By Erin Weeks
The Men of Gondor have a reputation that cannot be tarnished or outshone by the light and wisdom of the Elves, nor any other race of Middle Earth. They are strong, valiant, and true of heart Ė though often quick to lose hope. This is perhaps their greatest weakness, but in spite of it, any man of Gondor is a valuable ally and a worthy foe.
All of this proved to be true in the brave Boromir, son of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor. Although Boromir is present only in book two and three, he undergoes a change of heart and mind greater than most other members who lived to see through the war. The change Boromir experiences is more subtle and less obvious than any of the other characters, but the final effects and influence are far greater and more meaningful.
When first introduced to Boromir, we see a powerful and defiant man, exemplary of the legendary Men that have come to grow and prosper in the south-eastern lands of Gondor. He has the potential and the will to do great deeds, but he is stubborn and proud. During the Council of Elrond, Boromir is unreserved and reveals his true colors as a somewhat arrogant and boastful man. He is openly opposed to the idea of destroying the One Ring, and expresses his wish to use the Ring against the Enemy. This shows he is unaware of the influence and power of the Ring against both the weak and strong. Also, his cold actions toward Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, and distant heir of Isildur, seem ignorant. Even so, we find ourselves strangely attracted and curious about this tall and fair Man, Boromir. Shortly following the Council, the readerís curiosity is put to rest for a little while, when we see that Boromir will be accompanying Frodo, the Ring-bearer, and his companions in the Fellowship. The nine walkers prepare to go off on a seemingly impossible quest through treacherous lands. Although he may not be the only one with little faith in the quest, Boromir of Gondor is the only member outspoken enough to express this. Regardless, the Fellowship sets off and Boromir remains quiet and unnoticed for a time.
Boromir demonstrates his might and strength in many situations; bearing the young hobbits through snow and forest and battling the foul orcs and beasts of Khazad-dum. It is not until the company reaches the fair woods of Lothlórien that Boromir once again displays signs of old thoughts and habits. He is untrusting of the Lady and Lord of the Galadhrim, and he also presses the Ring-bearer with many questions about his thoughts and plans. Boromirís own plans remain the same as originally intended, to continue past the Golden Wood and eventually return to Minas Tirith and aid his father and his people. Around this time Frodo notices a strange gleam has come into Boromirís eyes. Boromir begins to observe Frodo intently - and it is disconcerting to him.
As soon as the company departs from the comfort of the Wood, tension grows and minds begin to wander, not only with Boromir. He becomes apprehensive and ill at ease, biting his nails and murmuring under his breath. As the Fellowship nears the crossroads between the roads to Minas Tirith and the dark lands of Mordor, much pressure builds up, and none feel it more than the Ring-bearer and Boromir.
The journey down the great river Anduin reveals the most treacherous and also valiant acts of Boromirís last days. With every day the company draws nearer to Amon Sol and the decisions they must face there. Boromir desperately desires to bring the Ring to Minas Tirith, for purposes unknown. Finally the moment Boromir has long prepared for comes: the moment for him to confront and persuade Frodo the Ring-bearer Ė who would have the most say in the doings of the company Ė into following him to the city of Minas Tirith.
He has the perfect opportunity when Frodo wanders off by himself, looking for a chance to be alone and think about the important choice he must make. Deep in thought, alone, and vulnerable, Boromir seizes the moment and follows Frodo. First he faces the hobbit with kindness and concern, acting as if the only reason for trailing Frodo is to guard him. Boromir chooses this time to discuss matters with Frodo, who becomes increasingly suspicious of Boromirís friendly face and disconcerting talk of the Ring. Ignoring Frodoís suspicion, Boromir becomes engrossed, and talking louder and bolder, he seems to forget Frodoís presence. When he finally confronts Frodo, and does not receive the answer he is looking for, he becomes irrational and loses control. His anger boils over as he tries to take the Ring from Frodo by force. It is then that the power of the Ring takes hold of his mind and corrupts his heart. A madness overtakes him, and he does not comprehend what is happening until it passes; then he is filled with remorse for the damage he caused. Frodo doesnít fully realize the influence of the Ring until now, and it teaches him a valuable lesson that he heeds.
After coming to his senses, Boromir is frantic and cannot find Frodo. He swiftly returns to camp and alerts the others, who quickly leave in groups to search for the missing Ring-bearer. Boromir does not completely explain the part he plays in Frodoís disappearance, but that is not what the Fellowship is concerned about.
The last and final moments of Boromirís life are the most crucial. He is ordered to search for Frodo with the two young hobbits Merry and Pippin. The deadly Uruk-hai warriors swarm upon them at this unfortunate moment, and Boromir knows what they are after. Now, he realizes something very important. The Men of Gondor are brave. They are willing to risk their lives for something they believe in. Boromir, son of Denethor, realizes that although he had a great desire to use the Ring, and not destroy it, the ring will eventually be destroyed or it will fall into the hands of the enemy. By taking the Ring to Minas Tirith, this would just delay the inevitable. He knew the Ring would be better in the hands of a little hobbit than the Uruk-hai, and he was willing to sacrifice his life to ensure this. He fought with a vigor not felt before, and although he failed to save Meriadoc and Peregrin, delaying the hideous orcs would give more time for Frodo to escape.
A mile away Aragorn hears the call of the horn of Boromir, but he comes too late. Boromir has few words left to say, yet he chooses them carefully and again showing how much he has learned. He talks to Aragorn with great respect, and confides in him something that he never would have done at their first meeting.
"I tried to take the Ring from Frodo," he said.
This single quote alone, the fact that the once proud and arrogant Boromir of Gondor revealed this shameful deed to Aragorn, shows how much Boromir trusts and believes him. Then, he places something even more valuable in the hands of Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
"Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed." The fate of his people, which Boromir has so painstakingly made efforts to ensure, he passes on to a man he knows will do everything in his power to guarantee his final wish.