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|~ Arago's most famous line.|
|“||Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. 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. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!||„|
|~ Aragorn's speech before the battle at the Black Gate.|
Aragorn II Elessar, son of Arathorn, also known in the wild as Strider, is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, and the tritagonist of the novel, The Lord of the Rings, and it's Oscar-Winning film trilogy by Peter Jackson.
He is a Ranger of the North, first introduced by the name Strider, which the hobbits continue to call him. At the end of The Lord of the Rings, he is crowned King Elessar Telcontar, Lord of Gondor.
He is in the long run found to be the last descendant of Elendil and Anárion (Isildur's brother), making him the legitimate heir to the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. He is also known to be the Elessar and Strider.
In The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he is portrayed by Viggo Mortenson.
He appears as the tritagonist of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), one of the two main protagonists (alongside Frodo Baggins) of The Two Towers (2002), and the deuteragonist of The Return of the King (2003).
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In J.R.R. Tolkien's novels
Before the events of The Lord of the Rings
Aragorn was born on March 1, T.A. 2931. The son of Arathorn II and his wife Gilraen. Through his ancestor Elendil (whom he closely resembled) Aragorn was a descendant of the first king of Númenor, Elros Tar-Minyatur; the twin brother of Elrond.
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 heir of Isildur became known. Aragorn was renamed Estel ("hope" in Tolkien's invented language Sindarin) to hide his existence from Sauron and his servants. He was not told about his heritage until he came of age in 2951.
Elrond revealed to Aragorn his true name and ancestry, and delivered to him the shards of Elendil's sword Narsil, and also the Ring of Barahir. He withheld the Sceptre of Annúminas from him until he "came of the right" to possess it. Aragorn met and fell in love with Arwen, Elrond's daughter (whom he mistook for Tinúviel), when she had returned from Lórien, her mother's homeland.
Aragorn thereafter assumed his role as the sixteenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain, the Rangers of the North, and went into the wild, living with the remnants of his people, whose kingdom had been destroyed through civil and regional wars centuries before.
Aragorn meets Gandalf the Grey in 2956, and they became close friends. At Gandalf's request, the Rangers began to guard the Shire, inhabited by the diminutive and agrarian Hobbits. In the areas around the Shire and Bree he became known as "Strider".
Strider the Ranger
From 2957 to 2980, 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 he 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 Gondorian ships, he led an assault on Umbar in 2980, burning many of the Corsairs' ships and personally slaying their lord during the Battle of the Havens. After the victory at Umbar, "Thorongil" left the field, to the dismay of his men, and went East.
Aragorn also travelled through the Dwarves' mines of Moria and to Rhûn and Harad, where (in his own words) "the stars are strange".
In 2980, he visited Lórien, and there 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 mortality, the "Gift of Men". Elrond withheld from Aragorn permission to marry his daughter until such time as his foster son should be king of Gondor and Arnor reunited. To marry a mortal, Arwen would be required to choose mortality and thus eventually deprive the immortal Elrond of his daughter; and Elrond feared that in the end Arwen might find the prospect of death (her own and that of her husband) too difficult to bear.
Gandalf grew suspicious of the ring belonging to the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, which was later discovered to be Sauron's One Ring. Gandalf asked Aragorn to track Gollum, who had previously possessed the Ring. This hunt led Aragorn across Rhovanion, and he finally captured Gollum in the Dead Marshes northwest of Mordor and brought him captive to King Thranduil’s halls in Mirkwood, where Gandalf questioned him.
The Lord of the Rings
Joining the Fellowship
In the 1st volume, 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. The four hobbits had set out from the Shire to bring the One Ring to Rivendell. Aragorn, going by the nickname "Strider", was then aged 87, 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 Frodo was charged with destroying the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, and Aragorn was chosen as a member of the Fellowship of the Ring to accompany him. The Fellowship also included Gandalf, the hobbits Pippin and Merry along with Frodo's faithful gardener Samwise Gamgee, Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, and Boromir of Gondor. Before the company departed, Elven-smiths reforged the shards of Narsil into a sword, setting into the design of the blade seven stars (for Elendil) and a crescent moon (for Isildur), as well as many runes. Aragorn renamed the sword Andúril (meaning "flame of the west" in Sindarin), and it was said to have shone with the light of the Sun and the Moon.
