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Lord of the Rings - Aragorn’s history and life explained

If you want to become a Lord of the Rings expert then check out our detailed guide going over Aragorn's entire history and life journey in Middle-earth.

Aragorn explained: everything that a Lord of the Rings fan needs to know about Aragorn's history and life story

Who is Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings? JRR Tolkien has created one of the best stories that the world has ever seen. Not only did he define modern fantasy as we know it, but he also created some of the best characters in existence.

If you are familiar with The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson’s adaption of the story, you’d know that nearly all of the Lord of the Rings characters are exciting and noteworthy. However, after rewatching all the Lord of the Rings movies in order again, let’s be honest, certain heroes stand out, and one of these figures is none other than Aragorn. From his charisma to his leadership skills, Aragorn is just plain cool. But if you are going purely off of film knowledge, his backstory may seem pretty complicated too.

While the Lord of the Rings are some of the best movies, they don’t fully unpack Aragorn’s history or life story. There is a lot more to this character’s lore, and we are here to make sure you become Middle-earth experts. Below we break down the entire journey of Aragorn so you can fully appreciate Strider come your next movie night.

Who is Aragorn?

Aragorn is one of the main characters in Lord of the Rings and is the legitimate heir to the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. He is also known as Elessar and Strider and is the last Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North (talk about an overachiever, am I right?).

Now don’t get us wrong, Aragorn isn’t your typical King. In fact, he spent most of his time as a Ranger until the War of the Ring kicked off. He also isn’t a typical man, having a vastly longer lifespan than most thanks to his ancestor Elros (aka Elrond’s brother) being a half-elf.

But whether Aragorn liked it or not, he has always been a born leader and is hands down one of the best fighters in the entire franchise. The lucky Lord of the Rings cast member that got to portray him in the films was Viggo Mortensen, and to this day, Aragorn is a personal favorite for all of us Middle-earth experts at The Digital Fix.

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Aragorn’s early life and backstory

Aragorn was born March 1, TA 2931, and from his birth had big expectations thrown onto him thanks to his grandmother Ivorwen for seeing that one day he would wear a green stone on his breast. The stone in question is known as the Elessar from Valinor, which Gandalf brought to Middle-earth. Galadriel held onto the stone, but eventually, Aragorn received it as well as his new royal name Elessar (Quenya for “Elfstone”).

Still with us? Good, because Aragorn’s childhood was equally dramatic and also quite tragic. At two years old, his father was slain by an Orc, and Aragorn left his home to be fostered by Elrond in Rivendell. While there, Aragorn’s identity was hidden to protect himself from Sauron’s forces, and went by the name Estel instead.

Elrond raised Aragon as if he was his own son, and this led to Aragorn forming a relationship with the Elf’s family, often accompanying the sons of Elrond, Elrohir, and Elladan, on their journeys.

Aragorn explained: Aragorn and Arwen kissing in the Fellowship of the Rings

This took up most of his time until he was 20 years old. In 2952 TA Aragorn returned from his heroic quests with the elf brothers and revealed his true identity. It is also during this year when Elrond presents Aragorn with the shards of Narsil and the Ring of Barahir (the heirlooms of Isildur’s bloodline).

The very next day, Aragorn met the love of his life, Elrond’s daughter Arwen who had newly returned from Lothlórien after visiting her grandmother Galadriel (yes, you read right, Galadriel is a grandma).

However, as normal, our hero can’t catch a break as his mother Gilraen, opposes his newfound love. Similarly, Elrond finds out about their relationship and points out Aragorn has a heavy burden to carry and must prove himself worthy before he can settle down and have a normal life with love.

Aragorn explained: Aragon as Strider in the Two Towers

Aragorn becoming Strider

Aragorn decides to follow his destiny and leaves Rivendell, saying goodbye to his family and Arwen. He heads into the wild and becomes the 16th Chieftain of the Dúnedain. In 2956 TA, he meets Gandalf the Grey for the first time, and the two become fast and firm friends. Gandalf asks Aragorn to keep tabs on The Shire, where he would later become known as Strider.

