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Boromir 3/5: Descent to the Fall
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Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 31, 11:30pm

Post #1 of 35 (2472 views)
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Boromir 3/5: Descent to the Fall Can't Post

Or snark to dark, in the vernacular?

The good soldier:


As they run from the bridge, Aragorn has taken the lead instead of Gandalf, and Boromir is again at the rear.


  • Does this show his willingness at this point to fall in with Aragorn’s leadership, or rather Boromir's knowledge of the best tactics under the circumstances, which would necessitate the best available warrior at the back in case of pursuit, and/or to be sure there are no stragglers?


Both Boromir and Aragorn forget to care for their wounded companions during the flight from Moria: “We have done nothing to ease you, as we ought, though all the orcs of Moria were after us. . . . Come Boromir! We will carry them."


  • Does this oversight show that Boromir is focused more on where they are going whether or not Aragorn is leading them correctly, or was it just an oversight due to their haste in getting away from a dangerous area?


Lorien the loadstone?
Wikipedia gives the following definition: Lodestones are naturally magnetized pieces of the mineral magnetite. They are naturally occurring magnets, which can attract iron. The property of magnetism was first discovered in antiquity through lodestones. Pieces of lodestone, suspended so they could turn, were the first magnetic compasses, and their importance to early navigation is indicated by the name lodestone, which in Middle English means "course stone" or "leading stone", from the now-obsolete meaning of lode as "journey, way”.

“'Indeed deep in the wood they dwell,' said Aragorn, and sighed as if some memory stirred in him.'We must fend for ourselves tonight. We will go forward a short way, until the trees are all about us, and then we will turn aside from the path and seek a place to rest.'

He stepped forward; but Boromir stood irresolute and did not follow."'Is there no other way?' he said.'"


Lothlorien does seem to be the catalyst for setting the course or at least leading towards the choice of course by various members of the Fellowship on their “journey or way" as it says in Wikipedia, above.
  • Is Lorien where Boromir will be both attracted and repelled by the various forces in play— including his own opinions and leanings—and set on on the track towards his own doom (In both the old and the new senses of the word)?

  • Is it telling here that Boromir for the first time is described as being "irresolute?"

"What other fairer way would you desire?" Said Aragorn.

"A plain road, though it led through a hedge of swords," said Boromir. “By strange paths has this Company been led, and so far to evil fortune. Against my will we passed under the shades of Moria, to our loss. And now we must enter the Golden Wood, you say. But of that perilous land we have heard in Gondor, and it is said that few come out who once go in; and of that few none have escaped unscathed."


"Say not unscathed, but if you say unchanged then maybe you will speak the truth. But lore wanes in Gondor, Boromir, if in the city of those who once were wise they now speak evil of Lothorién. Believe what you will, there is no other way for us— unless you would go back to Moria-gate, or scale the pathless mountains, or swim the Great River all alone."

"Then lead on!" Said Boromir. "But it is perilous."

  • Does this exchange show Boromir’s confidence in both Gandalf’s and now Aragorn's leadership is beginning to disintegrate?

  • Does it also show that he has reasons for his doubts, based on the fact that every time the fellowship went against his device disaster struck; and when they didn't follow his advice (for example, with the wood and the fire on Caradhras) things didn't go bunch better?

  • Does this also demonstrate arrogance, or at least provincialism and narrow-mindedness?

Encounter with Galadriel:

“‘But this I will say to you: your Quest stands on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true.’


And with that word she held them with her eyes, and in silence looked searchingly at each of them in turn. None save Legolas and Aragorn could long endure her glance. . . . At length the Lady Galadriel released them from her eyes, and she smiled.
"


And later: “‘To me it seemed exceedingly strange," said Boromir. "Maybe it was only a test, and she thought to read our thoughts for her own good purpose;’ But what he thought that the lady had offered him Boromir did not tell . . . .


Yes,’ said Frodo;but whatever came into my mind then I will keep there.


Well, have a care!’ Said Boromir. ‘I do not feel too sure of this Elvish Lady and her purposes.’


Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!’ said Aragorn sternly. ‘You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware!’"

  • Is this where Boromir's crumbling confidence in the words of Elrond, Gandalf, Aragorn now leads not only to doubt but to suspicion?


  • Is this also where Boromir really begins to go off on his own, keep his own counsel, and begin to make at least inwardly independent decisions?


  • Does this progression now leave him wide open to temptation by the Ring?


Decisions upon leaving Lórien:


At the beginning of the farewell to Lórien chapter, Galadriel gathers them, does her mind-reading-through-the-eyes procedure, and then states that they all are resolved to go on, rather than stay in Lórien.


There is something of a debate/discussion which hits at the crux of the problem that will come to fruition at Amon Hen—whether all of them should to go to Gondor, or whether they should split up with some going with Boromir to Minas Tirith, and Frodo and possibly some others going on the other side of the river to Mordor. No decision is reached, and Celeborn provides them with the boats that will enable them to delay the choice till the last moment.

Boromir states his intention of going on to Gondor, and then pushes it a little farther: "If my advice is heeded, it will be the western shore, and the way to Minas Tirith," answered Boromir. "But I am not the leader of the company."


