The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Race
Division
Family
Descended from the House of Isildur; founded his own house, known as Telcontar
Meaning
Unknown, but 'Ara' denotes 'Lord' or 'King'2
Pronunciation
a'ragorrn
(both 'r' sounds should be distinctly pronounced: 'rr' is used here to emphasise this in the final syllable)
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  • Updated 26 August 2006
  • Updates planned: 2

Aragorn Elessar

Son of Arathorn, Heir of Isildur and King of the Reunited Kingdom of the Dúnedain

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
Arathorn II
Gilraen
Aragorn
Arwen
Eldarion
Unnamed
daughters

High Kings of the Dúnedain in Middle-earth

Kings of Arnor

Kings of Gondor

Chieftains of the Dúnedain

The Company of the Ring

Heir of Isildur through thirty-nine generations, Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North and, after the War of the Ring, King of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor. Called by Gandalf 'the greatest traveller and huntsman in this age of the world', Aragorn experienced many great adventures, and travelled to many distant lands, before claiming his kingship.


Born the heir of Chieftain Arathorn II of the Northern Dúnedain, Aragorn lost his father to the Orcs in only his second year. His mother Gilraen took him to Rivendell, where he was fostered by Elrond. In Rivendell his identity was concealed, and he was known only by the name 'Estel' throughout his childhood years. It was only at the age of twenty that Elrond revealed to him his true ancestry, and gave him two tokens of his station as Heir of Isildur: the Ring of Barahir and the Shards of Narsil. It was at this time, too, that he first met Arwen.

After discovering his true calling, Aragorn took his leave of Elrond and travelled the wilds of Middle-earth. Soon after, he met Gandalf, and the two developed a close friendship and alliance. He then began a series of great ventures throughout Middle-earth. In the southern lands, he served both Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II of Gondor, though again he adopted an alias, calling himself 'Thorongil'. After a great victory over the Corsairs of Umbar, he left Gondor's service, and travelled away into the east.

At last his travels brought him to Lórien, where he met again with Arwen. They declared their love for one another on the green mound of Cerin Amroth, and Aragorn gave the Ring of Barahir, ancient heirloom of his house, to Arwen. News of this dismayed Elrond, as he warned Aragorn when he returned to Rivendell. At this time his mother Gilraen departed from the House of Elrond, and she died soon afterwards.

In the following years he fell in with Gandalf again. Years before, while Aragorn was still a child, Gandalf had learned of a creature named Gollum who had owned the Great Ring that later came to Bilbo Baggins. Aragorn agreed to hunt for Gollum, and found him at last among the Dead Marshes on the borders of Mordor. From there he transported him northward through the wilds of Middle-earth until he came to the realm of Thranduil in the north of Mirkwood, where Gollum was imprisoned and questioned by Gandalf. So began Aragorn's direct involvement in the events of the War of the Ring.

In the following year, aware of Gandalf's plan that the Ring would be carried out of the Shire by Frodo Baggins, Aragorn set out to find and protect the Ring-bearer. On the road east of the Shire, he encountered four Hobbits, one of whom identified himself as 'Baggins'. Secretly, he followed these four eastward to Bree, where at last he revealed himself to them and offered to guide them to Rivendell. So began a long and difficult journey during which Frodo was terribly wounded, but at last he brought them safely to the House where he had spent his own childhood. There, peoples from across Middle-earth gathered for a council, the Council of Elrond, at which it was decided to send out a fellowship of Nine Walkers to seek Mount Doom in Mordor and there destroy the Ring. Aragorn was one of these Nine, and before he set out, the smiths of Rivendell took the Shards of Narsil and reforged them to make a new sword for Aragorn, which he named Andúril, Flame of the West.

From Rivendell, Gandalf led the Fellowship southward through the wild and empty lands west of the Misty Mountains. They attempted to cross the Mountains through the Redhorn Pass and, when that failed, took the dark and dangerous path through Moria. There they encountered a Balrog, and Gandalf was lost, though the others escaped through the East-gate. From there, Aragorn took on the mantle of leadership, and brought the remainder of the Fellowship to Lórien, and then on down the Great River to Parth Galen above the Falls of Rauros.

