Study Guide

Farid in Inkheart

By Cornelia Funke

Farid

Desert Dreamer

Farid emerges from a story within The Thousand and One Nights, though we don't know which one. When Mo reads him out, he's completely shell-shocked at first:

The boy was some three or four years older than Meggie. The turban around his head was dirty, his eyes dark with fear in his brown face. He blinked and rubbed them as if he could wipe it all away—the wrong picture, the wrong place. (18.40)

It's got to be really strange to suddenly find yourself surrounded by strangers and in a strange place. And Farid's only a kid too, which must make it all the more confounding, so it makes sense that the poor kid thinks he's in a dream at first, and that everyone around him is a devil or demon. In Elinor's car during their first getaway from Capricorn's village, he whispers to himself: "'It's a dream […] Only a dream. The sun will rise and it will all disappear. That's what it'll do'" (19.108). Yeah… keep telling yourself that, Farid.

The next morning, Meggie finally gets a good look at him:

Farid stood beside her, his eyes wide. Meggie noticed for the first time that they were almost black. She had never seen such dark eyes, and his lashes were as long as a girl's. (21.24)

That darkness in Farid's eyes isn't just a coincidence either—the kid takes a near immediate liking to Dustfinger and Gwin, and though that shows loyalty, Dustfinger himself thinks that Farid is "almost as bad as Basta. He wasn't afraid of curses, ladders, or black cats, but he saw ghosts everywhere […] Farid saw ghosts and other spirits, too, whole armies of them: malignant, all-powerful beings who tore the hearts out of poor mortal boys and ate them" (31.47). Interestingly, the main way Farid is like Basta is through their shared presumption that the world around them is evil. Bummer.

Really Resourceful

Farid is pretty mysterious for much of the book, until he tells Mo and Elinor that he's used to slinking into villages and new places because that's what his masters, the thieves, had him do routinely. He says:

Who'd be afraid of a thing young boy? I could sniff around everywhere without arousing suspicion. When did the guards change? Which was the best way of escape? Where did the richest man in the village live? If all went well they gave me enough to eat. If it didn't they beat me like a dog. (41.17)

He sounds pretty matter-of-fact about this, doesn't he? Like he's accepted his role. Importantly, we see him compared to a dog here… just like Basta so often is. (Check out Basta's analysis elsewhere in this section to really explore this comparison.)

So it's not that surprising then when, in the end, Farid chooses not to stay with Meggie, Mo, Resa, and Elinor, saying to Dustfinger, "I don't belong with them" (58.34). He follows Dustfinger into the night, walking behind him "like a second shadow" (58.39), and in doing so, continues to live on the outskirts of society—just like he did in the book he was read out of, and just like Basta.

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