Aragorn & Boromir, book vs. film

Discussion in 'Tolkien's versus Jackson's 'LOTR'' started by agbiggs, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. agbiggs

    agbiggs Registered User

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm a big fan of both books and film, but I think the films actually did a better job with Aragorn and Boromir than the books.

    In the books, Aragorn is a bit high-and-mighty sometimes, declaring I'm the heir of so-and-so and here's my mighty sword, blah, blah, blah. The books shows him as a more modest, quiet character who grows into his role over time, which just feels more natural.

    Likewise with Boromir. Consider the Council of Elrond in book vs. film. In the book, they introduce Aragorn as the heir of Isildur and Boromir pretty much takes it in his stride. In the film, Boromir is more clearly Denethor's son, saying 'Gondor has no king; Gondor needs no king.' A very effective line that sets up the tension between he and Aragorn and makes their reconciliation at Boromir's death all the more effective.

    Not a big beef with the book, but just an instance where I though the films really did a good job making the characters seem human.
     
  2. fadhatter

    fadhatter Registered User

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    The question is "Should Jackson portray Boromir as a man influenced by the ring, by the false impression that the ring could bring the end to evil very quickly" , or "is Boromir an innately evil man, whose only desire is for power"

    this quote indicates an innate evil, which contradicts the reconciliation scene.
     

  3. Hobbit-GalRosie

    Hobbit-GalRosie Cowgal Hobbit

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Official Store Loiterer
    Location:
    Hobbiton
    Home Page:
    I think that Aragorn in the movie did no growing or any sort, he just went into denial and then miraculously became another person when his lady-love was in danger from ring exposure--in other words, in danger for no apparent reason. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, especially as I am also a big fan of the movies, but I just don't see where they thought they were going with Aragorn's character.

    I think that the council scene in the book does also allow a good deal of tension between the two, and Boromir clearly wasn't about to just drop to one knee and swear fealty to Aragorn at that time, it did take longer for him to prove his worth in Boromir's eyes, but you could argue that Boromir's respect for the history of Gondor kept him from stating anything so contemptful and nihilistic as "Gondor has no king..." which would clearly have been an un-Gondorian attitude. In short, I think the scenes are pretty comparible, but in the movie they didn't have time for subtlety so they had Boromir stand up and slap you in the face with it...which worked very well, especially the first time I saw it, made me go all tense.

    In all honesty, I think it's kind of frightening to think of Boromir as "more Denetor's son" as this implies loyalty of a radical and unthinking nature, to the point of not allowing oneself to make any moral judgements, which Denethor in his later madness began to insist on before the final despair set in.
     
  4. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    U.K.
    Some examples of the height and might, and of the brash declarations? I don't recall any of either.
    Did you mean the films?
    Effective in your opinion. An old-fashioned, boring, cliched, expression in my opinion.
    Was making the characters human necessary, or good?
     

  5. agbiggs

    agbiggs Registered User

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One quick example (since TT is in front of me) is when they go to meet Theoden, and Aragorn gives them a bit of a history lesson on his sword before handing it over. Not the sort of thing the film character would do, since he's more soft-spoken. I'm sure I could find others, probably better ones.

    Again, not saying the book did things badly, but I thought the films handled well the idea that Aragorn is 'growing' from a ranger into a king, and the fact that Boromir, as a proud man whose family has rule Gondor for hundreds of years, takes some time to grow into that fact as well. The Aragorn we see at the opening of the film isn't the same as the one at the end, and Boromir changes as well (for both good and bad).
     
  6. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    Messages:
    2,768
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Keeper & Landlord: The Prancing Pony
    Location:
    Prancing Pony, Bree
    "The books..." Don't you mean the movies?

    But what you raise here is a matter of taste and preference, which is the stuff of much raging debate on the Forum. Everyone has the right to their own tastes and preferences which are beyond dispute and criticism. And there are some here who get really excited when they find that there are those whose opinions (read that tastes, preferences) actually differ from theirs: ;) people who have a very deep and intense allegiance to Tolkien as written and resent any changes at all, considering them basest heresy.

