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Old 11-27-2004, 12:04 AM   #41
Lhunardawen
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Silmaril

Wow! I can't believe we're finally discussing TTT! And here I am, late, as usual.

As Esty said, I believe one of the best things PJ did in the movie version was to add this to FotR. Doing so gave FotR an appropriate ending, and for the movie viewers, a little sense of hopelessness...only to have hope regained in the next part (I wonder how... ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esty
The chapter title is rather ambiguous - did anyone think that it meant Boromir was going to Minas Tirith when first reading the book? We now know that it's a final and tragic (though redemptive) departure, of course.
Had I not watched the movie before reading the books, that's what I would have thought. I might have said something like: "You faithless Boromir! I knew you would leave the Fellowship!" So that's one of the perks of watching the movies first--you don't commit the mistake of cursing one of the most heroic characters of the story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
So, how ‘magical’ a place is Amon Hen - if even Aragorn only sees what any of us would expect to see what’s so special about the place to earn it its name? And how come Frodo sees so much - is it the power of the Ring? But that would mean that The Hill of Sight only deserved its name & reputation if the person using it had their vision magically enhanced.
That was exactly what I was wondering about as well. The Ranger saw nothing, yet Frodo saw many things, albeit with the aid of the Ring. I was thinking that perhaps what Aragorn saw is exactly what he's supposed to see...that's all there is to it. Frodo, on the other hand, saw much--mostly what the Ring probably wanted him to see. I think that the Ring knew of his increasing eagerness to get on with the task at hand, and so tried to discourage him with signs of war. Apparently, it was to no avail (at least for the moment).

Not only was Boromir's death a loss to the Company, to his father and brother, to Gondor, and to its allies...it also signified a potential succession from the rule of the Stewards to Aragorn's ascension to the throne of Gondor. Boromir died, yet Aragorn lived. Narsil was reforged and given to Aragorn as Anduril, while Boromir's sword--a symbol of his power and authority--was broken...incidentally, near the hilt.

In this chapter, minds were made up, roads were taken, and burdens were removed. Frodo has finally mustered enough courage and whatever else he needed to go on to Mordor, allowing Sam to take the journey with him. Boromir "has taken his road," as Aragorn said, and was relieved of the guilt he would have carried. As for Aragorn, he has given up the burden, so to speak, of protecting Frodo. I believe he has no guilt over his decision nor the circumstances; he had to choose between those who left on their own accord and those who have been captured. Seems to me the most troubled ones are Merry and Pippin!
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Old 11-27-2004, 04:06 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lhunardawen
courage ... [and]... whatever else he [Frodo] needed
That'd be hope in an Estel sense, i.e. trust (in authority of Gandalf and via that in authority of Eru)

The latter is not explicit from the LoTR itself, and one needs to draw in UT resources for that, but, ultimately, it comes down to that - Frodo trusts in (most of the time) what Gandalf told him to be the right way, keeps on trusting even with Gandalf (presumably for Frodo) dead - i.e. knowing that course of action chosen by Gandalf proved fatal for Gandalf himself, and knowing that it may well prove fatal for Frodo as well. Doing it hard way, one time too many shown by Boromir what 'easy way' may land him (and anybody else) in.
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Old 11-28-2004, 05:54 AM   #43
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Upon their shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal.
Why? Why a White Hand?

Does it symbolise a command to Halt!? Does it symbolise control, manipulation. It seems to imply both. And the image of a human hand is incredibly ancient, even appearing on cave walls from the stone age. It is, after all, a human symbol - four fingers & an opposible thumb. If we didn't have this particular structure on the end of our arms we wouldn't have achieved anything. It gives us control over our environment by allowing us to make & use tools & to pass on information by writing. Effectively it is the third 'force' we've encountered in these last two chapters - the Eye, the Voice & now the Hand. Two out of three of these are presented as 'evil' - yet the three of them have made us the creatures we are - we see the world (the 'Eye'), communicate our 'sight' to others (the 'Voice'), & are able to control & manipulate what we've seen & described (the 'Hand').

Whatever point Tolkien is making with these attributions - the Eye to Sauron, the Voice to Gandalf & the Hand to Saruman - escapes me at the moment, but it is certainly intriguing.

