A charged levelled at Tolkien is that his characters are sometime a bit too perfect.

Was Aragorn designed by Tolkien to be a perfect man? Did he ever make any mistakes? Was he even tempted by the power of the One Ring, for example?

  • 7
    To be clear, we're judging "perfectness" based on choices he made, right? Not things like, "he doesn't do dishes" or "he refuses to take out the trash" or "that guy is never around when it's his turn to buy a round of grog", right?
    – phantom42
    Jan 8, 2015 at 23:34
  • Apart from anything else, LoTR is strongly Catholic in inspiration: all men are fallen, no-one is perfect. Jan 9, 2015 at 7:14

3 Answers 3


Assuming the implication of the question is "Did Aragorn ever err?", the answer is a decided yes.

  • When Theoden King of Rohan takes up his mighty sword to strike Grima Wormtongue, Aragorn tells him to stay his hand;

"Enough blood has been spilled on his account..."

Grima's next move is to immediately go to Saruman and provide him with vital intelligence about Rohan's battle strategies, the defensive weakness of the Keep at Helm's Deep and their general readiness for battle.

There's a blindingly obvious reason why spies aren't generally sent back to their controllers in a time of war and I don't see how this could be viewed as anything other than a tactical mistake of the highest order.

  • Aragorn’s choice to camp on the Weathertop, despite his strong suspicion that the Black Riders will look for them there:

"it will not be safe for him [Gandalf] or for us to wait there long. If the Riders fail to find us in the wilderness, they are likely to make for Weathertop themselves. It commands a wide view all round. Indeed, there are many birds and beasts in this country that could see us, as we stand here, from that hill-top."

And what does he do when he gets there? Wanders off for a bit (which allows the initial attack) and then builds a fire to advertise their continued presence.

Again, substantial tactical errors from him.

  • well Grima was destined to kill Saruman, and Aragorn could somehow see it maybe? Jan 8, 2015 at 23:48
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    @pars - Aragorn is not (canonically) gifted with that level of foresight.
    – Valorum
    Jan 8, 2015 at 23:49
  • 3
    In the film (less so in the book) it should have been instantly obvious that Boromir was the resident "guy who's gonna go loony".
    – Valorum
    Jan 8, 2015 at 23:57

Did Aragorn ever make a mistake?

By his own admission, yes:

'You give the choice to an ill chooser,' said Aragorn. 'Since we passed through the Argonath my choices have gone amiss.' He fell silent gazing north and west into the gathering night for a long while.

(Two Towers, The Riders of Rohan)

  • 1
    Well there you go then :-)
    – Valorum
    Jan 9, 2015 at 1:04
  • In fact the question in itself is more like 4 questions which don't all have the same answer. It would be more like: No, yes, yes, no... ;-)
    – Joel
    Jan 9, 2015 at 5:36

In addition to the above, we might also recall -- in the book, that is; the movie seems to have altered this -- that it was Aragorn's idea to try to cross the Misty Mountains via the Redhorn Pass and that nearly ended in disaster.

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    Compared to Gandalf's idea to go through Moria which did end in disaster?
    – user8719
    Jan 9, 2015 at 11:39
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    I suppose disaster is relative. Redhorn could have killed them all, rather than just one of them. And the fact that Gandalf died in Moria -- well, that just proves that Gandalf isn't perfect either. And the journey through Moria had unforeseen good consequences as well -- for example, that is how Gollum found the Fellowship. Jan 9, 2015 at 13:11
  • 1
    ...and Gandalf the White would have never happened either. That's all a part of the "good that comes from bad" theme that runs through LotR though.
    – user8719
    Jan 9, 2015 at 13:40

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