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Old 10-31-2004, 03:08 PM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Leaf LotR -- Book 2 - Chapter 08 - Farewell to Lórien

This chapter completes the Lothlórien trilogy. It begins with another audience of the Fellowship with Celeborn and Galadriel, where their resolve to continue is tested by her gaze. Though they are offered the option of staying in Lothlórien, none of them wish to do so. The decision to choose their goal is postponed by the offer of boats, so that they do not have to decide on which side of the shore they will travel.

Aragorn is shown to be indecisive; his role as leader of the Fellowship means that he cannot freely choose to go to Minas Tirith as he originally wished to do. Boromir’s speech betrays his thoughts once again, with Frodo being the one who notices his budding desire for the Ring.

We are introduced to several Elvish objects that are given to the Fellowship: lembas, the cloaks, and the hithlain ropes. The two poems that are included are both Elven, both sung by Galadriel at their farewell: I sang of leaves is recorded in Common Speech; Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen! in Quenya, with a translation immediately following.

I find it interesting that the actual farewell scene is postponed until they have already left, almost as an afterthought; it reminds me of the hobbits’ farewell from Goldberry, which was similarly placed. Celeborn explains the route to them, then Galadriel gives the gifts – after drinking the ritual cup of parting with them. We’ve already mentioned that she calls him “a giver of gifts beyond the power of kings” in the previous chapter, but that she is the one who distributes the gifts. I think we can assume that the gifts are from both of them, so that it doesn’t matter much – or does it?

I will not elaborate on the individual gifts, as I’m sure that those will be discussed enthusiastically! I stumbled over Galadriel’s words to Gimli, though: “You shall not be the only guest without a gift.” Now, she had prepared gifts for all the others, so I cannot imagine that she would deliberately have left him out! Did she know his heart and want to give him the opportunity to present his request? What was the reason for this special treatment?

I must say, this scene and the closing conversation of Gimli with Legolas endeared the Dwarf to me forever. His poetic words and gallantry are lovely and touching! I have quite a few of those sentences underlined in my book:
Quote:
Little did I know where the chief peril lay!
…I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting…
…all such comfort is cold. Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror…
What are your favourite parts of this chapter? What is your opinion on the poems, the character development, the gifts?

(In closing, I’d like to point to a very well-done reverse version of “I sang of leaves” which Elennar Starfire wrote and posted here just today.)
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Old 10-31-2004, 04:06 PM   #2
Boromir88
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1420!

Finally, I can post what I've been trying to for the past two weeks, lol.

So far we have seen Boromir against every decision of the Fellowship (Moria, Lothlorien, then later Amon Hen). Of course we don't miss any of his complaining either. And it has got me thinking, is Boromir in the Fellowship for the wrong reasons? I think the answer comes out the most in this chapter.

Quote:
"As for me," said Boromir, "my way home lies onward and not back."
"That is true," said Celeborn, "but is all this Company going with you to Minas Tirith?"
Quote:
"If my advice is heeded, it will be the western shore, and the way to Minas Tirith," answered Boromir. "But I am not the leader of the Company."
Boromir is all gunho about going to Minas Tirith. Earlier chapters we heard him say, "I won't go unless all votes of the Company are against me (which they were). Now we see him, he's committed to going to Minas Tirith, and it just makes you wonder if that's the only reason he joined the company? We already knew he was heading to Minas Tirith, from the Council, but if you ask me it's the wrong reason of joining. All the other members joined to help Frodo out, Gandalf just comes off to me like he would never leave Frodo. Legolas and Gimli are tested from staying in Lothlorien, but they continue to prod on, because they can't leave Frodo. Of course none of the Hobbits will leave Frodo. Where Boromir is tested, he has a choice of staying and helping Frodo (like the others) or he could go home. I left Aragorn out for this reason. He too originally joined the Company to head for Minas Tirith, he thought it was his time, but then we see this in Farewell to Lorien.

Quote:
His own plan, while Gandalf remained with them, had been to go with Boromir, and with his sword help to deliver it to Gondor. For he believed that the message of the dreams was a summons, and that the hour had come at last when the heir of Elendil should come forth and strive with Sauron for the mastery. But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir.
Aragorn's original plans were to go to Minas Tirith, but with Gandalf died, he too can't bring himself to leaving Frodo. It seems to me, as the other members of the Company can't leave Frodo, they refuse their own "wishes" to help Frodo. Gimli and Legolas don't want to leave Lorien, but they do because as Gimli says laters "he can't abandon the company now." Aragorn, thought his time to bring the sword to Gondor had come, but if Frodo refuses to go, he can't just leave Frodo. So, Boromir is the only one that would choose his "wish" of heading to Minas Tirith, instead of going on with Frodo. He would abandon Frodo, if it came down to it, if it came down between Frodo or Minas Tirith, it was Minas Tirith. Where the other members, their will would cause them to stay with Frodo. Just makes me wonder, did Boromir join the fellowship for the wrong reasons?

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Old 10-31-2004, 08:33 PM   #3
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Since Celeborn didn't get nearly enough discussion in the last chapter...

We've been talking a lot about that guy who seems to tag along with Galadriel all the time, who is supposed to be incredibly wise and a great giver of gifts. While Imladris certainly stuck up for the poor, oft-forgotten Elven Lord, the general consensus seemed to be that he wasn't really living up to his reputation. Here, though, we see a decision Celeborn makes that does reflect wisdom: his choice to provide the Fellowship with boats.

Boromir has wanted to go back to Minas Tirith since the start, and yet the others are not sure if they should follow him there or make their way directly to Mordor. Having boats delays the necessity of making their choice, which may very well separate them should they choose different ways.

Is there wisdom in delaying the inevitable? I think that in this case it was a good idea, for it gave them the chance to think things over a bit more (even though things didn't turn out as planned at all).

Argh... I just found a typo in my book... and that irks me.
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Old 10-31-2004, 09:12 PM   #4
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IMO, the Lorien boats were no minor gift. The exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston drove this home; I know pea-pods and double-enders, and I'm not unfamiliar with canoes.

A hundred years ago when wooden boatmaking was common in Sebago and environs, a boat like the one Boromir rode down the falls would sell for upwards of three hundred dollars, take all winter to make, and represent the farmer's primary (sometimes only) winter income.

If someone gave me a boat like that for three or four days use (knowing I would discard it afterwards), I'd consider it a major gift. Hand carved paddles? Rope? Provisions? Yup. Good stuff.

Thanks, Celeborn.
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Old 10-31-2004, 10:18 PM   #5
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A key question here is was it a wise decision to provide boats and thus put off a
decision. Given following book descriptions (and ignoring the movie) it would
seem that on either side of the Anduin there would have been at least a period of
relative freedom from immediate danger. If the eastern side was chosen Boromir would presumably have left the fellowship, to the benefit of Gondor (at least during the War of the Ring), and with obvious major changes in the story plot. If the western side of the Anduin one would presume the existent plot would basically have remained intact. I am not at all convinced that it was a wise decision to take to the boats. When reading that passage I'm always struck by a feeling that a crucial "decision" is made, for some reason, more so then in say, entering Moria. Atmospherically, it has the feel to me of the scene (and music) in the movie "Death on the Nile" when the cruise ship sets off down the Nile.
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Old 11-01-2004, 02:27 AM   #6
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Apologies in advance for this long post - I won't requires notes from anyone to be excused from reading it!

Quote:
’Here is the gift of Celeborn & Galadriel to the leader of your Company,’ she said to Aragorn, & she gave him a sheath that had been made to fit his sword.... The blade that is drawn from this sheath shall not be stained or broken even in defeat.’ she said
Quote:
Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword, & liked it passing well. Whether liketh you better, said Merlin, the sword or the scabbard? Me liketh better the sword, said Arthur. Ye are more unwise, said Merlin, for the scabbard is worth ten of the swords, for whiles ye have the scabbard upon you, ye shall never lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded; therefore keep well the scabbard always with you. (Sir Thomas Malory, ‘Le Morte D’Arthur’.)
While in the Arthurian story the Lady of the Lake gives the King both sword & scabbard, & Galadriel gives the scabbard alone, & while the power of the scabbard is different in each case, I think we can see some similarities. In each case the scabbard is a powerful magical implement, & in each case it is given by a powerful otherworld ‘goddess’ figure associated with the element of water. Symbolically the sword is a ‘male’ object, the scabbard is ‘female’, so in both examples we see the protective power of the female. But how different are the two scabbards in what they actually do? Excalibur’s scabbard will protect Arthur from death - no matter how badly wounded he may be. Excalibur is the weapon of the King, the divinely appointed ruler of the Land - it symbolises his power & his authority to rule - authority given to him by the otherworldly powers. While Arthur carries the scabbard he will not be defeated, &, we may suppose, like the sword, it is to be handed on to his heirs, who will have similar luck, due to the blessing of the otherworldly powers.

Similarly, Anduril is not simply Aragorn’s sword - it is an heirloom of his house, forged from the shards of his ancestor’s sword. So, it too symbolises Aragorn’s power & authority, & the gift of the scabbard carries the blessing of the Elves’, the otherworldly ‘powers’ within Middle-earth. It is gifted by their ‘Queen’, & received by the King on a visit to the Otherworld, just as with Arthur. We know the Company have been in the otherworld, in the world of dreams, not simply by the atmosphere of the place, by the ‘magic’ they experience there, but also by clear statements made, first & most clearly, by Celeborn, who greets Aragorn with the words:

Quote:
’Welcome Aragorn son of Arathorn!’ he said. ‘It is eight & thirty years of the world outside since you came to this land
(which clearly implies a different kind of time existing outside Lorien)

&, secondly & more subtly, by the author, who tells us:

Quote:
..no sound or dream disturbed their slumber.
while in Lorien.

Why not? Because they are already dreaming - their whole experience in the golden Wood is a kind of extended ‘waking’ dream. This ‘dream’ begins with Frodo falling asleep in the Mallorn tree on the borders of Lorien:

Quote:
At last lulled by the wind in the boughs above , & the sweet murmur of the falls of Nimrodel below, Frodo fell asleep with the song of Legolas running in his mind.
& ends with him ‘falling asleep’ once more, prior to his ‘awakening’ in the ‘real’ world, at the end of the chapter:

Quote:
Frodo sat & listened to the faint lap & gurgle of the river fretting among the tree-roots & driftwood near the shore, until his head nodded & he fell into an uneasy sleep.
Frodo (& the others) fall ‘asleep’ in ‘our’ world & wake up in the otherworld at the beginning of their dream, & fall ‘asleep’ in the otherworld & awaken in ‘our’ world at the end of it, bearing gifts from its inhabitants.

