Are Aragorn and Frodo Cousins?

Summary

  • The Lord of the Rings fan theory that Aragorn and Frodo could be related starts with The Disaster at Gladden Fields where Isildur dies and loses the One Ring.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien created a rich history for Hobbits which doesn’t specify any direct relation to Dwarves or men, specifically. Though there are similarities.
  • Aragorn is descended from a race of Men known as the Dúnedain who are eventually scattered across Middle-earth as Rangers.


J.R.R. Tolkien is well-known for changing the game for fantasy as a literary genre with his magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings. He pulled from many pre-established tropes in mythologies from around the world, but one creation he could claim as his own: hobbits. He started with The Hobbit in 1937, but even then, Tolkien had no idea what a tour de force his later works would become. He dedicated the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring to an explanatory diatribe on Hobbits and their ways of life. And he’d later published a second, revised edition in 1951 in an effort to tie it into its epic sequel more.

In Fellowship’s prologue, Tolkien stipulates that the Hobbits’ own written records only begin “after the settlement of the Shire” in the Third Age (Year 1 in Shire Reckoning). Still, a fan theory has persisted that Tolkien may have left something out. And the idea has been tossed around that hobbits are descended from a specific race of Men and Dwarves.


  • In terms of the movies, the Dwarves may be the most mysterious of the races as so little of their culture has been explored outside of The Hobbit movies.

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The theory is based on the idea that a major battle in The Lord of the Rings placed Men and Dwarves conveniently in the right place at the right time. It states that the Hobbits are potentially remnants of the Dúnedain fleeing the Disaster of Gladden fields. Fans of the films will only know about this “disaster” from a brief scene in the prologue of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring where Isildur, now King of Gondor and Arnor, was killed in an ambush by Orcs. This same fateful event, where Isildur loses the One Ring, was detailed in Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth. The three eldest songs of Isildur were also killed in the fray.

Only three men were purported to have survived in the aftermath, one being Isildur’s squire who retained the shards of Narsil — his father’s sword (later reforged by Aragorn as Andúril). Tolkien also outlines how, before the incident, Isildur did not ultimately intend to keep the Ring for himself. He feared the pain he felt upon touching it and voiced the desire to bring it to Rivendell and place it in the hands of the Elves. Isildur expressed a great deal more self-awareness than Jackson’s film adaptation presented him as having. Amazon’s Rings of Power has yet to approach Isildur at this stage of his life, but it should be interesting to see how they choose to develop his character and whether they incorporate this element of his relationship with the One Ring.

Of the remaining of the men to have lived through the attack, the fan theory wages a guess that they connected with the settlement of Dwarves in the nearby Misty Mountains. One of the main reasons for this assumption is some of the similarities that these races share. Much like Dwarves, Hobbits have an affinity for digging and living in “holes” and are more resistant to the One Ring than others. And much like the race of Men from which Isildur is descended, Hobbits live longer than the average man. However, the theory really solely rests on the idea of proximity and doesn’t hold up much when compared with Tolkien’s extensive writings.

J.R.R. Tolkien Laid Out a Rich History for Hobbits in His Lore

  • Frodo and Bilbo helped push forward the idea that Hobbits, while not the strongest physically, were the most resilient in spirit of all the races.

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What Tolkien wrote about Hobbits outlines their history up until a certain point. Unfinished Tales does go on to say, “their most ancient legends hardly looked further back than their Wandering Days.” Hobbits were once broken up into a series of tribes scattered across Middle-earth, and they would not have had a cohesive history before the settling of the Shire. Amazon’s Rings of Power depicts this with the Hobbit precursors, the Harfoots. But the Harfoots weren’t the only group of Hobbit forebearers during Middle-earth’s early days.

In The Fellowship of the Ring’s prologue, “Concerning Hobbits,” Tolkien mentions three breeds of Hobbit and their relations to the other peoples of Middle-earth: Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides. He describes the Harfoots as being “the most normal and representative variety of Hobbit, and far the most numerous.” There’s also a note about them living in the foothills of the mountains in ancient times and having much to do with the Dwarves. They might possibly be the closest to align with the theory that Dwarves and Hobbit were somehow blood relations. Harfoots were also the ones to “longest preserve their ancestral habit of living in tunnels.”

