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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Boromir: Who was he?
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rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Nov 13 2013, 10:22pm

Post #26 of 45 (140 views)
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it also explains Sam giving it back to Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

And we do know the Ring has a "will" of its own. It chose to leave Gollum, and Isildur.

Why was Sam able to give Frodo the Ring back so easily? Because the Ring wanted to go back to Frodo because it had already corrupted him so much. But Sam did hesitate about giving it back because he had worn it.

I am not so sure it explains to much of Bombadil, because he wore it also and did not disappear nor did he seem to care about giving it up at all.

Not all those who wander are lost


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 13 2013, 11:02pm

Post #27 of 45 (139 views)
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Maybe... [In reply to] Can't Post

The Ring has two methods to tempt people:

The slow siren call that corrupts the person completely over a long time, al a Bilbo, Smeagol, Frodo et al.

And the sudden make-or-break pressure that forces am imminent decision, al a Samwise the Strong turning the world into a garden, Isildur (this in self preservation perhaps motivated this sudden seduction), Boromir, and maybe Galadriel?

The first may be sure, and the second immediate, but risky for the Ring.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Nov 13 2013, 11:47pm

Post #28 of 45 (124 views)
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perhaps but we may need to rephrase it... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just thinking totally off the top of my head, I think the slow siren call happens to all within its presence and perhaps this is what Samwise is experiencing.

The second method would be the make or break Tempt like Galadriel and Bormir and Isildur.

The third and strongest is when it already has a hold on you from it being used, especially over a long period of tim like Frodo, Bilbo, Gollum, and Sauron.

Not all those who wander are lost


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 1:15am

Post #29 of 45 (134 views)
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Boromir was particularly vulnerable, I think [In reply to] Can't Post

The hobbits had an innocence, inexperience of evil and lack of personal ambition that shielded them from a good deal of the Ring's lure; Frodo fell at last, but to a long, slow attrition of his strength.

People like Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond were well aware that the fate of Middle-earth hung by a thread, and they had their temptations (as Galadriel and Gandalf admit) , but to balance that, they had age-long experience of fighting and surviving evil, and the wisdom that goes with this.

Aragorn had grown up around Elves, had a long friendship with Gandalf and Elrond, an awareness of past history, and a wide experience of the world from his travels; he had a breadth and depth of perspective that Boromir didn't, and also knew that if Gandalf and Elrond said the Ring must be destroyed and not used, they were likely to know what they were talking about. Also, he wasn't cocky, and was willing to question his own judgement when he knew he didn't have all the data he needed for a decision - this comes out very clearly on the Fellowship's journey.

Boromir, whose people have been the front line against Mordor for a long time, has had first-hand experience of what Sauron can fling at them, and is very aware that Gondor is now on the defensive. He's not an innocent abroad, like the hobbits; in fact he is close to despair, desperate for something that will give them the edge, militarily speaking. He's also very Gondor-focussed, and has, I think, something of the front-line fighter's contempt for people who sit behind the lines deciding things, which may lead him to underestimate the wisdom of Elrond & co, whom to be fair, he doesn't know well. So even though he agrees to go along with taking the Ring to the fire, I guess a part of him always had a suspicion that the war was being lost by a load of idiot politicians pussyfooting around and being too cautious to do the necessary.

He's also ambitious; in the book version of his showdown with Frodo, there's a very telling line where he is imagining devices and strategies for defeating Mordor "and his own part therein" (that may not be the exact wording, I don't have a copy of LOTR handy, but that is the sense of it). He not only wants to win, he wants a prominent role in this if possible. His personal courage and hardiness, his undoubted ability to lead in battle, and his father's preferential treatment, all reinforce his feeling that he is fit to undertake the task.

