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Old 03-25-2008, 10:04 PM   #163
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Hero vs Hero Becoming

This is where I have a different take on Aragorn then what those who are influenced by movie or other adaptations. For me, Aragorn is either Aragorn the Hero from day one, or Aragorn the Becoming/Emerging Hero, and where the becoming is more important then the hero. I guess regardless of adaptation, I feel that Aragorn is not the emerging hero, or the becoming hero, but is the hero from the get go.

Aragorn shows that he is the hero from the beginning in many of his actions, and at times throughout the travels of the Fellowship. We see Aragorn at Bree where Gandalf has left a list of his titles, a poem about him, and his real name. In Rivendell he is seen looking kingly, if not Elven. His actions at the Council further show his nobility and his hero status. On the Journey South, Aragorn challenges Gandalf on going through Moria, which displays his leadership and his deference to Gandalf, whom he knows is a Maia. Next at the Bridge of Khazad-dum, when he is willing to stand with Gandalf and Boromir against the Balrog. We see him move the Fellowship out of danger or closer to Lorien, taking a leadership role there. Celeborn consults with him and it is Aragorn who is making the decisions after Gandalf's fall.

Thus Aragorn's lament here is that in fact a mourn of his decisions in trying to resolve two inner conflicts. I do not believe that Aragorn intended or wanted to go to Mordor with Frodo. Not out of fear, but out of his own desires. I believe that if Gandalf had survived, Aragorn would have gone with Boromir to Minis Tirith. Why? Aragorn's heart was set upon reclaiming the throne of Gondor and Arnor. He would have been recognized as royalty by his people and the mere presence of his Rangers in the North would extend his claim to all of Eriador. In Gondor, the tradition had been set with Earnil, that someone of royal blood who had been victorious in battle and thus had won victory and glory for Gondor would become king. Aragorn's greatest desire was to gain the hand of Arwen. Thus going and showing his power in arms to Minis Tirith would have advanced his own claim as the last descendant in direct lineage from Elendil, something his forefather Arevedui had failed to do and had thus failed to reunite the two realms.

Then after Gandalf's fall, I believe that Aragorn felt that his duty lay with Frodo and with the quest, to destroy the ring. Aragorn again is showing his hero status by surrendering his own will and desires, and moving forward to do the noble and right thing. I think he felt that his duty was to go to Mordor with Frodo, and the breaking of the Fellowship represented to him, a failure of his duty with Frodo. It doesn't mean that he is becoming or moving to being a hero, he is a hero at this point, and throughout the story. That makes sense to me for Aragorn's words here are: Now the Company is all in ruin. It is I that have failed. Vain was Gandalf's trust in me. Thus was Aragorn's lament here, not of an emerging King, but of a Lord of Numenor of Old, willing to do his duty, but feeling that his own choices and fate have taken him from his duty. One of the things missing here for me was Aragorn holding Boromir and weeping. I think this cements Aragorn as a hero, and shows his depth of compassion.

We can see this further in Aragorn's comments to Legolas and Gimli when he says I would have guided Frodo to Mordor and gone with him to the end; but if I seek him now in the wilderness, I must abandon the captives to torment and death. My heart speaks clearly at last: the fate of the Bearer is in my hands no longer.

Aragorn's heart here (and in the adaptations and book) show that his heart was divided between fulfilling his status as a hero by going with Frodo to Mordor and the end, or by going to Minis Tirith and fulfilling that destiny. At last Aragorn is no longer torn and he can now seek his destiny.

Thus Aragorn was not a hero becoming, but was a hero who showed glimpses of his true self when it was appropriate or when it served a purpose.

In terms of Boromir's death, his funeral may have been pagan, and I think we can discuss that, but his death was very Christian, or Catholic. Boromir gave a death bed and final confession. It is very similar to Roland's death who does against a tree with a broken horn next to him. I am very grateful that in the BBC adaptation that the song sung by Aragorn and Legolas was omitted.

I also loved the voice work of Treebeard and felt it was a wonderful job. The whole Treebeard, Merry and Pippin scene really showed how the two Hobbits are developing, while introducing Treebeard.

Finally, for me, the highlight was the scene with Frodo, Sam and Gollum where Frodo reflects on his words on pity and realizes that he has pity for Gollum. This scene was magic for me.

I also noticed an error in the text that DaveM posted on this episode. When Aragorn says:

Aragorn: Gandalf! Beyond all hope you return to us in our need! What veil was over my site?

This really should be sight.

Lots more and I may post more tomorrow. I was out of town and on the northern California coast with my wife, kids, my mother, my two sisters and there families until today. No Internet, no TV, no video games, it was heaven and a welcome break.
"At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."
JRR Tolkien in 6 October 1940 letter to Michael Tolkien
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