  • Does this again show his doubt of the current and previous leadership? And does his opinion that everyone should go to Gondor reveal that he isn't now, and possibly never was, convinced that the ring should go to Mordor instead of being used on behalf of Gondor and the West?

At the end of this section, Galadriel makes the statement that perhaps the paths that each of them will eventually take are “already laid" before their feet even though they could not see those paths at present.


  • Does this mean that Boromir is “fated” to fall through temptation and into action and try to take the Ring, or is it that the paths maybe already laid, but it is the choice of each member of the Fellowship whether or not to embark? (The old debate between fate and free will, yet again.)

Further debate, followed by rather chilling statement/soliloquy:

Instead of following Galadriel’s advice to get some sleep and not to "trouble [their] hearts overmuch with the thought of the road tonight," the Fellowship continues to debate what they should do--and to me this is telling--“how it would be best to attempt the fulfilling of their purpose with the Ring.” I'm guessing it's eight against one here as far as what that purpose might be, but probably at least five (with Aragorn abstaining) against two as to where to go next, even if if Mordor is to be eventually attempted.



Boromir: “’I shall go to Minas Tirith, alone if need be, for it is my duty,said Boromir; and after that he was silent for a while, sitting with his eyes fixed on Frodo, as if he was trying to read the Halfling’s thoughts. At length he spoke again, softly, as if he was debating with himself. ‘If you wish only to destroy the Ring,” he said, 'then there is little use in war and weapons; and the Men of Minas Tirith cannot help. But if you wish to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw away.' He paused suddenly, as if he had become aware that he was speaking his thoughts aloud. 'It would be folly to throw lives away, I mean,' he ended . . . .”

Frodo is very suspicious, and wonders if Boromir has gone back on his acceptance of the need to destroy the Ring.

  • What might have brought Boromir to this point? Was he waffling up till now, or did he start off from Rivendell having fully excepted the need to destroy the ring, Or had had he never actually accepted the need to do so?

  • Is it another possibility is that he had actually believed that he had convinced himself of the need to destroy the Ring, but deep inside he still held his original opinion, and when push came to shove and especially when decision time was at hand, he reverted to his original thinking.

  • What might have brought Boromir to this point? Was he waffling up till now, or did he start off from Rivendell having fully accepted the need to destroy the Ring, or had had he never actually accepted the need to do so?

  • How much might his continuous exposure to the Ring after such a long period of time have influenced his behavior here?

Journey by boat:

They go on a trial run up the Silverlode with Aragorn in the lead. Boromir is once again rear-guarding hobbits.

  • Is that a decision of his own, or was it arranged by Aragorn, or was it more by default that he ended up with Merry and Pippin? (My computer just decided that this was Merry and Kevin. Bonus question: how may this have changed everything?!Wink)

  • Is this a foreshadowing by Tolkien and or Fate/the Valar, etc. Of his sacrifice on their behalf?

Boromir of the Council reappears:

After their farewell feast with Celeborn and Galadriel, Celeborn explains the topography they will encounter as they follow the river and he describes the land at the point where they will have to choose whether to split the company or to go on. He gives a warning about Fangorn, and Boromir replies that the stories he has heard about it amounted to no more than fairy-tales—a bit ironic since he's not only in one (in a sense), but has experienced things from Rivendell on that he most likely would have considered the same sort of”old wives tale" before he left Gondor.


Boromir goes on to describe his journey with the additional detail of the loss of his horse which explains more fully why it took so long, and why it was so harrowing. He concludes by saying that after all his experiences, he is very confident that he could make his way through pretty much anything.

  • Is this arrogance and boasting, or simply confidence based on his accomplishments?

  • Is this again indicating the practical man dismissing of the idea of the "supernatural"? If so, is it inconsistent that he believes in a"magic ring"?

The River journey:

Further is revealed about Boromir's state of mind as they travel along the river. Both Merry and Pippin we're very much aware that something was wrong: " . . . for Boromir sat muttering to himself, sometimes biting his nails, as if some restlessness or doubt consumed him, sometimes seizing a paddle and driving the boat close behind Aragorn's. Then Pippin, who sat in the bow looking back, caught a queer gleam in his eye, as he peered forward gazing at Frodo."

  • What is going on here?


  • This always seemed to me as if he was very seriously unraveling. How did he manage to pull himself together to appear at all normal once they landed?


Back to Boromir the good soldier with strategic and knowledgeable advice: “Hoy there Aragorn!" shouted Boromir, as his boat bumped into the leader."This is madness! We cannot dare the rapids by night! But no boat can live in Sarn Gebir, be it night or day."

  • Did the sudden emergency bring him back to himself temporarily?

  • Would this further erode his confidence in Aragorn's leadership?

Odd exchange:

“It was not a Balrog," said Frodo, still shivering with the chill that had come upon him." It was something colder. I think it was——" what do you think?" asked Boromir eagerly, leaning from his boat, as if he was trying to catch a glimpse of Frodo's face."

  • He seems to be spending a lot of time trying to read Frodo's mind. What was he after here?


Another argument:

The next morning after their encounter with the orcs on the bank, Boromir makes the assumption that there is no more debate necessary and they will all be going on to Minas Tirith.

