... is my favorite character from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He is not born with supernatural abilities allowing him to live for centuries or walk through a blizzard as if a snowshoe hare, nor does his lineage secure him membership among the company of kings. The keenness of his martial skills clearly have an innate basis, but it is only in combination with his indefatigable dedication to his craft, today known perhaps as the management of violence, that he is Gondor's greatest fighter. Despite regularly emphasizing the importance of nature and challenging the cultural aggrandizement of nurture, the only trait that impresses me more than diligence is discipline. The evidence for the argument that these sorts of attributes may be no less the products of a person's genetic makeup than his height or his intelligence is growing by the day, but when my disbelief is suspended in the realm of fantasy, they seem freely adopted, not shuffled out.
Speaking of discipline, Boromir has it as well. There is no indication that he has any romantic interests at all, though as the virile, assertive field commander of the most powerful country opposing Sauron, he is an 'alpha' by just about every measure. But just as he will not take part in the sort of political jockeying that nearly destroys Rohan from within, women are a distraction he cannot afford to indulge in. Since he was a young man, Gondor has perpetually been in a state of arms. For king (acting and otherwise) and country he has unflinchingly devoted himself to the cause.
But he tried to forcibly steal the Ring from Frodo. Where is the discipline, let alone the honor, in that? Faramir restrained himself, after all. From the nearly omniscient perspective of the reader, charging the elder brother with treason is understandable. In Boromir's eyes, though, the situation is inane. Here is the single most powerful artifact in all of Middle Earth*, entrusted to a wobbly hobbit who hardly inspires confidence. The ringwraiths are after it, and at the time of the attempted theft, it has nearly been coughed up on multiple occasions. One bad break and it's lost forever. Worse, rather than heading to the only remaining obstacle in Sauron's path, Minas Tirith, Frodo appears determined to deliver the Ring directly to Mordor. Gandalf, who epitomizes the recurring folly of withholding information that crops up repeatedly throughout the world of fiction, doesn't address Boromir's concerns when he should. And why rely on the putative wisdom of Elrond and his council? The elves are AWOL in the fight for Middle Earth. Indeed, benighted humanoid flight is the name of the game for all of the alliance's inhabitants save the humans, and at this point even Rohan's assistance is up in the air.
Boromir has fought on the front lines for decades and although he has seen his share of victories in battle, slowly but steadily the war for Middle Earth is being lost. In this context, his desperation for a gamechanger is not only comprehendable, it is admirable.
When he meets his demise, the untimely rashness of the ring grab is made clear to him. By startling Frodo, he has in part caused the fellowship to be scattered at the most inopportune time. The horn of Gondor isn't enough to re-congeal it in time, and so as he has done all of his life, Boromir draws steel against impossible. This time the outcome is fatal. But as Aragorn watches the life slip away from Gondor's native son, he seems to finally assume the fiery determination required of Middle Earth's savior-king.
I've finally read The Hobbit and LoTR over the last couple of months and am currently taking in Peter Jackson's movies in a piecemeal fashion, so feel free to indulge me with criticism of my take or with analyses of your own on a favorite character in the comments.
* For all the hype, the Ring demonstrates only one ability--it makes its wearer invisible to most mortal creatures. Neat, but not exactly akin to a modern day weapon of mass destruction. I suppose we'll never really know what all the fuss was about. Keeping Sauron 'alive' was potent enough, I suppose.