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- ". . . But he was called Estel, that is "Hope", and his true name and lineage were kept secret at the bidding of Elrond; for the Wise then knew that the Enemy was seeking to discover the Heir of Isildur, if any remained upon the earth."
- ― Appendix A
Aragorn II (Third Age March 1, 2931 – Fourth Age 120, aged 210 years) was the son of Arathorn II and Gilraen. He was was a Chieftain of the Dúnedain and a direct descendant through many generations of Isildur, the last High King of both Arnor and Gondor. Aragorn would become the greatest man of his time, leading the Men of the West against Sauron's forces, helping to destroy the One Ring, a reuniting the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.
When Aragorn was two years old, his father was slain when a Orc arrow pierced his eye. As was the tradition of his people, Aragorn was fostered in Rivendell by Elrond. By Elrond's order, his identity was kept secret, as he feared he would be slain like his father and grandfather. Aragorn was named Estel (Sindarin for "Hope") instead, and was not told about his heritage until he came of age in 2951.
Elrond revealed to "Estel" his true name and ancestry in 2951, when Aragorn was twenty years old, and delivered to him the shards of Narsil and the Ring of Barahir. The next day, in the woods of Rivendell, Aragorn met and fell in love with Arwen, daughter of Elrond, who had newly returned from Lórien.
Aragorn took up his proper name as Aragorn II, sixteenth of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, and went into the Wild.
In 2953 he was not present in Rivendell for the last meeting of the White Council. Aragorn met Gandalf the Grey in 2956, and they became great friends. At Gandalf's advice he began to get interested in the Shire, and became known around the area as Strider.
From 2957 to 2980 Aragorn took great journeys, serving in the armies of King Thengel of Rohan, and Steward Ecthelion II of Gondor. Many of his tasks weakened Sauron and his allies, which during the War of the Ring helped the West survive. His name in Gondor and Rohan was Thorongil (Sindarin for "Eagle of the Star"), and with a Gondorian attack force he led an assault on the Haven of Umbar in 2980, taking the city and slaying its lord. Later in 2980 he was in Lórien, and there once again met Arwen. He gave her the heirloom of his House, the Ring of Barahir, and Arwen pledged her hand to him in marriage.
Elrond gave his foster-son permission to marry his daughter, on the condition that he must first become king of both Gondor and Arnor, for only a king would be worthy of Arwen's hand. This may seem a harsh condition, but it should be noted that it is significantly more lenient than the closest precedent, King Thingol's request that Beren obtain a Silmaril from Morgoth before marrying his daughter Lúthien.
In 3009, Aragorn went into Rhovanion in search of Gollum at Gandalf's request, and he finally caught him in the Dead Marshes in sight of Mordor, and brought him as a captive to King Thranduil's halls in Mirkwood, where he questioned him.
On September 30, 3018, Aragorn was waiting in the Inn known as The Prancing Pony in Bree, where he met up with Frodo Baggins, and began his role in the War of the Ring. Aragorn was aged 87 at that time, but because he is of Númenórean blood he appeared to be in his prime.
The restoration of the line of Elendil to the throne of Gondor is a major subplot of The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's adventures not only aid Frodo in his Quest, but also bring him closer to the kingship (a move which is politically very complicated). Upon Sauron's defeat, in late 3019, Aragorn is crowned as King Elessar (Quenya for "Elfstone"), a name given to him by Galadriel. He marries Arwen Undómiel shortly afterwards, and rules the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor until year 120 of the Fourth Age. He died after 210 years of life and 122 years of reign. His wife Arwen, now mortal, gave up her life shortly afterwards in year 121, aged 2,901.
Through his ancestor Elendil, Aragorn is a descendant of the Númenóreans, great Men who were granted long lives by the Valar. Though Númenor was destroyed, its people lived on as the Dúnedain, and like their ancestors they too were long-lived. Thus Aragorn lived to a great age, finally passing on at 210 years.
Other versions of the legendarium
In the earliest unpublished versions of The Lord of the Rings (see The History of The Lord of the Rings), the character that later became Aragorn was called Trotter instead of Strider, and was a Hobbit instead of a Man. He has wooden feet, because he had once traveled to Mordor and been tortured there.
Portrayal in adaptations
- Aragorn from Rankin-Bass' The Return of the King.jpg
Aragorn as portrayed in Rankin/Bass' The Return of the King
- Strider from Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings.jpg
Aragorn as portrayed in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings
In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is played by American actor Viggo Mortensen. Instead of explaining the complicated circumstances of an heir of Isildur taking the throne in Gondor (see Pelendur for an example), in the movie Aragorn must overcome his self-doubt to choose the kingship. This cinematic element adds appeal to a modern audience, but in the books there is no doubt of his purpose to return as the king.
Eärendil = Elwing | Celeborn = Galadriel | | --------|-------- | | | | | | | Elros Elrond = Celebrían : | : | : | : | Elendil † | | | ------|------ | | | | † High King of Arnor and Gondor | | | Isildur † Anárion | : : | : : | The Kings The Kings | of Arnor of Gondor | : : | : : | : Eärnur ‡ | ‡ Last King of Gondor : | Chieftains of | the Dúnedain | : | : | Arathorn II = Gilraen | | | | | ARAGORN II ELESSAR = Arwen | -------|------- | | | | Eldarion numerous daughters
Other names and titles
|Chieftain of the Dúnedain
Eärnur, 971 years earlier
|King of Gondor
Arvedui, 1,046 years earlier
|King of Arnor
Isildur, 3,017 years earlier
|High King of the Reunited Kingdom
|House of Telcontar
|Members of the Fellowship of the Ring|
|Frodo · Sam · Merry · Pippin · Gandalf · Aragorn · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir|