Author: Sakura123 (weber_dubois22)
Category: The Lord of the Rings
Pairing: Boromir & Eowyn
Spoilers: Well, there are only spoilers if you’ve never watched the film or read LOTR.
Length: 3560 words 19948 characters (not including the "fandom" section)
Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings and all things related are property of the J.R.R. Tolkien/Tolkien Estate, Peter Jackson and Newline Cinema. I own nothing save the essay you are going to read.
Note (EDIT: 3/222/2011): This was originally intended for ship_manifesto, but their moderators have been on haitus for so long that I totally forgot about this and only when I remembered it did I just forget about the whole thing. This was my first fandom essay in about five years; it's probably clunky, but regardless, I hope you enjoy reading it.
Banner: Veiled Vesta @fanfourm.com
In a series like “The Lord of the Rings” romance takes third place to its storyline and numerous side stories. What romances there are are few and far between the characters, with the only major or memorable ones being between Aragorn/Arwen, Faramir/Eowyn and Sam/Rosie. None of which really interested me, despite being either cannon or endearing to read or watch in either medium of LOTR. So it is no surprise that the one couple that gets my pulse up, in a “holy shit, that could actually work” sort way, is one of created out the fandom ether.
A romantically involved Boromir and Eowyn was introduced to me around the age of either sixteen or seventeen when I stumbled across a story called “To Hate, To Love” by an author named Rosa Cotton and since then, its an idea I always wanted to see explored beyond the “arranged marriage” angle that’s always used. Given their personalities, this is definitely a dynamic that could really work if you ignore three cannon factoids: a): Boromir’s lack of interest in marriage and complete devotion to the life of a soldier; b): Boromir’s death; c): Eowyn’s inevitable marriage to Faramir.
With that said, let us get down to business.
Depending on who are, one or two things identify Boromir. He is a misunderstood character in a long line of misunderstood characters or he’s the man who tried to take The Ring from Frodo Baggins. (I'm generalizing, here.) The son of Denethor and Finduilas [of Dol Amroth] and elder brother of Faramir, Boromir was born in the year 2978 of the Third Age and groomed to take his father’s place as the steward and general of the armies of Gondor (or rather, Minas Tirith). His personality is that of a headstrong, loyal and single-minded man who has a tendency to question the motives and decisions of others.
Boromir is beloved by most in his country, he cares a great deal for Gondor, his people and most of all, his family. Despite the differences between himself and his father, Denethor, their rapport is healthy enough (though it borderlines on idolization at times). If there is a strain between them, it is only because Denethor appears to think of less of his youngest, Faramir. No matter who you are, that has to be a disappointing thing to witness in a family and it certain seems that way as presented in the adaption of The Two Towers (Extended Edition). Ironically, the high regard in which Denethor holds Boromir has not put a strain on the brothers. If anything, their relationship is as strong as it is because of it. As the Captain-General of Minas Tirith, Boromir is at his best on the battlefield, where most of his energy and latter life is spent fighting Mordor. As to what he does when he's not fighting or with his family is a thing of mystery to me (though one can speculate there's plenty of paperwork to keep him busy).
Given the implied sense endless fighting he's undoubtedly to have been apart of prior to his journey to Rivendell, Boromir is less inclined to readily accept the ideas of others, unable to see beyond his country’s plight and believes because Gondor is taking the brunt of Mordor’s blow, other countries have been spared the worst of it. To give a sense of his loyalty, when Gandalf (or Elrond, I forget which one it was) implies that Rohan’s loyalty is doubtful, he is quick to jump to their defense, saying that there is no possible way that Rohan is for Mordor and to think so is rather ridiculous. In regards to his relationship with the members of the Fellowship, its more or less implied that he’s a bit of an outsider (moreso than say, Gimli), no doubt because of his opinion on the use of the Ring. Everyone’s got their eye on him.
Regardless, he proved an invaluable asset to the Fellowship’s defense and welfare; Their attempt to pass over the Misty Mountains and Caradhras is the most obvious display of his attentiveness towards the group‘s endurance, hinting at the need to rest or plowing a path through the deep snow of Caradhras before they were ultimately thwarted by the mountain (and/or Saruman‘s blockade). Whether or not this is an impression left by the films, Boromir is undoubtedly closest with Merry, Pippin and Aragorn (the latter of which he seems to accept as king of Gondor a little better than he does in the movieverse). He bumps heads occasionally Aragorn and Gandalf whenever he dispenses advice or his knowledge on certain things on the journey --- most especially when he doubts the leadership skills of either one. If I‘m not mistaken, appears to pout a bit when his opinion is rebuked by either man as well.