Aragorn accompanied the group through their attempted crossing of the pass of Caradhras, and subsequently through the mines of Moria. After Gandalf was lost there in battle with the Balrog, Aragorn led the company to Lothlórien and met with the Lady Galadriel who provided shelter, and then down the river Anduín to the Falls of Rauros. Originally he planned to go to Gondor to aid its people in the war, but after the loss of Gandalf he became increasingly concerned about his responsibilities to Frodo and the quest. The Fellowship, however, now quickly fell apart: Frodo decided to continue his journey alone (accompanied by Sam) and Boromir was killed trying to defend Merry and Pippin, who were captured by orcs.
The Search for Merry & Pippin and Finding Gandalf
In the 2nd volume, The Two Towers, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli (calling themselves the Three Hunters) set off to track the Uruk-hai, hoping to rescue Merry and Pippin. They encountered Éomer, who was pursuing rumours of an orc raid in the area. From Éomer, Aragorn learned that the orcs that kidnapped Merry and Pippin had been slaughtered, and that no hobbits were found among the remains. Dejected, he led Legolas and Gimli to the site of the battle. Clues led Aragorn to believe that the hobbits might still be alive, prompting him to lead the party into Fangorn Forest. They found not the hobbits, but Gandalf the White (whom they initially mistook for Saruman), sent back from death to continue his duties in Middle-earth. Gandalf told them that the hobbits were in the care of the Ents of Fangorn. Together, the four travelled to Edoras in Rohan, 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.
War of the Ring and Reign as King
In the 3rd and final volume, The Return of the King, Aragorn used a palantír and revealed himself to Sauron as the heir of Isildur, in order to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo, who was approaching Mordor. Sauron 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 Anduín to Minas Tirith. When they arrived at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Aragorn unfurled the royal standard that Arwen had made for him, showing both the White Tree of Gondor and 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.
To continue to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo's quest, Aragorn led the armies of the West to the gates of Mordor, where Sauron attacked with overwhelming force. But at that moment the Ring was destroyed, and Sauron and his forces vanquished.
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 unclaimed for centuries due to historical, legal, and military circumstances. The royal house of Gondor descended from Elendil, but through Anárion, Isildur's brother. 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 elder son.
When Gondor's throne became vacant in T.A. 1944, the separation of the kingdoms had been reinforced when the Steward Pelendur rejected the claim of the northern prince Arvedui (Eärnil, a lateral member of the House of Anárion, was eventually chosen king instead). But Arvedui's wife was also of the House of Anárion, so Aragorn descended not only from Elendil and Isildur but also from the ruling family of Gondor. By the time of the Lord of the Rings, however, Gondor had been under the rule of the Stewards of Gondor for centuries, as it was widely doubted that any of the royal line still lived.
The Steward Denethor, who years before had seen "Thorongil" as a rival for his father's favour, declared that he would not bow to a descendant of Isildur. Aragorn healed Faramir, Denethor's heir, who had been expected to die; this won him immediate recognition by Faramir as the rightful heir to the throne, and Aragorn's humility and self-sacrifice gained him the hearts of the inhabitants of Gondor's capital city. His healing abilities were noted also by the people of Gondor; 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 Aragorn as King that same evening.
Despite his immediate success and popularity, however, Aragorn decided to lay aside his claim to the throne for the time being. He knew that if he aggressively promoted his claim, rival claimants or debates over his legitimacy might ensue, 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 he left Minas Tirith and symbolically refused to enter it again until he was crowned King.
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 Quenya), a name given to him by Galadriel. (In Sindarin 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. His line was referred to as the House of Telcontar (Telcontar being Quenya for "Strider", the name he was known by in Bree). The Appendices of Return of the King explain that Aragorn married Arwen shortly afterwards, and ruled the Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor until the year 120 of the Fourth Age. His reign was marked by great harmony and prosperity within Gondor and Arnor, and by a renewal of communication and cooperation 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 120 years as king. It is said that the graves of Meriadoc and Peregrin (who had died in Gondor 58 years prior) were set beside his. He was succeeded on the throne by his son, Eldarion. Arwen, gravely saddened by the loss of her husband, gave up her mortal life shortly afterwards and was laid to rest in Lothlórien. Arwen and Aragorn also had at least two daughters. Upon hearing of Aragorn's death, Legolas built a grey ship in Ithilien, and sailed down Anduín and so to the Undying Lands; and with him, it is said, went Gimli the Dwarf. "And when that ship passed an end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring."