How did Aragorn’s army reach Mordor so easily, whereas Frodo took 17 months to reach Mordor with so many difficulties?

  • 32
    they used roads. Frodo did all he could do to stay hidden and walk the paths nobody sane would walk.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 7:09
  • Agree on the main answer. Like Napolean said "never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake". The relatively low numbers of Gondorians is compensated for somewhat by the fortifications of Minas Tirith. Not enough to win outright of course, but enough to survive as long as they did and most likely inflict much greater casualties on the attackers than they suffered themselves. But then a mass cavalry charge into the orcs' stationary flank, especially because it was unexpected, would have been devastating. It's not all about numbers. Tactics, especially the use of surprise, can make an en
    – user100501
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


Frodo didn't take 17 months

He left Hobbiton on 22nd September 3018 and arrived in Mordor on 19th March 3019 - about 6 months.

They travelled different distances

Frodo travelled all the way from Hobbiton whereas Aragorn's army travelled from Minas Tirith, which was substantially closer.

By comparison, it takes Frodo from 5th March to 12th March to travel from the Black Gate to Shelob's Lair, which is only 7 days for a similar distance to that which Aragorn's army travelled. Aragorn's army makes the journey from 18th March to 25th March - also 7 days.

Frodo stopped plenty of times along the way

In particular:

  • Rivendell: 2 months.
  • Lorien: 1 month.

Which reduces his journey time to 3 months.

In fact, if we look at the time from the Breaking of the Fellowship (26th February) to the destruction of the Ring (25th March) - before which Frodo and Aragorn were travelling together - we see that only 1 month passes.

So from that point onwards we can say that it actually took each the same amount of time to travel to Mordor, accepting that they went to different parts of Mordor, and with various delays and sidetracks along the way, from the time their routes diverged.

Source for all dates and times: Tale of Years, Return of the King.

  • 49
    He also had a few days with Tom Bombadil. Everyone seems to forget Tom :-(
    – user46509
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 8:15
  • 10
    @Po-ta-toe that's probably because Tom grants is zero relevance to the story :D
    – Gusdor
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 11:03
  • 5
    @VictimOfCircumstance - Were you not an active member of this SE before? I seem to recall someone with a very similar image profile providing many great answers based on Tolkien's work...
    – Joseph
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 16:27
  • 18
    Frodo also has shorter legs. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 22:36
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    Also Aragorn and his army marched along purposefully, not stopping to check out plants or fall in pools.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 12:51

Victim of Circumstance explains the basic duration.

As for "easily", Sauron could absolutely have fought them all the way along their route. But why would he? All his enemies are stupidly marching into a dead-end trap where they're ludicrously outnumbered and can easily be wiped out to the last man in one simple battle with nowhere to run to. From Sauron's POV, Aragorn's strategy could only be absolute desperation, and there's no way he could possibly win. The last thing Sauron would want to do is dissuade his enemies from making that mistake.

  • 13
    To add to this answer. This all was done to persuade Sauron that Aragorn is now wearing The Ring and tries to usurp Sauron. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 13:11
  • @SokPomaranczowy wrong, it was to distract him from his own lands, where Frodo and Sam were. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 17:04
  • 5
    @MarkGardner Actually it was for both reasons.
    – Erbureth
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 18:25
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    @MarkGardner - there is a specific passage in ROTK where Gandalf muses that Sauron might think Aragorn's attack the rash action of a new bearer of the One Ring before that new bearer learned to use it. Remember that Aragorn had already goaded Sauron into a premature attack on Minas Tirith when he revealed himself as Isildur's heir to Sauron via the Palantir in TT. Basically, the Dark Lord was already paranoid about Aragorn...
    – Stone True
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 18:26
  • 8
    @MarkGardner The thought that Aragorn might be wearing the Ring is one mechanism by which this distraction was accomplished. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 18:48

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