Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MEC Day 19: Least Favorite Character

"Where is he? Where is Gondor's finest? Where is my firstborn?

Least favorite character... not surprising...


Steward of Gondor, father of Boromir and Farmir, winner of worst parenting award, etc. Denethor is a selfish, selfish man and more than worthy of this post. Shall we list the reasons we dislike Denethor so much? Yes, yes. I think we shall.

1. He plays favorites

Although he has two sons, two wonderful sons, Denethor clearly shows everyone whom he likes better. Boromir is his eldest and that earned him the right to be held in the greatest of honor. Faramir is the second son and youngest, and it was his birth that ended the life of his mother, Denethor's wife. In Denethor's eyes, Boromir can do nothing wrong, and it is he whom Denethor sends after the Ring.

2. He's all about himself

When Faramir pulls his men out of Osgiliath to preserve them after the orcs attack, does Denethor applaud his son for saving the lives of those men? No! All he can think about is the image that Faramir gives him as a father. 

Denethor: Always you cast a poor reflection on me.

Then, when Faramir comes back, supposedly dead, Denethor decides that his life is over, too. Why not? The city's going under anyway with Mordor attacking. It's better for him to die in honor, on a pyre like the kings of old, than to fall to an enemy. What more selfish act could there be than suicide, which is basically what Denethor decides?

3. He despises Faramir

Sure, perhaps Faramir was the reason his wife died, but why must that be reason enough for such hate? Especially hate for your own son, who works night and day to prove himself worthy of your love? Ugh. Denethor's exact feelings for Faramir are summed up in the following conversation:

What kind of father wishes that???

4. He's inconsiderate

Osigiliath lies under the thumb of Mordor, overrun with orcs, and what does Denethor do? Order Faramir, who just barely escaped with his hide running from that garrison, to go back into the fray! 

Denethor: I will not yield the River and Pelennor to be unfought. Osgiliath must be retaken.

Again, simply thinking about his own status! The retreat from Osgiliath was a failure in his eyes, and he cannot have people thinking it was one!

He cares nothing for Faramir, whether if he lives or dies, only that his image and his perfect kingdom remain intact. Boromir, his favorite son, is gone? What else does he have to live for? Why not send a troop of horsemen to their deaths? I mean, they won't be needed in the oncoming fight. No, not at all. *fetches a rag to clean the sarcasm dripping off the computer screen*

5. He's indelicate

Isn't that a cool word? Indelicate? I like that word, and boy, is it a good one for Denethor! Sure, you could stick a whole bunch of words here, but I chose this one. After sending Faramir and his men to their deaths, does Denethor wait in anxiety for news of them? Their return, their victory? No way! What does he do? He sits down to lunch!

Anyone who has watched this scene knows exactly what I'm talking about. I can never think of cherry tomatoes in the same way again. Horribly indelicate and cruel of Denethor.

6. He's a coward

The forces of Mordor surround his city, and he bellows at his men, telling them to drop shivering in fear upon the ground! Some commander!

Thank you, Gandalf; your staff was much appreciated.

7. He refuses aid

War is upon the doorstep of Gondor, and Gandalf begs Denethor to light the beacons and call for aid from Rohan. But why should Denethor stoop to ask for help? And especially from one whom he knows is friends with the real king? What is Theoden and Rohan to him? Why should he expect help from them? It's not as if he wants to help them in return.

8. He's too accustomed to his seat

Aragorn, the true king of Gondor, is coming home! And what is Denethor's response?

Denethor: You think you are wise, Mithrandir. Yet for all your subtleties, you have not wisdom. Do you think the eyes of the White Tower are blind? I have seen more than you know. With your left hand you would use me as a shield aganist Mordor, and with your right you would seek to supplant me! I know who rides with Theoden of Rohan. Word has reached my ears of this Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and I tell you now, I will not bow to this Ranger from the North, last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship!

Gandalf: Authority is not given you to deny the return of the king, Steward!

Denethor: The rule of Gondor is mine! And no others'!

Does he even know what the word steward means? Ugh. He's just plain awful.

I should stop now before I start really raving. 

For more details about the 30 Day Middle-Earth Challenge, please visit here!



  1. Och, I know what you mean about the cheery tomato scene. Good grief! Who eats tomatoes that way? And the way he treats Pippin, whose life was saved by Boromir, and who had just witnessed him sending his remaining son off to certain death - "Why should your songs be unfit for my Halls? Come, sing me a song." He didn't want music. He just liked to feel the power he had over others.

    One think I really like that Tolkien did with Denethor and Theoden, was make them counter-point to each other. Both were rulers of great countries, aged warriors, who had lost sons. Both suffered from a touch of madness brought on by that loss. But while Theoden responded to the grace that came to him through Gandalf, and became a great ruler once again, Denethor hugged his bitterness to himself, turned to darkness, and died miserably. One is a great hero, whose praises would be sung for as long as his kingdom endured. The other, a dark spot in history, best forgotten.

  2. *shudder* Ugh, Denethor. Very good "review" of him. I always want to "punch his head" as Digory puts it in that scene where he is so awful to Faramir. Blech.

  3. I think the movie's portrayal of Denthor was a mistake by peter jackson. In the books denethor wasn't anywhere near as mean as he was in the movies.