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Blackbow and the Ithilien Rangers
February, 25 2006
The place to discuss this eternal WIP. Also a good place for Ranger questions. Suggestions upon ways to get Faramir's shirt off in the next chapters are also appreciated.
That's where we differ, because I think he was studying it a lot longer than that. And I think there's a passage in HoME that would corroborate me but I'd have to find the right volume and it all depends on if you even think HoME is canonical anyway.
I agree with Isabeau. Not only because of the statements in UT I quote below (don't know about any additional ones in HoMe), but also because it seems fairly improbable to me that someone as strong as Denethor should decline so rapidly in the course of just one year. Even his concern about Boromir (who, as a soldier, was after all accustomed to peril) wouldn't account for that, especially as he couldn't be sure his mission was doomed until news of his death arrived with the shards and Faramir's vision at the beginning of March.
It's made clear it's not a definitive statement, but in UT is made speculation about just when Denethor began using the palantír.
I quote only some passages of the pertinent text (UT Part IV, III):
"...for when and why Denethor had dared to use the Stone was and remains a matter of conjecture. (...) but it is probable, considering Denethor and what is said about him, that he began to use the Anor-stone many years before 3019. (...) His 'grimness' was first observable to others after his wife Finduilas died in 2988, but it seems fairly plain that he had at once turned to the Stone as soon as he came to power, having long studied the matter pof the palantiírie and the traditions regarding them and their use preseved in the special archives of the Stewards, available beside the Ruling Steward only to his heir."
but I do think he made a big mistake in relying upon his own judgement and the information given him by the palantir and not reaching out more to allies.
A view that is shared by Tolkien, in LotR itself, in Appendix A, in the essay about the palantíri in UT, and in Letter # 183 & 244.
On the other hand, my Boromir is probably too nice when compared with cannon Boromir.
I don't think we can be sure of that. By the time Boromir appears in the books, he is under considerable strain, which is further worsenend in the course of the journey of the Fellowship due to the influence of the Ring. I don't think there is evidence either way how he would have behaved privately, with Faramir, or his soldiers, so IMO, you have a broad range of valid characterisations.
BTW, while rummaging in UT in search of the above quotes, I came upn a passage that relates to an earlier discussion in one of the threads:
re: The attack on Osgiliath in 3018:
"Thus Sauron tested the strength and preparedness of Denethor, and found them more than he had hoped." (UT Part Three, IV (i))
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