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  1. Rómeran's Avatar
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    #1
    I came across an interesting passage during the Council of Elrond at the introduction of Boromir.



    Elrond mentions (or else it is implied that he did) the lineage of almost all of the other members at the council of Elrond, save Boromir only who he introduces as:
    " ' Here,' said Elrond, turning to Gandalf, 'is Boromor, a man from the South. He arrived in the grey morning, and seeks for counsel. I have bidden him to be present, for here his questions will be answered.' " (The Council of Elrond).
    It isn't until Boromir himself mentions (almost off-handed) that he is the son of the Steward of Gondor.
    There are two reasons for this to happen:
    1. At the time of introduction Elrond was unaware of Boromir's relationship to Denethor.
    The problem I see with this is why then would Elrond let a stranger from the South sit in on an important and secretive council?
    None of the hobbits (save Frodo and Bilbo) were at the council but they already knew about the Ring. Why would Elrond trust a random stranger from the south at such a meeting?
    Additionally, Boromir was described as coming in early in the morning before the council, did Elrond not ask from where he came, who sent him, or what his question was? Why would Elrond think the council would answer his questions if he didn't know what it was?
    Which leads me to the alternative:
    2. Elrond did know from where (and by whom) Boromir was sent and what his message concerned, that is why he allowed him a seat at the council, and he chose to introduce him vaguely.
    This then brings up the question, why not introduce Boromir correctly as the son of the Steward of Gondor? Surely that would be an introduction fit for a man of Boromir's status. Why go out of the way to drop the details when even Frodo was introduced with lineage "Here, my friends, is the hobbit Frodo son of Drogo." This seems strange to me.
    Any thoughts? I found nothing terribly enlightening in the reader's guide
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  2. Bostonion's Avatar
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    #2


    Huh, that is interesting, I can't think of a reason at the moment, but did want to add Boromir's first speaking part the text also introduces:

    At this the stranger, Boromir, broke in..So maybe he did only initially introduce himself to Elrond as "Boromir of Gondor" (or something vague) and his purpose was to seek Elrond's counsel to get answers to the riddle and the dream he had? Elrond being all into foresight, fate, and such matters perhaps just saw Boromir's timely arrival in Rivendell (after wandering around lost for quite a while...what was it 110 days since leaving Minas Tirith?) as grounds enough to let him into the counsel without knowing his lineage?As for Merry and Pippin not being allowed into the counsel, remember Elrond originally wanted Merry and Pippin to be messengers back to The Shire. (Or there might have been a bit of seeing them as the younger, teens-age hobbits not old enough for the big adult counsel business ).

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  3. Puddleglum19's Avatar
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    #3
    Even more preplexing to me is why he would feel the need to so introduce Boromir to Gandalf, of all people.
    <blockquote>' Here,' said Elrond, turning to Gandalf, 'is Boromir, a man from the South'
    </blockquote>Gandalf, for sure, has been in Gondor enough to know full well who Boromir is. Not only is he well known to (even if not liked by) Boromir's father, but he has also been something of a tutor to Faramir, Boromir's brother.

    Also, Elrond is accounted one of the Wise - meaning one learned in matters relating to Middle Earth. Now he is not all-knowing, but with the White Council's interest in Sauron, they (and he) certainly had to know who was the heir of the Steward and, presumptively, the next steward (whether the next Ruling steward, or the steward under the returned King).

    It might seem ok if Elrond had just addressed his "here is Boromir" intro to the Council. Instead (even tho the Council heard it) he EXPLICITLY addresses the intro to Gandalf - the one above all others there MOST certain to know this man - possibly even without an intro.

    I wish I had an answer or explanation - but this has perplexed me much also.





  4. Rómeran's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonion
    Elrond being all into foresight, fate, and such matters perhaps just saw Boromir's timely arrival in Rivendell (after wandering around lost for quite a while...what was it 110 days since leaving Minas Tirith?) as grounds enough to let him into the counsel without knowing his lineage?



