Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fantasy February: An essay about Aragorn

Today, while going through a box of old stories and art, I came across one of the first essays I ever wrote. It's about Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings and dates back to "May 2010," shortly before I turned fourteen. Since Jenelle Schmidt is celebrating the fantasy genre on her blog this month, I decided to join her link-up and share my essay! I hope you enjoy.

By Abbey
May 2010
   Elessar, Strider, Wingfoot... These are some of the many names of Aragorn, one of my favorite book characters. As well as having many names, Aragorn has many virtues, such as, wisdom, courage, and loyalty.
   Because Aragorn was raised by Elves, he learned from them and gained their wisdom. Although he was raised by Elves, Aragorn was really a man. He was part of the race Dunedain, which were descendants of kings and had exceptionally long lives. So, along with having Elven wisdom, Aragorn had 87 years worth of knowledge stuck in his brain.
   In the third Lord of the Rings book, The Return of the King, Aragorn must walk the Path's of the Dead. Let me explain the Path's: a long time ago, one of Aragorn's ancestors was fighting a battle. His men got cold feet and ran away from battle. Because of this, Aragorn's ancestor put a curse on the men, saying that, until they could fultill their oath to him or one of his descendants, they would live forever, not living and not dead. To fulfill the oath, they must fight alongside the Heir of Isildur and then they would be able to rest in peace. Well, Aragorn, being Isildur's Heir, walked the Path's of the Dead where he met the cursed soldiers. There, he convinced them he was Isildur's Heir and they followed him to battle, fulfilling their oath. It took a lot of courage and bravery for Aragorn to walk those paths. He knew that anyone who went in never came out, but he knew what he had to do. That is only one of the many times Aragorn had to be brave.
   Another defining point of Aragorn is his loyalty and perseverance. He had a very hard life, journeying, fighting, hiding. Even though his life was difficult, he still persevered and stayed loyal to the right side. An example of Aragorn's loyalty is Arwen. Arwen was an Elf whom Aragorn was in love with. Even though her father forbid them to be together, Aragorn still stayed loyal to his beloved until her father let them marry.
   Longshanks, Elfstone, Estel. As you can see, Aragorn is a man of brains, bravery, perseverance, and a lot of names! I think that these characteristics are what makes Aragorn one of my favorite characters.

For fun, I decided to rewrite the essay tonight:

By Abbey
February 2016
“What’s in a name?” asked William Shakespeare, and went on to say something about roses. “Power is in a name,” I would reply, and mention something about sunflowers. Foreign names have the power to befuddle. Long names have the power to intimidate. Dull names have the power of slipping from the memory as a Mario Kart character might slip from the Rainbow Road. Someone with many names may have the power of confusion if they keep switching from name to name. Aragorn, a character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, has many aliases, including Elessar, Strider, and Wingfoot. In addition to having many names, Aragorn also has many virtues, making him a beloved hero.
One of Aragorn’s virtues is wisdom. In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn was raised by the Elves, one of the wisest races in Middle Earth. Aragorn had the fortune of learning from Elrond, who was Lord of Rivendell, a valley hidden in the shadow of the Misty Mountains. Elrond, who is over six-thousand years old at the time of The Lord of the Rings, no doubt had many things to teach Aragorn about history and the good and evil in the world. In addition to learning from the Elves, Aragorn gleaned wisdom from his own experiences. As a part of the Dunedain race, Aragorn lives an exceptionally long life, and is already eighty-seven years old at the start of the story. In nearly nine decades, he has learned much from both Rivendell and travelling throughout Middle Earth.
In the third Lord of the Rings book, Aragorn’s travels take him to the Paths of the Dead. Many years ago, Aragorn’s ancestor was betrayed by his own soldiers, and cursed them into an eternal state of being, neither living nor dead. To be able to rest peacefully, the soldiers must fight alongside Isildur’s Heir, who happens to be Aragorn. Aragorn musters his courage and enters the Paths of the Dead to convince the ghost army to fight with him against the forces of Sauron. This is only one instance out of many where Aragorn shows bravery in fearful situations. Such bravery is inspirational, especially to readers who may be facing difficulties in real life.
Another virtue readers admire in Aragorn is his perseverance. Although his father was killed when he was a small boy, and although he and his mother had to flee their home and live among the Elves, Aragorn has always remembered his birthright: he is heir to the throne of Gondor. Throughout the story, Aragorn fights against Sauron so that he can reclaim his throne and bring peace to Middle Earth. Aragorn also showed perseverance in his relationship with Arwen, Lord Elrond’s daughter. Often, they could not be together because of Aragorn’s work against Sauron, but Aragorn remained unwaveringly loyal to Arwen throughout his life.
Aragorn’s wisdom, bravery, and perseverance has endeared him to many readers. Aragorn is an unforgettable hero, whether he is known as Elfstone, Longshanks, or Estel. “All that is gold does not glitter,” said J.R.R. Tolkien of Aragorn, and William Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Though he does not always look it, Aragorn is the long lost king, and, somehow, all of his aliases reflect that birthright.
Who are some of your favorite fantasy characters?


  1. I love this so much!!!

    I also enjoyed seeing how you added a layer of polish to your original essay, very nice.

    I would add that Aragorn is also humble. He is not always portrayed that way in the movies (because the script writers felt it necessary to add unnecessary angst between him and Boromir for some reason), but in the books I love that there is a deep humility in Aragorn's soul. It's not the doubting, second-guessing sort of humility depicted in the movies, either. It's simply a humble, servant's attitude when it comes to his birthright. I understand why they struggled with that aspect of him in the movie, though, it's a hard characteristic to portray in a world that has forgotten what true humility looks like.

    1. Yes, a very good point! I hadn't remembered that. Book-Aragorn is so much better than movie-Aragorn, but since I watch the movies more often than read the books, I sometimes forget his humbleness.

  2. I really like the way you shared both essays. Great idea. It really highlights your growth as a writer, but the 14 year old version was actually quite articulate!

    And also, three cheers for Aragorn! "The crownless again shall be king." One of the all time great characters in literature.

  3. I liked being able to see your growth through reading the original essay and the rewritten one. Good job on both!

    If sci-if fantasy counts, I would have to say that my favorite fantasy character is Vin. She grows a lot and you get to to see her struggle to discover who she is. She is shown as a real human being, and as a strong woman (although feminism isn't even a thing in the book). I love her so much!

    Your essay reminded me that I need to read LOTR someday...

    1. Thanks, Tiani!
      Vin is a great character! I agree with you. I love that she's strong, yet not a feminist, too.
      We own three copies of the series if you'd like to borrow one sometime. :)