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Old 09-21-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
TheLostPilgrim
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Why was Boromir allowed to join the Fellowship?

Boromir had made it kind of, well, obvious at the Council that he did not see harm in using The Ring? Even if he was somewhat quelled by Elrond, his first thought was to use the Ring for strength and as a weapon, and he even said he saw some wisdom in Saruman's desire of it.

Knowing as they did the Ring's corruptive power, why then did Gandalf and Elrond allow Boromir to join the Fellowship? Surely they could've seen his weakness and his lack of true understanding--That this man was a soldier, a leader of men, a brave warrior and nothing more--Not one of the Wise or who truly understood how dangerous or evil the Ring was? An overly proud and perhaps desperate man who would desire of the Ring to save his land?

Did neither of them foresee the possibility of him becoming a threat, since he did not truly understand the peril of the Ring and even before setting out already had desire to use it, if only for a noble purpose?
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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Boromir's words at the Council could have been taken at face value to have come of simple ignorance of the Ring's corrupting influence, and a product of the state of the man's life, as you describe. Since he did apparently accept Elrond's explanation of why the Ring had to be destroyed, maybe they thought that was sufficient. Note too that it wasn't until Gandalf's fall that Boromir began to show further outward signs that he was still having thoughts of using it.

Also, Boromir had made the journey to Rivendell alone, and it was really miraculous that he made it. Since the Fellowship intended to travel back towards the general direction of Minas Tirith, and Boromir was obviously going to head there himself, it would have been a dishonor toward him to have not included him. And slighting the son of the Steward of Gondor when a war with Sauron was brewing was something to be avoided.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
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In addition of any matter of slighting Boromir--I can take or leave that, since I can see Boromir being more than okay with going home his own way (Gap of Rohan, etc.)--there's also the fact that Aragorn is headed for Minas Tirith. It's worth remembering that his goal is not to go with Frodo to Mt. Doom, but to Gondor. Quite apart from any miracles in getting to Rivendell, Boromir's arrival is a godsend for Aragorn (and Gandalf and Elrond and anyone else behind the scenes) because their journey together gives Aragorn the chance to make Denethor's son and heir an ally before he ever arrives in Minas Tirith with his groundshaking claim. Quite unfortunately, that's not exactly how things played out.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #4
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In addition of any matter of slighting Boromir--I can take or leave that, since I can see Boromir being more than okay with going home his own way (Gap of Rohan, etc.)--there's also the fact that Aragorn is headed for Minas Tirith.
I was thinking more of Denethor's reaction if Boromir had indeed returned to tell how no one would accompany him on his journey back. That wouldn't have done much to elevate Denethor's considerations of other potential allies in the West.

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It's worth remembering that his goal is not to go with Frodo to Mt. Doom, but to Gondor. Quite apart from any miracles in getting to Rivendell, Boromir's arrival is a godsend for Aragorn (and Gandalf and Elrond and anyone else behind the scenes) because their journey together gives Aragorn the chance to make Denethor's son and heir an ally before he ever arrives in Minas Tirith with his groundshaking claim. Quite unfortunately, that's not exactly how things played out.
True indeed. It makes me wonder which way Legolas and Gimli would have chosen if Gandalf had not apparently died, but that's another thread.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:47 PM   #5
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This kind of makes me wonder about why they chose people for the Quest who were not going for the Quest - if you're heading to Minas Tirith and the Quest is headed to Mordor, that creates a bit of a problem. And it did too at Parth Galen. Were Elrond and co. so confident of Minas Tirith's stand or of the Quest's route, or maybe they just could not plan that far ahead, so regardless of the crew they knew it would have to improvise beyond a certain point?
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:27 PM   #6
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This kind of makes me wonder about why they chose people for the Quest who were not going for the Quest - if you're heading to Minas Tirith and the Quest is headed to Mordor, that creates a bit of a problem.
Technically, none of the Fellowship were bound to the Quest except Frodo. As Elrond said, "on him alone is any charge laid". The others were free to leave at any time and go where they liked. You would think that might be a bit of a security risk, but then again they had Gandalf, Aragorn, and Frodo's kinfolk and dearest friends in the group along with Boromir. The real "outsiders" as I see it were Legolas and Gimli, who were with each step southward going away from their homes, and had no real ties to the Company other than their own senses of loyalty and friendship. In the views of Elrond and Gandalf, that was apparently enough.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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It makes me wonder which way Legolas and Gimli would have chosen if Gandalf had not apparently died
Didn't Aragorn say that he had thought to go with Gimli and Sam with Frodo to Mordor, and have Boromir take the other hobbits to Minas Tirith. Not sure who Legolas would supposed to go with.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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Didn't Aragorn say that he had thought to go with Gimli and Sam with Frodo to Mordor, and have Boromir take the other hobbits to Minas Tirith. Not sure who Legolas would supposed to go with.
That was Aragorn's thought for the Company as the situation stood after Gandalf's "death", but I was musing on what they would have done if Gandalf had still been with them.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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That was Aragorn's thought for the Company as the situation stood after Gandalf's "death", but I was musing on what they would have done if Gandalf had still been with them.
Oh yeah. This has always puzzled me though. I mean, I can't understand his reasoning, why would he prefer Gimli to Legolas? Legolas has all these Elven superpowers, he can move without a sound, even dance across newly-fallen snowdrifts, he can discern individual faces from miles away, he barely needs food or sleep, he sees in the dark and shoots Nazgul from the sky. Whereas Gimli is noisy and afraid of ghosts. And he's short! It could be that Aragorn thinks Legolas a bit delicate and afraid to get his finger-nails dirty over in un-fashionable Mordor.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:38 PM   #10
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To be fair, Aragorn only states that he would have Legolas go with Boromir to Minas Tirith "if Legolas is not willing to leave us," by which I assume he would have been more or less fine with Legolas accompanying them to Mordor as well.