    Interesting point, though I feel like in such uncertain times and with the Ring in their possession one wouldn't simply let any old stranger into a council where the Ring itself would be presented unless you were confident in their intentions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Puddleglum19
    Even moreperplexingto me is why he would feel the need to so introduce Boromir to Gandalf, of all people.Gandalf, for sure, has been in Gondor enough to know full well who Boromir is. Not only is he well known to (even if not liked by) Boromir's father, but he has also been something of a tutor to Faramir, Boromir's brother.
    Very good point as well. I would imagine that Elrond knew who Boromir was. I think it unlikely that 1) he would be unaware who the heir to the steward of Gondor was and almost more importantly 2) that he would let a random stranger from the south sit in on such an important council.
    So I feel forced to assume that he intentionally chose such a vague/mysterious introduction for Boromir (and even more strangely introduced him only to Gandalf -- inside joke?). But why... nothing really came of it in the council there was no big gasp moment (like there was for Boromir finding out who Aragorn was).
    If it wasn't for knowing that Tolkien toiled over practically every word of the Lord of the Rings I would pass it over as an anomaly.

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  5. Quote Originally Posted by Puddleglum19
    Even more preplexing to me is why he would feel the need to so introduce Boromir to Gandalf, of all people.
    Here,' said Elrond, turning to Gandalf, 'is Boromir, a man from the South'
    Gandalf, for sure, has been in Gondor enough to know full well who Boromir is. Not only is he well known to (even if not liked by) Boromir's father, but he has also been something of a tutor to Faramir, Boromir's brother.
    [...]
    he EXPLICITLY addresses the intro to Gandalf - the one above all others there MOST certain to know this man - possibly even without an intro.

    I wish I had an answer or explanation - but this has perplexed me much also.
    The only suggestion that I have ever seen that has made sense for me (unfortunately I don't remember where or whom, so I can only praise the person anonymously) was the idea that Elrond is actually telling Gandalf that Boromir wishes to remain anonymous for the time being.

    This would mean that both Elrond and Gandalf knew very well who Boromir was, and that they both knew that the other knew, only thus would it make sense for Elrond to address Gandalf in this way, as if adding a silent “and this is how he wants to be known for the time being” (of course, with òsanwë, Elrond might be saying precisely that besides).

    I could also imagine that Boromir would have relished the idea of being the mysterious stranger for a while, and would have liked the idea of incidentally dropping his own lineage in a company of so many Elven lords — that Boromir would think that not waving his title about in such a company would imply a degree of equality with the best of them. Boromir was, after all, a highly prideful man, and intelligent enough to work out such a strategy for making himself appear better.
    Last edited by Troelsfo; 10/Dec/2012 at 08:39 PM. Reason: Updating to new Plaza formatting
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  6. MrsMaggotsMushrooms's Avatar
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    #6
    Originally Posted By Troelsfo
    'Elrond is actually telling Gandalf that Boromir wishes to remain anonymous for the time being.'



    This I think is a really important point. Whilst I agree that Boromir 'would have liked the idea of incidentally dropping his own lineage in a company of so many Elven lords', I am also inclined to wonder whether or not he had a deep-rooted mistrust of Elves, Dwarves, Wizards and the like. His father Denethor had become suspicious and in many ways paranoid about the intentions of Gandalf and Elrond and so by choosing to remain anonymous Boromir was merely being cautious. His journey to Rivendell took 110 days, for most of which he was on foot and alone. It would therefore not surprise me if he asked Elrond to keep his identity a secret until he could be sure that he wasn't in the midst of enemies and could reveal it himself.Boromir was a proud and and in some respects arrogant (?) man, but he was also intelligent and would have known that Sauron would jump at the chance to kill off the eldest heir of the Stewards.
    Originally Posted by Puddlegum 19
    Gandalf, for sure, has been in Gondor enough to know full well who Boromir is. Not only is he well known to (even if not liked by) Boromir's father, but he has also been something of a tutor to Faramir, Boromir's brother.
    This is very true and could explain why Elrond addressed Gandalf specifically as Gandalf was the only other member of the council who knew Boromir (apart from maybe Aragorn). He therefore introduced him as 'a man of the south' to let Gandalf know that he didn't wish to be revealed.



