Aragorn

Tolkienchar
character_name = Aragorn
character_alias = See Names and titles below
character_title = See Names and titles below
character_race = Men
character_culture = Dúnedain, House of Isildur, Númenórean
character_birth = March 1, ME-date|TA|2931
character_death = March 1, ME-date|FA|120 (age 210)
Book(s) = "The Fellowship of the Ring"
"The Two Towers"
"The Return of the King"

Aragorn II is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He is first introduced in "The Fellowship of the Ring", and becomes a central character in the story of "The Lord of the Rings".

Appearances

Literature

History

According to the appendices of "The Return of the King", Aragorn, named after his ancestor Aragorn I, was born on March 1 in 2931 of the Third Age, the son of Arathorn II and his wife Gilraen. Through his ancestor Elendil (whom he closely resembled) ["He was Aragorn son of Arathorn, the nine and thirtieth heir in the right line from Isildur, and yet more like Elendil than any before him."ME-ref|silm|303] Aragorn was a descendant of Elros Tar-Minyatur, Lord Elrond's Half-elven twin brother and the first king of Númenor. Aragorn is descended from both of Elendil's sons, from Isildur through Arvedui, last King of Arthedain, and from Anárion through Arvedui's wife Fíriel.

When Aragorn was only two years old, his father was killed while pursuing Orcs. Aragorn was afterwards fostered in Rivendell by Elrond. At the request of his mother, his lineage was kept secret, as she feared he would be killed like his father and grandfather if his true identity as the descendant of Elendil and Heir of Isildur became known. Aragorn was renamed Estel and was not told about his heritage until he came of age in 2951.

Elrond revealed to "Estel" ("hope" in Sindarin) his true name and ancestry when he came of age, and delivered to him the shards of Elendil's sword, Narsil, and the Ring of Barahir. He withheld the Sceptre of Annúminas from him until he "came of the right" to possess it. It was also around this time that Aragorn met and fell in love with Arwen, Elrond's daughter, who had newly returned from her mother's homeland of Lórien.

Aragorn thereafter assumed his proper role as the sixteenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain, the Rangers of the North, and went into the wild, where lived the remnants of his people, whose kingdom had been destroyed through civil and regional wars centuries before.

Aragorn met Gandalf the Grey in 2956, and they became close friends. At Gandalf's advice he and his followers began to guard a small land known as the Shire, inhabited by the diminutive and agrarian Hobbits, and he became known among the peoples just outside the Shire's borders as Strider.

From 2957 to 2980, Aragorn undertook great journeys, serving in the armies of King Thengel of Rohan, and Steward Ecthelion II of Gondor. Many of his tasks helped to raise morale in the West and counter the growing threat of Sauron and his allies, and he acquired invaluable experience which he would later put to use in the War of the Ring. Aragorn served his lords in disguise and his name in Gondor and Rohan during that time was Thorongil (Eagle of the Star). With a small Gondorian squadron of ships, he led an assault on the long-standing rebel province of Umbar in 2980, burning many of the Corsairs' ships and personally slaying their lord during the battle on the Havens. After the victory at Umbar, "Thorongil" left the field and to the dismay of his men, went East.

Later in 2980, he visited Lórien, and there once again met Arwen. He gave her the heirloom of his House, the Ring of Barahir, and, on the hill of Cerin Amroth, Arwen pledged her hand to him in marriage, renouncing her Elvish lineage and accepting the Gift of Men: death.

Elrond withheld from Aragorn permission to marry his daughter until such time as his foster son should be king of "both" Gondor and Arnor. To Elrond's as well as Aragorn's knowledge, to marry a mortal his daughter would be required to choose mortality, and thus deprive the deathless Elrond of his daughter while the world lasted. Elrond was also concerned for Arwen's own happiness, fearing that in the end she might find death (her own and that of her beloved) too difficult to bear.

Before the events of "The Lord of the Rings" proper take place, Aragorn also travelled through the Dwarven mines of Moria, and to Harad, where (in his own words) "the stars are strange". Tolkien does not specify when these travels occurred.

