The Boromir Musing

by various fans, started off by Varda.

The Gentle Avenger

 The idea of a rivalry between Boromir and Aragorn has been with me since I saw the film, and how PJ enhanced the quite subdued encounter between these two in the book. That proud, provocative look Boromir gave Aragorn in the Council spoke volumes. In an AU I had Aragorn kill Boromir in a fight, and Tolkien himself thought a fight between them one possible plot line. But that is ignoring the character of Aragorn, the healer as well as the warrior.

 Aragorn would never have risked a civil war, even to press his rightful claim, nor tried to kill Boromir, whom he loves, as we see in the end in both book and film. Aragorn really 'takes' Minas Tirith when he heals its people after the battle of the Pelennor, starting with its most beloved prince, Faramir. He claims the hearts of the people then as he claims the hearts of its warriors by aiding them on the battlefield.

As other inklingers here have found, the story you begin has turned into a different one. At the start Fionn was out to avenge Boromir, but Pippin's story has gradually shown that Boromir was avenged, by Aragorn, but not just by fighting. Which I hope to show, if RW trials and the muse permits.

 many thanks all for your replies - Varda

This is so insightful, I never actually thought of this. I suppose because I am always thinking of things from Boromir's POV. I did notice the sparring between Aragorn and Boromir in the book -- there were some pretty cutting remarks passed between those two! -- and I appreciated very much PJ's enhancement of that when he had the opportunity in the films.

But you are right about Aragorn's gentle love; indeed, this is exactly how Aragorn presses his claim -- through love. I like to think that if Boromir had made it back to Minas Tirith alive, he would have supported that claim publicly for exactly the same reason -- love of the man, as well as certainty of his worth.

 I look forward to more about Aragorn and Boromir's growing friendship, as seen through the eyes of Pippin and Fionn; trusting that RW concerns do not prevent. ((((Varda)))) - Linaewen

Grace of a returning King
I have given some thought to Aragorn and Boromir's relationship, too.

The releasing of the Men of Dunharrow (visualized nicely IMHO in PJ's ROTK) by Aragorn showed how much power the Heir of Isildur had over the living and dead. When Aragorn found Boromir dying, he could just as easily cursed the fallen Man for his betrayal of Frodo. But Aragorn forgave him, blessed him even, because he understood weakness and Boromir's desire to protect his people. I think that showed the greater strength of character on Aragorn's part.

 If Aragorn had cursed him, how would Boromir's ghost have sought redemption? That sounds like a good idea for an AU inkling.... (takes notes)

 If Boromir had lived, he would have recognized Aragorn's regency and fully embraced him as King.

 At least that is what is happening inside my head. Keep writing and I'll keep reading and thinking! - Lothithil

Aragorn and Boromir represent Gondor's past and present.
Aragorn is much like the N\'famenorean Kings of old who were both warriors and wise men, both taker and giver of life.

 In this he is very close to Faramir actually, who, like Aragorn, fights if he has to but does not "love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness..." but loves that which they defend: Minas Tirith as she was in times long gone, when beauty and wisdom and light were still to be found within her walls.

 Boromir is a child of his time, the born warrior who accepts his fighting skills as the art made neccessary by evil times, he loves "war and valour as things good in themselves, both a sport and an end..."

 So, Varda, with great skill, described the fight between past and present, and she reflects the difference of views of the world in Aragorn and Boromir in their different fighting styles.
Excellent piece of writing, Varda, and lovely musing! - Indis

The Living and the Dead
My inkling started out founded on Boromir but I have gradually realised that his story and Aragorn's development are not really separable. Or why else would Boromir's dying words to Aragorn have so much power, or mean so much to us?

 I had to look at Aragorn's own intentions and character. He must have known from that moment in the Council that Boromir was a potential enemy, and have been wondering how to deal with that when the time came. Life overtakes us, though, and before he had thought it out they had become bonded by fellowship and shared peril and comradeship in battle, and at the last bonded by Boromir's death and Aragorn receiving his confession of his attempt to take the ring. A confidence he does not betray, even to Gandalf, although the wizard guesses it.

As Lothithil points out so well, the raising of the Dead of Dunharrow shows that Aragorn as king has power over the living and the dead and so has the right to forgive Boromir. When Boromir asks him to save his city Aragorn's pledge to do so carries the weight of an oath, a king's promise. The avenging of Boromir by carrying out his dying wish is not ordinary vengeance, which is destructive, but a positive, creative act, granting survival to Gondor.

