Aragorn Explains the Whole Good-Evil Thing
15 December 2002
We suspect that nothing could please the quiet, sensitive Viggo Mortensen (he paints and writes poetry on the side) less than becoming the big movie star that The Two Towers will make him. He tells us that he has got bigger things on his mind, like, oh, Iraq and Afghanistan. But after his bravura turn as an untiring freedom-fighter, he's going to have to work to keep the fame machine at bay.
In this movie, even more than in the first, Aragorn represents the good in humans. He helps us separate right and wrong.
What I like about Tolkien is that it's not black and white. Evil does not have one place. Evil doesn't, as an idea, have a geographical location - it is wherever its victims are. And its victims are, at any given time, all of us, all the people in the story.
Whenever you are weak of will or you put yourself before the common good, when you are selfish, then you are opening the door. And the ring symbolizes that - that's al it does. It symbolizes being selfish.
Because Aragorn's human, we can see ourselves in him, and lots of people have extracted the themes of the story to our current world situation.
As far as it reflecting our times, an easy way out is to look at the so-called good guys in this story, who do have doubts sometimes about what they're doing and hesitate, which makes it interesting and reflects what Tolkien wrote. It's easy to look at them as the good guys and to want to be that and to see ourselves as that as Americans.
Is that wrong?
I think that it might be worth asking the thousands and thousands of people who have been killed in Afghanistan - innocent people - without us catching Osama bin Laden or anybody. And [we should] ask the people who have been killed and maimed and whose lives have been ruined, whose families have been destroyed [during] 11 years of continual bombing in Iraq because of a southern no-fly zone that nobody recognizes, really, except England and the United States. It's an illegal action.
[I wonder] if one shouldn't consider whether those civilians on the ground in those countries, do they look at us as good guys? Or do they look at us like Sauron, who wants to destroy their way of life and destroy their wills? I don't think it should be assumed that [Americans] are the good guys.
Based on what we know about your art and poetry, I'd say you're more of a lover than a fighter. So, where does Aragorn find his rage on the battlefield?
I don't think Aragorn is naturally prone to fighting in the same sense that maybe Boromir was in the first story or Ã‰omer is in this. He isn't, by nature, warlike.
The Elvish name his mother gives him at birth is Estel, which means hope. I think he basically has a sunny disposition, but it has been dampened over the years by what he has seen in the world. He is a skilled fighter who has taken on the fighting styles of the different places he has lived and fought in, but it's by virtue of necessity that he does it.
Last edited: 12 August 2005 14:05:01