December 30, 2023 | Sammy Tran

Brave Facts About Aragorn, The True King Of Gondor


"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. Here are some fact you may not have known about Aragorn.


Aragorn Facts

1. Humble Beginnings

Aragorn II was a foster child. At the age of two, his father Arathorn II met his end during an Orc hunting expedition, thus Aragorn ended up growing in the elven territory of Rivendell, "The Last Homely House East of the Sea."

Aragon Split Gallery

2. Born to Do It

Rivendell actually ran in Aragorn's veins: his father Arathorn had also been reared in the Elven safe hold.

Saruman factsThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), MGM

3. What's in a Name?

True to form, the name "Aragorn" means "Revered King" in Sindarin.

Aragorn facts The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

4. Name Foresight

Aragorn was named after Aragorn I, one of his forefathers, who was the fifth Chieftain of the Dunedain. Clearly, his parents clearly had some pretty lofty goals for their kid.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

5. Hope for the 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 thus know he was the true heir to the throne of Isildur. In fact, the Elves of Rivendell even kept the young boy from his own true identity, keeping him in the dark about his royal origins.

Aragorn only found out who he really was when he was 20 years old.

1702540809997.pngWikimedia Commons

6. 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 as well as his relationships with the elves.

Aragorn facts Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

7. Age-Old Friends

Aragorn's relationship with Gandalf the Grey goes way further back than most people realize, to when Aragorn was only 25 years old. Nonetheless, the circumstances of their meeting is a little cloudy. Regardless of how they met, however, the two would forge a great friendship together, and share many adventures and heroics along the way.

In fact, Gandalf came to admire Aragorn as “the greatest traveler and huntsman of this age of the world.” That's high praise from the honorable wizard.

Aragorn facts Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

8. 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.

Aragorn facts The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), MGM

9. The Hero’s Journey

After learning of his true identity and his claim to the throne, Aragorn set out on his own journey to Middle Earth, which lasted for 23 years. This proved vital to his development as a man and gave him the tools he needed to be a king.

Aragorn facts Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

10. 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, a position his namesake Aragorn I once held. He spent years battling the armies of Mordor and eliminating groups of Orcs.

Sauron factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

11. Flame of the West

Aragorn's mighty sword Anduril is also known as the "Flame of the West." The great weapon was reforged from the shards of Narsil, the sword Aragorn's ancestor Isildur wielded when he cut off the One Ring from Sauron's hand years before.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers FactsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ‎New Line Cinema‎

12. Disguised Man

Aragorn also 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.

Saruman factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003),New Line Cinema

13. 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 King Elessar Telcontar.

It seems the more important you are, the more names you have.

Fellowship Of The Ring factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

14. Sowing His Oats

Though he fell in love with Arwen when they first met, Aragorn didn’t propose 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.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

15. Trotting Along

Though he was known as Strider, J.R.R. Tolkien's original nickname for Aragorn was "Trotter," based on the noise his wooden shoes would have made. If "wooden shoe" sounds like an odd article of clothing for the heroic Aragorn to wear, that's because he was actually first thought up as a Hobbit, not a Man.

J R R Tolkien.Getty Images

16. My Precious Strider

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 One Ring. This made him familiar with Gollum and his ways.

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King factsThe Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

17. 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 conflict of the Ring, Arnor no longer possessed the magnitude of influence it once did, and takes a lesser role in the books, rendering it somewhat the outcast in Aragorn's lineage.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

18. Last Minute Choice

It's hard to imagine anyone else besides Viggo Mortensen in the role of Aragorn, but he wasn’t actually the first choice for the part. In fact, he wasn't even near 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 part as well.

In fact, Stuart Townsend was originally cast in the role, but was fired almost as soon as filming began. Thank goodness Peter Jackson ended up landing on Mortensen.

Aragorn factsShutterstock

19. Talented Viggo

The fight choreography of the Lord of the Rings films was done by Bob Anderson, a British Olympic fencer who was one of the most renowned sword-fighting choreographers in Hollywood. Having trained many legendary actors, he believed Viggo Mortensen to be the best natural swordsman he had the opportunity to train.