 Thanks everyone for giving me ideas and inspiration - Varda

Ooo, yes!! I have always believed this about Aragorn
 that he has the power and the right to forgive Boromir, not just as a friend who was in part wronged by Boromir's betrayal, but as a king with all the power that goes with the title; he is truly king, even though he has not yet come into his kingdom.

You state this so beautifully and eloquently; again, I had not thought of Aragorn's promise and its fulfillment as vengeance, yet I see how it could be so, now that you have pointed it out. Vengeance that is positive and creative, that brings life to a doomed country and honor to the name of one who fell short -- how much more powerful that kind than the destructive kind of vengeance!
--Thanks so much for these lovely thoughts on a subject that is always dear to my heart.  - Linaewen

Yes, Aragorn wouldn't be Aragorn if he just destroyed things! nt - sarahstitcher

Just curious... what do you mean 'right to forgive?'  - Rosie

I find an unexpected peaceful comfort in this sentence:
The avenging of Boromir by carrying out his dying wish is not ordinary vengeance, which is destructive, but a positive, creative act, granting survival to Gondor. - Ladyhawk Baggins

More thoughts on Aragorn
After reading about Aragorn I thought about his parting of ways from Gondor to become the Ranger that he was known as when we first met him. How the years of wondering the wilderness to be seen as only a poor man prepared him for the role he would one day live up to. All his life he did not want the burden that was destined to him and those around him knew his wishes. Only the role of wonderer did not seperate him from his destiny, but prepared him to be better than he would have been if he were not the Ranger from the North. He would not have found the strength or knowledge that he needed as a noble without looking from the other side. He learned that a true leader is not there to shout out commands to those under him, but to listen to them and with the knowledge gained to unite the people under a common goal. To work as a group with many ideas and paths towards one goal goes farther than a people who just one idea and one path under one who does not listen. He learned the responsibilty of a true leader and the skills needed for him to live up to his full potentiel. With the skills he learned from the Elves and the lessons learned of a Ranger he was able to become the leader that he was destined to be when he thought he was running. Just a thought! Feel free to comment on it!  - FrodoGirl

I agree with your ideas on what must be a leader, and I think you're very right about  too! :-) nt ... Fan Forever

Aragorn's right to forgive Boromir
Sorry if I did not explain this.

In the story Boromir breaks a number of oaths when he tries to take the Ring. He breaks the Fellowship and betrays his oath to Elrond. He lets his comrades down. He betrays Frodo, whom he had sworn to protect. He also brings dishonour on Gondor, on behalf of which he had sworn his oath to the Fellowship in the first place.

The poor guy couldn't really have done worse, in fact, and must have been so deeply shamed we have no real idea of what torment he must have endured in that hour or so between Frodo leaving and him finding Merry and Pippin.
Aragorn can't undo all that, but he is Boromir's rightful lord because he is the king and so has the right to forgive him.

 How much consolation this brought Boromir is hard to say. In the book all Tolkien says is 'Boromir smiled', then he dies. In the film Peter Jackson makes it much clearer that Boromir is given peace by Aragorn's words.

Maybe Boromir appreciates Aragorn's gesture of forgiveness, but when Aragorn says; 'few have won such a victory' Boromir knows that he is only trying to ease his bitter regret, for whatever way you look at it, Boromir did not win a victory. He failed to prevent the hobbits being taken and he scared Frodo into running off into what they thought was great danger alone. His honour, more important to the warrior than life, is damaged;

 'Let whoever can  win glory before death.
When a warrior is gone
That will be his best and only bulwark.'

By reassuring Boromir that he is forgiven by his liege lord, Aragorn gives the dying man hope that for all his failure, his honour will not be lost. Aragorn never tells anyone what happened between Boromir and Frodo.

 Neither Aragorn nor Boromir can know that what has just happened will start a train of events that will bring good in the end. For now, all they know that disaster has happened.

 Thanks for the question, Rosie! - Varda

Well, I don't quite agree on this one line...the rest I do agree with,
especially Boromir's shame. I believe that Boromir's victory was over the Ring...yes, he did try to get it...I believe it was still calling to him after Frodo ran off...yet, he pushed that aside - finally and belatedly - and won the victory over the Ring by going to Merry & Pippin's aid.

There was nothing in the book to say that the Ring was not still calling to him...after Frodo left, he went back to the campground thoroughly mortified...hoping to see Frodo again and ask for forgiveness...

