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Boromir

Birth

III, 2978

Death

III, February 26, 3018

Father

Denethor

Mother

Finduilas

Siblings

Faramir

Children

Brandmir (illegitimate son)

Rank

Heir to Stewardship of Gondor

Captain-General of Gondor

Boromir is the elder son of Denethor of Minas Tirith and Finduilas of Dol Amroth, the heir apparent to the Stewardship of Gondor, and Captain-General of Gondor's army. He becomes one of the Nine Walkers and journeys with the Fellowship until Parth Galen, where he is slain by orcs while defending Merry and Pippin from capture.


Early LifeEdit

See Faramir's entry for family tree.

Boromir was born in 2978. As a young child, his mother, Finduilas described him as “such a handful”[1] and he shows considerable energy and enthusiasm when something interests him, generally military games and skills. He also shows a definite curiosity that at one point nearly caused a major diplomatic incident, cost one man his life, and three others their careers, if not more.[2]


Family TiesEdit

Boromir's relationship with his younger brother, Faramir, seems always to have been a strong and loving one.[3][4] Despite very different temperaments, the brothers were close, with Boromir taking the protective, leading role, to the point that it sometimes was a source of minor resentment for Faramir that others tended to assume that he always did as his older brother asked.[5] But on the whole, despite periodic arguments, Faramir found in his older brother a guide, ally, and friend that he always welcomed,[6] even in rather intimate matters,[7] and even when Boromir's guidance led him into trouble.[8] Boromir later claimed that initiation into vice was his responsibility as the elder brother.[9]


Boromir was aware from a young age that his parents' relationship contained a destructive, abusive element to it.[10][11][12] At the same time, he loved and admired his father in many ways, and as a young boy, on one occasion even took his father's part, telling his mother that "'If you did not make him angry, he would not have to hurt you'"[13]. He came deeply to regret this, and the incident was one of several that would later cause him to fear his own identification with his father.[14][15][16][17] His ambivalent feelings toward Denethor's example as a husband and father came in time to dominate his own self-perception in matters of love and familial life.[18]


He protected his brother as much as he could from Denethor's periodic violence, but was less well-able to guard against the hardening of that relationship into a reserved, unhappy, and fearful one, from which Faramir suffered well into adulthood. The violence that ran through Denethor's relationship with Faramir was, in combination with other factors, at back of the one truly serious argument that the brothers ever had, and which revealed the depths to which a quietly violent family history had affected all members.[19] Even so, the relationship between father and sons was not always poor: on occasion, Denethor and Faramir could work together to tease Boromir, who, despite being baffled by the alliance and its focus, nevertheless, seemed to take such teasing well enough.[20][21]


Boromir's relationship with his uncle, Imrahil, and cousins, by contrast, was uncomplicated by strife or tension. Though Boromir knew he was in some ways second in his uncle's affections and attentions to his younger brother, he never felt this as a slight, and encouraged that bond.[22] His Aunt Nimrien became the paradigm of the sort of woman he felt would make a good wife.[23] Upon her death, he arranged for his father to name Faramir the Bearer of Burdens for their family, in order that Faramir be able to remain for a month with Imrahil and assist him after the family's loss.[24]

Relationship with AndraharEdit

Boromir early on was fascinated by his grandfather Adrahil's Southron captain, Andrahar, whose skill as a warrior he admired. Andrahar taught him his first lessons about riding[25] and also in swordplay,[26] and instructed him in more advanced martial lessons from time to time over the course of years.[27] Andrahar acted as a second uncle to him for most of this time.


In December of 3006, Boromir spent his Yuletide leave in Dol Amroth, in order deliberately to test his growing suspicion that he was a lover of men.[28] His initial request that Andrahar be the one with whom he make that test was based on affection, but primarily on his trust that Andrahar, of all people, was absolutely discreet. The relationship continued for six years before what had been a friendly relationship was acknowledged to be something deeper than that, and capable of challenging both of them to overcome deeply held fears to continue as lovers.[29] Though the affair was kept a secret from both Denethor and Imrahil, Faramir was privy to it, and, if not entirely supportive of it, he was willing to be his brother's confidant.[30][31][32]


Their affair was finally discovered and ended in 3018 by Denethor, who threatened both Andrahar and Imrahil with severe sanctions, and forbid Boromir and Andrahar from seeing each other in any private fashion.[33] Boromir was shortly thereafter on the road to Imladris, with the expectation that he would marry the woman of his father's choice upon his return, in exchange for the safety of his lover and mitigation of the punitive concessions the Steward had wrung out of the Prince of Dol Amroth in exchange for Andrahar's life and freedom.

