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This is kinda more fan service than what makes sense from a literary perspective. Aragorn's position is confirmed as a leader and not necessarily a hero or a slayer, that is true. Yet that doesn't discount that he could have had one. I don't see the point in having one's symbol of kingship be a sword without using it meaningfully. If there wasn't going to be any personal battle then why didn't Tolkien just exclude Andúril and keep all the other symbols of his kingship? Yet it's the main symbol he carries.

Did Tolkien ever speak about why he did not create a duel for Aragorn? Or am I just missing something in his characterisation and actually Aragorn doesn't NEED a duel?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jason Baker, Sekhemty, Skooba, Anthony Grist, Edlothiad Sep 29 '17 at 19:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This should not be re-opened as it asks us for an opinion, this is not a question about Tolkien's works but instead a question about why he didn't give a character a "duel" whatever that means. – Edlothiad Sep 29 '17 at 19:36
  • @Edlothiad As I edited it, it asks specifically whether Tolkien discussed whether he considered writing a duel scene for Aragorn, or why he didn't. I think it's answerable factually. – Matt Gutting Sep 29 '17 at 19:49
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Edlothiad Sep 29 '17 at 20:06
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I'm not aware that Tolkien ever mentioned this specifically (though there are those on the site who would be better able than I to research that). Keep in mind, however, a couple of things:

  • Andúril is, in fact, used in battle. Aragorn uses it against the Wargs and the Orcs in and around Moria, during the Battle of Helm's Deep, in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and presumably in the Battle of the Morannon.
  • The primary importance of the sword, and the reason for its introduction in the first place, is not as a weapon but as an heirloom. The sword is there because it connects Aragorn with Isildur, the source of his claim to the throne of Gondor; and because it establishes him as a nobleman of Númenorean descent.

It's not unheard of to have duels, or at least one-on-one battles, in epic literature of the type inspiring The Lord of the Rings. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which Tolkien translated, has one. Beowulf, which he also began translating, has three. But given that Aragorn uses his sword in battle, and given its primary importance as an heirloom, perhaps Tolkien didn't see a need for a duel scene. He may not even have contemplated it.


As a side note, I'm not sure who would have been an appropriate opponent for him. He couldn't be the one to kill the Witch-king. Tolkien very specifically wanted Éowyn and Merry to have that job. The Mouth of Sauron needed to run away from Aragorn's displayed majesty. I don't know who else would have been available for the job.

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    you have my upvote. Good analysis of potential lack of foes. Indeed, the only one that makes any sense at all is Denethor (a'la a duel for the crown). One can assume that would be a short battle.. – NKCampbell Sep 29 '17 at 19:19
  • Yeah, that's all true, yet I always see a special sword as being used for a special purpose, and a military one, like a one on one duel with someone. Who though, is a good question – Har Ton Oct 1 '17 at 16:50
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    @HarTon It is used for a special purpose (to mark him out as the king), and it's used for a military purpose, though not an unusual military purpose. Perhaps you should decide where your assumption comes from? – Matt Gutting Oct 4 '17 at 14:31

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