Aragorn realized something was amiss (along with dear Sam) and sent him off to take care of M&P....which he did...obeyed Aragorn and went off...

 I believe this is Boromir's victory - he finally overcame the calling of the Ring and did his duty. - agape4rivendell

I think the Ring drops Boromir
after he fails to grab it from Frodo in the forest. That is the meaning of Boromir's words, calling after Frodo; 'a madness took me, but it has passed..'

 The madness was the Ring, in all its power, and it is at this precise point it dumps Boromir, for he has failed it. And Boromir knows it, for he wanders for an hour before reporting back to camp. In that hour realisation of all I mentioned comes to him, and deep shame. The Ring could not influence him now, he has come to himself.

 But it doesn't want to, it has moved on to other prey; Frodo himself. it is from now on that it becomes so much heavier, and begins to influence others, Gollum, the orcs in Cirith Ungol, and in the end overcomes Frodo himself at the Cracks of Doom. It is as if it has a will of its own, as Galadriel's prologue says. Boromir is no longer in its sights, he has been discarded. Now only his comrades care for him, which is the message of all desire for power, when it moves on only the true and compassionate friends are left to pick up the pieces.

I think :-/  - Varda

I wonder if perhaps the Ring would still have been calling to Boromir
even after he failed to take it from Frodo? You pointed out that Boromir says that the madness had now passed, but I wonder if he still feels the call of the Ring, but after having seen what he almost did to Frodo - the shock of it - that might have made him strong enough to resist the Ring?

I guess I'm just a Boromir-lover, hee hee, and so I like the idea of him resisting the Ring in the end more than the Ring just moving on and not working on him anymore. ;)  - Middle Earth Munchkin

What he lacked in resistance he has now made up for in perception, perhaps :-)  - Varda

I'm still working this through
but I think you are right in this.I think the desire for the Ring is shocked right out of him; the madness does indeed pass. The Ring wants him no longer. Yet there might continue to be regret that the weapon he thought would help Gondor cannot be used, regret that there is nothing left to help his people -- except for Aragorn and his sword -- and he is still deathly afraid of the Ring being taken by Sauron, which will end all; for he does not yet believe that a Halfling could possibly make it through to destroy the Ring.

 Thanks for this whole discussion, it is very special to me! - Linaewen

Wow - your comment about moving on to other prey sent chills through me! nt - agape4rivendell

An excellent response! Not one I expected.
From the wording of the last post, talking about the ghosts in the paths of the dead, it almost sounded as if there were no way Boromir could have been 'redeemed' or forgiven, only through Aragorn and his power as King. I don't think that is necessarily the case. This is a wonderful explanation, and very thought provoking! I hadn't considered Boromirs attempt at taking the ring to be breaking an oath, but indeed it was!

 'Be at peace, Son of Gondor'... It makes me cry, just thinking about it. - Rosie

Sorry, V - I've got another question -
sorry to keep this going but I agree totally with the breaking of a myriad of oaths...horrible time for my hero...but are you saying that Aragorn is telling him a 'white' lie...when he says 'few have won such a victory'? Or did Aragorn think Boromir won a victory? Just wondering....I can't see Aragorn lying nor Boromir believing a lie...especially at death's door...or are you saying that the victory is in the lines you quoted from Beowulf below - his glorious death while trying to save M&P?
'Let whoever can
Win glory before death. When a warrior is gone
That will be his best and only bulwark.'
- Beowulf

Whichever way it is...I am very grateful that Tollers decided to forgive Boromir and have Boromir know he was forgiven. Though I don't know if I can every forgive him for killing off Boromir! Thanks for the musing...very potent. - agape4rivendell

Boromir's victory
It is a good question, Agape, what on earth did Aragorn mean when he said to Boromir 'few have won such a victory'?

 Boromir's attempt to take the ring precipitates disaster; Frodo runs off alone into danger. Merry and Pippin are captured, and even Boromir is not entirely sure they have not been killed. And Boromir himself, a great warrior for Gondor, is dying.

 How can this possibly be a victory? How could things possibly be worse?

When Aragorn says this to Boromir he is surrounded by mounds of orcs slain by Boromir. So it is a great victory, in the sense of the lines I quoted from Beowulf, which Tolkien would have known too. So, in a narrow military sense he won a victory by taking a lot of baddies with him. Is it not strange, though, that Aragorn of all people misses the bigger picture of all the damage Boromir has done?

