‘Boromir, Oh Boromir!’ cried Faramir. ‘What
did she say to you, the Lady that dies not? What did she see? What woke
in your heart then? Why went you ever to Lórien and came not by
your own road, upon the horses of Rohan riding home in the morning?’
-The Two Towers.
From the moment the Fellowship entered Lothlórien a great unease settled on Boromir. Even after the Galadhrim and their great Queen had greeted them and allowed them to stay and rest in the Golden Wood a nameless fear gnawed at his heart. Old sayings of the people of Gondor returned to haunt him;
‘The Queen of Lorien is a mighty sorceress….none who venture into her realm ever return…’
Even standing in the speckled shade of the great Mallorn trees with their golden leaves and silver bark, hearing the music of hidden streams, Boromir felt the shadow of dread. He said to Aragorn;
‘There is great evil here….’
But Aragorn turned to him and replied sharply;
‘The only evil here is what you bring in with you….’
Boromir bowed his head and was silent. He knew this place had special meaning for Aragorn, reared by Elves, and in their wanderings he had come to feel love and loyalty for this Ranger, and did not now want to earn his contempt. But Aragorn saw his words had given hurt and put a hand on Boromir’s shoulder.
‘Forgive me, brother. I did not mean to chastise you. But it was in Lórien that one whom I love spent many years….’
Boromir smiled and nodded.
‘No offence was taken, none at all….’ He knew of Arwen, waiting in Rivendell, far to the North, and for a fleeting moment of longing Boromir wondered what it was like to be beloved of so fair a lady. But he shrugged off the thought; his mistress was Gondor, and her peril his quest…he found himself suddenly thinking of the threat to Minas Tirith, and of Frodo…and of the Ring. He was tempted to ask Aragorn once again to take the road to Minas Tirith, but hesitated to start that argument all over again. Aragorn smiled and turned away, and the moment was lost…..
After the rigours of their journey, and the horrors of Moria, the other members of the Fellowship found peace and healing in Lothlórien. For the hobbits it was every tree of the Shire but a hundredfold more beautiful. Even Gimli seemed at ease, and to the astonishment of all Legolas became his guide as they explored the Golden Wood.
Above all, Boromir noticed a transformation in Aragorn. The weatherbeaten, careworn Ranger was set aside for a while at least and the heir of Elendil seemed to walk the woodland paths of Lórien relieved of cares, his step light and his heart full of joy. Boromir wondered at the change, and thought wistfully that Aragorn would always have that deep love for all things Elvish…
And yet…there was a strangeness in Lothlórien. Legolas was less friendly with the Galadhrim than with the Fellowship, even with Boromir himself, whose life he had saved in Moria and with whom an unbreakable bond had been formed in those deep places. The Galadhrim were tall, stern Elves, as like to the kind and graceful Mirkwood prince as tigers to a cheetah.
But it was Boromir who was least content in the Golden Wood. After his words with Aragorn he concealed it, but on the first night, with the stars peeping through the canopy of great golden-grey leaves, he was unable to sleep, and on the following night he dreamed of legions of enemies attacking the White City, and woke with a cry. Yet he was unable to speak of it to Aragorn….
On the third day Boromir was walking alone in the wood, brooding on what path he should take if the Fellowship did not go to Minas Tirith when he looked up and saw, coming through the trees towards him, the Lady Galadriel herself.
Boromir looked round quickly; none of the Fellowship was near, and Galadriel herself was alone. Yet she walked steadily in his direction, as if she had sought him out…
Boromir bowed and murmured a greeting. He noticed that she wore a simple white robe and a mithril belt clasped with a great sapphire. On her long shining hair was a silver circlet and floating on the light breeze that rustled the mallorn leaves was a mantle of deep green sewn with tiny golden stars. She smiled at him and said;
‘You find no peace in Lórien, Boromir’
Boromir looked up in surprise. He was dismayed that his unease had shown so clearly….
‘I mean no dishonour to you or to your realm, my lady….’
‘And yet is it not said among your people that evil dwells in Lothlórien?’ asked Galadriel quietly. Boromir looked down and could find no words to say.
A breeze made the mallorn leaves rustle and the Queen of the Golden Wood said to the heir of the Steward of Gondor;
‘It may be that both our kingdoms are now threatened, and may soon be destroyed, or pass away, even from memory.’ Boromir looked up in surprise and she went on;
‘Put aside your fear, Boromir, before it consumes you….’
‘Fear!’ said Boromir, his pride roused, but Galadriel smiled and said;
‘Yes, fear. The wisest and bravest may fear….’ Boromir stared at her and she held out a white hand and said;
‘If you seek answers and if you indeed do not fear, come with me….’
For a moment too startled to reply, Boromir took the Lady’s hand, and she walked beside him along a mossy way under the Mallorns. Her smile held him, but in his heart fear and doubt warred with mistrust. While he still wavered he was led down into a circular green lawn hemmed in by mossy stones, and in the middle of the lawn, with great trees arching over it shutting out sunlight by day and starlight by night, was a fountain, and a stone basin….
Galadriel released Boromir’s hand and glided over the grass to the basin. She took a silver pitcher and dipped it in the fountain. When it was full she turned to Boromir and said;
‘Do you know what this is?’
‘Yes’ said Boromir in a voice barely above a whisper. ‘It is the Mirror of Galadriel….’
‘Few are allowed a glimpse into its depths’ said the Queen.
‘But if you wish, if you seek answers to the questions that torment you, I will allow you to look in my mirror….’