  • Does this again say something about Boromir’s one track mind, or is it simply being sensible after the attack?

Aragorn points out that they have not yet agreed that they will all be going to Gondor, but Boromir seems to believe that current conditions make it impossible to do anything else.

The Battle of Who Knows More:

An argument similar to the debate between Caradhras vs. Moria begins, where Boromir points out the deadly danger of both the Orcs and the Falls, and Aragorn, like Gandalf, points out that there is danger the other way as well. Boromir delivers another snarky and/or humorous comment when he says, "What will you do then? Leap down the Falls and land in the marshes?" Aragorn proceeds to remind or possibly enlighten Boromir about some features of the area; one of them the high seat on Amon Hen which Aragorn is hoping will aid in his decision-making, and the other purely practical, the ancient portage way to Rauros.

  • Who wins the battle? Is it Aragorn because he gets his way or is it because he has proved more knowledgeable? Or despite that, is it a draw?

  • Can the following passage be seen as straightforward Boromir again, stalwart and faithful?

"Boromir held out long against this choice; but when it became plain that Frodo would follow Aragorn, wherever he went, he gave in. ‘It is not the way of the men of Minas Tirith to desert their friends at need," he said, and you will need my strength, if ever you are to reach the Tindrock. To the tall isle I will go, but no further. There I shall return to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship."

  • Is the fact that Frodo was determined to follow Aragorn the determining factor because of Boromir’s concern for and dedication to the Ringbearer, or is it because he doesn't want the Ring to go anywhere without him?

  • Is the possibly self-pitying comment at the end of the paragraph an echo of his comments at the Gates of Moria where he said something very similar about heading out alone if no one else will go with him.

  • This seems a rather consistent reaction on Boromir's part. What does this say about his character?

  • When Aragorn proposes a scouting expedition, the same argument continues as to which path is more dangerous. Boromir is nothing if not both consistent and persistent!

  • Is this just a continuation of his approach and just basic character, or is it now being driven at least somewhat by his desire for the Ring?


The debate is not yet over when Aragorn and Legolas return, with Boromir coming down heavily on the superiority of Men. To peek at the section for the next discussion installment—which I will not utter here—this belief in the superiority of Men as opposed to the other races did not seem to me very clear before, other than simply in terms of brute strength. But I think it here it is starting to reveal itself as a much broader and more deeply held belief.

  • Agree or disagree, or . . . ?


Gimli gets in a dig here, about the legs of Men lagging on a rough road while a Dwarf goes on. At the end of the portage when all of them were completely exhausted, Boromir delivers the punchline: "Well, here we are, and here we must pass another night," said Boromir." We need sleep, and even if Aragorn had a mind to pass the gates of Argonath by night, we are all too tired— except, no doubt, our sturdy Dwarf.”

  • Simple humor or more snark? I've always tended to lean more towards humor here, but it could be read two ways.

The weight of Numenor:

As they pass between the Argonath, “even Boromir bowed his head . . . under the enduring shadow of the sentinels of Numenor."

Practical, both-feet-on-the-ground Boromir still has the blood of his ancestors flowing through him. Is that what he is feeling here? Or is this reaction because he is not a descendant of the kings (especially in contrast with Aragorn's reaction here)?
This is a tragic journey (knowing what is to come) with the usual tapestry of ambiguity Tolkien loves to weave.

Looking forward to everyone's comments!



(This post was edited by dernwyn on Feb 1, 2:19am)


oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 1, 12:45am

Post #2 of 35 (2276 views)
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At the eaves of Lorien [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Does this show his willingness at this point to fall in with Aragorn’s leadership, or rather Boromir's knowledge of the best tactics under the circumstances, which would necessitate the best available warrior at the back in case of pursuit, and/or to be sure there are no stragglers?


Yes both. Boromir has worked well with Aragorn as a team. They led the retreat from Caradhras, fought wolves and orcs, and were ready to stand together against a Balrog. He's still hoping Aragorn will come to Minas Tirith. And he's serving as rear-guard to better protect the company.



Quote
Both Boromir and Aragorn forget to care for their wounded companions during the flight from Moria: “We have done nothing to ease you, as we ought, though all the orcs of Moria were after us. . . . Come Boromir! We will carry them."


Boromir has been mostly watching over Merry and Pippin. Aragorn watches over Frodo (and Sam who comes with the package). Sharp-eyes Legolas didn't notice either, nor Gimli, nor Merry and Pippin (their friends). Maybe Aragorn is looking to share the blame with the rest of the Company, not just Boromir? The first 'we' being the six, and the second 'we' the two men who can pick up the hobbits.




Quote
"Then lead on!" Said Boromir. "But it is perilous."

Does this exchange show Boromir’s confidence in both Gandalf’s and now Aragorn's leadership is beginning to disintegrate?

Does it also show that he has reasons for his doubts, based on the fact that every time the fellowship went against his device disaster struck; and when they didn't follow his advice (for example, with the wood and the fire on Caradhras) things didn't go bunch better?

Does this also demonstrate arrogance, or at least provincialism and narrow-mindedness?