 Not quite. I think Aragorn's words are mainly motivated by compassion, something that drives him at important moments, even to do things which are not really too wise from a political viewpoint. It is what drives him to follow Merry and Pippin. It is true that they know the secret of the ring and so are a security risk, but he is not even sure they are alive, and even less sure they will catch them (in the end they don't).

 But also, at that moment Boromir and Aragorn are in what Trevor Nunn, speaking of the world of Hamlet calls 'the landscape of death'. All around are the dead. Boromir himself is dying. Their wise guide Gandalf was 'slain' some time before and Legolas when he finds Aragorn thinks he is dying too. This is the utter low point of the story. Aragorn throughout stands for hope, and here he focusses on the only good thing he can see; Boromir slaying a great host of orcs in defence of two of the Fellowship.

And as so often happens in The Lord Of The Rings, something a character speaks or does not quite understanding why, like Frodo sparing Gollum, has powerful meaning later on when all is revealed; by letting Merry and Pippin be taken off to Fangorn (and the Ents) Boromir ensures the defeat of Saruman. By sending Frodo off on his own to Mordor Boromir ensures the defeat of Sauron and the saving of Gondor. This is Boromir's victory.

So Aragorn's words are a prophesy; Boromir's death will win a victory, only it will not be seen for what it is until the very end, and then only by the wise.....- Varda

This is really helpful, Varda! My thoughts

 have always been that Aragorn was referring to the fact that Boromir had gained a victory over himself and the power of the Ring over him, in that he was able to admit his weakness and failure, by confessing that he had made an attempt to take the Ring. Though he did not tell Aragorn the words he called after Frodo -- The madness has passed -- I think Aragorn is a keen reader of hearts, and he would have known that the desire for the Ring was past. That in itself is a great victory for Boromir, in addition to all that you have shared here.

 I absolutely love what you say here:

 And as so often happens in The Lord Of The Rings, something a character speaks or does not quite understanding why, like Frodo sparing Gollum, has powerful meaning later on when all is revealed; by letting Merry and Pippin be taken off to Fangorn (and the Ents) Boromir ensures the defeat of Saruman. By sending Frodo off on his own to Mordor Boromir ensures the defeat of Sauron and the saving of Gondor. This is Boromir's victory.

 That's what I love so about this character, Boromir; a weak, proud man, who fails miserably, yet is sorry for it; and though he dies, the effect of his life and actions before his death carries on throughout the rest of the tale -- with incredible results! - Linaewen

good points!
I cried every time I watched the breaking of the fellowship. But when I saw Two Towers, I realized that Merry and Pippin NEEDED to be taken. And, of course, Sam HAD to be the one who followed Frodo (no matter how much my M&P focused mind wanted them there) - pippinmerry

I always thought
that Aragorn meant that Boromir had conquered his "own wickedness", that the victory was his conquest of his own pride and arrogance.

I thought that Aragorn was speaking not so much of the dead Orcs and Boromir's physical courage, but that he was speaking of Boromir's surge of moral courage in confessing what he had done.

I never liked Boromir alive, but he "died well", being able to admit he had committed a great sin. He had broken his oaths and much more, as has been told before. Yet with his last breaths he was able to speak of it, to admit his failure. More than being able to speak of it, I think he hung onto life for that very purpose.

Would he have "confessed" to anyone else? Say if Aragorn hadn't come along, but Legolas or Gimli or Gandalf had? - Vison

I would agree with you, and I'd also say that Boromir gave his life for his friends.
 He could have left the company after his attempt to take the ring failed, but instead he came back to save Merry and Pippin, and confessed to Aragorn to try to rectify his wrong. I'd like to think that any mortal, no matter what their mistake, can 'atone' for their wrongs by using the remainder of their life doing good. The remainder of his life may have been short, but the words of another great leader come to my mind... 'Greater love hath no man than this'

Surely that deed alone would make up for his oath breaking. Especially when the ring could be blamed for the temptation. IMO, He can't be held any more to blame for oathbreaking, than Frodo would be. In a sense, He broke his oath too, in claiming the ring at the end. - Rosie

What a lovely deepening of this scene!
 I too had always seen Aragorn's words as referring to the 1] piles of dead orcs and 2] Boromir's ability to let go of the Ring, or to conquer its hold on him. But you have expanded this in a way that deepens my understanding of more than one character! thanks! - sarahstitcher

Boromir's Isolation
Thanks for keeping the thread alive, all....

 ..about Boromir's victory, I don't think he ever conquered the lure of the Ring; no-one was able to do that. Even the strongest and wisest, Gandalf and Galadriel, bent all their strength to avoid even being tempted, let alone ever trying it on. The Ring simply moved on from Boromir once he failed to take it from Frodo.