  7. I should probably add that I do not think that the above explanation was actually what Tolkien intended — the explanation makes sense of the situation, story-internally (though one could argue that Boromir revealed his own lineage shortly after, so why bother).



    Personally I think the introduction of Boromir is a bit of an accident: that Tolkien wasn't really aware who he was when he introduced him, and then that particular turn of phrase was allowed to stand through the multiple revisions (there are other examples of this kind of thing). Once Boromir had introduced himself, and this dialogue worked quite well, there was no reason to change the dynamics of the council (as has been observed by others, the Council of Elrond is actually a very complex bit of writing with a structure that enabled Tolkien to introduce numerous new characters and places in dialogue, and with that working so well, Tolkien may simply have chosen to ignore the odd introduction of Boromir in his revisions.

    Edited by: Troelsfo
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  8. Puddleglum19's Avatar
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    #8
    Troels, I expect you're right. The whole matter is even, in an odd way, a tribute to Tolkien himself: he took such care to make everything internally consistent (the "elvish craft" he referred to needed to "devise a world in which a green sun was 'credible, commanding secondary belief'") that when something slips through it *IS* odd enough to stick out and command attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMaggotsMushrooms
    as Gandalf was the only other member of the council who knew Boromir (apart from maybe Aragorn).
    That question it self is somewhat interesting (to me). I'd sort of expect that Glorfindel too had enough wisdom and experience (and interest in) the Dunedain to know, at least, the name of the Heir of Gondor - even if he had not ever actually seen him (as seems likely).
    <blockquote>So, when he sees a tall, proud looking man with rich, fur-lined cloaks, a collar of silver (with a white stone), and a prominently displayed "great horn tipped with silver" who just "happens" to have the same name as the High Captain of Gondor, the son and heir of the Steward - - - he'd have to be dense (i.e. NOT one of the Wise) if he didn't put 2 and 2 together to figure out who this man was.
    </blockquote>After all, there aren't that many men wandering around with silver collars and silver-tipped horns and the name of Boromir.

    Besides, it's fun to try and imagine ways in which Tolkien's few slips weren't "really" slips but intentional choices that fit in with and flesh out Middle Earth and its story just a bit more





  9. Elrond is actually telling Gandalf that Boromir wishes to remain anonymous for the time being.



    Hmm . . . I'm not so sure about that - I actually don't see anything particularly problematic about the introduction. There's a certain degree of courtesy involved in making introductions (see in particular the trouble this causes in The Wanderings of Húrin), and we know that not everyone got a full introduction made publicly. With Boromir, it is quite possible that Gandalf would not have recongized him on sight (I can't find anything to suggest they had ever met, though it would not be implausible if they had), so some sort of basic naming was necessary - the same sort of thing we get with 'Galdor of the Havens', really.
    There was certainly no need for Elrond to go any further, since to those in the know this alone would have been enough to make his identity probable. I'm minded a little of Hildibrand's boast that he only needs to know someone's father or their family - tell him one and he knows the other. Boromir's place was important: so important that it could be conveyed implicationally. As is traditional, this implicational identification is later made explicitly, but it's courteously left to Boromir to declare who is in his own manner.
    This is similar to what Troelsfohas said, but it's an important difference that the agency here lies (I think) with proper manners, and not with any particular desire on the part of Boromir (whether arrogant, suspicious, or simply reserved). I'm also not really sure this just reflects an artefact of drafting - I'm not sure it's really a mistake that has to be 'explained away'. It's more just Tolkien writing archaic mannerisms in a way that was (as is evident from many other texts) perfectly natural to him.
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  10. Almarëa Mordollwen's Avatar
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    #10
    Not that this helps solve the problem any, but it is perhaps worth note that in the original draft of the chapter, Elrond's introduction of Boromir was notexplicitly addressed to Gandalf, so Tolkien chose to edit that in for some reason:



