Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I just wanted to explore the character of Denethor a little bit. He is not a very easy character to like, and I hate the way he treats Faramir, but is it really all his fault? Does he create the maddness in himself, or does Sauron plant it there with the palantir? Maybe both?


Radagast said...

I think it could be a bit of both. He was said to be a wise ruler and we can't argue that he wants anything but the best for Gondor. So, he really was trying to do good, but his methods ended up being bad. I do think it was Sauron or Sarumon who really caused him to go downhill. He was looking in the palantir to be able to learn the enemies plans and better protect his people, but this was a drastic mistake. I belive Sauron/Sarumon (I don't know who it was) was allowing Denethor to believe he had control of the palantir, but Sauron/Saruman was really only letting him see what he wanted Denethor to see. I think he showed him all of the battle and ruin that was coming. With this in his mind, it's no wonder Denethor lost all hope. I think we all would. So, it is Denethor's fault for looking and not really being able to handle the palantir, but it was also Sauron/Saruman corrupting Denethor.

Also, I realize nothing of what I just said has anything to do with Denethor's treatment of Faramir which just drives me crazy! I don't have any good explanation for that so if anyone else does, I'd be happy to hear it!

Aredhel said...

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here...I've always hated Denethor. Literally despised him. But after reading about him in The Return of the King, I honestly think my view of him was skewed by the movies. In the movies Denethor comes of as useless, hopeless, mean, gluttonous, and a bad father. In the books Denethor actually does possess several of these characteristics (i.e. mean and hopeless), but Tolkien also portrays him as a noble man with the blood of Numenor in his veins.

Denethor was a strong ruler and sought the best for Gondor. But his lust for power and insight into the Enemy's plan caused him to surrender to the temptation of the Palantir. But this seems to be a common theme: Pippin looks into the Palantir, but we still love him. And Isildur did not destroy the Ring when he had the chance, but we still see Isildur as a noble son of Numenor before we view him as a man to weak to destroy evil. Denethor's actions have extremely severe consequences and I am in no way condoning what he does, but maybe we shouldn't be so harsh on him.

One thing I do find unforgivable, however, is the way he treats Faramir. No father should so blatantly favor one child over another. But...I would venture to guess that almost every parent has a favorite child. Hopefully they don't make it so obvious as Denethor. But I think, in Denethor's eyes at least, Boromir was exactly what Gondor needed at the time: a bold and fearless general. Denethor viewed Faramir as too much of a scholar, a "wizard's pupil," and probably Denethor felt somewhat betrayed by Faramir's devotion to Mithrandir. At the end of his life, however, Denethor realizes the worth of his youngest son and mourns the fact that he pushed his son away for so long.