If Bob Anderson is saying that, let's just say it has to be true.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

20. Not Playing Around

Speaking of swordsmanship, keeping true to Aragorn’s all-around heroism, Mortensen was the only member of the cast who didn’t use an aluminum and rubber prop sword while filming. Instead, he performed all of his own stunts with a real steel sword in hand. However, this bravery didn't just start and end at the tip of his sword...

Molly Ringwald FactsGetty Images

21. Now That's Commitment

Indeed, Mortensen was so intensely committed during filming that he even once chipped a tooth, calmly proceeded to the dentist, and was back on set after lunch.

Aragorn factsAXN White

22. 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.

Ashley JuddWikimedia.Commons

23. Flying Daggers

Of course, that's just the beginning of the talents Mortensen displayed while on set of the movie trilogy. 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 mid-air. It's important that this wasn’t movie magic: a real dagger was flying right at Mortensen.

Viggo then quickly showed off his skills by deflecting it in the first take.

Fellowship Of The Ring factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

24. 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 and passive about his right to the crown.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

25. A King’s Duty

Aragorn was greatly admired and hugely popular in Gondor. Nonetheless, he declined to be proclaimed king until he had triumphed over Sauron and settled the conflict. In fact, he famously refused to even re-enter the capital city until he was crowned King.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

26. 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—but granted, for a royal of the Númenórean line, that's just the prime of life.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

27. A Long Life

Aragorn was able to live much longer than most men because he had some Elvish lineage. In fact, he is actually distantly related to Elrond: Elrond came from a half-Elf line, meaning that he and his kin could choose to live either as mortals or immortals. Though Elrond went with immortality, his brother Elros chose mortality instead—albeit with a modified 300-year lifespan—and became the first Númenórean King.

Many generations following Elros's departure, Aragorn came into existence from his lineage, also benefitting from the privileges of a prolonged existence.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

28. 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 even be negative about his side's prospects during the conflict of the Ring. While leading the Fellowship, he often doubted his wisdom and decisions, sometimes often blaming himself for their failures and misfortunes.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

29. Not-So Empty Threats

Aragorn was also far from perfect in other ways, and could suffer from pride. In one instance, he refuses to lay down his mighty sword Anduril at Edoras when King Theodon demanded it. In fact, Aragorn is so stubborn about not disarming himself that it takes Gandalf laying down his own legendary sword for Aragorn to relent and do likewise.

Nevertheless, Aragorn declared that anyone who dared to touch his blade would meet their end.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

30. 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.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

31. 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. In short: no hero can do it alone, and he has to rely on the bravery of those around him as well.

Given this, Aragorn is wise enough to understand that the real heroes of the story are Frodo and Sam.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

32. 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.

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King factsThe Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

33. Long Reign

Aragorn's reign lasted for 120 years, and he did much work to bring peace and protection across Middle Earth. Following his passing, his son Eldarion ascended to the throne.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

34. 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 people's minds with them. One tainted the wizard Saruman, and you'l remember that even the great 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.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

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. This relationship, of course, is one of the greatest love stories in Lord of the Rings, but their passion almost had an incredibly heartbreaking end. Elrond was initially against the match, and even wanted to ban Arwen from marrying Aragorn.

If Arwen chose to marry Aragorn, she would have to accept mortality, thus separating herself from her immortal father and her Elven kin. Elrond felt that the cost was simply too high.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

36. Marriage Conditions

Elrond did, however, finally relent, even though it caused him enormous agony to do so; he was certain the burden of loss would weigh heavily on Arwen. Even so, he would only allow his precious daughter to marry on one condition: first, her beloved Aragorn had to become the King of Gondor and Arnor before Elrond would even consider the match.