    The earliest version:
    And seated alone and silent was a Man of noble face, but dark and sad.
    "This is Boromir," said Elrond. "He arrived only yesterday, in the evening. He comes from far away in the South, and his tidings may be of use to us." ("In the House of Elrond", The Return of the Shadow, p.395)
    And then in the next revision:
    And seated a little apart was a tall man of noble face, but dark and sad.
    "Here," said Elrond, turning to Gandalf, "is Boromir from the land of Ond, far in the South. He arrived in the night, and brings tidings that must be considered." (In the House of Elrond, The Return of the Shadow, p. 400-1)

  11. Rómeran's Avatar
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    #11


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Rings
    There was certainly no need for Elrond to go any further, since to those in the know this alone would have been enough to make his identity probable. I'm minded a little of Hildibrand's boast that he only needs to know someone's father or their family - tell him one and he knows the other. Boromir's place was important: so important that it could be conveyed implicationally. As is traditional, this implicational identification is later made explicitly, but it's courteously left to Boromir to declare who is in his own manner.
    I see where you're going but when only a few lines before Elrond specifically introduced Frodo by name and father's name. Furthermore, while we don't actually get a direct transcript of Elrond's words Tolkien describes to the reader:<ul>[*]Gloin (who we already know from the hobbit) and his sonGimli[*]Glorfindel (who we have already met)[*]Several other counsellors of Elrond (relationship/reason to be there implied by being counsellors of Elrond)[*]Erestor, chief counsellor[*]Galdor of the great Havens specficially mentioned as coming from Cirdan[*]Legolas is introduced as being the son of the king Thranduil[/list]And then an obviously vague introduction of Boromir which only says he's from "the South". Technically Rohan is south of Rivendell so there's nothing inherent in that statement which would imply that he was specifically from Gondor. Those "in the know" would then have to have heard of him by name specifically -- Boromir-- which itself we can't assume is thatuncommon of a name given that at least two other people in the history of M-E were named Boromir.
    So I think the introduction is notably different from the others.
    Also Even Boromir's introduction of his own lineage is only in passing:
    "..., and we spoke to our father, Denethor, Lord of Minas Tirith, wise in the lore of Gondor." (The Council of Elrond).
    As for the bold above, while I claim to be no expert on archaic formalities, but I'm unaware of the "introduce yourself" as being traditional when we so often in Tolkien's work see the phrase "son of" when used by others to introduce new people. Then again I accept that this opinion could very well be completely misguided
    I also am making no claim that this was a mistake, rather I believe it to beintentionalone way or another and am simply trying to think of the most internally consistent reason for what Iperceiveas an unusual (or at least so yet unprecedented) introduction.
    I think it possible that this was Elrond trying to tell Gandalf that Boromir wants to remain anonymous but my biggest problem with this is why? Well maybe Boromir doesn't want them to know at all. This is certainly incorrect since he eventually mentions that he is the son of Denethor. Okay so the alternative: he wants to make a point of doing it himself. But it isn't until halfway through his speech that he mentions it and only in passing (see above). Hardly the dramatic "no let me do it!" entrance. So why then bother to remain vague?


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  12. I hesitate to enter into a discussion of traditional courtesy with LotR as he is likely to know a good deal more about medieval forms that me, but I would have been more ready to subscribe to this explanation if Elrond had said something akin to “this is Boromir of Gondor” — such an introduction would certainly have been sufficient, but merely “a man from the south” appears to me to deliberately withhold information.

    As for Gandalf knowing Boromir by sight, I do agree that this is not a given thing — Gandalf had been in Gondor only three or four times from Faramir's childhood (including the first time Faramir met him as a child), and the last couple of times (the last when Gandalf found Isildur's scroll) Boromir is likely to have been with the armies and so Gandalf probably never did see Boromir as a grown man. He would, however, most likely recognize the horn (and possibly other devices or accoutrements as well) and so know Boromir's identity (the horn is mentioned explicitly, so Boromir did bring it to the council).


    Does anyone know of any precedents where the son of a ruler has been presented somewhere as merely a man from the south / east / north / west / plains / mountains / whatever? I'd be very interested in seeing such precedents.
    Regarding the motives, I admit that I am usually ready (quite possibly a little too ready) to put a rather negative spin on Boromir (perhaps in reaction to a certain gross misrepresentation of him ) — he is, in my opinion, a seriously flawed character due to his pride: none of his desire for power and lust for commanding and dominating other men came, in my opinion, from the Ring, it was all his own, and the Master Ring merely managed for him to objectify the possibility of success.

