Alternity! A Lord of the Rings counterfactual

Electronics Arts released last week a video game based on the Return of the King film, with voice-overs done by the trilogy’s cast and a liberal sprinkling of film footage from the three films bridging the gaps between missions. As with a DVD, there are bonus films that can be unlocked, and earlier this evening, as a reward for finishing the game, taking the One Ring to Mount Doom and casting Gollum into the fires, I earned several interviews (with David Wenham and Andy Sirkis) and the ability to replay the game with additional characters (Faramir, Merry, and Pippin). The Wenham interview was interesting, for he made a point little noted in the films, that Faramir had the vision that brought Boromir to Rivendell, that had circumstances been different, it might’ve been Faramir that joined the Fellowship, that accompanied the Ring as it moved south toward Mordor, that walked the Paths of the Dead.

So, I started up the Paths of the Dead mission, with Faramir as my avatar.

I had thought that Faramir would simply replace Aragorn in the party, with the other members Legolas and Gimli. But, no. Curiously, it is Gimli that Faramir replaces; he walks through the haunted mountain and battles an army of the dead alongside Aragorn and Legolas.

Had it been Faramir that had gone to Rivendell, might it be that Gimli, not Faramir, would have fallen in the ambush at Amon Hen? The implications of such a happening are remarkable. The relationship between Aragorn, Faramir, and Eowyn might have been far more complicated had Faramir and Eowyn met at Edoras and survived Helm’s Deep. The Dwarves would have never settled in the Glittering Caves. Might Boromir have been the one to discover Frodo and Sam in Ithilien, and what consequences might this have had for their mission?

It’s worth pondering. The whole of The Lord of the Rings would have been thrown into upheaval, and all because Faramir replaces Gimli on the Path of the Dead.

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