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Aragorn was born on March 1, in 2931 of the Third Age, as the son of Arathorn II and his wife Gilraen. Aragorn is a descendant of the elder son of Elendil, Isildur, who founded the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. He is named after his ancestor, Aragorn I.
While Aragorn was still an infant, his father was slain hunting Orcs. As was the tradition of his people, Aragorn was fostered in Rivendell by Elrond. At the request of his mother his identity was kept secret, as she feared he would be slain like his father and grandfather otherwise. Aragorn was named Estel (Sindarin for "hope") instead, and was not told about his heritage until he came of age in 2951.
Elrond revealed to "Estel" his true name and ancestry, and delivered to him the shards of Narsil. In the woods of Imladris (the Elvish name of Rivendell), Aragorn met and fell in love with Arwen, daughter of Elrond, who had newly returned from Lórien.
Aragorn took up his proper name as Aragorn II, sixteenth of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain of the North, and went into the Wild.
In 2953 he was not present in Rivendell for the last meeting of the White Council. Aragorn met Gandalf the Grey in 2956, and they became great friends. At Gandalf's advice he began to get interested in the Shire, and became known around the area as Strider.
From 2957–2980 Aragorn took great journeys, serving in the armies of King Thengel of Rohan, and Steward Ecthelion II of Gondor. Many of his tasks weakened Sauron and his allies, which during the War of the Ring helped the West survive. His name in Gondor and Rohan was Thorongil (Eagle of the Star), and with a Gondorian attack force he led an assault on Umbar in 2980, taking the city and slaying its lord. Later in 2980 he was in Lórien, and there once again met Arwen. He gave her the heirloom of his House, the Ring of Barahir, and Arwen pledged her hand to him in marriage.
Elrond gave his foster-son permission to marry his daughter, on the condition that he must first become king of both Gondor and Arnor, for only a king would be worthy of Arwen's hand. This may seem a harsh condition, but it should be noted that it is significantly more lenient than the closest precedent, Thingol's request that Beren obtain a Silmaril before marrying Lúthien.
In 3009 Aragorn went into Rhovanion in search of Gollum at Gandalf's request, and he finally caught him in the Dead Marshes in sight of Mordor, and brought him as a captive to King Thranduil's halls in Mirkwood, where he questioned him.
On September 30, 3018, Aragorn was waiting in the Inn of the Prancing Pony in Bree, where he met up with Frodo Baggins, and began his role in the War of the Ring. Aragorn was aged 87 at that time, but because he is of Númenórean blood he appeared to be in his prime.
The restoration of the line of Elendil to the throne of Gondor is a major subplot of The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's adventures not only aid Frodo in his Quest, but also bring him closer to the kingship (a move which is politically very complicated). Upon Sauron's defeat, in late 3019 T.A., Aragorn is crowned as King Elessar (Quenya, translated as Elfstone), a name given to him by Galadriel. He marries Arwen Undómiel shortly afterwards, and rules the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor until year 120 of the Fourth Age (TA 3141). He died after 210 years of life and 122 years of reign.
Through his ancestor Elendil, Aragorn is a descendant of Elros Tar-Minyatur, Elrond's brother and the first king of Númenor, and he therefore has some Elvish blood. Elendil was descended from Silmariën, eldest daughter of the fourth king of Númenor. It has been estimated that there were 18 people in the genealogy between Silmariën and Elendil (not including them), and it is known that between Elendil and Aragorn II that there is an unbroken line of 39 men (not including Elendil and Aragorn). Adding the 3 between Silmariën amd Elros reveals that there were approximately 62 (3+1+18+1+39) generations between Elros and Aragorn, not including either. Thus, Aragorn is approximately the grand62 nephew of Elrond (say grand 62 times); this also means that Arwen and Aragorn are first cousins, approximately 62 times removed (on Aragorn's side only, for in Arwen there have been only 2 generations). There may also be other relationships not revealed in the available works by Tolkien.
Aragorn is also known as the Dúnadan ("Man of the West"), Strider, Elessar Telcontar ("Elfstone Strider"), Longshanks, Thorongil, Wingfoot (given by Eomer), and Estel ("Hope")
In The Lord of the Rings movies (2001-2003) by Peter Jackson, Aragorn is played by US actor Viggo Mortensen. Instead of explaining the complicated circumstances of an heir of Isildur taking the throne in Gondor (see the article on Pelendur for an example), in the movie Aragorn must overcome his self-doubt to choose the kingship, a cinematic element that adds appeal to the modern audience. In the books, however, there is no doubt as to his purposes of returning as the king.
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In the earliest unpublished versions of The Lord of the Rings (see: The History of The Lord of the Rings), the character that later became Aragorn was called Trotter instead of Strider and was a hobbit instead of man. He has wooden feet, because he had once been to Mordor and been tortured there.
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