The Lord Of The Rings' Army Of The Dead Explained

Aragorn is confronted by the Army of the Dead in The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy features some pretty strange beings. Orcs are a nocturnal, rough-and-tumble lot. Ents are fascinating arboreal specimens. Wizards are ludicrously powerful geezers. Of all the unique beings that populate Middle-earth, however, the strangest ones might just be the Army of the Dead.

Ghoulish, supernatural, and, to those familiar with Peter Jackson's film adaptations , vibrantly green, the Army of the Dead feels like an abrupt detour from high-fantasy into horror. Inserted into The Return of the King , the specters come flying — quite literally — out of left field, mop up the hosts of Mordor lickety-split, and then vanish as quickly as they appeared, leaving many fans scratching their heads in eerie confusion.

Who are these ghastly creatures and what the heck are they doing floating around the mountains between Rohan and Gondor? Where did they come from? And why is Aragorn able to show up with a shiny reforged sword and start bossing them around? We took a deep dive into the source material to find some answers and ultimately assemble the definitive guide to Tolkien's Army of the Dead.

Setting the stage in the Second Age

In order to understand how the whole "Paths of the Dead" scenario is set up, you have to go way back into the Second Age of Middle-earth history . We're talking about events that take place thousands of years before The Lord of the Rings . During this time, a prosperous nation of men set up their society on a large island called Númenor, out in the ocean to the west of Middle-earth. They are led by a line of kings founded by  Elrond's  brother, Elros. This is the same line of kings that eventually gives us Aragorn .

The Númenóreans are descendants of the first groups of men that migrated into the western lands of Middle-earth thousands of years prior. Once they'd arrived on the scene, they aided the Elves and Dwarves in their struggles, and were given their island nation as a gift from the Valar , the divine shapers and guardians of the world, as a reward for helping to defeat Sauron's old master, Morgoth, at the end of the First Age .

The other men of Middle-earth

While the Númenóreans (or the Dúnedain , as they and their descendants come to be be referred to) are the most important nation of men in Tolkien's stories, they're not the only men of Middle-earth. In fact, there are countless other nations and tribes of men that live all over the continent, including many that live far out in the eastern and southern regions. However, most of these groups are either independent of the larger Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion stories ... or they end up fighting for Sauron. The Silmarillion  explains that thousands of years prior to the main story, "in the south and in the further east Men multiplied; and most of them turned to evil, for Sauron was at work."

Meanwhile, back in Númenor, the Númenóreans become incredibly powerful, and gradually begin to feel a bit cooped up on their isolated island — but they have only one option for expansion. See, when the Valar gave them their new home — as in, literally raised the island up out of the water for them — they put strict limits in place regarding how far these mortal men could sail towards their own immortal land, the Blessed Realm to the west. Having maxed out their potential on Númenor and being restricted from heading west, the Númenóreans start to head east.

The Númenóreans head back to Middle-earth

Time goes on, during which the men of Númenor become increasingly involved in geopolitical events on the continent. Their sixth king, Tar-Aldarion , is particularly instrumental in making them regular visitors to the mainland. Here, they find that the new Dark Lord, Sauron , is beginning to make mischief.

The Silmarillion  says that when they first make contact with the other men on the continent, the Númenóreans "[take] pity on the forsaken world of Middle-earth," adding that "most of the Men of that age that sat under the Shadow were now grown weak and fearful." However, the Númenóreans "[teach] them many things," helping elevate their fearful existence in the process.

In other words, these wise men that show up out of nowhere are hailed as benevolent heroes and teachers. They arrive in fantastic ships, bearing fabulous gifts and tremendous skills. They're basically the Middle-earth equivalent of a Hollywood star who rolls up in a Benz , ready to write checks to whoever needs some help. Over time, though, this perception slowly begins to change.

The Númenóreans get power-hungry

Over the next millennia, the men of Númenor continue to visit Middle-earth from time to time. It's also during this period that Sauron helps the Elves forge the Rings of Power, and then creates the One Ring to rule them all. This leads to an all-out grudge match across the continent as the Elves, Dwarves, and occasionally the Númenóreans try to stop Sauron from conquering everything in sight.

While the Elves and Dwarves often have a rough go of it, every time the Númenóreans show up, it's lights out. As they rack up victories, they set up more and more permanent colonies along the shore, building huge, permanent harbors and towers. In many areas, these are next to local tribes of men who have lived most of their often-difficult lives under the domination of Sauron. The more permanent settling of the Númenóreans may seem like a good thing at first glance, but many men resent this intrusion, and at certain points, even resist the newcomers with violence.

The problem is, while the Númenóreans are technically an improvement (most can agree that anything is better than having Sauron as your neighbor), as they get used to their powerful new position, they slowly shift from being allies to being lords and masters. They demand tribute, and begin to cart off a good amount of the continent's wealth to their increasingly opulent island.

Who are the non-Númenóreans on the mainland?

At this point, the Númenóreans have taken up most of the limelight — which makes a lot of sense. After all, 99% of what Tolkien wrote follows their story, to the varying benefit and detriment of the other men of Middle-earth. In order to get even a basic idea of what these other men are like, one has to do some sleuthing.

