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 Post subject: Boromir ~ A Defense of Character by Rinoa Amarth
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 6:00 pm 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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A quote from a locked thread... It is filled with great information on the Gondorian...
Rinoa Amarth~Goldleaf~ wrote:
*Ok I found this and I just had to share, because I agree with it soo much, it's kinda long*

When speaking of Boromir, it may be hard to keep the name of Faramir away, and vice versa. So in that respect I shall speak first of contrast in the two sons of Gondor. They were brothers, warriors, and best friends. Although we never read a direct conversation between them, we can tell by the way each talk of one another how much they valued their companionship.

The characters of Boromir and Faramir are both halves to a whole. Do not people want to be strong, loyal, honest, and noble? Both brothers were especially loyal (to Gondor and in general), honest, and skilled in battle. Of course, they had elements of their own- Boromir the strongest, more of the warrior type and perhaps the more headstrong. That is not a bad thing, however- people must be headstrong in life, making decisions based on experience and initial reaction. It is strange how although Boromir and Faramir have the same two parents; Faramir is the one that is said to have the Numernorean blood. This would explain why most people believe Faramir to be more noble, and perhaps more spiritually aware than Boromir.

I find this unjust, for Boromir gives his life defending two little Hobbits that he mistakenly cursed minutes before. Repenting his mistake with his life is the most rewarding of spiritual knowingness. Most will read 'The Departure of Boromir' and conclude that without analyzing, Boromir thought himself to have failed, thus making him unaware of his spiritual awareness:

"'Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.'

'No!' said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. 'You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!'

Boromir smiled." (TT, pg.404)

Boromir smiles because he knows that he shall now go in peace, believing the last words he hears. He knows that Aragorn shall journey to Minas Tirith and save his people. Boromir will be in another place, but his city shall not fall. If he had not smiled, he may not have been aware of spiritual comfort- but as he smiled, Boromir accepts his fate and thus knows his spiritual repent. When mentioning the word repent, an evil deed being vanquished comes to mind. Tolkien accounts for the battle of Good and Evil, spiritually and physically, in complicated ways.

In a letter dated September 25th 1954, Tolkien wrote a reply to Naomi Mitchinson on various issues on the Lord of the Rings. In paragraph three, Tolkien speaks of some hasty reviewers of the novel and makes a reference to Good and Evil and of Boromir:

“Some reviewers have called the whole thing simple-minded, just a plain fight between Good and Evil, with all the good just good, and the bad just bad. Pardonable, perhaps (though at least Boromir has been overlooked) in people in a hurry, and with only fragment to read, and, of course, without the earlier written but unpublished Elvish histories. But the Elves are not wholly good or in the right…In their way the Men of Gondor were similar: a withering people whose only ‘hallows’ were their tombs. But in any case this is a tale about a war, and if war is allowed (at least as a topic and a setting) it is not much good complaining that all the people on one side are against those on the other. Not that I have made even this issue quite so simple: there are Saruman, and Denethor, and Boromir; and there are treacheries and strife even among the Orcs.” (The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, pg.197)

Here Tolkien makes the effort of mentioning Boromir twice. He speaks of Boromir’s issue within the story as a sort of limbo between Good and Evil. By no means is Tolkien stating that Boromir is bad. The issue he is speaking of is the temptation of Boromir to take the Ring from Frodo. Boromir never fights for the side of the enemy, nor is he ever debating which side is right. The conflict of Good and Evil Tolkien spoke of was the inner struggle within Boromir, and how it ultimately played out in the end, with Denethor in mind. Gondor was weakened at the time of the War of the Ring, and such a burden as bringing this Ring of Power back to the halls of Gondor was laid upon Boromir. Tolkien compared the Men of Gondor to the Elves, in the sense of a withering people, perhaps making stressed and hasty decisions. As you will read, Boromir was not viewed as “withering” to most that knew him.

When hearing of the passing of Boromir, Eomer cries out in dismay:

"'Great harm is this death to Minas Tirith, and to us all. That was a worthy man! All spoke his praise. He came seldom to the Mark, for he was ever in the wars on the East-borders; but I have seen him. More like to the swift sons of Eorl than to the grave Men of Gondor he seemed to me, and likely to prove a great captain of his people when his time came.'" (TT, pg.425)

This gives us better insight into Boromir's good nature. It tells us he is a social person, and "all spoke his praise". This passage alone eliminates the misconception that Boromir was the group antagonist simply for making a human mistake by trying to take the Ring from Frodo. He repented this mistake, did he not? A further glance at Boromir’s personality can be seen on the eve of setting out on the quest from Rivendell:

"Boromir had a long sword, in fashion like Anduril but of less lineage, and he bore also a shield and his war-horn.

'Loud and clear it sounds in the valleys of the hills,' he said, 'and then let all the foes of Gondor flee!' Putting it to his lips he blew a blast, and the echoes leapt from rock to rock, and all that heard that voice in Rivendell sprang to their feet.

'Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir,' said Elrond, 'until you stand once more on the borders of your land, and dire need is on you.'

'Maybe,' said Boromir. 'But always I have let my horn cry at setting forth, and though thereafter we may walk in the shadows, I will not go forth as a thief in the night.'" (FOTR, pg.272)

This wonderful passage shows us how the determined Boromir always wears his pride. Even to Elrond of Rivendell Boromir does not apologize for winding his horn, for it is a custom that he holds dear. His honesty also shines in the line “I will not go forth as a thief in the night.” No matter the danger of the journey ahead, Boromir stuck to his customs.

Throughout the journey, Boromir's skills prove useful and beneficial to the whole of the Fellowship. In fact, without Boromir's strength and courage the Fellowship may not have made it back down Caradhras in the early stages of the quest. He is the one who suggested bringing as much wood as they could up the mountain to make fire. Without Boromir’s help in this quest, half of the Hobbits most likely would have fallen, and the Fellowship would have suffered a great loss in the area of battle. The character of Boromir is up there with his brother Faramir and even with Aragorn in valor, strength, and sacrifice. He was an honorable warrior who cared tremendously for those he swore to protect. Minas Tirith itself would have fallen if not for the valiant efforts of Boromir prior to his leaving for Rivendell. He rode solitarily to Imladris to seek an answer to a dream and attend the Council of Elrond- a journey that took one hundred and ten long days. Boromir proved on many occasions that he was indeed a noble and knowledgeable man worthy of the utmost of remembrance. Without the help he provided to Gondor and to the quest, who knows what would have went astray.




Bibliography:

"The Lord of the Rings." Tolkien, J.R.R. 1954.

"The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien." Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien, Christopher. June 1 2000.


I always respected the character as presented in the books. A strong, outwardly good royal soldier of Gondor, the voice of the Ring tarried on him throughout the journey. It is hard to say that Faramir, if he spent as much time in the Ring's proximity as his brother did, he may have also fallen to the same temptation? I know the story has Faramir as the 'strong' one with the Ring easily in his grasp, but he did only have a day or so of being around it. As far as Sean Bean's portrayal of Boromir and David Wehnam's portrayal of Faramir in the movies, they had the look and feeling spot on, even if the screenplay wasn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Boromir ~ A Defense of Character by Rinoa Amarth
PostPosted: June 26th, 2019, 9:46 am 
Istari
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Hanasian wrote:
I always respected the character as presented in the books. A strong, outwardly good royal soldier of Gondor, the voice of the Ring tarried on him throughout the journey. It is hard to say that Faramir, if he spent as much time in the Ring's proximity as his brother did, he may have also fallen to the same temptation? I know the story has Faramir as the 'strong' one with the Ring easily in his grasp, but he did only have a day or so of being around it. As far as Sean Bean's portrayal of Boromir and David Wehnam's portrayal of Faramir in the movies, they had the look and feeling spot on, even if the screenplay wasn't.

The very limited exposure of Faramir to the One Ring compared to Boromir's - two months of travel, from 25 December 3018 to 26 February 3019, or four months if one counts the time from the Council of Elrond on 25 October 3018 – could have contributed to his ease of shrugging off the temptation. But Tom Shippey, in his “The Road to Middle-earth” (third edition 2003) covers this aspect of the One Ring’s effects in chapter 5 “Interlacements and The Ring”, first section “A Problem in Corruption”.

“Actually all the doubts just mentioned can be cleared up by the use of one word, though it is a word never used in [LoTR]. The Ring is ‘addictive’. … why Boromir succumbs to the Ring without handling it (use has to be preceded by desire); and why Faramir can shrug it off (a wise person is capable of stifling the desire to become addicted, though no wisdom will stifle addiction once contracted).”

The point about desire is explicitly made by Sam and Faramir in TT, book four, chapter V “The Window on the West”:
Sam: “From the moment he first saw it [in Rivendell] he wanted the Enemy’s Ring!”
Faramir: “Alas for Boromir! It was too sore a trial!”

Boromir’s world view is narrower than Faramir’s, he’s too specialized, too much of a “pure warrior” for whom a weapon is a weapon. More than once during the Council of Elrond he has to be “called to order”, once for his suggestion of using the One Ring against Sauron, and even after having been told again that this is impossible – at "best", another Dark Lord would arise, and it is unlikely that any human, not even Aragorn, would be able to control the One Ring – he remains doubtful. Faramir had no such protracted explanations, his knowledge of the One Ring is his own, probably instructed by Gandalf. But he has no doubts in the least about the enormous danger of the One Ring.

As for the portrayals, Sean Bean's Boromir was truest to the book. Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn and David Wenham’s Faramir suffered from the screenplay, as the best actor in the world can’t do much if the script stinks. Both, Wenham’s Faramir explicitly so in an online article I recently read, fell victim to one of Hollywood’s brain-dead cookie cutters about “character development” (which PJ even seems to have forced on the Ents and Treebeard! :yuck: ).

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