In honor of J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday, I’m reposting my old Tolkien-related posts. Enjoy!
Almost every character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings is a giant in literature: Frodo, Samwise, Aragorn the King, Gandalf the Grey/White, they are all as famous and well-known as real heroes like Gandhi and MLK.
But as for me, my favorite character is Boromir.
Boromir plays a short role in the story, not appearing until Rivendell and then falling in the hills of Amon Hen. But for me, his story is the most impactful out of all members of the Fellowship. Allow me to explain.
Like myself, Boromir was a soldier for his country. He was a great and powerful man, but still just a Man. And by traveling in the company of the One Ring, he fell prey to its charms and its calling. Though he is the only one of the Fellowship to have done so (until Frodo himself finally gave in as he stood in the heart of Mount Doom), the Ring was a powerful weapon, and even Sauron himself, its creator, was not immune. So who can blame Boromir for failing in a test that few ever had passed?
That, I assume, is why many people don’t like Boromir. His story is short and he drove a wedge into the Fellowship.
But his failure is not the end of his story. Nearly the end, but not quite. For Boromir returns to his senses after attacking Frodo, and realizes what he’s done. Then, as the Fellowship splinters and is attacked by a horde of Uruk-hai, he lays down his life in defense of what some would term the useless baggage of the company: Merry and Pippin.
Boromir’s redemption is awe-inspiring, an image that gives me goosebumps every time: a powerful warrior surrounded by enemies, fighting until his shield is cloven, his sword is broken, and three arrows have felled him, blowing the Horn of Gondor until it too is destroyed.
And then, in his dying breath, he hails Aragorn as his king, despite his previous bitter feelings on that subject.
His ultimate sacrifice, redeeming his previous shortcoming, is what endears Boromir to me. Indeed, it so heavily influenced me that these themes (redemption and rising above the failings of your former self) are the major themes in Her Name Was Abby, the in-progress sequel to His Name Was Zach.
What do you think of Boromir? Who’s your favorite Tolkien character? Let me know in the comments!