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Did Aragorn travel into Mordor in TA 2980


Jan 19, 2002
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North West of England
This quote is from Appendix A of LoTR:

Thorongil got leave of the Steward and gathered a small fleet, and he came to Umbar unlooked for by night, and there burned a great part of the ships of the Corsairs. He himself overthrew the Captain of the Haven in battle upon the quays, and then he withdrew his fleet with small loss. But when they came back to Pelagir, to men's grief and wonder, he would not return to Minas Tirith, where great honour awaited him.
He sent a message to Ecthelion, saying: "Other tasks now call me, lord, and much time and many perils must pass, err I come again to Gondor, if that be my fate." Though none could guess what those tasks might be, nor what summons he had received, it was known whither he went. For he took boat and crossed over Anduin, and there he said farewell to his companions and went on alone; and when he was last seen his face was towards the Mountains of Shadow.

This implies to me that Thorongil (Aragorn) crossed the Anduin and headed off towards Mordor (Mountains of Shadow). If I am correct in my timings, this was in TA 2980, and later that same year Aragorn appeared in Lorien where he first met Arwen.

Two questions:

1) Am I correct in my interpretation of this passage?

2) What would Aragorn have been doing in Mordor at this time? This was (I think) before he met Gandalf.

I know it is only a single sentence, but it would be most unlike Tolkien to write something like this without good reason.
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Upper Class Twit
Dec 24, 2001
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I think I don't believe he went into Mordor at that time. I don't even think he went to Mordor when looking for Gollum many years later but who knows, I think he caught Gollum on the borders (near the crossroads? near Minas Morgul). I guess I would interpret the passage to mean that he might have turned South and gone through Ithilien and traveled to Harad or perhaps East to Rhun. At some point he did visit both of these places as he says in CoE.

But who knows?
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Jan 10, 2003
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Hmm, I have always regarded this as Aragon's attempt at foiling his movements from the people of Gondor. He might have precieved Denethor's feelings for himself and perhaps with some sudden foresight (that was the trait of his ancestors) had decided that he couldn't reveal his exact personality on Denethor because one day he might have to come back to Gondor.
How exactly did he entre Mordor? From Morannon? It seems highly plausible, from Cirth Ungol...well we find so mention that any human before F&S attempted to go that way. From the East? That seems even more highly unlikely. Most he could do was to search Ithilien, which I daresay wouldn't exactly be a place Gollum would choose for hiding. He could have gone to Harad, for a really short visit. But why would he go there?
Rhun seems out of question for me, because to reach it he would almost have to make a double round, which even for Aragon would take time.
IMO, he spent some time in Ithilen? and then went directly to Lorien.
Does it ever give the exact date when he was last seen and when he appeared in Lorien? No, I don't think so.
Perhaps he tried to scale Mountains of Shaodow inorder to find a way into Mordor?
But aren't Ephel Duath unpassable?


All Knowing Magic Cat
Dec 17, 2001
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Moving on the whim of the military
I believe he did go to Mordor because of this line in the Tale of Arwen and Aragorn. . .

It came to pass when Aragorn was nine and forty years of age he returned from perils on the dark confines of Mordor, where Sauron now dwelt again and was busy with evil.
I'm not good enough at math to figure out if this was right after he went to Gondor, but it would make sense if it was. . .I'll check the time thing. ..

He was born in 2931 and ended his service to Gondor in 2980. Nine plus one gets to 2940 plus 40 gets to 2980 so we have a winner!. . .plus the next entry about him is with him in Arwen in Lothlorin which the quote above procedes, so yes, he did enter Mordor at this point.

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