Wanderer of the Wilderness


  • Mike Cruden


Arthur, Aragorn, King, Gondor, Character Development, Arwen, Leadership, Leader, Strider, LotR, Lord of the Rings, Gandalf


Author Mike Cruden dives deep into the characterization of Aragorn, the Strider. Aragorn is, as firstly mentioned by Gandalf, “the greatest traveler and huntsman in this age or world” and has overcome great perils to deliver information to Gandalf. Cruden claims this begins his establishment as an important figure within the story. Aragorn’s development in The Lord of the Rings takes him from the sinister and mysterious Strider to the noble and heroic King of Gondor. His introduction to the story paints him as this mysterious figure, a “strange looking, weather-beaten man sitting in the shadows”. After helping Frodo, he manages to instill some confidence in his abilities to both the reader and the Hobbits he is traveling with. He becomes the de-facto leader of the group in Gandalf’s absence, utilizing his knowledge of medicine and the wild to help them survive. Through all his expertise, though, Cruden believes that there is an air of despair surrounding Aragorn, which mostly takes focus around his love for Arwen. This despair comes from the fact that he loves an elf, who is immortal, so his love for her will ultimately cause her death. In addition to this despair, he is doubtful of his ability to lead. He believes Gandalf to be much better equipped than he is, and freely acknowledges that his council may be wrong – which grants him the ability to listen to the advice of others. Throughout the three books of the Lord of the Rings, he is slowly approaching his destiny – becoming King. All the events that happen along the way help prove to himself, and others, that he his worthy of being king. His expertise and confidence, ability to heed other advice, and his humility all make him worthy of kingship. Even his despair dissipates, as he is officially wed to Arwen towards the end of the story. Cruden makes the claim that through the beginning to the end, Aragorn has various stages to his character – almost like different identities. Cruden concludes his article by comparing Aragorn to King Arthur who, in his opinion, is too noble and therefore two-dimensional. He claims that as Aragorn rises in status, he loses humanity – becoming more of a flat character than a fully realized one.




How to Cite

Cruden, M. “Wanderer of the Wilderness”. Mallorn: The Journal of the Tolkien Society, no. 6, Aug. 1972, pp. 4-11, https://journals.tolkiensociety.org/mallorn/article/view/271.