Lament for Boromir

July 31, 2012


On July second, Turbine released a sound track for  the new expansion titled “Boromir’s Last Stand“. Chance Thomas stated that the track was composed to underscore the Boromir game instance. I was excited, along with many of you, to learn that when Riders of Rohan is made available that we will have a session play as Boromir. The music has a very epic feel to it, as rightfully it should being that it is used to score Boromir at his finest hour.

Tolkien did write a piece himself in The Lord of the Rings for the sadness that Aragorn and Legolas felt upon losing Boromir. This lament was put into song by Colin Rudd. As much as Thomas’ score is very epic and powerful, this piece is very sorrowful.

Aragorn sang:
Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass grows
The West Wind comes walking, and about the walls it goes.
‘What news from the West, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight?
Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight?
‘I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey,
I saw him walk in empty lands until he passed away
Into the shadows of the North, I saw him then no more.
The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor,
‘O Boromir! From the high walls westward I looked afar,
But you came not from the empty lands where no men are.’

Then Legolas sang:
From the mouths of the Sea the South Wind flies, from the sandhills and the stones,
The wailing of the gulls it bears, and at the gate it moans.
‘What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Boromir the Fair? He tarries and I grieve.
‘Ask not of me where he doth dwell – so many bones there lie,
On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky,
So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea.
Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me!’
‘O Boromir! Beyond the gate the seaward roads runs south,
But you came not with the wailing gulls from the grey sea’s mouth’.

Then Aragorn sang again:
From the Gate of the Kings the North Wind rides, and past the roaring falls,
And clear and cold about the tower its loud horn calls.
‘What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the bold? For he is long away.’
‘Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought,
His cloven shield, his broken sword, they to the water brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest,
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.
‘O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze,
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.

Avatar of Pinkfae

About Pinkfae

I feel in love with Tolkien's legendarium when I saw the 1977 film The Hobbit. I first read the Lord of the Rings the summer before starting high school. It has been a regular summer time activity for me every year since then. I have been enjoying playing Lord of the Rings Online ever since I first joined in July 2007. I have over two dozen characters created and played, but I mainly play on the Landroval server as a lore-master and also a spider.

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31 Responses to “Lament for Boromir”

  1. Bert Says:

    Wow… if that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, nothing will.


  2. Avatar of Merrydew
    Merrydew Says:

    Why does everyone think Boromir was a hero? Seems to me he is really nothing more than a weak willed bucket-head who wallowed around in self pity after Frodo *poofed* in self defense. I suppose Tolkien was writing the true to form Greek tragedy of a strong man with a major flaw scenario but to me that does not make him a hero.


    • Avatar of Diamond
      Diamond Says:

      …and after he wallowed, he redeemed his weakness by the self-sacrificial defense of Merry and Pippin, which death was by any estimation heroic. Tolkien demonstrates the power of repentance and forgiveness in the last exchange of Aragorn and Borormir.


      • Avatar of Merrydew
        Merrydew Says:

        Still doesn’t make him a hero.


      • Avatar of Tyler Michael Jonsson
        Tyler Michael Jonsson Says:

        I have to agree with Diamond here.

        While his initial actions were very weak-willed and selfish, his ultimate redemption and sacrifice was extremely heroic, by any standard.


        • Avatar of Merrydew
          Merrydew Says:

          Boromir followed the Hobbits at Aragorn’s order not his own free will, when the fighting started he did not fight for the Hobbits he fought for his own life. He knew he was out numbered but he fought to save his own skin, the Hobbits just happened to be there. The only redeeming thing he did was to admit to Aragorn what he did and ask forgiveness. That still does not make him a hero, just makes him less of a bucket-head.


          • Avatar of kylie
            kylie Says:

            I still cried when Boromir died in the book – I got a really strong impression when I read the book that by the time the fight was over he was totally trying to save the Hobbits and I was devastated that he couldn’t.
            “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
            So Boromir to me is still a hero…because he came back, he turned around, and in the context of a fantasy story (not in real world) he brought back honor to his name by laying down his life even though, technically the Hobbits were captured, yes he was still fighting to save his own skin (who wouldn’t in that situation), but if I was in the Hobbits position, he’d still be my hero.