Oh, one final point, going back to the points made about Galadriel's symbolic 'connection' to Sauron - the Eye being 'also in my mind' - there is only one other occurence of the phrase 'white hand' in LotR other than to Saruman:
Gandalf's verse in Meduseld

Quote:
In Dwimordene, in Lorien
Seldom have walked the feet of Men,
Few mortal eyes have seen the light
That lies there ever, long and bright.
Galadriel! Galadriel!
Clear is the water of your well;
White is the star in your white hand;
Unmarred, unstained is leaf and land I
n Dwimordene, in Lorien
More fair than thoughts of Mortal Men.
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:30 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
I understand your reasoning, Fordim, but I am not sure if the Amon Hen 'effect' can be deduced from the experiences of the characters that you refer to because I do not see its influence as affecting its surroundings. As I see it, its effect only impacts (if at all) on those who visit it at the time that they visit.
My apologies, but I think I was a bit unclear in the first post on this. When I drew my (brilliant ) conclusions about Amon Hen I was applying them to the whole locale and not just to the Seat of Seeing. (Amon Hen is the hill itself upon which the Seat is situated, after all.)

So, while I agree with your observations about people who sat/did not sit & when they endured their 'trials' my point is not directly about the Seat anyway.

Hills are important for Tolkien and it seems they mark far more than just a physical geography but a moral one as well. Frodo's moral journey begins in Bag End (beneath a Hill), takes him to his first trial at Amon Sul (which he fails in a way) and then culminates (in FotR) at Amon Hen (in which he succeeds). His journey is itself a path from blindess-beneath-a-hill to obscured-vision-or-mis-seeing-on-a-hill to a moment of vision and clarity upon a hill. I suppose this makes sense when we consider that his journey will end at the summit of a mountain. Although it won't end there, will it? But back beneathe a hill. . .but not even there. . .will it end upon the hill of Westernesse??

So I stand by my point: Boromir, Aragorn and Frodo all find exaltation of a sort at Amon Hen (the hill, not the Seat of Seeing).
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Old 11-28-2004, 01:05 PM   #45
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White-Hand <-- The Hand

Quote:
Whatever point Tolkien is making with these attributions - the Eye to Sauron, the Voice to Gandalf & the Hand to Saruman - escapes me at the moment, but it is certainly intriguing.
The Voice and Gandalf seem the clearest to me -- Gandalf is a persuader. He urges people to take action, to take the proper course, since he himself cannot do certain things for them. He cannot challenge Sauron openly, and so he must use others to achieve the necessary ends. For example, he gives counsel to Denethor, Theoden, and all those at the Council of Elrond.

Saruman, on the other hand, (no pun intended) is different. He takes things into his own hands -- or Hand -- and sets about doing things his own way. He fancies that he might obtain the Ring, an instrument or weapon worn on the Hand.

It's interesting that Saruman is not attributed with the Voice in this sense, since his voice is his greatest source of power and influence. It's as though Gandalf is the voice of reason, and Saruman is that of lies -- he will make promises and false claims, but in the end it will all just come to better serve himself.

As for the Eye, Sauron is able to see many things, both through "tracking" the Ring, and through the use of the Nazgul and his spies. That's all I can really think of for him right now.
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Old 11-29-2004, 06:41 AM   #46
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thoughts about Aragorn's decision and other stuff

I know I'm overly late (the nerve of me showing up here after months of not participating ) but I finally managed to find some time to do this.

I like it how the conversations between Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn mirrors the main characteristics of their races.

Elf: Duty, the spiritual

Legolas is insisting upon 'tending to the fallen' Boromir, all the while mantaining a very Elvish tranquility even sharing the grief over Boromir's death. In the middle of a somewhat desperate situation, he's the one who decides for the rest of the company that duty should come first.

Dwarf: swiftness, practicality

Gimli agrees with Legolas and, betraying his Dwarvish ways, wants the funeral to be done as quickly as possible because wasting time under such circumstances would be folly. (As davem and others have pointed out, this 'folly' happens nonetheless, mainly because the other two were in a musical mood.

Man: action, doubt

Aragorn meanwhile ponders almost obsesively upon the possible courses of action they should take once Boromir's funeral is over.


