Aragorn II (S, pron. [ˈaraɡorn]; 1 March Third Age 2931 – Fourth Age 120, aged 210 years) was the son of Arathorn II and Gilraen. He was the last 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, and reuniting the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.
Aragorn was born in T.A. 2931 to the Chieftain Arathorn, and received the name Aragorn. But his grandmother, Ivorwen, noted with foresight that Aragorn would one day wear on his breast a green stone.
A legend says that the Wizard Gandalf had brought such a stone from Valinor. He gave the Elessar to the Elven Lady Galadriel, and remarked prophetically that she would pass it to another, who will also be called Elessar. From this would come his royal name Elessar (Quenya for 'Elfstone'), and he would be a healer and a renewer.
When Aragorn was two years old, his father was slain when an Orc arrow pierced his eye. As was the tradition of his people, Aragorn was fostered in Rivendell by Elrond as if he was his own son. 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. During his life in Rivendell he accompanied the sons of Elrond, Elrohir and Elladan, on their journeys.
Elrond revealed to 'Estel' his true name and ancestry when he returned from a journey with Elrohir and Elladan in T.A. 2952, when Aragorn was twenty-one years old; as part of this revelation, he delivered to him the heirlooms of his House: the shards of Narsil and the Ring of Barahir. Later, Aragorn met and fell in love with Arwen, daughter of Elrond, who had newly returned from Lothlórien.
Life as a Ranger
Estel took up his proper name as Aragorn, sixteenth of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, and after he took leave of his mother and Elrond he went into The Wild. In T.A. 2953 he was not present in Rivendell for the last meeting of the White Council. Aragorn met Gandalf the Grey in T.A. 2956, and they became great friends. At Gandalf's advice he started to become interested in the Shire and became known as Strider in this region.
From T.A. 2957 to T.A. 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 became one of Ecthelion II's most important advisers. He warned Ecthelion of the Corsairs of Umbar, who threatened the Southern Fiefs and was eventually allowed by Ecthelion to attack Umbar. He led a Surprise Attack on the Havens of Umbar with a few Gondorian ships, destroying many of their ships and slaying its lord with only few casualties. After his return in Pelargir he crossed the Anduin and 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 on his return to Rivendell he entered Lothlórien, and there once again met Arwen in Caras Galadhon. For one season they lived together in Lothlórien. At midsummer 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 harsh condition had a precedent: King Thingol's request that Beren obtain a Silmaril from Morgoth before marrying his daughter Lúthien.
Hunt for Gollum
In the year 3001, as a now revealed Sauron continued to regain power in Mordor, Aragorn began assisting Gandalf in his search for news of Gollum. Gandalf suspected that the ring Bilbo Baggins found near Gollum's lake was in fact the One Ring. In T.A. 3007, he shortly returns to Eriador where he visits his mother for the last time, she dies before that year's spring.
In 3017 after searching intermittently over the years, Aragorn finally overtakes Gollum in the Dead Marshes on 1 February. With Gollum he travelled through the northern Emyn Muil, to prevent being found by Sauron's spies, and crossed the Anduin at the Sarn Gebir. He travelled further north along the edges of Fangorn Forest and through Lothlórien, where the Elves sent a message to Gandalf. He travelled alongside the Anduin to the north until he arrived at the Carrock. With the aid of the Beornings he crossed the Anduin with Gollum and entered Mirkwood. He took Gollum to Thranduil in to be held captive. He then returns west where he meets with Gandalf at Sarn Ford and learns of Frodo Baggins' plan to leave the shire with the Ring late September and then went to his own journey.
War of the Ring
When Aragorn returned to his area, the Elves who followed Gildor Inglorion told Aragorn the Black Riders had been seen, and Gandalf had been missing and there were no messages from him. Aragorn and his Rangers kept watch over the border of the Shire and the East Road waiting for sight of Frodo but there were no news of them leaving Buckland.
While staying in Bree, Aragorn crossed the paths of four hobbits in The Prancing Pony. Aragorn watched as the hobbits clumsily hid their names and intentions. He watched as Frodo Baggins, the leader of the party, fell from a table and disappeared as he put the ring on. 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 requested 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 reach Rivendell was to first head 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.
After the Council of Elrond Aragorn became a member of the Fellowship of the Ring. As a preparation for his travel, the ancient shards of Narsil, the heirloom of his House, were reforged after 3 millennia. Aragorn carried the Sword Reforged, and renamed it Andúril.
Aragorn's intentions were to travel with the company for a while before returning to Gondor with Boromir. Aragorn encouraged the taking of the Redhorn Pass, which ended in disaster. He reluctantly conceded to Gandalf’s choice to pass through Moria, though his sense of foresight warned him for Gandalf. Indeed, after Gandalf fell into the abyss with Durin's Bane, Aragorn was naturally elected leader of the company, despite some resentment by Boromir.