Tolkien originally intended to emphasise this dreamlike aspect of Lorien by having no time pass while the company were there. CT comments (The Treason of Isengard p285-6) :

Quote:
When Haldir reappeared to act as their guide from Caras Galadon...he said...’There are strange things happening away back there. We do not know what is the meaning of them.’ This was subsequently struck out on the fair copy, bu tthen marked stet; this was in turn struck out & Haldir’s words do not appear in the following text of the chapter in FR. It is very hard to see why my father removed them, & why he hesitated back & forth before finally doing so. Apparently as a comment on this, he pencilled a note on the manuscript: ‘This won’t do - if Lorien is timeless then nothing will have happened since they entered.’ I can only take this to mean that within Lorien the Company existed in a different Time - with mornings & evenings & passing days - while in the world outside Lorien no time passed: they had left that ‘external’ Time, & would return to it at the same moment as they left it.
Tolkien himself notes in reference to the chronology of the story:’Does time cease at Lorien or go faster? So that it might be spring or nearly so.’In an early draft Frodo comments:

Quote:
The power of the Lady was upon it. So for us there time might have passed, while the world hastened. Or in a little while we could savour much, while the world tarried. The latter was her will.’
So it seems Tolkien was toying with the idea that it was not some ‘innate’ power or aspect of the Otherworld that caused the slowing or ceasing of time but the will of Galadriel herself - Time moves differently (if it moves at all) because she commands it to. This opens up many new areas of speculation - why, for instance, did Tolkien reject the idea - would it have proved too complex or confsing for readers, or would it have made Galadriel too powerful, too dictatorial - too ‘unnatural’? (Flieger’s ‘A Question of Time’ is the best resource for anyone wanting to pursue these ideas further.)

We also get another account of Elven ‘magic’, as Galadriel tells how she ‘created’ Lorien - she ‘sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, & leaves of gold there grew. She then sang of the wind, & the wind struck up & blew through those same leaves. Yet it seems her power of song is fading - her ‘crown’ is now nothing but ‘fading elanor’ - dying flowers, reminding us of ‘Frodo’s Dreme’:

Quote:
Of river-leaves and the rush-sheaves
I made me a mantle of jewel-green,
a tall wand to hold, and a flag of gold;
my eyes shone like the star-sheen.
With flowers crowned I stood on a mound,
and shrill as a call at cock-crow
proudly I cried: 'Why do you hide?
Why do none speak, wherever I go?
Here now I stand, king of this land,
with gladdon-sword and reed-mace.
We also see her doubt of her own fate expressed here - she has already told Frodo that she will ‘diminish, & go into the West, & remain Galadriel’, but here she seems doubtful - if she ‘sings’ of a ship to bear her into the West will it really come? Maybe she won’t diminish & ‘go into the West’ - maybe she’ll just ‘diminish’. But after all is she as ‘perilous’ as we’ve been led to believe?

Quote:
Frodo took the phial, & for a moment as it shone between them, he saw her standing again like a queen, great & beautiful, but no longer terrible...

She seemed no longer perilous or terrible, nor filled with hidden power. Already she seemed to him, as by men of later days Elves still at times are seen: present & yet remote, a living vision of that which has already been left behind by the flowing streams of Time....

He bowed, but found no words to say.
Her gifts to Frodo & Sam reflect powerfully their differing visions in the Mirror - Frodo’s is the phial - the light of Earendil, the Silmaril, set amid the waters of her fountain - a mystical gift for one on a mystical journey, a light to illumine his coming ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. Sam’s gift is earth from her orchard to heal the wounds of his beloved Shire; ‘All foretelling may be vain’ as she tells Gimli, yet she can still see into the future, & knows what will be needed.

Namarie’, Galadriel’s Lament, is the other poem - Tolkien’s own melody for it is apparently based on Gregorian chant (& he sings it very well). A couple of interesting points are made by Tolkien in ‘The Road Goes Ever On’. First there is the mention of miruvor:

Yeni ve linte yuldar avanier
mi oromardi lisse-miruvoreva
Andune pella Vardo tellumar
nu luini, yassen tintillar i eleni
omaryo aire-tari-lirinen


recalls the cordial of Imladris & Tolkien’s account of it is:

Quote:
miruvore. According to the Eldar, a word derived from the language of the Valar; the name that they gave to the drink poured out at their festivals. Its making & the meaning of its name were not known for certain, but the Eldar believed it to be made from the honey of the undying flowers in the gardens of Yavanna, though it was clear & translucent.
But is this the same as the miruvor which Elrond gives to Gandalf? If it is it must have come from Valinor, carried by the exiled Noldor, & have been priceless. In itself that would show how seriously Elrond viewed the Quest, & why Gandalf was so sparing with it.

Second, the reference to Varda having ‘uplifted her hands like clouds, & all paths are drowned deep in shadow’. Tolkien explains:

Quote:
After the destruction of the Two Trees, & the flight from Valinor of the revolting Eldar, Varda lifted up her hands, in obedience to the decree of Manwe, & summoned up the dark shadows which engulfed the shores & the mountains & last of all the fana (figure) of Varda, with her hands turned eastward in rejection, standing white upon Oiolosse.
So, it is Varda, Elbereth Herself, who is symbolically rejecting the return of the Noldor, & in this case specifically denying Galadriel’s return into the West.

Finally, to Gimli’s gift - three golden hairs from her head for an heirloom & a pledge of goodwill between the Mountain & the Wood. Living ‘gold’ - as perfect a symbol of the union of Elven & Dwarven natures as can be imagined - & once set in imperishable crystal it will outlast both races, forever a pledge of good will between those who will soon (relatively speaking) be no more:

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For so it seemed to them: Lorien was slipping backward, like a bright ship masted with enchanted trees, sailing on to forgotten shores, while they sat helpless upon the margin of the grey & leafless world.
(Before I end this I want to quote a passage from a post of Squatter’s:

Quote:
Quote:
(Gimli) repeats it in Lothlórien in his scenes with Galadriel, and we see it again when he has his first glimpse of the Glittering Caves. His conversation with Legolas as they leave Lothlórien reveals depths to each character that are not admitted by the 'paper-thin' argument:
Quote:

The travellers now turned their faces to the journey; the sun was before them, and their eyes were dazzled, for all were filled with tears. Gimli wept openly.
'I have looked the last upon that which was fairest,' he said to Legolas. 'Henceforward I will call nothing fair, unless it be her gift.'
He put his hand to his breast.
'Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not forsee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord. Alas for Gimli son of Glóin!'
'Nay!' said Legolas. 'Alas for us all! And for all that walk the world in these after-days. For such is the way of it: to find and lose, as it seems to those whose boat is on the running stream. But I count you blessed, Gimli son of Glóin: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise. But you have not forsaken your companions, and the least reward you shall have is that the memory of Lothlórien shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart, and shall neither fade nor grow stale.'

'Maybe,' said Gimli; 'and I thank you for your words. True words doubtless; yet all such comfort is cold. Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror, be it clear as Kheled-zâram. Or so says the heart of Gimli the Dwarf. Elves may see things otherwise. Indeed I have heard that for them memory is more like to the waking world than to a dream. Not so for Dwarves.
'But let us talk no more of it. Look to the boat! She is too low in the water with all this baggage, and the Great River is swift. I do not wish to drown my grief in cold water!'
Is this the conversation of two characters without depth? It takes little imagination to see in Legolas' words the pity of the Elves' relations with other races. The mortals move on and leave, but the Elves are trapped within the world, unchanging and unable to follow. The most beautiful of their creations are destroyed, and they live to see most triumph turn back to disaster. Legolas speaks with the voice of experience. He has had many years to learn that we cannot hold on to the world; but Gimli is feeling for the first time the pain that the Elves feel at the passing away of beautiful things: a pain that they live with daily, and must overcome in bringing about the fall of Sauron. Even for one whose memory is like waking life, memory is not enough, and it is telling that Legolas never claims that it is. What he says is that an unstained memory is a great gift, and he has already implied that memory is what everything must eventually become. Who among the Fellowship is so well-placed as he to know this? This is a conversation about very profound thoughts, and if the characters are talking about them, they must also be thinking them. They might be talking about Lórien on the surface, but on a deeper level they are talking about the very relationship between experience and memory. This seems to indicate as well as anything that there is more to Gimli than a solid Dwarven miner and more to Legolas than the woodland prince. It may not come out often, but it is there; and we need to know that it is there if we are to feel for those characters at all.
The full post can be read here:
http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showpos...&postcount=127 )

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Old 11-01-2004, 03:09 AM   #7
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Some minor comments on davem's excellent post

Arthur/Aragorn re: very astute, I daresay. I know you meant it, but just to put some plain wording around it - the whole sword/sheath affair also symbolizes union of male and female focused in Aragorn. Aragorn is already known to us as the medium for the past to be linked and flow into the future, with the Bilbo's verse (again, more to hobbit poetry than meets the eye) - he is the old which is not forgotten and shall be. He is the one to unite the bloodlines of free peoples (dwarves, as being a special case, excluded), and now he is seen as the pinpoint of harmony of the human race as a whole - conductor and wielder of both male and female parts of it. (Can't help remembering lot of articles labelling LoTR 'boyish' at this point, ). Should I add in this he is again hinted at as a symbol of Christ too - the Renewer and Reuniter etc?

Quote:
she ‘sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, & leaves of gold there grew
It is wonderful how with Tolkien everything fits together perfectly. For one, he parallels Christian/Judaic idea of the Word, which is the prime cause and at the same time embodiment of [any] power. Besides, in ME, all power of words is channelled through Music - the whole Being stands on the rails defined by the primaeval Music, and almost all expressions of power come in song (even Gandalf at Moria door is not merely 'muttering' but rather 'incantating'). Galadriel is not an exeption, of course.

Quote:
Living ‘gold’ - as perfect a symbol of the union of Elven & Dwarven natures as can be imagined
Truly so! But, besides, it seems to me that act itself is set to underline her self-humiliation as well - she may be still proud, but she is no longer arrogant. Gimli's plea itself seems like another test for her - she finds herself in the similar situation as with Feanor who asked for her hair, and who's request she rejected, but now she passes this minor test - she've learned how to be humble in all aspects, not in Ring-wielding matters only.
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Old 11-01-2004, 03:38 AM   #8
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Silmaril

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
Just makes me wonder, did Boromir join the fellowship for the wrong reasons?
Funny you should be the one thinking about this...you know...Boromir...

I was under the impression that from the start, Boromir was included in the Fellowship because he was going back to Minas Tirith, and the way to Minas Tirith and the road to Mordor lie together for hundreds of miles or something like that. When Frodo was told that Aragorn would be part of the Fellowship, he was surprised for he thought that Aragorn was going with Boromir to Minas Tirith. And Aragorn said that for this reason, Boromir was also chosen to be part of the Company. So for all we know, Boromir was there because he needed or wanted someone to be with when he goes home. Perhaps he was hoping to do his part in Minas Tirith, where he was in authority and where he can serve in the War against Sauron best. And Aragorn was supposed to go with him. After all, they were given the freedom by Elrond to leave the Company as they see fit. It was Aragorn who is torn in two this time. Poor Aragorn. I should add his concern for all to the Aragorn swoon-worthiness points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitarë
Is there wisdom in delaying the inevitable? I think that in this case it was a good idea, for it gave them the chance to think things over a bit more (even though things didn't turn out as planned at all).
This is more like prolonging the agony. But I think the only person who benefitted from this was Aragorn. He was the only one unsure of his way. The rest knew where to go...it was only a matter of convincing the other to go with him (Frodo and the rest to Mordor, Boromir to Minas Tirith). But at least they got free boats, ropes, and all!
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Old 11-01-2004, 03:39 AM   #9
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I'd like to add two thoughts in response to davem's post. Concerning Frodo's and Sam's respective gifts, I was struck by the fact that Frodo's is a gift from the sky, loosed from the earth, while Sam's is earth, rooted in the ground - both very much prophetic of their respective fates!

