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The Lord Of The Rings: 10 Aragorn Mannerisms From The Book Viggo Mortensen Nails

Found By: Chrissie

On the eve of Bilbo's and Frodo's birthdays, this is a fun article. Thanks to Chrissie for the find from SreenRant.
© New Line Productions....
By Kristy Ambrose

You can talk about practical special effects or amazing set locations, but in the end, it's all about casting that makes a good movie great. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy cast included some amazing choices that brought many beloved literary characters to life. Viggo Mortensen was relatively unknown with some impressive supporting roles under his belt in big-name pictures like Witness and Crimson Tide when Peter Jackson found him. The crucial factor was whether or not Viggo Mortensen could handle both a leading role and one of literature's most complex and beloved characters, Aragorn, the descendant of Isildur and heir to the throne of Gondor.

As if carrying the weight of Tolkien's masterpiece wasn't enough, and we have to give props to Mortensen for being such a great Aragorn. Not only was he a compelling leading man, but he also brought Tolkien's vision to life. Viggo made us all believe that the King had finally returned. Here are 10 times Viggo Mortensen takes his cues from the book and just crushes it on screen as Aragorn, son of Arathorn.

You can talk about practical special effects or amazing set locations, but in the end, it's all about casting that makes a good movie great. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy cast included some amazing choices that brought many beloved literary characters to life. Viggo Mortensen was relatively unknown with some impressive supporting roles under his belt in big-name pictures like Witness and Crimson Tide when Peter Jackson found him. The crucial factor was whether or not Viggo Mortensen could handle both a leading role and one of literature's most complex and beloved characters, Aragorn, the descendant of Isildur and heir to the throne of Gondor.


The King and the Wizard

© New Line Productions....
This is a reference to an ancient legend that Tolkien would have known quite well. The tales of King Arthur and Merlin are ancient, already part of a rich oral tradition centuries before they were written down, and Tolkien was trying to recreate that relationship.

Aragorn wavers between defiant and unsure in the books, and it is often in council with Gandalf that he finds his way. Mortensen makes this a reality in the movies with some help from the equally talented Ian McKellen, who also had some success bringing Tolkien's authentic vision to life.

The Inn and the Pipe

© New Line Productions....
The mysterious Ranger's opening scene is stellar because it's lifted from the book almost word for word. That includes the scene itself as well as the dialogue and characters. Mortensen channels the brooding and mysterious Strider with perfect authenticity, a thrill for those who know the book, and a faithful interpretation of the literary figure for those who don't.

The quiet table in the corner, the low-hanging hood, the pipe, and eyes that are constantly on the watch, are all part of Tolkien's authentic vision.

Ranger Life

© New Line Productions....
In the book, we're told about Aragorn's exploits in the wilds in great detail. In the movies, Viggo has to find a way to show us instead. His clothing, weapons, in-depth knowledge of the wilds and his scruffy appearance give us some obvious clues to what he does when he's not sitting in an inn babysitting hobbits.

The costuming and design people can't have all the credit, however. Mortensen's portrays Strider as a tough, no-nonsense character with rough edges that may not suit his bloodline but reflect his real character and upbringing, which is just how Tolkien wrote it.

Big Words

© New Line Productions....
In the book, Aragorn speaks with different levels of formality depending on who he's with but he's always articulate. It's a reflection of his awareness of protocol, and as the future king, he knows he'll be on the receiving end of some pretty heavy respect in the future. Mortensen is also excellent in this respect.

We aren't surprised when we find out that Strider is Aragon, Isildur's heir, just based on his use of language alone. Tolkien was one of the 20th century's greatest masters when it comes to language, whether he was writing with it or creating them, and he carefully wove this into one of the story's most prominent characters.

Arwen Evenstar

© New Line Productions....
If you read the books, you knew Tolkien was using Arwen and Aragorn as a callback to the story of Bern and Luthien, as it's central to the origin story of the One Ring, The Silmarillion. He references the old story continuously, either in dialogue, poetry or breaks for exposition in the books, to make sure the audience understands that this isn't just another love story but an epic tale of devotion that had echoed through the ages.

Mortensen brings this to life in several scenes, in particular, the one where he sings the song of Beren and Luthien. In both the movie and the book, the tale is told with both longing and sorrow as well as deep affection.

Swordfighting and Battlecries

© New Line Productions....
In the books, Aragorn invokes Elendil, an ancient hero, when he draws his sword against his enemies. In the scene where the Uruk-hai army attacks the fellowship at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring movie, Strider throws himself into the fray while echoing this battle cry.