First off, these "other" groups of men do make several appearances throughout The Lord of the Rings . The Men of Bree (that is, the town where Frodo and his companions visit the Inn of the Prancing Pony) are among this group. So are the wildmen of Dunland who swear allegiance to Saruman. Then there are the Easterlings that Frodo and Sam see marching into the Black Gates, and, of course, the Haradrim who wreak havoc with their oliphants during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

These are just a handful of the different groups of men who live throughout the continent. When the Númenóreans begin colonizing the south of the mainland in the Second Age, there are many others in the area as well, including a group commonly referred to as the Men of the Mountains.

Númenor is destroyed

The Men of the Mountains live in the area that eventually becomes part of Gondor. Before any Númenóreans step foot there, though, these poor souls come under the shadow of Sauron. And we're not just talking about some slight political pressure, or even full-blown conquest. They literally worship the dude. This is during the period of time in the Second Age known as the Dark Years , when Sauron is very nearly in control of all of Middle-earth.

However, Sauron's reign is abruptly ended when a massive army of Númenóreans arrives on the mainland. Playing the long game, the Dark Lord surrenders to them and is taken back to their island nation, where Sauron slowly corrupts the mind of their king. Eventually, the last king of Númenor is convinced to attack the Valar in the Blessed Realm, and his entire kingdom is drowned in an Atlantis-like catastrophe. This makes the Númenórean colonists on the mainland the last remnant of the race, plus a tiny group of survivors who manage to sail away from the sinking island nation during the disaster.

The Faithful set up kingdoms in Middle-earth

The survivors of the wreck of Númenor are part of a faction known as the Faithful . These are men who saw the errant ways of their king and fellow countrymen and decided to remain loyal to the Elves and hostile to Sauron. These "Faithful" survivors of Númenor are led by a man named Elendil and his two sons, Isildur and Anárion.

When they arrive in Middle-earth, they set up two sister kingdoms: Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south — yes, that Gondor. Critically, the Faithful are also good leaders who do not lord it over the local tribes of men or try to take advantage of them — a fact that some of the local tribes fail to notice.

Soon afterward, Sauron arrives back in Middle-earth and begins to make plans to squash what remains of his enemies. As Isildur sets up the kingdom of Gondor, he attempts to find new allies. He converts the nearby Men of the Mountains, convincing them to turn on their fiendish master and help him instead. He brings a great, extraterrestrial-looking black stone, as tall as a man and shaped like a globe, and sets it up on the Hill of Erech near the Men of the Mountains' kingdom. There, he has the King of the Mountains swear allegiance to him.

The Last Alliance

After this somewhat creepy swearing of allegiance, there passes a period of time in which Gondor thrives and the Men of the Mountains enjoy their new, fearless lives. But over time, Sauron gathers his minions, and eventually unleashes hell on the exiles of Númenor. Desperate, the Faithful men of the west turn to their Elven allies, led by a powerful king named Gil-galad, and they form the Last Alliance. This combined army attacks Sauron in Mordor, an event that is shown in the opening sequence of The Fellowship of the Ring . They defeat the Dark Lord's armies and cut the One Ring from his hand.

While this is all great news for the peoples of Middle Earth, there's one group who isn't too pleased to see this come to pass: The Men of the Mountains. See, when Isildur prepares to head out to confront Sauron, he summons the King of the Mountains to fulfill his oath and aid him. What does the mountainous ruler do? He tucks tail and runs.

Cursed by a king

When the King of the Mountains refuses to honor the alliance, Isildur, furious, pronounces a terrible curse. "Thou shalt be the last king," he intones, "and if the West prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay upon thee and thy folk: To rest never until your oath is fulfilled ... For this war will last through years uncounted, and you shall be summoned once again ere the end."

These ruthless (though totally justified) words terrify the Men of the Mountains, and they flee in terror, caught between an angry Isildur and a petrifying Sauron. They hide in the hills, waiting for the entire thing to just blow over. The thing is, that oath isn't just a frustrated leader blowing smoke. When Isildur cuts the Ring from Sauron's hand and the armies of the Last Alliance return victorious, the curse takes hold, and the Men of the Mountains become known as the Oathbreakers. They slowly die out and become the "Sleepless Dead" that haunt the mountains between Gondor and Rohan.

Haunting the Paths of the Dead

The King of the Mountains' duplicity dooms his people to a life of unsettled specterhood at the end of the Second Age. While Isildur's prophecy that "you shall be summoned once again ere the end," does eventually come true, it takes more than 3,000 years for that day to arrive.

During that interim, the not-quite-dead apparitions of the Men of the Mountains continue to haunt their old homeland, a rugged area between Rohan and Gondor that becomes known as the Paths of the Dead. These paths are referred to multiple times in The Return of the King . At one point, Théoden explains to Merry that "Folk say that Dead Men out of the Dark Years guard the way and will suffer no living man to come to their hidden halls," adding that, "the Dead come seldom forth and only at times of great unquiet and coming death."

Long before the events of The Lord of the Rings , one of the heirs to the throne of Rohan, a fellow named Baldor, attempts to travel on the haunted road. Before he enters, an old, decrepit man blocks the way, declaring that "The way is shut ... It was made by those who are Dead, and the Dead keep it, until the time comes." Ignoring the advice, Baldor foolishly stays on the ghostly path ... and never returns.