Faramir, who could have fallen into a similar trap, is more of a thinker, and less personally proud. So he is willing to learn wisdom from others where he knows he lacks it. In the book, he recognised Gandalf as someone worthy to learn from, on Gandalf's trips to Minas Tirith - so much so that his father sneers at him as the "wizard's pupil". Things he says show clearly that he thinks less in terms of Gondor's victory (much as he loves his country) than in terms of the triumph of good; like Gandalf and others of the wise, he "gets" the idea that a victory won with the Ring would be a defeat of all that matters, in a way that Boromir does not.

Boromir knew a lot about meeting evil head on and was a hero in face of it, but he wasn't so good at spotting it sneaking up on him in disguise.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 14 2013, 3:14am

Post #30 of 45 (115 views)
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I've done a bit of reading... [In reply to] Can't Post

I get the sense from the Letters that the Ring is actually interested in dominating others, and its main power and purpose was domination. See the Ringwraiths for the success of Sauron's plan.

I get the impression now that Isildur took the Ring as he said, 'a weregild', restitution for his father and brother's deaths. Soon after though, it became 'precious' to him. His first mistake was not to get rid of it immediately, after that, the Ring had time to work its poison.

Perhaps the first mistake of anyone to come under the Ring's power quickly, was their own . After that, time would do the rest. Perhaps firsthand experience in fighting evil would, as you say, aid their decision to reject the Ring?

In the end, I think it is largely a moral battle when the Ring first intrudes its influence. In that make-or-break situation you could only escape by having a string moral center. Past that point, you would be ensnared by the Ring, and it would be only a matter if time. I think this because yhose who rejected it did not have much time spent with it.

Sam would be another case. His common sense might have saved him. He wanted no power--only to serve Frodo.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 14 2013, 3:36am

Post #31 of 45 (121 views)
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Great points all!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think we all have some deeper understanding of ideas, but trying to express them in words can be a challenge. You hit many point that I subconsciously *knew* were true, but was unable to articulate.

Especially good point on evil being disguised, or creeping up. No one I their right mind wakes up and says "I am go into do evil today!". Evil is all about deception and delusion; thinking you are doing good, or justified in your actions otherwise.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Nov 14 2013, 3:27pm

Post #32 of 45 (115 views)
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what about Frodo? [In reply to] Can't Post

He took the Ring and had a strong moral compass, yet he failed to give it up.

Also, Gandalf said all the way back in Bag End that he would take the Ring "for a desire to do good" and that through that he would be corrupted. Tolkien elaborates on that in one of his letters about how gandalf could have taken the Ring and beat Sauron, but in the end he would have been corrupted worse than Sauron.

I think wisdom is the only way out. And by out I think the wisdom in refusing to take it in the first place. Once one has taken it, you are at the will of the Ring to one extent or another. Claiming it for yourself really means the Ring has claimed you and now controls you.

Not all those who wander are lost


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 14 2013, 4:55pm

Post #33 of 45 (93 views)
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True [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo was doomed, Tolkien says as much. A more powerful person wouldn't have been able to resist the Ring for so long, but a less powerful person (al a Frodo) would NEVER be able to give it up. Catch 22. It makes Frodo's sacrifice more poignant. Elrond said that Frodo understood the Quest would claim his life, and so it did, if not immediately, surely.

Gandalf made a very moral choice, refusing it at Bag End, but I am not sure how long he could have resisted. Tolkien at least implied that it was possible for him to fall, so I think it altogether possible.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Werde Spinner
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 4:57pm

Post #34 of 45 (95 views)
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Ah, I love this theory! [In reply to] Can't Post

This makes so much sense in my mind about how some people want the Ring seemingly spontaneously and how others take a long time to develop that same longing for it. I can perfectly see the Ring having that 'self-preservation' mode where it tries to seduce anyone it sees as a potential threat to its well-being.


In Reply To
The slow siren call that corrupts the person completely over a long time, al a Bilbo, Smeagol, Frodo et al.

And the sudden make-or-break pressure that forces am imminent decision, al a Samwise the Strong turning the world into a garden, Isildur (this in self preservation perhaps motivated this sudden seduction), Boromir, and maybe Galadriel?

