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Aragorn

Aragorn II, son of Arathorn is one of the main protagonists from the legendarium. He is first introduced in the books as Strider, which is what a lot of characters continue to call him throughout Lord Of The Rings. Aragorn is a Ranger of the North and also the rightful heir to Isildur and claimant to the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. Being an important part of the quest to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron, Aragorn is also a confidant of Gandalf.

After the loss of Gandalf in the Mines of Moria in a battle against Balrog, Aragorn led the Fellowship of the Ring. He was the one who tracked Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took to Fangorn Forest after the Fellowship was broken. He did this with the help of Legolas and Gimli. After this, he fought the Battle of Helm’s Deep and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. To distract Sauron’s attention so that Frodo and Sam would have a chance at destroying the One Ring, Aragorn led the army of Gondor and Rohan against the Black Gate of Mordor after first defeating Sauron’s forces in Gondor.

Origin

Aragorn was born of the late Arathorn II, a descendant of the line of Numenor, and his wife Gilraen [1] in the year T.A. 2931, on the first of March. Being a direct descendant of Isildur, he is also a descendant of Lord Elrond by way of his twin brother, Elros Tar-Minyatur, who began the line of the Dunedain.

Aragorn was sent to stay with his ancestor, Elrond, in Rivendell after the death of his father by the hands of orcs. Aragorn was two years old at this time. There was growing unrest that the line of Isildur was being hunted down to prevent the return of the true king of men, being evidenced by the killings of both Aragorn's father and grandfather. At Elrond's behest, Aragorn's heritage was kept hidden so as to protect him from those who would wish to hunt him down. In his time in Rivendell, Aragorn was given the new name Estel, a Sindarin name meaning 'hope', to conceal him from Sauron and his minions.

Aragorn


It is not clear in which specific time he met the Lady Arwen, daughter of Elrond, but it is evident he met her during his time in Rivendell when she had returned from a visit to her mother's homeland, Lorien. Upon their first meeting, he believed he had stumbled into a dream and mistook her for the lady Luthien, for whom Arwen is described as being equal in beauty. He had fallen in love with her at first sight, though he would have to wait some years for her to return his love and offer herself to him in marriage.

His heritage was revealed to him only at the age of twenty in the year 2951. With this reveal, Lord Elrond also presented the shards of Narsil, the blade of Elendil which was used to smote Sauron, to Aragorn. He presented him, too, with the Ring of Barahir. Among his heirlooms was the Sceptre of Annuminas which Aragorn would not come to possess until a time in which he proved himself worthy.

Upon this revelation, Aragorn took on the role of Chieftain for the Dunedain Rangers, rallying human refugees into the safety of the wild where they there lived.

Aragorn came across the wizard, Gandalf the Grey in the year 2956 during his journeys near the Shire. Rangers served as the protection for Shire-folk and their gentle, peace-loving hobbits. They would ward off orc packs and other unseemly creatures, maintaining the idyllic safe haven that was the hobbit towns. It was in the Shire and the nearby town of Bree that Aragorn inherited the name 'Strider' which he would be better known as by his accompanying hobbits during the quest for the One Ring.

Till the year 2980, Aragorn had served under several armies, such as that of King Thengel of Rohan and Gondor's Steward, Ecthelion II. [2] He would later be acquainted and fight with their sons as well. The Dunedain were blessed with unnaturally long life spans compared to normal men which allowed him to serve for many long years. It was through these long years of service that he attained and honed his skills and prowess on the battlefield.[3]

In 2980 he met Arwen again and she pledged her hand in marriage to him, renouncing her lineage and accepting mortality. Elrond would only let Aragorn marry his daughter if he should be king of Gondor and Arnor reunited.[4]

Gandalf also started to grow suspicious of Bilbo and the ring he held, which Gandalf found out to be the One Ring. Aragorn was asked by Gandalf to track Gollum, who had held the ring previously. Aragorn captured Gollum in the Dead Marshes and he brought him captive to Mirkwood where Gandalf questioned him.

Fellowship of The Ring

In this part of the series, Aragorn joins Frodo, Bilbo’s adopted heir, and three of his friends at the Inn of The Prancing Pony in Bree. The reason Frodo could trust Aragorn was because of a letter from Gandalf that let him know who Aragorn was. The party reached Rivendell, escaping the pursuing Nazgûl. Aragorn, along with Gandalf, Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Boromir of Gondor, and Pippin, Merry and Samwise Gamgee were chosen as the members of the Fellowship of the Ring and it was at Rivendell that Frodo volunteered to be the one to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Aragorn’s sword Andúril was a sword that was reforged from Narsil shards by Elven-smiths, setting it into the design of the seven stars and crescent moon.

The group was accompanied by Aragorn through their crossing of Caradhras and the Mines of Moria. It was here that Gandalf lost the battle to Balrog and was lost by the fellowship. After this, Aragorn led the Fellowship to Lothlórien, then down the river Anduin to the Falls of Rauros.