What Boromir does conquer is his own lack of perception and poor self-knowledge. It is more blindness than evil that makes Boromir fall for the ring. He just does not *see* it is calling him till it is too late.

Agape's annoyance at Tolkien for what he did to Boromir is quite justified. For even within the Fellowship he makes Boromir very isolated; everyone has someone with them to love and support them, except Boromir. Frodo and Sam, Merry and Pippin, Gimli and Legolas. Aragorn has Arwen, present emotionally if not physically, and he has the support and advice of Gandalf. Boromir is also isolated because of his high rank and the fact that he is not from the North, or the Shire, or akin to Elves. He is not a friend of Gandalf; Denethor says he is 'no wizard's pupil' as Faramir is, presumably. The brother he loves is far away, and Denethor is a stern demanding father.

So Boromir seems very alone, and even more when he begins to be tempted, and cannot tell anyone. In the film he tries to confide in Aragorn in Lorien, but their talk is inconclusive. Then when he attacks Frodo he is plunged into a nightmare of guilt, again experienced alone. Only when he is dying does he find comfort in the company of one who loves and respects him.

It is a very hard fate, which I think is why Avondster, Linaewen and I all write inklings that concentrate on the love and friendship between him and others of the story, even if we don't have too much evidence from the book. We feel Boromir is too kind and noble to not have won love and friendship during such close quarter travelling and the experience of peril and hardship. \par \par Like the Elves at Helm's Deep, those passages with Boromir that Peter Jackson put in, like teaching the hobbits to fence, feel so right, like something left out for lack of space. And above all his plea to Aragorn to let the distraught hobbits rest after they lose Gandalf in Moria. Here, Boromir seems more compassionate than Aragorn... - Varda

Excellent thoughts, V,  I must confess
that my difficulties with "movie" Boromir are nearly entirely due to the fact that I can't abide Sean Bean. I know, I know, I know, that millions if not billions of movie fans disagree with me. Young women (and old women, and some men, for that matter) the world over swoon and drool over Sean Bean.

He gives me the creeps. He gave me the creeps as Sharpe. So there you are. The instant I saw Sean Bean swanning about as Boromir I got my back up and up it stays. I thought he was staggeringly wrong for the part and I still think so and I know I'm probably entirely alone in the known universe, but I don't care!!!

If I could only set aside my feelings about Mr. Bean (I just hadda say that!) I might be able to like "movie" Boromir. Actually, the extra bits that PJ put in about Boromir were ok, it was Bean that got my goat. And I, unlike the above mentioned millions and billions, did not like his death scene. Major did not like it.

 I also thought that PJ made the character too likeable, but that's no doubt due to the fact that I don't like Sean Bean.......sorry. Sorry, sorry. Sorry.

 I agree with Varda, though. He would have made friends in the Fellowship, etc. Pippin liked him, as I recall, liking his "lordly ways". And I didn't think Bean had lordly ways, you see.

 I am wearing my flame-proof suit and am prepared to recieve fire............

It's not Boromir,'s Mr. Bean........ - Vison

I do believe that isolation was one of the hardest things
Boromir had to deal with. He was set apart from the beginning, not only because of not having a like-minded companion, or being of a higher rank and from the South, but because he was the only one who dissented over the Ring, and that created a barrier.

Rather an awkward position to be in with Aragorn: Boromir is the heir to the current Ruler of Gondor, and Aragorn is the true King. No matter how much these two Men might honor one another as Men and as fellow warriors, that barrier would exist between them until Gondor (through Boromir) acknowledges Aragorn's claim. Friendship and respect is indeed established, but it is a continual battle against Boromir's feelings of loss of command and distrust that this Man might not be good enough for Gondor, and the fact that Aragorn in the end seems to be choosing a road that takes him away from Gondor and not towards it. - Linaewen

Wow, I got mentioned in a genuine Varda musing! Go me!
What an honour...  Seriously though, I agree with you, and I think that you may be right about the reason why we write him like we do.

 I have always had the feeling that even Mr. Tolkien himself did not like Boromir all that much. He liked Faramir, and repeatedly he almost even describes Faramir as being superior to his brother in many ways. Ironic really, isn't it? Boromir was perhaps his father's favourite in the book, but his creator liked his brother better...

 I am just glad that Peter Jackson and his writers are some of the few people who like Boromir, and they have made many people see more of the 'good side' of him, rather than the 'bad side' that Tolkien highlighted more.