Elendil was the father of Isildur, and legend has it that he and his family escaped the destruction of Numenor to found the Kingdom of Gondor. Aragorn isn't just calling on his ancestors but a whole history and culture that make Middle Earth realistic and immersive. Mortensen makes us believe it when he starts cutting through Uruk-hai while calling on his godlike ancestor.

Look Foul, Feel Fair

© New Line Productions....
When we first hear the reasoning that Strider can be trusted because a servant of the enemy would have a more pleasing appearance but somehow be less likable, we understand the concept but the book doesn't provide a visual. It's no accident that Tolkien is invoking Shakespeare here, too, as the line "fair is foul and foul is fair" is right out of Macbeth.

Viggo manages to perfectly illustrate Frodo's quote with the right amount of mysterious tragedy, faint hope, and an exiled mountain man brooding through his beard. It's just as Tolkien intended it.

Staring Death in the Face

© New Line Productions....
"I do not fear death."

A quote from the book that also made it into the film, this line initiates the descent into The Paths of the Dead. Aragorn declares it with courage and defiance, and Mortensen rises to the occasion in the same way when the cameras are rolling.

These are some of the creepiest and darkest scenes in the books, but Aragorn guides the reader through it. Mortensen does the same while we hang back with Gimli and Legolas, brave as we can be in the face of living death.

Farewell to Boromir

© New Line Productions....
Well, it is Sean Bean, so we're not that surprised that his character dies. What did surprise us was how he perfectly embodied Boromir, one of the most famously conflicted characters in western literature. It's interesting that even though we all knew his fate it still ripped our hearts out, and Aragorn shared our sadness.

Despite their differences, Aragorn recognizes Bormir as his kinsman and subject at the end, and Mortensen perfectly expresses the same grief and regret along with a healthy dose of revenge in the movie. He's not just hunting Orcs for Merry and Pippin's sake.

The Arrival in Gondor

© New Line Productions....
This was an important moment for Aragorn. He had lived in exile for his whole life, and these statues welcomed him home to Gondor, the land of his ancestors. In the books, these statues are intended to replicate the likenesses of Anarion and Elendil and were known as The Pillars of Kings.

The wonder and joy that Aragorn expresses when seeing them are deeply moving. A stunning set-piece helps him out here, but most of the credit for the gravity of this scene belongs to Viggo, who admires them as they float by and refers to the statues as "my kin."

© SCREENRANT. Images © New Line Productions Inc.

Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Found By: Iolanthe
Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

Cosmic Book News reported last week that Viggo was being 'eyed' by Marvel for their supervillain Doctor Doom. If you ever follow all the google alerts you will have realised by now the endless wishful thinking that casts Viggo in a part in seemingly every comic book film adaption, ever. Sometimes as a Super Hero, sometimes - much more interesting - as a Super Villain. Remember General Zod? That one took a long time to go away...! Viggo has expressed a liking for some comic book characters, but being one himself? Hmmmm. The fact that Captain Fantastic doesn't involve tights must be a huge disappointment for some. So just for fun...

Viggo Mortensen has been on Marvel's radar for years…

Viggo Mortensen Rumored For Doctor Doom In MCU
Matt McGloin
12 September 2019

Viggo Mortensen is the spitting image of a hero.

"I'm permanently dissatisfied."
by Amelia Enríquez
Lecturas Magazine
30 August 2006
Translated for V-W by Margarita

'One day when I was about 6 years old, I read my first comic without help. I was in sick in bed one stormy Buenos Aires afternoon. There alone, while the rain ticked against the window, I browsed my little treasure, admiring the drawings thoroughly, when suddenly I realized that I understood, more or less, what those "little balloons”"were saying. I went back to the first page and began to read. It took a tremendous amount of effort and I don’t know how much time - an hour or more, I suppose - but I read and understood the whole comic. When I got to the end, I was surprised and proud. And then I got angry because I knew that it wasn't the end of the story. It never is the end with comics. Like the story of this world; things never end. That comic was a copy of Batman from 1964 in which "The Green Lantern" appeared.'

Viggo Mortensen
Sobrevuelos Column
Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
5 January 2013

'When I was very young, we travelled very often, and we stayed there for a couple of weeks during the summer. Yet, I remember being shocked when I moved to the US and saw that all the TV shows that I used to watch in Argentina in Spanish were the same, but they were in English! I thought that Batman and all the cartoons were in Spanish...'

