Boromir question: Would he have fallen again?

So Boromir tries to take the ring by force, fails, and realises what he’s doing; and then proceeds to give his life to allow others to escape. He’s learned a valuable lesson.

So let’s say he isn’t killed then, but saved; he continues the journey with the Fellowship, and Frodo (for some reason) also stays.

Would Boromir inevitably try to take the ring again? How long would it have taken for him to forget the lesson he’s learned (or for the ring to find a new lever to use against him)? Essentially, how true was his redemption?

I think that if he had survived he would have removed himself from the ring’s presence and from its influence. Remember, he never *held *the ring so it held limited influence over him.

However, upon reflection, he couldn’t exactly return home either, considering Denethor. And he couldn’t stay away either, considering his loyalty to Gondor.

Life would have become rapidly very difficult for Boromir. I simply can’t conceive of what he’d do…he was meant to die, and he had to die, to clear the path for Frodo and to cause the Fellowship to split up. It’s like Judas - he had to betray Jesus so jesus would die for his followers.

If he stayed with the Fellowship, the whole sequence of events would have been changed. Are we presuming that

a) Somehow the entire Fellowship escapes from the Uruk-Hai? How? Do they continue to Mordor?
b) That Pippin and Merry are still captured by the Uruk-Hai? In this case, what happens to Frodo and Sam? How do they escape the Uruk-Hai?
c) If Frodo is still with them, then the chase for Pippin and Merry takes on a distance second. Do all - Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Sam, and Frodo - proceed on towards Mordor?
d) Or does Frodo leave on his own?

I guarantee you if Boromir doesn’t leave, Frodo would.

Why? Denethor didn’t know that the ring was extant; the notion that Boromir was sent to Imladris to attend a council to decide its fate is an invention of the movie (and one that doesn’t make any sense. How did this message get sent so quickly? Did Elrond send a fax, an email, or a telegram? Did Boromir teleport from Gondor?)

Life would have become rapidly very difficult for Boromir. I simply can’t conceive of what he’d do…he was meant to die, and he had to die, to clear the path for Frodo and to cause the Fellowship to split up. It’s like Judas - he had to betray Jesus so jesus would die for his followers.

If he stayed with the Fellowship, the whole sequence of events would have been changed. Are we presuming that

a) Somehow the entire Fellowship escapes from the Uruk-Hai? How? Do they continue to Mordor?
b) That Pippin and Merry are still captured by the Uruk-Hai? In this case, what happens to Frodo and Sam? How do they escape the Uruk-Hai?
c) If Frodo is still with them, then the chase for Pippin and Merry takes on a distance second. Do all - Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Sam, and Frodo - proceed on towards Mordor?
d) Or does Frodo leave on his own?

I guarantee you if Boromir doesn’t leave, Frodo would.
[/QUOTE]

While I agree Boromir died to redeem himself, I can see Professor Tolkien writing it differently for a similar result. Aragorn arrives at Parth Galen in time to reinforce Boromir but too late to prevent the abduction. Frodo leaves as describes; remember, he and Samwise didn’t know about the abduction of the two younger hobbits. A similar debate as in the book takes place as to the the best course of action, and Boromir decides to accompany Aragorn, Legolas, & Gimli to save Merry & Pippin.

It’s best if Boromir dies, though.

I didn’t quite mean the ring causing trouble for Denethor. Sorry. I simply meant, that it was the pressure of ruling and Denethor’s influence that brought Boromir to a point where it was easier for him to fall. And to go back into that environment - you see where I’m headed? Sorry for not being clear.
I forgot exactly why Boromir went to the Council - for help, right? So he can’t return without help, I presume. So…

I can see Boromir just staying with the Fellowship.
I can see that working…but I still don’t see a *place *for Boromir. In a literary sense, too. As it was, he died as a hero, a man who died to save his honor and two hobbits. If he continued on there was no way he could be anything but secondary to Aragorn, who was after all the King. He would be on par with Legolas and Gimli. So…still better for him to die.

Poor Boromir. :slight_smile: Here he is, trying to get out of the grave and we keep shoving him back down into it.

If Boromir lived and stayed in the presence of the Ring, I believe he would have failed again. Tolkien made it clear that while he was a great warrior and good leader he did have the intellect and will of his Father and Brother.
I believe his redemption was deathbed redemption and he needed to be removed from the presence of the ring.
Boromir could have lived and helped try to rescue Merry and Pippin but it would have altered many dynamics. Denethor was pushed much further into depression when he learned of Boromir’s death. Faramir pushed himself much too hard to fight off Denethor’s stinging accusations of not being worthy of Boromir. Eomer would have known Boromir when the companions first met up with his company. Boromir would have remained a potential rival to Aragorn and I am not sure how that would have played out on The Pelennor Fields.