I had no particular love for Boromir before I saw the film. I didn't hate him or anything, but I just pitied him. I started loving him when I saw the film and read the book again and found so many other things that made me see (or at least imagine) just what a great and noble man he was.

 This is a lot of random rambling and it's late, I'll shut up now before I begin singing Sean Bean's praise on the wrong Board. - Avondster

Interesting idea
It is possible that Tolkien did not like Boromir, but I suspect he did. I find it fascinating that after Boromir is dead and gone, he continues to be mentioned with love and honor by many admirable people throughout the rest of the tale. Gandalf has many good things to say about him, and speaks quite well of him, even before Denethor; Eomer laments his passing, Theoden is sorrowful that "the young die, and the old linger, withering" -- referring to Boromir. Faramir, of course, shares continually about his feelings for his brother, and the men of Minas Tirith all honor Pippin simply because he was a friend of Boromir. The lament for Boromir sung by Aragorn and Legolas is too beautiful and sorrowful to have been composed by someone who did not care for the Man. \par \par Though it's a matter of interpretation, I don't see Tolkien as showing a bad side of Boromir. He is shown in a bad light -- when compared with those who did not yield to the Ring, or were less proud -- and his pride (compared to others' humility) does not stand up as well to scrutiny; but I think Tolkien offsets that view of Boromir that we see while he is alive, by revealing the great love others had for him, after his death. He was a compelling man, loved equally by a stern father and a sensitive brother, and seemingly by the men who served under him or who knew him.

 But I do think Tolkien preferred Faramir, as you say, because Faramir was very much like Tolkien himself, from what I have read.

 I was a fan and follower -- even chaser! -- of Boromir, long before the film, but I knew he was not liked by many; I do very much appreciate the further development of his character through the films, so that we do see some of those times where he is less alone, as well as the times where he remains alone in spite of his desire to be understood.

 I agree with you, that there are many places in the books where one can see the noble Boromir showing through, and I'm always very happy when people who didn't previously like him as a character, begin to see that!! - Linaewen

How interesting... as I read the book again, after seeing FOTR,
 the feeling I got was that Tolkien maintained a safe distance from Boromir, lest he begin to like him too much and would not be able to kill him off. When one considers (from Tolkien's letters) that his original plan was to have Boromir defect to the side of the enemy, but finally could not do it. Delving too much into their personality and loving relationships invests a great deal of oneself. It's difficult to kill a character one comes to care about, even when it's in the best interest of the story. Just as I believed that had Tolkien stayed true to his plan to create a myth then he should have killed Frodo at Mt. Doom. Instead, he sent Frodo off doing what Tolkien himself would have liked to have done, though he does not say it. In one of his letters, he speaks of his love of the sea and the excitement of exploring them, though he was quite content to stay home and in the life he had chosen for him. The prior was perhaps a secret longing, the kind most of us have but don't anticipate every enjoying but it does not keep us from giving into little corners of it. Tolkien could not go, so he sent Frodo in his place. Great musing ((V)) - Ladyhawk Baggins

Thanks, Lady! You are right, I definitely think Tolkien did not want to get too fond of Bor. - Varda

I, too, agree, actually; tho what I said above may seem to differ.
I think he wanted to keep his distance, but his esteem for the Man Boromir leeked out afterwards, in the esteem shown to his memory by others who knew him. Maybe it was "safe" then to care for him, after he had been sacrificed; it was before Boromir's death that he seems to be the distant proud Man who is at odds with Aragorn and Frodo, but afterwards we hear more of him from those who cared for him. - L:inaewen

Wonderful thoughts! This is like
a Boromir puzzle/jigsaw and you always find a new piece! :)

 Thanks to all contributers for this intriguing collection of Boromir musings! That\rquote s what I love about this board - you get so much input, be it in the form of a discussion, a musing or an inkling.

Of course I had a certain "picture" of Boromir in my mind when I read LOTR. PJ' s movie added something to that picture and so did a lot of the stuff I\rquote ve read here. He's a far more complex character now - and very much alive when I remember his conversations with Lin. For me he was always an example of how the rings influence can change someone. Not a wizard or an elf or a hobbit but a human being, a warrior, highborn with a certain education and (as told) a noble character. Boromir had the best intentions - he didn't want the ring to"rule them all" but to save his city, his people. But he ended up betraying not only those who trusted him but also betraying himself. I agree with Varda - that hour after his attempt to take the ring from Frodo, before he returned to the others, must have been terrible!

For me his victory is not only the victory of a warrior ( and giving his life defending his friends) but also realising the fact that he was under the influence of the ring and that what he did was unworthy of a noble warrior of Gondor. Maybe he saw a part of himself he never thought was there. But with his last words he admits his failure to Aragorn - I think that takes a lot of courage. - Vik

I do think Boromir paid for everything in that terrible lonely hour. - Varda

i read your comment about how boromir in the book seemed to be alone
....and to the most part i agree. I think Tolkien wrote him that way, maybe not on purpose (or maybe he did?) but he does seem to have no-one to confide in.


in real life, proud people very often dont see taht they do indeed have friends. They are too proud to ask for help, and too unaware to see that they are loved. (unaware is maybe the wrong word...but i cant think of the right one)

i have been reading ALOT of the books these past 7 days to do research for my own inkling, and tolkien put 'little things' in there about how well Boromir was loved by the others in the fellowship.

When Faramir questions Frodo about his brother, Frodo says, 'for my part, yes, i was his friend' I think Frodo was indeed friends, and i think that Frodo understood why Boromir did what he did, especially as Frodo often (in the book) felt the lure of the ring, of it wanting him to put it on etc.

When pippin meets Denethor and sees the broken horn on his lap, he is overcome to the point of telling the steward that it is his fault that Boromir died. He pledges himself to the Steward. I think that if he did not love/like Boromir, he wouldnt have done it.

there are other little snippits in the books too about boromirs time with the fellowship...i 'think' it is pippin who says that he was the last out of Moria after Gandalf take on that is that the last one out is watching your back, and earns your respect.

As a preteen i detested Boromir simply because of what he did to Frodo, but as an adult, being able to read the books again with an eye for details, i am finding all kinds of 'nuggets' that i missed the first time.

this is a mishmash of all kinds of thoughts, but i just wanted to add my two cents worth  - boriel

Boromir's pride....
You are so right about Boromir, like many proud and independent people he does not realise he is loved and respected. Communication is not his strong point, actually, right from where he disrupts the Council to where he can't bring himself to tell the Fellowship he scared Frodo away into the forest at Parth Galen. He is too proud to ask for help, and only really reveals himself when he is dying, to Aragorn. He is one of that breed of men who equate strength with the ability to keep silent on one's feelings and doubts. In Lórien he refuses to say what the Lady reveals to him.

The problem with looking at the Fellowship to see how the various members loved Boromir is that people are complex and often they love someone out of their own needs. Pippin offers Denethor his service out of a sense of debt because Boromir died defending him, but Boromir was glad to have the chance to redeem himself, so Boromir would not have seen any debt at all. But Pippin does not understand what happened at Amon Hen between Boromir and Frodo and so does not understand how ashamed Boromir was.

Also, Boromir tells Aragorn 'I have failed' but Aragorn tells him he has won a great victory. They are both obviously thinking of different things. Aragorn himself sees Boromir's death as a reproach to his leadership, and HE thinks he has failed too. Aragorn knows all along that he must forge a friendship with Boromir, so that his coming to Minas Tirith will not cause friction with the Stewards. And he has forged friendship, and just when he has, the Steward's son and heir dies, while he was not at hand to help him. So while Boromir is thinking of his failure, Aragorn is thinking of HIS failure.

In this way, we can't really ever see any of these people in isolation from each other. This is a true fellowship, and the people in it develop in partnership with each other and in the end can't be studied entirely on their own. All except for Frodo and Sam, who leave the fellowship to follow their own path physically and morally. - Varda

This is a good point:
In this way, we can't really ever see any of these people in isolation from each other. This is a true fellowship, and the people in it develop in partnership with each other and in the end can't be studied entirely on their own...

Part of that development is indeed "working" in partnership. It is true that often love in a friendship begins through one's own need, but that is as legitimate a way to begin a relationship as any. When friends on this footing learn to share enough that they can see past the needs and the motives and the misunderstandings, then their friendship can be strengthened. Just think of how much stronger the love between Pip and Boromir would have been -- or Boromir and Aragorn -- if there had been time to sort through the reasons for them each acting and feeling as they did, and getting past the blame and guilt.

That brings to mind an interesting thought! Blame and guilt seem to be a big issue here with our Fellowhip -- to a certain extent holding them apart as individuals, while making each one act in a way that still reveals love for one another. I'll have to go away and thing on that one some more....

