It is conceivable, and even more so, it is logical for an author to bestow those attributes which he or she feels to be honorable upon a benevolent protagonist. This includes the personality traits of such a character. Though genuinely human in feelings and various flaws, the hero of a story shall typically adhere to the virtues which its creator sees to be admirable.
The views and beliefs of a hero tend to be on a par with those of the writer who formulates the story. J.R.R. Tolkien and his life’s labor of love, The Lord of the Rings, are not exempt from this type of relationship.
This dimension of the correlation between the creative and the fruit of his work is doubtlessly important to a number of the subthemes throughout the fantasy. It cannot be overlooked. Back in May, Viggo Mortensen (who played Aragorn in the LOTR films in the early 2000s) made some assumptions regarding his character which would likely have caused Tolkien to shudder — or at the very least to shake his head in disapproval.
Mortensen’s commentary came out in response to a tweet designed and published by the Spanish right-wing political party Vox. The tweet was a meme displaying Mortensen’s Aragorn fighting against the dark powers of Mordor, which had been relabelled to correspond to various countercultural groups such as the LGBTQ lobbyists. He had a brief op-ed published online with EL PAÍS. In it, he states that it is “ridiculous to use the character Aragorn, a multilingual statesman who advocates for the knowledge and inclusion of the different races, traditions and languages of Middle Earth, to legitimize an anti-immigration, anti-feminist and Islamophobic political party.”
Furthermore, the liberal actor draws attention to the gravity of the matter: “I would laugh at their ineptitude but Vox has entered Spain’s Congress with 24 seats; it’s no joke, and we will have to be alert and proactive, like Aragorn in the Tolkien saga.”
Viggo Mortensen is correct in that the content which the tweet is addressing is a serious matter. Despite a personal disapproval of many of his opinions, it is safe to say that he is inaccurate in the way he sees Tolkien’s fictional Aragorn interacting with this real-world situation. A realistic response to Mortensen’s critique would be that the King of Gondor views immigration with potential, sees men and women as equals, and would act against any forms of terrorism. These are a few of the pure and genuine ideals which Aragorn would champion, addressing those groups referenced by Mortensen.
Additionally, the most critical aspect of Viggo Mortensen’s editorial is the lack of acknowledgment or criticism regarding the attack on the LGBTQ in the Vox media post. He leaves out any commentary pertaining to this targeted faction of society. So I shall mention it for him. Aragorn would not condone or champion the false rights of the LGBTQ+ because they are in defiance with natural law. As a man well-versed in medicine and healing, Tolkien’s Aragorn admires the natural order and upholds it. His heterosexual leanings spur him on to marrying the love of his life: Arwen, the daughter of Elrond. This results in authentic joy.
However, individuals of gay, lesbian, or bisexual tendencies — who act on these inclinations — are not living in accord with human nature. Those who self-identify under any of the other queer listings have defaced their original, natural form; they have desecrated one of the most personal aspects of their physical being. And, as we have seen with many of the lifestyles of LGBTQ+ individuals, such orientation frequently brings health complications. Thus, it may be safe to say, Aragorn would not be a fan of what the LGBTQ lobby stands for and what the group wants.
If a child takes after the parent, and the character after his author, then in order to understand Aragorn better, we should take the initiative to come to a better knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkien. A faithful Catholic of relatively staunch conservative opinions, we can read about his views on sexual relations and Muslim interference with society’s mass government in his personal letters to family members and comrades.
For example, in a draft of a note to C.S. Lewis, he writes, “Well, if we try to ascend straightaway to a rational plane, and leave behind mere anger with anyone who interferes with our habits (good or bad), the answer is: because the Mohammedans would be guilty of injustice. They would be injuring us by depriving us of our share in a universal human right, the temperate use of wine, against our will.”
Tolkien discusses this point in regards to a piece of writing Lewis had been working on. He is in agreement with his friend Lewis when he finds the pushing of Islamic practices on a whole society to be an injustice. Interestingly, this type of scenario is no longer hypothetical but has been instituted by the lawmakers of certain governments in which Muslim doctrine must be enforced on a portion of the public, whether they hold the same beliefs or not.
And a little later, in the same note Tolkien had intended for C.S.L., we read: “…you will observe that you are really committed (with the Christian Church as a whole) to the view that Christian marriage — monogamous, permanent, rigidly ‘faithful’ — is in fact the truth about sexual behavior for all humanity: this is the only road of total health (including sex in its proper place) for all men and women” (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 60).
Needless to say, Tolkien’s understanding of marriage is, in the most genuine sense, as the sacrament sanctioned by Christ and His Catholic Church and given freely between a man and a woman. This is marriage; this is love; this is the propagation of life and the family. It is healthy and natural, as Tolkien himself has pointed out.
It is entirely reasonable and feasible, perhaps even probable, that Lord Aragorn would live by similar ideologies. Despite this theory, in the end, neither Viggo Mortensen nor I can speak for Aragorn. Only Tolkien can speak for him, and Tolkien has indeed spoken.