ONE of the many half-told tales behind Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, is the haunting story of Gilraen, Aragorn’s mother. We get the bare bones outline in the appendices, but most fans don’t get that far.
If you were wondering about that sad scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where Elrond and Aragorn are talking before Gilraen’s tomb (here’s a screencap to jog your memory), here’s the story. As usual, it’s rather different than in the films.
The Parents of Aragorn
To understand Gilraen’s tragic history, we have to go back in time during the Third Age, right back to the beginning, 3019 years before The Lord of the Rings.
At that time there were two kingdoms of the Dúnedain, the Men of the West: Arnor in the northwest, Isildur’s realm, and Gondor to the south, ruled by Isildur’s nephew after his brother died alongside their father Elendil. Both kingdoms fell into decay over thousands of years, weakened by wars, feuds, invasions, Sauron’s minions and plague. Gondor lost its royal line, while Arnor was eventually sacked (Third Age 1975).