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Why was Boromir allowed to join the Fellowship of the Ring after the Council of Elrond, where he succumbed to the Ring moments after first seeing it, and explicitly said that he wanted to use it himself? It was made absolutely clear that he could not be trusted around the Ring, but no one spoke up to say "Maybe the guy who succumbed to the Ring within seconds shouldn't go on the mission to destroy said Ring".

Assuming that it was deemed necessary for the Fellowship to include a representative of Gondor (although Rohan didn't get a place in the Fellowship, for some reason), couldn't Aragorn fill that spot? If not, wouldn't it have been worth the delay to send Boromir back to Gondor and request that Faramir (who later proved himself to be less susceptible to the Ring) take Boromir's place? Granted, the Council had no way of knowing ahead of time that Faramir was stronger than Boromir, but it seems like Boromir was the worst possible choice, and anyone who wasn't Boromir would have been a better candidate.


Updated May 24: I am finally reading The Return of the King, and the heated exchange between Denethor and Gandalf just before the siege of Minas Tirith seems to support my argument. Denethor is angry at Gandalf for letting the Ring be sent to Mordor with Frodo, and says that it should have been carried to Gondor by Boromir instead, so it could be hidden. Gandalf says that if Boromir had taken it, he would have been corrupted before he ever reached Gondor and Denethor would no longer recognize him. Denethor accuses Gandalf of having stolen Faramir's loyalty and claims that the real reason Gandalf didn't trust Boromir was that Boromir followed Denethor's orders rather than Gandalf's; he says Gandalf doesn't trust Denethor's judgment..

Gandalf replies:

"... I do not trust you... And now hearing you speak I trust you less, no more than [I trusted] Boromir."
- The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King, Book V, Chapter 4: "The Siege of Gondor"

There we have it- Gandalf never trusted Boromir, or at least didn't trust him by the time the Fellowship was being assembled. Why, pray tell, was he allowed to go anywhere near the Ring, when the wisest person around didn't trust him to begin with?

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    And are you talking about movies or books? – Matt Gutting May 4 '15 at 19:54
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    A lot of things are much more subtle in the book. – Ian Thompson May 4 '15 at 20:00
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    @WadCheber --- According to the Tale of Years, the Company of the Ring leaves Rivendell in December TA 3018. The ring is destroyed in March TA 3019. Where do you get two years? Also, what is the evidence for racism on the part of characters in the book? – Ian Thompson May 4 '15 at 20:42
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    @IanThompson he means in-universe racism. Men, Elves, & Dwarves don't exactly get along with each other. – Omegacron May 4 '15 at 20:47
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    And it would not have taken Boromir "a few weeks" to go back, it had taken him months to get to Rivendell, in very dangerous country. Also, the way Boromir had taken to come to Rivendell was now closed because meanwhile Saruman had revealed himself and the Dunlendings were on war footing. Boromir needed the company to be able to go back at all. And in the end, the company had no time to wait. – Joel May 4 '15 at 20:47
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Because he's going to Gondor, which is on the way to Mordor, and because Aragorn vouches for him.

Seriously, that's it (emphasis mine):

'And I will choose you companions to go with you, as far as they will or fortune allows. The number must be few, since your hope is in speed and secrecy. Had I a host of Elves in armour of the Elder Days, it would avail little, save to arouse the power of Mordor.

'The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil. With you and your faithful servant, Gandalf will go; for this shall be his great task, and maybe the end of his labours.

'For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Glóin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and maybe beyond. For men you shall have Aragorn son of Arathorn, for the Ring of Isildur concerns him closely.'

'Strider!' said Frodo.

'Yes,' he said with a smile. 'I ask leave once again to be your companion, Frodo.'

'I would have begged you to come,' said Frodo, 'only I thought you were going to Minas Tirith with Boromir.'

'I am,' said Aragorn. 'And the Sword-that-was-Broken shall be reforged ere I set out to war. But your road and our road lie together for many hundreds of miles. Therefore Boromir will also be in the Company. He is a valiant man.'