I always took his choice of Gimli as being due to the simple fact that he was a Dwarf and presumably the most likely of all of them to endure the hardships of Mordor - although as of course we've already discovered by this point Gimli is perhaps more delicate than might otherwise have been assumed: "Hard was my parting from Lothlórien."
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #11
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I always took his choice of Gimli as being due to the simple fact that he was a Dwarf and presumably the most likely of all of them to endure the hardships of Mordor - although as of course we've already discovered by this point Gimli is perhaps more delicate than might otherwise have been assumed: "Hard was my parting from Lothlórien."
But the parting from Lorien has nothing to do with physical toughness, and it is quite the emotional moment for a Dwarf like Gimli. I think he deserves some slack here.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:13 PM   #12
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But the parting from Lorien has nothing to do with physical toughness, and it is quite the emotional moment for a Dwarf like Gimli. I think he deserves some slack here.
Oh don't get me wrong, I'm fully pro-Gimli here. It was my intention to actually show that we have to separate Gimli's emotions, such as the previously mentioned terror in the Paths of the Dead, from his natural physical hardihood. So Aragorn already knows that Gimli is not unemotional, but that it's not important because he also knows that as a Dwarf he is enduring - as we later see in their long pursuit of the Uruk-hai, in battle at the Hornburg and elsewhere. As such I think Gimli was a valid choice. I would imagine that the horrors of the Dwimorberg affected him in a way that the more blunt adversity of Mordor might not.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:23 AM   #13
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Coming back to the original question I think you could also see it from the POV of the prof and what he was intending (aka. not only discuss it inside the logic of the story and the psychology of the characters).

It's easy to see that including Boromir is a smart move as it brings interesting tensions, conflicting loyalties, social and personal struggles etc. to the fellowship (and of course opening up the POV of the men of Minas Tirith to the whole mess) - great dramatic possibilities open up to the storyteller by adding a character like Boromir. And the prof really used those possibilities to the max.

But possibly even more importantly, I think, adding Boromir (and what he does) adds also to the general idea, or worldview, that things happen by a sort of providence where every act has it's role. Frodo would not have gone alone hadn't Boromir tried to take the ring - and with Aragorn, Gimli and maybe others with him the trip to Mordor would have been different and the Ring probably would not have been destroyed. Like with Gollum being still alive in the end securing the Ring gets destroyed as Frodo couldn't have done it - or Gandalf falling in Moria without which the two aforementioned things probably wouldn't have happened, Merry & Pip being taken captives and ending up in Fangorn pushing the ents into war with Saruman and thus enabling Rohan to join the fight at the Pelennor fields etc.

So even "bad" things serve a purpose.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:27 AM   #14
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I think, adding Boromir (and what he does) adds also to the general idea, or worldview, that things happen by a sort of providence where every act has it's role.
Which touches on the interesting dichotomy in ME between predestination/Iluvatar's will versus free will. For example, Frodo was "meant to have the Ring." But he could have refused it. And Isildur could have chosen to destroy the Ring (rather messing up the LOtR, but...

Gandalf says somewhere, I think, that he would not consider himself to have failed if even a (flower?) remains to eventually redeem ME from Sauron. There is free will, which can lead to failures against Morgoth, Sauron, etc. But eventually Eru will repair the situation. Or to quote the Silmarillion:
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Then Iluvatar spoke, and he said: "Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Iluvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shall see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but my instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."
Which really ticked off the bright boy in the class (Melkor).
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:02 PM   #15
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I see Boromir's joining as fate, just as Judas Iscariot was allowed to join the Apostles (not that I want to equate Boromir with Judas, mind you- it's just a salient example to me). Boromir's purpose was to set certain things in motion.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:06 PM   #16
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I see Boromir's joining as fate, just as Judas Iscariot was allowed to join the Apostles (not that I want to equate Boromir with Judas, mind you- it's just a salient example to me). Boromir's purpose was to set certain things in motion.
I'm most prone to believe this, beyond all personal and strategic reasoning inside the fellowship and outside as well.

If Boromir had not been present, a domino effect would have occurred altering the fate of Middle Earth as we know it:
  • The Fellowship would have eventually started to be tempted by the ring
  • Frodo would not have encountered Gollum
  • Fellowship would eventually fall apart
  • The lust for the ring may drive Fellowship to kill Frodo
  • Even if they don't, Frodo not meeting Gollum means that the ring would not be dropped into the Crack of Doom

Thus completely changing the story. Boromir's mere presence played a monumental part in this story. As Gandalf said when referring to Gollum that Gollum should not be killed because he may have some part to play yet, whether for good or evil, I believe the same happened with Boromir. I also believe there exists a distinct possibility that Elrond may have come to the same conclusion about Boromir that Gandalf had about Gollum.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:27 AM   #17
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To be fair, Aragorn only states that he would have Legolas go with Boromir to Minas Tirith "if Legolas is not willing to leave us," by which I assume he would have been more or less fine with Legolas accompanying them to Mordor as well.