As to miruvor, I doubt that the cordial Gandalf gave to the Fellowship members was directly from Valinor - how would it have come to the Elves in Middle-earth in sufficient quantity to supply so many? I rather imagine that it was Elrond's version of the original; since it is specifically called "the cordial of Imladris", it must have been produced there. That would be similar to champagne in our times - the original comes only from the area of that name in France, but California, for example, also produces champagne; not the same product, but their version of it.
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:55 AM   #10
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If the western side of the Anduin one would presume the existent plot would basically have remained intact.
Why? How would they have crossed the Anduin at all without a boat?
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Old 11-01-2004, 08:49 AM   #11
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Funny you should be the one thinking about this...you know...Boromir...
It is rather ironic, but I still love him, lol.

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I was under the impression that from the start, Boromir was included in the Fellowship because he was going back to Minas Tirith, and the way to Minas Tirith and the road to Mordor lie together for hundreds of miles or something like that.
Exactly, and Boromir is the only one who can bring himself to leaving the company. He's set, he's going to Minas Tirith, whether no one follows him or not. That was Aragorn's original plan, then we see he too, can't just abandon Frodo. Boromir just was "in" because their paths followed the same road, he wasn't in because he cared for Frodo. Even though Elrond did say people may leave when they wish. I think Boromir's death, and all the times he goes up against the Fellowship, reinforces the fact that Boromir isn't there to "travel with Frodo to the end," he's there to go home, from the START.

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Boromir was there because he needed or wanted someone to be with when he goes home. Perhaps he was hoping to do his part in Minas Tirith, where he was in authority and where he can serve in the War against Sauron best.
Very possible.

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I'd like to add two thoughts in response to davem's post. Concerning Frodo's and Sam's respective gifts, I was struck by the fact that Frodo's is a gift from the sky, loosed from the earth, while Sam's is earth, rooted in the ground - both very much prophetic of their respective fates!
Esty, nice job of pointing out the symbolism .

There's a couple more things to add.
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And Aragorn answered: "Lady, you know all my desire, and long held in keeping the only treasure that I see. Yet it is not yours to give me, even if you would, and only through darkness shall I come to it."
Indeed the Lady does know what Aragorn "truly" seeks, and don't worry Aragorn she does give it to you, or atleast help give it to you, much later in the books .

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Then the Lady unbraided one of her long tresses, and cut off three golden hairs, and laid them in Gimli's hand. "These words shall go with the gift," she said. "I do not foretell, for all foretelling is now vain: on the one hand lies darkness, and on the other only hope. But if hope should not fail, then I say to you, Gimli son of Gloin, that your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have NO dominion.
There's a lot here Galadriel is saying. She says "in one hand lies darkness, the other only hope." Is Aragorn the symbolism of Hope, for he was just given Estel.
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"This stone I gave to Celebrian my daughter, and she to hers; and now it comes to you as a token of hope.
Gimli had two choices, darkness (which may be going home or abandoning the company who knows), or hope (Aragorn). Gimli can follow hope (which he does through the rest of the story), and if hope does not fail, "his hands will flow with gold, yet over him gold shall have no dominion." Indeed that's a big deal, concerning the dwarves, greed, their greed for more and more riches. Which is why I believe here, Gimli would have been last of the Fellowship to fall to the ring, due to Galadriel's statement, and indeed, in Gimli hope does not fail. As he chooses to stick with "hope" (Aragorn), and not go with darkness (which I feel darkness would be abandoning the company).

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Old 11-01-2004, 01:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Boromir88
...Boromir[...]'s set, he's going to Minas Tirith, whether no one follows him or not. That was Aragorn's original plan, then we see he too, can't just abandon Frodo. Boromir just was "in" because their paths followed the same road, he wasn't in because he cared for Frodo. Even though Elrond did say people may leave when they wish. I think Boromir's death, and all the times he goes up against the Fellowship, reinforces the fact that Boromir isn't there to "travel with Frodo to the end," he's there to go home, from the START.
That definitely seems to be the case. He was valuable to the Fellowship, whatever his reason for joining them. It is very possible that, were it not for him, Frodo would have been longer in coming to his decision to leave, and the attack by Saruman's uruks would have been all more the damaging to the rest of the Fellowship. Maybe Merry and Pippin wouldn't have been kidnapped (if they didn't leave the presence of Aragorn et al, that could have been the case), therefore not making it to Fangorn to alert the ents of Saruman's treachery. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli would not have had to go to Fangorn to find Merry and Pippin, so they wouldn't have found Gandalf. Or maybe Merry and Pippin would have been killed by the Uruk-hai, thus not only posing the above problems again, but causing the deaths of Eowyn and Faramir later on.

So, whatever caused his joining the Fellowship, it was well done. Huzzah for Boromir!

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Originally Posted by Boromir88
Gimli had two choices, darkness (which may be going home or abandoning the company who knows), or hope (Aragorn). Gimli can follow hope (which he does through the rest of the story), and if hope does not fail, "his hands will flow with gold, yet over him gold shall have no dominion." Indeed that's a big deal, concerning the dwarves, greed, their greed for more and more riches. Which is why I believe here, Gimli would have been last of the Fellowship to fall to the ring, due to Galadriel's statement, and indeed, in Gimli hope does not fail. As he chooses to stick with "hope" (Aragorn), and not go with darkness (which I feel darkness would be abandoning the company).
And to think, there are all those silly people who think Gimli would have been the next to fall for the Ring. Lord, what fools these mortals be.

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Old 11-01-2004, 02:05 PM   #13
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That definitely seems to be the case. He was valuable to the Fellowship, whatever his reason for joining them. It is very possible that, were it not for him, Frodo would have been longer in coming to his decision to leave, and the attack by Saruman's uruks would have been all more the damaging to the rest of the Fellowship. Maybe Merry and Pippin wouldn't have been kidnapped (if they didn't leave the presence of Aragorn et al, that could have been the case), therefore not making it to Fangorn to alert the ents of Saruman's treachery. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli would not have had to go to Fangorn to find Merry and Pippin, so they wouldn't have found Gandalf. Or maybe Merry and Pippin would have been killed by the Uruk-hai, thus not only posing the above problems again, but causing the deaths of Eowyn and Faramir later on.
Saphire, very true. There is another scenario I have cooked up with in my own little head. If Boromir hadn't of went crazy on Frodo, Frodo wouldn't have learned what the Ring was doing to the Fellowship. Boromir was only the first to fall, and he taught Frodo a lesson, taught Frodo he had to get out of there, before it was the end of the quest!
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Old 11-02-2004, 03:42 AM   #14
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Silmaril

Hobbits seem to have unleashed their fascination for magic in the Lothlorien trilogy!

Sam said in the previous chapter:
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I'd dearly love to see some Elf-magic, Mr. Frodo!
In this chapter Pippin says:
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Are these magic cloaks?
I just found it amusing.

Arguably, the most interesting gift given by Galadriel to the Company was Gimli's. If we try to remember the events two ages ago, we'll see that this has happened before; that someone asked Galadriel for some of her hair. The first to make such a request was Feanor, and from Galadriel's hair it was said he found the inspiration for making the Silmarils. But despite her close kinship with Feanor, Galadriel refused his request. But two ages had passed, and here a Dwarf makes the same request, and she willingly obliged!
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Old 11-02-2004, 03:38 PM   #15
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Eye

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is Boromir in the Fellowship for the wrong reasons?
No.
(not unless you think Aragorn also went along for the wrong reason)
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All the other members joined to help Frodo out
Not Aragorn. He was also headed for Minas Tirith. But you obviously know that because you said-
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I left Aragorn out for this reason. He too originally joined the Company to head for Minas Tirith
Huh? Why is that a reason to leave Aragorn out when it is precisely what you are criticizing Boromir for? He had the same plan as Boromir and somehow his plan is fine but Boromir's is not?
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But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir.
This does not change anything. Aragorn's original plan was to go to Minas Tirith. The burden of Gandalf had been laid on him, not Boromir, so why should Boromir's plans change? Just think- if Gandalf had come through Moria then Aragorn would have been willing to abandon Frodo and go to Minas Tirith (just like Boromir). Would that have made Aragorn's reasons for being in the Fellowship wrong?

No.
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If the eastern side was chosen Boromir would presumably have left the fellowship, to the benefit of Gondor (at least during the War of the Ring), and with obvious major changes in the story plot. If the western side of the Anduin one would presume the existent plot would basically have remained intact. I am not at all convinced that it was a wise decision to take to the boats.
Yes, Boro probably would've split had they chosen the eastern bank- but who else might've split?

Remember, when they reached Rauros Aragorn was leaning heavily towards dividing the Fellowship. He suggested that Frodo, Sam, and Gimli would continue on towards Mordor and the rest would go with Boromir (Aragorn planned on staying with Frodo).

So if they had to make that decision earlier who is to say that Legolas, Merry, and Pippin would not have gone with Boromir? That definitely would've changed things.

But if they would've chosen the western bank... how do they get to Mordor???

There isn't a place to cross the Anduin until Gondor so the Fellowship would stay together and likely end up in Minas Tirith. That could change the story in many ways.

I think the boats were a super super gift. It moved the point of no return back a little.
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Old 11-02-2004, 07:19 PM   #16
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Some thoughts on previous posts and some thoughts of my own ...


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Originally Posted by davem
So it seems Tolkien was toying with the idea that it was not some ‘innate’ power or aspect of the Otherworld that caused the slowing or ceasing of time but the will of Galadriel herself - Time moves differently (if it moves at all) because she commands it to. This opens up many new areas of speculation - why, for instance, did Tolkien reject the idea - would it have proved too complex or confsing for readers, or would it have made Galadriel too powerful, too dictatorial - too ‘unnatural’?
Interesting that Tolkien was originally toying with the idea of time not passing at all while the Fellowship remained in Lothlorien. Clearly, he retained the idea of "timelessness" which, as you say, emphasises the dreamlike atmosphere of the place. He does make the point that the Fellowship themselves were unclear as to how long they had remained in the realm:


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Their hearts were heavy; for it was a fair place, and it had become like home to them, though they could not count the days and nights they had passed there.
I suspect that Tolkien ultimately concluded that references such as this, combined with Frodo's reaction to the place and the very "feel" of it portrayed by the descriptive passages, were sufficient to convey its "timelessness" and dreamlike quality. He did not have to go that step further and have no time pass there at all. And, if no time passed outside for those that passed time within the realm, that would have given rise to a "logical" conundrum (although that is, perhaps, an inappropriate word to use when talking of a magical land). At what point in time in the "outside" world would Elves who dwelt in the land emerge from it? The time at which they first entered? What if they were born there? Or could they leave at a point in time of their choosing? Surely that would effectively give them the gift of time travel. Perhaps Tolkien never developed the idea sufficiently to consider these issues, but they surely would have arisen had he stuck with it.