He also used this time to aid the men of the West against the forces of Sauron, all while hiding his true identity. Going by the name Thorongil (yes, we have another alias, folks), he serves the then King of Rohan Thengel and then Gondor. After helping everyone, Aragorn traveled to the Far East and South, gaining more intel on Sauron. His actions were said to have ensured the survival of the West, so obviously, his travels were well-founded.

In the year 2980, TA, Aragorn returned to Rivendell and, on his journey, entered Lothlórien, where he met Arwen again. The two bonded over a season, and at midsummer, Aragorn gave her the heirloom of his House, the Ring of Barahir. The two promise to marry each other. Elrond also agreed to give permission to the union under one condition. Aragorn must first become king of both Gondor and Arnor.

Aragorn explained: Aragorn holding a sword in the Return of the King movie poster

Aragorn during the Lord of the Rings movies

Aragorn’s involvement with The One Ring takes place before the events of the Lord of the Rings movies. In 3001 TA, it was revealed that Sauron had regained power in Mordor. Aragorn started assisting Gandalf in his research on a creature that gave Bilbo Baggins what he suspected to be the One Ring, Gollum.

Nine years later, Gollum was captured by Sauron and tortured. And once he escaped eight years after that, Aragorn captured him and held him captive. While Gollum managed to escape again, Aragorn had learned enough to be concerned and became focused on Frodo Baggins after learning his plan to leave The Shire with the Ring.

Aragorn kept watch of the Shire and eventually crossed paths with the party of Hobbits carrying the Ring in The Prancing Pony. Strider managed to save the Hobbits from Sauron’s forces and accompanied Frodo to Rivendell. From there, he was also part of a meeting to discuss the Rings’s fate, where it was determined that a party would go to the fires of Mount Doom to destroy the Ring once and for all. After the Council of Elrond, Aragorn became a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Aragorn explained: Aragorn in the Path of the Dead during The Return of the King

But if you have seen the Lord of the Rings movies, you’d know that this doesn’t end well. The Fellowship ends up splitting as Sam and Frodo head their own way. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli try to save Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai that had ambushed them, forming the group that would later be known as the Three Hunters.

Aragorn set out to help Frodo from afar as well as save the rest of the Fellowship, leading him to travel to Rohan, where he met the resurrected form of Gandalf, now Gandalf the White. Together they pushed back the forces of Saruman. While Gandalf and Pippin rode to Minas Tirith, Aragorn received a message from Elrond mentioning the Paths of the Dead and from Arwen, the Standard of Elendil.

This set Aragorn on a new course where he went to the Paths of the Dead to summon Dead men to aid them in their fight against Sauron. Aragorn released them and took the Black Ships north to Minas Tirith, where the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was kicking off. Aragorn defeated the evil army but didn’t return as king just yet. Instead, there was one final push as he drew out the armies of Mordor to distract the eye of Sauron from Frodo as he ventured to Mount Doom.

This massive fight is known as the Battle of the Morannon, and it was victorious. After the Ring was destroyed and evil defeated, Aragorn was crowned at the gates of Minas Tirith, claiming his rightful place as the ruler of Gondor.

Aragorn explained: Aragorn being crowned King of Gondor at the end of The Return of the King

What happened to Aragorn after Lord of the Rings?

After the Lord of the Rings movies, Aragorn married Arwen and ruled the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor until the year 120 of the Fourth Age.

Aragorn achieved a lot as King. Firstly he declared The Shire a Free Land under the protection of the Northern Sceptre and forbade Men from entering it. He declared the Drúadan Forest to belong to the Drúedain. He also re-established the Great Council of Gondor, and renewed the Oath of Cirion with Éomer (allying Gondor and Rohan again).

He had many daughters and a son named Eldarion before he died at the age of 210.

Talk about an impressive life! For more Lord of the Rings love, here are our guides on everything you need to know about the Rings of Power season 2 and the new Lord of the Rings movie heading our way from Warner Bros.

We also have guides on Wizards, all of Sauron’s magic rings, and Silmarils. Or if you need a break from Middle-earth, here are our lists of the best fantasy movies of all time and all the new movies heading our way this year.