Boromir journeyed to Rivendell and didn't indicate any discomfort with those Elves. He's been travelling with an Elf from Mirkwood. He's not suspicious or afraid of Elves in general, just Lorien. There must be truth in the tales about Lorien, even if it has been misinterpreted.

Gandalf's leadership appears to have ended badly, and Aragorn's plan to cross Caradhras nearly did. So, justifiable to question the Lorien visit.

As Aragorn points out, there is no other way to go. Tolkien is setting Boromir up. He will not leave Lorien unchanged.


Quote
'Perilous indeed,' said Aragorn, 'fair and perilous; but only evil need fear it, or those who bring some evil with them.'


Might be argued that 'evil' is within Boromir. But he need not be the source of the evil; the Ring is evil being brought with the Company. Is his fear, then, reasonable?

ps. Glad you solved your IT problem.


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***

(This post was edited by oliphaunt on Feb 1, 12:54am)


No One in Particular
Lorien


Feb 1, 2:48am

Post #3 of 35 (2259 views)
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Journey's end [In reply to] Can't Post

Does this mean that Boromir is “fated” to fall through temptation and into action and try to take the Ring, or is it that the paths maybe already laid, but it is the choice of each member of the Fellowship whether or not to embark? (The old debate between fate and free will, yet again.)
________________

Perhaps Boromir is fated to die at Parth Galen (Eru alone knows why). The free will enters in by way of choice; will he die in darkness betraying his companions, or will he die in light, gloriously overcoming his personal demons and the temptation of the ring? Either way, his journey ends on the borders of Gondor that he loved.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


Lissuin
Valinor


Feb 1, 5:04am

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Irresolute Boromir [In reply to] Can't Post

Boromir is most used to depending on his own skills and experience to keep himself safe. At the beginning of the journey, he was dealing with privations and dangers similar to what he'd already encountered as a soldier for Gondor many times, including fighting against orcs. These battles were probably outside in the open for the most part, familiar surroundings he knew how to navigate. He was not at all keen to go into an unfamiliar Moria underground and declared it, but easily reverted to dependable-soldier type in their fights with orcs. The Balrog, however,  was again a novel danger, and then Gandalf died in a most spectacular manner, shattering the confidence of all the company. Could we say that he'd almost reached his limit for too much dangerous novelty? 

I don't think it surprising that a man like Boromir would start to show nerves, though he wouldn't call it that.  "Reasonable" was how he'd describe his opinions, based on seeing life and his place in it as a dependable continuity of strict training and duty leading to his previous success at his job. But unexplored forests and mysterious elven queens who can read one's thoughts? Creeeepy! How easy, then, to dredge up old tales from the nursery or campfire about perilous encounters with "those" elves by unwary travelers. If one's own experience does not include something, it's all too common for humans to search for and cling to any old story or rumour that has been passed down, however unreliable they may actually be. "Someone said it! It must be true. I'll go with this."

Boromir's confidence in his ability to read and command the situation is shattering, and this big, brave warrior is scared of that. They all are, of course. This is how it's showing up in him, and "Can I really trust this team?" is crossing his mind.

Later:
"There I shall return to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship."
A miffed Boromir lays on an undisguised guilt trip trying to sway some in the company to go to Gondor - with the Ring, preferably.


oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 1, 12:00pm

Post #5 of 35 (2200 views)
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Under the Canopy [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Does this exchange show Boromir’s confidence in both Gandalf’s and now Aragorn's leadership is beginning to disintegrate?


When the Company meets with Galadriel and Celeborn, Celeborn says

Quote
And if it were possible, one would say that at the last Gandalf fell from wisdom into folly, going needlessly into the net of Moria.


If even Celeborn questions Gandalf's decisions, can Boromoir be faulted for the same?


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***


noWizardme
Half-elven


Feb 1, 1:03pm

Post #6 of 35 (2186 views)
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Proper gnomic, eh? [In reply to] Can't Post

When the Fellowship are about to retire for their last night before departure Galadriel says:

Quote
Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them.

What does that mean?
I liked the idea that Boromir migh still have some choices No One In Particular- so maybe he can no longer avoid death on the borders of Gondor, or attempting to take the Ring (or some other formulation). But he might have choices surrounding that - e.g. what happens after his fated attempt to take the Ring fails: does he try again, run away, or try to make amends?

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Feb 1, 1:28pm

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"your Quest stands on the edge of a knife" [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow what a buffet of ideas to help ourselves to, ED!

Rather than load my plate too greedily, I'll try just this one for now (Galadriel speaking):


Quote
‘But this I will say to you: your Quest stands on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true.’


I have previously assumed that the 'knife edge' is whether Boromir tries to take the Ring. It is a reasonable assumption. If I recall, it is one that PJ's script writers make explicit, and that may help to make it a popular assumption.

But it is an assumption. Might other interpretations be interesting?


