Is my memory fading or was life too busy a few years ago when I first watched Fellowship of the Ring? I remembered the basic story, but I had forgotten much of the details. A significant amount of it was scattered in the winds of time. Names had escaped me, and certain scenes such as the hobbits meeting up with Aragorn in the Prancing Pony tavern were white-washed from my mind.
I didn’t remember the human fighter’s name, but after reading a little about the character played by Viggo Mortensen, is there any wonder? He was officially known as Aragorn II, son of Arathorn, but he also went by the names Strider (in and surrounding areas of Bree), Dúnadan (Man of the West), Wingfoot, Estel (his name when he was young to hide his true identity), Thorongil and several others.
It was as if Tolkien couldn’t decide on a true name for the character, the descendant of a king.
With so many characters to keep track of (some with more than one name), it’s no wonder I couldn’t remember all the unusual titles that sometimes were spoken sparsely. Bilbo, Sam and Gandalf were the only ones I recalled with certainty. Oh! And Precious, but I had learned that back in my teens and had no idea of its connection with this movie.
Aragorn was the reason I had to change the name of one of my main characters in Shadows in the Stone. Bronwyn, the dwarf fighter, was originally named Argon around 1980. At this time I had not heard of Tolkien or his Lord of the Rings novel(s). I also did not know one of his main characters was Aragorn, very similar to Argon.
I had grown quite attached to Argon for many reasons. He was an honourable dwarf who risked his life for others. Since I had met him with this name, I knew him by no other. In my love of science I knew Argon (Ar) was a chemical element, in the group 18 in the periodic table and the third most common gas in Earth’s atmosphere. In its own right, Argon was a noble gas.
A few months before Shadows in the Stone was published, I discovered Aragorn, which at that time came to me to be Aragon, which turned out to be an autonomous community in Spain where it coextensive with the mediaeval Kingdom of Aragon. My fantasy novel is no Lord of the Rings by any means, still, I tossed and turned this dilemma in my mind for weeks before finally deciding in the public eye, Argon would be…not Argon.