Viggo Mortensen Under The Spotlight
By Gabriel de Lerma - translated by Graciela
March 2009

Viggo Mortensen, who has both the looks (the piercing blue eyes and jutting Kirk Douglas chin) and the buff physique of a Marvel type, but would probably prefer slow death to putting on a cape and tights.

Viggo Mortensen Goes Off the Grid With 'Captain Fantastic'
Charles McGrath
New York Times
28 June 2016

It has always helped that he looks like a Round Table knight; parts abound for the handsome hero-rescuer waving a literal or metaphorical sword. In the business, he's that worldly poetic soul who can do credible justice to gangland Russian, Sioux, or Elvish dialects. That guy who looks great on a horse. That guy who never kills anyone who doesn't need killing.

The Great Dane
Men's Vogue
By Phoebe Eaton
March 2008

The [Cash] clan's father isn't a superhero, but because he's played by Viggo Mortensen he's the next best thing. Mr. Mortensen, whose intensity has the sting of possession, has a way of making you believe his characters can do whatever they set their minds to: fly, leap over buildings, save the world.

Captain Fantastic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
7 July 2016

Speculating on Viggo Mortensen as Batman: As I said before, this really isn't the Batman that we know, love, and secretly wish we were. He is not the Bruce Wayne figure with flaunted wealth. He's a beleaguered soul ruined by the loss of his parents, a figure of revolution and destruction, a terrorist. I'd like to throw out the name Viggo Mortensen for no other reason than it's Viggo. I don't see a need to justify it beyond that. The guy is a genius.

By Cole Abaius
6 February 2010

After his star-making turn as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Viggo Mortensen was unwilling to continue with unwieldy Hollywood behemoths and "make something like Superman 12", as he puts it.

When war forges an unlikely bond
The West Australian
23 July 2015

Films like Todos tenemos un plan or Cronenberg's don't stand much of a chance against superhero movies at the box office.

Those films bore me. Cronenberg, in fact, recently got into a controversy about that. They took him out of context, but I understand what he meant. And I agree. Totally. He didn't say that a film based on a comic bores him, but that the infantilization of cinema bores him. And I must say that as fun, creative and artistic as Christopher Nolan's Batman series can be, it reaches a point - even in the second one, The Joker one, I like how that one is acted and filmed - where the explosions, the car accidents bore me. Like a casino, it's boring. Nolan has been and continues to be a great director, but as an adult, I'm bored.

Viggo Mortensen
"They brand me as a traitor, a communist"
By Juan Manuel Dominguez - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
26 August 2012

Some of the comic book characters I find interesting, in no particular order of preference, are 'Asterix', 'Felix the Cat', 'Vladek' (from "Maus"), 'Ogami Itto' (from the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series), 'Patoruzu', 'Condorito', 'Aquaman', 'Korak, Son of Tarzan', 'Dr. Manhattan' (from "The Watchmen" series), 'The Green Lantern' (first comic book i ever read from cover to cover, as a little boy in Argentina), 'Ren' (from "Ren and Stimpy"), 'Maggie Chascarrillo' (from "Love and Rockets"), 'Lucifer' (from "The Sandman" series), 'Corto Maltese', 'Morpheus' (from "The Sandman"), 'Enid Coleslaw' (from "Ghost World"), 'The Pink Panther', and... I can't think of any others at the moment.

A Minute with Viggo
By Viggo-Works and Viggo Mortensen
30 December 2015

Right now there is a resurgence of the hero but invested with those qualities we are most devoid of. Quite often, most of the time, they are fictional characters that have been wrongly embellished with those things we wanted to see. But at other times, occasionally, the flesh-and-blood hero emerges, stationed on a corner, wandering the streets or simply sharing fragments of his existence. Viggo Mortensen occupies that place of the ultimate present hero.

Reunion with Alatriste in Uclés
Diario de León
by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno - translated by Paddy
26 June 2005

You will find all previous Quotables here.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Bleecker Street.

Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Categories: Quotable Viggo

While filming Alatriste Viggo immersed himself in all things Spanish to the point where Arturo Pérez Reverte said he had transformed himself into a 'Spaniard down to the bone'. In all he has made five films either completely in Spanish, or which have some Spanish dialogue, he has done a play in Spanish, he now writes all of his poetry in Spanish and has given poetry readings in Spain. Of course, a lot of this love-affair with the language has come from his upbringing in Argentina, but he has also fallen completely for Spain, for Spanish Actress Ariadna Gil, for Madrid where they have been living together for many years now and for León where he found the roots of his Captain Alatriste.

