After watching the first movie of the series a lot I realized how much "dislike", almost "hate", Elrond has for Man when he starts with "I was there when it happened" as he tells the story of Isildur.

But also in the Council when Boromir belittles Aragorn, Legolas introduces him in a proud manner, stating that Aragorn is the true heir to the throne. In the second movie the Elvish Army is commanded by Aragorn. It seems the Elves see him as a respected leader there as well.

Why do the Elves have a different opinion of Aragorn? And after the Isildur issue why did they tend to have extreme respect for him?

  • 3
    I'm not 100% sure what your question is. Are you asking why the Elves respected Aragorn even though Elrond seemed to have distaste for Isildur?
    – Edlothiad
    May 29, 2018 at 8:46
  • 6
    My brother is a bit of a [redacted] but that doesn't make me one.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 29, 2018 at 8:52
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    @TheLethalCarrot or so you tell yourself ;)
    – Edlothiad
    May 29, 2018 at 8:53
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    Well, I think they had respect for Isildur, until his fiasco with the ring. Isildur earned their disrespect.
    – Misha R
    May 29, 2018 at 17:21
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    You can't get anything sensible/consistent from the movies. Read the books: as far as I can tell, there is absolutely no hint that Elrond dislikes Men. Neither Legolas nor anyone else directly says that Aragorn is heir to the throne of Gondor, and there is no "Elvish Army", unless you count the small troop that Elrond's sons bring.
    – jamesqf
    May 30, 2018 at 4:11

3 Answers 3


Aragorn was raised in Imladris amongst Elves

While Peter Jackson's films are based on the books by Tolkien, some of the characters were altered. The most notable change was Faramir, although Isildur's character was altered quite significantly as well. While in the books Isildur was accepted as having been corrupted by the Ring, the films portray a slight hatred for Isildur due to his selfishness and willingness to keep the Ring. Elrond blames the entirety of Sauron's survival on Isildur and the race of Men.

Elrond's outburst of anger is in response to Gandalf claiming that it is "in Men that we must place our hope". Elrond remembers that it was in fact Men that had failed to destroy the Ring and allowed Sauron to live this long (and indeed supported Sauron and let him corrupt them on Numenor). Gandalf's claims are however in line with the books as it was the waning of the Third Age, the Elves were departing and as is said often in both the books and the films "The Age of Men is beginning".

Aragorn, however, was raised in Imladris amongst the Elves after the death of his Father:

‘Then Aragorn, being now the Heir of Isildur, was taken with his mother to dwell in the house of Elrond; and Elrond took the place of his father and came to love him as a son of his own. But he was called Estel, that is “Hope”, and his true name and lineage were kept secret at the bidding of Elrond; for the Wise then knew that the Enemy was seeking to discover the Heir of Isildur, if any remained upon earth.
The Return of the King - Book 7, Appendix A: (v) Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

The Dunedain of the North were quite close to the Elves of Imladris, and at the time were known to go hunting with the sons of Elrond. We have no reason to believe this information is different in the films. In fact, when the Grey Company arrives, Elladan and Elrohir are amongst them, with their Army of Elves.