The time comes

Centuries of insubstantial half-existence pass, until finally, the day of reckoning for the Oathbreakers arrives. In the book version of The Return of the King , Elrond sends a message to Aragorn: "Bid Aragorn remember the words of the seer, and the Paths of the Dead." Thus the moment, long foretold, comes at last.

This reference to "the seer" denotes yet another ancient prophecy coming to bear upon the situation — it seems they're a dime a dozen with these guys. It was spoken centuries earlier, by a man named Malbeth the Seer. This prophecy, which is enormously long, claims among other things that "The Dead awaken; for the hour is come for the Oathbreakers." It also says that they shall be called to the Stone of Erech by "the heir of him to whom the oath they swore ... he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead." You guessed it: That heir is Aragorn.

Fulfilling their oath: The movie version

At this point, we've caught up to the actual Lord of the Rings narrative, and the story of the Oathbreakers diverges quite a bit depending on whether you're watching or reading the story. In the films, Elrond arrives, gives Aragorn his sword, Andúril, tells him about the fleet of black ships sailed by the Corsairs of Umbar, and encourages him to take the Paths of the Dead to head off the threat.

Aragorn, Legolas , and Gimli head into the mountains alone, summon the Army of the Dead, and arrive in Gondor, where they annihilate their enemies on the black ships. But that's just the beginning of the battle. The Army of the Dead's hugely powerful capabilities are put on full display shortly afterward, when Aragorn pulls up to the docks outside of Minas Tirith and opens up a can of bright green ghosts on the Orcs and men attacking the city. After the unleashed horde mops up the battlefield,  Aragorn informs them — to the dismay of Gimli, who wants to keep them around — that their oath is fulfilled. The Oathbreakers finally fade away, their sins made up for at last.

Fulfilling their oath: The book version

In the book The Return of the King , things go quite a bit differently. After the battle of Helm's Deep, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are joined by 30 of Aragorn's Ranger brethren, as well as Elrond's twin sons. Together, the group travels the Paths of the Dead where they only survive the terror thanks to Aragorn's indomitable willpower.

Once they get through the mountains, Aragorn summons the Army of the Dead to the Stone of Erech, tells them who he is, and orders them to follow him. The ghastly host rides across Gondor to the port town of Pelargir, where they proceed to wipe the floor with the Corsairs of Umbar.

Once they've destroyed Sauron's servants and captured the black fleet, Aragorn releases the entire shadow host right there and then, declaring, "Hear now the words of the Heir of Isildur! Your oath is fulfilled. Go back and trouble not the valleys ever again! Depart and be at rest!" Once the ghosts are gone, the local people gather together, board the ships, and sail off to save Minas Tirith.

A weird connection to Pirates of the Caribbean

The dramatic differences between the Army of the Dead in the books and movies extends to their appearance. In the book, they're referred to as "Shadows" and a "Shadow Host," with Legolas describing them as "shapes of Men and of horses, and pale banners like shreds of cloud, and spears like winter-thickets on a misty night." Gimli reports that they look like "a grey tide," and that he beheld "faint cries ... pale swords ... and dim horns blowing." However, he adds that he doesn't know if they actually could physically hurt anyone, since "the Dead needed no longer any weapon but fear."

So, how, then, did we end up with a glowing green ghost army in Peter Jackson's films? The answer: Pirates of the Caribbean . It turns out that the original Army of the Dead was going to look a bit more skeleton-y. In fact, they were even in the process of creating them that way, when what should come out but The Curse of the Black Pearl , dripping with bony, haggard, undead pirates. The look was so similar, they decided, mid-production, to re-do the Army of the Dead as glowing green ghosts.

Bones or specters, though, it sounds like the production team gave up on a book-accurate "Shadowy Host" right from day one, opting instead for a flashier look. That's Hollywood for you.

Lord of the Rings Forgot Major Details of Aragorn's Story

From family ties to shaving habits, you'd be surprised at what we do and don't know about Aragorn.

The Big Picture

  • Although Aragorn is a fan favorite character in The Lord of the Rings movies, his character has some distinct differences from the book version of him.
  • Aragorn's introduction in The Fellowship of the Ring was so mysterious that even Tolkien didn't know who he was at first.
  • Elrond played a significant role in his upbringing, becoming an adoptive father to him. Aragorn, Arwen, and Elrond are all related through the line of Numenorian kings. Making Arwen Aragorn's distant cousin.

There was once a time when The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series was rumored to be a “young Aragorn” story, telling the tales of the little-known past of the man who would be king. While it was later revealed that the series would focus on the Second Age of Middle-earth instead — and that it was actually Netflix that pitched the "young Aragorn" story to the Tolkien Estate — it is understandable that the rumor caught on for a time. Not only is Aragorn ( Viggo Mortensen ) one of the most interesting characters of the main Lord of the Rings storyline, but to the avid reader he is also a fascinating character full of unexplored depth ripe for a good movie or TV series.

Fortunately enough for those who are enthralled by the world of Middle-earth, J. R. R. Tolkien left a mountain of notes and thousands of pages of drafts behind, many of which were published after his death. These writings and the extensive appendices at the end of The Lord of the Rings books help to flesh out some of the more important characters and events depicted in the main storyline, as well as including important notes on hobbit units of distance measurement and inflectional guides for invented languages, in case you were ever interested.