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Originally Posted by Boromir88
Exactly, and Boromir is the only one who can bring himself to leaving the company. He's set, he's going to Minas Tirith, whether no one follows him or not. That was Aragorn's original plan, then we see he too, can't just abandon Frodo. Boromir just was "in" because their paths followed the same road, he wasn't in because he cared for Frodo.
I do wonder whether Boromir would really have left Frodo in the event that the Company had been faced at this point with the decision of going east or west. Clearly, this is his stated position:


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"I shall go to Minas Tirith, alone if need be, for that is my duty," said Boromir;
But then he lapses into silence …


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... sitting with his eyes fixed on Frodo, as if he was trying to read the Halfling's thoughts.
Clearly, there is more going on within Boromir's mind than he lets (or wants to let) on. When he speaks again, he does so softly, as if he is debating with himself. And that is precisely what he is doing. He knows that his duty is to return to Minas Tirith, but he is getting to the stage where he cannot bring himself to do so without the Ringbearer - or the Ring. And he almost gives himself away with his unguarded words which follow. Certainly, he arouses Frodo's suspicions:


Quote:
Frodo caught something new and strange in Boromir's glance, and he looked hard at him. Plainly, Boromir's thought was different from his final words. It would be folly to throw away: what? The Ring of Power?
It is interesting that Aragorn appears to be oblivious to this exchange but rather seems to be "deep in his own thought", given that he has previously made pointed remarks to Boromir on two occasions concerning the peril of Lothlorien to those who bring evil with them into the realm.

In any event, it seems to me from this passage that, whatever Boromir may have said openly, it was unlikely now that he would follow a different course to the Ringbearer - unless he bore the Ring himself.

Another point occurs to me. We see in this passage that Frodo sees something "new and strange" in Boromir. Is this because it is only now that the desire for the Ring has fully awoken within Boromir? Certainly, at the Council of Elrond, he was all for bringing it to Minas Tirith and using it against Sauron, but it is unlikely that he had any intention at that stage to forcibly impose his will in this regard. Is Lothlorien a "turning point" for Boromir? And, if so, is this connected with Galadriel's test, which forced him to confront his heart’s desire? Was this the "peril" which lay in Lothlorien for Boromir - to have his desire awoken? If so, it might suggest that, had he not entered the realm, his desire would have remained latent, or at least not come to the fore so quickly. Indeed, if we suppose that he would have succumbed to the lure of the Ring eventually, perhaps this was Galadriel's purpose in confronting him with his desire. Since she could see what was in his heart, perhaps she considered it better to "flush it out" early, rather than risk having it surface at a later stage, in Minas Tirith perhaps, when Boromir would have been surrounded by men loyal to him.

And now onto Celeborn. After my character assassination ( ) in the discussion of the previous Chapter, I have to admit that he is portrayed in a much better light here. He provides the Fellowship with boats (a very important gift, as others have noted) and provides useful counsel concerning the Fellowship's route. I also noticed that, when he tells the Fellowship that all shall be prepared for them at the haven, he says that this is to be accomplished by "my people", not "our people". Is this simply a reference to the fact that the Elves of Lorien are closer in kindred to him than to Galadriel, or does it suggest that, for all her power and wisdom, he remains Lord of the realm?

It is, however, Galadriel, who bestows the individual gifts on the Fellowship, despite her having previously described her husband as "a giver of gifts beyond the power of kings".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
I think we can assume that the gifts are from both of them, so that it doesn’t matter much – or does it?
Well, I think that it does. The boats which Celeborn gives the Fellowship are important, but they are hardly beyond the power of kings. Whereas the gifts which Galadriel gives are, since (specifically with reference to the gifts which she gives to Aragorn, Frodo, Sam, and Gimli) they are personal to her. The Elfstone she passed to her daughter, who in turn passed it to her daughter, Arwen. The phial contains the waters of her fountain. Sam's box contains earth from her garden. And Gimli, of course, is given three locks of her hair. It is important, I think that each of these gifts is identified closely with her for she sustains and embodies the fading magic and beauty of Lothlorien, which will sustain Frodo in his hour of need and live on in the love of Aragorn and Arwen, in the enhanced beauty of the Shire and in Gimli's heart, long after it has passed from the world. With these gifts, which are personal to Galadriel, these members of the Fellowship carry Lothlorien with them beyond its borders, and beyond its very existence.

As for Legolas, Merry, Pippin and Boromir, well Legolas probably felt like a kid with a new toy, but I wonder if the others felt more like the father who finds a tie or a pair of socks in a beautifully wrapped present. I mean, the belts are nice and all, but ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
Galadriel gives the gifts – after drinking the ritual cup of parting with them.
I don't have much myself to say about this, but I strongly suspect that there is some symbolic significance in drinking from a cup of parting . I know that cups traditionally (in the tarot, for example) symbolise hearts, water, emotion and intuition, but after that I draw a blank. Are others able to add anything further here? (davem? Bb? Fordim?) Also, I wonder if there is any significance in the fact that Eowyn also offers a cup of parting - to Aragorn before he disappears off down the Paths of the Dead ...

Finally, I cannot let this Chapter pass without quoting my wife's favourite line (and therefore one of mine, as it reminds me of her):

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May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:30 AM   #17
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Even with Aragorn's intent on going to Minas Tirith, you can still speculate, whether Aragorn joined in for the right reasons. This is only my view, but here's how I will support it. From what is said, it appears Aragorn's "wanting" to travel to Minas Tirith, was because of the dreams and visions that he thought it was his time to go. Obviously something changed that in him, because now he's unsure, we can say, it was Gandalf's death, or maybe it was something that Galadriel did. SpM, has pointed out that indeed Boromir and Aragorn are in deep thought, and the "peril" of Lorien I believe is showing. Galadriel obviously brings out ways of testing each fellowships heart. We see actual accounts from a few of them. Frodo and Sam with the Mirror of Galadriel, Gimli's test was accounted (see my posts above), one's that we don't fully get, but know she tested Boromir, Aragorn, Legolas, Merry, Pippin.

Now, Legolas, Merry, and Pippin, there's no proof that they will willingly abandon the company, through no part in the story. (Eventhrough Merry and Pippin's thinking they are worthless, they have already done a lot of good, and even more good to come!)

So now, the ones in question are Aragorn and Boromir, who we know originally intended on heading to Minas Tirith. Boromir is deadset, going to Minas Tirith. Now, SpM points out the fact that Galadriel "awoke" the "beast" sleeping within Boromir (and I think it's a reasonable statement to say). Before these chapters, we know Boromir (at the Council) wanted to take the Ring to Minas Tirith, but other then that we don't see him truly being affected by the ring. UNTIL NOW! When it appears Galadriel has awoken the "peril" of Lorien. This is where my view differs from SpM. Clearly Boromir is being affected by the Ring. He has always been able to "suppress" that however. Even at Amon Hen, when the confrontation occurs, he is only taken over by a temporary madness. After that he does the "I'm sorry...blah blah blah." What, I'm saying is, if Boromir survived the onslaught of Amon Hen, I think his love for Minas Tirith, would be greater then his love for the Ring. For he was always able to suppress those feelings until Lothlorien, and even after he's able to suppress them, it's when the confrontation happens when he can't suppress it. And that was only temporary, his love for Minas Tirith, is something that isn't temporary. If Boromir lived he may leave for Minas Tirith, and still have thoughts about the ring, and if he's confronted again with the same choice, he may very well fall to it again. In the end I think if it came down to the Ring (which he was always able to suppress until that ONE confrontation) or Minas Tirith, it would be Minas Tirith, since his madness was only temporary.

Unfortunately, I've babbled too long and I got work, so this will have to be continued, where I will finish my argument with Aragorn and Boromir, joining for the right reasons?
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Old 11-03-2004, 10:55 AM   #18
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Of gifts and gift-giving

Really just time for a quick post, but I hope to have more later today (RL willing).

SpM, that scene with Galadriel passing round the cup is taken straight from any number of Anglo-Saxon poems. In the A-S world, the woman of the hall would be the "cupbearer" who took the flagon to each man. It was an important, and specifically feminine role.

As to the gifts. Esty has already made the point about Galadriel's gifts as being directed toward the final fate of the heroes, but I would like to expand on that a bit and connect it to Celeborn.

Galadriel seems to be all about endings. Her gifts to Frodo, Sam, Aragorn and Gimli all are directed toward what will happen to them after the quest, in addition to being useful during it. Frodo is given the light of Westernesse, where he will eventually go to find healing. Sam is given the dust that he will need to heal the Shire, where he will live out (most) of the rest of his life. Aragorn is given the gem in token of Arwen and his marriage to her. And Gimli is given the hairs that will cement his new bond with Legolas/Elves and that will lead to his co-operation with them and his travels with Legolas. Merry and Pippin are somewhat left out of this, I realise, but I still think it significant that they are given the same sorts of gifts as is Boromir -- and again they seem to have something to do with their endings: Boromir ends his journey in battle to proect the Halfings, Merry and Pippin will go on, after the quest, to defend the Shire in battle, and to become the closest things that the Shire has to military leaders.

So Galadriel is all about endings in her gifts, but Celeborn is all about the present. The boats and counsel he gives them are meant for the here and now: for the road. So perhaps this is a way of looking at the Celeborn/Galadriel relationship (and sorry, but I do not have as convincing or hilarious a post as Saucy does in Crazy Scenes to make this point)? Celeborn, the powerful Elf lord of this world, is committed to the practicalities of this world, while Galadriel, the last of the Noldor and thus of the 'other world' is all about that -- she is about what comes after or at the end, he is all about the present. Both are necessary for the success of the Quest, but in the end, we are more 'enchanted' by Galadriel and the endings/fadings that she represents than we are by the present task. This is interesting, for Tolkien is able to drag us into a very Elvish state -- by valuing Galadriel and her gifts over Celeborn's we, in effect, think like Elves insofar as we value the gifts that are -- all of them -- relics from the past that are meant to be preserved into the future.

Boromir and Aragorn: wow, never really thought about them in this way, but it occurs to me that perhaps they are shadowy reflections of each other? Or, perhaps more properly, Boromir is a shadowy reflection of Aragorn? Boromir is a model or type of the hero that Aragorn can (and maybe even wishes to be) but with the passing of Gandalf he is willing to continue on in a more 'hobbit' like mode (creeping toward Mordor rather than riding to the defense of his city). It's interesting that with Boromir's death, Aragorn takes upon himself the tasks that Boromir was fulfilling (protecting Merry and Pippin, then Gondor). It's almost as though at the breaking of the Fellowship, Aragorn is given the choice between Boromir-hero and Frodo-hero and he makes the choice for Boromir?? The big difference between himself and Bor, though, is that he is self-aware to the extent that he is aware of the bind that he is in, and this explains why he is so happy to accept the boats and delay the decision. It's not the Fellowship that he is having trouble splitting up, but himself. He is torn between two heroic models/two heroic journeys and he knows that by taking one he will lose something of the other.

