The Fellowship Defeated by Caradhras: Boromir’s Finest Moment

Boromir often gets a bad rap. Sure, he makes a few questionable decisions/inadvertently tries to take over the world, but the redemption attained just before his death is well-deserved. He may be a boastful man, full of doubts, pessimism and pride, but that doesn’t mean he’s not, at least, helpful.

When the Fellowship was stuck in the snow near Redhorn Pass and they could neither go forward nor back, it was Boromir who suggested that he and Aragorn plow a path with their hunky bodies. It’s the weirdly-ridiculous Legolas who returned to the rest of them with news of the freshly-burrowed path.

“There is the greatest wind-drift of all just beyond the turn, and there our Strong Men were almost buried. They despaired, until I returned and told them that the drive was little wider than a wall. And on the other side the snow suddenly grows less, while further down it is no more than a white coverlet to cool a hobbit’s toes.”

Thus far in the story, we’ve not heard much from Legolas, or any Elf, except Elrond. Some, such as C.S. Lewis, complained that there was too much “Hobbit-talk,” but either I never minded it or quickly grew used to it. But I think it’ll be awhile until I’m used to Legolas’ Elf-talk. When I read it, the voice I hear in my head is quick, breathy and sort of higher pitched. It’s really annoying and I hope that I can swap it for another voice someday.

Anyway, back to Boromir. Gimli’s assumption that it was the mountain Caradhras itself that threw the storm at them was, to him, confirmed. It was trying to cut off their escape. But Boromir boasts that “your Caradhras has forgotten that you have Men with you… and doughty Men too, if I may say it,” before slipping in a touch of humility, “though lesser men with spades might have served you better.”

Boromir wasn’t some Greek god snowplow. He did his best and admitted his shortcomings, even allowing that weaker men with the proper tools would have been better. He easily could have said “what need is there for lesser men with spades when you have the doughty chest-shovel of the mighty Boromir?”

He and Aragorn had plowed their way through the drift, but that didn’t mean the path was cleared enough for your average halfling. Pippin spoke up, asking how the hobbits were to make it down.

“‘Have hope!’ said Boromir. ‘I am weary, but I still have some strength left, and Aragorn too. We will bear the little folk.'” Boromir took Pipppin (calling him “Master Peregrin” without an ounce of irony). Aragorn wordlessly took Merry. They carried them through the snow and then came back for Sam and Frodo. As for Gimli the dwarf, he rode with the luggage on poor Bill the pony.

When they finally got down to a less snowy and more “safe” area, two things happened. First, very near to them there was a rock slide. Gimli, still assuming it was the mountain itself once more protesting their trespassing, assured Caradhras that “we are departing as quickly as we may!” And as if the mountain was listening, the slide ended and the snow dwindled and all became relatively pleasant.

The Fellowship was up pretty high in the hills. So high that when they saw the black crows return, they were flying in a valley below them. Here, Gandalf suggests that Gimli’s superstitions were right and that it was probably the mountain that was fighting them. “Whether they [the crows] are good or evil, or have nothing to do with us at all, we must go down at once. Not even on the knees of Caradhras will we wait for another night-fall!”

They stumbled down the mountain and finally came to a rest, but soon they would have to figure out a better plan.

A Few Notes

  • I think I blame Robert Inglis and his audio version for my impression of Legolas’ voice. He’s a wonderful reader, but his Legolas is a bit much sometimes.
  • In the early drafts, Boromir and Aragorn plow through the snow with hobbits on their backs. Honestly, that’s way cooler.
  • The idea that it might be the mountain that was trying to stop them didn’t enter into the drafts until the second version. Originally, it was just a snow storm. As Tolkien wrote, he added personality to everything, even the mountains.
  • Aragorn and Boromir – just a couple of hunks.
Camera: Ansco Shur-flash Film: Konica Pro 160 (expired)

Camera: Ansco Shur-flash
Film: Konica Pro 160 (expired)

About the Photo
This is Mt. Index in Washington’s Cascades. To me, it seems like the perfect Caradhras. In the winter months, the storms all through the Cascades, and especially along Stevens Pass, are legendary and incredibly deadly.


  • Day 152
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 751 (297 from Rivendell)
  • 43 miles to the Doors of Moria
  • 170 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,028 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Backing away from Redhorn Gate and finally leaving the trail to move towards Moria. 20th day out of Rivendell. January 12, 3019 TA. (map)

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21 thoughts on “The Fellowship Defeated by Caradhras: Boromir’s Finest Moment

  1. I love reading aloud (whether I’m the reader or the listener), so Robert Inglis’ audiobook has always been a favorite. And, yes, Aragorn and Boromir are definitely hunks. 🙂

        • Oh definitely do! It’s not as ‘fun’ as Inglis ‘, but then, it’s not really supposed to be. Also, his pronunciation of Illuvatar bugs the crap out of me.

          Did you know about Christopher Lee’s reading of the Children of Hurin? Now that is amazing.

          • So, basically, “Ainulindalë” was the most annoying book in The Silmarillion since Illuvatar is everywhere. (I would wonder how one could pronounce it in an annoying way, but I’ve never been a fan of Inglis’ pronunciation of Isildur.)
            I had no idea! Excuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor and find it immediately!
            And, speaking of Christopher Lee, have you ever heard his Christmas music? It’s priceless on so many levels.

            • I have heard it! As a fan of both Lee and metal, I found it absolutely bewildering.

              I might have oversold the annoyingness. It’s pretty easy to get used to it. Sort of. 🙂

            • I know! It’s horrible how someone can take these beautiful, BEAUTIFUL names and then just… mangle them. I can’t believe he pronounces “Isildur” “Izilder.” (Of course, that’s emphasized but… Isildur! Not “der.” “Dur”!)
              And about the audiobook by Christopher Lee… 0_0 I may be scared of the actor, but seriously THAT IS SO COOL!!!

            • You will love Christopher Lee’s CoH. Seriously, it’s haunting. But then, I could listen to that guy read ingredients lists off a bit of Pop Tarts and be utterly mesmerized.

            • *rolls on floor laughing* Probably true. I’m still sort of scared of him, though. 😛 Probably thinking he’s going to cast a spell on me or something…
              Anyway… yeah. I always notice voices before faces and even names (it’s how I distinguish characters who have lines from each other, even if they look almost identical, like Orlando Bloom and whatsisname the other guy… their cadence and delivery will be different. I guess that telling twins apart isn’t so bad.) One time my friend Iris told me about her cousins seeing a Star Wars music video… (Actually, the SW Call Me Maybe spoof!) and the cousin said Obi-Wan was cute… I thought it was so funny because he didn’t seem cute to me even though I loved his voice. 😛

  2. That’s funny. Despite listening to Inglis’ narration several times, Legolas (in my head) sounds northern Irish. 😛 And with a different cadence than Inglis gave him, too. A little more measured. (All the Elves sound more measured, pitched, and neutral than the men do in my head…)
    Anyway, I always want to hug Boromir from time to time. Not that his daddy problems were as bad as they painted in the movie, but still. He’s amazing, and everyone always picks on him. Also, why does everyone love to downplay the amazing friendship between Legolas and Gimli at the end of “Fellowship” and throughout the entire rest of the story!? That sucks in entirety, because really they are AWESOME.

    • We should both be glad the our Legolases don’t sound like Orlando Bloom. Nothing against the guy, of course, but it’s nice to have our own voice for him. (or in my case, Inglis’ voice).

      Boromir needed way more hugs.

      • Yeah. He’s okay in the movie, but in my imagination Legolas has shorter hair and brown eyes (what is it with the cinema and blue-eyed people!) Then again, in my imagination some Star Wars characters were actually inhabitants of Middle-Earth originally *cough cough* Qui-Gon is so obviously a Ranger! *cough* and one time Legolas actually ran me over while in a pillow fight with Obi-Wan… -_- Seriously, those guys get serious about horseplay. Though Eomer is probably even more serious. And Boromir is the most serious of all…
        Hard to believe that I had a hard time spelling Sauruman and Boromir before… I spelled Boromir’s name “Broromir”, and only realized my mistake when I noticed, hey, Faramir’s name doesn’t have an extra “r”! 😛
        I KNOW, RIGHT?! He did. It’s no wonder he had problems, his dad is probably too arrogant for hugs. 😛 Unlike Elrond. Elrond is probably one of the best parents in LotR, at least in my opinion. The movie wasn’t very nice to him.

        • This is literally the most insane thing I’ve ever read.

          That said, I’d have pegged qui-gon for an elf and Han for a Ranger. Elrond as a good father… Hm.. I’m not convinced, but he’s not a bad one. Just grumpy. Probably said ‘no’ and ‘because I said so’ a lot.

          • Probably. 😛 I have an insane and demented mind. *evil grin* 😛
            Qui-Gon… an Elf? That’s a bit confusing. And Han would probably get his behind kicked by Aragorn. He mouths off too much!
            True. However, I don’t think he yelled much. So… 😛 Since when have we ever seen Elrond lose his temper?

            • Qui-gon, totally Elf. If not Han as a Ranger, definitely Chewy.

              Elrond doesn’t lose his temper, but he’s cranky. Probably constipated. Poor guy. Forever.

            • Hmmm… Qui-Gon maybe a quirky hermit Elf? 😛 And yes, Chewie as a ranger is perfect! 😛 Where would Obi-Wan fit in, though? I think he might have to be half-Elven like Elrond… or something.
              Well, Elrond doesn’t seem as cranky in the books as he does in the movie. (Even if his glance is intimidating, it never says he scowled at Frodo when Frodo interrupted him in the book… Just turned to look at him.)

            • I’m thinking if the exchange between Elrond and Aragorn concerning Arwen. Cranky pants.

              Obi-Wan would be half-elven, but retain some “magical” type powers. Or maybe the Jedi are just Istari.

            • Oh. I see. 😛
              It’s possible, I suppose… Yeah, younger Obi-Wan as the impetuous, even reckless younger wizard, arguing with Sauruman all the time. X-P

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