Aragorn’s Lineage

Aragorn’s distant ancestor, Isildur and his battle with Sauron is a perfect representation of David and Goliath in the Bible. Like David, Isildur faced a massive villain who was defeated by a small act. David flung a small rock; Isildur sliced off a finger. Neither action seems enough to defeat a 9+ foot villain, but in both cases led to the demise of a major participant in the destruction of a life-as-we-know-it type of situation.

As we know, Aragorn is the descendent of Isildur. Who in the Bible do we know that is a descendant of David?

Jesus Christ is a descendant of David just as Aragorn is a descendant of Isildur. In the Bible, Jesus Christ is called by many names, similar to the different names of Aragorn. Jesus Christ wasn’t an ordinary man. He was the son of God. For this reason, he was fit to perform the atonement. Aragorn wasn’t an ordinary man either. He was a dunedain. This made him live longer and even influenced his ability to resist the Ring.

The Ring in the books was meant to embody sin and temptation. Knowing this, simply think of a time in the Bible when temptation had a huge role in the development of Christ. Christ was faced with temptations, and so was Aragorn. Aragorn had the opportunity to take the Ring, but he didn’t, just as Christ didn’t fall to Satan’s temptations.

Throughout the books, elves represent an angelic, godly people. They have magic, similar to God’s power, that made them different. Elves represent everything godly, and to be an elf is to be essentially an angel. The dunedain have elf DNA, this makes them as close to a godly being as any human can be, just as Christ was the most perfect any being touched by humanity can be.

Aragorn bares many similarities to Christ throughout Lord of the Rings, but is definitely not the only representation. The deeper the reader looks into each detail of Tolkien’s masterpiece, the more it can be seen that there was even more to Tolkien’s complex fantasies than what any reader can see. Symbolism is a huge part of Tolkien’s work and gives each read just a little more to learn.

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Meriadoc: The Responsible Hobbit

Merry is the logical Hobbit between him and Pippin. He is constantly trying to keep Pippin out of trouble. Merry’s best attribute is his desire to fight for what is right. He sees all this fighting and death around him and all he wants is to help his friends.

The instant the black riders come after the Hobbits just outside of Hobbiton, Merry knows that there is something Frodo has that they are after. In the book, Merry actually knew about the ring, or rather saw what it did. One day, Merry saw Bilbo put on the ring, after that, he sent Sam to go investigate and listen to what happens in Bag End (that means Sam really was dropping eaves! 😉 ). Merry had an idea what was going on from the very beginning. It isn’t until later that he realizes the magnitude of the situation.

We get a clue at how ignorant he starts off. When at Weathertop, he foolishly lights a fire with his buddies, not realizing that he can’t have all the many regular meals whenever he wants anymore, especially when there are nine evil Sauron’s servants tracking them.

When Merry sees Frodo leaving the fellowship at Amon Hen, he immediately understands and tries to lead the orcs away from him. He completely disregards his own safety for the sake of his friend. He realizes later that his carelessness in his attempt to save one friend resulted in the death of another. This could be one of the reasons he was so fixated on helping his friends in battle, because he doesn’t want to feel as though he can’t do any good.

When Hobbits are with Treebeard, Merry is trying to convince Treebeard to fight with them. He figures that the size of the ents would be the perfect strategic advantage. When Treebeard takes an entire day, completely disregarding something that is so important to Merry, it frustrates him to the point where he feels that he really can’t do any good in this war that has taken over normal life. He pretty much gives up. Thankfully for him, Pippin managed to convince Treebeard to head toward Isengard, where he sees the destruction Saruman has caused.

If it weren’t for this tender mercy, Merry wouldn’t have ever made it into battle, defending what he believes in and helping his friends. Merry is an example of our willingness and drive to do what’s right and help others. We all want something, we all should want what’s best for those we care about.

Merry realizes fully the extent of the damage Sauron has brought to the world when he sees his closest friend forced to leave him. Seeing Pippin struggle against such evil, suffer from such a trial, he realizes how much he cares for Pippin and doesn’t want him to have to ever suffer at the hands of such evil.