It is easy to think of other 'knife edges' ahead, whether or not Boromir's attemot on the Ring is one of them. I'll offer Frodo on Amon Hen, The Taming of Smeagol, Frodo's choice to save Smeagol from the Forbidden Pool and The Choices of Master Samwise. There could of course be more, and maybe not everyone agrees with my suggestions. But those stand out to me because Tolkien choses to write them in such a way that we see the character's struggle (and sometimes how they have a moment of clarity amid the alternatives being suggested to them - in a very literal way in the treatment of Frodo on Amon Hen). From memory (though maybe I should wait to re-read!) I think the treatment of Boromir's decision is different. Perhaps that is a thing to consider.


Back to the present chapters: I'm recalling oliphaunt last section saying rightly that Boromir could argue that if 'your Quest' means the destruction of the Ring, then that isn't 'my Quest'. Boromitr's quest is arguably to 'seek for the sword that is broken'. Having found it he is trying to bring it back to Gondor. That has become very complicated and mixed up with the destruction of the Ring; but Boromir might perfectly fairly feel he should leave the destruction of the Ring to others, and get on with his assigned task.

But he does depend on Aragorn coming to the same conclusion. Aragorn is indecisive, and so in that way Boromir's quest also 'stands on the edge of a knife''.


And about doing your own task and trusting in 'Company' to do the other tasks: After the Mirror viewing, Galadriel and Frodo discuss that Lorien is doomed whether Frodo succeeds or fails. Then Galadriel says to Frodo:

Quote
For the fate of Lothlórien you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task


I wonder whether she might have said something similar to Boromir or Aragorn about their choices? (e.g. to Aragorn: 'For the fate of Frodo's quest you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task'.)

And in the end is Galadriel correct about 'Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all.' - does the quest (or do the quests, plural) fall of the knife(s) with all the unexpected and unnintended things that happen, and if they did, does it matter?

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Feb 1, 1:37pm

Post #8 of 35 (2187 views)
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Wanna boost: "Tolkien is setting Boromir up. He will not leave Lorien unchanged. " [In reply to] Can't Post

An interesting point, I think! Heart

And (related) should we Compare...


Quote
This is an evil door,’ said Halbarad, ‘and my death lies beyond it. I will dare to pass it nonetheless


That is, is Boromir capable of any such premonitions about his own fate or about other consequences of this change?

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 1, 3:43pm

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Practical Boromir [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, loads to consider, Ethel!

We've established previously that Boromir is a practical man of war, and many of his actions and responses to actions stem from this IMHO - including his reaction to Lórien. Lórien is not a normal place; time moves differently, it's isolated from the outside world and ruled by a myth. Galadriel is as old as Middle-earth and even the non-bookish Boromir must have heard stories about the Elves in the First Age (like we hear stories about King Arthur, and argue about whether he was real or a myth). I think it's entirely in character then for him to fear what Lórien might hold, and that fear will inform his meeting with Galadriel and, I suspect, resistance to her mind-reading (which let's face it, is really quite invasive!)

And then later, even though Lórien has changed him, his practical nature still wins out when it comes to the big decisions such as Sarn Gebir. When he's being active he doesn't have time to brood. Sitting in the boat with Merry and Pippin gives him way too much time to think about what the Ring could do for Minas Tirith.

Storm clouds

(This post was edited by Eledhwen on Feb 1, 3:44pm)


Asger
Rivendell


Feb 1, 4:50pm

Post #10 of 35 (2170 views)
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Well, he’s a dunadan… [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That is, is Boromir capable of any such premonitions about his own fate or about other consequences of this change?


Even if he’s not of the royal male line his ancestors as high nobles of Gondor must have intermarried with roalty, so he has some elvish blood (as I guess the majority of Dunedain has, nobles or not, after 3000 years), so premonitions might come to him. Did he not share the dream about Imladris with Faramir..?

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo
www.willy-centret.dk


oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 1, 5:19pm

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Chat with Galadriel [In reply to] Can't Post

Encounter with Galadriel:

Quote

‘To me it seemed exceedingly strange,' said Boromir. 'Maybe it was only a test, and she thought to read our thoughts for her own good purpose; but almost I should have said that she was tempting us, and offering what she pretended to have the power to give. It need not be said that I refused to listen. The Men of Minas Tirith are true to their word.'



The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

Is it just me, or does it seem like Boromir is copying Celeborn's words? Compare

Quote
"but almost I should have said"


with

Quote
"And if it were possible, one would say."





Quote
Is this also where Boromir really begins to go off on his own, keep his own counsel, and begin to make at least inwardly independent decisions?

Does this progression now leave him wide open to temptation by the Ring?


and from noWiz:


Quote
When the Fellowship are about to retire for their last night before departure Galadriel says:

Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them.

What does that mean?


Is Boromir led on his path by the Ring, and does Galadriel have foresight? Does this mean that Boromir is not free to make choices? Or that he is free but has already chosen and is on a path that will lead to his fall, his redemption, and his death. Galadriel better comprehends Boromir's mind that Boromir does himself.


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***

(This post was edited by oliphaunt on Feb 1, 5:21pm)


oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 1, 5:52pm

Post #12 of 35 (2156 views)
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Fate? [In reply to] Can't Post


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Does this mean that Boromir is “fated” to fall through temptation and into action and try to take the Ring, or is it that the paths maybe already laid, but it is the choice of each member of the Fellowship whether or not to embark? (The old debate between fate and free will, yet again.)