    • Avatar of T. S. Wolf
      T. S. Wolf Says:

      “Wallowed around in self pity after Frodo *poofed* in self defense.”
      Merrydew, that sentence has officially made my afternoon. Thank you :)


    • Stormwaltz Says:

      Because of all the characters in LotR, Boromir was the most human. Flawed and weak, but trying to be a good man.

      To put it in terms the Professor would understand, Amon Hen was his Gethsemane, and his battle with orcs his Calvary.


      • Avatar of Merrydew
        Merrydew Says:

        As a Christian I take issue with the comparison.

        There is no salvation for mankind in his death or struggle with himself, there was no salvation for the Hobbits and there is not even redemption for himself beyond the forgiveness Aragorn gave him at his death.

        Gethsemane is the place where Christ had to choose to go to his death to become a redeemer of mankind or rise in his power and become a god with no redemption for man. Amon Hen is where Boromir gave in to his obsession with the ring that started in Elrond’s council chamber, his only other option was to continue with the party to see the ring destroyed yet he chose to try to take the ring. So this is badly comparing apples and sour grapes.

        Calvary was without compare for the mercy and grace that was released to mankind when Christ not only died but asked for forgiveness for all men and to compare Calvary with Boromir’s death scene negates and cheapens what Christ achieved. Boromir achieved nothing but his own death.


        • Avatar of Rinon
          Rinon Says:

          I would also take issue with the comparison. I don’t think Boromir really achieved “redemption” in his final battle, but I would disagree with you on how bad he was to start with. It seems to me that Boromir was never really convinced when Elrond and Gandalf told him that the Ring could not be used for good. He believed that the Ring could be used for good, so he repeadtedly tried to convince the Fellowship to go to Gondor, and when that failed, he tried to take the Ring by force to keep it from being captured by Sauron in Mordor.
          Of course, part of his actions were motivated by his desire to take the One Ring for himself, but I think he might have made the same choice even if it had no power over him.


    • Avatar of Bugo Dughall
      Bugo Dughall Says:

      I always thought that part of his actions were because he was desperate to help his people. That it was quite possible in his desperation that the Ring tempted him and caused those often selfish seeming actions since it would be preying on his weakness. Look when Samwise has the Ring. Apparently it gave him a vision of being a hero if he only put it on and claim it as his own.


      • Avatar of Merrydew
        Merrydew Says:

        I agree that he did have Gondor in mind and the ring used that against him but Tolkien states again and again that the race of man are weak willed and easily controlled and corrupted. Even Gandalf said that he would use the ring out of a desire to help people but that through him the ring would wield a power to great to contemplate and yes I know Gandalf wasn’t a man but the power of the ring is such that it seeks out your desire and then twists it to it’s own will and that is what made it so dangerous. Galadriel also states that everyone would love her and despair if she used the ring, like Gandalf the ring would use her desires against her and all those around her would suffer.

        Boromir was so weak willed that the ring grabbed hold of him the instant he saw it and possibly before he even set out from Gondor since he pretty much forced his brother out of the trip because Faramir was supposedly too weak to make the journey yet Faramir had the strength of will to resist the power and draw of the ring and let Frodo and Sam continue their journey.


        • Avatar of Sarah
          Sarah Says:

          I think when you refer to the Race of Man being weak willed you’re thinking of the movies, not the books or Tolkien. And that’s one of my big grudges against the movies. It’s just wrong.


          • Avatar of Merrydew
            Merrydew Says:

            I will check that and get back to you, I have been listening to an unabridged audio of the trilogy but I will break out the hard copies and see if I can find the references.

          • Avatar of Merrydew
            Merrydew Says:

            Ok Sarah, you are right on this count. I have looked in my books and on the net and not found reference to men being weak willed as a race but individually they can be referred to as weak. My only excuse is that I listen to the books and I listen to the movies (seldom watch them) and they seem to have bled together in my memory.

            However… this does not change my mind on thinking Boromir was a weak willed bucket head…*grin*… and to my mind not a hero in any sense of the word.

    • Avatar of Sarah
      Sarah Says:

      I think you’re being incredibly unfair. You’re not taking into consideration at all the incredible force of temptation that the Ring was undoubtedly exerting upon him. Even Gandalf was afraid to be tempted by the Ring. Boromir was a good man at heart, concerned for his people who were being slaughtered by Mordor. He was not really weak-willed, he was just no match for the Ring, which obviously wanted desperately to get away from Frodo. You would not call Aragorn weak willed, but even he would not have been able to stand up to the temptation of the Ring.