Jim

Exactly. If Boromir had survived, what could he do? He would have already committed the greatest transgression that any of the fellowship would commit, causing Frodo to set out on his own, and he and Aragorn know it. Shall he just cow-tow to Aragorn for the rest of the adventure? Hardly a fitting end for a man such as he. A man-who-would-be-king doesn’t fit very well into the follower mould.

I agree that Frodo would leave the same way. Sam already realized that Frodo intended to, and was just waiting for the moment. As soon as Boromir tried to take the ring (the event being left in by the OP), it sets in motion that Frodo runs, and is finally ready to cross; also Sam, expecting this, goes with Frodo.

Also, the orcs are already there, and hunting for hobbit; as soon as they find some, they will try to take them prisoner, kill any non-hobbit available, and then leave with their captives. So, for Boromir to be alive, it must be the case that he is either not with the other two hobbits, or that he defeats them, or is temporarily held at bay while they are taken - in all cases, either with or without the others of the company. In that case, I would think they would all immediately set off after the orcs, and perhaps have caught them sooner. Then, Aragorn and Boromir both wanted to head to Minas Tirith. What then?

Without Merry and Pippin, I don’t think the Ents get roused. Without Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and the ents, I don’t think Rohan gets saved, who would turn the tide later at Pelennor.

Aragorn certainly does not, then, go through the Paths of the Dead, defeat the Corsairs, use the Palantir to goad Sauron into an early attack, and gather other Gondorians from South Gondor.

On the other hand, with Aragorn coming to Gondor, Denethor not in grief over two sons deaths, and Boromir there, I think the ‘political’ situation gets sticky, and the people don’t cooperate as well. Minas Tirith falls.

Clearly, Boromir, through his death, saved the entire kingdom! (Said only half, well, three-fourths, in jest.)

OK, let’s say the orcs grab Merry & Pip and run, leaving Boromir able to survive. Action continues–Aragorn figures out where everyone is, they have to decide what to do. There are some possibilities:

  1. Boromir is too injured to travel with the others to recover the halflings. He limps on home to Gondor. Arriving home, Boromir tells daddy what happened, gets lambasted up one side and down the other for not bringing the ring. Everything proceeds as expected until Gandalf arrives in Gondor–what happens then?

  2. Boromir is fine. Most probably he goes after the halflings w/Legolas and Gimli. Aragorn follows Frodo and Sam (and, one assumes, finds them before Gollum does). No one takes the Paths of the Dead, Gondor falls when Sauron attacks. Everybody dies. Aragorn, Frodo and Sam have to deal with Gollum, get into Mordor, dump the ring–can they do it?

Eep. I wasn’t expecting this to turn into an alternate history type of thing. I was just wondering whether people thought Boromir’s redemption was complete, or if he would have fallen again at some point (well, everyone except Sauron and anyone above the Maia would eventually fall, but is he now stronger against the ring to the point of Faramir or Aragorn?).

I think there isn’t really a dichotomy - Boromir’s redemption is genuine (right then, he would not try again to take it again); however, that does not necessarily mean it’s permanent. If he had the opportunity again at a far greater need, when he was despairing or his strength was otherwise weak, he might fail again. It seems to me that in Tolkien’s world, being redeemed does not mean that you can’t make a mistake again in the future.

For example, several of the people who seemed above taking the ring - like Aragorn, Gandalf, perhaps Galadriel - seem (to me) to be glad that the temptation is now out of their hands. That implies, I think, that any of them may have found repeated temptation to be too hard. So Boromir’s redemption, I think, is as good as any; but that does not mean he would be in no danger in the future.

He went to have Elrond attempt to decipher the words in the dream that Faramir and he both had (“Seek for the sword that was broken, in Imladris it dwells…”). Although at the Council he did admit Gondor also needed help, but he didn’t come to ask for it.

He would hopefully yield to Aragorn when it came time to, as Faramir does. That is if he even survived the battles of Helm’s Deep and Pelennor (no guarantee of that).

If Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli had caught up with the Uruk-hai sooner than they did I think they would have been lunchmeat, even if Boromir was with them. They were outnumbered something like forty to one.

It’s really hard to predict this without re-writing Book III-VI.

Tolkien’s story was a series of interleaved epic dominos.

Boromir was sent to Rivendell to seek the answer to a riddle that came to him in a vision: something about the doom of Minas Tirith drawing nigh; seek the Blade that was Broken, in Imladris it dwells. Boromir was sent thither by Denethor to beg the answer, which put Boromir in the path of temptation.

It is because Boromir is tempted that Frodo is driven to leave the Fellowship just before the orc attack; it is because the Fellowship was split up looking for Frodo that Aragorn and Gimli and Legolas were not on hand to help save Merry and Pippin; it was because of this that Merry and Pippin were brought to Fangorn Forest; it was because of this that Isengard fell.