Boromir for a moment could not speak, or even think. This was the matter of legends in Gondor, the tale of the Great Sorceress and her Mirror of Seeing…and yet Boromir found himself seized by a great desire to look into the future, to see what might come to pass. To know was to have power….
‘Yes, my Lady, with your leave, I will look in your Mirror…’
Galadriel gave Boromir a glance neither pleased nor sad, and turned to the stone basin and lifting up the silver pitcher she poured a stream of clear sparkling water from it into the wide dark hollow in the stone. When the basin was filled to the brim she set down the pitcher and raising her arm she beckoned to Boromir.
‘Come, then, Boromir, son of Denethor, and see what you will…..’
Trying to appear calm although his hand shook as he gripped the hilt of his sword tightly, Boromir stepped up to the basin and looked in.
At first all was dark as the water cleared and grew calm. Boromir found himself hoping nothing would appear, and he could continue to despise such Elvish nonsense….but then a light appeared in the black depths. It grew and grew, and became a flame and then many flames. A city appeared, and Boromir saw the flames were coming from its towers and palaces. It was Minas Tirith….
‘The city is on fire!’ he gasped, but did not look away. Beside him Galadriel closed her eyes….
‘The walls are breached, the enemy has taken the lower levels….’
Anguish gripped Boromir. He put both hands on the sides of the basin and looked closer, and the image vanished. Boromir sighed with relief, then saw another image forming. It was a plain, wide and grassy. Over it in close formation galloped a great company of horseman in the livery of Gondor. They were led by a tall warrior in armour on a bay horse….it was Faramir.
‘Mounted and armed….’ thought Boromir to himself. ‘What means this….?’
He gazed intently at the vision unfolding in the mirror; the horsemen rode on in silence, gathering speed. The plain revealed itself to be the Pelennor….horror struck Boromir; the knights were attacking Osgiliath, and in the mirror now Boromir saw its once beautiful turrets and arcades lined and thronged with orcs, thousands of orcs, drawing their bows….
‘No!’ shouted Boromir. ‘Turn back, Faramir! Turn back….’
But on they rode, spears at rest and swords drawn and Boromir was helpless to prevent what he knew must come next. All in silence, all in darkness, he saw the arrows unleashed, and unable to stop himself he plunged a hand into the basin.
‘Do not touch the water!’ shouted Galadriel in a ringing voice, but it was too late. Boromir had already thrust his hand in, receiving a shock of icy cold that still burned like fire. He pulled it out at once, but the water was disturbed and went black, seething and swirling as Boromir looked down in horror. His skin was still tingling when the water unexpectedly cleared and he saw, lying on the trampled and bloody grass, his brother, either senseless or dead. He gave a cry of grief, and at the same time a great pain smote him and he grasped the basin to steady himself.
It was like the searing pain of an arrow embedded in his chest close to his heart. Boromir had been struck by arrows before, in battle with orcs and Haradrim, but never so deeply, never so mortally.
‘Is it your wound or my own that I feel?’ he gasped and held out a hand to the vision of Faramir lying on the field of battle, dead or dying.
‘Do not touch the water!’ cried Galadriel again, stepping forward, and Boromir looked and she was not clad in simple white but in a robe of silver grey and a cuirass of silver armour, and her face was stern and relentless.
‘You cannot come to him, nor he to you.’ She said in a voice of thunder.
‘I thought…’ said Boromir ‘that when I claimed the errand to Rivendell, Faramir would be safe in Minas Tirith…’
‘There is no safety in the shadow of Mordor!’ said Galadriel ‘in the Mirror no prowess of arms can save you, Boromir, nor your city, nor your brother….’
‘Then what must I do?’ wept Boromir.
The Mirror went dark then, and Galadriel stepped back and turned away. Boromir felt the pain leave his chest, and straightened up and looked around. To his astonishment the basin held only a shallow pool of clear water and Galadriel, standing beside it, was again clad in simple white. She smiled sadly and replied;
‘I cannot tell you what to do, son of Denethor, but trust to hope, not to power of arms. The Mirror shows many things, and not all come to pass. But if you do not turn aside from your path they will come to pass. …’
It was several hours later, as dusk thickened under the trees, that Aragorn, alone with his thoughts, heard a heavy and uncertain tread approaching through the forest.
‘That is no Elf….’ he thought and looking round he saw Boromir walking alone towards him. Even from a distance he could see the man was dejected, his shoulders sagged and his step wavered. Aragorn went to meet him.
‘Boromir! You look weary…come, take some rest. These borders are well protected….’
‘I will find no rest here!’ replied Boromir bitterly, slumping down on a mossy stone.
Aragorn looked more closely at his comrade; the track of a tear could be seen on his cheek, and he was pale. In his eyes was a look as of one who has had a bad dream. Aragorn wished to comfort him, but hesitated lest Boromir resent his kindness. As he pondered it Boromir suddenly said;
‘My father is an honourable man, but his rule is failing and the people, the people lose hope!’
Aragorn seated himself beside Boromir and would have spoken but Boromir went on;
‘Have you ever seen it, Aragorn, the White City? Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?’
Aragorn looked away, lost for a moment in memory.
‘I have seen the White City' he replied softly 'Once, long ago.’
‘Some day our paths will lead us there!’ said Boromir eagerly, gripping Aragorn’s arm, but the Ranger just smiled. Boromir dropped his hand and looked away.
‘You will go to Minas Tirith…’ thought Boromir. ‘And so will I…. ‘
Again he saw the wide and trampled field of battle before the city, and Faramir struck by many arrows…
‘And so will the Ring…..’