An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
Sean Bean as Boromir
in the New Line film
Boromir's Last Stand
by Ted Nasmith
Boromir, the heir of the Steward of Gondor, was a proud and noble Man who fought valiantly in the defense of Gondor and as a member of the Fellowship. He thought that the One Ring could be used to save the land he loved, and he was tempted by its power. At length he succumbed and tried to take the Ring from Frodo Baggins, causing the Fellowship to break. But in the end Boromir redeemed himself by sacrificing his life in defense of Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took.
Boromir was born in 2978 of the Third Age. In 2984, his father Denethor became Steward of Gondor. The Stewards had ruled Gondor for centuries after the line of Kings ended in the South. As a boy it troubled Boromir that his father was not and never would be King.
Boromir's younger brother Faramir was born in 2983. Their mother Finduilas was unhappy in Minas Tirith and she was greatly distressed by the growing Shadow in Mordor across the Anduin. She died when Boromir was about ten years old and Faramir was only about five. After her death, their father became grim and remote.
Boromir was very protective of his younger brother. There was a strong bond and a great love between them. The brothers were quite different in temperament: Boromir was interested mainly in soldierly pursuits while Faramir, though also skilled at arms, was of a gentler nature and was interested in learning and lore. Yet there was no rivalry between the two despite the fact that Denethor clearly favored Boromir.
As Boromir grew older he became tall and strong. He was made a Captain of the White Tower and eventually became Captain-General. He also bore the title High Warden of the White Tower. He was courageous in battle and a leader of Men.
On June 20, 3018, Sauron's forces attacked Osgiliath. The army was led by the Lord of the Nazgul, and even the boldest soldiers of Gondor could not withstand his evil presence. As they retreated, Boromir was the leader of the last company that held the bridge. He and Faramir, along with two others, were able to swim to safety when the bridge was cast down. The western shore was held against the Enemy.
The evening before the attack, Faramir had a dream which later came to Boromir:
"In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:Boromir and Faramir went to their father, who was knowledgeable in lore, but all he told them was that Imladris was the home of the Elf-lord Elrond in the north. Faramir wanted to set out for Imladris himself to see if anything could be learned that would aid Gondor. But Boromir, knowing that the road would be long and treacherous, took the task upon himself. Denethor reluctantly gave his consent, and Boromir set out on July 4.
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."
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 259
Boromir's journey of 400 leagues took 110 days. He passed through the Gap of Rohan and travelled north through the lands west of the Misty Mountains. He faced many hardships, for that land had fallen into decay and the North-South Road had all but vanished. He lost his horse near Tharbad while crossing the Greyflood using a dangerous ford formed by a ruined bridge. The rest of the way he travelled on foot.
On October 25, Boromir attended the Council of Elrond. He had just arrived at Rivendell in the early hours. When he saw Frodo and Bilbo, he gazed at them in wonder, for Halflings were known in Gondor only through legends of the old North-kingdom, but it was clear that these two were of the that race of people who were mentioned in his dream.
Boromir spoke to the Council of Gondor's vigilance and the struggle to keep the forces of Mordor from crossing the Anduin. However, he said, he had not come seeking military aid but counsel. When he told of the dream that had led him to Rivendell the answers to its riddles were revealed: Aragorn brought out the shards of Narsil -- Elendil's sword that was broken in battle against Sauron -- and Frodo the Halfling held up the One Ring that was Isildur's Bane.
When the Council began discussing what should be done with the Ring, Boromir suggested that it could be used to fight Sauron.
"Why do you speak ever of hiding and destroying? Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need? Wielding it the Free Lords of the Free may surely defeat the Enemy. That is what he most fears, I deem. The Men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit; but they may be beaten down. Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory!"Elrond explained that the Ring could not be wielded for the purpose of doing good because it would twist all intentions and deeds to evil in the end. Destroying it was their only recourse. To this Boromir answered, "So be it." (FotR, p. 281)
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 280-81
It was Boromir's intention to return to Minas Tirith. He was named a member of the Fellowship that headed south from Rivendell on December 25, 3018. As was his custom before setting out Boromir sounded the Great Horn.
