“I am Aragorn son of Arathorn and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. Here is the sword that was broken and is forged again! ” —The Two Towers
One of the greatest characters in the history of both film and literature, Aragorn II has inspired generations of people with his bravery and humility. His conception by J.R.R Tolkien took years of gestation and dedication, while his portrayal by Viggo Mortensen in the live action trilogy of The Lord of the Rings has cemented the actor in the pantheon of greats.
40. Humble Beginnings
Aragorn II was a foster child. At the age of two, his father Arathorn II died while he was hunting orcs, and Aragorn grew up in the elven territory of Rivendell, “The Last Homely House East of the Sea.”
39. Name Foresight
The name Aragorn means “revered king,” and he was named after Aragorn I. Though, by naming him such, his parents clearly had some pretty lofty goals for their kid.
38. Hope For Future
After being fostered, Aragorn was renamed Estel—meaning hope—for fear that enemies would find out his true identity as the son of Arathorn and heir to the throne of Isildur. He was kept in the dark about who he was until he was 20 years old.
37. Bilingual Boy
Because of his fostered upbringing in Rivendell, Aragorn was bilingual, and learned how to speak Elvish at a young age. Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in the films, even requested to have more lines in Elvish. This was a way to display the character’s fluency and relationships with the elves.
36. Age Old Friends
Aragorn’s relationship with Gandalf the Grey goes way back to when Aragorn was only 25 years old, though how they met is a little cloudy. Regardless, the two would forge a great friendship, and Gandalf came to admire Aragorn as “the greatest traveler and huntsman of this age of the world.”
35. Love Has No Bounds
Aragorn was raised by Elrond, who would go on to eventually become his father-in-law after he married Arwen. Elrond initially didn’t give permission to Aragorn to take his daughter’s hand, as they were immortal, and by marrying Aragorn, Arwen would accept mortality, thus separating her from her father.
34. Marriage Conditions
When Elrond finally gave in, though he thought the pain of death would be too great for his daughter to bear, he granted their marriage permission under one stipulation: that first, Aragorn must become the King of Gondor and Arnor. Because if your daughter is going to give up immortality, it helps if it’s for a king.
33. New Love
Aragorn and Arwen didn’t meet until Aragorn was 20 years old; they hadn’t known each other in their childhood.
32. Dad’s Doing
Their love was actually facilitated by Elrond, as he sent Arwen away to stay in her mother’s homeland, Lórien, during Aragorn’s youth; she visited her grandmother Galadriel.
31. Boy Amongst Hobbits
As a young boy of only 10 years old, Aragorn was in Rivendell when Bilbo Baggins came during his journey around Middle Earth in the tale of The Hobbit.
30. The Hero’s Journey
After learning of his true identity, Aragorn set out on his own journey of Middle Earth, which lasted for 23 years. This proved vital to his development as a man and gave him the tools needed to be a king.
29. Ranger Heritage
At the beginning of his journey, he sought out the Rangers, of whom his father was a part, and worked with them as the 16th Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He spent years fighting the armies of Mordor and killing groups of Orcs.
28. Disguised Man
Aragorn spent time fighting for Gondor disguised under the name of Thorongil (meaning “Eagle of the Star”), and built up an incredibly esteemed reputation for himself while leading raids against the Corsairs of Umbar.
27. Many Names
In addition to his given name Aragorn, his adopted name of Estel, and his pseudonym Thorongil, he also had many nicknames, including Strider—which he is introduced as to the hobbits—Longshanks, and Wingfoot. He also took on the name Telcontar after founding the House of Telcontar. His full regnal name would be Elessar Telcontar.
26. Sowing His Oats
Though he fell in love with Arwen when they first met, Aragorn didn’t propose a marriage until he returned from his journeys around Middle Earth. That’s a long time to wait for love, though probably not for an elf.
Though he was known as Strider, J.R.R. Tolkien’s original nickname for him was “Trotter” based on the noise his wooden shoes made. He actually was also thought up first as a hobbit, not a man.
24. Ring Before The Rings
While The Rings of Power were all made during the Second Age of Middle Earth, the Ring of Barahir, which Aragorn wears, was crafted way back before in the First Age, making it one of the oldest objects in existence.
23. History With Gollum
Before the events of The Lord of the Rings went down, Gandalf tasked Aragorn with tracking down Gollum to find out more information about The Ring. This made him familiar with Gollum and his ways.
22. Royal On Royal On Royal
Aragorn isn’t just the last descendant of the royal Isildur line, he’s also directly related to the kingdom of Arnor. However, during the War of the Ring, Arnor no longer had as much power as it once did, and plays less of a role in the books.
21. Last Minute Choice
It’s hard to imagine anyone else besides Viggo Mortensen in the role of Aragorn, but he wasn’t the first choice for the role. Nor was he even at the top of the list. Daniel Day-Lewis (because who doesn’t want him in their movie) turned the role down several times, while the likes of Nicolas Cage turned down the role as well. In fact, Stuart Townsend was actually cast in the role, but was fired almost as soon as filming began.