In 3009, Gandalf grew suspicious of the ring belonging to the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, which later turned out to be the One Ring, the source of the Dark Lord Sauron's evil power. Aragorn went at his request into Rhovanion in search of Gollum, who had once possessed the Ring. He caught the creature in the Dead Marshes near Mordor, and brought him as a captive to Thranduil's halls in Mirkwood, where Gandalf questioned him.

"The Lord of the Rings"

In "The Fellowship of the Ring", Aragorn joined Frodo Baggins, Bilbo's adopted heir, and three of his friends at the Inn of the Prancing Pony in Bree. These four had set out from the Shire to bring the One Ring to Rivendell. Aragorn was aged 87 at that time, nearing the prime of life for one of royal Númenórean descent. With Aragorn's help the Hobbits escaped the pursuing Nazgûl and reached Rivendell. There, Aragorn was chosen to join the Fellowship of the Ring that was formed to guard Frodo, who was charged with destroying the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor. Besides Aragorn, Gandalf, and Frodo, the company included Frodo's cousins Pippin and Merry, Frodo's faithful gardener Samwise Gamgee, Legolas the Elf , Gimli the Dwarf, and Boromir of Gondor. Before the group set out, the shards of Narsil were reforged, and the restored blade was named Andúril.

Aragorn accompanied the group through an attempt to cross the pass of Caradhras and through the mines of Moria. He became their leader after Gandalf was lost in battle with a Balrog. Aragorn led the company to Lórien and then down the river Anduin to the Falls of Rauros. Originally he had planned to go to Gondor and aid its people in the war, but after the loss of Gandalf he also was responsible for Frodo. When Frodo continued his quest alone, Aragorn, together with Legolas and Gimli, went to Rohan to free Merry and Pippin, who had been captured by the wizard Saruman's Uruk-hai.

In "The Two Towers", the Three Hunters (as Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were ever after known) encountered Éomer, who had recently been pursuing rumours of an Orc raid in the area. From Éomer Aragorn learned that the Orcs who had kidnapped Merry and Pippin had been destroyed and that the Hobbits had not been found. Dejected, he led Legolas and Gimli to the site of the battle. Clues led Aragorn to believe that the Hobbits might still be alive, and he led the Three Hunters into Fangorn forest. They did not find the Hobbits, but they did find Gandalf the White, sent back to continue his struggle against Sauron. Gandalf told the Three Hunters that the Hobbits were safe with the Ents of Fangorn. Together, Gandalf and the Three Hunters travelled to Edoras, where Gandalf freed Théoden from Saruman's enchantment and helped him muster the Rohirrim against Saruman.

Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli then helped the people of Rohan in the Battle of the Hornburg, in which they conclusively defeated Saruman's army. In order to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo, who had gone into Mordor, Aragorn used a "palantír" and revealed himself as the heir of Isildur to Sauron. Sauron probably believed that the One Ring had come into Aragorn's hands; therefore he made his assault on Minas Tirith prematurely and without adequate preparation.

In order to defend the city, Aragorn entered the Paths of the Dead, and summoned the Dead Men of Dunharrow who owed allegiance to the king of Gondor. It had been prophesied by Isildur and Malbeth the Seer that the Dead would be summoned once more to pay their debt for betraying Gondor millennia before. With their aid the Corsairs of Umbar were defeated. Aragorn, a small force of Rangers, and a large contingent of men and soldiers from the southern regions then sailed up the Anduin to Minas Tirith. When they arrived at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Aragorn unfurled a standard that Arwen had made for him which showed both the White Tree of Gondor along with the jewelled crown and seven stars of the House of Elendil. With the help of the southern forces the armies of Gondor and Rohan rallied and defeated Sauron's army.