During the blizzard on Caradhras on January 11, 3019, Boromir lifted a delirious Frodo out of the snow. He said that they must try to save themselves by building a fire using the wood he had advised them to carry along. The next morning he and Aragorn used their bodies to plow their way through the snow and then carried the four Hobbits back down the mountain to safety.
With the Pass of Caradhras blocked, Boromir thought they should continue with their original plan and travel southward on the west side of the Misty Mountains and then either pass through the Gap of Rohan or cross the Isen and go through the southern lands of Langstrand and Lebennin. But Gandalf said that way was no longer safe and proposed that they should pass under the mountains through the Mines of Moria. Boromir was opposed to this plan and said that he would only agree if the entire Company voted against him.
The howling of Wargs changed Boromir's mind. Before they could reach the West-gate of Moria, the Fellowship was attacked. Boromir fought hard and hewed the head off of one of the beasts before Gandalf drove them off by setting the encircling trees on fire.
Upon reaching Moria on January 13, Boromir was surprised and somewhat angry that Gandalf did not know the password to open the Doors of Durin. While the Fellowship waited, Boromir threw a stone into the gate pool and disturbed the water. Ripples appeared on the surface of the water and drew near to the shore. Just as the Fellowship was finally entering the Doors, the Watcher in the Water attacked Frodo. The Company escaped into the Mines and the Watcher blocked the Doors behind them.
On January 15, the Fellowship was attacked in the Chamber of Mazarbul. Boromir blocked the western door and hewed at the arm of a Cave-troll, notching his sword. The door was shattered and Orcs burst into the room. Boromir slew many before a great Orc chieftain knocked him to the ground and skewered Frodo with a spear thrust. Aragorn slew the Orc chieftain and he and Boromir rushed at the others, causing them to flee. Boromir pulled the eastern door of the chamber shut and the Fellowship escaped down the stairs.
At the Bridge of Khazad-dum, the Orcs returned and with them was a Balrog. Boromir sounded the Great Horn and their enemies paused but then continued to advance. Gandalf remained on the Bridge and told the others to run, but Boromir and Aragorn held their ground. They stood at the far end of the Bridge ready to fight. As Gandalf engaged the Balrog, Boromir leapt forward crying, "Gondor!" but then the Wizard shattered the Bridge and fell into the abyss with his foe. Boromir held the rear as the remainder of the Fellowship escaped from Moria.
Aragorn became the leader of the Company and he stated his intention to lead them through Lothlorien. Boromir advised against it, saying that the woods had a perilous reputation in Gondor and that few escaped unscathed. Aragorn told him that only the evil and those who brought evil with them had reason to fear Lothlorien.
Boromir agreed to follow Aragorn's lead and the Fellowship proceeded into the Golden Wood. On January 17 they were brought before the Lady Galadriel. She held the gaze of each member of the Fellowship saying, "your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true." (FotR, p. 372) Boromir questioned Galadriel's intentions.
"Maybe it was only a test, and she thought to read our thoughts for her own good purpose; but almost I should have said that she was tempting us, and offering what she pretended to have the power to give. It need not be said that I refused to listen. The Men of Minas Tirith are true to their word." But what he thought that the Lady had offered him Boromir did not tell.Boromir was also very interested in what passed between the Lady and the Ring-bearer, but Frodo would not speak of it.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 373
When it came time for the Fellowship to leave Lothlorien, Boromir advised that they should travel on the western shore and go first to Minas Tirith, but he deferred to Aragorn as their leader. Aragorn was not ready to make a decision, for though he felt it was time for Isildur's heir to go to Minas Tirith, he also felt a duty to the Ring-bearer and would abide by Frodo's decision.
Boromir said that he would go alone to Minas Tirith if need be, but he was also intensely interested in what Frodo would do in the end.