For the time being, we will have to wait on a full cinematic treatment of Aragorn’s story , but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to explore in the life of the future king. In fact, there are a great number of interesting aspects to his story that the Lord of the Rings films were not able to tell. After all, for a man who was 87 at the time of the events of the films, he had lived quite an adventurous life. Here are nine of the most important and interesting facts about Aragorn that the movies didn’t have time to cover:

Aragorn Was Mysterious Even to Tolkien

The first time that Aragorn shows up in the books and the films is the same: he appears as the hooded stranger in the dark corner in the inn at Bree, casting an aura of danger and mystery about him. When Tolkien wrote the scene for the first time, however, even the author had no clue who he was . The character who ended up being the most powerful king in Middle-earth just sort of meandered into the story, and Tolkien had to figure out who he was with time. This mystery around the character of Strider was so complete that Tolkien actually initially wrote the character to be a roving hobbit named Trotter, who wore wooden shoes.

Elrond Was Essentially Aragorn's Father

In the films, there is a strained relationship between Aragorn and Elrond ( Hugo Weaving ) , due to the fact that Elrond is unwilling to let his daughter marry a mortal. While this is also present to an extent in the books, the appendices also tell the story of Aragorn’s upbringing, in which Elrond plays quite a significant role. Aragorn barely knew his father, Arathorn, who was killed when Aragorn was only two years old. Soon after, his mother, Gilraen, took her son to Rivendell, where Elrond took the place of his father and raised Aragorn as one of his own sons.

Aragorn’s mother, interestingly, lived to be 100, and died only just before the main events of the story, between Bilbo’s party and the Council of Elrond. As the heir to the throne of Gondor the child Aragorn was in great danger, and Elrond kept his true name hidden, even from Aragorn himself, calling him “Estel” (Hope) instead. Elrond revealed his true identity only when Aragorn reached adulthood, and at that point gave him the heirlooms of his house: the ring of Barahir and the shards of the sword Narsil.

Aragorn, Arwen, and Elrond Are All Related

Distantly. Don’t make it weird. But yes, all three of them are members of the same family. The Cliff's Notes version of the story is this: Arwen is, of course, Elrond’s daughter, but Aragorn’s connection is more distant. Elrond, as was revealed in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power , had a brother named Elros, who was in a unique situation in Middle-earth in that he had the choice of mortality or immortality. While his brother chose to be immortal, Elros decided to become mortal instead, and became the first king of Numenor, taking the epic name of Elros Tar-Minyatur . The line of the kings of Numenor eventually became the kings of Gondor and Arnor, and it is from that line that Aragorn is descended. Which makes Elrond his uncle and Arwen his cousin, an unholy number of generations back.

Númenorians Couldn’t Grow Beards

In a more recent revelation, The Nature of Middle-earth book published a note from Tolkien saying that the line of the kings of Númenor could not grow beards. While Aragorn was many generations removed from those kings, he represented a return to the line of kings in more than one way, and apparently this included their shaving habits (or lack thereof). So yes, Aragorn had no beard and couldn’t even grow one if he wanted to, whatever Viggo Mortensen ’s alluring stubble may say.

Furthermore, Tolkien's notes about the Numenorean kings not having beards would also run counter to the epic Old Testament-style beard worn by Pharazôn ( Trystan Gravelle ) in the series, as he too is a descendant of the line of kings. So too with the bewitching whiskers of Lloyd Owen 's Elendil. Alas, the beards that might have been...

He Met Denethor and Theoden Before 'The Lord of the Rings'

Aragorn engaged in a long series of adventures over a number of years, many of which were never fully explained, but two stories in particular stand out. He served under the king Thengel in Rohan and rode to battle with him, which would have happened while Theoden ( Bernard Hill ) was a child. He also then went from Rohan to Gondor and served as an aid to the steward Ecthelion II of Gondor, the father of Denethor. As he wished his status as heir to the throne to be unknown, he traveled under the name “Thorongil,” though Denethor was nonetheless suspicious of him. In a move he repeated decades later, he defeated the Corsairs of Umbar to nullify the growing threat to Gondor they presented, then promptly left.

RELATED: Every King in 'The Return of the King', Ranked

He Traveled to Mordor

After leaving Gondor, what Aragorn did next is still shrouded in mystery, and probably will be forever. But the snippets and hints left by Tolkien are so intriguing that they indicate Aragorn was doing something extremely important, the extent of which is unknown. On leaving Gondor, Aragorn “took boat and crossed over Anduin, and there he said farewell to his companions and went on alone; and when he was last seen his face was towards the Mountains of Shadow.” He struck out for Mordor itself. Whether he went into the land itself or turned somewhere else is unknown, as is what he did there, but Aragorn traveling to Mordor is a tale of epic proportions of potential storylines.

He Was the One Who Caught Gollum

While the hunt for Gollum was only briefly referenced in the films , it was Gandalf and Aragorn together who started the search to find Gollum, and Aragorn alone who ultimately caught him. He found him in the Dead Marshes and brought him back to the elves in Mirkwood, from whom Gollum later escaped, but he tracked trails that had been cold for years to eventually find him.