The restoration of the line of Elendil to the throne of Gondor is a subplot of "The Lord of the Rings"; Aragorn's adventures not only aid Frodo in his Quest, but also bring him closer to his own kingship — which, though his by right and lineage, has been left open for centuries due to historical, legal, and military circumstances. The people of Gondor have been under the rule of the Stewards of Gondor for centuries, as it was widely doubted that any of the royal line still lived. Shortly after Isildur's departure, Meneldil, son of Anárion, had severed Gondor from Arnor politically, although the formal title of High King remained with the northern line (as Isildur was Elendil's eldest son). This arrangement had been reinforced by the Steward Pelendur in about 1,200 years before when he rejected Arvedui's claim to the Throne of Gondor during a Gondorian succession crisis (Eärnil, a member of the House of Anárion, was eventually chosen as King instead). It is worth noting, however, that Arvedui had also based his claim on the fact that he had married a descendant of Anárion: thus, Aragorn was technically a descendant of not only Elendil and Isildur but of Elendil's other younger son and Isildur's brother, Anárion, as well).

In "The Return of the King", the Steward Denethor declared that he would not bow to a descendant of Isildur (years before, he had seen "Thorongil" as a rival to his father's favour). Aragorn healed Faramir, Denethor's heir, who had been expected to die; this won him the immediate recognition of Faramir as the rightful heir to the throne, and his humility and self sacrifice gained him the hearts of the inhabitants of Gondor's capital city (Aragorn's healing abilities, however, were a sign to the people of Gondor of the identity of their true king; as Ioreth said, "The hands of the King are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known"). The people hailed him as King that same evening.

Despite his immediate success and popularity, however, and despite his claim to the throne through raising the royal banner, Aragorn decided to lay aside his claim for the time being. He knew that if he aggressively promoted his claim, rival claimants or debates as to his legitimacy were not out of the question, and this could be a fatal distraction for Gondor at a time when the West needed to be united against Sauron. So, to avoid conflict, after he had healed people during the night of March 15/16, he left Minas Tirith and symbolically refused to enter it again until he was crowned King on May 1st.

In order to ensure safe passage across Mordor for Frodo to fulfil his quest, Aragorn then led the Army of the West out from Minas Tirith to make a diversionary feint on the Black Gate of Mordor itself in the Battle of the Morannon. Gandalf had been given supreme command of the war effort after the Pelennor Fields, and acted as chief spokesman in the parley with the Mouth of Sauron; but Aragorn commanded the allied troops during the battle and its aftermath.

Upon Sauron's defeat, Aragorn was crowned as King Elessar (translated as "Elfstone" in Tolkien's invented language of Quenya), a name given to him by Galadriel. (In Sindarin, another of Tolkien's languages, this becomes "Edhelharn".) He became the twenty-sixth King of Arnor, thirty-fifth King of Gondor and the first High King of the Reunited Kingdom, though it would be several years before his authority was firmly reestablished in Arnor. His line was referred to as the House of Telcontar (Telcontar being Quenya for "Strider" which was the name he was known by at Bree and the name which he was introduced with to the hobbits). Aragorn married Arwen shortly afterwards, and ruled the Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor until 120 of the Fourth Age. His reign was marked by great harmony and prosperity within Gondor and Arnor, and by a great renewal of cooperation and communication between Men, Elves, and Dwarves, fostered by his vigorous rebuilding campaign following the war. Aragorn led the forces of the Reunited Kingdom on military campaigns against some Easterlings and Haradrim, re-establishing rule over much territory that Gondor had lost in previous centuries. He died at the age of 210, after 122 years as king. He was succeeded on the throne by his son, Eldarion. Arwen, gravely saddened by the loss of her husband, gave up her now mortal life shortly afterwards. Her grave is in Lothlórien. Arwen and Aragorn also had at least two unnamed daughters.