(Hmm. . .just occuring to me for later chapters: perhaps Faramir and Boromir are two halves of an 'Aragorn'?)
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Old 11-03-2004, 12:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Boromir88
In the end I think if it came down to the Ring (which he was always able to suppress until that ONE confrontation) or Minas Tirith, it would be Minas Tirith, since his madness was only temporary.
Well, we will have to disagree on this. To my mind, the pull of the Ring is by now stronger for Boromir than the pull of Minas Tirith. The madness which provokes him to seek to take the Ring from Frodo by force may only have been temporary, but, to my mind, the desire which gives rise to it is not. I do like to think that once the madness has passed, Boromir does truly repent and is free of the Ring's lure, but this is perhaps left until we reach the relevant Chapter.


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Originally Posted by Fordim Hedgethistle
SpM, that scene with Galadriel passing round the cup is taken straight from any number of Anglo-Saxon poems. In the A-S world, the woman of the hall would be the "cupbearer" who took the flagon to each man. It was an important, and specifically feminine role.
Ah, I suspected that it would be something like that, and it ties in with the cup/water being symbols of femininity, intuition, empathy and dream-state. Galadriel also bears Nenya, the Ring of Water. And her gift to Frodo contained water from her fountain (as, indeed, did her Mirror).


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Originally Posted by Fordim
Merry and Pippin are somewhat left out of this, I realise, but I still think it significant that they are given the same sorts of gifts as is Boromir -- and again they seem to have something to do with their endings: Boromir ends his journey in battle to proect the Halfings, Merry and Pippin will go on, after the quest, to defend the Shire in battle, and to become the closest things that the Shire has to military leaders.
Good point. There is definately a link being established between Boromir and the two young Hobbits, although it is done with great subtlety (unlike in the film where it was, I think, necessary to establish this link more obviously). I also noticed that Merry and Pippin travel in the same boat as Boromir.


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Originally Posted by Fordim
Celeborn, the powerful Elf lord of this world, is committed to the practicalities of this world, while Galadriel, the last of the Noldor and thus of the 'other world' is all about that -- she is about what comes after or at the end, he is all about the present. Both are necessary for the success of the Quest, but in the end, we are more 'enchanted' by Galadriel and the endings/fadings that she represents than we are by the present task. This is interesting, for Tolkien is able to drag us into a very Elvish state -- by valuing Galadriel and her gifts over Celeborn's we, in effect, think like Elves insofar as we value the gifts that are -- all of them -- relics from the past that are meant to be preserved into the future.
I think that this is a very astute observation, Fordim. And I think that there is a similar comparison to be made between Celeborn's link to the practical and physical world and Galadriel's association with more spiritual and emotional matters. As you say, Celeborn provides practical gifts for the physical journey, whereas Galadriel is more concerned with the Fellowship's spiritual state (for example when she tests their faith in the Quest) and her gifts are more concerned with their emotional needs (love, friendship, comfort and relief from fear etc). This links in with the cup/water symbolism, which emphasises her role as an empathetic/intuitive power. As I touched on in my previous posts, it is significant that the scabbard is said to be from her and Celeborn jointly, whereas the other gift to Aragorn is personal to her, as are the gifts to Frodo, Sam and Gimli.

I think that this line of thought comes closest to resolving my reservations over Celeborn's role. He is a powerful figure, but his power lies in his practical role as Lord of the realm. This power is not as relevant to the Quest (although it is important in this Chapter), and so it is downplayed in comparison with Galadriel's intuitive power, which impacts directly on the Quest. Thus Celeborn's power (in the previous Chapter at least) seems inferior to hers.
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Old 11-03-2004, 02:07 PM   #20
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You're right SpM, we'll do have contrasting ideas (and that's good some times ), maybe something will pop up in these closing chapters of the Fellowship .

Now onto the second half of my argument, I intended on writing but I ran out of time. To sum up my previous posts. I come up with this thinking that Boromir joined the Fellowship for the wrong reasons. He joined for the SOLE purpose that the Fellowship's road, and his road to Minas Tirith followed the same path for a long ways. I see that as a wrong reason of joining, only joining to head back home, where Boromir seems to be the only member of the Fellowship that is able to willingly "depart" from the Fellowship. (I will say, this is only my opinion, I'm open to any debate, just getting out my views). So now on why I believe, Aragorn joined for the RIGHT reasons.

We know that Aragorn intended on going to Minas Tirith (as long as Gandalf was in the company). He truly thought it was his time to go (obviously it wasn't). But, I don't see that as the SOLE reason for joining the fellowship, like it seems to be in Boromir. Boromir from the start, see's it folly to put the ring in the hand of a hobbit, and blindly walk into Mordor. From the start, he says, I'm going back to my home (none of the other company member's do this). Boromir is against any important decision the company tries to make (Moria, Lothlorien, then later on deciding what "side" of the river to land on, where to go from there...etc). Aragorn however, there are other clues (or atleast I take as clues) that he joined to truly "follow Frodo." After Gandalf dies, he is in deep thought, thinking he can't go to Minas Tirith now, if Frodo decides not to. Here we see his compassion for Frodo, he can't now bring himself to leaving the company (like Gandalf, and I suspect this deep thinking had something to do with Galadriel as well). Anyway, even before this we can see Aragorn (unlike Boromir) thinks this is the only possible way of destroying the ring for ever. He thinks (no matter how desperate it is) it's their ownly shot. (Again opposite of Boromir). We also get to see an earlier compassion for Frodo, first off with Frodo's wound, then again in Moria, once they leave Moria, to stop and have Frodo take a break from the "wound" he supposedly suffered. And again in Amon Hen, he leaves it up to Frodo, to choose what path to go. No matter what path Frodo chooses, Boromir is heading for Minas Tirith. If Aragorn's only reason for joining the Fellowship was to be like Boromir, then he too would head to Minas Tirith. Instead we see contrasting ideas with Boromir and Aragorn, we see Aragorn shows a lot more compassion towards Frodo, then Boromir, and we see Aragorn willing to follow Frodo to the end (something Boromir wouldn't do, obviously). So, I think even if Aragorn comes out and says, we're joining to head to Minas Tirith, there were other reasons for Aragorn joining, by just showing compassion towards Frodo. If he was deadset let's go to Minas Tirith like Boromir, then he would be able to leave Frodo, and he just can't do that anymore. This is just circumstantial evidence, by just contrasting Aragorn and Boromir, so please if anyone has another view on things I would love to hear it (well see it).

Edit: One last thing on Aragorn. He comes out and says, he's going to Minas Tirith, because of all the dreams, and signs he thought it was time to go. He never comes out and says anything about wanting to go, he just thinks it's time that the kingship returns to Gondor. We see in Bree, that he wants to restore a King (but only when it's the right time). I don't know if I should discuss this here, but I think the simple fact that Aragorn doesn't take the crown right away, shows good political skills by Aragorn, but also, that he doesn't want to go to Gondor just to reclaim the throne right away, he wants to reclaim it when he feels its the right time of doing it. He thought it was the right time back during the Fellowship (and it wasn't). Which also makes me tend to think what I've been babbling on now in two extremely long posts.

Fordhim, nice observation on the fact that Boromir+Faramir=Aragorn. We know that Boromir and Faramir are more opposite then similar. Boromir is well known/respected for his fighting, Faramir is more respected for other reasons then fighting, we'll just say he isn't best known for his fighting skill. So, if indeed if Boromir is a shadowy reflection of Aragorn, then I think a Boromir and Faramir, put together, are both halves of Aragorn. .

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Old 11-03-2004, 04:11 PM   #21
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He joined for the SOLE purpose that the Fellowship's road, and his road to Minas Tirith followed the same path for a long ways. I see that as a wrong reason of joining, only joining to head back home
What's wrong with that? You realize he coud have left for home before the Fellowship set out. Elrond could've found a horse for him and Boromir could've ridden home the same way he came.

But he didn't. He travelled with the Fellowship and made himself useful. The Fellowship probably would not have survived Caradhras had Boromir not been there.

Elrond specifically said-
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The others go with him as free companions, to help him on his way. You may tarry, or come back, or turn aside into other paths, as chance allows. The further you go, the less easy will it be to withdraw; yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will.
Boromir didn't have to do anything, yet he travelled with the Fellowship and helped, and in the end died trying to protect two of his fellow members.

Boromir deserves honor for his service.
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and we see Aragorn willing to follow Frodo to the end
But it was not in his plans until Gandalf died, and Gandalf's burden was laid upon him (but not laid upon Boromir).

And SPMan said this-
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I do wonder whether Boromir would really have left Frodo in the event that the Company had been faced at this point with the decision of going east or west.
I also wonder this.

Not to mention, how do we know that part of Aragorn's willingness to follow Frodo and the Ring (despite the summons to return to his kingdom) wasn't due to the lure of the Ring?
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:20 PM   #22
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What's wrong with that? You realize he coud have left for home before the Fellowship set out. Elrond could've found a horse for him and Boromir could've ridden home the same way he came.

But he didn't. He travelled with the Fellowship and made himself useful. The Fellowship probably would not have survived Caradhras had Boromir not been there
I'm simply saying it's questionable that Boromir didn't join the Fellowship, we'll say for the "moral" reasons. I know of Boromir's importance to the Fellowship (obviously there's a reason he's my favorite character), I'm simply getting out an idea to question WHY he joined the Fellowship. It's clear he decided to go along with the Fellowship, so he could go back to Minas Tirith, and he left with the Fellowship because Aragorn was going back to Minas Tirith as well.

Aragorn's situation is different from Boromir's. He's going because he thinks it's his time, but he holds Frodo's quest above his own. It was Aragorn's choice to take on the "leadership" role, and we do get to see Aragorn struggle at this, which is why I'm glad Aragorn didn't go back to Minas Tirith at this time, I don't think it's until we meet Eomer when Aragorn's true leadership qualities begin to show. Point is, it was his own choice to lead the Fellowhship, it was his own choice to be the "bearer" of Gandalf's burden. I think the fact that Aragorn sets aside his own "fate," for the sake of Frodo is an oustanding statement of his character.

Elrond indeed did say that people may leave the company as they wish, but just because they can, doesn't make it "morally" right. I'll make one clear statement to show my position. The Fellowship would not have survived if it wasn't for Boromir, I'm trying to say maybe he died because he didn't join the Fellowship for the right reasons. I think a clear example of Boromir and the rest of the Fellowship is, he's always at friction with them. He thinks it's foolish to send the ring blindly into Mordor, in the hands of a hobbit, which is why he holds his own personal quest of going back to Minas Tirith, above Frodo's quest. Indeed Frodo's quest is foolish, and very little hope of it ever suceeding, but there still is hope. Aragorn, I think, he joins the Fellowship for the "moral" reason, is because he takes on Gandalf's burden, he shows compassion towards Frodo, he holds Frodo above his own quest, these are testaments to show that Aragorn will do whatever he can do to help to have this quest suceed, even if he sees it as little hope and foolish. Boromir, see's it as foolish, and wants nothing to do with it, as stated in previous chapters Boromir's moments come in when strength and fighting is needed, those are his strengths.