      Boromir may not have been a “hero” in the correct sense, but he did redeem himself. We should all feel pity and admiration for him, because there but for the grace of God go we. And when faced with our own temptations, we can only hope to be able to redeem ourselves as he did.


  3. Neldoria Landroval Says:

    he was a true hero, more than many others in literature:
    it is his ability to overcome his weakness at the moment that it really mattered
    he could have ran but he opted to stay and fight for the two hobbits and ultimately sacrificed his life for someone else’s

    if that doesn’t make him a hero, I really don’t know what would?

    his one and only “bad” deed across all the books is when he fails to withstand the influence of The Ring


  4. Faustino Says:

    To me Boromir always came off as a guy with the heart at the right place, his main concerns were for that of his own people, the Gondorians… but to me this is ever so logical… every human being would have the same feeling…

    you would hold your own family and flesh and blood closer than a group of strangers you just met, or distant races (nations) you heard of only in song and stories…

    Yes the ring used his desire to help his own people against him, and it broke him… his will just snapped… and he went for the ring…

    Though my understanding is that any of the nation of man kind would have this, for their love for their own people was so great it was easily used against them…

    The rest of the party were from the start harder to corrupt (in my mind)… Hobbits, don’t care for much any other than a quiet life with a party here and there and food… (PIES) it also clearly states in the books that when Merry and Pippin escape the Orcs… it was horrifying for them, but for hobbits it needs some time and before you know it they forgot all about it and can go on with their lives… this to me states that Hobbits have a high endurance for these sort of things… just because they are in a way so simple minded… they are just a bunch of happy fools… Also Gandalf who states this somewhere in the book when Pippin grabs the Palantir, lucky it was a hobbit… or something in that line…

    Legolas i feel never had any problems with the ring, neither did Aragorn, cause he knew what his role was… and as for Gimli… he just cares about hacking and slashing stuff.. and then Gandalf, he admits that he is afraid of the rings power, just by admitting this he defended himself against its corruption…

    Of course for all it was greatly beneficial that Frodo and Sam departed from the Fellowship… because of course in time… anyone would fall for the powers of the Ring…

    So perhaps not a Hero type as we all know it, but certainly not a bad man… or a weak willed bucket… just a man with great concerns and love for his own people…


  5. Lanark Says:

    Boromir’s fate, and it does seem to be a fate fulfilled, is devastatingly sad. The Men of Gondor are refugees from the destruction of Numenor. Years of war, plagues, strife between Gondor and other peoples, I can see why Boromir felt the weight of his duty to protect his people drive him down any path.

    Boromir was never described as particularly intelligent. Sounds harsh, but the Ring is a weapon of the mind. Boromir is a Man of physical strength and force. He embodies the Gonodorian saying “when heads are at a loss, bodies must serve.” He doesn’t think the Ring is only evil because he can’t imagine the mind being more powerful than the body. This is why he is so susceptible to it, as he thinks the evil can be overcome by some force. He fails to recognize and respect it for what it is, a weapon of the mind. Subtleties are simply beyond his grasp.

    Therein lies both the tragedy and the heroism. Boromir falls to weapon that destroys the mind,a weapon he has little defense against, not even understanding why or how it happened, as it happens. But where his head is at a loss, his body serves, protecting the Hobbits. He serves and pays for his limitation of wisdom with the only thing he truly knows, battle through physical strength. In the end, even that proves not enough. Tragedy staring in the face of more tragedy. He is redeemed not only in the sacrifice of his body to save the Hobbits, but by his mind stretching to encompass a non-physical evil, a weapon that damages and kills the mind. His redemption is his acceptance, repentance and sorrow that he fell to the corruption of the Ring and in doing all he can to mend the hurt he had caused. This the first glimmer of a new growing wisdom we see in him, one which is then snuffed out in death.


  6. Avatar of Goldenstar
    Goldenstar Says:

    While Boromir did attempt to redeem his weakness for the ring with his final actions I think I tend not to think of Boromir as a hero because I tend to compare him to Faramir, his brother.

    Faramir had no less love for Gondor or desire to keep it free of evil and protect his people. However, when tempted with the ring Faramir was able to resist and did what he could to assist Frodo on his task. He wasn’t even sworn to protect it like Boromir had been.