I always took his choice of Gimli as being due to the simple fact that he was a Dwarf and presumably the most likely of all of them to endure the hardships of Mordor - although as of course we've already discovered by this point Gimli is perhaps more delicate than might otherwise have been assumed: "Hard was my parting from Lothlórien."
I always thought Aragorn's choosing of Gimli was very similar to his choosing/acceptance of Sam, "who could not bear it otherwise," because Gimli had already said "It is clear to me that I cannot leave Frodo." Yes, Legolas immediately adds "And I too will go with him. It would be faithless now to say farewell," but that's purely about a sense of doing what's right ... not the same as saying "I cannot leave Frodo." I don't think it was quite in the sense that Sam couldn't, but to Gimli it would have gone against the stout loyalty of his nature, would have been an impossible choice for him to make. I think he felt deep respect for Frodo for what he had taken on and through what he and all the Fellowship had endured together, and felt a strong bond with him. Note his "Come with me, Frodo! I would not have you go without seeing Kheled-zaram." It's almost like "You've had a rotten day, you're doing a terrible job, and you're not missing out on seeing this." Also, he states his intentions before Legolas does, because he feels them more urgently. Not forgetting, of course, his earlier "Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens" - it was he and no-one else who had that conversation with Elrond just before they set out. I think that was due to his dwarvish nature - you endure a task and stick to it - but I believe there was also a bond of loyalty there, which deepened. Of course, he felt this to a high degree for all his companions, and that loyalty was switched to his other companions, once the choice was taken out of his hands and the Ring and Frodo had gone beyond their help (barring the help of diversion tactics).

Of course, Merry and Pippin want to accompany Frodo too, but Merry does admit that "we did not realize what that would mean." I think it's a combination of the "I cannot leave him" with Gimli's proven hardihood and battle prowess, added to the fact that in Sam Frodo already has a stout hobbit companion, whose loyalty to Frodo is perhaps fiercer than the "gentle loyalty" of Merry and Pippin that Gandalf later says they do not thankfully have to imagine being tested in the Dark Tower. Although anyone could and eventually probably break under torture, of course, even Sam.

I know this thread is about Boromir, but I thought this was an important point.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:40 AM   #18
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I always thought Aragorn's choosing of Gimli was very similar to his choosing/acceptance of Sam, "who could not bear it otherwise," because Gimli had already said "It is clear to me that I cannot leave Frodo." Yes, Legolas immediately adds "And I too will go with him. It would be faithless now to say farewell," but that's purely about a sense of doing what's right ... not the same as saying "I cannot leave Frodo." I don't think it was quite in the sense that Sam couldn't, but to Gimli it would have gone against the stout loyalty of his nature, would have been an impossible choice for him to make. I think he felt deep respect for Frodo for what he had taken on and through what he and all the Fellowship had endured together, and felt a strong bond with him. Note his "Come with me, Frodo! I would not have you go without seeing Kheled-zaram." It's almost like "You've had a rotten day, you're doing a terrible job, and you're not missing out on seeing this." Also, he states his intentions before Legolas does, because he feels them more urgently. Not forgetting, of course, his earlier "Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens" - it was he and no-one else who had that conversation with Elrond just before they set out. I think that was due to his dwarvish nature - you endure a task and stick to it - but I believe there was also a bond of loyalty there, which deepened. Of course, he felt this for all his companions, and that loyalty was switched to his other companions, once the choice was taken out of his hands and the Ring and Frodo had gone beyond their help (barring the help of diversion tactics).

Of course, Merry and Pippin want to accompany Frodo too, but Merry does admit that "we did not realize what that would mean." I think it's a combination of the "I cannot leave him" with Gimli's proven hardihood and battle prowess, added to the fact that in Sam Frodo already has a stout hobbit companion, whose loyalty to Frodo is perhaps fiercer than the "gentle loyalty" of Merry and Pippin that Gandalf later says they do not thankfully have to imagine being tested in the Dark Tower. Although anyone could and eventually probably break under torture, of course, even Sam.

I know this thread is about Boromir, but I thought this was an important point.
Applying your logic (which is outstanding and very well thought out, by the way) what would you say the intentions for Boromir even WANTING to join the Fellowship would be? Where do you think his moral intentions lie? Any thoughts outside of what was explicitly was stated in Tolkien's works?
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Old 09-30-2013, 06:05 AM   #19
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That's a difficult one. In the book, of course, the companions' decisions to accompany Frodo - with the exception of those of the hobbits - happen offstage. However, Aragorn states his intentions when they are gathered together - and says that, because he is going to Gondor, Boromir is coming with them too, and that he is "a valiant man." Plus Gandalf said earlier, "I think I shall come with you."

