Aragorn the Lover: A Union with the Beloved and a Call to Greatness

ARAGORN THE LOVER: A UNION WITH THE BELOVED AND A CALL TO GREATNESS

By Stephen C. Winter

Word Count: 740

Rating: G (suitable for all audiences)

Summary: An overview of Aragorn as king, warrior, magician, and lover.

 

Image credit: New Line Cinema

Halbarad, the Ranger of the North, bears a gift for Aragorn. It is a thing of mystery, “close furled in a black cloth bound about with many thongs”. And there is a message with it from Arwen, Lady of Rivendell, to Aragorn:

“The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!”

The final greeting of her message is one of deep uncertainty. Her “Fare Well”, if joined together, becomes a last word, a final blessing, spoken to one that Arwen does not expect to see again. When the words are separated, as they are here, they remain a word of hope. But which are they to be?

Aragorn feels their power:

“Now I know what you bear. Bear it still for me a while!” And he turned and looked away to the North under the great stars, and then he fell silent and spoke no more while the night’s journey lasted.

So it is that we see Aragorn the lover and find that in him the lover is woven close to the warrior who has great battles to fight and the king who must unfurl the royal standard that Arwen has made for him. The man who rides in silence through the night, his mind filled with thoughts of the woman he loves, knows that his longing for her cannot be fulfilled unless Sauron be overthrown and the Ring of Power cast into the fires at the Cracks of Doom. He cannot separate these things even if he would.

All great love stories are triumphs over adversity. I have a particular love for the story of Rapunzel and the prince who first climbs the tower to reach his imprisoned beloved and then must wander the world, separated from her, his eyes made sightless by the thorns that surround the tower and the malice of the witch who wants to keep Rapunzel for herself. And I love the story of how, for love of her prince, Rapunzel climbs down those same thorn trees that have imprisoned her so long and then searches the world for him until she finds him and heals him with her tears.

In both the old German tale and in Tolkien’s story true love can only be won through great trial. And it is also the source of strength that enables the lover to triumph over all adversity. Although Eros is a word that is absent from the New Testament, replaced there by agape, a word that was a wonderful gift to the world, denoting a love that is an unbreakable commitment to the blessedness of another and a delight that they too are in the world, it was not long before the Fathers of the Church found that they could not ignore it.

They discovered that Eros (in the Greek) or Amor (in the Latin) was the divine energy that will bring about the union and communion of all things. At one time there was no division between the passionate, even erotic, language of the mystics and the technical language of the theologians. The two were one and the same. They spoke of drawing the mind into the heart. Sadly we seem to live in a time when mind and heart have become separated. How we need to find a way to unite them once more!

In Aragorn the great archetypes of the King, the Warrior, the Magician and the Lover are wonderfully united. He has been the warrior lover over many years but now we see him growing into his kingship. See how Arwen, his beloved, declares him king, through the banner that she has made, even before her father does! In doing so she spurs him on to the great deeds that he will do. But he has needed the wisdom of the magicians in his life, Elrond and Gandalf, to know what task he must achieve. Eventually he will lose them and then he will have to find the magician wisdom within himself, but not quite yet.

Aragorn has received a message from Elrond but it is Arwen’s words that bring about his silence. Eventually he will respond to both messages together as he must and in doing so he will be propelled onwards to the great crisis of his life and towards the union with his beloved for which he longs with all his heart.

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2 thoughts on “Aragorn the Lover: A Union with the Beloved and a Call to Greatness

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  1. This is such a beautifully deep piece, Stephen. You do a wonderful job bringing out that area of love based upon a call to greatness and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good that is such a part of Aragorn as King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover. I also love the thought of “Eros” being indicative of deeper realities than mere sexual attraction, speaking of divine energy that unites all things.

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    1. Many thanks having this posted, Avellina.

      It only struck me for the first time when rereading The Lord of the Rings that something like a bolt of electricity goes through Aragorn when he receives the banner from Arwen through Halbarad. At first he falls into silence (I love that!) but then he is a man transformed and does not rest until after the battle of the Pelennor Fields and even then only briefly. And it is not just the energy that he displays. He actually takes up his crown, challenging Sauron in the Palantir, calling the King of the Dead to obedience, calling the defenders of Pelargir to the battle at Minas Tirith, doing acts of healing for those wounded in the battle.

      I am equally struck by how Faramir also does this for Eowyn. We are so concerned about the problems of the relationships between men and women that we miss out on their wonderful possibilities. Are we afraid to admit that we actually need each other!?

      Thank you for your excellent blog.

      Like

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