Well, he's 'fated' by the author!

I think he has free will and can 'choose' to heed the Ring. And Galadriel suspects he has already chosen to do that but is unaware of the choice. Even if 'choice' is compelled by the overwhelming power of the Ring, it is still his choice. Having free will does not mean freedom from outside influences, or that there is even a desirable path is available.


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oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 1, 11:55pm

Post #13 of 35 (2145 views)
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Heading out [In reply to] Can't Post


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Decisions upon leaving Lórien:

There is something of a debate/discussion which hits at the crux of the problem that will come to fruition at Amon Hen—whether all of them should to go to Gondor, or whether they should split up with some going with Boromir to Minas Tirith, and Frodo and possibly some others going on the other side of the river to Mordor. No decision is reached, and Celeborn provides them with the boats that will enable them to delay the choice till the last moment.

Boromir states his intention of going on to Gondor, and then pushes it a little farther: "If my advice is heeded, it will be the western shore, and the way to Minas Tirith," answered Boromir. "But I am not the leader of the company."

Does this again show his doubt of the current and previous leadership? And does his opinion that everyone should go to Gondor reveal that he isn't now, and possibly never was, convinced that the ring should go to Mordor instead of being used on behalf of Gondor and the West?


As discussed in Boromir 1&2, Boromir and Aragorn were originally planning to break off and head to Minas Tirith. Though Gimli and Legolas never detailed a plan, they were not bound to Frodo and his quest. Neither were the other hobbits. Thus, Boromir stating his intention to go to Minas Tirith, or to ask the others, including Frodo, to accompany him is not in itself breaking his word.

Has Boromir, and have other in the Company, begun to experience changes in Lorien? The Ring is certainly working to influence Boromir. Did Galadriel's interrogation bring Boromir's weakness for the power of the Ring more into the open, and accelerate his fall? Not out of any ill intention of Galadriel, but as per Aragorn's warning:

Quote
There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware!


Aragorn may not leave Lorien unchanged either.

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His own plan, while Gandalf remained with them, had been to go with Boromir, and with his sword help to deliver Gondor. For he believed that the message of the dream was a summons, and the hour had come at last when the heir of Elendil should come forth and strive with Sauron for the mastery. But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid upon him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the RIng, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir.


If Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir.
So, Aragorn is still considering the possibility that Frodo might pass through Minas Tirith with the Ring.


Quote
They go on a trial run up the Silverlode with Aragorn in the lead. Boromir is once again rear-guarding hobbits.

Is that a decision of his own, or was it arranged by Aragorn, or was it more by default that he ended up with Merry and Pippin? (My computer just decided that this was Merry and Kevin. Bonus question: how may this have changed everything?!Wink)

Is this a foreshadowing by Tolkien and or Fate/the Valar, etc. Of his sacrifice on their behalf?


Boromir has been protecting Merry and Pippin all along, so there is nothing surprising here.

When Galadriel gave gifts to the Company, Merry and Pippin and Boromir all received belts. Galadriel is aware of the bond between Boromir and the young hobbits and recognizes it with her gift.


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***

(This post was edited by oliphaunt on Feb 1, 11:58pm)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Feb 2, 2:20am

Post #14 of 35 (2124 views)
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Thanks! All those strike-throughs [In reply to] Can't Post

made it look like I didn't want anyone to read it!
About Lorien: later on Eomer says much the same thing (only more so!); and Boromir is referencing how Lorien is now seen in Gondor, and the stories he's heard. I don't think it's his private opinion; but it's frustrating--especially to Aragorn--to have Lorien and his future grandmother-in-law misrepresented, even if Boromir is just repeating (and believing--no reason why he shouldn't) what he's been told.



Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Feb 2, 2:33am

Post #15 of 35 (2120 views)
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Yes, I've often thought of that-- [In reply to] Can't Post

how he was right on the border and so close to his goal.
I think you're right. Paths are encountered, and some are or at least may be predetermined to exist, but the choice itself (although influenced by all sorts of things) is not.



noWizardme
Half-elven


Feb 2, 4:23pm

Post #16 of 35 (2071 views)
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If Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir. [In reply to] Can't Post

If they all went to Minas Tirith, how would that work?

I don't just mean the obvious concerns about what could happen there: Denethor or somebody seizing the Ring, and the probability that the arrival of the company would be noted by spies of both Saruman and Sauron.


I'm also thinking that Frodo would have to to set out for Mordor after a rest and resupply in Minas Tirith. So Aragorn will just hit the same problem: he will still have to leave Frodo to go to Mordor with others, if he (Aragorn) is to dedicate himself to Gondor.

Maybe Aragorn is just kickin the can down the road, hoping something turns up (or that he receives some sign or guidance about how to resolve his awful dilemma).

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Feb 2, 5:01pm

Post #17 of 35 (2062 views)
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Leadership crisis [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Boromir states his intention of going on to Gondor, and then pushes it a little farther: "If my advice is heeded, it will be the western shore, and the way to Minas Tirith," answered Boromir. "But I am not the leader of the company."