"Maybe there is no right choice" , (Gimli)
I've always asked myself what does this mean, why is Gimli being so pessimistic all of a sudden. I thought of it and realized that he is actually stating a truth. There was no right choice and no wrong choice. The path was already laid out before them and all they had to do was walk on it...In vain was Aragorn torturing himself over which course should he take - Fate had already decided for him (this string of unexpected happenings that go through the entire book and bind everything together into a fragile but thoroughly connected web, leading to the inevitable victory of Good over Evil). There was no right or wrong choice for Aragorn now, there was the ONLY choice. And the only choice becaomes apparent only when his heart dictates him the decision:
"My heart speaks clearly at last."
This reminds me of a short-lived topic I started a while back, who knows where it is now -(gives puppy-eyed look to HI the almighty unearth-er(?) of threads ); in which I argued that reasons often misleads those from the race of Men, while their hearts, sometimes acting against reason, never do.

Lastly, I want to end this stream of consciousness post by drawing your attention to the very last paragraph of this chapter, which I love because it reads almost like a poem. It's got short, very descriptive sentences that really flow and have a dynamic rhythm that mirrors that of the Three Hunters in pursuit. Here I'll quote it in full for you to read again:

Quote:
Like a deer he sprang away. Through the trees he sped. On and on he led them tireless and swift, now that his mind was at last made up. The woods about the lake, they left behind. Long slopes they climbed, hard-edged against the sky already red with sunset. Dark came. They passed away, grey shadows in a grey land.
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Old 11-29-2004, 07:03 AM   #47
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I suppose you hint at The weakness of man thread? What there is reason and heart I term "knowledge" and "wisdom" in the discussion of the next chapter, but reasonings are similar

PS Well, it tickles one's vanity to be called almighty... how many fingers? Seven? We'll cope...
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:03 PM   #48
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1420!

I know this is a bit off track, but this is something I actually just recently discovered about Boromir's character. One of the deepest characters becomes even deeper.

Mark12_30 and I briefly discussed Boromir's witiness. I just figured out, it's not just witiness, Boromir is actually a satiric character. Satire is using humor or wit to bring up a problem. Often we see this in politics (Saturday Night Live). I think a key component to Boromir is this satire, for he has many witty remarks in this story. Even more, and this may be a problem of Boromir's is it tends to be Juvenilian satire, tending to be bitter, and not Horatian Satire which tends to be more gentle. Here's an example...

In the chapter The Great River the problem is how far they should travel down the river, and where should they go from there. Boromir not getting his way pokes some satiric lingo:

Quote:
"But the enemy holds the eastern bank," objected Boromir. "And even if you pass the Gates of Argonath and come unmolested to the Tindrock, what will you do then? Leap down the Falls and land in the marshes?"
Satire is often confused with sarcasm. Sarcasm, even though if the person being sarcastic is laughing, tends to be a personal remark towards another, a personal attack. Satire is adressing a problem with humor or witiness. Which we have here, and already said this seems more of a bitter, or juvenilian satire, then a gentle Horation satire. This could even make Boromir a more complex character .
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:24 PM   #49
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Gimli and Legolas looked at their companion in amazement, for they had not seen him in this mood before. He seemed to have grown in stature while Eomer had shrunk; and in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed to the eyes of Legolas that a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown.
This is an odd thing - why would Legolas see that? Is he actually seeing something - some kind of 'spiritual' flame-like crown on Aragorn's head, or did is just seem to be there - is Legolas having a 'psychic', precognitive vision of the real crown of Gondor which Aragorn will eventually come to wear, or is he just so impressed with Aragorns newly revealed royalty that he imagines it?

Or is it something else - a kind of 'divine right of kings' thing. Has Aragorn worn this 'spiritual' crown all along, or has it just appeared in this moment? If Aragorn truly wears a 'spiritual' crown, then who placed it on his head? Surely only Illuvatar could place such a crown on Aragorn's head - has Aragorn been divinely appointed ruler of Middle earth by God?

I suppose this is a central question as far as leadership in Middle earth is concerned. Are kings simply appointed by their people, or at the least, must they rule with the consent of their people? Does this shed light on the Kinstrife which nearly brought Gondor to ruin, & on Denethor's dismissal of Aragorn as 'last of a ragged house, long bereft of Lordship & dignity'? Is there some sense in which the Stewards have a role in deciding who has been divinely appointed to rule? So that they must be satisfied not simply that the claimant is a suitable ruler, with the right inheritance, but also that he has been divinely appointed.

