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My little LOTR moment

Published: Sunday 31 Jan 2021 | Edited: Sunday 31 Jan 2021

For the last week or so, Susie and I have been making our way through the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. I've seen it five or six times in my life, but watching it now is blowing my mind. Like, I feel like I'm tracking the story and characters and mythology way better than I ever have.

Tonight, we were watching episode three at the part where Gandalf goes to see this Denethor guy.

A view of Gandalf and Pippen approaching the throne of Denethor as seen from behind the throne. Denthor's body is seen sitting to the left of the frame. Gandalf is dressed in white robes and carrying his white staff. Pippen appears nervous and is keeping step behind Gandalf. The caption reads: Hail Denethor, son of Ecthelion, lord and steward of Gondor

Gandalf calls him a "custodian king" or some shit; it's been said through the movie that Aragorn (played famously by Viggo Mortenson) is the actual heir to that throne (which means he's like the king of all humans in Lord of the Rings land).

Anyway, Gandalf and Pippen go in to talk to him, and Denethor fuckin flips about them being friends with Aragorn and feels all threatened that they're trying to get him ousted and install Aragorn (which I'm pretty sure they are).

So, as I'm watching this, I realize I have no idea why Aragorn isn't just king in the first place. Like, when he comes into the movie at the beginning, why isn't he just the king, because it seems like it's the general consensus that he should be.

I get on Google and type:

why is Aragorn...

And Google suggests:

why is Aragorn in exile

Oh. Okay, I guess he was exiled.

I click on the first link. It's a forum, where the question, written by Orcrist says:

I have read the LOTR before but can't remember an important point. I'm rereading right now and am in book five. I can't stand it anymore and need to know the answer to this question: WHY IS ARAGORN IN EXILE? any help will be greatly appreciated. if the answer is a spoiler please don't tell me.

Perfect. Exactly my question. And the first/top answer from aragil is this:

Aragorn wasn't in exile. Through his male ancestors he is the rightful king of Arthedain (part of the former kingdom of Arnor). His kingdom was effectively wiped out ~1300 years prior to LOTR by the witch king of Angmar (lord of the ringwraiths). The surviving nobility from Arthedain (including Aragorn) makes up the Rangers. So when Frodo meets Aragorn in Bree, he is actually in the heart of Aragorn's kingdom.

Aragorn's claim to Gondor comes from ~1300 years ago (right before the fall of Arthedain). One of the daughters of the King of Gondor married the heir to the throne of Arthedain. All of the sons of the King of Gondor were later killed, and Arthedain asserted that it could claim the throne of Gondor. This was refuted by Gondor, who instated the King's nephew (or cousin, I can't remember) in his place. Later on the newphew and all of his sons died as well, but by this time Arthedain had effectively been destroyed, so Aragorn's ancestors weren't able to press their claim.


Like, wow.

The line that killed me was:

...instated the King's nephew (or cousin, I can't remember)

What this phrase seems to indicate to me is that this MF typed out all these details from fucking memory and even was aware of the limits of his or her knowledge about some guy way up in the lineage*.

*The lineage of a mythological crown made the fuck up by JRR Tolkien.

I cannot. CANNOT. believe the level of detail that is delineated in this response. Like, there are probably thousands of these people walking about who know almost as much about Middle Earth as the guy who invented it from thin air.

There was a time in my life where I would look down on someone like this answer poster as a person with no life. Like, I used to feel pity for people like this: the superfans of fantasy and fiction. Now, I feel
  1. Gratitude. This person thoroughly resolved my confusion about the mythology of the trilogy. I have this experience often when I turn to forums for all my trivial pursuits.
  2. Envy. I wish I was this committed to, and could express myself in this breadth and depth of detail on ANY topic. Also jealous that the thing about which this person is an expert is, I must assume, his or her absolute, most favorite thing.
That's it. Just awed by some random LOTR forum fan post from December 2001.