Boromir may have been proud, but he was also warmed by the idea of companionship in the wild, I think. And he had journeyed to Rivendell to find the answer to the riddle, and Aragorn was the one who answered it, producing the sword that was broken. In that sense, it was natural to travel back with the one who had answered it, rather than return alone, since the errand had been considered sufficiently important for a dangerous journey in the wild in the first place. Plus, his pride aside, "I did not come to beg any boon," he admitted that Gondor needed help - "For though I do not ask for help, we need it." He was learning from Aragorn, and he did care about his city. They were going to Minas Tirith together. He accepted Elrond's insistence that the Ring should be destroyed at the time. It was the collective decision of those he had ridden to see for advice and answers, and Aragorn shared it. And Gandalf, even if he did not have as close an affinity to Gandalf as did his brother, Faramir (although the perceived extent of that was possibly augmented by the jealousy of his father).

Of course, when the idea of abandoning the journey to Minas Tirith was posited, as the Quest of the Ring was more important, he became impatient and troubled. He was still going to Minas Tirith, as he had always said, but he had hoped for fellowship on the way, and the help of Aragorn. Otherwise, why had he waited for a month, and for the onset of winter, or even, perhaps, left his home in the first place? And he also felt an appropriate measure of loyalty to those he had journeyed with: "It is not the way of the men of Minas Tirith to desert their friends at need ... and you will need my strength, if ever you are to reach the Tindrock. To the tall isle I will go, but no further. There I shall turn to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship."

All that said, I wonder what Boromir did for the whole month they were at Rivendell before setting out. I suspect that he spent a lot of time with Aragorn. Would he have gone out on some of the scouting missions? And would he fully have understood that Aragorn was going to claim the kingship of Gondor?

It's never really occurred to me before, but why on earth did someone as important to Gondor as the Steward's eldest son set out to Rivendell alone, with no escort or at least without even one other companion? Sure, he was hardy and mighty, but "the mightiest man can be slain by one arrow," as Pippin observed. Did he insist upon setting out completely alone? (It might have been said that he did, and I don't remember).

One unrelated thing: when I checked a quotation I used in my last post, Merry's "we did not realize what that would mean," I noticed the American use of z in realize, in two different editions, but both in British publications.

BTW, a very warm welcome to the Downs, Calacirya.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:23 AM   #20
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All that said, I wonder what Boromir did for the whole month they were at Rivendell before setting out. I suspect that he spent a lot of time with Aragorn. Would he have gone out on some of the scouting missions? And would he fully have understood that Aragorn was going to claim the kingship of Gondor?
I doubt Boromir was involved with the scouts. He didn't know the land for one thing. He might have spent some time with Aragorn clarifying the latter's lineage, as he couldn't have been in the dark about what Aragorn's arrival in Minas Tirith would lead to if the West was victorious against Sauron.

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It's never really occurred to be before, but why on earth did someone as important to Gondor as the Steward's eldest son set out to Rivendell alone, with no escort or at least without even one other companion? Sure, he was hardy and mighty, but "the mightiest man can be slain by one arrow," as Pippin observed. Did he insist upon setting out completely alone? (It might have been said that he did, and I don't remember).
I can only surmise that the errand, centered as it was around Isildur's Bane, was considered secret enough that companions for Boromir were not an option. The one journeying to Rivendelll would need to be either Boromir of Faramir, since one who had actually experienced the dream should tell Elrond of it, and Boromir got his way.
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:26 PM   #21
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All that said, I wonder what Boromir did for the whole month they were at Rivendell before setting out. I suspect that he spent a lot of time with Aragorn. ... And would he fully have understood that Aragorn was going to claim the kingship of Gondor?
He was very clear on who Aragorn was during that month. As this happens in the Council of Elrond:
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`And who are you, and what have you to do with Minas Tirith?' asked Boromir, looking in wonder at the lean face of the Ranger and his weather-stained cloak.
"He is Aragorn son of Arathorn,' said Elrond; "and he is descended through many fathers from Isildur Elendil's son of Minas Ithil. He is the Chief of the Dúnedain in the North, and few are now left of that folk."
With such a grand introduction from Elrond, Boromir couldn't be much confused about who Aragorn is, in many aspects.



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It's never really occurred to me before, but why on earth did someone as important to Gondor as the Steward's eldest son set out to Rivendell alone, with no escort or at least without even one other companion? Sure, he was hardy and mighty, but "the mightiest man can be slain by one arrow," as Pippin observed. Did he insist upon setting out completely alone? (It might have been said that he did, and I don't remember).
While I'd be more than happy to rant on about all the reasons I believe Boromir was sent on this quest, I believe Gandalf summarized it best in Return of the King when meeting Denethor for the first time in the books. Gandalf speaks,
Quote:
Boromir claimed the errand and would not suffer any other to have it. He was a masterful man, and one to take what he desired.
So while we can banter all day about why Boromir was sent from Gondor, in the end I believe it was the simple fact that Boromir would not have allowed anyone else to take on this task. Boromir believed that the ring should come back to Gondor (or believed his father, anyway) and once he decided on his course of action, I do not believe there was any stopping him.



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BTW, a very warm welcome to the Downs, Calacirya.
Thank you very much! I've been looking for a place like the Downs for ages, but most places are years dead. Nice to see some active people still talking about these things.
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:25 PM   #22
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I was thinking more of Denethor's reaction if Boromir had indeed returned to tell how no one would accompany him on his journey back. That wouldn't have done much to elevate Denethor's considerations of other potential allies in the West.

But Boromir wasn't sent to seek allies, but to seek the answer to the dream-riddle. That he certainly found.