Fallohides were the “least numerous” but the friendliest with the Elves. They were dexterous and worked well with their hands and other crafts. Fallohides also possessed a skill for language that exceeded that of their kinsmen and preferred hunting to tilling of the earth. In their movements throughout Middle-earth, they mingled with other tribes and often became leaders among them. By Bilbo’s time, even among leaders of the Shire, a “strong Fallohidish strain” could be traced among families such as the Tooks (his relations).

The Stoors may have stood out most among the Hobbits since they were most comfortable around water and were “less Shy of Men.” Sméagol (or Gollum) was most notably descended from Stoor Hobbits. They were heavier in build than other Hobbits and had larger feet and hands. It is notable that they resembled men more than any other tribe of Hobbit — and so might also fall in line with the fan theory following the Disaster of Gladden fields. Over time, all three varieties of Hobbit eventually blended to form the settlement known as the Shire.

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  • Due to Aragorn’s Dúnedain blood, he lived until the age of 210.

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The race of Men from which Isildur is descended was known as the Dúnedain. As the direct heir of Isildur, Aragorn was among the last of the Dúnedain left when he appeared as Strider in The Fellowship of the Ring. Dúnedain were technically descended from the Númenóreans who were considered a noble race of Men in the First Age of Middle-earth. The land of Númenor is depicted in Rings of Power, where Elendil and Isildur dwell before the return of Sauron. Upon Númenor’s downfall, Elendil (Isildur’s father) led a number of exiles to establish the realms of Arnor and Gondor.

By the Third Age of Middle-earth, during which the events of The Lord of the Rings take place, the Dúnedain began to wain and their gifts of nobility, wisdom, and long life diminished. In Jackson’s The Two Towers, there’s a brief scene between Eowyn and Aragon in which she realizes he is among this blessed race and is taken aback by his age of 87. Aragorn’s claim to the throne of Gondor comes 36 generations after the death of Isildur. Isildur’s youngest son relinquished the rule of Gondor in favor of Arnor and left it to be ruled by other kings who eventually fell or left the rule in the hands of Stewards. By the time Sauron is once again plaguing Middle-earth, Denethor is Steward of Gondor, and his son Boromir is set to follow in his footsteps.

Following Isildur’s death, Arnor became three separate realms, and one of these realms was fated to fall under the power of the Witch-king of Angmar. The same Witch-king whom Eowyn and Merry defeated in the Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King. The residents of this doomed realm eventually lost their king in battle with the Witch-king and fled into the wilderness. This is when they began to be known as the Rangers of the North. Aragorn would have been chieftain among the Rangers. It’s in The Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo first encounters Aragorn in the village of Bree when he first sets out on his quest to destroy the One Ring.

It’s an interesting theory to consider that there might have been some ties between the races of Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits. Still, given the extent to which Tolkien outlined his history of Middle-earth, it’s not likely he would have missed such a huge connection. The theory may hold water when casually looking at all the blatant similarities between the three races, but then, they all live in close proximity, and it’s possible some commonalities may have rubbed off on each other. Given that Tolkien died before he could even finish some of his larger legendarium, there will always be room for speculation and possibilities about what could have been in The Lord of the Rings and its extensive mythos.

The Lord of the Rings Franchise Poster

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is a series of epic fantasy adventure films and television series based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels. The films follow the adventures of humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits and more in Middle Earth.

First Film
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Latest Film
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Upcoming Films
The Lord of The Rings: The War of The Rohirrim

First Episode Air Date
September 1, 2022

Cast
Elijah Wood , Viggo Mortensen , Orlando Bloom , Sean Astin , Billy Boyd , Dominic Monaghan , Sean Bean , Ian McKellen , Andy Serkis , Hugo Weaving , Liv Tyler , Miranda Otto , Cate Blanchett , John Rhys-Davies , Martin Freeman , Morfydd Clark , Ismael Cruz Cordova , Charlie Vickers , Richard Armitage

Character(s)
Gollum , Sauron

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