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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Aragorn's travels

uncle Iorlas
Bree

Apr 2, 5:20am

Post #1 of 18 (5457 views)
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Aragorn's travels Can't Post

Just indulging some curiosity about Aragorn's cv. He says he's been to Far Harad, and his knowledge of the northwest is encyclopedic. But what else are we told or can we infer? He once poked around outside Mordor, tracking Gollum, but has he ever passed within? Has he been to whatever's left of Angmar? To Khand and wherever the Easterlings come from? Or Rhun, say, and Dorwinion, about which I know absolutely nothing save its position on the map and that heady wine is made there?


Eldorion
Gondor


Apr 2, 6:55am

Post #2 of 18 (5414 views)
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Far-flung locations [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, welcome to TORn! Smile This is an interesting topic that to some degree we have to speculate about, but we know that Aragorn went to Rhûn, Far Harad, and (it is strongly implied) Mordor. From "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen":


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He rode in the host of the Rohirrim, and fought for the Lord of Gondor by land and by sea; and then in the hour of victory he passed out of the knowledge of Men of the West, and went alone far into the East and deep into the South, exploring the hearts of Men, both evil and good, and uncovering the plots and devices of the servants of Sauron.


"The hour of his victory" refers to his successful raid on Umbar (described in "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion" within Appendix A), after which:


Quote
He sent a message of farewell to Ecthelion, saying: ‘‘Other tasks now call me, lord, and much time and many perils must pass, ere I come again to Gondor, if that be my fate.’’ Though none could guess what those tasks might be, nor what summons he had received, it was known whither he went. For he took boat and crossed over Anduin, and there he said farewell to his companions and went on alone; and when he was last seen his face was towards the Mountains of Shadow.


I can't think of any specific reference to him visiting Khand but I think it's a reasonable supposition that he did. It's the most direct known route to get from the East to the South, in any event. Dorwinion is in my opinion less likely since it doesn't seem to have been under Sauronian influence and also isn't known to have participated in wars against the Easterlings, so there's less of an obvious reason for Aragorn to go there, though that certainly doesn't rule out the possibility. (And it might very well have participated in minor border wars that simply weren't recorded in any of the histories that made it into the Red Book.) Very little is known for sure about Dorwinion, but I'm partial to the theory that it was a Sindarized Elvish realm. Appendix B states that "before the building of the Barad-dûr many of the Sindar passed eastward, and some established realms in the forests far away, where their people were mostly Silvan Elves. Thranduil, king in the north of Greenwood the Great, was one of these." The only other realm we know of for sure is Lórien,* but in my reading the quote implies that there were more than two Sindarin princes who set up realms for themselves in the early Second Age.

Aragorn spent relatively little time in the North so I think him visiting the former Angmar is the least likely of the locations you mention. "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" mentions that his mother Gilraen "took leave of Elrond and returned to her own people in Eriador, and lived alone; and she seldom saw her son again, for he spent many years in far countries." While there were threats in Eriador that the Rangers fought against -- eg, "'Strider' I am to one fat man who lives within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly" (FOTR, II 2), which might refer to the Barrow-wights -- Aragorn himself seems to have spent relatively little time engaged in those struggles, being primarily concerned with theatres in which Sauron's direct influence was greater.



*Possibly founded by one Malgalad, who may or may not be the same as Amdir; it's all pretty foggy. And I should note that depending on which version of the history of Edhellond you want to give priority to it might also have been founded by Sindarin settlers around this time, but there does not seem to have been a Nandorin population in the region prior to their arrival since the human fisherfolk of the region fled when the Sindar showed up, and it's not mentioned in the discussion of "The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves" (UT, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix B).


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Apr 2, 7:01am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 2, 2:31pm

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Journeys & Errantries beyond the year 2980 [In reply to] Can't Post

According to "The Tale of Years" (LotR, Appendix B), Aragorn first "goes out into the Wild" in T.A. 2951 at age twenty. He first meets Gandalf (at least as an adult) in 2956 and they become friends. Tolkien places Aragorn's period of "great journeys and errantries" from 2957 to 2980. We know that he travels with (and without) Gandalf during this period which also marks the times of his service to both Rohan and Gondor. After leading a successful raid on the Corsair fleet at Umbar early in 2980, Aragorn takes leave of Ecthelion II, the Steward of Gondor, to scout the Mountains of Shadow before finally being reunited with Arwen in Lórien, where they plight their troth on Midsummer's Day.