All the other members can't bring themself to leaving. Legolas, Gimli, desire to stay in Lorien, but they move on, because they can't abandon Frodo now. Sam is about to turn aside, but Galadriel directs him in the right way, Merry and Pippin, there's not much on them in FOTR, but there's no evidence of them turning aside. Aragorn, we can tell he doesn't want to turn aside, for all the reasons I've stated above. The only one that can turn aside is Boromir, and eventhough Elrond makes it "legal" to "turn aside," say they are "free companions," doesn't mean it's the "moral" thing to do. One may legally get drunk, but doesn't make it the moral thing to do. I think I've repeated myself enough, and you are probably all tired of my crazy, whacked ramblings, so I'll stop.
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:37 PM   #23
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One more thing

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‘Then I need say no more,’ said Celeborn. ‘But do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.’
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Yet as is the way of Elvish words, they remained graven in [Frodo’s] memory, and long afterwards he interpreted them, as well as he could: the language was that of Elven-song and spoke of things little known on Middle-earth.
These two moments come as the Fellowship is leaving Lorien. The first are the last words spoken by Celeborn in the chapter, and the second is Frodo’s reaction to Galadriel’s parting song – so they really are the ‘final words’ of Lorien in a way. What is interesting is how they are about the same sorts of ideas, but with different emphases. Both are about memory and permanence, specifically, the necessary permanence ‘feminine’ memory.

In Celeborn’s parting words to Boromir we seem to be getting some foreshadowing to Ioreth and the “old wives’ tales” that will be one of the first things to proclaim Aragorn as the King; that Celeborn is saying this to Boromir is no accident, I think, as he is a Gondorian Man who still needs some convincing that Aragorn is the rightful leader. Boromir anticipates those Men of Minas Tirith who are perhaps too caught up in the manly pursuit of war to pay heed to the ‘woman’s wisdom’ that will announce that the King has come.

The effect Galadriel’s song on Frodo is marvellous insofar as it seems to spring from a kind of art that achieves near absolute creativity. The language of her song is almost like the divine creative language insofar as it seems to create a new reality for Frodo, or, at least, to become a palpable part of his reality. Just as Eru sang the world into being (and just as God spoke the world into being – “let there be light”) so too does Galadriel’s song create and become memory. The experience of the song does not survive in his memory, but the song itself is like a memory that Galadriel puts there. So as with Celeborn’s words of warning to Boromir, femininity, memory and the necessity of paying attention to these are being emphasised. It’s almost as though Frodo is doing what Boromir cannot: Frodo is open to being ‘imprinted’ by the actual experience of the past embodied by the experience of Galadriel’s lament; Boromir is in danger of being closed to the same.

We’ve done quite a bit in response to gender in these chapters and I think that here these issues are given some kind of resolution: Frodo remembers, absolutely, the feminine power of Lorien; Boromir is dangerously incapable or unwilling to heed the feminine, so devoted is he to the masculine. davem made the excellent point above about Aragorn’s sword and scabbard as combining male/phallic and female/yonic symbolism – is it going too far to suggest some kind of pattern here?

Boromir/male: does not heed women’s tales; doesn’t think that anything they preserve is at all important.

Frodo/female: heeds Galadriel’s song so closely that it literally enters his mind and becomes part of who he is.

These two characters end up ‘unhappily’ although, obviously, in very different ways (although, perhaps, not all that different, insofar as – in the end – they are both wounded by the Ring which they have tried to claim for their own; and in each case, it is their very attempt to take the Ring that makes its destruction possible…) Only Aragorn is able to bring these two ‘sides’ into balance: he bears with him the memory of Lorien (as does Frodo) and he is heading toward reclaiming the inheritance held for him ‘in trust’ by the “old wives’ tales” of women like Ioreth.
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:40 PM   #24
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Sting Boromir's duty

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Originally Posted by Boromir88
I'm simply saying it's questionable that Boromir didn't join the Fellowship, we'll say for the "moral" reasons.
But why should it be "morally" wrong for Boromir to wish to return to help defend his country and his people? Surely, as the first born son of the Ruling Steward, it was in fact his moral duty to do so. Had he chosen to do so, then I don't think that anyone would have thought the worse of him. After all, we do not think badly of Faramir for choosing not to accompany Frodo and Sam on their journey into Mordor, but rather remaining to discharge his duty to his people as best he could.

In any event, my view is that Boromir had by now become so attached to Frodo, or more specifically that which Frodo was carrying, that he would not have left him even had the opportunity arisen. And assuming that to be the case, staying with the Fellowship was in fact morally the wrong course for him to take.
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Old 11-03-2004, 07:01 PM   #25
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He thinks it's foolish to send the ring blindly into Mordor, in the hands of a hobbit
Yes, but he helps anyway. That's more of a plus than a minus.

And the next thing I was going to say... SPM beat me to it.
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But why should it be "morally" wrong for Boromir to wish to return to help defend his country and his people? Surely, as the first born son of the Ruling Steward, it was in fact his moral duty to do so....After all, we do not think badly of Faramir for choosing not to accompany Frodo and Sam on their journey into Mordor, but rather remaining to discharge his duty to his people as best he could.
If Boromir joined the Fellowship to try to sabotage it, or to steal the Ring, or because he didn't like Sam and wanted to stick around and tease him about his hairy feet, then he joined for the wrong reason.

But going home to lead your kingdom's battle against evil? I don't see how the word "wrong" can possibly be associated with that.
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In any event, my view is that Boromir had by now become so attached to Frodo, or more specifically that which Frodo was carrying, that he would not have left him even had the opportunity arisen. And assuming that to be the case, staying with the Fellowship was in fact morally the wrong course for him to take.
Good observation, SP.
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Old 11-03-2004, 08:41 PM   #26
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staying with the Fellowship was in fact morally the wrong course for him to take.
Ahh, then wouldn't joining the Fellowship be morally wrong? Boromir went to Rivendell to get his riddle and questions answered. He did that, so now he was going back to do his civic duty in Minas Tirith. I think Boromir makes an important part of the Fellowship indeed. He provides strength when they need it the most (Caradhras, The Great River), he is one of the best fighters in the company, and he helps Frodo realize he needs to get out of the company before another member becomes a "Boromir." So, there was no doubt of his importance of being in the Fellowship, but you have to ask the question why did he join. If he is wind against the "fellowship sail," always fighting with them, we can tell that he wishes to be the leader of the company, with his words to Celeborn. "If my advice is heeded, we will....but I am not the leader of the Company." Just, makes me wonder if he joined it for the wrong reasons, ok we get the fact he's valuable to the Company, and we know the only reason he went along was to go back to Minas Tirith. With all that happens to Gandalf, Boromir can still leave the company, Aragorn can't. I don't see it as Gandalf's burdens were "forced upon him," Aragorn willingly took on Gandalf's burdens.

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If Boromir joined the Fellowship to try to sabotage it, or to steal the Ring,
Interesting you should say that. In one of Tolkien's earlier drafts Boromir actually does join league with Saruman. He lives, goes to Minas Tirith with Aragorn. Aragorn takes claim to the throne, Boromir starts a Civil War, Aragorn kills him before he gets too much support. Now, Tolkien threw out this idea, but you wonder if it would have any relevance/influence on the final story? That is also open to debate.

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In any event, my view is that Boromir had by now become so attached to Frodo, or more specifically that which Frodo was carrying, that he would not have left him even had the opportunity arisen. And assuming that to be the case,
That SpM, we just happen to have total different opinions (both ways can be supported). We have both made it clear on what we think on that matter, so no sense in repeating myself. This is of course why I love Tolkien, I wonder if this was his plan to let us make inferences and get our Tolkienists minds going, lol. Sort of like Henry James .
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Old 11-04-2004, 07:05 AM   #27
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I must thank everyone for this discussion of Boromir - I’ve been thinking a lot about him recently, & I think my opinions are changing. This will be a bit fumbling & possibly a bit contradictory, as I’m trying to put some thoughts together.

I think we have to ask what Tolkien actually wanted to do with Boromir. He goes, in the early drafts, from the only human presence in the Fellowship, through various phases, becoming a villain as [b]B88[/i] has indicated, to his final incarnation of flawed ‘hero’, bravely sacrificing himself for Merry & Pippin.

The question is: is Boromir’s final incarnation simply an amalgam of bits & pieces from the earlier accounts & a foil for the others, or is he a valid character in his own right?

Well, he’s believable - he doesn’t come across as an amalgam. He has many obvious faults, but also many virtues. As to the question of whether he would have left Frodo & gone on to Minas Tirith if he’d survived depends on whether he’d been overwhelmed by his desire for the Ring against his will, or whether he’d willingly surrendered to it.

Did Tolkien intend him to be seen as a ‘Judas’ figure - a ‘satan’ within the Fellowship, the one who betrayed Frodo & brought about his death? It seems that he was motivated by desire for power - not simply power to defeat Sauron, but power for its own sake - yet that was natural in a sense: he’d been brought up to rule, & probably the only person he’d ever taken orders from was his father. This would put him in an incredibly difficult position, as he surrendered his natural authority first to Gandalf, then to Aragorn & finally (in a struggle he lost) to Frodo. He has gone from being a ruling ‘prince’ & commander, to a footsoldier having to obey orders. Lets give him his due, he submits to external authority better than many in his position would have.

Certainly, all his suggestions are valid (apart from the last one he makes to Frodo). He may glory in war, but it is a ‘just’ war. His suggestion at the council, to use the Ring against Sauron, may have been dismissed but it was a rational reaction - he at least didn’t suggest throwing it into the sea!

In the second branch of the Mabinogion, ‘Branwen, Daughter of Llyr’, we find two brothers - Nissien & Efnissien:

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Nissien & Efnissien - peaceful & not-so-peaceful are the translations of their names - are polarised to no purpose in this story, since Nissien contributes nothing to the action. Efnissien’s role as disruptor is readily parallelled throughout mythology & folkstory...Efnissien is fated to wreak havoc on both family & nation.....(but) He is the champion of Sovereignty & the land of Britain (Matthews, ‘Mabon & the Mysteries of Britain’
Basically, the story is that The ‘Irish’ (Otherworldly) King, Matholwch, comes to Britain & weds with the Princess Branwen. Efnissien objects & insults the ‘Irish’ visitors. The marriage goes ahead anyway & as a wedding gift the Irish are given a magic cauldron - if the dead are placed in it they will be brought back to life. Later the British discover Branwen is being abused by Matholwch, so they set sail to free her. A battle ensues which the British look to be losing, as every time an ‘Irish’ warrior is killed he is placed in the cauldron & brought back to life. To stop this happening, Efnissien lays himself among the ‘Irish’ dead, & is placed in the cauldron. When this happens the cauldorn shatters.

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Efnissien’s only redress is to break the cauldron’s power by entering it as a living man...However we guess at his likely motivation, & lament his actions, Efnissien’s death is a noble one.(ibid)
Efnissien is not ‘admirable’, but he is a great defender of his people - he kills 200 ‘Irish’ warriors who are hiding in sacks hung up in the Hall waiting to spring out in ambush.

