Boromir attempts to take the One Ring from Frodo
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: February 26, 3019
An event in the Breaking of the Fellowship and the prelude to the Orc-raid at Parth Galen; see those entries for an overview:
At length [Boromir] spoke... 'If you wish... to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw away.' He paused suddenly.... 'It would be folly to throw lives away, I mean,' he ended....
Frodo caught something new and strange in Boromir's glance.... Plainly Boromir's thought was different from his final words. It would be folly to throw away: what? The Ring of Power?.... Frodo looked at Aragorn, but he... had [not] heeded Boromir's words.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 8, Farewell to Lórien
Wandering aimlessly at first in the wood, Frodo found that his feet were leading him up towards the slopes of the hill.... For some while he climbed, not caring which way he went, until he came to a grassy place.... in the midst was a wide flat stone....
He sat down upon the stone and cupped his chin in his hands... Time went on, and still he was no nearer to a choice.
Suddenly he awoke from his thoughts: a strange feeling came to him that something was behind him, that unfriendly eyes were upon him. He sprang up and turned; but all that he saw to his surprise was Boromir, and his face was smiling and kind.
'I was afraid for you, Frodo,' he said, coming forward. 'If Aragorn is right and Orcs are near, then none of us should wander alone, and you least of all: so much depends on you. And my heart too is heavy. May I stay now and talk for a while, since I have found you?.... two together may perhaps find wisdom.'
'You are kind,' answered Frodo. 'But I do not think that any speech will help me. For I know what I should do, but I am afraid of doing it, Boromir: afraid.'....
Suddenly Boromir came and sat beside him. 'Are you sure that you do not suffer needlessly?' he said. 'I wish to help you. You need counsel in your hard choice. Will you not take mine?'
'I think I know already what counsel you would give, Boromir,' said Frodo. 'And it would seem like wisdom but for the warning of my heart.'
'Warning? Warning against what?' said Boromir sharply.
'Against delay. Against the way that seems easier. Against refusal of the burden that is laid on me. Against — well, if it must be said, against trust in the strength and truth of Men.'
'Yet that strength has long protected you far away in your little country, though you knew it not.'
'I do not doubt the valour of your people. But the world is changing. The walls of Minas Tirith may be strong, but they are not strong enough. If they fail, what then?'
'We shall fall in battle valiantly. Yet there is still hope that they will not fail.'
'No hope while the Ring lasts,' said Frodo.
'Ah! The Ring!' said Boromir, his eyes lighting. 'The Ring! Is it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing?.... And I have seen it only for an instant in the House of Elrond. Could I not have a sight of it again? '
Frodo looked up. His heart went suddenly cold. He caught the strange gleam in Boromir's eyes, yet his face was still kind and friendly. 'It is best that it should lie hidden,' he answered.
'As you wish. I care not,' said Boromir. 'Yet may I not even speak of it? For you seem ever to think only of its power in the hands of the Enemy: of its evil uses not of its good. The world is changing, you say. Minas Tirith will fall, if the Ring lasts. But why? Certainly, if the Ring were with the Enemy. But why, if it were with us? '
'Were you not at the Council?' answered Frodo. 'Because we cannot use it, and what is done with it turns to evil.'
Boromir got up and walked about impatiently. 'So you go on,' he cried. 'Gandalf, Elrond — all these folk have taught you to say so. For themselves they may be right. These elves and half-elves and wizards, they would come to grief perhaps. Yet often I doubt if they are wise and not merely timid.... True-hearted Men, they will not be corrupted. We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves.... And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!'
Boromir strode up and down, speaking ever more loudly: Almost he seemed to have forgotten Frodo, while his talk dwelt on walls and weapons, and the mustering of men; and he drew plans for great alliances and glorious victories to be; and he cast down Mordor, and became himself a mighty king, benevolent and wise. Suddenly he stopped and waved his arms.
'And they tell us to throw it away!' he cried. 'I do not say destroy it. That might be well, if reason could show any hope of doing so. It does not. The only plan that is proposed to us is that a halfling should walk blindly into Mordor and offer the Enemy every chance of recapturing it for himself. Folly!
'Surely you see it, my friend?' he said, turning now suddenly to Frodo again. 'You say that you are afraid.... But is it not really your good sense that revolts?'
'No, I am afraid,' said Frodo. 'Simply afraid. But I am glad to have heard you speak so fully. My mind is clearer now.'
'Then you will come to Minas Tirith?' cried Boromir. His eyes were shining and his face eager.
'You misunderstand me,' said Frodo.
'But you will come, at least for a while?' Boromir persisted. 'My city is not far now; and it is little further from there to Mordor than from here. We have been long in the wilderness, and you need news of what the Enemy is doing before you make a move. Come with me, Frodo,' he said. 'You need rest before your venture, if go you must.' He laid his hand on the hobbit's shoulder in friendly fashion; but Frodo felt the hand trembling with suppressed excitement. He stepped quickly away, and eyed with alarm the tall Man, nearly twice his height and many times his match in strength.
'Why are you so unfriendly?' said Boromir. 'I am a true man, neither thief nor tracker. I need your Ring: that you know now; but I give you my word that I do not desire to keep it. Will you not at least let me make trial of my plan? Lend me the Ring! '
'No! no!' cried Frodo. 'The Council laid it upon me to bear it.'
'It is by our own folly that the Enemy will defeat us,' cried Boromir.... 'Obstinate fool! Running wilfully to death and ruining our cause. If any mortals have claim to the Ring, it is the men of Númenor, and not Halflings. It is not yours save by unhappy chance. It might have been mine. It should be mine. Give it to me!'
Frodo did not answer, but moved away till the great flat stone stood between them. 'Come, come, my friend!' said Boromir in a softer voice. 'Why not get rid of it? Why not be free of your doubt and fear? You can lay the blame on me, if you will. You can say that I was too strong and took it by force. For I am too strong for you, halfling,' he cried; and suddenly he sprang over the stone and leaped at Frodo. His fair and pleasant face was hideously changed; a raging fire was in his eyes.
Frodo dodged aside and again put the stone between them. There was only one thing he could do: trembling he pulled out the Ring upon its chain and quickly slipped it on his finger, even as Boromir sprang at him again. The Man gasped, stared for a moment amazed, and then ran wildly about, seeking here and there among the rocks and trees.
'Miserable trickster!' he shouted. 'Let me get my hands on you! Now I see your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron and sell us all.... Curse you and all halflings to death and darkness!' Then, catching his foot on a stone, he fell sprawling and lay upon his face. For a while he was... still... then suddenly he wept.
He rose and passed his hand over his eyes, dashing away the tears. 'What have I said?' he cried. 'What have I done? Frodo, Frodo!' he called. 'Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back! '
There was no answer. Frodo did not even hear his cries. He was already far away, leaping blindly up the path to the hill-top. Terror and grief shook him, seeing in his thought the mad fierce face of Boromir, and his burning eyes.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 10, The Breaking of the Fellowship
Elena Tiriel 28Dec04, 7May05