Certainly this would make Denethor's reluctance to accept Aragorn more significant - if he believes Aragorn's house has long since been bereft of Lordship & dignity, then he would have some case. And that leads on to a further question - he dosen't say Aragorn's house has lost its 'lordship & dignity' he says it has been bereft of those things - they have been taken away - but by whom, & for what reason? If Illuvatar is the one who bestowed Lordship & dignity (ie the divinely appointed right to rule) then wouldn't that imply that Illuvatar was the one who took it away?

In the end (at the end), we see the people of Gondor accepting Aragorn as their ruler - but is that simply because he has lead them to victory in the war against Sauron, or is there more to it - has he shown, besides that, that he is truly the divinely appointed King?
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:37 PM   #50
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Just a thought in response to davem's final question:

Quote:
In the end (at the end), we see the people of Gondor accepting Aragorn as their ruler - but is that simply because he has lead them to victory in the war against Sauron, or is there more to it - has he shown, besides that, that he is truly the divinely appointed King?
This made me think of Malbeth's prediction about Aragorn:

Quote:
The heir of him to whom the oath they swore.
From the North shall he come, need shall drive him:
he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.
Now, I don't know if the average Gondorian would be familiar with these words, but some record of them must have been kept. Perhaps another reason Aragorn was so readily accepted as king, on top of the fact that he led them to victory, is that his coming and his lineage were foretold in prophecy?

Last edited by Encaitare; 11-30-2004 at 02:37 PM. Reason: grammar is good
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Old 11-30-2004, 03:05 PM   #51
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Well, idiot me, i posted that in the wrong forum

I shall leave it here due to [b]Encaitare's[b] response, but also copy it across to the right one.
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:41 AM   #52
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Pipe Music.

[Ilúvatar: ]Through [Melko] has pain and misery been made in the clash of overwhelming musics; and with confusion of sound have cruelty, and ravening, and darkness, loathly mire, and all putrescence of thought or thing, foul mists and violent flame, cold without mercy, been born, and death without hope.
HoME I 2
From here, we see two types of evil:

~Overwhelming musics
This, perhaps, is the obvious kind of evil, one in visible form, and the one that causes the most harm.
~Confusion of sounds
This, then, is the subtle kind of evil: "internal" evil, if you will.
The thing is, from this "confusion of sounds" come "overwhelming musics": Melkor, succumbing to his thoughts in the dark, becomes the Dark Lord of the First Age, as fallen as any being could be. Ar-Pharazôn, listening to Sauron's whisperings, brought about ruin in Númenor and the world. Saruman, who wished to wield the Ring for the order of the world, destroyed all that he touched in the end.

In these cases , the first step towards the dark brought about their fall. And they most of them didn't know that they had, in fact, crossed the line, until it was too late to turn back.

Boromir, recognising that he had already taken that first step, repented. But he had to die, because once having attuned to this confusion of sounds, it will continue to play in him until it caused his fall.
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:21 PM   #53
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Boromir

