Minas Tirith and the Problem of Gondor - The Fandomentals
Boromir was a valiant warrior known in Gondor for his greatness, having Even the people of Rohan admired him. In this sequence, Boromir is portrayed as trying to balance his love for his younger brother and country with his goal of doing. When the beacon is lit in Gondor, a request is made for Rohan's help, and a is shaped into a series of linear spatial relationships, as a path is literally traced in to the fellowship's spatial placement in the furtherance of this narrative goal . Aug 4, Gondor and Rohan's Relationship ((This post was written by the marvelous Ethan (masteretainturmakan), as part of the Scribe Sunday Project!).
But not a threat.
All of this, of course, sets the stage for Aragorn. Questioning Denethor paves the way towards our happy ending. Because Tolkien makes an interesting choice here, and makes Denethor, Minas Tirith, and everything they touch more interesting and complex.
Because Denethor never entered the story simply to serve as a foil for Gandalf or Aragorn or even Faramir. Denethor, Gandalf makes his own observation about the Steward of Gondor. A figure who had fallen away from what had made them what they were. It would be a clean narrative. Denethor and Boromir, those without that blood of Westernesse, are flawed by their blinkered focus on Gondor and ultimately give in to temptation or despair. They are simply different aspects of what it could be, depending on the choices that its people make.
Yet it was in truth falling year by year into decay; and already it lacked half the men that could have dwelt at ease there. In every street they passed some great house or court over whose doors and arched gates were carved many fair letters of strange and ancient shapes: And I think this matters very much as a message that introduces The Return of the King.
And it matters most importantly because, from the start, it introduces the persistence of change throughout The Return of the King, for good and for ill. Tolkien himself has said it on the issue of time and change: Pardonable, perhaps though at least Boromir has been overlooked in people in a hurry, and with only a fragment to read, and, of course, without the earlier written but unpublished Elvish histories.
But the Elves are not wholly good or in the right. Not so much because they had flirted with Sauron; as because with or without his assistance they were embalmers.
They wanted to have their cake and to eat it: In their way the Men of Gondor were similar: At its heart, this is a book about the end of an age—it is often brutally sad, and there is loss. But that does not eradicate the necessity of the change, or the new joy that can come with it.
It echoes throughout the story, especially in its second half. I was surprised but happy to see it arise so early. We are off to a good start.
Final Points This was a particularly rich chapter, and one that had an immense number of things that could be talked about. I only picked a few. He, his brother, and two others were the only survivors of the unit that held the bridge until its destruction; they had to swim the river Anduin to reach safety. War of the Ring Edit Boromir arriving at Rivendell "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. Boromir lost his horse in Tharbad and travelled the rest of the way on foot. The journey took days. But the council disagreed with the One Ring's being taken to Gondordeciding that the only safe course was to destroy it.
After the loss of Gandalf and the Fellowship's departure of Moria, Boromir expressed opposition to Aragorn's decision to continue to Lorien, arguing that to go south was better. He believed that stories told in Gondor of the Galadriel's magic would harm them.
He eventually agreed to go after Aragorn assured him the elves would help them. Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! When Frodo refused, Boromir tried to take it by force but the hobbit put it on and fled. After Boromir realized his actions were caused by the corruption of the One Ring, he repented, and upon returning to camp he was confronted by Aragorn about Frodo.
They then had an argument and Frodo walked off. The momentum of the siege is largely measured in how much despair the Nazgul are able to inject into the men of Gondor lining the battlements. One that could easily be extrapolated into allegory. But that is not the same thing.
Even the struggle between darkness and light as he calls it, not me is for me just a particular phase of history, one example of its pattern, perhaps, but not The Pattern; and the actors are individuals—they each, of course, contain universals, or they would not live at all, but they never represent them as such. Hope, Despair, and Denethor I was pretty taken by the second half of that letter excerpt. It is the result of specific events rather than universal principles though an echo of the latter can always be dug up.
Universal principles are present, but incidental. Denethor is the best instance of this.
Denethor Despairs at the Siege of Gondor - The Fandomentals
Better to burn sooner than later, for burn we must. Go back to your bonfire! I will go now to my pyre. No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West. The West has failed.
Denethor Despairs at the Siege of Gondor
It would be easy to cast Denethor as the anti-Aragorn or anti-Faramir, falling into a despairing madness as the other two face grim fates with quiet and stoic resolve.
He would function as a type or a counter, a foil for the protagonists who matter more in the long run. He is too much a person of his moment, driven by a complex web of insecurities both political and personal.
Throughout the chapter he flickers between cruelty, despair, pettiness, and arrogance. His fall, here and over the next few chapters, is not an abstract symbol. Denethor is a messy entirety of a person, his despair a statement of itself rather than a reference to something more abstract.
He sees Gondor both as the only beacon of light in the world and as teetering on the edge of utter failure.