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May 29 2007, 6:46pm

Post #101 of 108 (283 views)
Boromir, Gollum, Denethor, and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins [In reply to] Can't Post

are among Tolkien's more "human" characters -- although Gollum has cleary done some very bad things, while the others are just weak. In fact Wormtongue and Saruman might fit into a different category with Gollum -- bad people who at some point seem pitiful.

But Boromir is also two almost completely different characters, depending on where you are reading about him. Up until his confrontation with Frodo Tolkien makes him quite unsympathetic, in my view, except for a brief moment of concern for the hobbits in the snow. But then after his repentance everyone speaks so glowingly of him -- including Pippin and Faramir -- that I am almost convinced we just never got to know him very well, or that our image was warped by Frodo and Sam's justifiable bad impressions of him.


May 29 2007, 7:50pm

Post #102 of 108 (289 views)
Who should we believe? [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Further on in the chapter The Riders of Rohan, Aragorn mentions that he took Boromir's word over Gandalf's in a certain matter which I found interesting.

I take it you're referring to the rumor that the Rohirrim are sending horses to Sauron as tribute? Aragorn has more than just Boromir's word to go on; though it may not be clear until you get to the appendices, he's had years of personal experience in Rohan, serving King Thengel under the name of Thorongil.

I find that rumor and its reception very interesting too. Gandalf, whose judgement the reader can generally trust, is the one who brings it up at the Council of Elrond, and at first, it seems as though Aragorn may believe it. Was Tolkien simply creating suspense, or did he mean for us to think better of Boromir (retrospectively, when his faith in his allies proves to have been justified)? It's fascinating how, as Curious pointed out, these little points in Boromir's favor emerge after his death.

None such shall return again.

Istar Indigo

May 31 2007, 1:08pm

Post #103 of 108 (301 views)
Boromir [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always felt sympathetic towards Boromir. His is the traditional quest narrative. In many ways, he is the conventional quest hero within the romance. His objective was to set out and find that artifact or wisdom that could save Gondor. Yet at the council of Elrond, Boromir is told that an artifact of great power has been found but must not be used, and in fact, must be returned to the land of the enemy to be destroyed!
How this must have tore Boromir up inside! It was as if you told Perceval/Galahad to destroy the Grail instead of bringing succor to the land and king! Tolkien brilliantly places this quest hero within an anti-quest narrative. The artifact of power has already been found; yet its power is renounced. In my mind, poor Boromir never stood a chance. This is not a detraction, however. It just adds another level of interpretation.



May 31 2007, 1:44pm

Post #104 of 108 (306 views)
I never felt much sympathy for Boromir until he died. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see what you are saying in the abstract, but in the book almost every time Boromir speaks he seems like a jerk. On the other hand he's not all that different from Turin in that respect. Perhaps if we had seen him as a child, or with some lame carpenter, I would feel more sympathy towards him. Wink

The Shire

Jun 1 2007, 1:16am

Post #105 of 108 (262 views)
Wow. [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a helpful perspective. Thanks!

The Shire

Jun 5 2007, 2:20am

Post #106 of 108 (286 views)
Brothers [In reply to] Can't Post

"unlike they were, and yet also much akin "

I found it interesting that Faramir was the younger of the two but wiser in some ways despite having more youth. Faramir describes Boromir as "proud and fearless, often rash, ever anxious for the victory of Minas Tirith..." And so Boromir's actions and outcome are understood. I was afraid for a moment when Faramir learned of the Ring, but his following actions are what separate him from his brother, and I was quite impressed.

Registered User

Jun 5 2007, 3:02pm

Post #107 of 108 (288 views)
I love Faramir because [In reply to] Can't Post

he is so different from Boromir, but at the same time he's not. Every time I've read the book, I've felt like Tolkien gave us in essence, one essence in Boromir and Faramir. They are Gondor. Just as Elrond and Arwen come to represent Rivendell, and Galadriel represents Lothlorien, the two brothers represent the heart and soul of Gondor. When Boromir fails to fight the ring's power, it really ruins my opinion of Gondor. And my opinion only gets worse when we see Denethor.

But then we get to see Faramir, and he says, "I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo." To me, Faramir redeems his brother and Gondor. With Faramir being so noble, I can't completely despair of the race of ordinary men. (I exclude Aragorn from that, since he's not exactly ordinary.)

(And that's why I got mad at Peter Jackson when I saw the movie. He made Faramir just as bad as Boromir, and the redemption lost its power.)

N.E. Brigand

Jun 5 2007, 11:43pm

Post #108 of 108 (491 views)
Good question. [In reply to] Can't Post

And a good time to link back to a discussion on rumors in LotR from several weeks back, in which Darkstone replied on this point.

Detail from earliest version of Thror's MapTolkien Illustrated! Thanks to everyone who participated in our sixteen-week discussion of Tolkien-inspired artwork! New posts on this subject are welcome at any time.

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