WRT another line of discusion: although Bormir certainly learned right off the bat who Aragorn was, that "Who" was "heir to the North-kingdom, Chieftain of the Dunedain of Arnor." That in itself did not imply advancing a claim to the throne of Gondor; a thousand years' worth of Aragorn's predecessors had not done so, even though some of them were certainly in communication with Minas Tirith from time to time. Boromir plainly had no problem with the idea of Aragorn coming to MT, seeing the Sword (and possibly the arm that wielded it) as great potential help in the war.
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:27 PM   #23
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But Boromir wasn't sent to seek allies, but to seek the answer to the dream-riddle. That he certainly found.
True, but Boromir's words to the Company seem to indicate he would have been at least a bit irritated if he had had to go to Minas Tirith alone.

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'To the tall isle I will go, but no further. There I shall turn to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship.'
FOTR The Great River

As much as Denethor loved his son, he might have seen Boromir returning by himself as a slight, which could have turned him even more against the thought of accepting aid from anyone but the Rohirrim.

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WRT another line of discusion: although Bormir certainly learned right off the bat who Aragorn was, that "Who" was "heir to the North-kingdom, Chieftain of the Dunedain of Arnor." That in itself did not imply advancing a claim to the throne of Gondor; a thousand years' worth of Aragorn's predecessors had not done so, even though some of them were certainly in communication with Minas Tirith from time to time. Boromir plainly had no problem with the idea of Aragorn coming to MT, seeing the Sword (and possibly the arm that wielded it) as great potential help in the war.
Boromir though was possibly looking no further than the defeat of Sauron. If Aragorn survived the war, the question of kingship could then be dealt with.
It may be noteworthy that in Boromir's Ring-delusion, he "became himself a mighty king, benevolent and wise." Maybe his acceptance of Aragorn was indeed not as solid as it may have seemed.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:31 PM   #24
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True, but Boromir's words to the Company seem to indicate he would have been at least a bit irritated if he had had to go to Minas Tirith alone.

FOTR The Great River
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'To the tall isle I will go, but no further. There I shall turn to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship.'
As much as Denethor loved his son, he might have seen Boromir returning by himself as a slight, which could have turned him even more against the thought of accepting aid from anyone but the Rohirrim.

But the context by the time of that debate was wholly different. Gandalf had fallen, Aragorn now had responsibility for Frodo and the Quest, as opposed to his original plan to go to MT with Boromir, and at any rate Boromir had declared from the beginning his intention to return home, where he was needed. At this point of course he is trying to make an argument for the whole Company to go with him- in which it must be said that Ring-lust might have been a factor by now.

I don't think Denethor would have seen much of a 'slight' in what was conceived as in essence an into-the-blue reconnaissance; Boromir was sent off to find "Imladris," about which even Denethor hardly knew anything, even where it was, save that "Elrond and Half-elven once dwelt" there. He wasn't expecting allies or even a solo Great Hero, just an answer to the riddle (and the sudden reappearance of 'Thorongil' would hardly have made him happy!).
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:40 PM   #25
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Well, maybe after all it was just because Boromir was "going their way" that he was chosen. But the fact that he was the son of the Steward surely was a partial factor as well. Would a Beregond or an Ingold have necessarily been given the same consideration?
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:49 PM   #26
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I imagine Elrond and Gandalf having the final say - and maybe discussing the composition of the fellowship a bit after the somewhat chaotic council.

As regards to Boromir...

There's a political issue as well. Gondor is THE most important ally among the human kingdoms. Offending them is no-go. Refusing a fully qualified son-of-the-steward to join the fellowship and have him trek home alone 50 miles behind them would be so insulting as to ruin Rivendell-Gondor relations for years. That just would not work at all with the big was coming up and all.

Just for that reason, they HAD to accept him, and they would have let him join even if he had been much more tempted than he actually was.

As for his temptation - I am sure they were aware uf it, but saw into his Heart and thought he would most likely be able to cope, although you could not be 100% sure. But then again, nobody in the fellowship were 100% ring-resistant anyway.

The book for me is consistent with ANY of the fellowship trying to take it at one point or another. (Maybe apart from Sam - but at the end, even him started to feel the ring's tug a bit.)

Thus I think their reasoning was " Yeah, he is tempted, but it is so important for politics that he joins that we have to just cross our fingers and hope he behaves. In any case, there's Gandalf and Aragorn in case he misbehaves. He can't kill Gandalf, he can't sneak up on Legolas, and if he kills Frodo and runs away, Aragorn will track him down. The Fellowship is pretty safe as it is, everyone guarding on everyone and nobody being strong enough to take everybody else Down. It'll be alright with this guy!."

And lastly - Boromir wasn't that tempted! He managed to break the spell himself really fast. And he didn't even try to kill Frodo as Smeagol killed Deagol. I don't find it unreasonably that you could estimate in Rivendell that he would be able to resist the ring...
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:35 AM   #27
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The only problem with saying that there was a concern for Rivendell and Gondor's relationship is that there WAS no relationship between Rivendell and Gondor--when Boromir and Faramir had the vision, they had no idea where Imladris was, and though Denethor is able to tell them basically where it lies, it is clear that he is speaking of ancient lore--not correcting geopolitically-challenged sons. After all, the last time Gondor was properly involved with Rivendell in anything, there was still a King on the throne.

