Tolkien Tuesday #44

~ 7 February 2023 ~

Here we are, the first post for The Lord of the Rings Part2, The Two Towers read-along. It’s a little later in the year than I anticipated, for which I apologise profusely. So grab a copy of the story, a mug of your favourite beverage, and let us begin the first chapter…

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we started Book 3, Chapter 1: The Departure of Boromir.

This chapter is fairly short, only about 8 pages in the edition I’m reading (see below).

When we were last with the Fellowship (Tolkien Tuesday #43), Frodo was missing and the others had split up to find him. Boromir is tasked with guarding Merry and Pippin. Frodo, after his encounter with Boromir, decides to try and make it to Mordor alone, but Sam guesses his plan and insists he goes with him. And so the Fellowship begins to break up.

Photo by Andrei Tanase on

The Two Towers begins with Aragorn in crisis. He has yet to locate Frodo, and but finds and follows his trail to the top of the hill. After a little deliberation, he, like Frodo, looks about him from the ruins of Amon Hen, hoping to find some useful insight that might guide him, yet he can see little and is quickly disturbed by the sounds of fighting in the forest. He can distinctly hear Orcs, and then the sound of Boromir’s horn being blown reaches him.

At once he runs down the hill in the direction of the fighting, wondering where Sam is as he goes. When he finds Boromir, he is mortally wounded, surrounded by the many Orcs he has slain. Boromir relates that the Orcs have taken the hobbits, but doesn’t specify which ones. He admits trying to take the Ring from Frodo, and with his last words asks Aragorn to go to Minas Tirith to save his people because he has failed.

Aragorn is overcome with grief and despondency, remaining with Boromir until Legolas and Gimli arrive. They encountered the band of Orcs and slayed many of them. They question Aragorn on the location of the hobbits, especially Frodo and the Ring, but they have no definitive answers.

Their attention is then turned to tending to Boromir’s remains, which they decide to place in a boat and send over the Falls of Rauros and let the River Anduin carry him back to Gondor, and ultimately towards the Sea. As they are gathering tokens from the fallen dead to place in the boat with Boromir, they discover a type of Orc they have never encountered before, bearing the mark of an S-rune, which they deduce to belong to Sarumun.

The question of what they should do next they decide to put off, until after they have said their final farewell to Boromir.

I remember the first time I read of Boromir’s death. It moved me deeply, and every time I have read it since, I’ve had to put it down for a little while before I can continue reading. And this part in the movie always gets me; I don’t think I have ever watched it and not cried. But then I’ve always found Boromir to be a fascinatingly complex, very human character, and his redemption comes through death which is so very poignant.

Next week we will finish Book 3, Chapter 1: The Departure of Boromir.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

Boromir’s redemption, as I think I’ve said before, has always been one of my favourite storylines in this trilogy. By giving his life trying to protects the hobbits (we do not know which ones yet) by fighting an enemy that clearly massively outnumbers him, shows his true character away from the influence of the Ring.

Yet I don’t think I noticed before just how religious this scene feels. I will save the discussion of Lord of the Rings and Christian allegory for another day. Here, today, I am just making a personal observation. Boromir is dying. He makes his final confession to Aragorn. And Aragorn on hearing it, appears, I think, to forgive him. What do you think?


The copy of the book I’m reading from the moment is:

Notes on this edition: Paperback movie tie-in edition, published by HarperCollins, 2012.

This is the first time I’ve read this volume, and I was pleased to find on cracking open the spine a handy little synopsis of what occurred in The Fellowship of the Ring, if I required a refresh.

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week

Although the half-chapter we read this week was (very) short, it actually covered quite a lot. What do you think were the most important themes in these few pages?

The over-riding impression I get from these pages is the feeling of being pressed for time. The day is moving on and the company cannot find Frodo. Then there is not enough time for Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli to reach Boromir before he is fatally wounded. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli then need to take the time to work out what has become of the hobbits, which they postpone because they know they need to lay Boromir to rest, which they don’t begrudge but are aware that it takes up precious time, should they decide to try and catch up with the band of Orcs, who are moving ever further and further away.

Other themes that I found noteworthy are Boromir’s confession about trying to take the ring from Frodo (he could have taken that to his grave with him), his feeling of failure and, ultimately his redemption upon his death. Then there is Aragorn’s crisis of faith in himself, and the idea that the remaining members of the company must properly say goodbye to Boromir before they can move on.

11 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #44

  1. Hi, it’s interesting that in the opening chapters of The Two Towers, it’s the first time in the book that the hobbits are missing from the narrative although they are talked about, which keeps the suspense as to what is happening to them and also emphasises their importance. I agree with you about the religious overtones as Boromir confesses his crime to Aragorn with his last breath as if to a priest. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I had noticed that too about the missing hobbits. Interestingly, I was going to mention in the next Tolkien Tuesday (#45) , because, as you say, they are absent from the entire chapter for the first time, but forgot all about it! Yes, its so cleverly written to heighten the tension, leaving you wondering what has happened to whom 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I must admit they did Boromir’s death scene in the film quite well. This chapter is really the first crisis that Aragorn has to face as leader. I think at this point it’s in chaos: the hobbits are all missing, Boromir is dead, and all Aragorn knows is the orcs have at least two of the hobbits, but which ones? He knows he will have to make a hard decision very soon…

    I like reading my Millennium Edition which has all six books individually bound (and the appendices make a seventh volume).

    Liked by 2 people

    • You sum up the chapter perfectly. Chaos is a very good word for it, yet the saying goodbye to Boromir takes precedence over everything else, which I think says a lot about their characters.
      The Millennium Edition is absolutely stunning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yaya! We are back!

    Oh drat! I started reading this post, closed it to open the book. I ended up reading the whole chapter because I misread your first paragraph. No matter.
    It’s funny that in the movie, they end the first book with the first chapter of THIS book (which is why I can compare Boromir’s death. I agree with Joanne that they did it really well in the movie.
    I think it was very important for Boromir to confess. I like to think it serves two purposes: to clear his conscious and to earn the others that anyone can be lures by the ring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My fault – I wasn’t very clear. So sorry. Though I must admit to reading to half way through Chapter 2…Chapter 1 was far too short for one sitting 🙂
      That is an interesting point about the book versus the movie, and I also like your point about Boromir serving as a warning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries. It was such a short chapter, you could have just swept that one in one shot!
        I only know that because I decided to watch the first of the movies to catch up to you experts! And glad you like that point 🙂


  4. What struck me about this chapter isn’t just that the Fellowship is breaking apart, but that here is the first death. That makes the quest real, the danger of it real. They’re not going to get handy with swords and everything’s alright. They might die. That ramps it up to a whole new venture

    Liked by 2 people

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