In the both mediums, Boromir’s personality paradigm is showcased in both a positive and a negative. In the novels, “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Two Towers”, Boromir does not come off as the most likable character out of the fellowship. He’s a brave man and a honorable one to be sure, there’s no doubting that, but the way he’s written makes him come off as quick to frustrate or anger (my mouth literally fell open in shock when I was reeducated in who tossed the stone into The Watcher’s resting place outside Moria). Not to mention he is a tad impaitent in certain situations during his time with the fellowship. His superiority complex is more apparent in the novel than it is the films as well.
I don’t think he’s that different in the film, it’s just that the screenwriter’s (and by default Sean Bean) play up the more charming and likeable aspects of his personality through his relationship with Merry and Pippin. They go a step further and give viewers and readers what is touched upon in the books, and illustrate his relationship with Faramir (and Denethor) in the Extended Edition of “The Two Towers (2002)”. It’s one of the many liberties they take with the character that work more in his favor than against him. Peter Jackson and co. also give his killer a face through the Uruk-Hai leader Lurtz, thus giving his death so much more impact and gravitas. In novel version of “The Two Towers” Boromir is skewered by a hail of arrows from a group of nameless Orc and manages to live long enough to express, briefly, his regrets to Aragorn who arrives too late to help him. While that is true to life, there was always something so rushed about “The Departure of Boromir” that just left me feeling empty, wondering aloud “wait, that’s it?” Whereas in the film adaptation his more theatrical death leaves me mourning over the fact that he had to die so early in the series.
The most attractive attribute of Boromir’s character is that he pretty much serves as one of the many archetype’s for a fallible character and the most relatable character in “Fellowship of the Ring”, depending on how you look at him. He is not a hero the traditional sense like Faramir (especially in the bookverse), however, it doesn’t make him any less of one either. Though he has good intentions driving his desire to use the ring (at first), he would rather ignore the signs of danger and use a weapon that has proved repeatedly to corrupt and ruin those who are not its master (Sauron).
His death was not a punishment for his actions against Frodo, but rather an unlucky turn of events. (It’s also how Tolkien wanted to end his storyline). Perhaps if he had his shield, or his comrades had been closer to where he was, he might have lived. We’ll never know, we can only speculate. Boromir’s passing is one the most tragic of endings for a character in Tolkien’s legendarium of Middle Earth.
The sad fact of the matter is that no matter how much you tout his positives and negatives, most will never remember him beyond his death and that one moment weakness when the Ring was in reach and his willpower was at his weakest, because honestly, that’s all there is for him, isn’t it? Thus, I think that is why the fantasy of what his life might have been continues to be a compelling subject for Boromir fans. One that is ultimately a hit-and-miss formula, no matter how well written it may be.
#002: Eowyn - The Shieldmaiden of Rohan;
Now Eowyn as a character surprises me, especially in the books. There is so little of her character in “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King” that I sometimes wonder why she is such a popular character to begin with, but the fierceness of her personality leaves such an impression that you can’t help but wonder about her. The daughter of Eomund and Théodwyn (as well as sister of Eomer, niece of King Théoden and cousin of Theodred), Eowyn is typically touted as a role model for young woman [everywhere] and a rather radical character considering Tolkien’s era.
She is a young woman born into privilege and carries the rank of shieldmaiden --- who, in Scandinavian folklore and mythology, were women chosen and trained to be warriors --- a title, which apparently serves only as a last defense if [all] the men of court of Meduseld die in battle. At the mere age of three years, she and Eomer loose their father, Eomund, to Orc ambush and later their mother, Théodwyn, who expires from the grief of loosing her husband.
In wake of his sister’s death Théoden, takes them and raises them alongside his son, Theodred. Like any of the woman of her age, Eowyn is destined to be known only for her beauty and married off to a respectable man in want of a wife (whether it is for an alliance or the general necessity to keep her line alive and thriving). Eowyn also serves as caretaker of her uncle when he becomes ill after being poisoned by Grima Wormtongue (or Saruman, in movieverse). Her station in life depresses Eowyn; this is not the life she wants to lead.
What Eowyn really wants is be treated to be like an equal among men, to be respected as a warrior trained to defend the country she loves and to gain notoriety for her deeds on the battlefield. However, everyone is quick to remind her that her place is not on the battlefield, but waiting in the wings in Meduseld, farewelling the men as they ride to battle and looking after Edoras in the king’s absence.