    That he was also a rather decent old chap (as long as you admired him and didn't get in his way) is not, again in my opinion, inconsistent with the above.
    Last edited by Troelsfo; 10/Dec/2012 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Updating to new Plaza formatting
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  13. but merely “a man from the south” appears to me to deliberately withhold information.



    I've framed this in terms of courtesy and manners, and maybe that was over hasty. The connection I'm really thinking of is to the allusive approach to identification taken in ancient texts. Béowulfis a ever-handy example. If there are three components to identity (name, lineage, and homeland), Béowulf is introduced in precisely the opposite manner as Boromir: we first meet him on line 194-5 as 'Higelác's thane, good among the Gauts' (Higeláces þegn / gód mid Géatum). He doesn't give his name until line 343, after he has finally been formally introduced to Hrothgár (he has already engaged in dialogue before this point, but his name is not mentioned). This particular mode of characterization has a distinct literary effect (especially insofar as the narrator doesn't supply the name), but also reflects proper courtly manners (in terms of how Béowulf introduces himself).
    Now this isn't a perfect parallel for Boromir, but I do think it is close. Boromir has arrived suddenly, and (presumably unlike most of the others) hasn't spent any time in Rivendell. At least I think it's implied that Boromir is the latest come to Imladris - looking back I'm not sure this is explicitly confirmed. His coming the night before does, however, get a special mention in the Tale of Years. The point is that the others, certainly the Dwarves, would have been properly introduced whereas Boromir might not yet have been. Elrond specially presents Frodo to the council, not something apparently done for anyone else at the start (Gandalf doesn't get this special announcement, anyway). The others are pointed out for Frodo's benefit, but are of course people who have already been properly introduced and welcomed into the House. The Dwarves at least were at the feast the night before. Being 'known' people, there would be no issue with simply pointing them out.
    Boromir was the exception, being still a stranger who had had not proper occasion to make himself generally known. Elrond respects this, but lets Gandalf know who his is without giving all the formal identifiers. I'm not sure whether 'the South' was an evasion of some sort, or (I think more likely) simply an indication of the direction Boromir arrived from on the road. This was vital for Gandalf to know, for obvious political reasons. As has been pointed out, there could be no ambiguity for Gandalf who Boromir was, once he knew the name: the horn is explicitly described the paragraph before, and it could be safely assumed that any messenger to a place like Rivendell would be of at least some importance. Elrond is therefore walking a fine line between conveying vital information, and respecting formal modes of introduction.
    As for Boromir's casual mention of his parentage, that's again in keeping with at least the literary side of this effect. He first says his land of origin: 'for verily from the land of Gondor I am come'. This is news, or at least would have been if Elrond hadn't strongly implied this already. He then hints that he was one of the final four holding the bridge in the last defence of Osgiliath, along with his brother. Here it is implied, beyond his messenger status, that he is someone of importance: it would be the duty of a great captain to hold the rear-guard. The mention of a brother would narrow the field for anyone familiar with the great families of Gondor. Only after this groundwork is laid does he mention his 'father, Denethor, Lord of Minas Tirith' (kinship, name, then finally explicitly mentioning his position). Here I might just say that Boromir's rhetorical style matches that of (some) ancient literature.
    Boromir was flawed, but not deceitful or prone to subterfuge in the slightest way. Quite the opposite, as his horn-blowing at journey's start shows (that has an interesting parallel with Anglo-Saxon law, btw - Boromir is being quite literal when he says that not sounding his horn would be to act like a thief). I find it very unlikely that Tolkien intended him to be duplicitous in any respect, or indeed anything less than proper in making himself known (if anything, I'd expect his pride to carry him too far in the opposite direction). I also don't really see evidence that Tolkien made a mistake here. I might be wrong about the details, but I think Boromir's introductions should be taken as representative of the proper way of doing things.
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  14. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #14



    Just to amplify on a point of detail: he didn't even arrive the night before. Elrond says "He arrived in the grey morning", presumably meaning just before dawn - so he's only been there a few hours. Time for a quick wash and brush-up, but not for general introductions.