Like Efnissien, Boromir is a great defender of his people, a great patriot, but this makes him intolerant & contemptuous of others - not uncommon in our own times - how many times do we hear, instead of ‘This is a great democracy’, ‘This is the greatest democracy’, or instead of ‘This is one of the best countries in the world’ that ‘This is the best country in the world’ with little or no evidence to back that claim up? Boromir is too certain of himself, his people & his nation, but while that may be a fault it is motivated by a sincere & deeply felt love.

He would have died willingly for Gondor, but before he joined the Fellowship he wouldn’t have died for a couple of hobbits. Basically, his experiences break him of his pride & his desire, & that only becomes possible when he has sunk as low as possible. My own sense is that Boromir’s growing desperation is due less to a desire for the Ring - which is merely the catalyst - & more to an awakening into maturity. He’s fighting against all the values & beliefs he’s been brought up with - power, control, the superiority of Gondor - I think this is what the Ring comes to symbolise for him. Its this inner conflict which explodes in his confrontation with Frodo. Basically, he’s ‘torn in two’, fighting on two fronts.

As much as anything his attempt to claim the Ring for himself is a temporary victory of his old self over his slowly emerging new self. I’m not sure I agree that his desire for the Ring would have re-asserted itself if he’d survived. A ‘madness’ took him, but it passed, & as Aragorn told him, in the end he had conquered.

I’m starting to feel that Boromir’s story is one of spiritual growth - he begins as cocky, self assured & intolerant & is gradually humbled & eventually broken. In the end he arises as a new person. While it may have been better for the Company of Faramir had gone instead of Boromir, it wouldn’t have been better for Boromir. Effectively, he was saved in the end, & became a hero, but, more importantly, he became a good man.

So, while perhaps we may find out a lot about Aragorn by comparing him with Boromir, I think Boromir is more than just a foil to the greater hero.
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:07 AM   #28
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While it may have been better for the Company if Faramir had gone instead of Boromir, it wouldn’t have been better for Boromir.
Good and proper. To back you up here, let me quote you Tolkien himself (mouthed by Gandalf, in the chapter still to be discussed, but worthy quote it is):

Quote:
'You have not said all that you know or guess, Aragorn my friend,' he said quietly. 'Poor Boromir! I could not see what happened to him. It was a sore trial for such a man: a warrior, and a lord of men. Galadriel told me that he was in peril. But he escaped in the end. I am glad. It was not in vain that the young hobbits came with us, if only for Boromir's sake
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:10 AM   #29
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Alas, poor Boromir....

All this Boromir talk ....
Davem, I agree on your analysis you just posted. Boromir joining the fellowship for the wrong reasons...,, etc IMO strays a little from the authors intent (at least in the final version of the character). Comparing Boromir to Aragorn is like comparing Celeborn to Galadriel. Apples and oranges. On a symbolic level, the fellowship was a representation of the free peoples of ME. I love the Efnissien analogy.

To me, Aragorn symbolized the ideal of mankind. Boromir symbolized the reality of men, especially at this time in ME. This was a very dirty, complex and hazardous time for men, esp in the south. They werent fighting Sauron for ideals, they were fighting him for survival. I dont think there was much concern for the other free peoples of ME, although Im sure that they would credit themselves as being the bulwark for their surivival for most of the 3rd age if the opportunity presented itself. With Boromir comes the complexities and politics of leadership of men that comes with dealing with these circumstances as well. With him we see the reality of humans as we are today, only juxtapositioned to the reality of his time, where more ancient principles or ideals still had an influence, as personified by elven leadership and even Aragorn himself.

I also see Boromirs interaction and reaction with Galadriel as the real future of elf human relations if you will. Aragorn (and some of his lineage no doubt) held the hope for a higher ideal for mankind (based on a real physical link to elven culture), but in the big scheme of things, this was only a blip on the map. Boromir represented the reality of how men would relate to elves - wary - esp towards the otherworldly or witchcrafty elements of elves. Ignorant yes, but if your stuck in the "here and now" and do not posess the gifts that elves had, only the truly learned (or gifted) would not have this attitude.

At the end of this chapter, I see Boromir affected in a positive way by the Lorien experience, if only by the confrontation of the feelings he had towards the ring and the mission. These are the same feelings he pronounced at the Council. Nothing has changed, exept perhaps his reflections now are on a deeper level. Elrond and Galadriel knew - his role in the mission was sort of a representation of the humans mission in ME - with all the weaknesses and flaws that men had, they were the ones who were going to be the dominant power for good that would be the only hope to counter Sauron. There simply werent enough elves (or Dunedain for that matter) to make a difference anymore. Regular men - just like us - who have the capability for both good and evil. If they could not fundamentally trust Boromir, then there really is no hope. Galadriel did not wake a sleeping monster in him, his monster resides in every human.
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Old 11-04-2004, 01:30 PM   #30
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Sting More Boromir ...

Tsk. Look at us all discussing Boromir when there is so much more in this Chapter. Then again, to my mind, he is one of the most complex and fascinating characters in the book.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
Ahh, then wouldn't joining the Fellowship be morally wrong?
No, because at that stage he had no inclination to seize the Ring by force, and because he vowed to protect the Ringbearer as long as he stayed with the Company (and that's all he agreed to do). It was only once the Ring started to take a hold over him to the extent that he could contemplate seizing it by force that it might be described as morally wrong for him to remain with the Fellowship.


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Originally Posted by davem
My own sense is that Boromir’s growing desperation is due less to a desire for the Ring - which is merely the catalyst - & more to an awakening into maturity. He’s fighting against all the values & beliefs he’s been brought up with - power, control, the superiority of Gondor - I think this is what the Ring comes to symbolise for him. Its this inner conflict which explodes in his confrontation with Frodo. Basically, he’s ‘torn in two’, fighting on two fronts.
While I take your point concerning Boromir's transformation, I do not see this as occuring during the exchange with Frodo in Lothlorien. For me, it simply doesn't fit with the dialogue. Boromir is 'torn in two', yes. But his inner conflict is between his duty to return to Minas Tirith and the desire for the Ring which has awoken within him. Frodo guesses Boromir's unspoken words - that it would be folly to throw the Ring into the Fire. In Rivendell, Boromir took this position on a rational basis believing that it could be put to better use to defend Gondor and challenge Sauron. But now it is based on an "irrational" desire for the Ring.

To my mind, Boromir's transformation from pride to humility does not occur until after he attempts to seize the Ring from Frodo. As I said, I like to think that he does truly repent at that point and find redemption, and the quote supplied by HI would support this view.


Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
I’m not sure I agree that his desire for the Ring would have re-asserted itself if he’d survived. A ‘madness’ took him, but it passed, & as Aragorn told him, in the end he had conquered.
I never said that it would have. My point is that the desire remained latent within him from this point (Lothlorien) on until the point at which Frodo escapes from his assault. At that stage he was 'released', although I will reserve judgment on whether he truly conquered his desire or whether the Ring simply had no further use for him (Frodo having escaped) until we reach the relevant Chapter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drigel
Galadriel did not wake a sleeping monster in him, his monster resides in every human.
I agree that the 'monster', namely the potential for corruption, resides within every human. Indeed, I think that every member of the Fellowship was vulnerable to it (although I have always held that the Hobbits were best equipped to resist it). And, in a sense, Galadriel did wake the 'sleeping monster' within him, since she confronted him with his heart's desire. Why him and not the others? Well, I would certainly say that he was the most vulnerable to the Ring's wiles. And I would suggest that this was because he was, mentally, the weakest, and because he already thought that it would be folly to destroy it and saw an alternative solution in wielding it against Sauron. Boromir's desire was not caused by Galadriel - she simply confronted him with what was already there. And it was already there because the Ring had identified him as a point of vulnerability and was seeking to use him to find its way back to its Master.

As I have said previously, I believe that Boromir would have made a play for the Ring eventually, even without Galadriel revealing this desire to him - it just would have taken longer (and could, potentially, have been more dangerous).
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Old 11-04-2004, 02:05 PM   #31
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In Rivendell, Boromir took this position on a rational basis believing that it could be put to better use to defend Gondor and challenge Sauron. But now it is based on an "irrational" desire for the Ring.
I'm not sure I agree that his desire was "irrational".

This is irrational-> expecting a hobbit to safely enter a heavily guarded land, travel for miles and miles without getting caught, and destroy a ring he could not willingly throw into his little fire at home.

To Boromir this idea seems much more irrational than attempting to use the Ring.

Boromir was a strong-willed man, a leader, and a righteous warrior. Someone so strong is likely to disbelieve the notion that they could be mastered or ensnared by a greater will, in this case the Ring, which leads to my next point...
Quote:
Well, I would certainly say that he was the most vulnerable to the Ring's wiles. And I would suggest that this was because he was, mentally, the weakest, and because he already thought that it would be folly to destroy it and saw an alternative solution in wielding it against Sauron.
I agree with the first part and the last part, but I do not agree that he was "mentally, the weakest".

Boromir was strong, and a leader, and was used to ruling and having his judgments heard and obeyed. He thought that he could use the Ring safely because he was strong, and he certainly had more faith in his own strength than in the apparent "folly" of the quest.

For instance, if my little 6-year-old cousin and I found the Ring and were told "If you use the Ring it will take you over", my cousin wouldn't use it, but I might.

Why? Because I'm weaker mentally? No. Because I'm strong- and I would believe that, despite the warning, my strength would be enough to do it. My cousin, on the other hand, is not used to doing things the way he pleases but used to following his elders and so would trust and obey the judgment of his elders.

Do you understand what I mean?
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Old 11-04-2004, 02:28 PM   #32
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Phantom, you bring up some good points.

Quote:
I'm not sure I agree that his desire was "irrational".

This is irrational-> expecting a hobbit to safely enter a heavily guarded land, travel for miles and miles without getting caught, and destroy a ring he could not willingly throw into his little fire at home.
Boromir's plan is irrational, but you are right that it's definately rational compared to the other plan, which is practically like suicide.

Quote:
I agree with the first part and the last part, but I do not agree that he was "mentally, the weakest".
Possibly, he may not be the "weakest mentally." As we see Aragorn take on the role of Gandalf, he too becomes "mentally weak." When the proper chapters come, I will point out the quotes. But, these last closing chapters, he begins to doubt himself, and get down on himself for the decisions he made. Basically he blames himself for the whole problem that occurred (capturing of Merry and Pippin, death of Boromir, running off of Frodo), he goes through this tough period where he doubts himself.

Quote:
Why? Because I'm weaker mentally? No. Because I'm strong- and I would believe that, despite the warning, my strength would be enough to do it. My cousin, on the other hand, is not used to doing things the way he pleases but used to following his elders and so would trust and obey the judgment of his elders.

Do you understand what I mean?
That makes sense, I think we can see that in Boromir's word's at the council of Elrond.