RELATED: Aragorn Could've Been Very Different

His Marriage to Arwen Was Contingent on Him Becoming King

While Elrond gave Aragorn the heirlooms of his house when he reached adulthood, the one thing he withheld was the Scepter of Annuminas, which was the symbol of authority of the king of Arnor. Later, when Elrond found that his daughter had pledged herself to Aragorn , Elrond would not allow the marriage. Elrond gave Aragorn a challenge, saying that in order to be worthy of Arwen he must achieve his destiny, become king of Gondor, and reunite the kingdom to Arnor again, which was the old northern kingdom. This Aragorn successfully achieved, and Elrond gave the Scepter to Aragorn when he came to Minas Tirith with his daughter after the War of the Ring.

He Decided When He Would Die

While Aragorn lived to the ripe old age of 210 and reigned for 122 years, he still chose the time of his death. This was another peculiar ability of the kings of Numenor, and it has to do with a certain amount of Middle-earth philosophy and theology. Death was said to be the “Gift of Illuvatar” (the Creator God of Middle-earth), and that the appropriate understanding of mortality was to accept it as a gift, and not to fear it. This was not an injunction to suicide, but rather to an acceptance of death when it finally came, more akin to a decision to fall asleep when tired.

As such, the kings of Numenor were allowed to choose to go to their eternal rest if they desired. They could refuse, but that would eventually mean clinging on to life until the mind became corrupt, and the body died of its own accord. It was this particular problem that would eventually lead Pharazôn to the catastrophic folly that meant the downfall of Numenor itself . Rather than hold on indefinitely, and because he saw death as the Gift of Illuvatar, Aragorn also chose the time of his death. Arwen soon followed Aragorn. She lived only a year after him, and she too laid down and died, not in Minas Tirith, but in Lothlorien, at the hill of Cerin Amroth, in exactly the same place where she first pledged herself to Aragorn.

While we may not get a chance to see the full story of Aragorn on screen for years yet, there is plenty of material for fascinating stories and compelling characters. There is romance, family drama, war, peace, politics, destiny, tragedy, harmony, victory, and loss. All of this combines to make one of the most compelling and fascinating characters in the beloved book and film series, even though we may only ever get to see the tip of the iceberg that is the character of Aragorn.

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King Aragorn II Elessar, crowned

King of Gondor was the hereditary title of a ruler of Gondor , the southern kingdom of the Dúnedain in Middle-earth .

History [ ]

Through Amandil , the kings claimed descent from the Lords of Andúnië , and from there to the Princess Silmariën and the Kings of Númenor . Elendil , the son of Amandil, was the first King of Arnor and was succeeded by Isildur . Elendil ruled over both Realms in Exile as the High King of the Dúnedain. Isildur succeeded him as High King upon his father's death. Isildur committed Gondor to the rule of his nephew Meneldil , son of his brother Anárion , from whom the next thirty one kings would descend. However Isildur was by right High King over both Arnor and Gondor, though after Isildur's death his son Valandil did not press the claim, so thereafter the realms were entirely split. Thus, the House of Isildur ruled Arnor and the House of Anárion ruled Gondor.

In TA 2050 King Eärnur rode to Minas Morgul and was never seen again, and the Kingdom of Gondor was ruled by twenty six Stewards until the restoration of the line of Kings through the Heir of Isildur , King Elessar Telcontar , the first High King of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor.

† Did not die a natural death.

Translations [ ]

See also [ ].

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  • Fiction Discussion
  • Vs. Debates

Aragorn vs The Witch King

  • Thread starter Emperor Omega
  • Start date Jun 5, 2004

Emperor Omega

Emperor Omega

Victory destroyer captain.

  • Jun 5, 2004



Pimp marine.

I hate to say it but in a real combat (not that thing on Weathertop) Aragorn has no chance. He may not be overcome by the terror of the witch king, and their skill at arms seems roughly equal, but Aragorn can't kill the witch king. He could probably kill a ringwraith with Anduril but, due to the prophesy, he can't kill the witch king even if he was better. If we're debating without that prophesy the witch king still comes out ahead I think.  


The Witch King was a great magicians when alive. Even without the fear aura which is basic equipment with the Nazgul, he has access to God knows what magic.  


For Freedom!

Emperor Omega said: The Witch King can't be killed by any man, or can he? Click to expand... Click to shrink...

Iron Man

[BL]Phalanx said: The solution is simple. Aragorn first castrates himself and then kicks the Witch King's ass. Click to expand... Click to shrink...


The man from Canada

So did Merry, but he didn't count as a "man" either.  

IXJac said: So did Merry, but he didn't count as a "man" either. Click to expand... Click to shrink...



I beleive the prophesesy did not mean that man couldn't kill him but a mna wouldn't kill him, it is only said a man canot kill him because some pohit saw his death and saw a man didn't kill him. The prophesy has no binding on a debate. It would be like saying no noe can kill Harry Potter in a debate because of trelawaney's prohecey.  

Darth Valdemar

The prophecy said no man WOULD kill him... the reason for which was that no man would engage him in battle. He was not magically protected from men. If Aragorn is facing him in 1-on-1 combat then it's already different from the prophecy scenario (in which no such confrontation would take place), thus the prophecy is null and void.  


It's no fun if I can't trick you.

I'm going with the witch king. Sure you can to reason out the prop said as it meant this but you can't quite prove it so The " No man may kill me bit still applies." Even a man with distant elven blood in him.  