    Edited by: Dorwiniondil
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  15. sam90's Avatar
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    #15


    Surely he could have said to Elrond at his arrival to Imladris that he is Boromir son of Denethor Steward of Gondor sent on this journey to seek consels. That doesn't take long to say. I've never thought about the implication of this passage before, now indeed it sounds a bit strange. I cannot think of anything certain who can explain why Elrond introduce him that way. I don't think he wanted to held Boromir in disrespect in the Council. The only reason that seems to make sense to me, which someone has mentionned above, is that at some point he wanted to stay anonymus. Perhaps on Denethor's biding? I cannot say...




    Edited by: sam90

  16. sam90, it's not necessarily a matter of having time as such to introduce himself, but of a proper occasion. One of the clearest cases where this comes up is in one of Tolkien's (many) unfinished stories, The Wanderings of Húrin. There's one scene in that tale where the lord of Brethil and wandering Húrin spend some time just standing and staring at each other, because each one feels the other ought to speak up first according to proper courtesy. Identity in general was not necessarily disclosed casually (think about how shocked Treebeard was to hear the Hobbits just give him their names), and it's pretty clear that a guest's right to declare himself properly was not a completely trivial thing in Middle-earth.


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  17. Caran Chamion's Avatar
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    #17
    I though of a passing comment that may add an additional layer to Elrond's words. Granted that one of the already put forward explanations is probably true, this one may have some additional weight. Boromir actually completes the tally for the Free Peoples' representatives at the Council. As one of the Wise, Elrond might also be pointing this out to Gandalf (also of the Wise), as a sort of aside. "Now that we have a Man who is from the southern realms, we have all those who need to be here." Something like that.

  18. Tinw's Avatar
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    #18
    Ooo, good question! It's set off several longwinded thoughts:

    First, Troelsfo's point is important: when he first wrote Council of Elrond, Tolkien did not know anything about Boromir. Check me -- I don't have HOME on hand -- but I believe that Boromir entered the writer's imagination during the writing of this scene. A man from the "kingdom of Ond" to the south was all Tolkien knew of Boromir at first. Subsequent rewritings fleshed out Boromir's backstory, but this whole section shows imperfect reworkings. That paragraph introducing Legolas was added later -- I think? -- after Tolkien decided to chuck Glorfindel (too powerful!) and introduce a lesser elf instead. The vague "man from the South" phrasing seems less strange when there were fewer detailed introductions. Gloín is a holdover from the last book, so the name-dropping is more of a tie-in, and "Frodo son of Drogo" gets a special introduction because, as Elrond himself says, few have ever come on an errand more important, and he is the Ringbearer.

    The second thing I notice, rereading this passage, is that Frodo and Boromir are the only characters introduced by Elrond in direct speech; the rest are brought in via narrative. We hear that Elrond "pointed out and named those whom Frodo had not met before," but we don't know how thorough were those introductions. For instance, did Elrond actually say, "This is Galdor the messenger of Círdan the Shipwright from the Grey Havens," or is that simply the same onniscient narrator speaking who later gives us the Catalog of Ships, er, Gondorians, entering Minas Tirith before the ignorant eyes of Pippin?

    So, essentially, we have Elrond saying, "Here is Frodo son of Drogo", then some narrative text and then "Here is Boromir, a man from the South." Stylistically, that puts Boromir last: in Tolkien's writing a place of honor, not simply an afterthought.

    Why did Elrond turn to Gandalf in particular? Gandalf was essentially Elrond's equal in any deliberations about the Ring, and Gandalf therefore had some say about (or at least deserved some account of) who was present at the Council. It's reasonable to assume that Gandalf knew everyone else present. He had already heard Legolas' news, and so must have been introduced before. He probably knew Círdan's emissary or at least could trust that Narya's previous keeper would send a trustworthy representative. The other Elves were members of Elrond's household where Gandalf often stayed. He knew Gloín and Gimli, he knew Aragorn and Bilbo... Boromir was the only dangerously unknown quantity, and Elrond needed to give Gandalf a reason for his inclusion. I say "dangerously," because Elrond and Gandalf had just received another grim lesson in betrayal, courtesy of Saruman.

