Today, as we all know, is the day upon which Aragorn was born and upon which he died. Have you ever wondered though precisely why the date of Aragorn’s birth and death is March 1st? I certainly have and I’m quite sure that this date wasn’t just selected at random and that there will be a reason why Tolkien chose it. Googling ‘happenings’ on this day turns up many interesting events associated with March 1st but none of them appears to be of greater significance than St David’s Day. Having several Welsh relatives, St David is fairly well known to me but is there any reason why Tolkien chose this date specifically for Aragorn? David was a sixth century monk who became the patron saint of
He was though descended from kings on both sides of his family, his mother possibly even being a niece of King Arthur. As a child, he was educated by Saints and, when he was old enough, he travelled far and wide, teaching and preaching about Christ. A renowned healer, he was well loved since he performed many miracles such as restoring the sight to the blind.
March 1st was the date upon which he died and I wonder if it is in the manner of his death that the main connection to Aragorn can be found. David was a great age when he died, over one hundred years old, and was keen to depart this life to dwell at peace in the presence of God. When, therefore, an angel visited him and told him he would die in one week’s time, he was glad and at the time of his death, a host of angels apparently filled the monastery. Such a peaceful death, departing in full knowledge that his time had come and trusting in a life beyond, would certainly seem to be very in keeping with the way Aragorn gave up his life.
I’ve no idea if I’m right about this. Any thoughts?
And, of course, we must have a pic to celebrate! See under the cut for one of my favourites.
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This is another one I like a lot. It's by the Hildebrandt brothers and is called 'Leaving Bree'. I can't say I'm usually the biggest fan of their work, the pantomine styles of their characters don't really do it for me, but there is something rather charming about this study of Aragorn and Frodo walking side by side as they set off on their journey.
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Now everyone's done the first line one, I guess it was inevitable that this one come around too sooner or later.
List the last lines of your last twenty stories. See if you find any patterns.
As to patterns, well, I think I'm just a huge sucker for Tolkien's wonderful world of heroic romance, and, even though a certain ranger doesn't actually get named in person in any of these lines, one hero in particular does seem to figure rather prominantly!
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Here is the ebay listing with the artist's name and the full pic which is about the same size as the actual thing.
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I was going to post some up to date pics of Pae tonight but I'm running short of time so, instead, here's another contribution for 'Aragorn in Art' . A while back I posted a few truly dreadful pictures so this time I thought I would post one that I absolutely love. I've no idea who the artist is, but if anyone can tell me I would be glad to give due credit.
Next morning PS!
I just did a bit of googling and found the artist is Catherine Chmiel whose other work can be found here.
Seems she's quite a fan of the Stewards!
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This story, posted here at SOA http://www.storiesofarda.com/
Aragorn, travelling in the east of Middle-earth after leaving the service of the Steward, captures an unlikely prisoner and discovers they have something in common.
We decided that the only refernce to this that we knew of was this one from chapter 9 'At the sign of the Prancing Pony':
They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree and were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the languages of beasts and birds.
We decided that was not the same as saying they COULD understand the languages of the beasts. Then Estelcontar sent me this passage from Return of the Shadow:
...As the evening deepened Trotter began to tell them tales to keep their minds from fear. He knew much lore concerning wild animals, and claimed to speak some of their languages; and he had strange stories to tell of their lives and little known adventures....
So from Trotter's own mouth we find he claimed to have this ability. I wonder what strange tales he had to tell and wouldn't it have been wonderful if we had got to hear them!
I hope some of the facts prove to be interesting; they certainly interested me.
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Here is the second part of my Aragorn quiz. It's hard! While writing 'Aspects of Aragorn', I researched the character thoroughly, not only reading and re reading every published word the Professor wrote about him, but also delving into literally dozens of books about Tolkien and his works so as to be absolutely certain that my interpretations of the character were compatible with the conventional ones held by Tolkien scholars. So I thought it would be fun, therefore, to include some of the lesser known facts that I unearthed about Aragorn in this quiz.
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Answers will go up Wednesday. Feel free to look them up - there are no prizes - but it's probably more fun to see how many you can answer out of your head first.
I must admit, I've had a lot of fun thinking these up so I hope you enjoy doing it.
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I'm sure though, I'm not the only one to have wondered at the reason why Aragorn chose to die on his birthday. 1st March has no particular significance in any Middle-earth calendar. Nor does it relate to ours in the way that, for instance, 25th March does, which was not only the 1st day of the New Year in Gondor after the war, but it was also the 1st day of the New Year in England until 1752, something Tolkien, I'm sure, didn't arrange by accident [it was the Christian feast of Annunciation which he would surely have known].
There is no connection like this though for 1st March, yet it can be no accident that these dates are the same. This is after all Middle-earth and Tolkien we are talking about! My take on it is that it was all tied up with Aragorn's decision to give up his life. Why not chose your birthday? There's a certain symmetry in doing so and I think it was Tolkien's way of reinforcing to the reader that Aragorn's death was a matter of conscious choice, not pot luck. The fact that Aragorn chose to give up his life is hugely significant to his status as one of the most important characters in all Tolkien's works. I think in Tolkien's eyes, it was the most important thing about him. Maybe not in ours though!
Here's my favourite Viggo/ Aragorn photo.
Thanks to all who commented, this riddle is suddenly very clear to me and now quite obvious! Aragorn chose his birthday on which to die as he was effectively being born again into another existance. How simple, yet I never realised that until this morning, thinking about it while feeding the cows!
In any number of books about LotR, Tom Shippey's 'Author of the Century' is the first to spring to mind, it is likely that the similarities and contrasts between Theoden and Denethor will be discussed. The main points usually being: they were both elderly rulers; they both lost their son and heir in battle; they both succumbed to despair. How they both dealt with that despair of course marks their differences. All this is perfectly reasonable except that the, to my mind, far more interesting and significant contrast, that between Aragorn and Denethor, I have never seen discussed in print anywhere.