    So far, I take the books as definitive, and don't forget: Tolkien wrote from a different time, a different culture, and a different sensibility about his characters and had specific intentions for them, which are different in "flavor" from modern definitions of what heros are like. So you as a "modern person" may sense the difference between Tolkien's version of a hero personality and a more modern one.

    If you have just come recently to Tolkien, you may be in a large company of like-minded thinkers. If you came to Tolkien via the movies (and are a big moviegoer), I suspect you have a much more modern definition of how these characters "should" play. I however, who've been reading the books since the 60s long ago accepted Tolkien's works as they are, and experienced shock and even anger to various degrees when seeing how Jackson had tinkered with the personalities of the characters. But as I said, it's all preference and taste, and no one has the right to criticize those. I do recommend however, that one should try to understand Tolkien's motivations in constructing his characters as he did, and the ethical systems he used.

    Barley
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2005
  7. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Special Educational Needs for 15-16 year olds
    Location:
    Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England, UK
    Home Page:
    Boromir has argued with his father in the past as he does not understand why, after thousands of years, the Stewards are not called Kings; and Denethor answers that in lesser kingdoms they would be (Was this a political comment by Tolkien? The English Kingship was passed to a Scottish Steward, James Stuart, on the death of virgin Queen Elizabeth I, and he was immediately hailed as king).

    This indicates that Boromir at least has given up on the return of the King, and believes that his own line should have the kingship bestowed on them.

    Then he's told by a bunch of Elves that the stranger sat nearby is Isildur's heir, and he's expected to believe it. His doubt is made clear in both the book and the film.

    However, in the film, the Ring lust begins much earlier, with Denethor, who not only knows what Isildur's bane is (in the book it is not discovered until the Council of Elrond), but sends his son specifically to bring the Ring back.

    Given that the Ring's evil influence works through the mere desire of it, the film Boromir's character is already handicapped before he claps eyes on it.

    In the book, Aragorn knows who he is, and has no problem with it; even deeming mortal kingship to be a lowly state when he meets Luthien lookalike Arwen in the woods. He sets out on the quest with his ancestor's sword already reforged, and is given further token of kingship by Galadriel.

    His moment of greatest doubt comes at Amon Hen, where he concludes that his decisions that day had gone awry. But both book and film characters both take charge again, and pursue the orcs to rescue Merry and Pippin. I love the way Eomer is astonished as legends are revealed as Aragorn speaks (and Legolas receives a glimpse of the kingly star on Aragorn's brow), and again as Hama asks them to disarm at Edoras.

    Right the way through, Aragorn knows who he is and what his destiny will be, if he has any hope at all of winning his chosen bride; but film Aragorn is opposed by Elrond, who emotionally blackmails him into telling Arwen to forget it, instead of laying a condition that he must become King of Gondor first.

    So I have to disagree with you, Biggsy. The guy in the book is of high lineage, and knows he is. He has the blood of Luthien, Earendil and Elros in him as well as Isildur, and carries the sword of Elendil, reminding him of the great deeds of that forefather, not of the moment of Isildur's weakness (repented of at the Gladden fields, and urged to flee with the Ring for the greater good, not to escape battle, as it seems in the film).

    Hmm, this post is a bit rambling. I hope you get the gist. El.
     
  8. Mrs. Maggott

    Mrs. Maggott Home is where the cat is

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Messages:
    3,478
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Artist, home typing service (legal)
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Home Page:
    Just a few comments: Aragorn in the book is a very humble man for all of his "lineage". He does not contend with the innkeeper when he is denied access to Frodo although it could (and did) lead to problems later on. He does not "throw" his lineage in the face of the hobbits in Bree and, in fact, mocks himself and actually asks for their trust because, for his own comfort, he "needs" it. These are hardly the actions of a "big shot". In the Council, it is Bilbo, not Aragorn who chastises Boromir after he expresses doubt about Aragorn's heritage. Indeed, Aragorn merely says that his "worthiness" is yet to be proven. After Gandalf falls, Aragorn reluctantly takes on the leadership of the Company, knowing that he cannot replace the Wizard. At Parth Galen, before the remaining members of the Company choose which way to go - with Frodo or after Merry and Pippin - Aragorn tells Legolas and Gimli that they have elected a "bad chooser" and that all of his choices had "gone amiss". Again, hardly the attitude of a "big shot".