Beneath Amon Hen, the Fellowship was broken: one of its members, Boromir, was killed, while Frodo and Samwise passed on into the east, and Meriadoc and Peregin were captured by Orcs and carried westward. After some debate, Aragorn resolved to follow the Orcs and rescue Merry and Pippin, and so with Legolas and Gimli he followed their trail untiringly down out of the Emyn Muil and across the grasslands of Rohan. There, he met with Éomer, who lent him the horse Hasufel, and then on the Three Hunters journeyed until they reached Fangorn Forest.

In Fangorn, Aragorn discovered that his old friend Gandalf was not in fact dead, but had returned as Gandalf the White. Finding that Merry and Pippin were safe, the Three Hunters accompanied Gandalf to Edoras, where he healed Théoden, and travelled on with the armies of Rohan to Helm's Deep. After fighting valiantly against the forces of Saruman in the Battle of the Hornburg, Aragorn encountered his kinsmen out of the north: thirty Dúnedain led by Halbarad, and with them the Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir. The Dúnedain had also brought Aragorn's own horse, Roheryn, and the Sons of Elrond had a message from their father, reminding Aragorn of an ancient prophecy of Malbeth the Seer.

That prophecy spoke of the Dead Men who dwelt beneath the Dwimorberg, in the White Mountains south of Rohan. So, with his Grey Company, Aragorn set out to find the Paths of the Dead. Once there, his authority as the true Heir of Isildur persuaded the Dead to serve him, and they followed him out of the Mountains and eastward across the lands of Gondor. Above the Mouths of Anduin they came to the port city of Pelargir, where they routed a fleet of Corsairs and captured their ships. Dismissing the Shadow Host, Aragorn freed the captives aboard the ships, and joining them with Men that had followed him out of Gondor's provinces he was able to man the ships and sail northward to Minas Tirith.

The fleet sailed into the Harlond, the port south of Minas Tirith, to find the city besieged. At first its defenders were dismayed at the arrival of the ships, but Aragorn then raised his standard of a White Tree on Black, and armies of Gondor realized that a new force of allies had appeared. Against apalling odds, the great Battle of the Pelennor was won, and Minas Tirith was saved from the armies of the Lord of Morgul.

Steward Denethor of Minas Tirith had perished during the Battle, taking his own life in a fit of madness. At that time, as Heir of Isildur, Aragorn could have claimed the Kingship of Gondor for himself, but he chose not to do so. Instead, the Captains of the West agreed to follow the counsels of Gandalf. They devised a plan to march against Mordor, against any hope of success, in order to distract the Eye of Sauron from Frodo the Ring-bearer, in whom lay their only true hope of victory.

Before the Black Gate of Mordor, Aragorn issued a challenge to Sauron, and was met with an overwhelming force of Orcs, Trolls and Wild Men. The small force of Gondor would surely have been destroyed, but at that moment the Ring was cast into the Fire, and with it Sauron's power was destroyed.

After the victory against Sauron, Aragorn accepted the Kingship, and was crowned by Gandalf as King Elessar before the ruined Great Gate of Minas Tirith, before entering the city. At the Midsummer of the same year, he wedded Arwen and so made her his Queen. Afterwards the reunited Fellowship journeyed west and north towards their homes, and Aragorn accompanied them as far as Isengard, bidding them farewell beneath the slopes of Dol Baran.

Under his long rule Gondor prospered. The North-kingdom was reinstated, and united once again with South-kingdom to form a Reuinted Kingdom. Though peace and freedom had returned to the Westlands, evils still survived the Fall of Sauron in the east, and Aragorn rode out with King Éomer of Rohan to face them in battle. Arwen bore him a son and heir, Eldarion, as well as at least two daughters. When the end of his life came at last, he gave it up willingly, as the ancient Kings of Númenor, his distant ancestors, had done long before.


Notes

1

In some editions of The Lord of the Rings, there's a statement at the end of Appendix A I (iii) that 'Aragorn indeed lived to be one hundred and ninety years old...' This is an error, and is corrected in later editions to read 'two hundred and ten years old'.

2

In fact an early manuscript of Appendix A does give an account of the meaning of Aragorn's name. According to that account, after Arathorn had named his son, Aragorn's grandmother Ivorwen interpreted it as 'Kingly Valour'. Ultimately, Tolkien rejected this version of the story, but it is not known whether he also intended to reject 'Kingly Valour' as the meaning of Aragorn's name.

See also...

Accursed Years, Ainur, Andúril, Angbor, Ann-thennath, Annúminas, Arador, Arahad II, Arathorn I, Arathorn II, Aravir, Aravorn, Archet, Argeleb II, Argonui, [See the full list...]

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