In Reply To

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Werde Spinner
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 5:04pm

Post #35 of 45 (109 views)
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Now I'm wondering... [In reply to] Can't Post

We all seem to agree that the Hobbits were innocent enough to not be affected by the Ring, for the most part, and that Aragorn and Gandalf have the perspective and humility to reject the Ring.

What I'm wondering now, though, is how did the Ring affect Legolas and Gimli? This is probably not the right thread to discuss this in (sorry!) but I'm wondering what sets, say, Gimli apart from Boromir. Gimli's home, Erebor, has already been threatened by Sauron (the messengers to Dain, etc.) and so the Ring would find in him a similar motive to prey upon. Are Dwarves just more resistant to rings, or is it something in Gimli himself that keeps the Ring from affecting him as badly? Perhaps the Ring just went for the easiest target in Boromir....

For that matter, why not Legolas? I've never seen him as having any particle desire for the Ring to exploit, but he *did* lead a group of Elves to Ithilien after the War of the Ring. Did he govern them? Does he have a secret desire to rule that the Ring could have tugged at, or does he just not care? Also, as Thranduil's son and a prince of a realm that has had Dol Guldur as a next-door neighbor for years, would he have had any impulse himself to think the Ring would be effective in defending Mirkwood?

Wow, I never realized that Legolas's and Gimli's situations were so similar to Gondor's. Of course, Sauron *is* focusing his troops on Gondor, so the realm of Men was of top priority. That, and the fact that Boromir really is the most vulnerable to the Ring probably made the Ring focus on him in particular. However, if Boromir hadn't been a part of the Fellowship - say, if there had been only Eight Walkers - who do you think would have been especially targeted by the Ring?

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Werde Spinner
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 5:07pm

Post #36 of 45 (90 views)
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Perfect!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the best description of the differences between Boromir and Faramir that I have ever seen!! I must remember this one!! Smile

Really, though, it is so true. Faramir does the good deed without calculating the consequences; he will not take the Ring even if he alone could save Minas Tirith wielding it. Boromir, on the other hand, looks ahead to see the results of his actions and acts based on those calculations. Couldn't agree more!


Quote
Boromir seemed to do his duty for the honor, Faramir because it WAS an honor, the right thing to do.

Quote

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


sador
Half-elven


Nov 14 2013, 5:35pm

Post #37 of 45 (92 views)
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Just to stregthen your point [In reply to] Can't Post

In the first drafts, Tolkien had Gandalf and Faramir promoting the stand at Osgiliath, with Denethor advising prudence, but giving in to them (a long way from the Denethor of the final, published version, isn't it?). In fact, this seems to be a long-running argument between them - as Gandalf's dig at the dead Steward in The Last Debate implies (when answering Imrahil's "sand-castles" remark). Tolkien decided to change their roles, as he felt it would enhance the tragedy of Denethor.

I'm not arguing that Denethor's behaviour was inconsistent enough to criticise Tolkien's decision (although Jackson's taking it a step further is another step in the same direction, and one I very much disliked) - but it clearly wasn't a foolhardy suicide mission.


sador
Half-elven


Nov 14 2013, 5:51pm

Post #38 of 45 (96 views)
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An excellent discussion! [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I think the character of Boromir is a most interesting one. In the book, he seems to be somewhat of a jerk; it is only when reading other people's eulogies of him - not just Aragorn, but Eomer, Gandalf, Theoden, Faramir and Denethor (and in a lesser extent, Pippin and Beregond) - that we get a glimpse of his true character and stature.

It is also interesting, that Boromir was conceived even earlier than Aragorn. And I actually think the developement of his character throughout the wrioting of LotR a fascinating one, and one which needs expounding. Maybe one day I will write a TAS essay about it.


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 6:55pm

Post #39 of 45 (92 views)
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Dwarves are Ring-resistant [In reply to] Can't Post

to a certain degree; isn't it said somewhere that the worst the Dwarven Rings did to their possessors was make them lust unreasonably for gold? they weren't into power over others for the sake of power in the way that Sauron and the Ringwraiths were.