    Now, once Aragorn has chosen and he is confronted by Eomer who intends to thwart him and force him to return to Edoras or fight, only then does he put forth his "credentials" so that he may continue as he had started. In other words, he is telling Eomer that he isn't just a wanderer in the wilderness, but a man who has a "right" to be allowed to continue his quest. Eomer, as the descendent of kings, understands just exactly what Aragorn is saying and he does not consider it to be "brag and bounce", but rather, a courtesy to him, Eomer, so that he may judge properly in a hard place.

    No, Tolkien's Aragorn, though the descendent of kings, does not "flaunt" his heritage at anyone. Indeed, he tells Boromir that he is treated with amiable contempt by those whom he has protected from harm for many long years. "Strider" is not a title, but a nick-name which Bill Ferney states with contempt as the Company leaves Bree: "stick at naught Strider". And remember, it is Sam who responds to the ridicule, not Aragorn. Indeed, it is said in the book that the man merely "nods" in Ferny's direction when he is addressed. Hardly the reaction of a "big shot".
     
  9. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    U.K.
    <Slowly Aragorn unbuckled his belt and himself set the sword upright against the wall. "Here I set it," he said; "but I command you not to touch it, nor to permit any other to lay hand on it. In this elvish sheath dwells the Blade that was Broken and has been made again. Telchar first wrought it in the depths of time. Death shall come to any man that draws Elendil's sword save Elendil's heir".>

    Aragorn says nothing directly about himself, as he makes no claim to be the heir.
    What he says is all about the sword, something that Hama would fully understand as a comment from anyone who bore a sword.
    So, not "high-and-mighty", not "declaring I'm the heir....", though certainly acknowledging "here's my mighty sword....".
    It is indeed not the sort of thing film Aragorn would do, but not because that character might be softly spoken. The reason would be that the film writers have no concept of such elegant language - and because they would never had have had the time to use it!
     
  10. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Special Educational Needs for 15-16 year olds
    Location:
    Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England, UK
    Home Page:
    Mrs. Maggott - a well researched, well reasoned argument, if I may say so.#

    Joxy, I was disappointed not to see this wonderful 'history lesson' scene at the gate of Meduseld; but it couldn't happen in the film, as Aragorn did not yet have Anduril. It's just another aspect of the richness of the text, bringing Middle-earth's history (and Aragorn's lineage) to life throughout the story.
     
  11. Henniden

    Henniden Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Rome
    Hello everyone,

    this is my very first post, so I hope you will be patient with me, I'm a bit shy. Also, my English is not really fluent, I'm afraid.

    I read the whole discussion with much interest, and I would like to add my two pennies.

    First - Aragorn in the book has the status of a mythical hero. It means he has to fit into the standards of such a hero. In fact, he is becoming more and more mythical in the TT and of course in the ROTK. In the end there is little of "Strider" in him left: he is reduced to the figure of a "good king" listening to Arwen's songs, more a symbol than a man.

    In the movie, Aragorn is more just a human, and I really liked it. I liked also his confrontation with Boromir. In the book this conflict had not been really developped - the whole character of Boromir is very much left to our imagination - and all the implications of Aragorn's going to claim the throne are not so clear. But: here you have a proud young man, who is the heir to the greatest human kingdom in the Middle Earth. He doesn't like even to to be called "king", but only "stewart" in the future. And here he meets some shabby figure which after 1000 years is claiming the crown. There MUST be some tension between them. I think PJ has shown it in a quite a clever way. First, he clearly make us understand, that Aragorn would never claim the throne without Boromir's consent (we can see him nodding during the conversation in Lothlorien, when Boromir is talking about how he would like to rule Gondor.) Boromir has to accept and to understand that Aragron is more worthy candidate for the kingdom. Hence the double "temptation scene" at Parth Galen: Boromir doesn't resist the lure of the ring, Aragorn is able to do it - we are shown that Aragorn has in fact more inner strenght than Boromir. And also Boromir recognises it, hence his wonderful my brother - my captain - my king. It was very well done, IMHO.

