Aragorn: The Returning King

Tolkien, very explicitly, did not write The Lord of the Rings as an allegory.  He rather described it as “applicable”.

Aragorn is a relate-able human, he doubts himself, he messes up.  But Tolkien chose to give him a very powerful role in Middle Earth.  As a king and a successful hero, I think he must, on some level, represent Jesus.

Like I talked about in the paper I posted on Easter,  I believe in hero stories because I believe in one Hero who saved me.

You certainly can’t take this analogy too far, but they all break down somewhere, don’t they?  The Lord of the Rings is just a story and a story’s job is not necessarily to be perfectly theologically accurate.

I knew I had to do one of my “Aragorn posts” about kingship, but someone has already put what I want to say quite beautifully, so I’m going to stop rambling and point you all over to

I know I’ve linked to this before, but I think Tolkien-fans should read it.  In The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien said:

Of course, Allegory and Story converge, meeting somewhere in Truth. . .  And one finds, even in imperfect human ‘literature’, that the better and more consistent an allegory is the more easily can it be read ‘just as a story’; and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it. (121)

I think this article has really helped me think about stories and fictional characters, and sort out what’s merely story, what’s allegorical, and what’s “applicable”.  So instead of my words (which you’ve already had enough of), you can read someone else’s on Aragorn and Middle Earth.  Enjoy!

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