He originally planned on going to Gondor to aid his people in war but after the loss of Gandalf, he wanted to help Frodo with the quest and became increasingly concerned with Frodo’s responsibilities.

The Two Towers

“I serve no man,” said Aragorn; “but the servants of Sauron I pursue into whatever land they may go... I am not weaponless.” Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. “Elendil!” he cried. “I am Aragorn son of Arathorn and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

The Twin Towers saw Boromir being slain while defending Merry and Pippin. Frodo decided to continue on his quest to Mount Doom alone, accompanied only by Sam. The Three Hunters (Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli) went off to track the Uruk-hai, where they hoped to rescue Merry and Pippin.

On this journey of theirs, they discover not Merry and Pippin but Gandalf the White who they first mistake for Saruman. Gandalf is sent back from death to continue his duties in Middle Earth and he tells them that the hobbits have been in the care of the Ents of Fangorn. They then travel to Edoras in Rohan, where they fight the Battle of the Hornburg, in which Saruman’s army is destroyed.

Etymology

  1. Aragorn - Revered King, ara (king) and gorn (revered)
  2. Elessar - His name as King
  3. Edhelharn - Sindarian translation of Elessar
  4. Elfstone - Sindarin translation of Elessar
  5. Estel - Aragorn’s nickname during his childhood in Rivendell. Meaning ‘Hope’!
  6. Longshanks - Used by Sam and some other Men of Bree
  7. Stick-at-naught Strider - Used by Men of Bree
  8. Strider - Used by Men of Bree
  9. Telcontar - Quenya translation of Strider. Also the name of his House
  10. Thorongil - Alias during travels to Rohan and Gondor. Means ‘Eagle of the Star’
  11. Wingfoot - Given by Éomer
  12. Chieftain of the Dúnedain

Size & Appearance

Tolkien provided his readers with a brief, albeit detailed, description of Aragorn’s physical features. Aragorn is said to have been lean, tall, and dark, with shaggy hair flecked with grey, grey eyes, and a stern face. The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen depicts him to be grim and sad with unexpected moments of levity. Tolkien, sometime after the publishing of the books, wrote that Aragorn was 6 feet, 6 inches tall. At the time of the War of The Ring, Aragorn was in his late 80’s but since he was a Dúnaden of royal lineage, he looked no older than a man of 45 to those who were unaware of his royal blood.

Due to his childhood in Rivendell and Elrond, Aragorn possessed the wisdom of elves and the foresight of the Dúnedain. A notably skilled healer with the plant athelas, he complimented this with being an incredible warrior and a commander unmatched by any other. A testament to this would be the fact that he, along with Éomer and Imrahil came out of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields without a scratch even though they had been right in the middle of the fighting.

Blaming himself for many of the misfortunes that plagued the Fellowship following the loss of Gandalf, it is quite clear that although Aragorn is wise and brave, he is not immune to self-doubt.

Concept & Creation

Aragorn’s character has gone through a few different transformations. The first semblance of Aragorn’s character was a character similar to Aragorn who was a hobbit. His nickname was ‘Trotter’ since he wore wooden shoes and they produced a ‘clitter-clap’ sound but Tolkien hesitated about this name for a long time. He noted that Rangers should not be Hobbits as he had originally planned, and so the character of Trotter would have to either be a man or a Hobbit who associated himself with Rangers.[5]

Tolkien also toyed with the idea of Trotter being Bilbo himself but this was rejected soon after.

Trotter was also meant to be Fosco Took who was Bilbo’s first cousin and had ‘vanished when a lad, owing to Gandalf’. Tolkien continued with this idea and eventually identified Trotter as Peregrin Boffin, a nephew of Bilbo and elder cousin to Frodo. Trotter’s backstory regarding his wooden shoes was also disclosed. He was said to have been tortured by Lord Sauron and saved by Gandalf, this would mean that Trotter didn’t have wooden shoes but wooden feet.

The idea of Trotter the Hobbit was eventually let go of by Tolkien. It was only after Book I that Tolkien settled on Trotter being a man, and he introduced him as Aragorn, "descendant of the ancient men of the North, and one of Elrond's household".

Further Character Developments

Aragorn’s association with Boromir and his connection to Gondor has been long and complex. It is initially said that his ancestors ruled over the people of the Ond (Gondor), but they were driven out by the Witch-King after Sauron’s rebellion.

His relationship with Arwen was formed late into the writing of the books. Tolkien wanted Éowyn and Aragorn to be married and had thought that after Éowyn’s death Aragorn would never marry again.[6]

Elrond’s daughter, Finduilas, was first mentioned in reference to a banner she had made for Aragorn and it was only near the completion of the book that any mention of her marrying Aragorn was made.