20. Talented Viggo
The fight choreography of the Lord of the Rings films was done by Bob Anderson, a British Olympic fencer who was the most renowned sword-fighting choreographer in Hollywood. Having trained many legendary actors, he believed Viggo Mortensen to be the best swordsman he had the opportunity to train.
19. Not Playing Around
Speaking of swordsmanship, keeping true to Aragorn’s all-around badassery, Mortensen was the only member of the cast who didn’t use an aluminum and rubber prop while filming. Instead, he performed all of his own stunts with a real steel sword in hand. He was so badass that he even chipped a tooth while filming, calmly went to the dentist, and was back on set after lunch.
18. Aragorn as Aragorn
Mortensen was so convincing in his portrayal as Aragorn that during filming, director Peter Jackson had moments where he would lapse into calling him by Aragorn rather than Viggo, and neither of them would realize it.
17. Flying Daggers
In a scene in The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn is battling the orc leader Lurtz, who throws a dagger at Mortensen that he deflects in midair. This wasn’t movie magic: a real dagger was flying right at Mortensen, who then showed off his skills by deflecting it in the first take.
16. It’s Good to Be the King
One of the main differences between the Aragorn in the books and Aragorn in the films is his interest in fulfilling his destiny and reclaiming the throne of Gondor. In the books, he is actively pursuing the throne, while in the films he is more reluctant.
15. A King’s Duty
Aragorn was greatly admired and hugely popular in Gondor. Nonetheless, he declined to be proclaimed king until he was able to finish the war and defeat Sauron. He refused to even re-enter the capital city until he was crowned King.
14. Old Man Warrior
During the events of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers when Aragorn shows off some seriously impressive feats, he is actually about 87 years old. Not bad for a man of that age—granted, for a royal of the Númenórean line, that’s the prime of life.
13. A Long Life
Aragorn was able to live much longer than most men because he had some elvish lineage. He is actually distantly related to Elrond, as Elrond came from a mixed blood lineage, meaning that he could choose to live as a mortal man or immortal elf. Elrond’s brother chose mortality, and many generations after his death, Aragorn was born from his legacy.
12. The Other Side of Wisdom
While he was a great leader with wisdom and confidence, Aragorn still suffered from deep self-doubt. He was quite hard on himself and could be grim. While leading the Fellowship, he often doubted his wisdom and decisions, sometimes often blaming himself for their failures and misfortunes.
11. Can’t Touch This
Still don’t believe how skilled a warrior Aragorn was? Well, how’s this: He emerged from the Battle of Pelennor Fields without a scratch, let alone a scar, from all of the fighting.
10. Words of Love
Aragorn’s last words to Arwen were: “In sorrow, we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound forever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. Farewell!”
9. To Tell A New Story
While Aragorn is clearly the traditional hero of Tolkien’s story, he isn’t the main character. By doing this, Tolkien flipped the classical way to tell a story on its head, and showed an alternative perspective to where heroes come from and how they rise. Given this, Aragorn is wise enough to understand that the real heroes of the story are Frodo and Sam.
8. King of Inspiration
Tolkien’s inspiration to develop Aragorn in his particular arc came from the Anglo-Saxon King Oswald of Northumbria. King Arthur was an inspiration as well, and Aragorn also echoes some aspects of Edward the Confessor and Alfred the Great.
7. Long Reign
Aragorn’s reign lasted for 120 years, and he did much work to bring peace and protection across Middle Earth. After his death, his son Eldarion took the throne.
6. No Match For Aragorn
The mental fortitude of Aragorn was unparalleled in Middle Earth. Sauron was able to control much of Middle Earth due to powerful crystal balls called Palantirs, and often poisoned peoples’ minds with them. One tainted the wizard Saruman, and even Gandalf was afraid to touch one of these dark spheres. However, Aragorn was able to hold one in his hands and speak directly to Sauron without any adverse effect.
In an attempt to set Aragorn apart from the rest of the characters in the movies, Mortensen sports a bit of beard scruff. However, in the books, Aragorn is actually clean-shaven, like an elf.
4. Call of the Dead
In a seriously cool move, in both the books and the film Aragorn is able to call forth the dead army from the mountains of Dunharrow to fight alongside him during the battle of Minas Tirith. In the films, it’s just something he does without any help, but in the books, he uses an object called the Black Stone to call the army.
3. The Power of Love
The tale of Aragorn and Arwen’s love is based on real life. Tolkien wrote this love story as a reflection of his love for his own wife, Edith, and the passages with Aragorn and Arwen are some of the most moving and beautiful prose he ever produced.
2. Oh, Viggo
Given how young Aragorn is supposed to be during The Hobbit, Mortensen turned down the opportunity to reprise his role for the Hobbit movies. When asked by a producer if he would join the cast, he replied, “You do know, don’t you … That there is a 60-year gap between the books?”
1. Time To Die
Aragorn died when he was 210 years old. He decided to end his own life because he didn’t want to suffer through the pains of old age and lose his wits, nor did he want Arwen to watch him deteriorate. With this wish, he chose to die before it was actually his time.
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