The two actors who were clearest on their characters were Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean, who played the human warriors Aragorn and Boromir. They were equally clear about the fact that their characters don’t see eye to eye on the Ring and its awesome power. Aragorn respects and fears the Ring, whereas Boromir is initially against destroying it, because he believes it could be used as a force for ultimate good. But as the quest continues, Boromir is forced to change his mind.
“Boromir’s people have been in the forefront of the battles, keeping the evil forces at bay, acting as a sort of buffer zone,” explains Bean. “So through the generations, he’s become a very military-minded man who believes in strength and taking action. And that’s why his aim is to use the Ring against this evil force, rather than to destroy it. Boromir doesn’t understand the power, the magic or the implications, but towards the end, he says, “I didn’t know what I know now. It’s much more complicated, this power of the Ring.”
Mortensen continues for him. “Through his experiences in Middle-earth, Aragorn begins to understand the other species that live there, to appreciate and value the Elves, the Dwarves and the Hobbits. In a sense, the whole trilogy is about alliances being formed, about people coming together against the coming danger. So there is no one heroic figure, because the success of the quest relies on the unique qualities of the nine who make up the Fellowship. It’s the group effort that counts in the end, because the Fellowship is only as strong as its weakest link.”
But with five different cultures involved, explains Bean, it’s not always plain sailing. “At first, Boromir is very doubtful about whether we should be bringing all these different species along. I’m used to leading an army and all I’ve got is Aragorn, a wizard and this motley crew of Elves and Dwarves and Hobbits. There are many times when it seems like it’s going to fall apart, but ultimately they all know they have to stay together… It rests on these nine beings to save everybody.”
Finally, Mortensen speaks the two words that have been on everyone’s lips all afternoon: Star Wars. “Inevitably, people will compare Rings to movies like Star Wars, but I think that these characters are much more individual, original and fleshed out. Peter also went to great lengths to ensure that the relationships included all their unspoken doubts and fears. You really see that being played out, on their faces, in their actions and even in their hesitations. Star Wars was fun but it was more on a surface level: this character is good, this one’s evil; whereas in The Lord of the Rings, you get those grey areas in between.”