Interestingly, Appendix A gives us some reason to think that some of Aragorn's greatest and most distant journeys took place after the year 2980. We are specifically told that it is after his "hour of victory" (destroying the Corsair Fleet at Umbar) that Aragorn "passed out of the knowledge of Men of the West, and went alone far into the East and deep into the South exploring the hearts of Men, both evil and good, and uncovering the plots and devices of the servants of Sauron." We know that Aragorn's plan before coming to Lórien was to rest in Rivendell for a while before journeying into the "far countries". After Aragorn spoke with Elrond about the choice of Arwen, he spent many years doing exactly that. The range of time Tolkien specifies for Aragorn's great journeys is a bit of a misnomer.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 2, 2:32pm)


InTheChair
Lorien

Apr 4, 6:20pm

Post #4 of 18 (5283 views)
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On a stage-coach to Rhunaer. [In reply to] Can't Post


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Aragorn spent relatively little time in the North so I think him visiting the former Angmar is the least likely of the locations you mention.


At least if we restrict it to his travels before he became king. In support of it he himself says about the Ettendales north of Rivendell, that it is troll-country and little known to him, and Angmar is more northerly than the Ettendales.

I don't exactly know what underlies the statements that he travelled to Rhun or Far Harad either. At a guess he visited the populated towns mostly, his concern being Men and their possible opposition to Sauron.

Aragorn the Ranger appears to be more associated with the north.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 7:21pm

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Aragorn in the 'North' [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Aragorn spent relatively little time in the North so I think him visiting the former Angmar is the least likely of the locations you mention.


At least if we restrict it to his travels before he became king. In support of it he himself says about the Ettendales north of Rivendell, that it is troll-country and little known to him, and Angmar is more northerly than the Ettendales.


I guess this depends on what we are calling 'the North'. Surely 'Estel' was reasonably familiar with much of northern Eriador even before his twentieth birthday, if not those regions much north of Rivendell itself. And in those first few years after he left Rivendell, Aragorn must have been wandering the Wild (possibly on both sides of the Misty Mountains) before he met and befriended Gandalf the Grey. Perhaps this was the period when he first entered the Woodland Realm to meet Thranduil and maybe his son Legolas.



In Reply To
I don't exactly know what underlies the statements that he travelled to Rhun or Far Harad either. At a guess he visited the populated towns mostly, his concern being Men and their possible opposition to Sauron.

Aragorn the Ranger appears to be more associated with the north.


Much of that is explained in LotR Appendix A as cited in my previous post. We also have Aragorn's statement that he had traveled far enough South to be "where the stars are strange". That indicates that he traveled beyond the Girdle of Arda (the Equator) and saw the southern constellations.

Tolkien never stated outright that Aragorn spent time in Dorwinion (for example), but surely he must have done so at some point, eventually moving on "far into the East and deep into the South," as Tolkien wrote.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 4, 7:30pm)


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Apr 6, 8:05pm

Post #6 of 18 (5062 views)
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I wonder if Aragorn knew of the existence of Shelob. [In reply to] Can't Post

He did spend time in Cirith Ungol as he said and I have my doubts that a hunter as great as he would not have overheard, interrogated an Orc or two and discovered the Spider's existence.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 6, 8:47pm

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Shelob [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
He did spend time in Cirith Ungol as he said and I have my doubts that a hunter as great as he would not have overheard, interrogated an Orc or two and discovered the Spider's existence.


It seems likely that Aragorn would have at least been aware of rumors of Shelob. I don't remember if Tolkien addressed the question in LotR.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


uncle Iorlas
Bree

Apr 10, 3:10am

Post #8 of 18 (4891 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's lovely to be able to toss such a question out to a room full of people who know this material even better than I do. Some great points raised here, and some I'd missed. Can anybody say where are the implications that Aragorn has been to Mordor, or Cirith Ungol in particular? That, I can't recall.


Eldorion
Gondor


Apr 10, 3:17am

Post #9 of 18 (4891 views)
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Aragorn going to Mordor [In reply to] Can't Post

"For he took boat and crossed over Anduin, and there he said farewell to his companions and went on alone; and when he was last seen his face was towards the Mountains of Shadow." (Appendix A)

I can't recall any mention of him going to Cirith Ungol specifically, but it's certainly possible.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 10, 4:08am

Post #10 of 18 (4880 views)
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Aragorn in the Mountains of Shadow [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know that Aragorn actually entered Mordor: I just know that he scouted along the border after leaving the service of Ecthelion II. From "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen":


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'It came to pass that when Aragorn was nine and forty years of age he returned from perils on the dark confines of Mordor, where Sauron now dwelt again and was busy with evil. He was weary and he wished to go back to Rivendell and rest there for a while ere he journeyed into the far countries; and on his way he came to the borders of Lórien and was admitted to the hidden land by the Lady Galadriel.'


