Thursday, November 21, 2013

Middle Earth Challenge, Day 21

Saddest Death
It should come as no surprise when I say that Boromir's death scene is the one that I find most sad. Boromir is, after all, one of my favourite characters - not only in Tolkien's works, but in general literature as well. There is, however a runner-up: Beleg Cúthalion from The Silmarillion. Beleg is such a great character, rather like an Elvish version of a Ranger. He is technically in the service of Thingol, Luthien's father, but Beleg is very independent. He roamed about the wilds with his strongbow (Cúthalion means strongbow) fighting against Morgoth, sometimes single-handedly, sometimes joining up with bands of Men and aiding them in their battles. He was good friends, and brother-at-arms with a man who is probably Tolkien's most tragic character, Túrin Turambar - a man upon whom Morgoth had lain a curse of truly staggering misfortune. Beleg died rescuing his friend from Morgoth's dungeons. Túrin, who had been grievously tormented during his captivity, mistook Beleg for an orc, and killed him. I had to choose a character from The Silmarillion, whose death had the biggest effect on me, it would be Beleg.

However, getting back to the matter at hand. I always cry over Boromir's death, in the book and in the movie, even though I know full well that it is coming, and you'd think I'd be over it by now. The first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring, I was devastated by that scene. I bawled by eyes out. I was in practically in mourning for a couple days afterwards. It is, in my opinion, one of the best scenes in the entire trilogy - it is beautiful and heroic, and glorious and tragic... That look on Boromir's face, when he gets hit the first time, and looks up at the hobbits. He knows he is going to die, but he just keeps fighting, until he literally cannot stand up again... Boromir was a never a greater hero - not even when he re-took Osgilioth - than he was at that moment.

Of course, being me, I ended up looking up all the Elvish lyrics in the soundtrack, which both added to my appreciation of the scene, but also made it ever harder to watch than before, because this is what they are singing behind all that action:

Ú-velin i vegil an aegas                              I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness
Egor i bilin a linnas                                    Nor the arrow for its swiftness
Egor i vaethor an aglar                              Nor the Warrior for his glory
Melin i mar i beriar.                                   I love the homeland which they defend.
I alda helda, i ehtelë lína.                          The tree is bare, the fountain still.
Manna lelyalye Voromírë?                         Whither goest thou Boromir? 
Cánalya desse sí massë                              We hear you but cannot find you
Melin i mar, I mar, I beriar                         I love the homeland which they defend.
Ú-velin i vegil                                             I do not love the bright sword

All of which is 'Canon' - that is, all of the lyrics are lifted right out of the books, translated into Elvish, and while the music is quite beautiful on its own, that added depth makes it heartbreaking.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Middle Earth Challenge, click here.

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