    Just one other thing about Aragorn in the book being humble or high-and-mighty. I do agree with Ms Maggot he is generally humble and not boasting about his heritage. However, in the discussed scene at Edoras, before he unbucles his sword, he is a bit high in saying:
    "It is not clear to me that the will of Theoden son of Thengel, even though he be lord of the Mark, should prevail over the will of Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elendil's heir of Gondor".
    I'm not sure, but it seems to me, that in the first draft of LOTR, Aragorn was even more arogant in this scene, and rebuked for it by Gandalf. May be someone remembers it better than me.
    best greetings!
     
  12. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    U.K.
    Yes, as usual the writing family made one mistake, of Aragorn not having the sword, and that led to more mistakes piling up all the time. What a list of opportunities they missed by their inability to appreciate the wonderfully crafted and beautifully written story they were privileged to have as their source material. The text is indeed rich, throughout; it covers a whole spectrum of tones from humour to grandeur, but it is always well-written, the last thing that could be said of any of the family's rag-bag of styles!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2005
  13. Hammersmith

    Hammersmith Irresistible Ork Child

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Writer, Editor
    Location:
    An afternoon's ramble from Buckland
    Just a quick point to add; was Denethor's wish to die like the pagan kings a very Gondorian attitude? The general impression I got from the books (carried through well by the film) was that Gondor's stewards had effectively diluted the old Numernorean ideals.

    I personally thought that the films gave characters such as Boromir, Legolas and Gimli much more depth than they otherwise had, and in many places took the basic attitudes and characteristics portrayed in the books and simply built on the adequate but unexplored foundations.
     
  14. Arvegil

    Arvegil Registered User

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Of course, in the book, Boromir did suggest that the Stewards should be Kings. Faramir mentioned it to Frodo: when they were children, Boromir suggested that the time had come for the Stewards to take the throne. Denethor corrected him, saying that maybe in a lesser realm, but in Gondor they were willing to wait a thousand years for the King to return.
     
  15. joxy

    joxy Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    U.K.
    "Otherwise" - do you mean that book Gimli doesn't have much, or enough, depth? :confused: Have I been reading a different book?
    Do you mean film Gimli has more depth than book Gimli? If he has any depth then a puddle is as deep as the ocean.
     
  16. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Special Educational Needs for 15-16 year olds
    Location:
    Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England, UK
    Home Page:
    :eek:
    I have comparatively few arguments with the film's portrayal of Boromir; he was an unsubtle character so there was little to lose. Legolas had much more depth and strength in the book than in the film, where he seems to be the most peripheral being in the fellowship. I ask you, would the elf who could dodge Mumak tusks and nip up the beast's legs using arrows, and leap up onto an occupied galloping horse, not be able to prevent the release of an arrow from a nudged bow? Even PJ's inventions contradict each other. But worst was the treatment of Gimli, sole representative of his race, as the comic stooge. Bleagh!

    And I deeply resent Aragorn and Gimly being turned into murderers in parley situations. If this is character enrichment .... (words fail me)
     
  17. Mrs. Maggott

    Mrs. Maggott Home is where the cat is

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Messages:
    3,478
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Artist, home typing service (legal)
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Home Page:
    Jackson didn't give more character to Boromir. Rather, like Legolas and Gimli, he gave him more "screen time" than in the book. Also, he made Boromir a more sympathetic character than the "lordly" man in the book. However, one infers from Tolkien that Boromir was a decent man because both Pippin and Merry were fond of him. Of course, Frodo understood that Boromir was having "Ring problems" and Sam was wise enough to sense danger to his Master in Boromir's obsession.