"Ramas para un nido" poetry reading

"Most of the time Viggo lives in Spain. And in airplanes."

Viggo Mortensen - "Above all, I'm a Cuervo... And a greater pride does not exist"
By Eduardo Bejuk - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zooey
April 2010

"…Viggo filled himself with Spain; with our history, with the light and the shadow that made us who we are. And, in that way, in an astonishing process of assimilation, he finished transforming himself into a Spaniard, down to the bone. '

Arturo Pérez Reverte
El Semanal,
Translated by Elessars Queen
July 2005

The most curious thing about this charismatic actor's personality is that he not only shows his pride of "being" from León in León, something very usual among those who want to boast about this title over here but seem to be ashamed of it in other places, but also in Asturias, Madrid, Salamanca, El Álamo or Tarifa he was seen signing autographs and wearing a black T-shirt in which you could read the name of León in big letters. Not even Fitur (important tourist industry exhibition) has done so much for this land... his presence over here has been a great help for the name of León to appear at every website in the five continents, thanks to pictures such as this one. Not even the UPL (regionalist party of León) ever dreamt of a better ambassador!

With León In His Heart
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
Diario de León - translated by Paddy
18 April 2005

In order to thank him, the people of Valdeteja, the village that, in his own words, had had a deeper effect on this American bohemian, will give him the title of Honorary Citizen and in a time to come, he will be given such distinction in a ceremony that the inhabitants will hold at the village. A small gesture for the one who also was kind to them.

Viggo Mortensen finds Alatriste in Curueño
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
Diario de León
20 March 2005

'When you are used to filming in the U.S., the way things are done in Spain may feel like a great chaos, because there is a more relaxed atmosphere. But you soon realize that it is something that has to do with the culture, and I loved it!'

Viggo Mortensen
Top Men - Viggo Mortensen
Glamour Magazine,
Translated for V-W by Graciela
August 2006

"Sometimes, I can express my feelings and access my emotions much better in Spanish than I can in English."

Viggo in Tokyo for the Alatriste premier
Chris Betros
5 December 2008

"I learned Spanish and English at the same time as a child, growing up in Buenos Aires. My brothers have told me that when I speak Spanish I'm slightly more relaxed. When I speak English I'm a little more careful. It has to do with the sound, with the language...."

Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of Simplicity
By Ernesto Garratt Vines - translated by Margarita
Wikén - El Mercurio
30 March 2007

"I always kept writing in Spanish. But I realized that my language was out of date. It was my parent's language. Then, with the long trips to Argentina and Spain, close contact with the language allowed me to enter a new stage, more up to date and rich."

Viggo Mortensen, The Poet
By Valeria Melon - translated by Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zoe
La Nacion
19 December 2010

"I sometimes gravitate toward one language or another or a certain structure for a poem or short story. In the past year or so, I've been writing mostly in Spanish for some reason. Whatever I was feeling, I felt like I've got to express it in Spanish. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because I've been hanging around Spanish-speaking people or Spanish-speaking countries a lot recently."

Viggo Mortensen - For The Good Of The People
By Elliot V Kotek
Moving Pictures
Winter 2008-2009

'In Denmark, I dine at 6 pm and I'm Danish. In Spain, where I live now, I dine at 10 pm and I'm Latin.'

Viggo Mortensen: "Travelling is the best anti-war weapon"
By Yetty Hagendorf - translated by Donna Marie
Le Soir (Belgium)
2 February 2015

Can you be Aragorn again for a few days and bash the Spanish politicians like the orcs that they are?

I think that among the Spanish citizenry there already are a whole lot of Aragorns.

Web Chat with Viggo Mortensen
20 Minutos
Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
6 September 2012

"My heart is Spanish and I'm experiencing a very pleasurable stage of my life, with much joy," said Mortensen in the interview… I feel fulfilled and I´m living to the fullest. I´m serious, I already feel Spanish, although I will never abandon my roots, or my maté or my Danish pastry, or my New Yorker hustle and bustle."

My Heart is Spanish: Viggo Mortensen
By Juan Carlos García - translated by Ollie and Zoe
El Golfo
12 September 2014

"There's a saying in Spanish: Without risk there's no glory," Mortensen explained. "You can live a safe little life, but if you don't take a chance once in a while you'll imprison yourself."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen's New Plan
By Constance Droganes
26 March 2013

© Images © Silvia Susana Flores.

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Last edited: 13 October 2019 13:08:52