Leading the Fellowship of the Ring
Aragorn again amazed the rest of the Fellowship by his apparent closeness to the people of Lothlórien, and his friendship with Celeborn and Galadriel. At their departure, Galadriel offered him the Elfstone as a wedding gift from the family of the Elven bride to the groom, foretelling his marriage to Arwen. It was worn by Aragorn ever after and from that he later took the name Elessar.
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 Ring-bearer chose.
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. In Dunharrow, he met the lady Éowyn, who had fallen in love with him. After making it clear that he could not accept her love, he turned towards 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 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 counter-attacked 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 rumours. 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 draw 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.
Reign as Elessar
Aragorn ruled the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor until year 120 of the Fourth Age.
Some days after his coronation, Gandalf took Elessar up the slopes of Mount Mindolluin, and there he found the scion of Nimloth, the symbol of his mastery of the Reunited Kingdom. Elrond and Arwen came to Gondor and Elrond gave Elessar the Sceptre of Annúminas signifying the Kingship of Arnor. He wedded Arwen on Midsummer's day of 3019, and then was forced to bid his old friends farewell. He turned back to his new kingdom as the Fourth Age dawned and the Ring-bearers left the shores of Middle-earth forever.
One of his first tasks in the reordering of his realm was the restoration of Orthanc and ordered the Orthanc-stone to be returned there. With this opportunity, many secrets and hoarded treasures were revealed including the Elendilmir which Saruman took from Isildur's body. Elessar received the Elemdilmir with reverence and took it with him as he established his full kingship of Arnor.
Elessar gave his Steward Faramir the title Lord of Emyn Arnen and created him as Prince of Ithilien. He declared the Drúadan Forest to belong to the Drúedain and a protected enclave of his Kingdom. He also re-established the Great Council of Gondor whose chief councillor was the Steward. He also renewed the Oath of Cirion with Éomer.
As for the Shire, he declared it a Free Land under the protection of the Northern Sceptre and forbid Men from entering it. He appointed the Thain, the Master of Buckland, and the Mayor of Michel Delving Counsellors of the North-kingdom. Also he offered to the Shire the lands up to the Emyn Beraid.
He founded the royal House of Telcontar, he had a son and a number of daughters.
King Elessar died after 210 years of life and 122 years of rule and was succeeded by his son Eldarion. His wife Arwen, now mortal, gave up her life shortly afterwards in year 121, aged 2,901.
The name Aragorn is Sindarin, meaning 'Revered King', from aran ('king') and (n)gorn ('dreaded, revered').
This clear etymology from Tolkien was not revealed until the publication in 2007 of 'Words, Phrases & Passages in The Lord of the Rings', a late 1950s manuscript. Before that, several theories were proposed:
- Ruth S. Noel and several others proposed 'King of the Tree', but Tolkien specifically said that this was not the case.
- David Salo deduces 'Having Kingly Valor' from Tolkien's cryptic “'Kingly Valour' (for so is that name interpreted)”. This is still the most often cited etymology; Robert Ireland's A Tolkien Dictionary gives the variation 'Royal Zeal'.
- Carl F. Hostetter proposed the meanings 'King of the Globe' or 'King of the Hill' in his analysis of the King's Letter.
The Quenya form of Aragorn was Aracorno.
Names and titles
- Aragorn II - Aragorn's name as Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was likely named after Aragorn I.
- Thorongil - S 'Eagle of the Star', a pseudonym used in Gondor and Rohan. Pronounced [θoˈroŋɡil].
- Elessar - Q 'Elfstone', Aragorn's name as a king. Despite popular use as such, Aragorn was never known as 'Aragorn Elessar', 'Aragorn II Elessar' or 'King Aragorn'. Pronounced [eˈlesːar].
- Envinyatar, the Renewer
- Edhelharn - The Sindarin equivalent of Elessar, used in the King's Letter. Pronounced [eˈðel.harn].
- Elfstone - The Common Speech version of the previous two.
- Estel - Q. Usually glossed as 'Hope', the concept estel more widely means 'hope, trust, a temper of mind, steady fixed in purpose, and difficult to dissuade and unlikely to fall into despair or abandon its purpose'. Pronounced [ˈestel].
- Strider - A sobriquet given by the men of Bree. Aragorn used it mockingly.
- Wingfoot - A honorary name given by Éomer after the pursuit of the Uruk-hai through the Eastemnet.
- Telcontar - A Quenya form of 'Strider', this was the name of Elessar's Royal House. It was not used independently. Pronounced [telˈkontar].
- Isildur's Heir - A poetic address, as he was the heir of Isildur.
- The Dúnadan - 'Man of the West', a name given by Bilbo Baggins when their friendship evolved.
- Longshanks - another, though less frequently used, sobriquet in Bree, ascribed to Bill Ferny. The legs of the Bree-men were shorter than the legs of the Dúnedain.
- Arakorno - A rare Quenya form of Aragorn, which only appeared in a discussion about the words for Quenya and Pronounced [ˌaraˈkorno].