Secondary Character Saturday: Sean Bean; Boromir

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.


Sean Bean as Boromir in Peter Jackson's live-a...
Sean Bean as Boromir in Peter Jackson’s live-action version of The Lord of the Rings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHO: Boromir; Son of the Steward of Gonor, Captain of the White Tower

FROM: The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring is...
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring is by a Christian author, and contains Christian themes, Matthew T. Dickerson, Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings, Brazos Press, 2003, though its wide popularity means that many would not consider it a specifically Christian novel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

4 responses to “Secondary Character Saturday: Sean Bean; Boromir

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