I've been thinking lately about the way people people view canon and want to explore that a bit, but not with some sort of "here's the right way to approach the books and use them in your fanfic story" screed. I'm less interested in convincing people that my preferred approach is right (where's the fun in fanfic if we can't enjoy people playing with JRRT's stories in new and fresh ways?), than I am with looking at how the different ways of approaching canon impact the way we present different characters. So I thought I'd do a case-study. Specifically: Tolkien tells us nothing about Boromir's sexuality - no wife, no kids, no tragic lost loves. Given that, how do we fill in the gaps? I'm not actually planning on giving my own answer to that question (though I'm sure most of you can guess!). Rather, I want to sketch out some common ways of looking at canon and try to show how those different approaches shape the way people might approach a question like this.
What can I say? I'm a grad student, and a philosopher. I think big. But I think by the time I'm done with it, it will be an interesting look at this topic, and I hope it will be fun to play with for me personally.
Which brings me to the real point of this post. It's been a long time since I've read The Lord of the Rings, to say nothing of the Letters or HoMe drafts or books actually about JRRT. So I'd like some help gathering facts. I'll probably do several posts asking for quotes on different topics, but I'd like to start about Boromir.
When you write think about Boromir, what characteristics come to mind? And more importantly, why do you think of hiim that way? I'm most interested in quotes (and I'll take anything - LOTR, Tolkien's posthumous writings, early drafts, letters, or anything like that is fair game), but if you have other reasoning I'm interested in that, too. And if you don't know why you write him the way you do (or think of him the way you do, if you don't write him), feel free to go ahead and just describe how you see him - and anyone else, please feel free to fill in the gaps for where you think that characterization comes from. Pet fanons are welcome, too. If you think he had a closet passion for Haradric poetry or was infamous in Dol Amroth for that time he got drunk and woke up with a regrettable tattoo, I want to hear it, particularly if there's a why involved (or even not). Links to stories where you developed those ideas are welcome, too.
One other thing. I may include ideas you mention in my essay (with credit, of course). If you don't want me to include your idea, I'd still love to hear it; just make it clear in your comment that you don't want me to mention your idea.
So have at it! What comes to your mind when you think of Boromir? And why?