Quote:
"I do not understand all this," he (Boromir) said. "Saruman is a traitor, but did he not have a glimpse of wisdom? Why do you speak ever of hiding and destroying? Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of our need? Wielding it the Free Lords of the Free may surely defeat the Enemy. That is what he most fears, I deem.
"The men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit, but they may be beaten down. Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it forth and go forth to victory!"
You are right, I think Boromir doesn't believe it would be able to corrupt such a man as he, or one of these "free lords." He speaks of. A situation we can connect to this would be Denethor and the Palantir. Denethor didn't "view" the palantir because he was "mentally weak." He viewed it because he thought he had the strength to combat Sauron, now obviously he doesn't have the power of Sauron, so in time his "mind broke" because he lost the "battle" with Sauron, but it wasn't because he was mentally weak, nice point. I would go in further, but I'm afraid Esty will repremmand me, so maybe I can make it a thread of my own.
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:22 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by the phantom
I'm not sure I agree that his desire was "irrational".

This is irrational-> expecting a hobbit to safely enter a heavily guarded land, travel for miles and miles without getting caught, and destroy a ring he could not willingly throw into his little fire at home.

To Boromir this idea seems much more irrational than attempting to use the Ring.
This is the basis upon which Boromir founds his belief that it is better to use the Ring against Sauron rather than walk into Sauron's back yard in an attempt to destroy it. I agree that this is a rational (albeit, as it turns out, misguided) belief. What I am labelling "irrational" is his desire to seize it at all costs (ie by means of an attack on the person whom he has sworn to defend). It is irrational because it is provoked not by rational thought, but by the corrupting influence of the Ring.


Quote:
Originally Posted by the phantom
Boromir was strong, and a leader, and was used to ruling and having his judgments heard and obeyed. He thought that he could use the Ring safely because he was strong, and he certainly had more faith in his own strength than in the apparent "folly" of the quest.
I think that you misunderstand my use of the concept of mental weakness. I am not using it in the sense of "self-confident", which Boromir undoubtedly was. Rather, I am talking in terms of strength of will to resist the Ring's influence. It is in this respect that I would say that Boromir was, mentally, the weakest of the Company.
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Old 11-05-2004, 05:28 AM   #34
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And to augment SpM's point on that, it is not a particular criticism of Boromir that it is so. Of the Company, the Hobbits have an oft-discussed 'natural resistance', that although finite, was fairly evident. Aragorn is a special case, and 'less and more' of a man than Boromir, due to his lineage etc. Legolas and Gimli have a less natural desire for power than Boromir, so although perhaps the Dwarf would be subsumed by greed, it would be a different malaise to that which would have gripped the Gondorian. The Elves are written as possessing a greater 'moral fibre' in any case. In a way, I think the most dissent could come from the matter of Gandalf, who as a Maia one presumes would have had a strong resistance, that although it would eventually cave would hold out the longest... but think of his reaction in Bag End that once...

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Old 11-05-2004, 08:12 AM   #35
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I think the most dissent could come from the matter of Gandalf, who as a Maia one presumes would have had a strong resistance, that although it would eventually cave would hold out the longest... but think of his reaction in Bag End that once...
Rimbaud -
Or Sarumans for that matter - was he not the highest in his order? Was he not a Maia? I am not a Boromir defender by any means, I just suppose I have a different appreciation for the character. My point was that he did not succumb because of a personality flaw specific to him. He was def the most human out of the group - and with all the inherent strengths and weaknesses. The key in my mind was the leadership aspect. Consider:

Both Saruman and Boromir were leaders. They both were on "the front line" if you will, dispatching orders, gathering and allocating resources and intelligence, making DECISIONS that affected others. Aragorn (during this time) was as well, but to a much smaller degree, mainly in the background (or in an underground resistance type of organization). His leadership was as yet unproven. So, IMO, his personal "stakes" were not as high as Boromirs. Plus, the blood flowing through Aragorns veins was much different than Boromirs, which I think implies that his strength of character had possibly a "more than human" advantage. Boromir was a captain, an heir to a Steward that - lets face it - was not looking like the best job in the world. I am sure he appreciated the effect it was having on his father. The ring was not the linchpin to the defeat of Sauron - it was the bloody tool that was used to bring so much death and misery to HIS people.
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Old 11-05-2004, 08:57 AM   #36
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drigel: interesting.

And one point more: When Frodo asks Galadriel why he can't see the others when he has the ring on, she says (among other things) that he would have to train his will to the domination of others first.

Gandalf and Aragorn both try hard to 'persuade' before they dominate. And it seems to me both Strider and Gandalf are used to working solo. Gandalf is very persuasive; Strider (eg. at the Inn at Bree) is fairly persuasive, but not superbly so.

Boromir tries to be persuasive several times (during the counsel and during his fellowship experience) but he isn't particularly good at it-- I think because he's used to being obeyed. His will is already well-trained to the domination of others.
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Old 11-05-2004, 09:14 AM   #37
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Making decisions\judgements that are life and death matters to people (at least in my mind - most assuredely by that point in time), and the dire situation that his country faces puts Boromir in a much different place than Aragorn. Its not a just a matter of weakness - its about experience, and perspective, and the weight of leadership and responcibility to those who you rule, human or Maia.

The monster i referred to at this level is much scarier than whats inside a woodland Elf Prince or a Dunadain Ranger in my mind.
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Old 11-05-2004, 12:00 PM   #38
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Sorry to interrupt... but I just wanted to say..

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Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar

I must say, this scene and the closing conversation of Gimli with Legolas endeared the Dwarf to me forever. His poetic words and gallantry are lovely and touching! I have quite a few of those sentences underlined in my book:

here just today.)
I regression perhaps rather than a digression: I share some of of Estelyn's feelings about this conversation. For me, it voices a "fundamental truth", which stands free of it's context. Legolas' words of comfort are not pat or trite but sincere and beautiful but yet they do not truly console. "Memory is not what the heart desires" is a phrase that must surely sound a chord for all, save those perhaps who have not lived long enough enough to encounter bereavemen or loss or have not faced a choice between "duty" and "desire" - and few of us reach adulthood so unmarked. If it weren't such an odd word to use about an exchange between elf and dwarf, I would say that it was very human! Also human is the deliberate switch to weak humour when the conversation has gone "deeper" than normal, to return it to a normal level.
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:32 PM   #39
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Well, now that everyone has posted their thoughts about the psychology of Boromir, I can weigh in with my thoughts about the narrative requirements for the character. This is not to deny the very interesting comments which all have made here; I seem to be more interested less in the question of "what kind of person is Boromir" and more interested in the question, "if a writer throws various characters together on a quest, how are those characters determined by the needs of the quest and the story?"

In our discussions, we often seem to be moving between two poles, of realism and of fantasy. I would say that, for me, this chapter partakes more of sybolism than realism, although the later is not absent.

What do I mean by this? I mean that so much of what is given here seems more than just ... given. There are portents to most aspects of the chapter which are in keeping with the nature of Lorien as the land of fairey. davem, your references to the Mabingolion increase my interest. The more I think about the old Celtic tales the more I think we should have a thread devoted to the uses Tolkien might have made of them. There is something more here than the oft-stated desire to creat a mythology for England. What do you think, davem?

But to return to what I mean by the symbolic aspects of the chapter. It is, of course, the completion of this section which as Aiwendil has pointed out bears many structural affinities with the three chapter of respite in Book I. The Anduin is not just a river to traverse. It is not simply a conduit from Lothlorien to Minas Tirith but it is a threshold or liminal feature. It balances east and west. "On what side will you journey?" asks Celeborn of the Fellowship, the sides clearly representing on the west the side of light and on the east the side of dark. Boromir states that he will not take the darker shore and would prefer heading for MInas Tirith, but of course he will, ironically, take the darker shore. Here I think we have the subtle interplay of good and evil which suggests that Tolkien's world is not so easily demarcated between the two. For Frodo and Sam, this is a journey into the heart of darkness as much as Conrad's journey was.

Of course, the gifts which the elves offer the Fellowship have their symbolic portents also. But what I think is important is the way this chapter very subtly sets up the roles of Boromir and Aragorn, not only in terms of the realism of character psychology but also in terms of what this quest means. Boromir is still thinking in terms of Gondor.

Quote:
"As for me," said Boromir," my way home lies onward and not back."
Boromir still, at this point (and I think we need to limit ourselves to just this chapter, reading chapter by chapter, and not look ahead to the next book), has his thoughts and sights focussed upon Gondor. (not a criticism) What can we say of Aragorn's thoughts and sights? Certainly we see a character who does not easily decide which path to take. Aragorn is not the Northern Hero with a ready answer and point of view. As such, he will, perhaps somewhat like Hamlet, take a long time coming to decide what his actions should be.

Quote:
His own plan, while Gandalf remained with them, had been to go with Boromir, and with his sword to help to deliver Gondor. For he believed that the message of the dreams was a summons, and that the hour had come at last when the heir of Elendil should come forth and strive with Sauron for the mastery. But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir. And yet what help could he or any of the Company give to Frodo, save to walk blindly with him into the darkness?
The juxtaposing of this paragraph is fascinating, for it is followed immediately by that strange rumination of Boromir in which it appears that he hides his thoughts, although only Frodo seems to recognise that Boromir might not have follow completely in with Elrond's "correction."

The chapter concludes with that heartbreaking conversation between Legolas and Gimli which [b]Estelyn and Mithalwen[b] have already mentioned. What is this worst wound which Gimli has taken? It is not the warrior's wound which he had been preparing to take. Rather, it is the horrible wrenching which must come after he has found the greatest good for him. He must foresake the light and joy. Not for Gimli is the satan's test and challenge, for Gimli shall withstand it and not give in to his heart's desire. Beauty is as much a peril as evil. And the true hero is he who holds to the path and does not give in to his desires. It is not a question of being tricked by either Galadriel or the Ring: the responsibility lies within the person. (I would reference that old line from the TV show "Laugh-In" here: "The Devil made me do it.. At least I seem to remember that line being a joking refrain there.)

Then the chapter concludes with the sombre imagery of a night journey upon a silent and desolate river. In the heart of Fairey there is still a lesson to be learned.
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Old 11-06-2004, 03:13 AM   #40
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The more I think about the old Celtic tales the more I think we should have a thread devoted to the uses Tolkien might have made of them. There is something more here than the oft-stated desire to create a mythology for England. What do you think, davem?
I'd happily start (or at least contribute to) such a thread - but who's read the Mabinogion here? Shippey goes into Tolkien's sources in depth, & along with Beowulf, Kalevala & the Eddas, we can find many 'lesser' sources which Tolkien has made use of. I also suspect that there are many sources with which he was familiar which we'll never know. Sir Orfeo, Gawain & the Green Knight also influenced him; there are ceertainly 'echoes' of Pearl in the vision of Lothlorien. Even the siegelhearwen make an appearance. But there's also another source - contemporary literature: Blackwood, Dunsany ('Possible Echoes of Blackwood & Dunsany in Tolkien's Fiction' in Tolkien Studies vol1) & Rider-Haggard ('Gagool & Gollum: Exemplars of Degeneration in King Solomon's Mines & The Hobbit' in Tolkien & His Literary Resonances).

Still, this is a bit off topic, so I'll think about a thread.
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