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Aragorn II

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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.

Aragorn was named after his ancestor, Aragorn I. His name means "Lord of the Tree" in Sindarin. This name, belonging to him, may have been prophetically referring to the White Tree of Minas Tirith.

Contents

History

Early Life

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.

Aragorn and Arwen by Stephen Hickman
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.

Life as a Ranger

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 started to become 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 few Gondorian ships he led a night assault on the Haven of Umbar in 2980, destroying many of their ships and slaying its lord. He later left Gondor to travel into the far East and South "exploring the hearts of men good and evil". And learning about the "plots and devices" of the servants of the Dark 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.

War of the Ring

Fellowship of the Ring and events preceding

Aragorn occasionally went on errands for his friend Gandalf, among them the search for Gollum, as the Wizard sought information as to the queer ring that had formerly been in his possession, his “birthday-present”.

As he passed through Bree one time in September of the year 3018, he spied upon and followed four suspicious Hobbits. By this spying and because of how clumsily they hid their true names and purpose, Aragorn made a reasonably accurate guess as to who they were. Aragorn had been told somewhat of the goings-on and Gandalf’s suspicions, and resolved to help them. Frodo Baggins, the leader of the party, first saw and met him at The Prancing Pony inn. Aragorn, whose name was given as Strider, seemed to show no surprise, only annoyance at Frodo’s foolish vanishing act. He arranged for an interview that night, where he warned them of the Black Riders and Bill Ferny, then bluntly requesting that they use him as a guide. After some consideration, and a note given them by the forgetful Barliman Butterbur from Gandalf condoning him, Frodo agreed.

Aragorn’s plan to get to Rivendell was to head first toward Archet and bear right to Weathertop. After the Ambush at Weathertop and the wounding of Frodo, Merry took over the position as leader of the Hobbits. After a while they met Glorfindel, a friend of Aragorn’s, and it was not much later that they arrived in Rivendell.

Aragorn, when in Rivendell, switched cloaks from that of the Ranger to that of the Lord of the Dúnedain, the Elf-friend. He was elected as Gandalf’s second in the Fellowship of the Ring, and served throughout their journeys together as his chief advisor.

Aragorn encouraged the taking of the Redhorn Pass, which ended in disaster. He reluctantly conceded to Gandalf’s plan to pass through Moria, though his sense of foresight warned him for Gandalf. Indeed, after Gandalf was taken down by Durin’s Bane, Aragorn was naturally elected leader of the company, despite some resentment by his companion Boromir.

Aragorn again amazed the rest of the Fellowship by his apparent closeness to the people of Lothlórien, and his friendship with Celeborn and Galadriel. Even at the Falls of Rauros he was undecided, leaving it to Frodo for the final decision. For though it was obvious he wished to go to Minas Tirith with Boromir, he yet felt that it was his duty to go where the Ringbearer chose.

The early War of the Ring

After Frodo escaped him and Boromir perished, he with the remaining members of the Fellowship, namely Legolas and Gimli, chose to try and save Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai that had ambushed them, forming the group that would later be known as the Three Hunters.

He met Éomer in the fields of Rohan, and an instant friendship formed, both feeling the honesty and lordliness of the other. Éomer took a risk for his sake, giving him horses, with the promise that one day soon Aragorn would return to Edoras. Aragorn, tracking the Hobbits, followed into Fangorn forest, where he met the resurrected Gandalf the White. After the restoration of Théoden, he rode to Helm’s Deep to fight in the Battle of the Hornburg. There he, alongside his new-found “brother” Éomer, and King Théoden, marshaled the defense against Saruman’s army. His revealed majesty upon the battlements of the Hornburg as he waited for the dawn caused some of the Wild men to pause and shudder, and he heralded the return of Gandalf with Erkenbrand.

After Pippin’s terrifying experience with the Orthanc-stone, Gandalf presented it in a formal manner to Aragorn, its rightful master, who hinted that it would be used by him eventually. After the departure of Gandalf and Pippin to Minas Tirith, he rode for a while longer with Théoden, meeting up with his friend Halbarad of the North, Elladan and Elrohir, and a company of staunch and fearless Rangers. Elladan and Elrohir gave him a message from Elrond: “The days are short. If thou art in haste, remember the Paths of the Dead”. Halbarad bore a gift from the Lady Arwen – the Standard of Elendil. Aragorn knew the path set before him.