During the remaining Fellowship’s stay in Rohan, she falls in love with Aragorn, who she admires, for not only his ideals, but also the promise of becoming a queen at his side (so to speak). In the adaptations of the last two films, Eowyn’s feelings for Aragorn are made more apparent through her insistence of wanting to remain at his side (especially before the battle of Helms Deep) and the general attention she pays the ranger from the north. However, in the end, whatever hopes of understanding she sought from Aragorn were crushed when he also took the stance against her fighting and told her that she was in love with an “ideal” and not Aragorn himself.
Thus, the only way Eowyn ever gets to fulfill her desires is under the guise of the alias and a helmet that masks her overt feminine features. As Dernhelm, she achieves, for a moment, the glory on the bloody battlefield she so longed for and with the help of Merry, leaves a supreme impression on the reader/viewer when she kills the [invincible] Witch King of Angmar. Thus, her great deed is achieved, but almost at the price her life. While Eowyn never obtains what she wants from Aragorn, I think the chance to fight as the warrior she was a better pay off in the long run, even if his rejection was really apart of her motivation to resort to the disguise.
For all the great things about Eowyn, my first impression of her character, particularly in the movieverse, was a whinny young woman. I never liked the fact that when she was given a task (“look after your countrymen, sister-daughter”) she protested and always wanted to fight instead. You would think that at 24 years of age, Eowyn would learn to put aside her own desires and think about the people in need of her guidance. Another irksome thing about Eowyn’s character arc was how quickly she and Faramir were thrown together. I know both the film and the book give the impression of the passage of time between them, but it happens so suddenly in [the book] that I could never buy it. I just went with it. It’s yet another element that I think Tolkien rushed in order to wrap up her storyline so he could return to the core of his epic tale.
No, I wasn’t expecting pages of exposition for their relationship, but I would have been a lot happier with the implication that a bond was still growing instead of Faramir proposing and declaring his love to Eowyn and Eowyn, after little argument, accepting it. I think it’s why I could swallow it a little better in the film because of the implication of a relationship blooming between them instead of immediate romance and marriage (even if it was because of time-restraints). Other than that, Eowyn’s character is one I have come to adore more and more whenever I reintroduce myself back into the LOTR universe, which only speaks in volumes to the strength of her character.
From what little fanfiction there is for this ship, there is not a lot of variety in terms to how they come to be together. Under the assumption that neither of them know each other beyond reputation, some writer’s like to depict them as the unwilling part of an arranged marriage for alliance purposes between Gondor and Rohan. In addition, given what we know about either character, they are either submissive/understanding about the decision or outraged that the decision was made for them. Eowyn especially is characterized as the ‘outraged’ party in the situation, using vowing to loathe Boromir before she ever sets eyes on him, seeing it as another bar of her caged lifestyle.
Boromir’s characterization falls between dismayed about loosing his bachelorhood to a girl seventeen-years his junior or understanding and sympathetic toward the fact that Eowyn will have to marry him (the latter showing off more of his empathic side as opposed to the first). This may or may not change upon their meeting.
If Eowyn is resentful toward the proud Boromir, it usually triggers an equal sense of resentment in him as well. This leads to the ever popular back-and-forth of witty banter and heated arguments as seen in contemporary films or novels. However, if Eowyn is simply morose towards the situation, Boromir is more inclined to be diplomatic in his approach to dealing with her. He would want make the best of an otherwise unhappy situation, and whether or not she obliges to his attempt really depends on her opinion of him. Either way, she will not be happy about this situation and as if to hint to their cannon relationship, befriends Faramir --- who is placed into the tale to act as the sympathizer and buffer between the standoffish two parties. Maybe even a love triangle catalyst if done properly.
This scenario is a familiar one; It’s Pride & Prejudice (or Taming of the Shrew), the “I hate you, but will come to love you eventually through some myriad series of events that will help us get to know each other better” plot. They will spend half their time in a state of opposition with each other before finally reaching a point of comfort and eventual affection for one another. Unfortunately, given that most of these tales are incomplete (with the exception of one), I can only speculate that this was how the B/E dynamic would turn out.
I have seen a few people say that the Boromir/Eowyn relationship wouldn’t work because the two characters are much too alike (or unalike) and that Boromir would be better suited to a woman who he could ‘save’ and wait upon like a doting husband (or vice versa). Someone who’s manner is more like his brother’s (which makes me wonder if they’re implying Eowyn is simply Boromir with boobs). Eowyn is just too “free spirited” or “headstrong” for him; Eowyn would want to do things her way, he would want it his way, thus agreement between them would be a rare thing to achieve.
