden that the burden of sorrow that they both carry begins to be lifted from both of them. For Faramir this is his hope; for Éowyn a surprise.
It is the Warden of the house who notices this for being one who takes pleasure in all healing he perceives it when he sees it.
But what kind of healing is this? Is it merely the easing of private pain before the inevitable falling of night? If that is so then there is little difference between the comfort that Éowyn and Faramir give to each other than the stories that we hear of Death Camp guards comforting crying children as they escorted them to their murder in the gas chambers. Of course neither Faramir nor Éowyn wish to do one another harm as the guards did in carrying out their orders but the comfort in both cases would be merely an easing of pain before the same inexorable end.
I would argue that something quite different happens as Faramir and Éowyn talk together. All true encounters with goodness are healing because they connect us with a reality that is deeper than whether we emerge from something in triumph or failure, even than whether we live or die. In encountering true goodness we realise that we have met something that transcends such things and in falling in love we sense that this transcendence is profoundly personal. Goodness, Truth and Beauty are not simply ‘out there’ to be admired but lie within, both within the one who loves and in the beloved, centre to centre, subject to subject. When this happens we may not stop to reflect on it, unless such reflection is our normal practice, but we most certainly feel it. The feeling of wholeness and glorious aliveness that we experience when we fall in love is for most of us the most profound thing that we shall ever know.
Of course many will mistake the experience of falling in love with that to which the experience points, the union that lies beyond all things. Mistaking this they will seek the experience over and over again looking for something that is somehow more true, hoping that the next time they fall in love it will be ‘the real thing’. And some will believe that it is the sexual experience that is so glorious a part of the experience of falling in love that is the best reality that they can know and so will pursue the best of this that they can find. I do not think that this will be Éowyn and Faramir’s experience. Even now in the Houses of Healing they know the healing power of falling in love but I believe that they will continue the difficult yet wonderful journey towards true union that marriage gives us. That is, of course, when they realise that this is what they both really want!
Image by Anke Eismann from anke.edoras-art.de
10 thoughts on “Faramir and Éowyn Begin to Fall in Love and the Healing That This Brings.”
I was struck in reading this whole chapter recently that there is with both characters the necessity of a self-settling before the love can become love. This is especially true of Éowyn from the narrator’s perspective, but I suspect it is no less true of Faramir, whose entire world has shifted.
I am sure that you are right when you speak of “a self-settling” in both Éowyn and Faramir. Is it a mark of maturity on the part of Faramir that he knows what he wants? “It would ease my care…” he tells Éowyn. I think too of the way in which he arrays Éowyn in a mantle that once belonged to his mother. Of course such an action is open to a Freudian interpretation but I think that this would be crass. Of course Faramir has a memory of his mother as a comforter (just as Tolkien did) but how else could he know the deep quiet as Psalm 131 expressses it? I just checked that reference in Bible Hub and came across a wonderful quote there from George Herbert. “If goodness lead him not then weariness may toss him to God’s breast”. I think that Faramir knows what he seeks even if it is only a fleeting joy. I remember my first date with my wife which involved a long walk in the hills at Midsummer when the light lingers long into the night and how I knew that if that if that were the sum of my connection to her that I would have received a gift from our talking and walking together that would nourish me thereafter. Of course eros has to be thoroughly leavened by agape and it has been but we are into the second quarter century of our relationship with each other and I am still learning how eros, agape, and philia too, nourish each other.
Beautiful thoughts. Something I needed today 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this and letting me know. I am glad that what I wrote was of help. God bless you ☺
I always love that chapter about eowyn and faramir falling in love and what everyone thinks about their “fast” bonding. I even started a fanfic on it. Your essay seeks to address many interesting thoughts about love and tough times for both. Thank you.
Thank you so much for sharing this and for leaving your first comment on this blog. I do hope that you visit again. Éowyn and Faramir meet and fall in love in wartime. That often makes matters of the heart move faster!
Lovely as usual. I’d never stopped to think before that Faramir is the only Man outside the Fellowship who had a relationship with all four hobbits. And the only one whose name made it into a Shire family tree. I do like that ‘Faramir’ Took married ‘Goldilocks’ Gardner.
Thank you so much for reminding me of the way in which the hobbits make Faramir a tangible part of Shire history. Pippin adored Faramir from the first time he met him.
Beautiful. I agree with your interpretation.
You don’t have to merely ‘believe’, though, that they continue to invest fully in their relation and become united in marriage, we are told this directly in the appendixes, and also that they have children (a son if I’m not mistaken?).
Thank you so much for leaving this comment on my blog, Mary. It is a while since I wrote this post and I wonder now why I wrote that about ‘believing’. Perhaps I was trying to stay in the ‘now’ of the beginning of their relationship but I don’t think that I expressed myself very well.
Please do visit again if you are able. I would like to know what you make of other things that I have written.