And Gimli is rather a special Dwarf. He has a poetic streak, a lack of greed, and is able to respect the otherness of others. A more acquisitive Dwarf would have asked Galadriel for some gift of high material value - he asks for a single hair. He is able to set aside ancient prejudices and see Galadriel and Legolas for the wonderful beings they are. And he shows great sensitivity in his vision for opening up the Glittering Caves in Rohan - working with what is naturally there, rather than imposing his own ideas.

Legolas, I think, being an Elf, has some of that long and deep perspective on things that Elrond, Gandalf and Galadriel have; he is younger, of course, but still able to be less "hasty" (as Treebeard would say) than mortal Men, with their sense that time is running out. He doesn't need to grab. He is sensitive and aware in a way that a human being is not. And in the book in particular, Legolas has a kind of serenity, a selfless, detached quality. With Legolas, it is not about Me and My Ego in the way it is with Boromir. One can't (for example) imagine him wishing Thranduil would step down and let him be King. And he too is able to get beyond traditional prejudices and appreciate Gimli for what he is.

One can imagine Dwarves and Elves who would have been fairly disastrous as members of the Fellowship. Feanor, for example! And (fond as I am of him) Thorin. Gimli and Legolas were well chosen.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 15 2013, 1:42am

Post #40 of 45 (75 views)
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Pre-empted...oh well [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree.

Dwarves were made to not be dominated. It was part if Aulė's original plan for them to be unable to be subjugated. Sauron had to TAKE the rings from the dwarves, hence his mind/spirit dominating ring plan, failed. They might have influenced the bearers negatively, but they did not enslave them.

Legolas is a puzzler. Galadriel seems to be the only Elf mentioned, to be seriously tempted, so there aren't many comparisons. There were a lot of them in Rivendell though, and they didn't seem to have a problem in the months the Ring was there. I am open to ideas here....

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Elizabeth
Valinor


Nov 15 2013, 2:35am

Post #41 of 45 (78 views)
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Regarding the Rivendell Elves... [In reply to] Can't Post

...someone (possibly Elrond himself) put the Ring on "a fine chain." Whoever it was handled it and gave it up painlessly, as far as we know.








Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 15 2013, 3:31am

Post #42 of 45 (67 views)
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Exactly!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe Sauron/The Ring was an anthropic issue? Elves fought Morgoth, so the rest of them had little to do with the subsequent issues? The Elves who stayed, really were on a visa. Their real homes were in the West. Thanks for the help Elves, but it isn't your Middle-Earth anymore.

Any of this make sense??

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Nov 17 2013, 8:36pm

Post #43 of 45 (50 views)
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You might have noticed [In reply to] Can't Post

That when the Fellowship meets people in Rohan and Gondor such as Eomer, they do seem greatly grieved over Boromir's death, more so than with Gandalf's. Which is a bit surprising as we the reader probably emphatize more with Gandalf.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 17 2013, 8:41pm

Post #44 of 45 (47 views)
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Boromir the Hero [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, It is said that he was a great Captain, and more like the Rohirrim than the Gondorians. He loved battle and glory, and this might have fixed a place for himself in the hearts of the more martially inclined. I also can see him letting, if not actually promoting, his reputation spread. I could see Eomer and Boromir getting along well. Could they have hunted/ waged war together? Maybe in the decline of Theoden, Boromir endeared himself more to the people? There must have been some relation between the ruling houses of the two realms.

Good points!

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Nov 17 2013, 8:51pm

Post #45 of 45 (62 views)
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Eomer and Boromir [In reply to] Can't Post

Were quite similar people in a way. Both Captains of their forces, both related to the rulers, though Eomer was of royal blood and Boromir wished he was of royal blood! Though Eomer was never personally tempted by the Ring. Even if he was wise in pursuing the Orcs that captured Merry and Pippin and raided Rohan. It might be an interesting question that what might have happened if the two's positions had been reversed!

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