Man Crush Monday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Roadside Reader meant to show some loving to our favourite literary males! From obvious choices like your Jace Herondales and Mr. Darcys, to more obscure or debateable characters such as the Nicolas de Lenfents or Heathcliffs of the world, here is your chance to make your case on their behalf!
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Today’s MCM is a character often villainized by readers and movie goers alike. Yet, I hold him in great esteem and find myself defending him to the death whenever I hear people attack him. Just one of the many crushes to come from Lord of the Rings, I make my case for Boromir of Gondor.
Sauron’s One Ring is an altogether evil and corrupting power, a character all of its own. It exerts its will on everyone around it. Both Gollum and Frodo were corrupted by it and neither had lived a life of warfare. Before them, rulers of men and dwarves fell away, corrupted by lesser rings. So, now the ring comes near Boromir, stalwart protector of Gondor, constantly forced in combat against the evils of Mordor right outside their gates.
Believe not that in the land of Gondor the blood of Númenor is spent, nor all its pride and dignity forgotten. By our valour the wild folk of the East are still restrained, and the terror of Morgul kept at bay; and thus alone are peace and freedom maintained in the lands behind us, bulwark of the West. But if the passages of the River should be won, what then?
`Yet that hour, maybe, is not now far away. The Nameless Enemy has arisen again. Smoke rises once more from Orodruin that we call Mount Doom. The power of the Black Land grows and we are hard beset. When the Enemy returned our folk were driven from Ithilien, our fair domain east of the River, though we kept a foothold there and strength of arms. But this very year, in the days of June, sudden war came upon us out of Mordor, and we were swept away. We were outnumbered, for Mordor has allied itself with the Easterlings and the cruel Haradrim; but it was not by numbers that we were defeated. A power was there that we have not felt before.
– Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 2, The Council of Elrond
As Captain of the Defences, Boromir grows desperate. He sees his people slowly crumbling against the evil. He cannot see a way to save them and grasps at whatever options there are. He falls, corrupted by the ring, just as all before him. The great tragedy of Boromir. He recognizes it soon after and is ashamed. Boromir knows he has failed not only his people, but himself in giving in to the whims of the Ring. He returns to Aragorn and the Fellowship a broken man.
Yet, it is through Aragorn’s task and the halflings that he redeems himself, giving his life to prolong those of Merry and Pippin. In his dying thoughts, he regrets only that he could not do more to help
[…] he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilt; his horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.
Aragorn knelt beside him. Boromir opened his eyes and strove to speak. At last slow words came. ‘I tried to take the Ring from Frodo ‘ he said. ‘I am sorry. I have paid.’ His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. ‘They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.’ He paused and his eyes closed wearily. After a moment he spoke again.
‘Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.’
– The Two Towers, Book III, Chapter 1, The Departure of Boromir
So in the end, Boromir, prideful? Yes, but selfish and power hungry? No, all he wanted was to save his people, his city, the one his family had been charged with protecting ever since the Kings of Gondor disappeared. Boromir was Gondor in human form. A proud jewel struggling against its decline, ultimately falling, but rising again thanks to Aragorn and a team of halflings.