Topic, quotes & discussion

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Vee
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Topic, quotes & discussion

Post#1 » Sun Jun 27, 2004 6:31 am


Not a game but a way of sparking discussion.

Someone suggests a topic and others post quotes from LotR related to the topic with comments for discussion where possible. I have posted some quotes to support the first topic but please feel free to post your own choice of quotes. There is no time limit as such so it isn't a race but when any discussion that hopefully springs from the quotes starts to flag then someone else can post another topic. If this works then we can apply it to other forums like the Simarillion or Hobbit etc.

OK the first topic is [u]courage[/u]


But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilts; his horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.


The first of Boromir's final two acts of courage. He had fought the orcs to the death, although his sword was broken and he was mortally wounded he had not deserted the hobbits.

Boromor opened his eyes and strove to speak, At last slow words came. 'I tried to take the Ring from Frodo', he said, 'I am sorry. I have paid.
'

Boromir's final act of courage - he didn't have to admit what he had done but he was, I believe, a good man at heart and strong in spirit and he chose to tell Aragorn and to admit his wrongdoing. It takes courage to admit such a failing.


Samwisegamgee
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Post#2 » Sun Jun 27, 2004 7:12 pm

That is a very good idea Vee.
And considering the question of courage, and especially your first quote, it seems that true courage can only be achieved through death. Boromir dies a glorious death, and if he had not died, he may have fallen deeper into temptation (for the Ring) and then the herioc traits of his character would have been blotted out by his greed. As it was, it was his noble death defending the hobbits that redeemed him and showed what courage he really had when he stood his ground and defended them. The same is true for Frodo, though he does not literally die, the Quest takes a death-like toll on him. Like Boromir, it is his willingness to make this sacrifice that makes him truly brave. Similar parellels can be drawn with the culture of the Rohirrim and Theoden, as well as with the Ents. Their courage seemed to be inspired and ultimately rewarded with death. With Tolkien's philological career in mind, it is interesting to note that the connotation of courage and death is a highly Anglo-Saxon theme.





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Vee
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Post#3 » Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:57 am

Good point, not sure I have ever looked at it in that way before but yes, the fact that Boromir did eventually fight to the death for the hobbits redeemed him but I had thought if he had lived then maybe, having experienced the pull of the ring, he would be able to resist it in future. He had shown signs of regret since scaring Frodo. But..... maybe surviving wasn't good enough; to show absolute redemption he had to die..... and dying prevented the possibility of him going astray again if the ring's power proved too great so he gets to remain a hero, albeit slightly tarnished.

Is he tarnished? Although he did try to take the ring for whatever reason, does this tarnish him? Would he have fought to the death if he had still been an unsullied good guy? Up until then he had not experienced the full power of the ring but once he had and knew that he was vulnerable he was prepared to fight and die to save the hobbits because he could then see that the world of Men was at risk from the ring while there were still Men around to fall prey to it.




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Vee
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Post#4 » Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:05 am

The same is true for Frodo, though he does not literally die, the Quest takes a death-like toll on him. Like Boromir, it is his willingness to make this sacrifice that makes him truly brave.


This is interesting...... both Frodo and Boromir are willing to make the final sacrifice - Boromir in the heat of battle and Frodo, desperate and exhausted with little hope left. Both are heroes but how different they are.

Boromir, trained in fighting, strong, ambitious etc and he knows about Mordor and Orcs and all the other nasties and convinced that Gondor is the world's only hope.

Frodo, inexperienced hobbit who has never journeyed this far before. No fighting skills as such, no ambition other than to finish his quest and constantly battling with all these new evils. The Shire was a safe haven and more or less all he knew (apart from Bilbo's stories) yet he took on the task for the whole world.

Two different characters from different directions end up sharing the same quality, the willingness to sacrifice one's life for others.


helmthh
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Post#5 » Mon Jun 28, 2004 12:50 pm

Good point, not sure I have ever looked at it in that way before but yes, the fact that Boromir did eventually fight to the death for the hobbits redeemed him but I had thought if he had lived then maybe, having experienced the pull of the ring, he would be able to resist it in future.


Perhaps I am putting too much of the movie into my thoughts, but the way I read it Boromir was corrupted by the Ring from his first encounter with it. Not because he wanted the power for himself, but because the pressure his father was putting on him and the impending war and all. However, I don't believe that Boromir could have resisted the pull of the Ring had he and Frodo patched things up and the Fellowship continued intact. The Ring just was overwhelming Boromir's good sense and courage. What I find interesting is how the Ring did not seem to affect either Faramir or Aragorn. It seemed like it had very minimal pull on those two. Perhaps because they were more "educated" than Boromir in things other than warfare?

