In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn notably makes a gesture where he places his hand on his forehead when he appears to be emotionally overwhelmed.

He does this in two scenes:

  • Upon reaching Lothlórien when the Fellowship first meets Galadriel and Celeborn

    Aragorn places his right hand on his forehead

  • Shortly after the battle at Amon Hen

    Aragorn places his right hand on his forehead and then on his mouth

Was this gesture ever cited in the books or justified by Aragorn's character? Or is it merely something Viggo Mortensen and/or Peter Jackson improvised?

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    knowyourmeme.com/memes/facepalm – user13267 Feb 5 '17 at 17:46
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    There's nothing in any of the (four!) commentaries regarding this gesture on either occasion that he does it. – Valorum Feb 5 '17 at 23:38
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    The first one seems to me to be that he is simply hiding his face from Galadriel's gaze, as most of the fellowship do in this scene (though usually by averting their gaze downwards or to the side). The second looks to just be some kind of gesture of respect in regards to Boromir's death. – ZenLogic Feb 6 '17 at 15:52
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    My impression when I first saw the Fellowship film was that both of these are gestures of respect. The first one shows his hand open, which to me suggests a peaceful deference to Galadriel and Celeborn's position and status as Elvish nobles. The second had his hand closed, which seemed at the time to be a gesture of remembrance and well as sadness at Boromir's loss. I have seen a similar gesture during a Catholic mass, but I can't seem to find a reference to what that means. – maguirenumber6 Feb 8 '17 at 6:08
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    There's precedent in Tolkien's works of royalty and elf-friends wearing precious stones on their foreheads. It's possible this is a reference to that. If I get a chance I'll put together the examples I know of and write an answer. – DaaaahWhoosh Oct 4 '17 at 18:07

Based on the creation of Aragorn, with the elves, it is possible to assume that these movements are like elven prayers or elven blessing. In any way are signs of respect. I think the elves are described with this moves in the books, softly moves, so makes sense to make Aragorn a person with elven habits.

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