  • Just for your comment on Faramir is worth a +1 so have that. And yet I dimly recall that in UT Isildur actually comes to the conclusion, at least in some versions, that taking the Ring was a mistake. I have it nearby but too much going on to check. Btw for future reference do you mind if I were to edit your answers to add accents? I don't know if that's something that would bother you or most, for me to do, but for whatever reason the missing accents bother me.. Another ridiculous diff in films: there's no canonical evidence that Aragorn was giving up the throne, choosing exile...
    – Pryftan
    May 31, 2018 at 13:18
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    @Pryftan sure you can edit accents in, I don't do them when I'm on windows because it's too much effort to constantly search the alt codes (yay for the advanced mac keyboard!). The last place I recall Isildur coming to that conclusion is in the film, then again I haven't read through all of UT in a while, so possibly. Aragorn always seemed certain on the throne, he was however waiting for a better time to "strike"
    – Edlothiad
    May 31, 2018 at 13:24
  • I'll consider that down the road (and now I know why you sometimes type it and sometimes not; if I was under the accursed Windows..well never mind!). I don't use Windows; in Linux I configure the Compose key (caps lock in fact as I utterly hate that key) and indeed under macOS I have as you say another way to do it. Yes he had to wait it out. But I think you'll find that in both the appendix (the one you cite in fact) as well as when he looks at the PalantÍr..But even so his marriage with Arwen was dependent on reclaiming the throne (99.9999% sure that's in the appendix entry you cite)..
    – Pryftan
    May 31, 2018 at 13:30
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    One note on editing, as long as you don't change any formatting or restructure the post, go crazy (in reasonable amounts). I do believe his marriage was dependent on reclaiming the throne, but I'm not entirely sure that was the sole reason. However she would not have chosen mortality for a Chieftan of a dying race
    – Edlothiad
    May 31, 2018 at 13:33
  • Definitely on the editing; that's one of the many reasons I ask: I personally value my work and so I also value the work of others! Even so I’m not sure I will edit in for that reason alone. I’m pretty sure that that was the only condition Elrond imposed upon Aragorn and I think that the love was there enough that she would have chose it whatever the case as..well you know..emotions esp strong emotions don't mix well with logic and when you love someone or some thing that much...
    – Pryftan
    May 31, 2018 at 13:37

The reason is because Aragorn was raised by Elrond but that's not quite as satisfying an explanation in and of itself.

This is also not exactly a thing in the books as others have said. Although for the films, it makes sense they would put this kind of emphasis on Elrond and Isildur's relationship for dramatic effect.

If you came into the films already knowing the books, I think it's quite a successful addition and plays through beautifully out to the end of the Return of the King when Elrond shows up to give his blessing to him and Arwen's marriage, if you're were not familiar with the books before seeing the films it places the important parts of the pre-history before the LOTR into a context that makes good sense.

To help you understand a bit more of that I'll give you the important background information that is not in the films, most of which in found in The Silmarillion.

It's essential to the story to realize that Elrond himself is Half-Elven and that he also had a twin brother named Elros. Because they are half-elves they were given the choice to choose immortality among the elves or to choose to live as mortal men.

In Elrond's case he choose to live as an elf and his twin brother Elros chose to live as a man and he went on to become the first King of Men in their ancient Kingdom of Númenor, which was destroyed thousands of years before The Lord of the Rings take place.

I'm not going to get into why that kingdom was destroyed but TL;DR Elendil was the father of Isildur and the last of the Lords of Númenor who had claim to the throne. He escaped the destruction of Númenor and sailed to Middle-earth where he founded the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. And the rest you already know.

So Aragorn was not just raised like an orphan or something under Elrond's care, Aragorn is the last heir of a line of Kings that stretches back many thousands of years all the way back to Elrond's own twin brother. So this is something that is both very personal to him and that has weighed heavily on him for thousands of years.

Again, there are some things that were added for dramatic effect in the films, such as Elrond having to be convinced that victory would be achieved over Sauron and he had to be pushed by his daughter to do it who herself chose to live as a mortal in defiance of him.

But the gist of this part of story both in the films and the books is that due in no small part to that history, Elrond raised Aragorn as if he were his own son and did everything he could to assure he would fulfil his destiny and claim the mantle of King.