Fellowship of the Ring Book 2 Chapter 3: "The Ring Goes South"

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    @WadCheber Best guess: politics. With Aragorn playing the reluctant hero, Boromir is the sole representative of Gondor, the greatest Human power in Middle-Earth. Unfortunately a lot of things regarding Boromir are left unexplained – Jason Baker May 4 '15 at 20:15
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    @JasonBaker Politics for sure. Plus Aragorn is part-Elven, making Boromir the only full-blooded representative of Men in the Fellowship, which is important both in-universe and out-of-universe. – Nerrolken May 4 '15 at 21:07
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    @Nerrolken I may be mistaken, but as far as I know, when Aragorn's ancestor ( Elrond's brother ) choose to be human, rather than elf, all his descendants are human ( not half-elves). – Rick Sanchez May 4 '15 at 23:20
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    @KushtrimP. Not half, certainly, and yeah they're considered officially Men, but they do retain certain more-than-human traits. Long life, for example. Boromir represents the "normal Man" in the group, as opposed to Aragorn, who might be considered "heroic Man." He's somewhat like a Hero from ancient Greece: definitely Human as far as his species goes, but somewhat greater-than-human at the same time. – Nerrolken May 4 '15 at 23:38
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    @Nerrolken The long life was from being a Dunadan more than having distant elven blood. Granted the line of Elros always lived longer than other Dunedain but that could have been simply due being the royal family rather than an acknowledgement of the mixed ancestry. Boromir is not exactly a 'normal man' either, even if the Dunedain of Gondor had faded significantly. – suchiuomizu May 5 '15 at 0:18
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Within the film script, it's made clear that Boromir has been invited to the Council of Elrond to represent Gondor, one of the "superpowers" of Middle Earth. On top of that he's the Steward's son, no less and an awesome warrior in his own right. Additionally, he's someone who has a reasonable level of knowledge about Mordor, having lived on its borders his entire life.

Refusing him membership to the Fellowship simply because he thought that it would be a good idea to use the Ring of Power against their common enemy would make things difficult for the Fellowship, if not downright awkward. On top of that, they may need to travel through territory loyal to Gondor so they want to maintain strong relations.

Frankly, there's no sensible reason to not include him and several excellent reasons why they should do so:

BOROMIR: You carry the fate of us all, little one.

Boromir looks towards Elrond and Gandalf.

BOROMIR: If this is indeed the will of the Council, then Gondor will see it done.

Frodo stares in wonder as the Greatest Fighters in all Middle earth stand at his side.

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    Not unless/until you can convince Boromir of that. – Matt Gutting May 4 '15 at 20:21
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    @WadCheber - No. Strider has pretty much abrogated his throne by this point. Simply because he happens to be the "rightful heir" is no good reason to bow to the guy when he's spent his entire life avoiding any semblance of resposibility. – Valorum May 4 '15 at 20:23
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    @WadCheber The Steward is probably the single most politically powerful person in the northwest of Middle-earth. It's not generally speaking a good idea to deliberately insult his son. – Matt Gutting May 4 '15 at 20:31
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    @WadCheber - And they tell him so. And then he doesn't suggest it again. At least ostensibly he's taken their advice on board... – Valorum May 4 '15 at 20:33
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    It's a long time since I watched the film, but if I remember correctly, Boromir is tempted by the ring in Rivendell; 'succumb' is an exaggeration. Anyone can be tempted by the ring (e.g. Galadriel later in the film), so there is no reason not to trust Boromir at this point. – Ian Thompson May 4 '15 at 21:32
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Things working for Boromir:

  • He is going the same direction. (Mentioned above)
  • He is a good warrior. (mentioned above)
  • He is the son of the steward, heir of gondor. (mentioned above)
  • Represents humans within the fellowship. (mentioned above)
  • He came with "Boromirs riddle", accredited to the Valar Irmo Lorien, where he is directed to "Seek for the Sword that was broken".

Things working against Boromir:

  • The ring took him immediately. (Is the speed of capture related to the 9 rings?)
  • Sauron already had hooks in his father through the Palantir.
  • Gondor, his destination, was the front-lines of the battle. It is a bad idea to put the strategic goal of the enemy at the center of the focus of their exercise of strength.
  • Gondor, his destination, had its back against a wall. The number of opportunities, open doors to accommodate changes in direction decreases as the fellowship approaches Gondor - it makes them less nimble.

Thoughts:

  • It seems that Boromir is a "member of convenience" and not a "strategic asset".
  • It may be that nobody realized 1) that the ring got him, 2) how quickly the ring took him, and 3) how completely the ring took him. One of the best ways to keep the truth from being acted on is to keep it from being known. The ring took Smeagol in a moment and he did what he would not have normally done - he killed to get it. Boromir, while equally taken, was in the company of such great power that had he tried to take it by force in front of others, he would have been struck down. Just because he intended to go to gondor with it does not mean it did not take him - it is how he rationalized what the ring wanted him to do.
  • There is an irony in his entry versus his exit. While his entry was more convenience, his exit was profoundly impactful. He transformed the fellowship. He galvanized Frodo, and Aragorn in ways they did not expect. Frodo started out passive, waiting for leadership and relying on the strength of others, and after the the ring took Boromir, he took the initiative and acted courageously relying on his own strength. Aragorn started out rejecting a crown and much of the civilization of men, but at the noble and heroic death of Boromir, he swore to protect the great city, and to see to it that humanity was not lost.
  • He was essential for the survival of the team on Caradhras. He and Aragorn carried the hobbits who would have been killed by Sarumans storms.
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    I don't think we have enough evidence to conclude "the Ring got him". In fact, Boromir wanting to use the Ring as a weapon is a sensible opinion, giving his limited knowledge of the artifact. And when he does fall victim to the temptation, much later, he quickly recovers and regrets it. – Andres F. May 5 '15 at 0:28
  • As for your other points: 1- The plan wasn't to take the Ring to Gondor, though the initial part of the journey was in that direction. Aragorn says as much! 2- It wasn't known at the time of the Council that Denethor was under the influence of Sauron, so how can this count against Boromir? – Andres F. May 5 '15 at 0:29
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    "He transformed the fellowship. He galvanized Frodo, and Boromir in ways they did not expect." This wording seems awkward at best; I can't really make sense of it. Can you reword? +1 for nobody realizing how it took him, though. – jpmc26 May 5 '15 at 2:25
  • This answer is phenomenal- if it answered the question rather than brilliantly laying out both the pros and cons, I would have accepted it and awarded a bounty. It pains me to do neither. But +100 anyway. – Wad Cheber May 6 '15 at 21:19
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    The answer is implied. He was the bad choice, but fate (or the author) used that as an element to make him the only choice. Long after his death he is driving plot. From the character transitions of Merry and Pippin, what happens to Denethor, to what happens to Faramir, and even in Return of the King where the decision by Aragorn to engage the Black Gates bears the odor of "save our people, save our city" - the dying request - Boromir leaves his impact throughout the story. I answered to answer, and not for the bounty. We are good, thanks. – EngrStudent May 7 '15 at 12:31
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At the Council of Elrond, Boromir is clearly tempted by the Ring. This is not the same as succumbing to its influence.

In fact, everyone is tempted by the Ring -- the hobbits least of all, but even Frodo is gradually corrupted by its influence.

For powerful beings such as Gandalf, the temptation is severe. In the books (Book 1, Chapter 2, "The Shadow of the Past"), Frodo offers Gandalf the Ring. Gandalf is horrified and tells Frodo not to tempt him. Similarly, when Frodo offers the Ring to Galadriel, she spends a few moments contemplating how she could use its power to become a goddess.

So it is not surprising when Boromir suggests using the Ring to overthrow Sauron. That's how the temptation of the Ring works. It seems like a perfectly logical idea, unless you really understand the Ring's corrupting power. In both books and film, Boromir is persuaded to go along with the Council's belief that the Ring is too dangerous to use.

The Council took a risk in sending Frodo out with powerful companions -- not just Boromir, but Aragorn, Gandalf and the rest. At any time, one of them could have been overcome by desire for the Ring and tried to seize it. On the other hand, they needed Frodo to reach Mordor. The hobbits nearly didn't make it to Rivendell, even with help from Aragorn and Glorfindel/Arwen (in the book/film respectively). So, the Council decided Frodo needed a strong escort.

As it happens, Boromir breaks first, but this was not foreseen by the Council. Later on, Aragorn remarks that it was a "sore trial" for Boromir, who was a "warrior, and a Lord of Men", but that is no more than hindsight.

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In point of fact, Boromir did not succumb to the Ring moments after first seeing it, nor did he explicitly want to use it himself at the Council. He only questioned the wisdom of trying to destroy the Ring rather than using it as a weapon against Sauron. It was only after spending several months in proximity to the Ring that, after leaving Lorien, he finally begins to yield to its temptation.

From the Tale of Years, the Council was October 25, 3018. The Company left Rivendell two months later, on December 25th, pass through Moria and arrive at Lorien, leaving there on February 16, 3019. It's 10 days later that he finally gives in to the temptation.

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I think because Boromir was "given" his mystical dream or dreams, presumably by Eru or by some lower god, Gandalf and Elrond assumed that Boromir had some part to play which only the gods could sense; so he was included in the partnership. Gandalf did sometimes make choices against prevailing wisdom.

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    Boromir's dreams weren't entirely inaccurate. He did play a part in helping the Fellowship, and he valiantly defended the Hobbits. He may be flawed as a hero, but he is not a villain. In Aragorn's words, when reassuring Boromir in his last moments: "few have gained such a victory". – Andres F. May 5 '15 at 0:32

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