In the sense that both were opposed to Sauron and in desperate straits should he win, Gondor and Rivendell were certainly allies--but not in the sense that there was anything deliberate about this, especially on the side of Gondor which saw itself as alone against the world (save Rohan). Gandalf, it is true, was known in both, but I think it's fair to say he was already less-than-popular in Denethor's court.

Rather than the political reality, I think it comes down more to Gandalf and Elrond's assessment of Aragorn. Aragorn, we are told, is also going to Minas Tirith--if the Fellowship is about those only going with Frodo and the Ring, he should be out too. One could even argue that two parties leaving Rivendell in different directions for the southlands would have been good cover for the more important mission, but--and this is more my impression than something I have a direct quote handy for--it would seem that Gandalf thought that some Aragorn was better than no Aragorn on the trip.

And if you're going to take Aragorn, you should probably take Boromir then too. While that does have a political dimension (Boromir is, after Denethor, the one who will be most directly impacted by the return of the King and his support would mean the difference between a coronation and civil war), it's also courtesy--and I don't think courtesy for its own sake likely to be undervalued by either Gandalf or Elrond.
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Old 12-22-2013, 09:06 AM   #28
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The only problem with saying that there was a concern for Rivendell and Gondor's relationship is that there WAS no relationship between Rivendell and Gondor--when Boromir and Faramir had the vision, they had no idea where Imladris was, and though Denethor is able to tell them basically where it lies, it is clear that he is speaking of ancient lore--not correcting geopolitically-challenged sons. After all, the last time Gondor was properly involved with Rivendell in anything, there was still a King on the throne.

In the sense that both were opposed to Sauron and in desperate straits should he win, Gondor and Rivendell were certainly allies--but not in the sense that there was anything deliberate about this, especially on the side of Gondor which saw itself as alone against the world (save Rohan). Gandalf, it is true, was known in both, but I think it's fair to say he was already less-than-popular in Denethor's court.
It's just not smart to completely alienenate a natural ally. Or to send Boromor home with the message "Imladris don't trust us, on top of that they insulted Gondor's finest warrior and heir to the Stewardship"

Potential allies are important as well - you never know what will happen and who you will need, so you don't want to base your diplomacy on insulting friendly states

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Rather than the political reality, I think it comes down more to Gandalf and Elrond's assessment of Aragorn. Aragorn, we are told, is also going to Minas Tirith--if the Fellowship is about those only going with Frodo and the Ring, he should be out too. One could even argue that two parties leaving Rivendell in different directions for the southlands would have been good cover for the more important mission, but--and this is more my impression than something I have a direct quote handy for--it would seem that Gandalf thought that some Aragorn was better than no Aragorn on the trip.

And if you're going to take Aragorn, you should probably take Boromir then too. While that does have a political dimension (Boromir is, after Denethor, the one who will be most directly impacted by the return of the King and his support would mean the difference between a coronation and civil war), it's also courtesy--and I don't think courtesy for its own sake likely to be undervalued by either Gandalf or Elrond.
This is important as well. I'n not saying the political stuff is the only reason. It's a lot of small good reasons put together in Elrond's bag.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:07 PM   #29
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I'm finding this thread way too late and so many things to comment on. Oi! Where to star? Some of this has already been discussed and answered in the thread, but I'm just running down the list of stuff in my head and that way have it all in one post.

1. Why was the eldest son of the steward sent to Rivendell to get answers to a dream-riddle?

I think it's more telling of Boromir's character, in feeling the need to go on this quest to Rivendell and for answers than it is of Denethor. In a cast barb Faramir reminds Denethor that it was he who permitted Boromir to leave. But, as Calacirya excellently pointed out, Boromir was a hard person to say no to, or overrule, when he had his mind set on something. Boromir's own words at the Council were Faramir wanted to go, but Boromir took it upon himself to go and would not have it any other way:

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"Therefor my brother, seeing how desperate was our need, was eager to heed the dream and seek for Imladris; but since the way was full of doubt and danger, I took the journey upon myself. Loth was my father to give me leave, and long have I wandered by roads forgotten, seeking the house of Elrond, of which many had heard, but few knew where it lay."~The Council of Elrond
Denethor resisted for a while, but in a less sophisticated way of putting it, I imagine a child whining for that toy to their parent so much the parent finally caves in just to get the kid to shut up. And indeed, as the commander of Gondor's armies, Boromir is the one used to giving orders and having them followed. We see this through the entire quest, when the company is agianst Boromir's opinion of the path, he's rather obstinate and bullish "I will not go unless the whole company is against me."

2. Why did Boromir want to seek out Elrond and Rivendell in the first place?

Again using Boromir's words:

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In this evil hour I have come on an errand over many dangerous leagues to Elrond: a hundred and ten days I have journeyed all alone. But I do not seek allies in war. The might of Elrond is in wisdom not in war. For it is said. I come to ask for counsel and the unravelling of hard words. For on the eve of the sudden assault a dream came to my brother in a troubled sleep; and afterwards a like dream came of to him again, and once to me.~ibid
I don't think there's a reason to doubt Boromir's words here. He's travelled 110 days alone already and wouldn't mind going back alone either. He didn't leave for Rivendell to get allies, but for counsel and words of wisdom. Now he is rather candid later that while he didn't come seeking help, they do need it and in Boromir's perspective help comes in the forms of weapons and soldiers.