"If you wish only to destroy the Ring," he said, "then there is little use in war and weapons; and the Men of Minas Tirith cannot help. But if you wish to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw away." He paused suddenly, as if he had become aware that he was speaking his thoughts aloud. "It would be folly to throw lives away, I mean," he ended. "It is a choice between defending a strong place and walking openly into the arms of death. At least, that is how I see it."Frodo became uneasy and wondered if Boromir was questioning the decision to destroy the Ring even though he had accepted the Council's decision.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Farewell to Lorien," p. 385
The Fellowship left Lothlorien the next morning, February 16. Boromir received a golden belt from Galadriel as a parting gift. They then set out down the Anduin. Boromir shared a boat with Merry and Pippin. As they travelled down the river, Boromir became increasingly consumed with thoughts of the Ring. He muttered to himself and bit his nails and sometimes paddled closer to Frodo's boat. His behavior made Merry and Pippin uneasy, and Pippin noticed a strange glint in Boromir's eye as he looked at Frodo.
A distraction arose when boats entered rough waters on the night of February 23 and Boromir realized they were nearing the rapids of Sarn Gebir. He urged the other members of the Company to paddle as hard as they could, but then they were attacked by Orcs from the eastern shore. The Fellowship made it to the western bank and a dark shape flew overhead. Legolas shot into the air and hit something. It was a Fell Beast upon which one of the Nazgul was mounted, though the Fellowship did not know this. Frodo had his suspicions, but when Boromir questioned him about it with a strange eagerness he would not say what he thought it was.
Aragorn wanted to continue by river as far as Amon Hen. Boromir argued strongly against this course and urged his companions to leave the river and strike southwest to the Entwash and cross into Gondor. It was not until Boromir realized that Frodo intended to follow Aragorn that he relented.
"It is not the way of the Men of Minas Tirith to desert their friends at need," he said, "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."Boromir helped Aragorn carry the boats along the portage-way past the rapids and the Fellowship rowed down the Anduin to Parth Galen on the western shore of Nen Hithoel. On February 26, it was time for the Company to decide their next course. Frodo went alone to Amon Hen to make his decision, but Boromir followed him.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Great River," p. 406
At first, Boromir tried to persuade Frodo to bring the Ring to Minas Tirith. Boromir's trust was in the world of Men and in military might. He told Frodo that he distrusted the counsels of Elrond and Gandalf and that he thought that the Ring could be used as a weapon to fight Sauron.
"True-hearted Men, they will not be corrupted. We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!"As Boromir spoke, the lure of the Ring grew stronger in him. He envisioned himself as a mighty king who would overthrow Sauron and lead Gondor to victory and glory. When Frodo refused to accompany him to Minas Tirith, Boromir became enraged and tried to take the Ring from Frodo by force. Frodo put the Ring on and vanished, and Boromir was overwhelmed with the realization of what he had done. He wept and called for Frodo to return, but it was too late.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Breaking of the Fellowship," p. 414
When Boromir returned to the Company he would only say that he had argued with Frodo and that the Hobbit had disappeared. Merry and Pippin ran off looking for their friend, and Aragorn told Boromir to follow them and guard them. Boromir did as he was asked.
When he found the Hobbits they were surrounded by dozens of Orcs. Boromir slew many of them and the rest fled. He began to lead the Hobbits back to the campsite, but they were attacked again by at least 100 Orcs. Boromir sounded the Great Horn and fought valiantly to prevent the Orcs from seizing Merry and Pippin. He was pierced by many arrows and fell at last, and the Hobbits were taken prisoner.
Boromir was still alive when Aragorn found him. At least twenty Orcs lay slain around him. Boromir still held his sword, though the blade had been broken off at the hilt, and the Great Horn had been cloven in two. Before he died, Boromir told Aragorn that he had tried to take the Ring from Frodo.
"Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed."Boromir's body was laid in one of the boats. His shattered horn and sword were laid across his lap and the weapons of his enemies were laid at his feet. The funeral boat was taken out to the middle of the Anduin and the river carried Boromir's body over the Falls of Rauros.
"No!" said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. "You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!"