  • I really enjoyed this answer. It is informative and interesting without being overly scholarly or dense.
    – Wildcard
    May 30, 2018 at 5:24
  • Something that isn't really shown in the movie and not spoken of in tLotR trilogy but is explained elsewhere, the war in Middle Earth was not a human vs. Sauron fight. Elves, dwarves, and humans were fighting all over Middle Earth to hold back Sauron's tide of orcs and goblins. I believe the Silmarillion even states that the events of The Hobbit were a "chess move" made by Gandalf to secure the northern route over/around the Misty Mountains. Basically, men were not fighting this war alone, they had allies.
    – Jim2B
    May 30, 2018 at 19:44
  • Afair the reason they were given the choice also has to do (or is to do?) with why they're Half-elven namely why Eärendil went to Valinor: that he was there on behalf of Elves and Men in their fight against Morgoth. Even though I strongly disagree with the claim that the changes in the film make sense. As for Aragorn of course he didn't know his name for a long time and was instead Estel - 'Hope'. The films changing of Aragorn/Arwen is just one of many examples that they got wrong...unfortunately, inexcusably imo and yet not at all surprising for films (and PJ himself..) :(
    – Pryftan
    May 31, 2018 at 13:23
  • It's astonishing to me that some people cannot appreciate that film is a medium of action, you have to show a story happening people have to see it unfolding. There is a reason these books were never made into a live action presentation up until they were, not just that technology wasn't there in a way that group do it justice. But it was sort of like making a feature film of the bible or some lost ancient or medieval text, the only way possible was to make heavy edits and to dramatize it the because the drama often really wasn't even there on the page in way that translated well to film. May 31, 2018 at 15:41
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    @Pryftan And yet if you took the book's Arwen, you don't even get a cardboard cutout, because two-dimensional would be an improvement on Tolkien's version of her. She's merely Aragorn's loot box at the end of the quest. What Jackson does with her is actually quite clever - not just to give her an active role (the ride for Rivendell and summoning the river), but also pulling in the mirroring with Beren and Luthien, who were historically famous in Middle Earth but not a story Tolkien had written at that point. That gives depth to their relationship, because they know how it ends.
    – Graham
    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:31

Elrond's disdain for men is introduced in the films; it is not present at all in the books, nor would it make any sense. He only says that Isildur took the Ring

as should not have been

and that he

would not listen to our [Elrond and Cirdan's] counsel

(The Council of Elrond).

Later in the same chapter, Elrond admits that he himself fears to take the Ring due to its malign influence. Moreover, at the time of the events of LotR, Elrond is over 6,000 years old, and is well aware that the elves have a history of creating (or aiding the creation of) rather dangerous magic items. The idea that he would blame men (or specifically Isildur) for this is absurd. After the last alliance, Elrond continued to work alongside men, in the fight against the Witch-King (see LotR appendix A parts (iii) and (iv)), and by sheltering the heirs of Isildur in Rivendell after the fall of Arthedain. During the Council of Elrond, he credits the Lords of Minas Tirith for their efforts in holding back the forces of Sauron.

On the other hand, in the films, Elrond does seem to distrust men, and this stems from Isildur's failure to destroy the ring. Referring to this event (the relevant scene starts at 1:26:22 in the extended edition of the Fellowship of the Ring), Elrond says

I was there the day the strength of men failed.

It's also worth noting that in the films (about 0:04:50 in the extended FotR), Isildur acts with rank cowardice when attacked at the Gladden fields, and of course Denethor is a liability. Both of these are in stark contrast to the same characters in the books (see the Unfinished Tales for details of Isildur's actions), so perhaps Elrond has good reason to distrust men in the film universe.

Later in his converation with Gandalf (extended FotR 1:29:39), Elrond makes a curious remark about Aragorn:

He turned from that path [reclaiming the throne] long ago. He has chosen exile.

What this means is unclear; certainly it doesn't refer to anything in the books. We do know that Thranduil sends Legolas to seek Aragorn out at the end of the Hobbit trilogy. It's possible that in the film universe, Aragorn does something that earns him Legolas' respect, but we have no way to know what this is.

  • Great answer and well said on the fact it's a fabrication (and I'd add something of an altercation or otherwise simply very wrong) of the film. I can't recall for certain but even so in The Hobbit Legolas wouldn't have known Aragorn and not even Gandalf knew him. I don't recall either when Aragorn learnt of his real name - before or after the Battle of the Five Armies - but even so there's a 60 year gap between Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Anyway have a +1.
    – Pryftan
    May 31, 2018 at 13:25
  • @Pryftan "But when Estel was only twenty years of age...Elrond called him by his true name," Aragorn was born in 2931 T.A. 2941 was the Battle of Five Armies, so he learned his name after that battle, by 10 years. Jul 14, 2023 at 13:35

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