Adaptations



Film

Aragorn was voiced by John Hurt in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film version of "The Lord of the Rings". Bakshi's Aragorn, unlike all other portrayals that were to follow to date, has no beard. This actually conforms to a statement appearing in "Unfinished Tales" that implicitly says that Aragorn was not supposed to have one, due to his Elvish ancestry (Elves did not grow beards). ["In a note written in 1972 or later, among the last writings of my father's on the subject of Middle-earth, there is a discussion of the Elvish strain in Men, as to its being observable in the beardlessness of those who were so descended (it was a characteristic of all Elves to be beardless)."ME-ref|ut] However, Tolkien actually wrote elsewhere that Elves "did" have beards; in "The Lord of the Rings" itself Círdan is described as having a beard. Also, some viewers and critics have said that this version of Aragorn looks Native American, [ [http://www.coldfusionvideo.com/l/lordofrings.html http://www.coldfusionvideo.com/l/lordofrings.html] ] [ [http://www.stomptokyo.com/movies/l/lord-of-the-rings-anim.html http://www.stomptokyo.com/movies/l/lord-of-the-rings-anim.html] ] [ [http://www.mutantreviewers.com/vlotr1.html http://www.mutantreviewers.com/vlotr1.html] ] [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077869/usercomments http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077869/usercomments] ] though not necessarily to the detriment of the film.

Aragorn was voiced by Theodore Bikel in the 1980 Rankin/Bass animated version of "The Return of the King", made for television. He first appears at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, leading the reinforcements from southern Gondor. It was here that Aragorn joined the battle for Minas Tirith

In the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy (2001–2003) directed by Peter Jackson, Aragorn is played by Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen, who took over the role from Stuart Townsend after a month of rehearsals. In these movies, Aragorn begins his journey with the Fellowship with no intention of claiming the kingship; he only arrives at such a decision in the third film after spending much time battling his own self-doubt. This specific element of self-doubt is not present in Tolkien's books, where Aragorn intends to claim the throne all along once he had the opportunity. Among other actors to be considered were Vin Diesel, who auditioned, and Nicolas Cage and Daniel Day-Lewis, who both declined, as well as Russell Crowe and Jason Patric who were New Line Cinema's back-up plan in case a deal with Mortensen couldn't be reached.

tage

:"See the stage article: The Lord of the Rings"

Aragorn was portrayed by Evan Buliung in the three-hour production of "The Lord of the Rings," which opened in 2006 in Toronto, Canada. In the London production the role was played by Jerome Pradone, and the role was taken over by Robbie Scotcher on 23rd June 2008.

In the United States, Aragorn was portrayed by Josh Beshears in the Cincinnati, Ohio production of "The Return of the King" (2003) for Clear Stage Cincinnati. At Chicago's Lifeline Theatre, Aragorn was played by Robert McLean in the 1999 production of "The Two Towers" and the 2001 production of "The Return of the King."

Radio

Robert Stephens voiced the character in the 1981 BBC Radio serial of "The Lord of the Rings".

Characteristics

Tolkien gives a brief but detailed description of Aragorn in "The Fellowship of the Ring": lean, dark and tall, with shaggy dark hair "flecked with grey", grey eyes, and a stern pale face.ME-ref|fotr] In "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" in the Appendices, he was said to be often grim and sad, with unexpected moments of levity.ME-ref|rotk] Some time after the publication of the books, Tolkien wrote that he was 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) tall. ["The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion: "The Ring Goes South," p. 272"] .

Aragorn possessed elven wisdom due to his childhood in Rivendell with Elrond and the foresight of the Dúnedain. He was a skilled healer, notably with the plant "athelas" (also known as Kingsfoil). He was also a mighty warrior and an unmatched commander; after the battle of the Pelennor Fields, he, Éomer and Imrahil were said to be left unscathed, even though they had been in the thick of the fighting. Due to his position as Isildur's heir, Aragorn had impressive powers for a Man, and, as the rightful owner of the "palantíri" could use the Orthanc stone unhampered by Sauron.

Though there is no indication of him ever doubting his role and destiny as one of the leaders of the war against Sauron and the future king of the Reunited Kingdom (as in Peter Jackson's film), he was not immune to self-doubt, as he doubted the wisdom of his decisions while leading the Fellowship after the loss of Gandalf in Moria, and blamed himself for many of their subsequent misfortunes.ME-ref|ttt]

On one occasion, his pride (or reverence for his heritage) led to complications, as he refused to disarm and leave his sword Andúril (a priceless heirloom of Númenor and one of the weapons which slew Sauron) at the door of Edoras, as Théoden had required, and only did so after Gandalf left his own sword (also of high lineage) behind. Even so, he swore that death would come to anyone else who touched it (whether by his own hand or by some magic is left unsaid).