Imagine. Remember the way Pippin reacted when he was holding the Palentir? He struggled, he couldn’t even let go. If this were your brother, sister, closest friend or relative, how would that make you feel? Personally, it would scare me to death! I would never want to see anyone, let alone my closest friend have to deal with such a thing.

You could compare this to seeing your family members go through trials. Maybe you have a family member struggling with addiction, or health problems, or maybe even lost someone you loved to a disease or an accident and it hurt someone you care about to the point where you don’t know what will happen to them or if they will recover from such hardships.

When you see your family suffer, it changes what is important to you. When once you only cared about all your meals and having a good laugh or pipeweed, you now want only to save your friends and family and get rid of what things cause them pain.

We see Merry’s enthusiasm best when he is with Eowyn on the way to Pellenor. He is training, practicing, and preparing to fight for his loved ones. His enthusiasm grows dramatically as he gets better and better and sees that he does have the potential to do good. When Theoden tells him that he cannot come to battle, it’s as if he is reliving the moment when he thought Treebeard would just take him home. Only this time he doesn’t have Pippin to say something clever to help him. He realizes how much he needs Pippin in his life only to feel like he will never see him again.

Eowyn becomes his next tender mercy. When he feels like no one will take him with them to fight, Eowyn sweeps in to give him his chance.

Through Merry’s characterization, we can see that we do have a chance to help our loved ones. We may feel like there is no way we can do anything for them. What can I do to stop someone from using drugs or alcohol? I can’t just tell them to stop or take it from them. I have no control over their choices. While some of that is true, we still have the power to be an influence and example in their lives. They know what they are doing is not right, but without you by their side, they might never stop or get better. Simply being there for them can do a lot. We just have to support them and help them when they ask for it.

Even though it isn’t likely for someone who is struggling to ask for help, we can still do something. Maybe drop a comment here and there. Mention little things that touch lightly on the subject and try to spark a conversation that will get them realizing they need help or asking for help. It is never too late.

Merry shows us that we should want what’s best for our family, biological or otherwise. There is always something we can do. We can’t give up on them. And even when we feel like it’s over, God will help us get back on the saddle. He will provide those tender mercies that will keep us going. And we will never have to worry about waiting on the edge of a battle we can’t escape.

Haldir: The Under-appreciated Elf

Haldir is by far one of my favorite characters in the Lord of the Rings. (And Craig Parker who plays him is a nice guy too! Thank you Salt Lake Comic Con! 😉 ) He doesn’t play a very big role, but he is very important character in some ways.

Haldir, if you don’t know, is the elf whom the fellowship first meet when they stumble on Lothlorien. He is the one with the famous line, “the dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark.”

The most important scene Haldir is in is the battle at Helms Deep. Everyone thinks they aren’t going to make it out, but then the elves show up. Haldir nobly helps the men, whose lives are almost irrelevant compared to his. He did not have to do that at all. Even worse (*spoilers* for those who haven’t watched), it ends in his death.

The best/worst scene of his is the death scene. Good as in the symbolism and acting, bad as in depressing! Anyway, when Haldir is hit in the back by an orc, he starts to realize what is happening. He sees all the dead elves around him, his friends and relatives. He realizes that death isn’t impossible for him. Just because he can live forever, doesn’t mean he can’t be killed. He feels death slowly encompassing him, it makes the watcher realize how close death is for all these important characters. Death can come to anyone, being a main character doesn’t save you from it.

This scene is much like the scene with Legolas, just less subtle. It is another motivating death, like Gandalf’s and Boromirs. It is not meant for the watcher to put themselves in his place, but in the place of all those who see the death and are motivated to fight harder for him. Death shouldn’t cause us to give up, but to fight harder.

The one that ends up with Haldir dying in his arms is Aragorn. Aragorn tends to be the one witnessing the death of those he loves. Since he is the Christ-like character in the situation, he is the one he is saddened by the brutal death of those he cares for, like how Christ loves all his spirit brothers and sisters. Aragorn sees death happen to Elves and Men, this shows how Christ loves us no matter our background, no matter our race. Haldir is a supporting character meant to strengthen Aragorn’s character. While also motivating us specifically.