This, of course, was when Aragorn was reunited with Arwen and they plighted their troth upon the hill of Cerin Amroth.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Eldorion
Gondor


Apr 10, 5:15am

Post #11 of 18 (4868 views)
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Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

Checking just now, Aragorn and Arwen's second meeting occurred in the same year (T.A. 1980) that the Tale of Years identifies as the final year in which Aragorn fought in Rohan and Gondor as "Thorongil", so taking everything in context he probably did not enter Mordor on the occasion that he was seen walking towards it. Thanks for pointing this out!


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Apr 10, 5:15am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 10, 1:43pm

Post #12 of 18 (4825 views)
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2980: An eventful year for Aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, a lot happened with Aragorn in the year 2980 (T.A.):
~ As Thorongil, Aragorn leads a successful raid against the Corsair Fleet at Umbar.
~ He leaves the service of Ecthelion II of Gondor.
~ Aragorn encounters perils in the Mountains of Shadow, on the confines of Mordor.
~ Intending to return to Rivendell, Aragorn reaches Lórien and is allowed entrance by Galadriel.
~ Aragorn and Arwen are reunited and wander together 'for a season'.
~ At midsummer the couple plight their troth upon Cerin Amroth.
~ Aragorn returns to Rivendell and speaks with Elrond.
~ Aragorn finishes the year by departing Rivendell towards the distant East and (later) the far South 'where the stars are strange'.

I doubt that Aragorn ever again saw so much occur within a span of a few months until the War of the Ring.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 10, 1:46pm)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Apr 23, 1:57pm

Post #13 of 18 (4607 views)
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If Faramir did [In reply to] Can't Post

then I'm sure Aragorn did... even given a span of years. He did a lot of travels with Elrohir and Elladan who would be very familiar with what goes on in Middle-earth. I'm sure Aragorn knew of many other terrors that never came into the story. Or even something like where and who some wandering Blue Wizards are ;)




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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 23, 2:37pm

Post #14 of 18 (4603 views)
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Aragorn and the Sons of Elrond [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure that Aragorn, in his early years, traveled beyond the borders of Eriador in the company of Elladan and Elrohir. They might have crossed the Misty Mountains a time or three to the Vales of Anduin, but I don't think that the three would have come anywhere close to Mordor. At the same time, I'm sure that Aragorn as Estel leaned much from Elrond and his people and had probably heard or read tales about Ungoliant and maybe even Shelob.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Apr 24, 3:20am

Post #15 of 18 (4590 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Just as Faramir never encountered Shelob, he knew about the terror that dwelled there. That's what I meant. That Aragorn would have learned much about such things throughout his life and experiences.


sample


sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observations List - November 28, 2013
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TORn's Geeky Observations Lists for LotR and The Hobbit


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 24, 4:05am

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Aragorn scouts the Mountains of Shadow [In reply to] Can't Post

And Aragorn eventually did (in 2980) seek for plots and devices of the servants of Sauron in the Mountains of Shadow. He might have even been in those mountains earlier than that, say while in the service of the steward Ecthelion.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


newrow
The Shire

May 29, 8:51pm

Post #17 of 18 (3319 views)
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Aragorn II's travels [In reply to] Can't Post

I have been thinking of conjuring a timeline of Gandalf's 2,000 years in Middle-Earth, But of Aragorn II.

I feel that Aragorn II traveled much further to the east and south and those mentioned earlier. Stars become strange when the hemisphere changes from north to south. However, it does not say, "Where stars are new or changed."

23 or so years is a long time. Surely, Aragorn II would not stay at a place longer than a few years unless to be uncovered as a dunedain of a greater lifespan. He is the greatest ranger of his time. That means to me he has walk through many terrains foreign to Eriador and Wilderland including deserts, savannahs, snow, and may be jungles. Has JRR Tolkien even read about a man that traveled the most of Euro-Asia in 23 years?

I wondered though how much Elladan and Elrohir have traveled with Aragorn II. "We will not turn back?" said the two elves at the Last Debate. Did they imply a history to Aragorn II. Did Aragorn II wish to travel to a place that the elves did not wish to venture? Was Dorwinion too far a journey? Did the elves go with Aragorn II when he entered Moria? Only Amazon can answer this riddle. :)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 29, 10:17pm

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More on Journeys and Errantries [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, we know that Tolkien set this period from 2957 to 2980. Aragorn's first several years away from Rivendell were apparently spent either wholly in Eriador or In Eriador and Rhovanion. During this time he meets and befriends Gandalf. Between 2957 and 2980, Aragorn spends considerable time first in Rohan then in Gondor, leaving the service of the steward Ecthelion early in the year 2980. He could have spent some of those years traveling in Gandalf's company before entering the service of King Thengel of Rohan; in any event, Gandalf seems to wander in and out of Aragorn's life throughout this period.

"The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" indicates that Aragorn traveled East beyond Rhovanion, and South "where the stars are strange" in the years following 2980. after his engagement to Arwen and subsequent return to Rivendell.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

 
 

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