Of Courage and Valor


“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is my favorite movie of all time and, respectively, the books as well. They hold a deep well of symbolism that means far more to me than just the outward story they tell.

My favorite character is that of Boromir of Gondor. Boromir is part of the company that was chosen at the Elven city of Rivendell to accompany the hobbit Frodo on his quest to journey to the land of Mordor to destroy the ring of power. Before this fellowship is even selected however, Boromir displays his humanness, if you will, by attempting to claim the ring for himself, wishing to take it back to his capital city of Minas Tirith to use in the fight against the Dark Lord Sauron. Against his wishes, they decide instead to destroy the ring by taking it to Mordor to cast into the fires of Mount Doom where it was originally forged by Sauron. He decides to join the fellowship to safeguard the ring’s passage on their quest.

On the trip towards Mordor, Boromir is tempted on multiple occasions to take the ring from Frodo. He is drawn by its power and tempted to use its magic to save his people of Gondor. In a fit of rage, Boromir attempts to forcefully take the ring from Frodo as they are talking with one another in the forest. Frodo escapes and, from there, decides that he must proceed on his own with the ring to Mordor. He flees but is pursued by a band of Uruk-hai. Coming to his senses from the fit of rage he was in, Boromir recovers his senses and hurries to the aid of the hobbits as they are attacked by overwhelming numbers. In the midst of battle, he blows his horn of Gondor to summon his compatriots to his side. The man who cowered and whimpered while coming to his senses after trying to steal the ring now fought heroically to save the Hobbits from the Uruk-hai. In the end, Boromir summons strength to fight against great odds, shot twice with arrows but still fighting on. Finally, a third arrow brings him to the ground, no longer able to stand. He’s then saved from a quick death from a fourth arrow by Aragorn. He later dies in the arms of Aragorn, dying the death of a hero.

All this being said, Boromir’s character traits remind me of just how flawed I am. I’m human and, when I say that, it’s certainly not a compliment. It’s an acknowledgment of my innate flaws. Everyone has them from the so-called greatest of us to the very least. Some people’s flaws are easy to see while others struggle inwardly with nary a notice from anyone around them. One kind is not necessarily worse than another but, rest assured, everyone has an issue they deal with on a regular basis. Like Boromir, we all succeed or fail at our attempts in dealing with that issue to one degree or another. Not long before his life ended, he miserably failed. However, he found the strength to ultimately succeed. In such a way, God gives us each the opportunity to also ultimately triumph. Perhaps not in such a dramatic way as dying in combat against overwhelming odds but it’s a real battle we all face nonetheless.

Whatever it is we face, it’s always a question of finding the courage and valor to fight and overcome those obstacles. For many, we fight and overcome them only to be once again overtaken by them later. Then it’s a matter of getting back up and finding the courage to face them once again.

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