Does this again show his doubt of the current and previous leadership? And does his opinion that everyone should go to Gondor reveal that he isn't now, and possibly never was, convinced that the ring should go to Mordor instead of being used on behalf of Gondor and the West?


As an alternative to 'doubt of the current...leadership' I think we might say that Boromir is observing some muddle and uncertanty about who should be followed. We've discussed the Company's debate on their last night in Lorien, and how Tolkien says specifically that Aragorn is torn between going to Gondor and his inability to leave the Ring quest. I think this sentence (from teh same passage) is also important (my bolds):


Quote
For a long time they debated what they should do, and how it would be best to attempt the fulfilling of their purpose with the Ring; but they came to no decision. It was plain that most of them desired to go first to Minas Tirith, and to escape at least for a while from the terror of the Enemy. They would have been willing to follow a leader over the River and into the shadow of Mordor; but Frodo spoke no word, and Aragorn was still divided in his mind.

So there is a gap or vacuum - Aragorn can't abandon Frodo (or has insufficent faith that Frodo should be left to find his own way?) Frodo is quiet and offers no lead- most likely Sam is right when he says that Frodo is afraid (as Frodo has wandered off at Parth Galen and the Company try to 'decide for him'):



Quote
Begging your pardon,’ said Sam. ‘I don’t think you understand my master at all. He isn’t hesitating about which way to go. Of course not! What’s the good of Minas Tirith anyway? To him, I mean, begging your pardon, Master Boromir,’ he added, and turned. It was then that they discovered that Boromir, who at first had been sitting silent on the outside of the circle, was no longer there.

‘Now where’s he got to?’ cried Sam, looking worried. ‘He’s been a bit queer lately, to my mind. But anyway he’s not in this business. He’s off to his home, as he always said; and no blame to him. But Mr. Frodo, he knows he’s got to find the Cracks of Doom, if he can. But he’s afraid.



And so there is paralysis.


I think a lot of things happen because some folks can't stand there being no sensible plan or way forward. So they start suggesting solutions or volunteering for things, or forcing a solution. And (as has been said before) if Aragorn does go with Frodo, Boromir will have to go home to Gondor empty-handed. Maybe this solution-forcing is what Boromir is doing in this part of the Company's inconclusive debate on their last night:

Quote
‘I shall go to Minas Tirith, alone if need be, for it is my duty,’ said Boromir; and after that he was silent for a while, sitting with his eyes fixed on Frodo, as if he was trying to read the Halfling’s thoughts. At length he spoke again, softly, as if he was debating with himself. ‘If you wish only to destroy the Ring,’ he said, ‘then there is little use in war and weapons; and the Men of Minas Tirith cannot help. But if you wish to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw away.’ He paused suddenly, as if he had become aware that he was speaking his thoughts aloud. ‘It would be folly to throw lives away, I mean,’ he ended. ‘It is a choice between defending a strong place and walking openly into the arms of death. At least, that is how I see it.’ Frodo caught something new and strange in Boromir’s glance, and he looked hard at him. Plainly Boromir’s thought was different from his final words. It would be folly to throw away: what? The Ring of Power? He had said something like this at the Council, but then he had accepted the correction of Elrond. Frodo looked at Aragorn, but he seemed deep in his own thought and made no sign that he had heeded Boromir’s words. And so their debate ended.”


Or of course Boromir may have long decided to try and get the Ring (or is under orders to get it). It is often hard to tell whether soemthing is getting worse, or just becoming more obvious.


(BTW: '‘It is a choice between defending a strong place and walking openly into the arms of death" is a choice to come up again in The Last Debate, when 'walking openly...' is what Aragorn choses.)

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 2, 5:10pm

Post #18 of 35 (2062 views)
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He didn't have the hindsight we do [In reply to] Can't Post

Celeborn provided the boats to buy a little time before the decision was necessary.

Which raises this question: If the decision for Frodo to head to Mordor was made before departing might Boromir's capitulation to the Ring have occurred before the Company left Lorien?


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oliphaunt
Lorien


Feb 2, 11:25pm

Post #19 of 35 (2042 views)
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River journey [In reply to] Can't Post


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The River journey:

Further is revealed about Boromir's state of mind as they travel along the river. Both Merry and Pippin we're very much aware that something was wrong: " . . . for Boromir sat muttering to himself, sometimes biting his nails, as if some restlessness or doubt consumed him, sometimes seizing a paddle and driving the boat close behind Aragorn's. Then Pippin, who sat in the bow looking back, caught a queer gleam in his eye, as he peered forward gazing at Frodo."

What is going on here?

This always seemed to me as if he was very seriously unraveling. How did he manage to pull himself together to appear at all normal once they landed?


Agree this the first very clear indication that Boromir is in trouble. The nail-biting is especially effective. Evidently Merry and Pippin didn't mention their concern to anyone else, possibly their prior experience with Boromir made them incautious. But I think Boromir still mostly behaved like the Man they'd spent months with. I don't think he had to make a conscious effort to act normal.


Quote
"Boromir held out long against this choice; but when it became plain that Frodo would follow Aragorn, wherever he went, he gave in. ‘It is not the way of the men of Minas Tirith to desert their friends at need," he said, and you will need my strength, if ever you are to reach the Tindrock. To the tall isle I will go, but no further. There I shall return to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship."