Sufficiently Advanced Moderation

I thought it was generally agreed that that it was a prediction of his death, not a blanket invincibility from men. Anyhow, the Witch King dies horribly.  

  • Jun 6, 2004

Remember Sauron himself was scared the fuck of Aragorn and Narsil Reforged. (In the book Aragorn challenges him through the palantir.. in the movie there's this somewhat lame moment before the black gate with the eye on top of the tower looking at him and whispering Aragorn...) That being the case a mere ringwraith should be meat.  

I tought Sauron was scared of Aragorn because he could have used the one ring.  

Tripwire said: I tought Sauron was scared of Aragorn because he could have used the one ring. Click to expand... Click to shrink...

I think that's part of the whole point of how the plan worked. Sauron expected that the ring having been found, Aragorn would have claimed it. And he expected that having claimed it, he would use it. He could not concieve of any circumstance whereby a person who had aquired the ring would not use it or try to use it. Evil doesn't understand how good works, basically, and gets its arse kicked because of it.  


Adarx said: I thought it was generally agreed that that it was a prediction of his death, not a blanket invincibility from men. Anyhow, the Witch King dies horribly. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Darth Valdemar said: Remember Sauron himself was scared the fuck of Aragorn and Narsil Reforged. (In the book Aragorn challenges him through the palantir.. in the movie there's this somewhat lame moment before the black gate with the eye on top of the tower looking at him and whispering Aragorn...) That being the case a mere ringwraith should be meat. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Ungoliant said: Gawd, I'm sick and tired of people underrating the WK. He is the general of the dark armies. HE's been a dark lord all by himself. He was a powerful magician during his life, and now has a POWERFUL fear aura. He gives gandalf, a Maiar, a demigod, reason to have fear at the thought of their meeting. Just because the prophecy doesnt apply doesnt mean he's a weakling. Let's look at this logically. WK is bigger and stronger. Aragorn is probably faster, but has a weapon that will be unable to hurt the WK at all. WK can fly. Aragorn cannot. WK's mount is alot bigger than aragorn or his mount. WK has magic. Aragorn does not. All in all, aragorn is screwed. Horribly. Click to expand... Click to shrink...

Ok going back to basics I think Aragorn would win but WK not going to die he just gets a new body and comes back in a week. I was going off dead as in not getting back up ever. Still be a good fight.  

Emperor Omega said: um....i said what each character has, and i never said anything about no Aragorn is not as royally screwed as say king Theoden was... And Aragorns weapon can hurt him if hes not protected by the prophecy, why shouldnt it be able to? If the blade can cut off the fingers of sauron himself, why can it not hurt the Witch King? Click to expand... Click to shrink...


Walking the path of Kings

Aragorn has Anduril (Narsil Reforged) which is a magical blade that would definately hurt the witch king.  


Would you like to make a contract?

Ungoliant said: He wasn't scared of aragorn's physical might. He was scared of Aragorn leading the armies of men, and/or using the one-ring. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
And Aragorns weapon can hurt him if hes not protected by the prophecy, why shouldnt it be able to? If the blade can cut off the fingers of sauron himself, why can it not hurt the Witch King? Click to expand... Click to shrink...

Screen Rant

Lord of the rings: 10 differences between aragorn in the books & the movies.

Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) is familiar to fans of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, but there are differences between him and his book counterpart.

While The Lord of the Rings film trilogy might have brought the story to a new generation of fans and made the world of Middle-Earth more popular than ever, the books also had many fans before the movies were ever made. And, for fans of the books, it was clear that there were some major differences between the source material and the movies . This makes sense given they were very different mediums, and overall, fans were happy with how the narrative was brought to life, even with some big changes.

RELATED:  Lord Of The Rings: 5 Ways Gandalf Is Different From The Books (& 5 He’s Not)

While plot changes happened and certain characters were omitted, even the main cast of characters was different in the movies than in the books. Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen, is the Aragorn interpretation the majority of people today are familiar with, but there are actually many variations between him and the original in the novels.

Film Aragorn Is More Of A Reluctant Hero

The biggest difference between the two versions can be summed up by this point. While some scenes were added or taken away, the overall personality changes are defined by the fact that book Aragorn was rather confident and willing to take up the mantle of king while movie Aragorn doesn’t seem to want the role at all.

Movie Aragorn is shown to be shrinking away from it and feels doubt about his ability to lead. He is rather concerned about his own weakness, but book Aragorn has very few issues or doubts about this.

The Aragorn/Boromir Feud Doesn't Really Exist In The Books

While Aragorn and Boromir in the movies are somewhat at odds, this isn’t really a thing so much in the novels. Boromir is rather resentful of Aragorn in the movies and feels threatened by him, but this animosity isn’t really there at all in the original story.

This conflict seems to have been added to create a more interesting character arc for Boromir , but in the books, they were usually on good terms.

He Had Ridden With The Riders Of Rohan In The Past

Another interesting fact many people don’t know is that there wasn’t nearly as much antagonism between Aragorn and Eomer either. In fact, Aragorn had been amongst the Riders of Rohan in the past and knew them as well as their customs rather well.

RELATED:  Lord of the Rings: 5 Ways Frodo Is Different From The Books (& 5 He’s Not)

This is actually something that points to an overall big difference between the books and movies. Book Aragorn is shown to be much more well-traveled and to know most of the other key players in Middle-Earth to some extent. Film Aragorn is hinted to have some of this wisdom, but it’s not really talked about or shown.

Book Aragorn Has Even Greater Elf-Like Skills

In the movies, there are a couple of moments where Aragorn’s healing abilities are shown. Firstly, when he has Sam look for the Kingsfoil, and secondly when he helps heal Eowyn in the Houses of Healing in the extended edition.

However, these skills are even more powerful in the books. He has gifts from being Numenorian, such as having far sight, and he also is a very powerful elven healer as he studied under Elrond. The movies really underplay these abilities.

Book Aragorn Is An Ever Better Warrior

In the movies, it’s made clear that Aragorn is a rather fierce warrior and a great Ranger, but in the books, he’s much more overpowered.

For those who watch the movies, it seems like Aragorn might not be at the level of Legolas or Gimli, but in the books, he’s portrayed to be better than practically anyone. Tolkien made him out to be rather superheroic in his battle prowess, and he is the best tracker in Middle-Earth.

His Relationship With Arwen Is More Hopeful In The Novels

In the movie, Arwen’s given a bigger role, and their relationship is brought into the narrative. In the books, their love story is told, but it’s only in the appendices, and Arwen doesn’t do things like rescue Frodo.

Also, the movies up the stakes on Arwen’s life even further , but the overall tone of the story is more hopeful in the books. Aragorn is more confident that they will be able to be together, and Eowyn’s role is also smaller. Aragorn is much more tempted by the idea of a life with Eowyn in the movies than in the books.

The Warg Scene Isn’t In The Book At All

While the movies took out notable scenes and characters, such as Tom Bomdabil, they also added many things in for dramatic impact. For Aragorn’s narrative, one of the added sequences was when he falls off the cliff after the warg attack. The warg attack didn’t even happen in the book in the first place, and Aragorn definitely didn’t almost die like this.

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However, it did make for a good cinematic moment when Aragorn returned, and it upped the ante on the stakes even more. Overall, Tolkien’s narrative structure didn’t always work as well for the big screen, so these kinds of changes were made.

Book Aragorn Doesn’t Kill The Mouth Of Sauron

While Aragorn does do many heroic things in the books and is clearly a leader , he didn’t actually kill the Mouth of Sauron. This sequence is different in the movies than in the books and doesn’t end with the character’s death. Instead, the Mouth tries to bargain with Gandalf for the army to leave the Black Gate, but Gandalf refuses the offer.

The Mouth of Sauron then retreats back into Mordor. But, the movie scene had a more satisfying and clear resolution that made sense for the story Peter Jackson was telling.

In The Book, Aragorn Always Uses Anduril

In Return of the King , it’s a rather cinematic moment when Elrond shows up at the encampment and brings the re-forged shards of Narsil. It’s at this moment that Aragorn starts using Anduril and it is a turning point in his journey to becoming King of Gondor.

However, in the books, he has Anduril all along. Narsil is re-made in Rivendell before the Fellowship even leaves on the quest, and Aragorn uses it as his main weapon throughout the story.

Book Aragorn Isn’t Shirking From His Role As King

From a movie narrative standpoint, having one of your main characters go through a journey from a mysterious ranger to a noble King of Gondor is very appealing.

It makes sense to give Aragorn more complexity and have him overcome weakness and being unsure, and if he was ready for the jump to be King, it would seem boring. However, book Aragorn is never shirking away from this role. He’s prepared for it and always on a journey to get to that point.

NEXT:  Lord Of The Rings: 10 Differences Between Legolas In The Books & The Movies

Why Aragorn and Sauron's Fight Was Removed From The Lord of the Rings

LOTR: The Return of the King originally had Aragorn battling Sauron during the final battle, so why was it removed from the final release?

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King features a climactic battle outside the Black Gate of Mordor. It's intended by Aragorn and his allies to draw the gaze of the all-seeing Eye of Sauron and allow Frodo and Sam to reach Mount Doom unnoticed. During the confrontation, Aragorn originally faced Sauron himself; much of the footage was even filmed. However, Jackson ultimately decided to remove the sequence.

These days, The Lord of the Rings trilogy comes with a huge amount of behind-the-scenes material, which is just as entertaining as the movies themselves. Among Jackon's numerous interviews, he revealed the script originally called for Aragorn to have a heroic moment fighting Sauron, the titular Lord of the Rings. While it certainly sounds epic, there was a good reason their fight never made the final cut.

Updated on August 11, 2023, by Ajay Aravind: Aragorn and Sauron are two of the most important characters in The Lord of the Rings . They even interact with each other for a brief moment in The Return of the King , but this pales in comparison to the fight scene that was excised from the film. As such, we've added more information comparing Aragorn and Sauron's relationship in the books and the movie trilogy.

RELATED: Lord of the Rings: Why Didn't Gimli Know About the Dwarves' Fate in Moria?

Aragorn's Relationship With Sauron Is Different In The Books

Aragorn is the King of Gondor , the man destined to reunite the peoples of Middle-earth under a single banner. There are numerous obstacles barricading his way, but Aragorn diligently works toward his goal without a shred of royal arrogance. Such an impressively commanding character would naturally have significant willpower at his disposal, as seen when the heroes get access to the Palantír of Orthanc. Although Pippin makes a mistake by gazing into the palantír, the psychic limitations of the young Hobbit are nothing compared to Aragorn's incomparable mental fortitude.

Aragorn then decides to touch the palantír himself and manages to seize mental ownership of the enchanted stone from Sauron's malevolent grasp. The Dark Lord is understandably terrified of this display of power, and believes that Aragorn intends to exploit the One Ring for his own purposes. This forces Sauron to unleash his army on Gondor before they're actually ready to fight. It can be argued that this hasty decision helped weaken the negative impact of Sauron's attack and, indirectly, gave Frodo and Sam just enough time to reach Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring.

This event has a completely different outcome in The Return of the King. When Aragorn grasps the palantír and reveals his existence to the Dark Lord, Sauron is initially unnerved upon seeing "the sword of Elendil," now reforged from Narsil to Andúril. However, Sauron then shows Aragorn a vision of Arwen, seemingly dead, which terrifies the future King of Gondor. Aragorn promptly drops the palantír, shattering it. As such, it can be argued that the movie version of Aragorn loses the battle of wills against Sauron. Fans still wonder about this change because it destabilizes Aragorn's indomitable character — at the same time, showing the future King as nigh-omnipotent would make his journey far less relatable.

RELATED: How LOTR: The Rings of Power's Subtly Referenced the Orcs' 'Decaying' Bodies

Aragorn Fought Sauron's Physical Form In Deleted Footage

In the deleted footage, a bright light shines upon Aragorn and his army, just before a ghostly figure steps out of the Black Gate of Mordor. It turns out to be Annatar, the angelic form used by Sauron in the Second Age to deceive the Elven Smiths of Eregion. However, Aragorn quickly recognizes the deception, and Sauron becomes the hulking figure seen in the opening of The Fellowship of the Ring . Their weapons are drawn, and these two rivals finally have their face-to-face confrontation. However, the fight is mostly Aragorn's blade deflecting off of Sauron's hulking armor.

When reviewing the footage, Jackson felt that Aragorn vs Sauron took away from the true battle: Frodo and Sam's perilous journey to the heart of Mordor, where they would hurl the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. " It was not what Tolkien imagined ," the filmmaker recalled. " And we realized it was actually totally demeaning to what Aragorn was doing. " Aragorn's heroics at the moment weren't from a confrontation with Sauron but instead from placing his life on the line to enable Frodo and Sam to accomplish their mission.

RELATED: Sauron Wasn’t the True Lord of the Rings – It Was Actually [Spoiler]

The Aragorn Vs. Sauron Fight Was Replaced With CGI

But Jackson and his team still wanted Aragorn to have some sort of heroic fight. Therefore, the footage was edited to replace Sauron with a large, armored CGI troll. The revised scene is so seamless that it's easy to believe Aragorn's fight against the troll was the original plan. Even the shot of a bright light shining upon Aragorn and his army made it into Return of the King 's final cut. However, the revised scene instead cuts to the all-seeing Eye of Sauron casting its gaze directly at Aragorn.

The trilogy's dedication to the source material and honoring what Tolkien originally wanted is what makes the movies so special. While there were plenty of changes made during the adaptation process, the core concepts remained the same. In Tolkien's The Return of the King , Sauron never fights Aragorn. In fact, Sauron's appearance is never properly described, perhaps because he's a notorious shapeshifter. As such, showing Aragorn fighting Sauron would be a disservice to the author.

Although a fight between Aragorn and Sauron may have been an epic moment, most fans will agree the reasons for leaving out the scene are valid. Most movies typically have the final duel between the hero and villain, but that's not what The Lord of the Rings is really about. The real journey is two unlikely Hobbits saving the world from evil, not by strength but by their courage.

Aragorn Vs. Azog

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Who would win? Personally I say Aragorn.

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Aragorn should win....

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Aragorn takes this

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Aragorn should take this

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Id put Azog below lurtz, so aragorn takes

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Aragorn for the stomping. He takes on 5 Nazgul.

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Azog was defeated by a dwarf with a log. He's not gonna beat Aragorn

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Aragorn wins, but it will not be easy as you think.

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@spiderpool94 said:

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Strider Wins!

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Aragorn handily, if not in a stomp.

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Close fight, but aragorn.

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Aragorn stomps easily. He stalemated an Olog-hai in full plate armor with a giant sword and mace. Azog is nowhere near that.

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While movie feats make things seem better for Azog, Aragorn was known as one of the greatest swordsmen of the Third Age, possibly the best human warrior of that Age. If we go by general LOTR lore then Aragorn should trash Azog every time. No way does the Goblin stand against Aragorn in a blade to blade matchup.

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Aragorn but I don't think he stomps

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Aragorn quite solidly.

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Azog the “blue Orc” is not a goblin.

He is bigger and stronger than Lurtz. As is his second in command, Bolg.

Bolg was able to contend with Legolas for an extended time. I cant see Lurtz being able to do that.

I still feel Aragorn wins, but this is far closer than most people think.

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I think Aragorn wins, but it would be a close match. He's definitely stronger than Lurtz is, and Lurtz was able to contend with Aragorn for a bit.

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aragorn vs ghost king


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