It was also an idea that Tolkien played with that Galadriel would pass on her Ring to Aragorn, accordingly making him ‘Lord Of The Ring’.

Rejected Names

The name Trotter was maintained throughout the writing of the first book and it was only after Tolkien was done with the book that he decided to change it to Strider. Trotter itself had several different forms and translations to Sindarin- Padathir, Du-finnion, and Rimbedir, and Ethelion being some of them.

The name Aragorn too was changed several times, even though Aragorn had been the first suggestion and choice for the character. Tolkien had decided that Aragorn, an Elvish name, did not suit a Man, and hence he changed it to Elfstone, and Ingold, with Ing- representing West.

Other names included Elfstan, Elfmere, Elf-friend, Elfspear, Elfwold, Erkenbrand, Eldamir, Eldavel, Eledon, Qendemir, etc.

Christ Comparisons

Tolkien’s use of prophecy has been compared to the foretelling of the Messiah’s coming in the Old Testament, and subsequently, Aragorn has been called a Christ-as-King character by many.[7] Aragorn’s characteristics have also been observed to have Messianic qualities. The ability to heal, his journey that was filled with sacrifices, and his experiences with death are all Christian themes.

Appearances

In The Books

  1. The Fellowship of The Ring
  2. The Two Towers
  3. The Return of The King
  4. The Silmarillion (Only Mentioned)

In The Films

  1. The Lord of The Rings (1978)
  2. The Return of The King (1980)
  3. The Fellowship of The Ring (2001)
  4. The Two Towers (2002)
  5. The Return of The King (2003)
  6. The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies (2014) (Indirect Mention Only)

Adaptation

Bakshi's Animated Film

Aragorn’s character was voiced by John Hurt in Ralph Bakshi’s animated film that was released in 1978. It is peculiar that this is the only portrayal of Aragorn that does not have a beard. This is canonically correct, however, since according to a statement that appeared in Unfinished Tales, Aragorn is not supposed to have a beard due to his Elvish ancestry, since Elves did not grow beards. Critics have also stated that this version of Aragorn looks Native American.

Lord of The Rings Trilogy

Aragorn was played by Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen who took over the role from Stuart Townsend four days after filming started since Peter Jackson felt that Townsend was too young to play the role of Aragorn. Aragorn’s character in these films shows no desire to claim his kingship until the third film, after battling self-doubt and questioning himself over and over.

In the books, however, there is no presence whatsoever of this self-doubt. Aragorn intends on claiming the throne right from the beginning in the books, with even more additional motivation being provided by the fact that he must claim the throne to marry Arwen. Another distinct difference between Jackson’s trilogy and the books is that throughout the first two films Aragorn uses an unnamed sword which he then replaces with Andúril when he receives it in the third film. In the books, however, Andúil is wielded by Aragorn right from the start.

The Hobbit Trilogy

In the Hobbit trilogy, Aragorn is not present physically and is only mentioned in the third film, The Battle Of The Five Armies. This happens when Thranduil, the Elven King, asks Legolas to seek a Dúnadan Ranger named Strider, referring to Aragorn.

Radio

The BBC Radio version of the Lord Of The Rings of 1981 saw Robert Stephens voice Aragorn.

Stage

Aragorn was played by Evan Buliung in the 3 hour Toronto production of Lord of The Rings. The role was played by Jerome Pradon in the London production until it was taken over by Robbie Scotcher on 23rd June 2008.

Aragorn’s character was brought to life by Josh Beshears in the US in the Ohio production of The Return Of The King. Robert McLean played Aragorn’s role in the 1999 production of The Two Towers at Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre.

Parodies

Portrayed as ‘Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt’ in the parody Bored of the Rings, he is nicknamed ‘Stomper’ and is portrayed as a deranged character, inept at fighting. Veggie Tales’ episode ‘Lord Of The Beans’ sees Aragorn parodied as Larry The Cucumber who is dressed up and is called ‘Ear-o’-Corn’.[8]

Trivia

  • Since Aragorn is the grandson of Turgon, and the great-grandson of Fingolfin, Aragorn is also a descendent of the House of Finwë.
  • Viggo Mortensen was approached by one of the producers of The Hobbit and asked if he would like to play the role of Aragorn again. Mortensen replied, “You do know, don’t you, that Aragorn isn’t in The Hobbit? That there is a 60-year gap between the books?”.
  • Aragorn has been identified as an ISTJ personality type.[9]

References

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Aragorn

Biographical info


Other Names (a.k.a)
Elessar, Telcontar, Thorongil, Estel
Titles
TA 2933 - 3019 (Chieftain) TA 3019 - FO 120 (King)
Birth
March 1 2931
Death
FO 120
Age
210
Parents
Arathorn II & Gilraen
Spouse
Arwen

Physical information


Race
Men
Gender
Male
Height
6'6 (198 cm)
Hair
Dark with grey flecks
Eyes
Grey
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