I don't believe that Boromir should be thought of as "tarnished", just made the wrong choices. He was a good person underneath and as can be seen in the book that he valiantly traded his life to save two hobbits and would have done so for anyone in the Fellowship had the oppurtunity presented itself. He just had a weakness for the Ring and I believe Tolkien used that weakness to show us that Boromir is human and that everything in warfare is not black and white. I believe that during Tolkien's own service during WWI he probably saw a few Boromir's, men of valiant courage and who were good people but were overcome with a weakness that made what they did unthinkable. Sort of like WWII where you had, previous to the war, average Germans who would carry out some of the most horrific crimes during the war, although I am not saying Boromir's attacking Frodo for the Ring is on par with Nazi death camps, but the similarities are there.

Samwisegamgee
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Post#6 » Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:05 pm

Is he tarnished? Although he did try to take the ring for whatever reason, does this tarnish him? Would he have fought to the death if he had still been an unsullied good guy?


You raise some really good questions Vee, especially your last one, that I had never considered before.
I think that Boromir is indeed changed and not for the better, but I don't know if 'tarnished' is the right word. Surely he made some wrong choices, and no matter how good his intentions were, he had to be punished accordingly for them. So I think that it is fair to say he is quite corrupted, but also I think Helmthh's point about Tolkien using Boromir to show how there are no black-and-whites in war should also be taken. One can be corrupted, but one can also be heartwrenchingly brave and kind at the same time.
Now would he have been so brave if he had not been tempted by the Ring etc is another question and a very good one. I wonder, is it not because of his previous wrong actions that we admire his bravery? If for instance Aragorn, who seems to be a classic unsullied good guy, came to the rescue of the hobbits (as he indeed does in many instances) we would not think so much of it. It is when Boromir, who we have seen twisted with temptation, becomes their valiant saviour that we cheer and say, "Here is a brave guy."

ashley276
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Post#7 » Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:32 pm

I think that Boromir is the perfect example of a tormented soul. He wanted to do what was right for his people and he also wanted to please his father. I think that he knew that if he got The Ring it would mean the eventual destruction of Minas Tirith and that is why he IMO resisted the urge (or calling) of The Ring. I am torn as to what I think of Boromir's character on the whole I think that he does possess an large amount of courage but I think that he also has a little bit of should we call it envy?? He knows who Aragorn is and what he (Aragorn) is destined to become and I think that part of his reasoning for trying to take The Ring from Frodo is his desire to 1) Help his people 2)Please the lunatic Denathor and 3)Be a King which he knew that he would never be. But in the end he fights bravely to try to save Merry and Pippin (who I happen to think he liked) and in doing so I think he redeemed himself because he knew that trying to take The Ring was wrong and he knew if he continued with the Fellowship that his weakness for The Ring would overcome him again so in a way I think that he knew that he would die and he did it anyway. To me aside from Sam that is one of several selfless acts of Courage and Bravery in the series.

Ashley276

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Vee
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Post#8 » Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:52 am

If for instance Aragorn, who seems to be a classic unsullied good guy, came to the rescue of the hobbits (as he indeed does in many instances) we would not think so much of it. It is when Boromir, who we have seen twisted with temptation, becomes their valiant saviour that we cheer and say, "Here is a brave guy."


Dang good point! His bravery, in our eyes, is greater because of that. Aragorn was just as brave, but maybe a little wiser, and we see him as that all the way through with maybe one or two moments of doubt. Because of the variations in Boromir's character we are able to focus on that one act of true bravery and love him for it.

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valedhelgwath
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Post#9 » Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:01 pm

While I do not disagree in any way that Boromir's sacrifice to save the Hobbits was brave, I do not see it as Boromir's conscious decision to seek solace for his former deeds. He did not think, "I have done something really bad, now I must sacrifice my life as penance". That is just a circumstance, a chain of events which happened. He did not go out of his way to die. He happened to be there when the Uruks were attacking Merry and Pippin, and he made the decision to defend them against overwhelming odds. That in itself was brave, for he must have known he was unlikely to come out of it alive, but it was the same decision every member of the party would have made had they been in the same place.

What it did allow us to see was that, having been portrayed as someone corrupted by the ring, Boromir was still essentially a good man, with all the characteristics associated with being good. He was brave enough to stand and fight, and he was brave enough to admit his faults to Aragorn. Had he, on the other hand, chosen to hide or flee, he would have been seen as a very weak, dispicable person, perhaps of Grima Wormtongue's ilk.

To me Boromir's role within the book was to show just how powerful and dangerous the Ring really was. Here was Gondor's very best warrior; a man willing to sacrifice his life defending his friends, but still unable to overcome its seduction. By showing us what it could do Boromir, Tolkien was visibly showing us what it could do to anyone else. This is a much more powerful message than having Gandalf or Galadriel just refuse it on the grounds it would make them evil. Here we really saw it at work.


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Vee
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Post#10 » Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:18 pm

. He did not think, "I have done something really bad, now I must sacrifice my life as penance". That is just a circumstance, a chain of events which happened. He did not go out of his way to die.


I agree with that Val, and I didn't mean to imply (if I did) that I Boromir was thinking this was the way to redemption. It was an act of courage and bravery and in doing it he was redeemed. And yes, the others would have done the same but it was Boromir for the reasons you state. I agree.

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