Names and titles

"Aragorn, son of Arathorn" was called "the Dúnadan" ("Man of the West/Númenórean", given by Bilbo in Rivendell), "Longshanks" (given by Bill Ferny in Bree), "Strider", called so by Butterbur, and "Wingfoot" (given by Éomer after discovering that Aragorn had travelled forty-five leagues in four days in pursuit of Pippin, Merry, and their Uruk-hai captors). He was the founder of the House of Telcontar ("Telcontar" is "Strider" in Quenya, after the mistrustful nickname given him by the rustics of the North), which ruled Gondor well into the Fourth Age of Middle-earth; in records, his full ruling name is given as "Elessar Telcontar" ("Elfstone Strider"). Envinyatar (meaning "the renewer") is another name by which he referred to himself when he claimed the elfstone. He was known as "Estel" ("hope") to protect his true lineage from the Enemy when they were seeking the heir of Isildur. He was also known as "Thorongil" ("Eagle of the Star") in his younger days when he travelled around Middle-earth and performed services in Rohan and Gondor often by protecting camps and raiding enemy strongholds like he did when he crossed the Corsairs of Umbar.

Concept and creation

The concept of Aragorn's person and fate underwent a series of developments and name changes before reaching his final identity, as Tolkien did not have the full plot of the story or its background planned-out when he started writing, but rather he "discovered" it as he wrote.

Identity

The "first germ" of the character that later evolved into Aragorn or Strider was a peculiar hobbit met by Bingo Bolger-Baggins (precursor of Frodo Baggins) at the inn of "The Prancing Pony". His description and behaviour, however, was already quite close to the final story, with the difference that the hobbit wore wooden shoes, and was nicknamed Trotter for the "clitter-clap" sound that they produced. He was also accounted to be "one of the wild folk — rangers", and he played the same role in Frodo's journey to Rivendell as in "The Lord of the Rings". [ME-ref|RotS|pp. 137–8]

Later Tolkien hesitated about the true identity of "Trotter" for a long time. One of his notes suggested that the Rangers should not be hobbits as originally planned, and that this would mean that Trotter was either a Man, or a hobbit who associated himself with the Rangers and was "very well known" (within the story)."The Return of the Shadow", pp 223–4.] The latter suggestion was linked to an early comment of Bingo: "I keep on feeling that I have seen him somewhere before". ["The Return of the Shadow", p. 208–8.] Tolkien made a proposal that Trotter might be Bilbo Baggins himself, but rejected that idea.

Another suggestion was that Trotter was "Fosco Took (Bilbo's first cousin), who vanished when a lad, owing to Gandalf". This story was further elaborated, making Trotter a nephew of Bilbo, named Peregrin Boffin, and an elder cousin of Frodo. He was said to have run away after he came of age, ["The Return of the Shadow", pp. 371, 385.] some twenty years before Bilbo's party, and had helped Gandalf in tracking Gollum later. A hint was also given as to why Trotter wore wooden shoes: he had been captured by the Dark Lord in Mordor and tortured, but saved by Gandalf; a note was added by Tolkien in the margin, saying that it would later be revealed that Trotter had wooden feet. ["The Return of the Shadow", pp. 401, 413.]

The conception of Trotter being a hobbit was discarded with the following recommencing of writing; another short-lived idea was to make Trotter "a disguised elf − friend of Bilbo's in Rivendell,” and a scout from Rivendell who "pretends to be a ranger".ME-ref|ToI|p. 6-t]

Quite soon Tolkien finally settled on the Mannish identity of Trotter, from the beginning introducing him as a "descendant of the ancient men of the North, and one of Elrond's household", as well as the name "Aragorn". While the history of Númenor and the descendants of Elros and Elendil was not fully developed, the germs of it were in existence, and would come to be connected with "The Lord of the Rings" as the character of Aragorn developed. Thus the evolution of the history of the Second and Third Ages was dependent on the bringing of Trotter to association with them.

