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Princes of Dol Amroth

 February, 25 2006

Questions about the life and times of Imrahil and his family can be asked here, including questions about Ultimatums, Kin-Strife and the shorter stories. Discussions about Brand can go either here or in the Best-Loved Son thread, since his stories sort of overlap both cycles.

I think Andrahar believes that Aragorn failed Boromir, that he should have known Boromir was being affected by the Ring and kept a closer watch on him.

Yes, that is true. And yet, at the same time I think there was an embedded problem with the Fellowship from the start -- all of the members to one extent or another wanted the ring. Or, rather, perhaps they differed not so much in their desire for it, but rather in their ability to combat that desire, or to recognize it as the threat it was.

While I totally agree about bone-headed moves by Aragorn, I think I always assumed (without having really thought about it until now) that his hands-off approach towards the other members of the fellowship, even Boromir, was a function of his own battle against the pull of the ring. The ring is all about wanting power, and if you're fighting against that craving it would be hard to, at the same time, exert power over others. Gandalf was up to that task, but I think it was too much for the others. I don't think it's a coincidence that Aragorn's good leadership skills didn't surface until after the ring passed out of his presence.

Andrahar takes responsibility for the actions of his men. A good commander does not put his men into situations where they will be tempted into wrong behavior. A good commander gives his men the encouragement they need to prevail. And a good commander certainly doesn't do something like let the defenseless hobbit who is carrying the object the Enemy seeks above all else go wandering off alone into a possibly orc-infested wilderness just because he wants some time to think!

Very true. And one cannot expect Andrahar to conceive of just how powerful the ring was -- that it overcame Boromir's decency and integrity was not indicative of Boromir's weakness but rather how irresistable the ring was. So if Andrahar was disappointed in Boromir's failing, of course he'd judge Aragorn's failings in an equally harsh light, uncomprehending the truly overwhelming power they were up against?

I go back and re-read FOTR and think poor Boromir definitely got shafted. The man had good ideas and did his damnedest to contribute, only to get disregarded at every turn.

Yes, I never liked that either. It's part of my dislike of the way that Men always get shafted in the final analysis in Tolkien's world. Aragorn, raised among the Elves, is "better" than Boromir, product of an entirely mortal culture ... perhaps that's not what Tolkien intended. And that's another discussion, anyway. But looking at the context of the Fellowship, and Boromir's ideas being disregarded, assuming for the moment that my interpretation is correct about the effect of the continuous, private battle against the ring that each member of the Fellowship was engaged in, I wonder if Boromir's clear lust for the ring made the others just wary of him overall. Unfair, but inevitable. They weren't going to overtly confront him about his intentions unless it became absolutely necessary. But once you start to doubt someone's intentions, it's hard to take any of their suggestions -- even the obviously good ones! -- without skepticism.

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