    Elrond does not stop to give Gandalf a full justification on the spot, but hints that there's a good reason:

    “I have bidden him to be present, for here his questions will be answered.”
    In fact, I think Elrond is being vague not so much about Boromir, but about his questions. By saying that the Council will answer Boromir's questions, Elrond is telegraphing to Gandalf that "this Man has come here asking about the Ring!" without actually saying so until the proper moment.

    Fourth, when I read, "A man of the South," I thought about how significant that was. The Dúnedain are from the north, i.e. Arnor. Now, here, a rarity: a man of the south-kingdom, i.e. Gondor. I realize that technically Rohan may be considered south of Imladris, but that's just south, not the South. Gondor is the South as Mordor is the East, even if it's southeast, strictly speaking.

    Does anyone remember Michael Martinez's old essay about Tharbad, and about the truly remarkable journey that Boromir made to reach Rivendell from Minas Tirith? With bridges out and no roads west of Rohan, that was truly wild country, with just a few Dunlendings traveling up Greenway -- and that was to Bree, not Rivendell, whither few men from the South had journeyed since Arnor fell. Boromir's journey from Minas Tirith to Rivendell was an epic deed, M. Martinez argued (sorry, can't seem to find that old article amy longer). Admittedly Gandalf and Aragorn had made the trip, but even they had not taken it all at one go, and the wild country west of the Misty Mountains was home turf for them.

    I guess my point is that ANY "man from the South" is sufficiently remarkable to stand as some kind of introduction, as in, "Behold! By fate -- as we call it -- Gondor, from whom we have heard nothing since the days of Earnur over a thousand years ago, has sent an emissary at this critical moment." Boromir's point of origin is surprising enough that his exact identity is almost secondary.


    All that said, I think Troelsfo's point is the most important one, that Tolkien did not know Boromir's lineage when he was introduced, and it was a minor detail that never got added here during later revisions.
    Last edited by Tinw; 29/Dec/2012 at 07:39 AM.

  19. Hanasian's Avatar
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    I read this thread with interest, and many good comments are made. I will add my 2¢ a year+ later...

    When I read the Council of Elrond the first time many decades ago, I had no clue as to who he was, so it invoked a mystery about the man from the south. on subsequent readings of the books I knew that Boromir was the Steward's elder son, and I then considered Elrond and Gandalf hoping that Faramir would be the one sent north to seek annswers, because it was Faramir who had the dream.

    Anyway, to a first time reader who had no previous book-reads or someone's movie adaptation vision to give pre-conceived ideas on the matter, it worked as a method of unfolding the tale.
    Annalist, Physician, & Historian
    of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
    The Free Company of Arnor

  20. I'll add my tiny tidbit also well after the main discussion has petered out.

    I always took this statement to have coded information on several levels.

    Boromir, coming from the South Kingdom, would at least have more-recent news of events there than might otherwise be available. So Elrond emphasizes his origin in the south with this introduction.

    Yes, Gandalf would have known the heir of Denethor by name and sight at least. Therefore, introducing Boromir as "a man from the south" gives Gandalf the chance - had it been needful - to _disclaim_ Boromir's assertion of identity. A high-ranking representative of the South Kingdom certainly had a place at the Council - as long as he really was who he said he was. Gandalf could make that determination. NOT Aragorn; he had steered clear of proximity to Denethor, Denethor's heirs, and anyone who still might recall "Thorongil," since he left the service of Ecthelion back when the boys (Boromir and Faramir) were very small.

    Also by introducing him as "a man from the South" Elrond sets the stage for greater weight to the claim or Aragorn, which he (Elrond) will himself support and uphold later in the council. Considering Elrond would have known of Denethor's distrust and jealousy of "Thorongil" from years past, it would be reasonable to approach the issue of the heir of Elendil by down-playing the status of the Stewards in the eyes of one who has known the race of Numenor since its inception.
    Last edited by Ar-Eledhwen; 25/May/2014 at 02:18 AM.

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