Boromir was bound by his duty to Gondor and the Steward to slay Aragorn by any means necessary, and the others of the company should they present a threat. His duty to protect Gondor was the single greatest purpose and mandate in his life. He was born just so that he could perform this duty. He honestly and truly believed that the Ring had the power to save Minas Tirith and that Gandalfs hope would bring ruin on Minas Tirith. Therefore he was bound to get the ring and use it to the last defense, and, possible, the defeat of Sauron. Much of his thought was that the words of the dream came to him as just such a directive. But their were also the words to reference the return of the king. So Boromir was in a quandry of several aspects.
1). his love and duty to lord and city
2). the desire long entertained of his own glory
Between these his duty was clear, take the Ring.
The quandry:
3). How to perform his duty in an honorable and manful way as befits a captain of Gondor, Man of the West.
It was not for fear of Aragorn that he chose not to directly confront him. Nor for knowledge that Gimli and Legolas would hinder him, and that such a direct confrontation would end in failure.
The reason for his deciding not to perform his duty in that fashion was because the responsibility of his own discretion in the matter was become beholden to that of the will of Aragorn. For the love that Boromir found in his heart for the Ranger of the North. He found to his suprise and delight and pain that he loved and respected Aragorn, and heeded willfully to his counsel, not just because, though at first he doubted, he had come to accept the veracity of Aragorns claim on the Sceptor, but even more so because in any other circumstances, would by some chance of Fate he were not the Son of the Steward of Gondor, still he would have followed Aragorn, and took him willingly and lovingly as his lord. Such was the dignity of the character of Aragorn, even apart from his lineage.
Boromir would still have been right in his attempt to wrest the ring from Frodo, unscrupulous though the need made of it, the reason he knew that he had done evil was because he percieved in the very midst of his folly that by doing so, he had allowed himself to be decieved, and that his duty before the Steward of Gondor was to follow the counsel of Aragorn. In his desire to take the ring he percieved that it was not for his duty to Gondor, but for the evil desire of the Ring.
He collapsed with grief. Aragorn gave him his final command.
In the moment of his death he does not see Strider, or even Aragorn, but the revealed Majesty of the King of the West. Yeah, maybe even a vision in part of Elendil himself. And what he took as a damnning failure, the greatest ignoble defeat he could have ever suffered in life, never even dreamed of, yet horribly real and true, was in that moment turned to his greatest victory. People say here have said 'fogiveness' and 'pardon'. Don't you see it was so much greater than that? His victory as revealed by the King was won; his, justly and deserved. And then he smiled. The departure of Boromir I believe is the greatest scene in all of literture, reigning supreme without a rival.
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:05 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neithan Tol Turambar
Boromir was bound by his duty to Gondor and the Steward to slay Aragorn by any means necessary, and the others of the company should they present a threat.
Who made explicit such an obligation to kill, what sort of threat would justify that and when did such a threat become apparent in FotR?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neithan Tol Turambar
His duty to protect Gondor was the single greatest purpose and mandate in his life. He was born just so that he could perform this duty.
That's is quite a statement. Can you back it somehow? In the Athrabeth, what Eru requires of His Children is belief in Him and Estel, not some 'blind' allegiance to a narrow political concept such as a city.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neithan Tol Turambar
Therefore he was bound to get the ring and use it to the last defense, and, possible, the defeat of Sauron.
His very own words ("a madness took me, but it has passed") show that he acted out on the corruption of the ring, outside his 'duty'. If he felt he did the right thing, he would not have felt such a remorse, and cry for his curse.
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:28 PM   #55
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Ufc!

'Patience!' said Faramir, but without anger. 'Do not speak before your master, whose wit is greater that yours. And I do not need any to teach me of our peril. Even so, I spare a brief time, in order to judge justly in a hard matter. Were I as hasty as you, I might have slain you long ago. For I am commanded to slay all whom i find in this land without the leave of the Lord of Gondor. But I do not slay man or beast needlessly, and not gladly even when it is needed. Neither do I talk in vain. So be comforted. Sit by your master, and be silent!"

Has Boromir read the Athrabeth? Because if not, I've read about Boromir and the history and Customs of Gondor.

Regarding your third statement. You are exactly right.

May I suggest you read my post and the Lord of the Rings One more time, and very carefully? While you do, forget about yourself, and think about what I have said here in these forums.
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:38 PM   #56
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Has Boromir read the Athrabeth? Because if not, I've read about Boromir and the history and Customs of Gondor.
Again, who has asked Boromir to kill? Your comparison to Faramir is false so far, because you still haven't provided any qualifications of threats that would justify killing. As regards to the Athrabeth, it is said in Letter #156 that the exiled Numenoreans kept "the knowledge of the True God", so I doubt Boromir was alien to such concepts. I am not aware in anything in the customs of Gondor that justifies killing as accessory to theft. While a fallen tyrant like Denethor might not have a problem with that, it still doesn't make it right.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:16 AM   #57
Neithan Tol Turambar
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Rather than dig out the books, I will concede your point.
Many times in Tolkiens work we are left delicious moments to ponder. So, we must use our wits, and extrapolate. 'Inference', I believe.
Let's say that instead, Boromir had come across a band of orcs, who had with them an artifact, statue bust or somesuch, taken from the fallen city of Minas Ithil. Lets say, he found them not even on land named to the kingdom of Gondor, say, on the southern borders of Imladris? (sp?) Would he then have the right and duty as Captain of the White Tower to assault, kill, and take the statue bust? Even if the orcs were not in a position to directly theaten the security of Gondor?
I think to argue that a soldier of Gondor did not have clear directive to attack and destroy, taking posesson of any weapon that might, having been left behind, come into the posession of yet another enemy of Gondor, perhaps more dangerous that the first, Would be inane and vacuous.
Clearly, servents of the Steward of Gondor were bound to take action against what at the time, appeared to them, in all reasonable appearences, to be a clear and impending threat to the peace and safety of the Steward whom they serve, unless, some captain of greater rank be present, in which case, a soldier would be bound to defer to the ranking commander, and be subject to his discretion.
In the case of Boromir, in which I offered my opinion, Aragorn was that higher ranking officer. The evil power of the Ring blinded him to that truth in the pivotal moment of trial. And yet, at the moment of his curse, "Curse all halflings to death and darkness!" He tripped on a root and lay sprawling, as if his own curse had struck him down. Then suddenly he wept.

'Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, and the Lord and Steward of the realm...'

And if you still think my observation in the post about the Departure of Boromir is incorrect, then by golly, you must be right after all. I'll think more about it tomorrow my friend, for I don't know about you, but I'm on Pacific time.

Last edited by Neithan Tol Turambar; 04-10-2007 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Einstien only asked for a garbage can.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:18 AM   #58
Neithan Tol Turambar
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Threats that would justify killing:
For to all but a fool's hope and for all practical purposes they are going to deliver the Ring of Power right to the Tower of Barad-Dur. I would do anything to stop that madness, that treason, that folly, in defense of Gondor and the Lord of the City.

Last edited by Neithan Tol Turambar; 04-10-2007 at 09:05 PM. Reason: because I make so many mistakes
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:28 PM   #59
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An emotionally affecting chapter, and a pivotal moment in the narrative--Rimbaud asks earlier (you know, years ago) which thread of the story one enjoys most and my answer shall be as indecisive as most: "whichever I am currently reading."

As for why Tolkien does what he does, I think it fits his purpose best to follow Aragorn et al rather than Frodo and Sam, and that this is not merely how things came to be written (though, in truth, that is what happened). It makes sense to follow Aragorn first, because that is what is basically being engineered over the next three books: Sauron's eye is drawn towards the dramatic political actions of Rohan and Gondor and Gandalf's return, and we (the readers) get swept along with him. Unlike Sauron, though, we get to cut back to Frodo after a crescendo when our engagement with the political story is at its deepest, and realise that it was all a ruse and see what has been hidden from us all along.

As for why Tolkien presents Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli before he presents Merry and Pippin... well, he actually DID flip-flop their chapters after writing them, but he starts with Aragorn--for two reasons, I think. The first is straightforward enough: by having the Hunters chase Merry and Pippin without knowing their fate, we (like the Hunters) are left in suspense about them.

The second reason is that Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli's story follows most directly from the death of Boromir, and it makes narrative sense to see the end of Boromir before we follow the unravelled threads, because Boromir is the thread that ends here (not entirely--we'll meet Faramir and Denethor later, but Boromir himself as a member of the Fellowship ends here). This is rather ironic, since Boromir was a divisive voice in the Fellowship since at least Moria, but here his death is a sign of the Fellowship coming unravelled, as he were the glue that held them together.

The lament for Boromir is beautiful--another favourite poem. There hasn't been a poem since Lórien and poetry will be infrequent going forward compared with the previous two books. I'm another in the camp of it having been quite plausible that Aragorn and Legolas tweaked some familiar mourning template (probably one specifically addressing the four winds for a lost sojourner). To add my meagre testimony to the fine points made earlier about oral cultures and even rap, anyone who sings songs to small children know how easy it is to take an established form and change a few words to fit the situation. I have little doubt this would be quite common in an oral culture AND that Aragorn and Legolas would each have the individual skill to do so elegantly.



Another thing I was thinking of was the parallel in this chapter with Aragorn's tracking skills as displayed at Amon Sûl--there he was looking for traces of Gandalf or the Black Riders in the service of Frodo, but his own companions obscured it; here he is looking for traces of his companions--namely Frodo himself--but finding them is directed to turn aside from Frodo's path. It's another link between hills.

It was also, however, a trigger for me to think briefly about Aragorn as a detective, and I think there's a tiny sense in which he is portrayed in almost Sherlock Holmesian manner. Tracking footprints and such is not especially detective-esque, but using logic to figure out where the missing boat, missing packs, and the movement of the different actors has the feel of a very small detective story, and Aragorn certainly feels like one of the best candidates to be a detective out of the cast of characters we're given in the story.
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