Thank again for the insights, V! - Linaewen

If I might add a few thoughts to the Boromir - Honor discussion
I agree with what many of you are saying: Boromir in the film is more likable than the Book version (sorry, Vision--I am neither swooning over him, nor repulsed, so I can't help you out! :-] ) I am intrigued by this line of questions I have read (though I could not find the original, I have read the ones further down the page). Isolation is an interesting thing. Sometimes it comes from without, and sometimes from within. One can be a 'wallflower' by sitting in the shadows and avoiding people (as Strider did in the Prancing Pony), or by being left behind (as the young hobbits feared in Rivendell). And that this discussion should focus on Boromir makes it even more intriguing.

Boromir is a complex character. Obviously, otherwise, he would not stay in our thoughts like he does and be fodder for such discussions. To be honest, I am not sure where this rambling musing will go, but I hope you will bear with me while I posit. Perhaps it is my male perspective that tries to reason thus: He was not 'Isolated' but rather 'Distant' -- the difference being that the first is done by the outside, the second by oneself.

We learn from Faramir that Boromir was a 'proud man.' He was a man of action, who believed in what he could see, feel and do. Strength of arms and honor earned by this. These are the lessons that Denethor instilled in him, deriding his brother as a 'wizard's pupil.'

It is most interesting that it should be Boromir and not Faramir who has the dream that leads him to seek the elves. Had Faramir gotten the dream, I wonder what would have happened--perhaps he would have sought Gandlalf or Saruman, or Radagast; someone who would have had more insight into the problem. That something so compelling, yet so ethereal, should visit a man who is firmly rooted in his own actions must have been hard to bear, and even harder to have to ask for help in solving the riddle. Perhaps it was this that made him insist on seeking Imladris and not leaving it for Faramir. Taking him away from his 'comfort zone' of battle and strength of arms where his position as a leader was as familiar as a favorite shoe, and resulting in being placed 3rd in command in a group of 9 would have been hard to endure. Not that as a good soldier he didn't know his duty -- that too had been instilled in him by Denethor -- but having been a captain for a while, it would be hard to step back into the role of 'foot-soldier.' Especially as he was indeed 'prideful.'

But, within the dynamics of the group, I don't believe had we asked him if he felt 'isolated' he would have responded with a resounding 'Yes.' I think that leadership of any sort, but especially that of a military order, requires a certain 'distance' that must be maintained. These were not boyscouts out on a hike. They were warriors out on covert operations. They had a job to do, and while they all hoped to return alive, they were all totally aware that it was a 'fool's erand' that had 'no real hope of success.' Perhaps not the hobbits (they were not warriors from birth) but certainly Boromir would have known this. And having sent men he knew from childhood to their deaths, he would have learned long ago to keep a certain distance that would allow him to throw one of them into battle to save the mission. Those of us who have not had to do it perhaps have a hard time imagining it. Could you send your best friend or brother over a hill into an army of orcs if you had to? I would want to say, "Yes" but I am not so sure.

So I am sure that Varda's thougths, and those expressed by the rest of you are true, but I think that we must also not forget that while he was a man, he was also a warrior, and would not have had the luxury of getting too close to these new commrads. It isn't until you have faced an army that this sort of bond occurs. Gimli and Legolas become fast friends by the end of the book, but only after the army in Moria and the Uruk-hai have bonded them against their initial distrust. My father fought in WWII, and he and his six "army buddies" would get together every couple of years. It was like they had never parted, and the bonds between them, even when age claimed them one by one, were always there, and honored by their widows. They never once mentioned their leader. Not that he was a bad guy, but the leaders and the enlisted men didn't mix. Boromir, as a leader, would have been more 'distant' to my way of thinking.

As to Aragorn's response to Boromir, perhaps you are right, Varda and that they are thinking of different things. However, it could also be that Aragorn, looking down at his dying commrad in arms -- a man who was under his care, was demonstrating his ability to show grace to one who is beyond help and repents his deeds. Had Boromir lived and the 7 on the west bank been left to figure things out without the attack of the Uruk-hai, I am not sure how Aragorn would have treated Boromir. But, when he is lying on his deathbed, confessing his shortcomings, it would take a small man, and one wholly unworthy of being king, to deride him for his shortcomings. Boromir was aware of them, to point them out would be wrong, however accurate these thoughts were. And to share this news with the elf and dwarf would have fostered more distrust in this fragile alliance. Keeping quiet was not only the right thing to do, it was the only practical thing to do as well.  - Doctor Gamgee