Is the fact that Frodo was determined to follow Aragorn the determining factor because of Boromir’s concern for and dedication to the Ringbearer, or is it because he doesn't want the Ring to go anywhere without him?


Both. Boromir is affected by the Ring, but he is still Boromir. The ring does not completely control him. The Company does need Boromir's strength to use the portage way.


Quote
As they pass between the Argonath, “even Boromir bowed his head . . . under the enduring shadow of the sentinels of Numenor."

Practical, both-feet-on-the-ground Boromir still has the blood of his ancestors flowing through him. Is that what he is feeling here? Or is this reaction because he is not a descendant of the kings (especially in contrast with Aragorn's reaction here)?
This is a tragic journey (knowing what is to come) with the usual tapestry of ambiguity Tolkien loves to weave.


The same practical, both-feet-on-the-ground Boromir that set out for Rivendell based on a prophetic dream? Yes. The Men of Middle Earth were slowly losing their connection to the mystical, but it was not gone, as it would be in, say, 1954.

I think the ambiguity about Boromir's motivations works well. It hints at the interior turmoil of a good man facing a terrible temptation.

Appreciate your questions! So much happening in this segment. Reminds me why I can read this book so often and never weary of it.


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Asger
Rivendell


Feb 3, 5:33am

Post #20 of 35 (2031 views)
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Two things… [In reply to] Can't Post

… are at stake here in Boromir, I think: the lure of the ring, which is magical, and the soldiers desire for the weapon that can win the hopeless war.
Are those the same thing? I’m sure Boromir doesn’t distinguish between them. But could he have overcome either of them separately?

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo
www.willy-centret.dk


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Feb 3, 7:48pm

Post #21 of 35 (1975 views)
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Very good question. [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think it was the two together that sent him over the edge. But I suspect even if it was either one or the other he might not have held out, although if it was only the soldier's desire for an overwhelmingly effective weapon, he may have simply waited longer to see how things would have played out.



Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Feb 3, 7:52pm

Post #22 of 35 (1976 views)
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"Boromir is most used to depending on his own skills and experience to keep himself safe.' [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a very good point.
I don't know if I'd say he was exactly nervy, but I think you're right that he was trying to shift things back into the type of situations and actions that he was skilled and confident in dealing with.



Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Feb 3, 7:55pm

Post #23 of 35 (1973 views)
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I actually always thought that [In reply to] Can't Post

Celeborn was being set up here, by Tolkien, to appear ungracious and rash in his opinions in contrast to Galadriel. Or maybe it was to keep Boromir from being all alone in the naysayers--or at least the skeptic--camp.



squire
Half-elven


Feb 3, 10:40pm

Post #24 of 35 (1952 views)
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I think they're the same thing, by the nature of the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

To call the Ring a 'weapon that can win the war' can be a little deceptive. It's not a projector of force or a magnifier of strength or anything that makes its bearer an unstoppable warrior, thus the winner of the war.

Rather, it 'magically' enhances of the bearer's power to dominate and control the wills of others. It makes the bearer all-powerful because no one, neither the bearer's own soldiers nor the enemy's, can contest his will to victory. His men push forward no matter what their own wills tell them, and the enemy's men fall back in fear and doubt, until their army falls apart and victory goes to the ring-bearer and conqueror.

Boromir knows this, as we witness in his speech to Frodo when he finally falls to its temptation:
"The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!" (LR II.10)

Thus the 'lure of the ring', as referred to here, is the lure to Boromir to have the power of command that no ordinary general could ever hope for; and that power in turn will win the war. Boromir can't overcome or resist these two facets of the same basic temptation, because they are at their core the same thing.

And as Gandalf tells us from the beginning of the story, it wouldn't end there - it can't. The ring-bearer, consumed by his own native lust for power and will to dominate that is now magnified to universal scale, moves on to try to conquer the world. He will run it for his own pleasure and, inevitably, for his own sense of cruelty which is the delight of compelling others to do what they don't want to do. In short, a new Dark Lord to replace the defeated one.



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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 3, 11:49pm

Post #25 of 35 (1961 views)
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What if? [In reply to] Can't Post

First, great job teasing out every strand that may provide clues to Boromir's mind, mood, and motivation in this section!

I think Tolkien shared his own mind about such detours when he gave these words to Galadriel: "... who of the Galadhrim, even Celeborn the Wise, would pass nigh and would not wish to look upon their ancient home..." Of course for Boromir, Minas Tirith was his preferred destination, and the closer he got to it the stronger the pull to go there must have been. Yes a pull because Boromir seems to me to be the sort who would feel heavily the tension between duty (to his father, to the people of Gondor) and obligation (to see the Fellowship's task to its conclusion).

Yes, upon taking the quest Elrond intoned, "[n]o oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.” BUT Boromir, again it seems to me, was not the sort to leave his friends hanging mid-quest. And perhaps whatever Galadriel showed Boromir at Lothlórien revealed to him the strength of his heart, and he was trying to forestall or change his stars (Knights Tale reference).

...


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Feb 3, 11:52pm)

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