Further character developments

The development of Aragorn's connection to Gondor was long and complex, as was his association with Boromir. Initially it is said that Aragorn's forefathers were the exiles of Númenor who ruled over the people of "Ond" (early name of Gondor), but were driven out by the Wizard King "when Sauron raised a rebellion". ["The Treason of Isengard", p. 116.] The story of the two branches of Elendil's descendants ruling over two kingdoms of Men through many generations only emerged gradually; at one time, Tolkien even seems to have conceived only three generation between Isildur and Aragorn. ["The Treason of Isengard", pp. 360–1.]

One significant feature which was not established until late stages was Aragorn's relationship with Arwen. When Tolkien first introduced Éowyn, the interest which she showed towards Aragorn was not one-sided, with suggestions in notes that they would marry at the end of the story. Another proposal was done soon, that Éowyn would die to save or avenge Théoden, and Aragorn would never marry after her death. ["The Treason of Isengard", pp. 445-8.]

The first mention of Elrond's daughter, named "Finduilas", was in reference to the banner which she made for Aragorn, [ME-ref|WotR|p. 307] but Tolkien did not give any hint whether she had any further part to play. The references to her marriage with Aragorn were made later,"The War of the Ring", pp. 425–6.] but it was explicitly stated only near the completion of the book. [ME-ref|SD|p. 52] It is only in his working on the appendices for "The Lord of the Rings" that Tolkien recorded the full tale of Aragorn and Arwen. [ME-ref|PoMe|pp. 262–270]

A passing idea was that Galadriel gave her Ring to Aragorn, and that he would accordingly be titled the "Lord of the Ring".

Rejected names

The original nickname "Trotter" was retained for a long while, and Tolkien decided to change it to "Strider" only after the story was completed. There were also several experimental translations of "Trotter" to Sindarin: "Padathir", "Du-finnion", and "Rimbedir", with "Ethelion" possibly being equivalent to "Peregrin" (Boffin). ["The Return of the Shadow", pp. 476, 478, 488-9.] Instead of the latter title "the Dúnadan", Quenya "Tarkil" ('noble Man') was first used, synonym with "Númenórean". ["The Treason of Isengard", p. 499.]

Tolkien hesitated for some time about Trotter's "real" name. Although "Aragorn" was the first suggestion when the Mannish descent was settled, it was changed a number of times. At one point Tolkien decided that an Elvish name does not suit a Man, and thus altered it from "Aragorn" via "Elfstone" to "Ingold", where the last one is an Old English name with "ing-" representing 'west'. Later, however, a new plot element was introduced: Galadriel's gift of a green stone, and Tolkien reverted the usage to "Elfstone" in order to make an additional connection.See the index to "The Treason of Isengard" and pp. 277-8.] This was retained into the final version of the legendarium as a side name and a translation of "Elessar".

Among other names to be used instead of "Elfstone" Tolkien considered "Elfstan", "Elfmere", "Elf-friend", "Elfspear", "Elfwold" and "Erkenbrand", with various Elvish forms: "Eldamir", "Eldavel", "Eledon", "Qendemir". The name of Aragorn's father also passed through many transient forms: Tolkien intended "Aramir" or "Celegorn" to go in pair with "Aragorn" before settling upon "Arathorn"; "Elfhelm" and "Eldakar" with "Elfstone" and "Eldamir"; and "Ingrim" with "Ingold".

ee also

*House of Telcontar

References

External links

*
* [http://www.tuckborough.net/aragorn.html Aragorn] at The Thain's Book
* [http://members.ozemail.com.au/~sdgeard/hccnum.html A History and Complete Chronology of Númenor] - A detailed chronology of Númenor, its successor states and their rulers.

s-tul|title=King of Arnor and Gondor
line=Line of Valandil
years=T.A. 2933–T.A. 3019
reason=Claim of Arvedui rejected

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