Ultimately it leads back to the notion that evil contains the seeds of its own destruction: by tempting Boromir, the Ring set in motion events that toppled Isengard and freed the Riders of Rohan to take part in the battle of Pelennor Fields.

Boromir doesn’t have to die for all this to happen, of course, so long as he tries (and fails) to save Merry and Pippin; and Frodo must be frightened away, with Sam following after him.

If Boromir hadn’t died, he would likely have gone with Gandalf and Pippin to Gondor; and this might have kept Denethor from going mad with grief at the death of Faramir; and this might have led to old, stodgy, conservative Denethor leading the defenses of Minas Tirith instead of Gandalf.

But on a more basic level:

Aragorn was the example of the pinnacle Humanity had left in the world to offer, a King of the line of Men of old. Legolas was the example of the perfect Elf; Gimli was the perfect Dwarf. The Hobbits, as described, were not easily tempted; and Gandalf fell; so the only redundant character who could be tempted was Boromir. Somebody had to take the fall, to serve as the proof positive that the ring was powerful and evil. If Boromir weren’t tempted again, somebody else would have had to be, or the literary device falls flat.

[pedantic nitpick] It’s kowtow. I am now thinking of bowing cows, though. :)[/pd]

But you can’t. Like it or not, the Fall of Boromir (may as well capitalize it) is a pivotal turning point in the story, and him not falling changes many things later in the story. But how could Boromir’s redemption be complete?

Just look at the one and only person who gave up the Ring after wearing it, willingly. Bilbo. And even he still feels the pull and it’s heavily implied that were he to take it this time, he *would *fall. Boromir is not as strong as Bilbo. He doesn’t have that good, common earth sense of the hobbit.

Didn’t he also come because of the Prophecy? Wasn’t there a prophcey about the “Doom of Minas Tirith” or the “Doom of our time”? This was hinted at in the movie but I thought it was more in-depth in the book. And I can’t find my copy right now.

There was no prophecy about the doom of Minas Tirith, and while Boromir did have a vision in a dream once (Faramir apparently had it many times) that mentioned doom it did NOT state “The doom of Minas Tirith”. The full verse from the dream vision can be found here:


Boromir (and apparently Denethor) chose to interpret it that way but someone at the Council of Elrond (Gandalf? Elrond?) points out to Boromir that the prophecy doesn’t specifically state the doom of Minas Tirith was at hand, just doom. This could just as easily be interpreted as Sauron’s doom. As is usually the case with such things the meaning is ambiguous and different characters interpret it in different ways to suit their own ends.

Fish I am not sure I agree with your entire last paragraph. Particularly I don’t think Legolas and Gimli were intended to portray perfect examples of their kind, I always considered them more or less above average but far from perfect. I think they were both open to temptation, it just hadn’t happened yet. Same with the hobbits, in the end they would all be just as prone to Ring temptation as Smeagol was.

This is close to what I was going to say. As much as I love the trilogy, this is the part of Tolkein’s writing that feels the most “English” (albeit dated) and makes me the most uncomfortable: Ultimately Boromir was a Steward, not a King, and was destined to fall no matter what. I realize that this is a harsh reading, but there is a great deal of emphasis on blood lines in LOTR.

Yes, that’s what I recall, that it was interpreted to be the Doom of Minis Tirth even though it wasn’t. It’s just like the Star Wars prophecy, I tell you! “Bring balance to the force” doesn’t mean “will kill all the bad Jedi!”

In a way, it did mean the Doom of Minis Tirith, I suppose - the status quo. No more Stewards of Gondor but a real King. No more being on edge and warring against an eternally present and always visible enemy. Now, like Taran in the High King, they have to fight only the evil in men’s hearts, which is deeper and more insidious.

In JRRT’s multiple early drafts of LOTR, Boromir became corrupted, and and remained or died corrupted, a few times dying at the hand of Aragorn. At one point, the two battle to the death in front of the gates of Ond (later Gondor).

Boromir’s character evolved under JRRT’s repeat editing, but those flaws in him that the ring accentuated always remained. I think JRRT saw Boromir defending and dying for the hobbits as about the only way he could be redeemed, given his native character.

It’s just my speculation, and I can’t point to any quotes to support it at the moment, but it’s based on multiple readings of multiple early versions of Boromir and his hactions.

What trilogy? I have an extremely long book by professor T. that is sometimes divided into three volumes for ease of bathroom reading…but no trilogy.

Unless you mean the Hobbit-LOTR-Silmarillion trilogy.

:stuck_out_tongue:

Oooo…that’d have been some fight. Who the hell do you root for? Those are the bext kind of fights.

They are of course talking about the Trilogy of Printed books that consisted of 6 books and a large appendix all translated from a copy of the Red Book of Westmarch. :wink: