But He Will Not Return

Author: Darkover

Nominator: Linda Hoyland

2011 Award Category: Character Study: Gondorians - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Aragorn grieves both for the Boromir who died, and the Boromir who was. A one-shot friendship/angst, with canonical character death.

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Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 10

This is a beautifully written and touching piece concerning the death of Boromir,a subject which is often written about, but very rarely does an author think to mention, as Darkover does here, that Aragorn knew Boromir as a child. I think that makes Boromir's death especially poignant in the light of that knowledge. Although, most of us,unlike Aragorn, do not expect to outlive children,as that is not the way of things,it is still heart-rending for Aragorn who still sees the child within the man. I love it that Aragorn's nature is so warm hearted and generous that he mourns Boromir as the great man and the lovable child that he was, rather than the man who in a moment of folly tried to take the Ring from Frodo. The reader feels Aragorn's grief and mourns too for the fallen heir to the Stewardship who has been cut off in his prime and died bravely trying to save Merry and Pippin from the cruel Uruk Hai. In the end it all turned out for the greater good that the Fellowship was broken, but that is not apparent until far later in the story. I am glad Boromir was allowed to die a hero and not as in an earlier and discarded version of the story, in a dual with Aragorn after joining Sauraman! I'm not a big Boromir man, but his death is one of the most moving scenes Tolkien wrote which is explored well here.

Author response: Dear Linda: You have written another excellent review, telling me your likes and dislikes about the story, and I am grateful. You are right in that it was inspired mostly by the movie scene between Mortensen and Bean, but I'm very pleased that you understood I was trying to make the story about both Boromir and Aragorn. I'm as glad as you are that PJ decided to keep Boromir's death close to canon, instead of some contrived duel. After all, Boromir's death defending the "little ones" was how he redeemed himself. And my thought was, why should Aragorn not remember and mourn the child as well as the man? He was almost guaranteed to have been at least acquained with child-Boromir, even if Boromir would have been too young to remember him. Thank you again for your perceptive review.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 8

The emotional intensity of Boromir's and Aragorn's final parting words at Boromir's death in the Fellowship of the Ring arises to a large extent from their shared love of Minas Tirith and Gondor. Darkover reminds us that for Aragorn this was not only a love from afar, but that, as Thorongil, he had known Minas Tirith very well--and therefore it is quite likely that he also knew Boromir as a child as well as a man. Going by the Tale of Years (ROTK Appendix B), it seems that Boromir was only two years old when Thorongil left in year 2890 of the Third Age, which would explains why Boromir in his turn does not seem to have ever recognized him. Boromir would have been young indeed, but not too young to show distinctive character traits. So, when Aragorn mourns the fallen Boromir, it may be that he was mourning both Boromir the man and the child he once knew, as Darkover has it here. Darkover shows us what Aragorn is thinking and remembering during that final scene with Legolas and Gimli at Parth Galen, before they send Boromir and the boat down the river Anduin. A moving and well-written gap-filler.

Author response: Dear Himring: I'm touched that you found the story moving, and that you understand that it was meant to be about Aragorn as well as Boromir. Thank you for taking the time to read this story, as well as writing such a thoughtful and detailed review. I appreciate it!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Back in 2000, I read a review that argued that Mortensen and Bean had to nail this scene, that it would be a major test of the movies' vision. And of course, they did - they both did a fantastic job. Darkover's ficlet slots in neatly and brings a moment of speculative bookverse interpolation to the moment, which I'm sure fans will enjoy.

Author response: Dear Dwimordene: You are quite right that this tale was inspired mostly by the scene in the PJ movie, but of course I added a bit of bookverse interpretation as well, as it did not in any way contradict the scene. Why should Aragorn not grieve for Boromir the child, as well as Boromir the man, as he almost certainly would have known child-Boromir? I appreciate your taking the time to read and review!

Reviewed by: Striderette  ✧  Score: 3

This is a beautifully rendered glimpse into Aragorn's emotions and memories at the time of Boromir's death. The soul of the Ranger is revealed as he grieves the death of a comrade and friend. Well done.

Author response: Dear Striderette: I am very thankful for your generous and insightful review. I'm so glad you thought I wrote the story properly. Thank you again!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

In this short scene, Darkover offers us a snippet of Aragorn's mind at such an emotional time in the Quest. His feelings here are believable and understandable, and I think it's a well-done piece.

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 3

Such a poignant look at Aragorn's grief at Boromir's death. It seems so true that the memories of a lost loved one as a child are the ones that drive grief through the heart more deeply than any other.

Author response: Dear Cairistiona: Thank you. I'm glad you thought my story captured the poignancy of the moment, and that you understood that it was about both men. I appreciate your review!

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

This is a very touching,poignant ficlet describing Aragorn's grief after Boromir's death. Darkover manages to depict Aragorn's emotions so perfectly.

Author response: Dear Ellyn: Again, you have written a very thoughtful and humbling review. I'm very glad that you thought I did a good job of portraying Aragorn's emotional state. Thank you very much.