Boromir: Music (&c.) Observations

From: Odds & Ends - Not quite themes but interesting, nonetheless.


These are just a few observations, notes, and thoughts about (or connected to) Boromir.

BOROMIR'S 'GOLLUM' - I think I hear a little gollum sound come out of Boromir after he tries to take the Ring from Frodo.

BOROMIR'S REDEMPTION, WOUNDING, AND DEATH - Just a look at the music used during Boromir's final scenes.

DENETHOR'S VISION OF BOROMIR - We hear hints of Ring music as Denethor has a vision of his dead son. Is a lust for the Ring (or Sauron through the not-in-the-movie Palantír) affecting Denethor?


As I was working on details for the The Fall of Men theme, I sought to record the theme as it's heard in the movie when Boromir is taken by the Ring near Amon Hen, As is my procedure, I started recording a little before the music starts and let it run a little after it ends. As I went to snip off the end, I noticed something. After Boromir shouts, "I see it in your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron. You will betray us." and then curses Frodo and all the Halflings, he stumbles and makes a series of sounds (oofs and uhhs), then quietly... in the midst of those sounds... one hears a throaty 'gollum'. 

In my sound sample (below), I've amplified the 'gollum' sound since it is quiet and to amplify the whole clip makes the dialog and sounds too loud. But I have not tinkered with the file otherwise.

I also noticed that Boromir, once he stumbles and fall, doesn't get right up. As he's cursing, he's more half crawling on all fours. It kind of struck me how 'Gollum-y' it was however.


This is almost a suite of music that accompanies Boromir's last minutes in Middle-earth. This material has been present on my site since it debuted. I don't know if there is a clear benefit to maintaining this central look at the music. The elements you see below are all covered in various places elsewhere. But I have such a fondness for this -- being not only part of my first work on the score but also being a piece of work that highly moved me [*see below] -- that I don't think I could bear to delete it. I am not offering sound samples. Just put on the movie and watch it. :-)


Merry and Pippin's most excellent diversion:

Merry and Pippin are trying to divert the Uruks attention away from Frodo and it's working. They look around to realize that they are terribly outnumbered and overpowered. But Boromir is coming. He is running, running, running to intercept the Uruks before they reach the Hobbits. (I love this shot of Boromir running.) An adult choir sings lyrics from the Ring Verse, the same source text for the Wizard Fight. When I first compiled this music together as a suite, I didn't know what the source text was. But even though identifying the source text as the Ring Verse confirms this music represents the Uruks, I still think it works well to keep it here. The time stamps are HERE.



Boromir has behaved quite badly with Frodo but, horrified as he is at his behavior, he's rallied to come to the aid of Merry and Pippin. He is outnumbered by the Uruks, and Merry and Pippin fight along side. The lyrics sung here (by an adult choir) are an Elvish restatement of Faramir's words (The Death of Boromir, part1) in TTT (book), ‘I do not love the sword for it’s brightness or the arrow for it’s swiftness. I love only that which they defend.’ ( TTT, Book 4, Chapter V, The Window on the West) The singing stops just as Lurtz pulls his bow to shoot Boromir. Time stamps are HERE.



This music changes once Boromir is wounded. All background noise drops out and only the sweet but melancholy boy's choir with orchestration is heard. The lyrics are The Death of Boromir, part2. Even after three arrows penetrate his chest, Boromir continues to fight. Time stamps are HERE and HERE. This music is part of the theme, A Noble End (in the category, Middle-earth: All Shall Come to Darkness).



A halting piece of music plays as Aragorn comes to the mortally wounded Boromir. Boromir confesses. "I have failed you all." But Aragorn disagrees. "No, Boromir. You fought bravely. You have kept your honor." Boromir despairs, "The world of Men will fall and all will come to darkness." Aragorn will not give up hope and Boromir dies declaring him, "My Captain. My King." This music is also part of the theme, A Noble End.



Immediately after his death, a sparse boy's choir (it almost sounds like a single voice...) sings with no orchestration, joined after a moment by humming. The lyrics are the first line from Faramir's words (The Death of Boromir, part1) , ‘I do not love the sword...' Time stamps are HERE.


[*] When doing work on the soundtrack, I often find myself listening carefully to the audio track of the movie through headphones, but not watching the images. Somehow, this can heighten the emotional experiences of scenes for me. There are many poignant moments in the movie + soundtrack experience, but this segment is, for me, the most poignant. I will repeat what I said in the first version of my website: "I defy anyone to put their disc in the computer, pop on headphones and watch this scene without crying."


Denethor confronts Faramir upon learning that he did not bring the Ring to Minas Tirith. "Boromir would have remembered his father's need. He would have brought me a kingly gift." Denethor spits at Faramir. Faramir disagrees. "Boromir would not have brought the Ring. He would have stretched out his hand to this think and taking it, he would have fallen. He would have kept it for his own and when he returned, you would not have known your son."

This sends Denethor into a rage and as he shouts back at his son, he stumbles. Faramir runs to him crying, "Father."

There's a hint of the Sauron/History (aka Evil/History of the Ring) hybrid as Denethor's eyes change from the anger to love. "My son!" But a moment later we realize he's seeing -- in a vision? -- his 'other' son, Boromir.

Does the Ring have something to do with this hallucination or does it hint at Sauron's influence via the Palantír or is it just Denethor's yearning for the Ring that is bending his mind toward hallucination? I've also noticed that Shore is using the Sauron/History hybrid to show Denethor's fascination and yearning for the Ring but not the Seduction Theme. I suspect he's saving the Seduction Theme for those in direct contact with the Ring.