Frodo at Parth Galen

The Road Goes Ever On

There is always a point in life where you bare yourself, bare your soul, exposing it to everyone. This point comes always when the mind is troubled, overburdened, and seeking to save itself from exploding.

People tend to accumulate and hide emotions so as not to become vulnerable in front of others. This is seen as a flaw, a weakness. What if your emotional world spun out of control and every emotion you`ve hidden ran free? What would that be like?

Boromir unhinged

Boromir: „We`re all afraid. But to let that fear drive us, to destroy what hope we have, don`t you see that is madness?“

Frodo: „There is no other way“

Boromir: “I ask only for the strength to defend my people. If you would but lend me the Ring. Why do you recoil? I am no thief.“

Frodo: „You are not yourself.“

Boromir: „What chance do you think you have? They will find you, they will take the Ring. And you will beg for death before the end! You fool! It is not yours, save by unhappy chance! It could have been mine! It should be mine! Give it to me. I see your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron. You will betray us. You`ll go to your death and the death of us all. Curse you! Curse you and all the halflings! Frodo? What have I done? Please, Frodo. Frodo, I`m sorry.“

This is the culmination of Boromir`s desperation and madness. He is really only trying to fulfill his father`s orders, but the power of the Ring has taken him and twisted him into an unrecognizable being. As he is transforming, he naturally isn`t aware of himself at first.

He is using the fear of failure to lure Frodo into thinking that the Ring would be of better use against the enemy. Boromir still does not see its power. He can`t acknowledge it while being pulled under it.

The power of the Ring has turned Boromir into this one emotion – fear. The rage and anger he is displaying is a construct of fear. When any kind of emotion stifles us, we either self-destruct or demonstrate on others. When rage takes over, there are no constraints to the behavior that might result from it. Everyone is an enemy and it`s everyone else`s fault one feels this way. Force is often used to prove a point.

The fact that he would physically attack Frodo to take the Ring from him, is a testament to the power of Ring. As we saw him teaching the Hobbits sword fighting and wrestling with them playfully earlier, the thought of him harming any of them would never have crossed my mind. A fear-driven reality based on a notion of failure is bound to go awry.

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Self, unchecked

This is a perfectly reasonable behavioral pattern, as many of us don`t check ourselves as we storm into a rage or temporary ill-being. Once you`ve entered the vicious circle, you have to ride it out to get to the other side. The remedy is, to catch ourselves in the feeling that a certain situation, or a particular person, awakens in us.

As soon as we can feel what this feeling is physically doing to us at the moment and listen to ourselves for a second, we can make the conscious decision to react differently. However, it is hard to escape the behavioral automatism that has grown in us from an early age.

When one`s reasons for doing something are challenged in any way, people tend to get defensive, and this is what happened here. Boromir is both defensive and offensive. He struggles to get the Ring, while simultaneously defending his grounds for trying to take it in the first place.

His trust issues emerge as well, he does not believe that Frodo is doing this purely altruistically, knowing perhaps that no one would. Yes, he has been compassionate as Gandalf fell into darkness, but his goal remained the same. His fear and desperation began to grow as the journey went further and further forcing him to face himself in Lothlórien.

From that point on, his defense mechanism loosened and started crumbling, as he couldn`t restrain his emotions.

His emotions change as soon as he hits the floor and is aware of the fact that Frodo has fled. Then, he realizes what he has done: he may have driven Frodo away, bringing the accomplishment of the task even further from its mark.

The test of inner strength

Aragorn and the Ring
Image by Ana Segota

Aragorn: „I swore to protect you.“

Frodo: „Could you protect me from yourself? Could you destroy it?“

Now, this is a pivotal scene for Aragorn and his perception of the Ring. This is the only time he will be this close to it, and be tested against its power throughout the whole trilogy. So what does he do?