Later CareerEdit

CounselorEdit

Boromir served as a counselor and as his father's representative in matters military. When, in 3012, the Corsairs struck Western Gondor for the first time since 2976, he was sent to the council called by Dol Amroth, and worked to secure the necessary changes to taxes, defensive patrols and troop commitments.[34] He was also involved in laying down negotiating strategies and tactics for the yearly debate in council over the kingdom's taxes.[35]


Boromir was wont to complain that his brother and uncle underestimated his political astuteness:


"Just because I do not care to spend all my spare waking hours reading moldering old history books or writing poetry, does not mean that I am a fool!" he declared. "I have been sitting in Council since I was twelve years old! You two bookworms never give me any credit! I know how to maneuver in places other than battlefields! Though in truth, I've been a little too clever too often for my own good of late [...]" [36]

To judge by his self-appraised tendency toward cleverness, Boromir may have preferred to conduct himself in a fashion that encouraged others to underestimate him. His political style seems ultimately to have its roots in his father's take-no-prisoners realpolitik, whose martial metaphor undoubtedly was consonant with his soldier's mentality:


"War is made not only upon the fields, but in the council chambers, and just as kinship must be no protection against the sword when oaths are betrayed, so also it must not be a shield in council that hampers you. Lay up a weapon therefore against the day of need, especially against kin, for there you are most exposed, for they will know best how to silence you. Do you understand?" Denethor had reached then and laid a hand upon Boromir's face, compelling him to meet that steely gaze. The ring of the Stewards had lain chill against his cheek, numbing flesh, as his father had solemnly intoned, "Gondor is the rock upon which all other ties break: friendship, lordship, vassalage... fraternity. It cannot be otherwise."[37]

Boromir took this advice to heart, and on at least two occasions, used such political weapons against opponents, including his own father.[38][39] The emotional toll of such political practice, however, was steep for someone who valued honor, and found honor in honesty.

Captain-General of GondorEdit

Boromir's military training was primarily as an infantryman, although he also had been trained as a cavalryman.[40] In most martial skills, he was ahead of his brother, but his knifework and archery were weaker.[41][42] He rose to command early, and was yearly in the field, operating primarily out of Osgiliath,[43] but traveling up and down Gondor's easter borders. He fought in battles with both the Ithilien Rangers[44] and the Swan Knights[45] and held the border against Mordor's incursions.


In the summer of 3018, he was commander of the defense against an attack on Osgiliath, during which the Ringwraiths were able to cross Anduin before Boromir's forces were able to bring down the bridge. Both he and his brother were wounded in the attack, and the shadow of Nazgûl and its fear deeply affected Boromir,[46][47] who, in a moment of need and despair, turned to Andrahar for some relief and consolation, since both men were in Minas Tirith. This subsequently led to their being discovered, but not before Boromir had dreamed Faramir's prophetic dream, which prompted him to claim the mission to Imladris.[48]


Before beginning the journey north, however, Boromir suffered another unsettling dream, in which Faramir was killed when Hethlin's knife snapped against an enemy's armor, leaving her and Faramir both fatally exposed. Fearful that it might be a prophetic vision, he entrusted a dagger of sea-steel to Hethlin, that she might better be able to guard Faramir's life in what looked to be the near and very dark future.[49]


Boromir journeyed 110 days to reach Imladris, and was selected as one of the Nine Walkers. He went with the company as far as Parth Galen, where he was taken by the Ring's temptation, and then killed after the fit had passed, while he was defending Merry and Pippin from Uruk-hai.

MetaEdit

"Best-loved Sons" originally was "Best-loved Son" and referred to the story arcs that focused on Boromir. Eventually, the name was changed to "Best-loved Sons" to reflect the fact that a large part of Boromir's story is the story of his relationship with Andrahar, who was also his father's favorite, and that the authors of all the stories get to write the lives of some of their favorite male characters.

ReferencesEdit

Adrift

Almost As Good As...

B Like a Bathing Boromir

The Best Gift of All

Blackbow

Consolation

Disclosure

Discovery

Discretion

The Eagle and the Swan

Eight Weeks

In Extremis

Lady of Silences

Motherless

Revelations

Second Place

Shall We Dance?

Time in a Bottle

Trust

Ultimatums

Visions

2008 Advent Calendar - Day One

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