Because if your daughter is going to give up immortality, it helps if it's for a king.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

37. New Love

Aragorn and Arwen didn’t meet until Aragorn was 20 years old; they hadn’t known each other in their childhood.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

38. Dad’s Doing

Though Elrond deeply disapproved of Arwen and Aragorn's love, he actually may have helped facilitate it. When Arwen was little, she was sent away to stay in her mother’s homeland, Lórien, and she visited her grandmother Galadriel in the wooded territory. This is why Arwen and Aragorn never met when they were younger.

When Arwen returned to Rivendell, Aragorn was evidently struck by her all at once, when perhaps if he had grown up with her, he would have been more immune to her charms.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

39. Is There a Draft in Here?

Despite the sweeping romance of Aragorn and Arwen depicted in the films, Tolkien didn't really nail down this aspect of the books until much later in the series. Indeed, when Tolkien wrote the scene where Aragorn meets the human Eowyn, her obvious interest in him isn't entirely unreciprocated, and Tolkien even made a note that the characters would get married when the story ended.

Obviously, this didn't happen, but Tolkien only fully expanded Arwen and Aragorn's own love story while he was working on the appendices, and it remains much less of a focus in the books than in the movies.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

40. The Elf's Advice

It was Galadriel who gave Aragorn his royal name of King Elessar.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

41. Bearded

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.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

42. Decisions, Decisions

Tolkien struggled with what to name Aragorn, as he felt that a Man wouldn't have an Elven name. Accordingly, he once changed Aragorn's name to "Ingold," which is of Old English origins. Eventually though, he changed his mind back, and "Aragorn" stuck.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

43. Toeing the Line

In another demonstration of absolute, unwavering dedication to his craft, Viggo Mortensen once acted through severely broken bones. Remember the scene in The Two Towers where Aragorn believes the hobbits have perished, and then kicks a helmet across the plain before screaming in spiritual grief and agony on his knees? Well, it turns out that was more than just spiritual agony.

When Mortensen kicked the helmet, he ended up breaking not one but two toes in the process. The pain we see on screen is actually at least partly his real reaction to snapping his own bones.

he Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Factspinterest

44. Call of the Departed

In an impressively cool move, both in the books and the film, Aragorn has the ability to summon the spectral 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.

Either way you cut it though, it's still very cool.

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King factsThe Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

45. 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.

Aragorn factsLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Line Cinema

46. You Can't Keep Us Apart

Arwen and Aragorn's love is mirrored in the passion between Aragorn's own parents, Arathorn and Gilraen. The two were deeply in love with each other, but just like Elrond with Arwen, Gilraen's father disapproved of the match, feeling that his beautiful daughter was too young and impressionable to know what she wanted.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

47. Happily Never After

However, that wasn't the only reason for Gilraen's father's disapproval—he also predicted Arathorn's untimely departure from life and was hesitant to let his daughter bear the burden of such profound sadness. It was Gilraen's mother who convinced him to relent and let the couple get married, predicting that, "If these two wed now, hope may be born for our people; but if they delay, it will not come while this age lasts." It worked, and the prophesied savior Aragorn was born soon after the couple married.

Indeed, Arathorn departed this life at a tragically young age, leaving Gilraen and his young son devastated. Tragically, in the end Arathorn and Gilraen were denied the happy ending of Aragorn and Arwen.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

48. Oh, Viggo

Given how youthful 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 like join the rest of the cast in the films, Mortensen replied a little coldly, “You do know, don’t you...That there is a 60-year gap between the books?”

The man had a point.

Aragorn factsShutterstock

49. 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. Take that, Sauron.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema

50. Time to Perish

Aragorn lived until he was 210 years old. Though Numenorean Kings often have lifespans of 300 years, Aragorn gave up this extra time and decided to end his own life for fear of suffering through the pains and indignities of old age, including losing his wits. More particularly and touchingly, he didn't want Arwen to watch him deteriorate.

With this wish, he opted to depart this life ahead of his slated time.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

51. 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!"

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

52. Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Following the loss of her beloved Aragorn, Arwen succumbed to a broken heart.

Aragorn factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), New Line Cinema

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


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