Literature Study GuidesThe Lord Of The RingsThe Two Towers Book 3 Chapter 1 Summary

The Lord of the Rings | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings | The Two Towers (Book 3, Chapter 1) : The Departure of Boromir | Summary

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Summary

Aragorn searches for Frodo, but while he does, he hears Orcs nearby, and then Boromir's horn blowing. He runs quickly to Boromir's aid, but when he finds him, Boromir is already full of arrows and his horn is in pieces. Before he dies, Boromir admits he tried to take the Ring from Frodo, and tells Aragorn the Orcs captured "the Halflings." Feeling as though everything is in shambles, Aragorn kneels by Boromir and weeps. Legolas and Gimli find him in this posture when they arrive, having also heard Boromir's horn.

Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn lay Boromir in one of the boats, arrayed with his weapons and broken horn, and send the boat over the Falls of Rauros. Examining the fallen Orcs in the area, they realize the Orcs bear the mark of Saruman, not of Mordor. They also determine Merry and Pippin were captured, but not Frodo and Sam, who appear to have taken their packs and a boat and left alone. Aragorn correctly reasons out the answer to this riddle.

Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas decide to pursue the Orcs in hopes of recapturing Merry and Pippin, and they set off at a run.

Analysis

As Book 3 opens, Aragorn's choice—which he worried so much about—seems to have been taken from him. As often happens in The Lord of the Rings, events conspire to present one course of action as the clear one. Here, Boromir's treachery causes Frodo to flee, and the coming of the Orcs causes Boromir's death and the capture of the hobbits Merry and Pippin. Aragorn is left with a much clearer choice: Frodo is on his own, and someone must go after the captured hobbits. Frodo, too, has his choices narrowed by circumstances out of his control when Boromir tries to take the Ring. As Aragorn surmises, "Something happened ... that overcame his fear and doubt."

This chapter also says good-bye to Boromir who confesses his crime to Aragorn with his last breath. It seems his repentance has earned absolution for this betrayal; as Aragorn says, "You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace!" Boromir's smile is proof he understands his sin was pardoned.

As the three remaining members of the Company give Boromir a funeral, they sing songs referencing the west, north, and south, but not the east. This is important because Mordor is to the east—farthest away from Númenor, kingdom of the Dúnedain, which lies to the west.

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