As he travels with the Fellowship, I think he would have been wounded had no one gone to Minas Tirith with him, because he came to view them as friends. And since his City is hard-pressed in being threatened by war, he would have welcomed to have them as allies. But that's due to the situation changing from the reasons he originally was seeking Imladris.

3. Why was Boromir permitted to join the Fellowship in the first place?

The simplest reason is the Fellowship was in dire need of strength. Time and time again, we see they are in need of Boromir's strength, and he was right in saying after leaving Lorien they would need his strength to get to the Tindrock.

While Boromir does reveal the idea of using the Ring as a weapon at the Council, I agree with those who said Elrond and Gandalf probably chalked it up to ignorance. It didn't occur as Jackson's movies, where Frodo sets the Ring in the center of everyone and Boromir creepily reaches out for it as he goes on a almost immediately possessed speech to use it.

They talk about the Ring for a bit, Boromir opines "Well doesn't Saruman have a point here in using the weapon of the enemy against him?" The various others say no, no, no, it should be destroyed. It should be remembered that using the Ring as a weapon was also something Tolkien said the bearers of the 3 contemplated (Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel) they all concluded it was a bad idea, but simply because Boromir brought up the possibility of using the Ring against Sauron, wouldn't have set off any alarms in Gandalf or Elrond, who we know also contemplated doing the same.

I believe their fears were more on the bearer of the Ring, as the bearer of the Ring would be more dangerous and under constant pressure to use the Ring of Power against Sauron. In the hands of Frodo, if he challenged Sauron, Frodo would have been utterly destroyed and Sauron has the Ring back (but they correctly judged Frodo would be the most resistant to use the Ring for those purposes). If Gandalf possessed the Ring and challenged Sauron, he might have overthrown Sauron, but the Ring would change him into basically another Sauron. But it's not like the Ring sent out this all-corrupting sphere of influence around the Ring-bearer.

Boromir only saw victory through weapons and strength of arms. As he became more desperate to save his City he perceived the Ring as that weapon. Frodo could have been bearing the Ring of Power and applie pies, if Boromir thought apple pies were Sauron's bane he would have tried to use them instead of some silly gold trinket. Boromir's thoughts to use the Ring were at the time, no more than what Gandalf and Elrond had considered as well. The real dangers was in choosing the wrong Ring-bearer, not in choosing the Ring-bearers companions.

I'm out of time, but hopefully more later to discuss on the necessary dynamics Boromir added...and some on Denethor and Gimli.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:16 PM   #30
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It's just not smart to completely alienenate a natural ally. Or to send Boromor home with the message "Imladris don't trust us, on top of that they insulted Gondor's finest warrior and heir to the Stewardship"
You forgot a key part of waht he might have said had they spurned him, "Oh and by the way, they have this guy who's supposedly head of the rangers and who apparantly grew up under Elrond's protection. He's claiming that he is the King and has plans of marching back here with his band to claim his throne, and it seems the elves and Stormcrow support him in this. In fact, this so called king actually has plans to MARRY an elf once he has conquered us. In other words, not only does Imadris not trust us or want to help us, they are actually plotting to replace us with thier own guy, who grew up with elves, is going to marry and elf and is probably more than half elf himself."
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:24 PM   #31
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I don't know if this has been mentioned, but Boromir was the sharer of a secret on which the fate of Middle-earth hung. It was far more sensible for him to set out with the Fellowship than to be allowed to risk the long journey back to Minas Tirith alone. I'm not saying he would have deliberately let anything slip if captured, but Saruman particularly could have engineered that event, and then all bets were off.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:24 PM   #32
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3. Why was Boromir permitted to join the Fellowship in the first place?

The simplest reason is the Fellowship was in dire need of strength. Time and time again, we see they are in need of Boromir's strength, and he was right in saying after leaving Lorien they would need his strength to get to the Tindrock.

While Boromir does reveal the idea of using the Ring as a weapon at the Council, I agree with those who said Elrond and Gandalf probably chalked it up to ignorance.
I agree with this argument the most. I think we should be cautious about attributing too much of a political angle to the decision to include Boromir in the Fellowship. He was an experienced soldier of great strength and hardihood who was going in the same direction as them anyway, yet would not attract attention the way a mighty Elf-Lord like Glorfindel would. He had also received the prophetic dream telling him to seek Rivendell, and I get the impression that in their dire state Elrond and Gandalf were willing to seek guidance from "fate" wherever possible. That being said, it seems that Faramir was "meant" to go, given that he experienced the dream first and on more than one occasion.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:39 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post

I don't think there's a reason to doubt Boromir's words here. He's travelled 110 days alone already and wouldn't mind going back alone either. He didn't leave for Rivendell to get allies, but for counsel and words of wisdom. Now he is rather candid later that while he didn't come seeking help, they do need it and in Boromir's perspective help comes in the forms of weapons and soldiers.

...

Boromir only saw victory through weapons and strength of arms. As he became more desperate to save his City he perceived the Ring as that weapon. Frodo could have been bearing the Ring of Power and applie pies, if Boromir thought apple pies were Sauron's bane he would have tried to use them instead of some silly gold trinket. Boromir's thoughts to use the Ring were at the time, no more than what Gandalf and Elrond had considered as well. The real dangers was in choosing the wrong Ring-bearer, not in choosing the Ring-bearers companions.