Return of the King

A little while later Aragorn took his companions and his rangers and set out for Dunharrow, departing from the King’s company. His course was clear: to take the Paths of the Dead, to summon the Dead Men. He met in Dunharrow the lady Éowyn, who had fallen in love with him. After making it clear that he could not accept her love, he turned away down the evil road with the dawn.

The Grey Company passed through the Dark Door and the Dwimorberg, the Dead following, and coming at last to the Black Stone of Erech, Aragorn summoned them to his aid. They drew their swords and blew their horns in answer, and swept down upon the Corsairs at Pelargir drove the mariners away. Aragorn released them, and took the Black Ships north to Minas Tirith, where the Battle of the Pelennor Fields raged. The Standard of Elendil broke forth, and his Dúnedain swept down, giving the final blow to the army of Gothmog. The counterattacked army of Sauron crumbled utterly. But Aragorn did not enter the city.

Aragorn, furling his banner, appointed Imrahil the temporary lord of the City, as the law demanded. Eventually, however, Aragorn did come to the Houses of Healing, where he tended and restored Merry, Éowyn, and Faramir, in accordance with the prophecy “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known”. Aragorn then left the city, hooded and cloaked, and yet the people of Minas Tirith followed him, for they had heard rumors. Yet when in the morning they saw the banner of Dol Amroth, they wondered if the Return of the King had been but a dream.

Aragorn held council with his trusted companions, namely Gandalf, Éomer, Imrahil, and Elrond’s sons – Halbarad had fallen in battle. He agreed to pull forth the forces of Mordor for the benefit of the Quest of the Ring, and so arranged matters for the Battle of the Morannon. After the Destruction of the Ring in Orodruin and victory at the Morannon, Aragorn returned at last in the triumphant manner that befitted his position. He was crowned at the gates of Minas Tirith, winning the hearts of the people of Gondor. Gandalf took him up the slopes of Mount Mindolluin, and there Aragorn found the scion of Nimloth, the symbol of his mastery of the Reunited Kingdom. He wedded Arwen shortly after, and then was forced to bid his old friends farewell. He turned back to his new kingdom as the Fourth Age dawned and the Ringbearers left the shores of Middle-earth forever.

Reign as Elessar

Aragorn ruled 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 rule. His wife Arwen, now mortal, gave up her life shortly afterwards in year 121, aged 2,901.

He founded the House of Telcontar, and was succeeded by his son Eldarion. He also had a number of daughters, whose names were not recorded.

Through his ancestor Elendil, Aragorn was 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 had wooden feet, because he had once traveled to Mordor and been tortured there.

Portrayal in adaptations

In the Rankin/Bass animated version of The Return of the King, Aragorn is voiced by Theodore Bikel.

In Ralph Bakshi's animated film The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is voiced by John Hurt.

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 from the very first time his lineage is revealed.

Genealogy

             Eärendil = Elwing
                      |           Celeborn = Galadriel
                      |                    |
              --------|--------            |
             |                 |           |
             |                 |           |
           Elros            Elrond = Celebrían
             :                     |
     Kings of Numenor              |
             :                     |
     Lords of Andúnië              |
             :                     |
          Elendil †                | 
             |                     |
       ------|------               |    
      |             |              |    † High King of Arnor and Gondor
      |             |              |
   IsildurAnárion          |    
      :             :              |    
      :             :              |
  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

Aragorn was also known as Strider, Elessar Telcontar ("Elfstone Strider"), Thorongil, The Dúnadan ("Man of the West"), Longshanks (given by Bill Ferny), Wingfoot (given by Éomer), and Estel ("Hope")

Preceded by:
Arathorn II
Chieftain of the Dúnedain
III 2933 – 3019
Followed by:
none (abandoned)

Preceded by:
Eärnur, 971 years earlier
King of Gondor
III 3019 – IV 120
Followed by:
Eldarion

Preceded by:
Arvedui, 1,046 years earlier
King of Arnor
III 3019 – IV 120
Followed by:
Eldarion

Preceded by:
Isildur, 3,017 years earlier
High King of the Reunited Kingdom
III 3019 – IV 120
Followed by:
Eldarion

Preceded by:
none
House of Telcontar
III 3019 – IV 120
Followed by:
Eldarion

Members of the Fellowship of the Ring
Frodo · Sam · Merry · Pippin · Gandalf · Aragorn · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir


See also