Episode 180 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

The road unforeseen:
  • Not only is the idea of taking the Ring to the Fire unexpected by Sauron, but is also an unusual course for the Elves, who have almost always taken the same paths of escape or direct assault.
  • Those in Elvish history who have done their unexpected things have done so against all advice.
  • Even Elrond, who was the herald and counselor of Gil-Galad, has no experience with that choice.
  • These elves at the Council have been delegated the authority that would have been held by one of their kings in the past, and this decision will carry that amount of importance.
  • Gandalf emphasizes the unexpected nature of the opportunity to defeat Sauron that doesn’t depend on their waning strength, though taking the Ring to the Fire seems impossible.
  • Both Elrond and Gandalf have seen the workings of Providence and are choosing in that way.
  • The unmaking of the Ring itself is unforeseen by the Elves, who have concerned themselves with making and preserving things in the past, and which would undo their preservation altogether.
  • Sauron would know Celebrimbor and the other Elf-lords’ goals of preservation, so voluntarily allowing those preservations to disappear to destroy the Ring would be unexpected for him.
  • To allow the Rings to fade in power is a significant sacrifice for the Elves to defeat Sauron.
  • Elrond has said that in the Council that the Ring should have been destroyed by Isildur, but that is in retrospect, and it’s possible that at the time that he wouldn’t have seen this the same way.
  • This means that Isildur was not acting in a rogue way by keeping the Ring but doing what seemed the logical next thing in the moment, as seen by the fact that he wasn’t hindered.
  • Elrond would also be aware that the time of the Elves is passing, and for the Elves to continue to hang on to the past would do more harm than good for themselves and the world at large.
  • That means that this is more than merely strategic, but a deeper understanding of these events.
  • While Gandalf has foreseen the road to Mordor since Bag End, his question was if the quest would be Frodo’s, but this might be a shock to some of the Elves who know what it means.
Boromir stirs, without interrupting:
  • While Frodo’s internal feelings are described, Boromir’s must be inferred from his externals.
  • Boromir draws Frodo’s eye by his fidgeting, which seems to be unique among the councilors.
  • Why is Boromir fingering his great horn? The blowing of the horn is associated with a bold action, such as a journey or attack, or to call for aid, and he sees this as one of those moments.
  • The Ring may be tempting Boromir with reasonable arguments as to why destroying the Ring, instead of using the Ring to attack the Enemy, is foolish, and that the others are too timid to say.
A dead darkness in his heart:
  • Frodo seems to anticipate what is coming later, though he doesn’t allow himself to think it now.
  • In the context of Frodo’s recent wound and possible fare, this darkness is even more ominous.
  • The Ring may also be placing in Frodo the feeling of what the loss of the Ring would mean to him, though this is also Frodo’s dread, as he may also foresee what must be done, like Elrond.
  • The contrast between the external beauty around him and what he feels inside is emphasized.
  • Note: The word “dead” is important, as this is in contrast to the sense of duty and fate that Frodo feels later, which spurs him to action, where this keeps him in a place of inaction.
  • Note: The words about deadness and darkness seem more related to the spells of the Barrow-wights and other evil creatures place in the hearts of their victims to subdue them, and with general fear and foreboding, and will be spoken of in the Houses of Healing later. The despair of “dead darkness” is in opposition to both physical beauty and of estel, like Gollum’s riddle.
  • This doesn’t appear to be any possessiveness of jealousy of the Ring towards Boromir, as these feelings precede Frodo’s awareness of the Boromir’s stirrings, and before Boromir speaks.
  • The Ring also doesn’t need to be actively effecting Frodo in order to have an influence on him, as was seen in his inability to throw it in the fire in Bag End, so this may be a passive response.
  • In his heart, Frodo may not want the Ring destroyed without being aware of that yet, and this is that response to Elrond’s assertion that the Ring must be destroyed without understanding it.
  • However, Frodo has expressed his desire for the Ring to be destroyed, even if he can’t do it now.
  • Frodo was also changed by the experience of his wounding and using the Ring. He had talked casually about destroying the Ring or becoming a wraith, but he wouldn’t joke about them now.
  • We have seen people’s responses to threats of losing the Ring before, ranging from anger and jealously to Gollum’s grief, but this is the first time anyone has suggested destroying it in reality.
  • Frodo’s personal feelings about the Ring also affect him besides the effects of the Ring itself.
  • This may be a continuation of the feelings that he experienced when he brought out the Ring.
Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon:
  • Boromir choice of the phrase “the Great Ring” is important. This may be a cultural influence as a Gondorian, going back to Isildur’s own time, but it may also be revealing of Boromir’s thoughts.
  • This argument is a coherent one, but the line of thought is consistent with Ring-rationalizations.
  • Boromir seems to pick up on Gandalf’s assertion of Providence, and the opportunity to overthrow Sauron for good, but by using the Ring rather than destroying it.
  • While Gandalf has already given cautions against trying to use the Ring to Frodo in Bag End, there has not been a specific injunction against the Wise using the Ring against Sauron yet.
  • Given Boromir’s knowledge, this doesn’t seem to be an obviously questionable idea on his part.
  • Boromir’s life as a warrior makes this assertion seem completely intuitive, as in his words to Galdor of Gondor’s resistance without hope, but here the Ring brings back that hope.
  • Elrond has to allow this to be spoken in order to respond, as it was inevitable it would come up.
  • Note: In the films, the idea of using the Ring is simply impossible, rather than being possible but a very bad idea. This brings up the theme of the temptation of corrupting power, which the films avoid. There are many individuals at the Council who could wield the Ring, and even overthrow Sauron, but they understand what the final outcome would be for them and for Middle-earth.
  • However, in spite of the reasonability of the argument, this is clearly the Ring acting on him.
  • Boromir doesn’t even ask for the Ring for himself, but only that it be used by someone there. His interest is in Gondor and the defeat of Sauron, not in his own personal glory or power.
  • This could be evidence of his further rationalization, or that he has not yet fully fallen to the Ring, but that seems on the table, evidenced by the fingering of his horn, wishing to act himself.