Written by J. R. R. Tolkien, few books have had as much of an impact on their genre as The Lord of the Rings has had on fantasy. One of the most popular characters from the series is Aragorn, the King of Gondor disguised as an ordinary ranger. In many ways, Aragorn is the most important character in the story, tasked with uniting men, elves, dwarves, and all the other magical races against the forces of Mordor.
Strider was referred to by Gandalf long before we saw him for the first time meeting Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Sam at The Dancing Pony inn. At that time, he was still an unknown quantity, and when Frodo and the others saw a heavily bearded, fearsome-looking man watching them intently from across the room, they felt a thrill of fear that translated to the audience as well.
“I Am Aragorn Son Of Arathorn; And If By Life Or Death I Can Save You, I Will.”
Aragorn was the son of Arathorn II and his wife Gilraen. Arathorn was a Dúnedain, men of long life, great power, and wisdom; far superior to the Men of Middle-earth among whom they dwelt and whom they ruled. Through his distant ancestors Isildur and Anarion, Aragorn was directly in line for the thrones of both Gondor and Arnor. His father was killed while pursuing orcs when he was only 2 years old. He was then fostered in Rivendell by Elrond, who was still living in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age. At the bidding of Elrond, his lineage was kept secret, as Elrond feared he would be killed like his father and grandfather if his true identity as Isildur’s heir became known. Aragorn was renamed Estel (“hope” in Sindarin) to hide his existence from Sauron and his servants.
“I Am Aragorn, Son Of Arathorn, And Am Called Elessar, The Elfstone, Dúnadan, The Heir Of Isildur Elendil’s Son Of Gondor.”
Aragorn undertook great journeys, serving in the armies of King Thengel of Rohan (King Théoden’s father) and of Steward Ecthelion II of Gondor (father of Denethor). His tasks helped to raise morale in the West and to counter the growing threat of Sauron and his allies, and acquired experience that he would later put to use in the War of the Ring. Aragorn served his lords during that time under the name “Thorongil” (Eagle of the Star). With a small squadron of ships from Gondor, he led an assault on Umbar, burning many of the Corsairs’ ships and personally killing their lord during the Battle of the Havens.
“A Day May Come When The Courage Of Men Fails, When We Forsake Our Friends And Break All Bonds Of Fellowship, But It Is Not This Day.”
In Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Aragorn is played by the Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen. Viggo did a few things with his character that transcended typical actorly dedication; he only used his heavy steel sword on set, rather than the lighter aluminum ones built for stunts (and the stunt guys had the bruises to prove it). He was prone to dragging the sword around everywhere and got stopped by the cops when he was spotted carrying it in public. He asked for more of his lines to be written in elvish. He once kicked a helmet so hard that he broke his toes, but still stayed in character for the take.
A bonus clip.
Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
- When Aragorn led his massive army to the gates of Mordor, he knew his mission was doomed from the start, yet he went anyway. Only to give Frodo the chance to reach Mount Doom while Sauron's focus was centered elsewhere. Is there anything more heroic than that?