The ongoing success of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Prime Video has demonstrated that there is still a great deal of interest in seeing the world of Tolkien brought to life on the screen. Of course, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy still casts a very long shadow, and its characters are still quite beloved.
Aragorn, in particular, has engendered quite a devoted fandom as the brave ranger who also was the rightful king of Arnor and Gondor. While many still love him, especially as portrayed by Viggo Mortensen, many Redditors are very open about their unpopular opinions about the character, such as his romance with Arwen and inaccurate characterization between the movies and books.
Aragorn Became A Less Intimate Character In Each Film
The Lord of the Rings films are often seen as among the best fantasy movies ever made, but some Reddit users saw flaws with how the characters were depicted. No-Dependent1936, for example, argues that they lose intimacy or become less focused as they go along, and they particularly aim at “Aragorn killing the messenger.”
While his killing of the Mouth of Sauron is jarring, it makes sense in the context of the moment. This is the instant when Aragorn decides that he has had enough of the taunting from Sauron and his emissary. When it comes right down to it, Aragorn is no one’s fool.
Viggo Mortensen Is Too Short For Aragorn
Though Aragorn might be one of the bravest members of the Fellowship, there are still some who can’t quite get past his casting. Greengoth has this to say about Mortensen’s screen presence: “Viggo Mortensen was too short for Aragorn. Love how he played him, but movie Aragorn barely clearing 6′ when book Aragorn was described as something like 6’6″ has always bothered the hell out of me probably more than it should.”
While it is true that Aragorn was of the ancient blood of the Numenoreans, this criticism overlooks the many other things that Mortensen brings to the role. In particular, it overlooks the warmth and generosity that the books make a point of demonstrating were key elements of his personality as both a man and a king.
The Movie Version Of The Character Is Better Than The Books
Given that The Lord of the Rings is an adaptation, there are many differences between the movies and the books, particularly when it comes to the Fellowship. While some diehard Tolkien fans preferred the book version, theunlivedlife disagrees, writing: “Unpopular opinion but I actually prefer the character of Aragorn in the movies than in the books.”
The truth is that the two are actually different enough that it is possible, and indeed even preferable, to look at them separately. Each iteration of the character does something different and offers a separate gloss on the vision that Tolkien himself created.
Viggo Is Too Soft For The Role
Though Aragorn is one of the best characters in the movies, he has excited a great deal of commentary among Redditors. Much of the conversation centers around Viggo Mortensen and whether he was the right person to play this titanic hero. HeWhoCntrolstheSpice, for example, had this to say: “I found him to be a bit too…soft…for the role. I always conceived of Aragorn as being rather intimidating and forbidding, and I don’t think Viggo quite hit the right note.”
While the book Aragorn could at times be hard and indeed very intimidating, he also repeatedly showed that there was another side of him, the side that took four lost hobbits under his wing and protected them. It’s to Mortensen’s credit that he decided to bring out this side of the character.
Some Don’t Like The Aragorn/Eowyn Romance
There are many important relationships in The Lord of the Rings. Arguably one of the most vital is that between Eowyn and Aragorn, precisely because it shows the richness and depth of their characters. However, it wasn’t to everyone’s liking, particularly on Reddit.
Sleigers1 has this to say: “The movies seem to inflate it up into a full blown love interest, purely to create some manufactured romantic tension. Big difference. I’ve never cared for it.” While it is true that the movies enhance this element of the story, it actually works dramatically, as it shows just how much each of them has to give up as a result of their war against Sauron.
His Actions At Helm’s Deep Don’t Always Make Sense
There are many important battles in The Lord of the Rings. Helm’s Deep is one of the most significant of these, and it features some very heavy action from Aragorn himself. While he shows himself to be one of the heroes of the engagement, some of his actions, according to Redditors, don’t always make sense.
ForrestGump90 particularly criticizes: “Aragorn telling the Galadhrim Archers to charge after firing only one volley of arrows, even though it was working in holding the Uruk Hai army back, supposedly to save Gimli, but he could’ve done that without wasting his archers and the high ground they had).” While the argument is rational, the truth is that in the chaos of battle it is often difficult, even for someone like Aragorn, to see how everything is going to work out, and he has to make the best decisions he can in the moment.
Jackson Improved On The Arwen/Aragorn Love Story
Arguably the most important romance in The Lord of the Rings is that between Aragorn and Arwen. While it is very much a part of Tolkien’s book, it could be argued that Jackson improved it. As Tester33333 explains: “Jackson also gave Aragorn some reasons to esteem Arwen beyond her looks, like how she bravely defended Frodo from the Nazgul.”
As is often the case, however, it is more helpful to view the books and the movies as separate entities. Each brings their own strengths, and while Jackson’s version is different from Tolkien’s, it’s going too far to say that it is definitively better.
Aragorn Killing The Mouth Of Sauron Is A War Crime
Though the Extended Editions make many improvements on the theatrical versions, some of these reflect rather poorly on Aragorn. This is especially true of the moment when he kills the Mouth of Sauron. Willpower2000 puts it: “War-crime Aragorn!? That scene deserves to burn.”
While at first glance it does seem out of character for Aragorn to do this, the truth is that it is a final indication of how much he has accepted his destiny. What’s more, it’s precisely the type of aggressive action that is designed to draw and keep Sauron’s attention, allowing Frodo and Sam to make their way to Mount Doom.
The Movies Damage His Character
For many people, Aragorn is one of the best characters in the movie. However, this isn’t an opinion shared by everyone on Reddit. Haugspori is particularly critical, writing: “He goes from a “hesitant ranger” to “accepting his fate” in mere minutes, all because of a sword and a weird plotline that Arwen’s fate is bound to the Ring – and they didn’t even care about explaining this essential plotpoint that turned a character around 180 degrees.”
It is true that this is a shift from Tolkien’s emphasis. At the same time, it works dramatically and narratively in that it helps to give Aragorn a stronger and more understandable motivation than he has in the book.
Aragorn In The Books Wouldn’t Have Worked Well On Film
Tolkien excelled at creating dynamic and compelling characters. In this case of Aragorn, he is a larger-than-life individual, someone who almost seems to have come from a distant moment in Middle-earth’s past.
OK_Historian_1066 agrees and goes on to say: “I don’t think book Aragorn, who is utterly awesome, works well on film. I think PJ recognized that and changed him so the character could have a story arc. I think that worked great. I do agree, however, that it was not consistent with Tolkien’s work/message.” While it is true that the two conceptions of the character are very different, it would in fact have been possible to translate Tolkien more directly to the screen. The results would have been very distinct, however.
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