In my opinion, Boromir doesn’t strike me as the type of man who wants a damsel-in-distress or lady-in-waiting, rather someone who could meet him at the same level of capability. Someone who can handle herself so he doesn’t have worry about constantly and shares his passion for battle (for whatever reasons) and love of his or her homeland. (Among other things, because I‘m sure Boromir does other things and is not a 24/7 warmonger. )
In Eowyn’s case, the majority say Faramir works for her because of his understanding and sympathetic nature. Both of them are pretty much in need of the other and it‘s at the right place and at the right time that their relationship comes to be. He does not tame her, but he does calm her down a bit. Essentially the consensus is that Boromir and Eowyn would clash far too much because of their certain similarities, but for me, I think that is exactly why they would work.
SECRET REASON: I was tired of reading Boromances (Boromir/OFC).
PRIME REASON: The attachment to this couple was more or less borne out of the idea that like his relationship between Eomer/Rohan described in the chapter “Riders of Rohan”, and something of given with book!Theodred, that there could be a relationship between them on the basis of general familiarity with each other and his obvious survival. I really don’t see the two of them becoming romantically involved unless they know each other from the inside-out, otherwise it’s just sexual tension that will clearly be trumped by Aragorn and Faramir‘s, erm, general proximity to Eowyn. They have to know each other so well that spontaneous flirting or casual conversation (as he might have with Eomer or Theodred) wouldn’t be out of the question for either of them.
I ship B/E under the assumption that on what little free time Boromir might have been able to devote to aiding or visiting Rohan, he and Eowyn crossed paths enough that they could become best friends. Despite that, to my immediate recollection, there is absolutely no implication in either, the books or the films that they know each other. I also like to think that as a child Eowyn might’ve developed a bit of “hero worship” for Boromir if he visited Rohan during his youth (and by youth I mean early or mid-20s, since Eowyn was only baby in Boromir‘s teen years). Another reason I ship these two together may have something to do with Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe”, or rather, Richard Sharpe and two of his relationships.
No, I’m not saying “Boromir is Richard Sharpe” or vice versa (though due to their shared actor, I flirt with the idea a lot). I saying that the particular relationship this character has with women like Teresa Moreno and Lucille Castineau (both of which remind me of Eowyn on some level), make me believe that this how Boromir would approach a relationship with such a strong willed woman like Eowyn. A bit rough on the introductory level, but as time goes on they become friendly with each other and eventually fall in love after a bit of hesitating on the confession of one affections for the other. Only there would be no cheating with whores or being accidentally shot by a Blunderbuss, because the latter does not exist in Middle Earth and Boromir wouldn’t chase wenches once he is a committed man.
So there you have it. Given that I little or no experience in the Essay area I hope I did well enough job on the illustration of my reasons for this ship and it doesn't come off too rantish.
Outside of a couple dozen fan fics, the fandom activity for this pairing is literally non-existent with the exception of maybe myself.
Fanfiction That You Should Read:
Below are a list of Boromir/Eowyn stories you should really take a look a look-see into; the finished ones, I.E., the short stories, are brilliant, the Discontinued (under the pure assumption that the stories have not been updated for ages) or Work In progress (hopefully) stories really have the potential to be something great if the author ever returns to them to complete them. For more Boromir/Eowyn stories check out Fanfiction.Net, because honestly, that's the only place I've been able to find stories for them both and there's only a total of 16 stories (listed under the names Boromir & Eowyn) if you include mine which is also in the list.
- Torment Waking or Sleeping / (rosa_cotton)
- To Hate, to Love / (Rosa Cotton)
- Home / (Rosa Cotton)
- A Picnic / (Alcarin Elen)
There is another story on ff.net (under Boromir/Faramir), called "Uncertain Fates" by Jedi Knight247, but its really not a E/B story so to speak. I mean, it has a "Boromir/Eowyn" dynamic but its more or less focuses on Faramir trying not to get executed (by someone, I forget who) and the subplot deals with Eowyn whinning "I can't stand that man (Boromir)" and practically running for the hills once the opportunity presents itself and Boromir searching desperately for her (until he has to leave for Rivendell). I really didn't enjoy it, but maybe you will.
boromir_eowyn (otherwise known as Sword&Shield - The Captain General & The Shieldmaiden) - Currently houses nothing at the moment save a few prompt tables and my drabble-esque stories ("Sweet Disposition").