The Return of the King
How we cite our quotes:
Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. "My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?"
"Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!" said Aragorn. "You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return."
"I will, lord," said Faramir. "For who would lie idle when the king has returned." (5.8.73-5)
We don't mean to sound cynical, but this is awfully convenient. Both Boromir and Denethor, the two proudest members of the line of Stewards of Gondor, have managed to die. So the only member of the family of Stewards left when Aragorn enters the City is humble and gentle Faramir, who will never protest Aragorn's claim to the throne. What's more, even if he were inclined to protest, he now owes his life to the healing hands of Aragorn. The moment he opens his eyes after his illness, his eyes are filled with "a light of knowledge and love" for Aragorn. Faramir welcomes Aragorn with open arms. So the passing of the office of the Steward of Gondor to Faramir is not only a good thing for the anti-Sauron crowd; it is also highly convenient for Aragorn, since it smoothes over any problems of transition of power between the Stewards and the new King.
"For upon [the Paths of the Dead] I was put to shame: Gimli Glóin's son, who had deemed himself more tough than Men, and hardier under earth than any Elf. But neither did I prove; and I was held to the road only by the will of Aragorn."
"And by the love of him also," said Legolas. "For all those who come to know him come to love him after his own fashion, even the cold maiden of the Rohirrim." (5.9.25-6)
When Gimli confesses his utter terror in the Paths of the Dead, it's Legolas who tells him that what kept Gimli going was love of Aragorn. Aragorn's great leadership ability is not just that he is a clever strategist or a brave guy. It's also that he has this charisma that inspires people to love him, and to follow him out of that love. Faramir, too, inspires love in his followers. How else can we explain the devotion of Beregond, who willingly draws his sword on his fellow Guards in order to save his hero? This pattern raises the question: is love the foundation or result of leadership skills? And what kind of love is there between a leader and his or her followers—romantic, familial, something else?
Sam shuddered and tried to force himself to move. […] He listened; and as he did a gleam of hope came to him. There could not be much doubt: there was fighting in the tower, the orcs must be at war among themselves, Shagrat and Gorbag had come to blows. Faint as was the hope that his guess brought him, it was enough to rouse him. There might be just a chance. His love for Frodo rose above all other thoughts, and forgetting his peril he cried aloud: "I'm coming Mr. Frodo!" (6.1.10)
If there's one thing we're sure of when it comes to Sam, it's that this dude loves Frodo. Honestly, it seems like that love totally defines him. What's so great about this is that his devotion helps to protect Sam from any desire to steal the Ring from Frodo. He is so all about Frodo that he doesn't even give a thought to his own danger in this scene; all he can think of is storming the orc tower so that he can find his captured friend. If love is what protects Sam from the Ring and what drives him to help Frodo finish the quest—in other words, if love leads to all of these important triumphs for the side of Good—then do you think love might be moral value or virtue in and of itself? What is the relationship between love and ethics in the Lord of the Rings series? How does love lead individuals to behave morally? Are there examples in which love is also the basis of immoral action, too?