    But let us be honest here. Of course Jackson's characters "seem deeper". After all, folks, like Solyent Green, they are actual people and not words in a book to be brought to life in the imagination. We can see their eyes, the sweat on their brows, their comradarie, the interaction of actual characters. Certainly they are going to appear "deeper" when we can actually see and hear them than when they are nothing more than words printed on a page. Read a description of a kitten or a puppy - and then look at a kitten or a puppy. No matter how gifted the writer, one is going to be far more moved by the real thing. That's why we have the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words" - and a "moving picture" is worth even more!
     
  18. Henniden

    Henniden Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Rome
    Quote:
    Originally posted by Mrs.Maggot
    Of course Jackson's characters "seem deeper". After all, folks, like Solyent Green, they are actual people and not words in a book to be brought to life in the imagination

    The visual art, like cinema has certainly its advantages: it is able to syntetize something in just one picture what in a book needs pages of description. However, I'm not sure a movie ALWAYS creates characters which seem "deeper" than original book characters: look at the last "Anna Karenina" with Sophie Marceau, or famous "Cleopatra" with Liz Tylor, largely in debt with Shakespeare's "Antonius and Cleopatra".

    I would say that Tolkien was not really interested in developping individual characters: the focus of his writing laid elsewhere. IMO Jackson did a fine job, picking up some suggestions from the book to show us an interesting and complex character and to underline some problems which we can deduce from the book, but which are a bit "hidden" and not very clear. It's a pity he wasn't able to do the same with Gimli, opting instead for a "comical" character...
     
  19. Hobbit-GalRosie

    Hobbit-GalRosie Cowgal Hobbit

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Official Store Loiterer
    Location:
    Hobbiton
    Home Page:
    I was of course aware of the quote about Boromir thinking the Stewards had earned the Kingship over all their years of guarding it, but I think that the fact that even Denethor, who was the most rotten apple of that bunch, though still a good and much misunderstood character, corrected him on this, when Denethor had so much to lose by such a statement, indicated that this was only a passing, immature assumption on Boromir's part, and that this issue had all ready been addressed to some extent in his case, so it shouldn't have been such an enormous one later; though it did show his prideful, mayhap even lustful nature, and has a very sinister connotation as one always thinks of it in context with Denethor's later madness which made him renege on this attitude and Boromir's Ring-lust.

    Greetings and salutations to Henniden, and you made some great points in your posts. I would never have guessed that you aren't fluent in English if you hadn't pointed it out, you write so eloquently on these issues. In fact, you seem to be a great deal more fluent than some who speak English as their native tongue but simply do not care how many spelling errors they make, lol. My take on these things is slightly different, but it's still very easy to see why many people would feel that way about these characters. I think that with Aragorn becoming king it was necessary to show him in increasingly kingly positions in the books, so his language and manner may have been a bit high and mighty at times but this was in pride of his lineage rather than himself, and I think that it was showing rather that man that we know and love making a wiser king than most because of his humility, instead of turning to power-lust like even the great Numenorian/Gondorian kings were wont to do in the past. A great example would be his dealings with...what's his name...Beregond? The guy that showed Pippen around then left his post to save Faramir. His love and mercy were touching in that scene, and showed that he was well aware that most kings would have punished such a dereliction of duty without any second thought and left such a man with no livelihood, but Elessar who had seen and suffered so much more than the average king knew better than that, satisfying the law and ensuring Beregond and family's and Faramir's happiness all at once. I think that the man that rose to all occasions in spite of his obvious fears and self-doubts especially after Gandalf's fall is a much more inspiring story than the king who became king through no design of his own when circumstances conspired against him and Elrond forced him to take up the mantle for Arwen's sake. But again, this is just my opinion, and I can see the validity of the opposing viewpoint as well.
     
  20. Mrs. Maggott

    Mrs. Maggott Home is where the cat is

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Messages:
    3,478
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Artist, home typing service (legal)
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Home Page:
    To begin with, I didn't say that films always make its book characters deeper. But let's face it. Given the examples you provided I would say that Jackson profited by superior actors delivering his lines! :p
     

Share This Page