Those of you who have been reading this blog for a bit will recall that March featured Secondary Characters played by the wonderful Alan Rickman. This month I thought I’d focus on another terrific secondary character (mostly) player, Sean Bean.
WHO: Boromir; Son of the Steward of Gonor, Captain of the White Tower
FROM: The Lord of the Rings
BY: J.R.R. Tolkien
PUBLISHED: July 29, 1954
PROS: Boromir is honorable, noble, strong, brave, couragous , a natural leader, loyal to Gondor and a great big brother.
CONS: His single minded desire to protect his homeland blinds him to the dangers of the Ring. He questions Gandalf’s leadership of the Fellowship and Frodo‘s ability to carry out the task of destroying the Ring. He is stubborn, proud, arrogant. He’s afraid of the Elves of Lothlorien and things start to sour in his relationship with the Fellowship after they’ve passed through the forest.
MOST SHINING MOMENT: Fights to the death in an attempt to keep Merry and Pippin safe from the Orcs.
LEAST SHINING MOMENT: His attempt to take the RING from Frodo. His motive — to take the Ring to protect Gondor — may have been noble, but it is misguided. And he breaks the trust and the bond of friendship of the Fellowship when he tries to take the Ring from Frodo. At first he tries to cajole the hobbit into turning the Ring over, but when that doesn’t work he attempts to seize it physically. Frodo has to put the Ring on to escape (he disappears, but it also alerts the Orcs to his location.) Boromir recovers his senses, but the hobbit knows he can’t trust him anymore. Frodo must go forward on the quest alone. (Until, of course, his faithful servant/friend Sam tags along too.)
WHY SEAN BEAN IS SO GOOD IN THE ROLE: Despite the fact that Boromir dies a third of the way through The Lord of the Rings Trilogy he is still one of the most interesting characters. He’s a leader of men, but Tolkien hasn’t seemed to decide if MAN is really a redeemable species. If the battle for Middle Earth was between Hobbits / Elves and Orcs … things would be so much neater. The battles would be black and white. You’d know who to cheer for. But Tolkien throws in Dwarves and Men — greed, pride, doubt, all kinds of deadly sins — and suddenly the lines are not so pristine. When Peter Jackson made is epic 2001 (yes it was 12 years ago!!!) movie of the book he couldn’t have picked a better actor to play Boromir. Sean Bean has a look of tired conflict written all over his face. He’s not a man to be messed with. He’s a soldier who has been fighting for decades to keep his country safe, and he will do anything to further that goal.
But Bean’s performance is multi layered too. He’s gentle, playful, and protective of the hobbits as they take their long journey.
But there’s heart ache there too…
The perfect flawed hero. And a truly human performance.
What other Sean Bean roles do you think we should discuss? Drop me a line and let me know.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (hesnersfilmcritiques.com)
- Epic pictures of Lord of the Ring Characters! . . . Okay, maybe ‘cute’ is more accurate. . . (cloudswonders.wordpress.com)
- Secondary Character Saturday: Samwise