I'm out of time, but hopefully more later to discuss on the necessary dynamics Boromir added...and some on Denethor and Gimli.
Hmm yes and no. Your post made me think about the enormity of Boromir leaving Gondor because of a dream.

They are pressed militarly, in great danger, and he is their greatest warrior and (in his and Denethor's mind) their greatest leader - in the middle of all this, where he is BADLY needed, he suddenly treks off to check up on what his brothers dream might be about...

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand


There's not much in those words that would make it so-so important to know the answer. No need to go to Rivendell to find out that "Doom was near at hand", they were all perfectly well aware of that.

So Boromir must have had a spritual side as well, I think some sort of vague notion/feeling that there was some sort of magical something at Rivendell, meaning not "weapons and soldiers" that could help them.
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:34 PM   #34
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There's not much in those words that would make it so-so important to know the answer. No need to go to Rivendell to find out that "Doom was near at hand", they were all perfectly well aware of that.
The fact that both Faramir and Boromir had the same dream, coupled with the knowledge of the name of Elrond the higher-blood Gondorians would still have had, persuaded the rather insular Denethor to send one of his sons on a "secret" mission to have the dream decoded.

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So Boromir must have had a spritual side as well, I think some sort of vague notion/feeling that there was some sort of magical something at Rivendell, meaning not "weapons and soldiers" that could help them.
Not so much spiritual as a bossy big brother, unwilling to let his sibling take a long, hazardous journey like that.
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Old 12-23-2013, 04:04 PM   #35
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Considering his position as the "greatest" knight of Gondor and all, I suspect Boromir was also itching for a "noble quest" to test his skills and resolve, and was unwilling to begrudge the opportunity to his little brother. So he left Gondor to answer the riddle of this mystic dream.

As for why Boromir was included in the Fellowship, the reasons above sum it up nicely. Very likely, both Elrond and Gandalf had a feeling or sense that Boromir's participation would provide some kind of key turning point at some stage of the journey. Galadriel obviously did. How that would change the course of the quest, they would not have known, and perhaps only guessed. They would have seen it as important that it play out, at any rate, "For good or ill."
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:03 PM   #36
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I agree with this argument the most. I think we should be cautious about attributing too much of a political angle to the decision to include Boromir in the Fellowship.
Yes, because whether Boromir was in the Fellowship or went back by himself, knowledge of Aragorn and his claim would have reached Denethor, and no amount of politicking from Elrond and Gandalf were going to make Denethor accept Aragorn's right. They might not have known Denethor would be so obstinate and it does help Aragorn to be able to travel with, and make a friend in Boromir, but I would call that more of a useful side effect and not the reason for his inclusion.

For as Faramir tells Frodo:

Quote:
"It does," said Frodo. "Yet always he treated Aragorn with honor."
"I doubt it not," said Faramir. "If he were satisfied with Aragorn's claim, as you say, he would greatly reverence him. But the pinch had not yet come. They had not yet reached Minas Tirith or become rivals in war."~The Window on the West
I think Faramir is correct in his assessment. Yes, it would only benefit Aragorn to make friends with Boromir (and it's not surprising Boromir would treat Aragorn with honor) but "the pinch" had not (and never did) come.

Nothing would have made Denethor relent. Not even Boromir coming to town fully embracing Aragorn. Denethor's love for Boromir was solely based on the unyielding belief Boromir was loyal to him, he was not a "wizard's pupil." Boromir would have returned to Minas Tirith with a "mighty gift", and Denethor had serious trust issues, even with allies:

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Thus pride increased in Denethor together with despair, until he saw in all the deeds of that time only a single combat between the Lord of the White Tower and the Lord of the Barad-dur, and mistrusted all others who resisted Sauron, unless they served himself alone.~ Appendix A: Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion, The Stewards
Well before this, even with the steward Ecthelion (Denethor's dad), Denethor was not very welcoming towards Gandalf. Ecthelion favored "Thorongil" and Denethor came to suspect Thorongil was really Isildur's heir and Gandalf plotted to use Thorongil to supplant him. Whether Boromir was in the Fellowship or not, Denethor would have kept his attention on Gandalf and Thorongil. I'll try to track down the reference in Unfinished Tales: The Palantir, but it talks of Denethor first viewing the stone after his wife died, because he was concerned about the future of his line and Stewardship.

Elrond and Gandalf might not have known all this, but I can't see any major political reason to include Boromir, other than a side effect of by travelling with Aragorn, it could only potentially help Aragorn's claim.

Quote:
That being said, it seems that Faramir was "meant" to go, given that he experienced the dream first and on more than one occasion.
I agree, but we shouldn't forget that with Boromir receiving a prophetic dream and deciding he should be the one to go, his timely arrival suggests he was "meant" to be there. As Elrond tells the Council "Boromir came to us in the early morning hours"...

This is just supposition, but it's always sounded like after being rather lost, Boromir finally stumbled upon Rivendell, and that he wasn't "brought" there by someone in Elrond's house who found him lost in the area. And in this way, it would appear he was worthy and meant to be in Rivendell on that specific date where "counsels" would be taken.
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