The Two Towers: "The Departure of Boromir," p. 16
Three nights later, Faramir was sitting by the banks of the Anduin in Osgiliath when he saw a boat float past him on the river. Faramir had heard the Great Horn sounding in the distance when Boromir was in need, and now he saw his brother's body laid out in the boat, but the Great Horn was missing. The two halves of the horn were later washed ashore and they were returned to Denethor. It was said that the boat bearing Boromir's body was borne down the Anduin and out into the Sea.
A of The Lord of the Rings: "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion: The Stewards"
includes details on Boromir's early life and his relationships with Denethor
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix D: The Port of Lond Daer" gives more details on the land Boromir passed through on his way to Rivendell, including the ford at Tharbad where he lost his horse.
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "The Ring Goes South," p. 272 cites notes giving Boromir's height at 6 feet, 4 inches.
Birth of Boromir.
Birth of Boromir's brother Faramir.
Boromir's father Denethor becomes Steward of Gondor.
Death of Boromir's mother Finduilas.
June 20: Sauron attacks Osgiliath. Boromir holds the bridge until it is destroyed, then swims to safety with Faramir and two others.
July 4: Boromir sets out from Minas Tirith to Rivendell.
October 24-25: Boromir arrives
at Rivendell in the night or early morning.
October 25: Boromir attends the Council of Elrond.
December 18: Boromir is chosen
as a member of the Fellowship.
December 25: The Fellowship sets out from Rivendell.
January 11: Boromir helps Frodo during the blizzard on Caradhras and suggests lighting a fire.
January 12: Boromir and Aragorn plow a path through the snow and carry the Hobbits to safety.
January 13: Boromir helps battle the Wargs. At the Gates of Moria, he throws a stone into the gate pool where the Watcher in the Water dwells.
January 15: The Fellowship is attacked in Moria. Boromir battles Orcs and tries to go to Gandalf's aid against the Balrog, but Gandalf falls into the abyss with his foe. Boromir objects to passing through Lothlorien but agrees to follow Aragorn.
January 17: The Fellowship are brought before Galadriel. The Lady gazes at each of them and Boromir feels he is being tested.
February 15: The Fellowship
discuss their plans. Boromir says he will go to Minas Tirith alone if necessary.
February 16: The Fellowship leaves Lothlorien. Boromir receives a golden belt from Galadriel. On the river, he becomes increasingly consumed by thoughts of the Ring.
February 23: Boromir realizes that the Fellowship has entered the rapids near Sarn Gebir, and the Fellowship is attacked by Orcs.
February 24: Boromir urges the Company to go to Gondor but they follow Aragorn's advice and continue down the Anduin.
February 26: Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, who escapes. Boromir then tries to defend Merry and Pippin from the attacking Uruk-hai, but he is killed. His body is sent down the Anduin in a boat.
February 29: Faramir sees Boromir's funeral boat.
The name Boromir is derived from the word boron meaning "steadfast, trusty man, faithful vassal" and the word mir meaning "jewel, precious thing, treasure."
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entry for BOR
of the White Tower:
This was Boromir's military rank.
The Lord of the Rings: Appendix A, "The Stewards," p. 337
Boromir was the overall military commander of Gondor's forces.
"Know, little strangers, that Boromir son of Denethor was High Warden of the White Tower, and our Captain-General: sorely do we miss him."
The Two Towers: "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit," p. 266
High Warden of the White Tower:
This was another of Boromir's titles. (See above.)
As one of the line of Stewards who ruled in place of the King in Minas Tirith, Boromir was called a Prince of the City.
"Aragorn son of Arathorn, whom I named, the leader of our Company from Moria to Rauros."
"Why so, and not Boromir, prince of the City that the sons of Elendil founded?"
The Two Towers: "The Window on the West," p. 271
Boromir the Tall, Boromir the Fair, Boromir the Bold:
These were the names given to Boromir in song by Aragorn and Legolas as they launched the boat bearing his body into the Anduin.
The Two Towers: "The Departure of Boromir," p. 19-20
Family tree of Boromir:
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Heirs of Elendil," p. 204-207, 221, 223
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Note on the Shire Records," p. 24
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