As I write this, I am celebrating my 25th birthday. Damn, I feel old. Wanna hear something else that makes me feel old? The first installment of The Lord of the Rings is now 15 years old. 15! After having watched the films about 4 million times since their release, I still find myself in an endless argument about who the epic trilogy’s greatest character really is.
I hear you, “It’s Sam, right? Gotta be Sam!” Well, unfortunately you are wrong. As brave and adorably Hobbity as Sam is, he is pipped to the post by LOTRs' most underrated character, and it’s greatest hero, Boromir. Shock, horror, you call the police, I’ll hide in the basement! But wait, just hear me out, and by the end of this blog, if you don’t agree, I’ll give you your money back!
So, here we go, 9 reasons why Boromir is LOTRs' best character:
1. The Ring Targets The Most powerful Member
Yes, Boromir does eventually give in to the power of the One Ring, but you have to question why the Ring targets Boromir. Gandalf rejects the power of the Ring much earlier in the film, so naturally, the Ring targets the next most powerful, Boromir. You only have to re-watch any of Boromir’s fight scenes to know this is a guy who can handle himself, so why wouldn’t the Ring focus its attention on him? But more on that later. See, even the One Ring knew that Boromir was the best character, and it’s an inanimate object. #JustSayin
2. He Cares Dearly About The Hobbits
We all loved the Hobbits, and we weren’t the only ones. Throughout The Lord of the Rings, Boromir exhibits a huge capacity for love, particularly with the Hobbits, as exhibited in the heart-warming scene when teaching them how to fight. Boromir is the only one to consider the health and safety of the Hobbits during the dangerous trek across the pass of Caradhras, and eventually makes the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to save the lives of Merry and Pippin. In my opinion, its the ultimate act of heroism throughout the trilogy. *Cries single tear*
3. He's Only Trying To Do What He Believes Is The Right Thing
Most of the criticism of Boromir stems from his ultimate desire to get the Ring. But I ask you the question: Why? Boromir is never vague about his motivations, he’s only trying to save the people of Gondor and Minas Tirith, who he has tried desperately for years to defend. To quote: “I ask only for the strength to defend my people.” An additional scene in the extended version of The Two Towers gives further weight to this, with Boromir’s father Denethor imploring Boromir to get his hands on the Ring at all costs. Heroic defender + dutiful son = top guy!
4. The Men Of Gondor Love Him
In that same sequence from The Two Towers, soon after Boromir has performed yet another act of heroism, the men of Gondor cheer for their Captain and leader with enthusiasm. How many other people on Middle-Earth can command such respect and authority? Maybe Aragorn, and at a push Theoden (before that epic cavalry charge, so many memories), so let’s try and give Boromir the respect he deserves, OK?
5. He's One Of The Lads
Of course, Boromir is such a stand-up guy, he doesn’t see himself as some heroic leader, he’s one of the lads. After saving Osgiliath from the clutches of Mordor for the umpteenth time, does Boromir gloat, does he regale passers-by with tales of his heroism? No, he shares an ale with his men, just like a normal guy. Amazing, simply amazing!
6. He Is An Excellent Big Brother
I wish Boromir were my brother. We all know Boromir and Faramir’s dad is a bit of a turd blossom (thank you Star-Lord for that one), and is vile toward his youngest son, but Boromir is always there to protect his baby brother, like any good brother should. You can really see the love between the two brothers, which is evident in Faramir’s reaction to his brother’s death. LOTR is blessed with some great character relationships, and I for one am disappointed we never saw more of this particular relationship.
7. It Takes Three Arrows To Kill Him
So after fighting approximately 4,000 orcs, saving Merry and Pippin in the process, it takes that big, ugly boss orc three attempts to down Boromir. How many arrows can you take in the chest before you need a break? Seriously though, this is the most heroic moment from the entire trilogy, and regardless of his scene with Frodo a few moments before, you can’t help but feel sad for the fallen hero. His final words with Aragorn give the character the redemption he deserves before we lose him forever. Stop, you’ll only set me off again. *Weeps hysterically*
8. He's Played By Sean Bean
Need I say more?
9. He's Even More Epic In The Books
Finally, for you non-readers, Boromir is even more epic in the books, his strength and heroism even more evident in Tolkien’s words. Tolkien was never in any doubt about Boromir’s valor, but his death was necessary to embody the shift in power to the Hobbits and away from more traditional heroes (read my dissertation for more on this). If you haven’t read the books, do so, right now, it is one of English literature's greatest gifts to us.
So you see, Boromir really is the greatest character in the LOTR trilogy. Mission accomplished!