Aragorn: Ranger, Strider, King

Aragorn is much like Gandalf in many ways. Just as Gandalf is symbolic of Christ, Aragorn has his own similarities to our savior as well. Aragorn is a king, just as Christ is to us.

Aragorn first shows up in Bree as what the hobbits think is just Strider. The hobbits are misled by the appearance of Aragorn, just like the apostles didn’t recognize Christ after his resurrection.

Throughout the first part of the journey, the hobbits are suspicious of Aragorn and aren’t sure if they should be trusting him. They had no choice but to follow him to Weathertop. Once they see that they can trust Aragorn when he fights off the Black Riders, they don’t really have the time to see Aragorn for who he is, because they are worried for Frodo. Often when we have trials and worries, we forget to look to Christ, the one who saved us.

When the fellowship go through Moria, after Gandalf fell, Aragorn had to take the place of Gandalf as the leader of their group, which he does humbly. Just like Gandalf did, Aragorn still lets Frodo make the decisions, like we are free to make decisions on earth. At Amon Hen, when Frodo makes the decision to leave on his own is an example of this.

When Boromir is felled by three arrows, Aragorn is the first to make it to him. He stands by him until his last breath, and lets him know that he is forgiven for his actions. Boromir then realizes who Aragorn is, in a sense. He realizes the king Aragorn will be.

Aragorn is an excellent tracker. This shows Aragorn’s knowledge of where he is going in life. He knows his purpose, he is to be king, but he doesn’t flaunt the idea around. He is humble. Christ also knew what his purpose on earth was.

Notice how the first thing Aragorn does is make sure Merry and Pippin are all right. His first priority is the safety of those he was left to watch over. He feels responsible for them and loves them like Christ loves us. Christ’s ultimate goal is our spiritual well-being and safety.

After Aragorn sees that Merry and Pippin are safe, he heads to Edoras with Gandalf, Gimli and Legolas. While he is there, he is able to witness the ways Gandalf handles hard situations. Aragorn steps down from his leadership role and leaves Gandalf to take charge again. We don’t see too many significant actions from Aragorn until he and Gandalf are no longer in company with each other. They sort of combine together to form all the aspects of Christ.

The rallying of the Army of the Dead is one of Aragorn’s most significant roles in the Lord of the Rings. His power of the ghosts shows that he is a part of death and life. Christ was resurrected, his body made perfect, making him part of heaven and earth. He is far more powerful than anything, he simply chooses to teach his people through humility and earthly weakness. Aragorn was a perfect example of power and humility.

Aragorn is also a healer. He was the only one who could heal Eowyn after she was injured so deeply. Christ also has the power of spiritual and physical healing. The physical healing from Aragorn symbolizes the healing Christ did on the earth. Only Christ can remove sin from us. Through Christ, all things are made possible.

When Aragorn finally becomes king is similar to when Christ is resurrected.

You may be thinking, “I thought Gandalf was supposed to symbolize Christ.” Well, he does. But just as Christ used many different parables to teach basically the same principles, Tolkien represented Christ with more than one character. People learn in different ways. That is why there are different parables. What may touch one person, might not affect another. Therefore, there needs to be more than one representation of important things.

Most importantly, we see Aragorn face trial. When Frodo offers Aragorn the ring, he has to resist the temptation to take it. We see Christ experience a similar thing. Satan tries to tempt Christ in any way he can, and Christ is able to resist it. It wasn’t necessarily easy for Christ to resist, or else it wouldn’t have been temptation. He did, however, know his decision beforehand, therefore, he was able to resist when the moment presented itself.

Gandalf is sort of the representation of Christ’s life in sequence, Aragorn is representing Christ’s roles and works on the earth. Aragorn has always been the most noble of all characters, not only out of Tolkien’s characters, but of almost all fantasy novels. Aragorn will always be the one true king.