Frodo seems to be offering the Ring to Aragorn so as to test him if he would have fallen under its spell as Boromir did. This is also his last chance to abandon this great responsibility by offering him the Ring. It is a heavy burden to carry on his own, and offering it to Aragorn, who has proven himself loyal and trustworthy, would have been the way to go.

Aragorn fixates on the Ring in Frodo`s open palm and comes ever closer to it with his fingers extending to it. As his palm hovers over Frodo`s, there is a single moment in which there is a possibility of altering the entire story. One could have thought he would succumb and take the Ring for himself at that moment. However, Aragorn resists and closes Frodo`s palm.

Aragorn: „I would have gone with you to the end. Into the very fires of Mordor.“

Frodo: „I know.“

The fact that Aragorn is aware of the power the Ring could have over him, although he has managed to escape his power this time, he does not trust himself to be around it and not fall under its spell, as Boromir did. He does the noble thing and lets Frodo leave Amon Hen.

Boromir`s last confession

Death of Boromir
Image by Ana Segota

Boromir: „Where is Frodo?“

Aragorn: „I let Frodo go.“

Boromir: „Then you did what I could not. I tried to take the Ring from him.“

Aragorn: „The Ring is beyond our reach now.“

Boromir: „Forgive me. I did not see it. I have failed you all.“

Aragorn: „No, Boromir. You fought bravely. You kept your honor.“

Boromir: „Leave it. It is over. The world of Men will fall. And all will come to darkness. And my city to ruin.“

Aragorn: „I do not know what strength is in my blood but I swear to you I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail.“

Boromir: „Our people. Our people. I would have followed you, my brother. My captain, my king.“

Boromir`s dying scene finishes his journey abruptly. However, his character comes to a full circle. From Rivendell, through Caradhras and Moria, to Lothlórien and Parth Galen, the emotional and character journey of Boromir has been completed.

The arc of a character

He goes through different stages of emotion and behavior. He shows us the entire process of the transformation one undergoes through the power of the Ring. The fact that Isildur`s bane had been found, left him amazed. Boromir has been falling under its spell, slowly but surely ever since.

Not knowing the full extent of its power, and with a goal in mind to steal it from Frodo and bring it to Gondor. This vile combination was a sure way to becoming intoxicated by the Ring more rapidly than anyone else in the Company.

His death brought about clarity and acceptance of himself as a flawed human being. He has lost all hope of recovering the glory of Gondor and as such his thoughts turn grim. All he can see is darkness and ruin of not only his city but his people as well.

The dynamic between him and Aragorn changes. Now, Aragorn is the positive one, still not trusting himself but promising Boromir hope and a firm belief in a better outcome. As he refers to the Gondorians as „his people“ Boromir is somehow alleviated and calm, Finally, Aragorn has accepted his race and his sense of belonging has finally caught up with him.

And as he will stand to defend his people, likewise is Boromir identifying Aragorn as „a brother, a captain and a king.“ This connects the two of them on a completely different level, on a human level, on a level that Aragorn has been avoiding for decades. He has accepted and acknowledged Boromir as his blood and compatriot, which I suppose in turn gave Boromir a sense of serenity in his final hour.

Farewell to Frodo…and Sam

Frodo before the Great River
Image by Ana Segota

As Frodo stands on the brink of the Great River, he faces the path in front of him, knowing he would have to go it alone. Fear and agony cover his face. Gandalf`s wise words begin replaying in his mind allowing him to grieve alone for the first time. These words give him the courage to step forward and embrace his destiny.

There is a moment where the determination to go it alone overpowers his fear and he rushes to the boat. However, Sam, his trusted sidekick, will under no circumstance let him go it alone. He risks his life to fulfill the promise he made to Gandalf.  

Frodo is alone in the sense that Sam cannot possibly understand what he is dealing with and what the Ring is doing to him. However, Sam is here to take care of him physically as much as he can and provide the ever necessary positive outlook on things.

Our journey continues in The Two Towers.

Featured image by Ana Segota.

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