    Perhaps Denethor’s favoritism of Boromir and really pushing Boromir to be the hero was the difference in being able to see the wisdom against trying to wield the ring. Boromir had an expectation upon him that Faramir did not.


  7. Lakyata Says:

    To me, the character of Boromir falls into the same category as Severus Snape and Edmund Pevensie. These characters succumbed, temporarily, to the will of a malevolent force, but did their best to make things right upon regaining their senses.

    Again in comparison to Faramir, I vaguely remember in the books someone saying that Faramir had an “other” quality about him that Boromir lacked,related to Faramir’s greater interest in scholarly learning. That passage made it very clear that while Boromir made the better soldier, Faramir would be the better lord. I agree with Lanark that Boromir fell because the Ring is a weapon of the mind, while Boromir is more physical.


    • Avatar of Pinkfae
      Pinkfae Says:

      Boromir and Faramir were very close to each other. Their mother died when they were both very young which caused their father to fall into a grief that he never really recovered from. The reason Denethor disliked Faramir was because he was so much like her. Faramir had a great sense of compassion, but Boromir was very quick to anger.


  8. Avatar of Pinkfae
    Pinkfae Says:

    It is a shame that the movie didn’t portray Boromir as Tolkien did in this writings. He wasn’t as weak willed as he was in films, if anything his greatest weakness was that he was quick to anger. Perhaps the best example of this is when the Redhorn Pass was blocked by giants Boromir suggested going through the Gap of Rohan. Yet, Gandalf, not wishing to pass so closely to Saruman, led the company to Moria. Boromir grew stubborn and said he wouldn’t go unless he was the only one in the company that didn’t wish to go there. After much debate he gave in. Then when they reached the Doors of Durin he grew angry again when Gandalf didn’t know the words to enter. It was Boromir who threw the stone in the pool in his rage in the books that woke up the Watcher.

    As for his heroism, it does come through in the books. During the council of Elrond he recalls Sauron’s attack on Osgiliath and how he had to hold back the orcs while the bridge behind him was destroyed to hold them there. Also during the attack of the Company in the Chamber of Mazarbul, it was Boromir alone that held the troll at bay while the rest of the Company fled. Also when Gandalf was attacking the Balrog it was both Boromir and Aragorn that rushed to his aid.

    As for his final battle at Amon Hen, in the book 100 orcs fought against Boromir, piercing him with many arrows and still not bringing him down. He was still alive when Aragorn found him with twenty dead orcs around him (ask not of me where he doth dwell – so many bones there lie). In the film Jackson made it look like one Uruk-hai stayed behind to finish the kill, but in the book they all fled not wishing to be slain by him.


  9. Daerrandir Says:

    Though he was a tragic hero, a hero he was indeed. A hero is not a man with no flaws, but one who in his flaws can achieve feats of heroism still. I especially favor his character because of his flaws. To me it’s like Batman compared to the other superheroes. He is just in ordinary man at the heart of it all. He is not a wizard, which really is the equivalent of an angel. He is not a lost king blessed with long life and descended from an ancient line. He is not an age old elf prince with incredible abilities. He is not a proud dwarf or stout hobbit who’s races are inherently resistant to the ring. Boromir is just a man with a sorrow for his country that is in the cusp of destruction, being at the border of the forces of darkness seeking to conquer the entire world. Hope is dwindling to him as he has met with much failure up to that point. He gave his best, and did indeed succumb to the will of the ring but he should not be judged on this alone. His fight immediately after that is worthy of a hero’s song. His last words to Aragorn and acceptance of his claim to Gondor is worthy of forgiveness. We also do not know much of his travels and achievements before the events of the books, though I’m confident in my judgement that he was a noble captain of Gondor and earned this lament.


    • Pjotr Says:

      I cannot deny that I found your words quite touching.

      Since I read the book the first time in my childhood, I mourn for the loss of Boromir.


      • Daerrandir Says:

        Thank you. I was also touched with sorrow when first reading about his death. I remember when I saw the title of the chapter, “The Deparure of Boromir”, I thought to myself… Wait, where is he going? I hope he returns in later chapters. Then, i get to is death and was shocked. lol so naive of me.


  10. John Lambert Says:

    Well considering this is a lament sang by both Aragorn and Legolas, it would seem to imply that they believed Baromir a hero. (Via through Tolkien)

    That is good enough for me.


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